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rebel yell
10-29-2006, 07:11 PM
My Confederate impression I wear the cartridge box suspended from the belt, I like it that way better. When marching I slide it around back out of the way. Every picture I have ever seen, Federal soldiers have the sling. Was that regulation in the Union Army or was there a choice?

Rob
10-29-2006, 07:36 PM
I, too, prefer it that way, but, then again, I'm not carrying forty sizable chunks of lead in my box. That would seem to be a great way to get a hernia. When I order my new traps this winter, a cartridge box sling will be included.

There was quite a discussion on this subject on one of the forums. It has probably gone to Internet Heaven by now. I seem to remember quotes from medical people recommending aginst it. Perhaps someone who has these references will chime in.

Rob Weaver
10-29-2006, 07:39 PM
In a photographic study of pictures of Federals in "field" conditions that was made in the late 80s, early 90s (that I can't find anymore - if anyone else has read this help me out), the overwhelming majority of soldiers were wearing their boxes as issued. With slings and badges. As a Sgt., I wear mine on my belt too. Douced handy, I'll admit. But for the private soldier, it seems that slung over the soldier was the most common rig.

rebel yell
10-29-2006, 07:55 PM
The weight of a fully loaded cartridge box during the war a sling would be most practical. I guess the lack there of in the Confederate army would be from the scarcity of leather resulting in the painted cloth accutrements? Thanks for the replies.

Kevin O'Beirne
10-30-2006, 12:32 PM
Was that regulation in the Union Army or was there a choice?

Cartridge boxes and the "stuff" associated with them--slings, brass, etc.--were all part of a soldier's ordnance stores, together with his weapon, bayonet, and other leather gear. These were all property of the U.S. government, not the regiment, company, or soldier himself. Therefore, officially speaking, a Federal infantryman was supposed to keep and wear the whole "shootin' match" or else he could and would be paying for it at the next pay muster.

That's the official line. What really happened varied in actual practice from one region/army/regiment to the next and I can't offer hard and fast rules on it. Some company commanders, in reporting losses of ordnance stores after a campaign, tended to exaggerate to make up for stuff that their men did not use and that they did not want their men paying for. The "exactness" with which the army's requirements for ordnance returns were really completed and filed varied with the officer responsible for it.

One way to check this type of thing for a given regiment in a given campaign would be to cross-check their ordnance returns following the campaign vs. the number of casualties in the regiment or company. This could (and has) reveealed some interesting insights, like a company that suffered few casualties reporting a large loss of cartridge box sling eagle plates for some reason. :) Yes, that type of thing really happened.

FloridaBummer
10-30-2006, 02:13 PM
I would post it here; but there may be some copyright stuff involved.
In a letter from a Dr. A. Ball, Medical Director of 2nd Division, 12th Corps to J. McNuley, Surgeon General of 12th Corps, referred to (General Ripley).
He states that he is connected with examinations of disabled soldiers, who are waiting for discharge from service. He mentions that many of them are having many problems caused by wearing fully loaded cartridge boxes on their belts without the use of the C-box shoulder strap. This may have been due to a shortage, but also possibly by choice of the individual infantryman. The injuries are primarily a hernia and vericose veins.
If you have the book, "Cartridge boxes of the Union Infantryman" look on page 269 for the full letter. It will explain more. I will mention that the letter this unit came from is in the eastern theater.
This is just to give you an idea. We carry blanks, they carried live rounds. Some pards in my unit have lead melted into their tins to simulate the feel of carrying live rounds.
Hope this helps;
Kindest Regards;

Kevin O'Beirne
10-30-2006, 04:31 PM
For what it's worth, the weight of a load of forty dead men of 0.58 caliber is about 5 lbs. For those who haven't hefted or worn one of the reenactor cartridge boxes with the melted solder in the bottom to provide this weight, picture wearing a 5 lb bag of sugar on your hip each time you "kit up".

TheBaldYankee
10-30-2006, 06:26 PM
Well I'm not entirely sure (being new to the hobby) How it's supposed to be worn, but just the other day I was thumbing through the book Kennesaw Mountain June 1864, by Richard Baumgartner and Larry Strayer. It has alot of great photos. One in particular showing the actual uniform of a private in the 51st O.V.I.. It shows the cartridge box on a sling. Thats on pg. 62 btw.

As far as the strain on the muscles.... I'd have to say the sling is most likely the lesser of two evils, but I'd think that that even could cause problems in your Traps and other neck muscles. But I'd take that over a low back strain any day.

