Prescott Guards ID’d Cartridge Box On Hold

Identified to Charles Whiting of Pepperell.


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The Prescott Guards, also known as the Pepperell Light Infantry was an independent militia company that was organized in 1819 in Pepperell, Massachusetts. There were named after a famous Revolutionary War hero in town, Colonel William Prescott of the Battle of Bunker Hill fame.

I had never owned a cartridge box from the Prescott Guards, but now have two in as many years. This one is identified to Charles Whiting of Pepperell, who enlisted in the Guards in August of 1844. From studying this unit over the years, I don’t know if another type of cartridge box was used or not. The iron sling buckles have that early look that could date to the inception of the company. This box retains its original shoulder strap; leather strap guides are sewn to the back side of the box, and there has never been a provision made for wearing on a belt  The construction is typical for the region and period, all sewn parts in leather, 21 tin tubes (in .69 calibre) soldered together hold cartridges.

A simple iron hook, fastened to the flap, interlocks with a catch on the bottom of the box proper. Constructed of russet leather, outer surfaces finish black, with gold painted “PG” on the flap.  Whiting has written his name inside the flap with “Pepperell Mass” beneath that.  He left a vent pick in the box.

The condition is very good considering the age and use. The stitching holds throughout; leather surfaces in some places are dry and have flaked (see photos).  I have done nothing to treat the leather, that is the decision of the end user. A guide strap for the shoulder strap end has broken, thus the reason for it appearing to be dangling. The sling has an old leather repair at the apex. The surface of the flap is crackled in attic heat, and has disrupted the “PG” some what.

All in all, a nice identified early militia box; still some research to do for the owner.


Additional information

Weight 6 lbs