1/95th Rifle - A Rifleman's Kit
Cartridge Box & Powder Horn
The Cartridge Box was made of black leather and suspended from a cross belt worn over the left shoulder such that its box sat on the rifleman’s right hip. As it’s name implies the cartridge box contained the Rifleman’s ready made cartridges, each containing a patched ball and a measured amount of gunpowder wrapped in greased paper that would be used as wadding to keep the round in place in the barrel.
The cartridge box was issued with a wooden block inner that was drilled to take 24 cartridges. This was not really sufficient for a Rifleman who would spend his battle well in front of the main line with little or no hope of re-supply during the action and therefore it is probable that as today’s Riflemen do, our predecessors quickly consigned the wooden cartridge holders to the campfire, electing to have up to 50 rounds loose and accepting the added 2 ½ pounds in weight (each ball weighs 1 ¼ ounces + powder and wading) to make sure that they did not run out of ammunition. The cartridge box is fastened by a strap and nipple at the bottom that a Rifleman would have to practise unfastening and fastening without being able to see it. Leave the box unfastened and you would soon loose your ammunition when moving about.
The powder horn was suspended from the cartridge box cross belt by a length of green cord that allowed it to be moved easily from its carrying position on top of the cartridge box to the front for loading the rifle. Made from cow’s horn and fitted with one of a number of brass spouts for measuring precise charges of gun powder, it is an accoutrement particular to Riflemen. It contained fine ground gunpowder that was probably prepared by each man to his own requirements. The standard issued service cartridge was fairly haphazardly put together and most Riflemen preferred to measure their own charge for an important shot and use a finer powder that would give them greater accuracy.
The ready supply of powder also meant that a Rifleman could have his rifle loaded with a full charge and ball on the move but leave the pan empty until required for safety reasons. On being presented with a target he simply primed from his powder horn and was ready to take the shot. Like many other items of equipment the style of powder horn varied throughout the regiment depending on the source of supply and any repairs effected by its owner. Some were decorated by their owners with various symbols from simple names through the bugle horn image to elaborate engravings. The brass spouts would often have to be replaced and some were even lost completely and replaced by a simple wooden bung.