POTD: U.S. Infantry Blakeslee Spencer Repeater Cartridge Carrier

   09.13.21

POTD: U.S. Infantry Blakeslee Spencer Repeater Cartridge Carrier

Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Pre-World War II military doctrines and strategies usually stayed away from forms of rapid reloading such as what we are all used to today in the form of the detachable box magazine. It is interesting to see actual military use of a speed loader for a spencer carbine in the 1860s. The Spencer was a smooth is fast sort of rifle. Entirely faster than the average muzzleloader and using a big bore, but short cartridge you could fire with rapidity. This POTD is of a Blakeslee cartridge carrier/speed loader. The Spencer had a tubular magazine hidden inside the buttstock of the rifle and these tubes could be fed in to replenish the magazine.

Developed by Erastus Blakeslee, a Colonel (brevet Brigadier General) with the 1st Connecticut Volunteer Cavalry, the Blakeslee cartridge boxes carried soldered iron tubes loaded with 7 cartridges for the Spencer Repeater, which allowed for rapid reloading. This particular design was known as the “infantry model.” Only 1,000 of these 13 tube variations were produced making this the most rare and desirable of all the Blakeslee’s Patent cartridge carriers. This model carries 13 tubes with black leather around the hexagonal wood core, with a brass hinge on the lid, and a front pocket marked “BLAKESLEE’S CARTRIDGE BOX/U.S./PAT’D DEC. 20, 1861/E. GAYLORD/CHICOPEE/MASS.” on the flap.

Lot 3124: Extremely Scarce and Original U.S. ‘Infantry’ Blakeslee’s Patent. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/54/3124/extremely-scarce-and-original-us-infantry-blakeslees-patent.

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