J. M. Young's McKensie Cartridge Box


Description and Photograph






     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 Charleston saddle 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.  Actually it is marked as such twice.  Once on the front cover just above the closure tab stitching and again near the center of the cover.  The box is made from russet leather and is equipped with cast buckles for attachment of the over the shoulder sling. The closing finial is made of lead. The tins are made in two pieces and are original to the box.  The box is perfect, flawless!

     Just when you thought a box could not possibly get any better, you see that it is also owner identified.  J. M. Young, Co K 8th Alabama Regt carved his name and regiment into the face of the front cover.

     A J. M. Young, Jr. and Sr. appear on the 8th’s roster; often with no Jr. or Sr. following their names so I cannot clearly delineate the two; however, both of their fortunes are inextricably tied to that of Company K 8th Alabama.

     J. M. Young enlisted May 16, 1861 in Perry County Alabama for the War.  He well lived up to his commitment, serving the entire four years with the hard fought 8th Alabama, not laying down his arms until the bitter end at Appomattox.

     The 8th Alabama was the first Confederate regiment to be enlisted for the war.  The Reg’t served with the Army of Northern Virginia from Williamsburg to Appomattox.

     It lost 47 percent casualties at Gaines Mill and then 51 percent of the remainder a few days later at Frayser’s Farm.  The Reg’t lost another 75 men at Sharpsburg, 56 at Chancellorsville and more than 240 at Gettysburg.  By the surrender only 153 enlisted men were still with the Regiment but, J. M. Young had remained faithful to the end.         



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