Pattern 1839 Cartridge box.
The 1839 cartridge box was the first pattern of this style of cartridge box. As originally designed it was only fitted for shoulder belt suspension. It contained two metal tins for carrying a total 40 paper cartridges. 10 loose were carried in the top level of each tin, and another ten were carried wrapped in a bundle in the lower compartment. There is an inner flap to help protect the cartridges. With the start of the Civil War often waist belt loops were added to the box so it could be worn on a waist belt.
This example has an old note that it was picked up on a Battlefield near Winchester and still had 6 69 cal cartridges in it. This box has some weather damage and the outer flap is detached. It is an interesting box showing construction that is different from the US standard. There is no center seam in the back. The inner two slots for the horizontal strap to support the shoulder strap are not sewn. The stitching is fewer stitches per inch than US standard. The leather is stable and the stitching is sound. The metal tins are present and it is interesting to note that the top edge of the tins are not folded over. I have been told that some of the first boxes made were made with tins that did not have the edges finished. When they were issued soldiers complained of cutting their fingers on the raw tin edge and they were produced with finished edges. Later some Confederate tins had raw edges.
Waist belt loops have been added by riveting them to the back of the box. These were added after construction because the burrs of the rivets are on the outside. When this work was done a rivet was added for the center of the shoulder strap.
This box saw service in in Virginia and was picked up off a battlefield which makes it a wartime collected relic of the conflict.