|Description and Photograph||
People that are unfamiliar with mid-nineteenth century military weaponry generally have the impression that soldiers carried a powder horn or some variation of one. In reality, soldiers were issued cartridges consisting of a paper tube, filled with a powder charge and ball. These paper cartridges were issued in paper packs of ten. Because they were made of paper, the cartridges were very fragile and even a slight wetting would ruin them; therefore, it was necessary that they be carried in a leather box which served to keep the cartridges dry. The box also served to keep out sparks during the heat of battle. Should a spark enter the box, the resulting explosion would severely injure or kill its owner. Basically, each soldier had a bomb strapped to his waist and only this box to keep it from igniting. Infantry cartridge boxes had tin liners with large openings in order to hold multiple packets of pre-manufactured paper cartridges.
Most Confederate cartridge boxes are primarily identifiable as Confederate because the Southern arsenals utilized lead for the closure finial in order to conserve much needed brass for other purposes. As sought after as good examples of these boxes are, the boxes that substituted not only lead and wood for brass but also painted canvas for leather are even rarer and more desirable. Then there are the maker stamped Confederate boxes which are extremely rare and even more desired by the collector. Even rarer (to the point of being virtually non-existent) and the most valuable of all Confederate cartridge boxes is the box with the large “CS” impressed into the front flap. To give you an example of the rarity of the CS impressed box I will tell you that I have been dealing in Confederate collectibles for more than thirty years. I work at it virtually every day, all day; I know thousands of collectors, yet, though seeking diligently for one of these boxes all these years, this is the very first that I have had the opportunity to buy (that was in a condition worth buying). There is no hyperbole in saying that if you have dreamed of adding a CS impressed cartridge box to your collection and especially one in the very best condition, this will very likely be the only chance you will have in your lifetime.
This box has no restoration whatsoever; it is in its natural, untouched, virtually pristine condition. It retains its unbroken closure straps, its lead finial remains tight, both ears are still firmly stitched in place, and the buckles remain firmly affixed to the box by their original straps which are as strong as when new. Both original tins remain in place and have not been bent or crushed. The inner pouch is complete and in beautiful condition. The box’s surface still retains its smooth glossy patent finish. And remarkably all of it remains super flexible.
This is about as close to perfection as any Confederate box can get and is only $22,000.00!