Cartridge Pouch/Box Shoulder Carriage

Cartridge Pouch/Box Shoulder Carriage - state wrist-to-wrist length (see measuring instructions below), and if the 2" wide carriage is for a British cartridge pouch, British box, or American box.)
Black leather - $ 20.00
Painted White leather - $ 20.00 (view image below)
Buff leather - $ 35.00

On original British and Continental Army cartridge pouch carriages, the narrow buckle straps (1" x 8") are often, but not always, separate pieces of leather stitched to the ends of the wider strap. They surely were making the best use of the leather they had available, and stitched the narrow buckle straps when the wider strap leather wasn't long enough. My straps are made the same way. So sometimes one or both of the buckle strap ends may or may not be stitched pieces, just like the originals.

Measuring Instructions: With your right arm hanging straight by your side, measure from the right wrist, up and over the left shoulder, and back down to the right wrist. For example, I am 5'8" tall, 150 lbs and my wrist-to-wrist measurement is 58". This 58" will be the distance between the center holes of the buckle straps on a carriage for a British cartridge pouch or American cartridge box. The distance will be 7" less for a British cartridge box because it is shorter than a pouch. Each shoulder carriage buckle strap has six holes to allow the cartridge pouch/box to be raised or lowered for a proper fit as Cuthbertson recommended.

If you are ordering a carriage for a British Cartridge Box (ie the 18 round converted 'belly' box) you might want a shorter carriage. As done during the war, the pouch and box could be worn together to maximize the amount of available ammo during a battle. To get a carriage that will cause the box to ride above the pouch, subtract 6" from the wrist-to-wrist measurement.

Click on this image to view measuring photos.


A few Continental Army New Construction cartridge boxes have shoulder carriages of tanned leather painted white on the flesh side. This was probably done because Continental Army articifers did not always have a supply of buff leather, and painting tanned leather straps became an expedient manner of simulating buff leather. Click on this image to view larger picture of a painted white carriage.

Cuthbertson recommends cartridge pouches to be worn and fitted to the soldier as follows (pg.97, XXII), "The Pouches should be always buckled up so short, that the upper part of them, may, in general rise to the hip button of the coat...they must also be worn so much back, that when the Soldier's right hand is hanging in its proper position down his side, the front corner of the Pouch may just touch the elbow, and by that means, be entirely out of the way, in the performance of his Exercise, at the same it will hang sufficiently convenient for taking out his Cartridges..."


Buff leather I use is approx 8 to 10 ounce (an ounce being 1/64" thick) from the Clayton of Chesterfield tannery in England. Rather than being tanned in chrome salts as used in modern garments and upholstery leather; or tree bark extracts as used in saddle, harnesss, and vegetable tanned leather; buff leather uses oil and sulfur. This oil tanning method produces a leather that is a dark cream to yellowish color. What makes this leather "Buff" besides the oil tanning method, is that the top grain is scrapped off leaving a rough texture. Buff leather will also stretch a bit when supporting a heavy load, such as cartridge pouch with ball ammunition or a sword.

Tanned leather in 18th C. military context usually means black leather. On just about every original 18th C. accoutrement I have examined the black dye is only on one surface of the leather, either the rough (flesh) side or grain (smooth) side. Black dye is rarely on both sides or on the edges. This suggests that one side of the entire hide was dyed black, then parts were cut from the hide, then stitched together to form the desired accoutrement. For most of my accoutrements that call for tanned leather I use 6 to 8 ounce hides that are bark (aka vegetable) tanned by Hermann Oak Leather Co. This family run tannery is in the U.S.A. and uses prime American steers. A lot of leather now sold in the US is from Mexico or South America. I don't like that leather and I don't use it. If you want to make your own accoutrements and want some black leather it is available from me. At times I may have natural undyed leather, but generally I dye the whole hide black on the grain side when it arrives in my shop.

Buff leather straps and pieces are priced at $35 per square foot. For example a strap 2" x 50" long is $24.30, and a piece 5" x 10" is $12.15 . The formula is length x width (in inches), divided by 144, times $35.

Black leather straps and pieces are $20 per square foot. For example a strap 2" x 50" long is $13.89, and a piece 5" x 10" is $6.94 . The formula is length x width (in inches), divided by 144, times $20.

For either leather other widths and lengths can be made upon request. If you need an odd shaped piece of leather, such as the frog for a bayonet or sword carriage, I can cut leather to the approximate shape if you provide the full size pattern. If you don't have a pencil and paper, or a calculator, I can calculate the cost for you, but I will do that once I catch up with the orders already on my workbench and people are waiting for. So I might not reply for a month or two. If you need a faster answer your serjeant or an elementary school graduate should be able to do the math for you.

Buff leather hides are relatively small compared to the cowhides used for black leather. In the leather trade they are called 'bends'. The buff bends are 24" wide and from 55" to 65" in length. As you might imagine, the bends are not perfect rectangles, but irregular in shape at both ends. So from one bend I generally can cut nine 55" to 58" long straps but only one or two 65" long straps.

Order Form - leather is on bottom of form.

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First launched 5-9-91.