Jim Mayo
10-30-2006, 06:54 PM
One complaint for wearing the box slinged was the sling was too hot. Both armies usually had adequate slings for cartridge boxes based on equipment returns I have seen so it must have been personal preference if the sling was not worn. Those of you that have done any real soldiering can vouch for doing things the way you want to be it against regulations or not. There are many period boxes that show evidence of being worn on the belt. There are two on this page that have stretched belt loops. http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/j_mayo/relics.html

This pic is one of those boxes. You can see where the strap ended up. On the soldiers records he was charged for a lost belt buckle. I believe it was .09.

huntdaw
10-30-2006, 10:44 PM
picture wearing a 5 lb bag of sugar on your hip each time you "kit up".

Since they decreased the weight of sugar bags to try to fool us into thinking we weren't paying more, you'll have to imagine carrying a 4 lb bag and a box of sugar cubes.

rebel yell
10-31-2006, 08:33 AM
Well I'm not entirely sure (being new to the hobby) How it's supposed to be worn, but just the other day I was thumbing through the book Kennesaw Mountain June 1864, by Richard Baumgartner and Larry Strayer. It has alot of great photos. One in particular showing the actual uniform of a private in the 51st O.V.I.. It shows the cartridge box on a sling.


I will have to get that book since we galvanize as the 51st O.V.I. I have spent 20 years studying the minutiae of the Confederate soldier, I have a lot to learn about the common Union soldier. With y'alls help and research on my part I will accomplish this goal.:)

TheBaldYankee
10-31-2006, 11:01 AM
I will have to get that book since we galvanize as the 51st O.V.I. I have spent 20 years studying the minutiae of the Confederate soldier, I have a lot to learn about the common Union soldier. With y'alls help and research on my part I will accomplish this goal.:)
Hey, that's cool. I recently joined The 51st O.V.I. Co. B, here in Ohio.

You can find that book here...
http://www.blueacornpress.com/

I actually haven't read it yet. It's next on my list after I finish U.S. Grant's memoirs. However I have read another ov Baugarter's books... Buckey Blood, Ohio at Gettysburg. He's a really good author. He gives the facts in an interesting and easy to read way, with a load of period photos.

Lee Ragan
10-31-2006, 12:27 PM
I've never carried a leaded cartridge box or one loaded with 40 "real" rounds. However, I have worn for one day during a living history event, a 2nd model Colt Dragoon in a holster on a waistbelt. That pistol weighs over 4 lbs. and I can atest to the fact, that wearing it for about 6 hours was more than enough. My kidneys hurt as did my lower back.
I'll always take a sling for a cartridge box.

rebel yell
10-31-2006, 03:22 PM
Hey, that's cool. I recently joined The 51st O.V.I. Co. B, here in Ohio.

You can find that book here...
http://www.blueacornpress.com/

I actually haven't read it yet. It's next on my list after I finish U.S. Grant's memoirs. However I have read another ov Baugarter's books... Buckey Blood, Ohio at Gettysburg. He's a really good author. He gives the facts in an interesting and easy to read way, with a load of period photos.

Thanks for the link.:D

bill watson
10-31-2006, 06:47 PM
Don't have any photos to share. However, Alfred Bollard, "Gone for a Soldier," did a bunch of colored pencil sketches for his diary that was later turned into a book. He was in the 5th NJVI, the "Second New Jersey Brigade." He got an odd wound through the skin of his knee at Chancellorsville; he also did a sketch of the 7th NJVI capturing one of the several Rebel flags they seized during that fighting. To a man, the 7th NJVI guys are wearing cartridge boxes without slings. They are also wearing knapsacks.

His sketches won't win any awards for artistry, but the kind of detail he includes is exactly what you'd expect from an intelligent, articulate, outgoing soldier very much aware he's taking part in the adventure of his life and determined to capture it all in words and pictures. I believe the various sketches and his diary notes were sent home to his father from time to time during the war, so they are "fresh," not drawn from memory years later (although the final writing is very much upgraded from his notes.) Anyway, I personally have an idea he's sketched exactly what he saw, from the Confederate who wouldn't give up the colors and was about to pay the price right down to the raveling, fuzzy texture of some of the uniforms and everything else. My hunch is that on May 4, 1863, the 7th NJVI, a seasoned regiment, wasn't wearing cartridge box slings and was also making sure they never got separated from their knapsacks.

Cannon Fodder
11-01-2006, 03:33 PM
The Federal Army issued the cartridge box and sling to recruits. When the privates made Sgt. they were issued a baldric and sword. To keep from having two slings across their chest they placed their cartridge box on their belt. That's the reason for the cartridge box having the loops on the rear.

rebel yell
11-02-2006, 07:57 PM
OK I see, well I dont have any plans to be a NCO in either army any time soon, so then the sling it is. For the Federal impression anyway.:)