Old South Military Antiques

Mckensie Cartridge Box
Item #: OS-6532

  Supple Flap


  Crisp Makers Stamp


  Perfect Tool Pouch and Closure Tab


  Still Has the Ears


  Lead Finial


  One Piece Tin


  Stitching Remains Tight


  Perfect Loops






Collectors, including myself, have long thought McKensie a Richmond, Virginia accoutrement maker. This misattribution has been corrected thanks to the work of Bruce Bazelon and William McGuire. Quoting from their 1999 work, American Military Goods Dealers and Makers:

"McKensie, Archibald and Richard B., Charleston. Cited in National

Archives MG 109 as having produced leather goods, including 400

sets of infantry accouterments for the Confederacy. This citation

settles the attribution of the mark "McKensie” found on several CS

cartridge boxes; also on a CS cap box in the Milwaukee Public

Museum Collections. This maker was wrongly identified as

Samuel McKensie in previous editions.”

Archibald and Richard McKensie were Charlestonsaddle and harness makers in the decades leading up to the war. As such they were easily able to change their production over to war material.

The very well made, cartridge box shown here is one of their products and is clearly marked as such. It has two vertical belt loops designating this pattern as a rifleman’s box, but it also has two rings mounted at the top of the belt loops to attach the narrow, short, over the shoulder sling to be used as a musket box. It is clear by the stress on the leather that both were used; it was mounted on the soldier’s belt, but also used the over the shoulder strap. This is unique in known Confederate cartridge boxes. The box is absolutely perfect with the exception that the over the shoulder strap was broken and I removed about three inches of leather that had been burnt or had dried blood in it, making it brittle. The ends were then spliced very neatly. Its lead finial remains tight and the box has an extremely clear maker’s mark. As you can see from the pictures the box was cut for a box plate, but it never had one affixed to the face.

The box is extremely supple, soft and flexible; it is 100% complete, having every latch, pouch, tab, buckle and ear in place and in excellent condition. All of the stitching remains tight. It even retains its original single cartridge tin. Neither the description nor the images can hardly do the box justice, it must be held to fully appreciate its stellar condition.

Because of its rarity and condition, this box sold for $15,900.00 nearly 20 years ago. I was recently able to purchase it at an auction for a veritable steal because no one at the auction knew enough about it to step up to the bar. Consequently, I can sell it for half what it sold for 20 years ago and still make a much larger profit than I normally could hope to make. For the cartridge box, or Charleston, collector, this seems to me a virtual deal of a lifetime at only $7,900.00.


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