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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:18 am
Posts: 164
Yet another good entry from "A Directory of American Military Goods Dealers & Makers, 1785-1915" (B. Bazelon & W. McGuinn, 1999);

Storms, Christian S., NYC. 2,000 Sharps cartridge boxes.

This is the abridged notation since the entire entry deals primarily with his business partners, locations, etc., as well as his other Civil War contracts for infantry and mounted accouterments. He is listed as having produced Army accoutrements from 1861 to 1865. As I understand it, the one or two surviving Sharps cartridge boxes are unmarked. If the contract for these were in late 1861 or early 1862 then that would account for the lack of a maker/contract stamp. The U.S. government did not pass the inclusion of proper stamps until late summer 1862.

Brian White
Wambaugh, White, & Company
Randolph Mess, U.S. Sharpshooters

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:37 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 270
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Brian and comrades;

Intriguing reference about the Sharps boxes. However, considering the US/Volunteer Cavalry units fielded close to 80,000 Sharps carbines (NM1859 & NM1863) during the CW, I wonder if the CS Storms contract was for carbine cartridge boxes instead of the mysterious USSS contract?

I know Wiley Sword and Marcot both examined the 'Willie Green'/Sharps cartridge box (and mentioned them in their books) and I believe the later author hypothesized that Emerson Gaylord company manfactured the box (Gaylord was on the board of directors for the Sharps Rifle Mfg. Co). Gaylord's concern produced thousands of leather accoutrements for the US military. However, as you know, the US Ordnance/QM Dept regs during the early war did not require the makers to stamp or otherwise identify themselves as contractor. This makes for a particularly sticky problem trying to identify these unique cartridge boxes. But did the USSS actually use them?

If you peruse the Ordnance returns for the 1st Regt. USSS that are in the Caspar Trepp papers, you will find the cartridge boxes in possession of the men were most likely of the 1861 pattern, since they were issued with cartridge box straps and plates (the 'US' plates that are attached to the outer flap of the cartridge box). I recall that you discovered a cartridge box on display at the Antietam NPS museum configured with a pair of wooden blocks in the upper tins with at least one Sharps cartridge in it. While the box was not provanced (identified to a specific soldier/regt), we know that both USSS and MA SS units were present during the fight, and both were carrying Berdan contract NM1859 Sharps rifles.

Back to Trepp. Examining March 1863 company returns showed a discrepancy between the number of cartridge boxes present (worn by a SS) and cartridge box straps-suggesting men either preferred to wear the cartridge box on their waist belts, or the shoulder straps had become damaged or lost. When new Ordnance was issued in time for the C-ville/Gburg campaign new cartbox straps were included so all the companies had a full compliment of authorized equipment (rifles, bayonets/scabbards, cartridge boxes/belts/plates, cap boxes, waist belts/plates).

While the Trepp papers primarily cover the period from Dec 1862 to Nov 1863, the Ordnance issuances are very consistent from company to company in the 1st Regt. I can't speak about issuances for the 2nd Regt. since I don't have Post/Stoughton's papers or the Ordnance reports for that regiment. But from my research, there was more consistency between the regiments (and the larger Div/Corps that they served with) than irregularity.

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess-USSS

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