British Cartridge Boxes

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Looking into the box
with the leather flap opened.

Bottom of shoulder version showing the iron buckle and shoulder strap arrangement. Comparison of "belly" version and shoulder version.

Cartridge Box, British - This is the standard 18 hole block covered with a black leather flap. It is also available with a gilded GR2 or GR3 cipher on the flap. Often referred to as a "belly box" they were issued to all British soldiers as part of their "stand of arms". The flap is nailed to the block and held closed by a single leather toggle button. The European Beech block is painted black with satin oil paint. This box is a reproduction of an original formerly in the U.S. Army Engineer Museum at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Initially these were worn on the waist but on 3 August 1775 General Howe ordered that, "All soldiers to wear their cartridge boxes over their shoulders, and not round their waists" (see Hew Strachan's British Military Uniforms 1768-1796 pg 189). On campaign they could be worn with the Cartridge Pouches to increase a Soldiers ammunition capacity to nearly the 60 round level recommended by Cuthbertson (pg.118 footnote), or worn alone on "small Commands" (pg.97).

When converted to shoulder use, the two leather belt keepers were moved to the rear of the block. Two hand-forged iron buckles are attached underneath the block for holding the leather shoulder carriage (sold separately). Both versions are pictured in Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia, the waistbelt version on pg.69 #20 and shoulder version on pg.69 #21.

Waistbelt version (for use with belts up to 1¾" wide) $ 30.00 with plain flap, $50.00 with GR2 or GR3 flap cipher.
Shoulder version $ 45.00 with plain flap, $65.00 with GR2 or GR3 flap cipher.

Waistbelt -1" wide tooled black leather belt with an iron buckle for use with the waistbelt version "belly box" British cartridge box. Please provide your waist measurement while wearing your uniform. Don't add anything extra to that measurement, as I will make the belt 12" longer so it will go over the block and beyond the iron buckle several inches. $25.00

Waistbelt Frog- for use with the above 1" waistbelt. This black leather frog with copper rivets is pictured in Don Troiani's Soldiers in America book, page 4. Four examples are known to me, including those at Fort Ligonier and Old Fort Niagara. The slot for the bayonet scabbard hook will be on the exterior of the frog (¾" from the top) unless you specify a different location such as the frog interior for an inward facing bayonet, or further down the frog. Overall dimensions: 3" wide by 7 ½" tall. $25.00

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First launched 5-9-91.