George W. Morse

Carbine Cartridge Belt

Made In Greenville, SC

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Description and Photograph

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     George Morse invented the brass framed breech loading .50 caliber carbine.  His unique breech loading system used a cartridge of his own design that contained ball, powder and percussion cap in a single center fire cartridge, much like those in use today.  When the carbine was fired, the cartridge was extracted when opening the breech and another pre-charged cartridge was ready for insertion.  This relatively rapid firing carbine would have helped the Confederate cavalry to compete with the Spencer carbines issued to Northern cavalry, but the carbine had a downside.  They could only use the unique self contained center fire cartridge that Morse had invented, so keeping them supplied with ammunition was a major problem.   

     Morse invented the carbine and the cartridge that it fired; he also invented a cartridge box specifically made to carry the unique center fire cartridges.  An example of his cartridge box and belt is shown here.  Two leather boxes, each containing twelve individually soldered tin tubes were mounted on a very coarse woven cartridge box belt.  The twenty-four cartridges were placed into the tubes on a bed of cotton.

     The flaps are stiff, but open and close easily.  The latch tabs are for the most part missing.  All of the tubes remain and are tight.  The belt is strong and supple.  There is some crazing around the edges of the ranger, but it does not have any weak places.  It is supple and strong enough to buckle for display with a Morse carbine or even mount on a mannequin.        

 

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