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Cartouche or possibles bag for a mid to late 17th century buccaneer ki


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#1 Tattooed John

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 07:29 AM

Good day all! I am new here to the Pub and have a question I'd like to throw out. I am assembling a mid to late 17th century buccaneering kit and am trying to decide on what kind of bag I need for powder and shot. I have a flintlock firearm (1650's English lock musket) and now I'm trying to decide on what kind of bag to make to carry my charges in. Exquemelin mentions cartouches "They use cartridges, and have a cartouche containing thirty, which they carry with them always, so they are never unprepared." However my question is what would these cartouches look like? Would they be more like a traditional cartridge box? (Wooden block etc) or more resembling a possibles bag? Or would buccaneers have a mixture of both? Any particular pattern or styles? Any opinions, ideas, etc. would be greatly appreciated!

-Tattooed John


-Tattooed John



"Although your letter does not deserve a reply, since you call me a corsair,

I write you these few lines to ask you to come quickly.

We are waiting for you with great pleasure and we have powder and ball with which to receive you."

-Sir Henry Morgan

#2 michaelsbagley

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 10:16 AM

Hey Tattooed John,

The late 17th century had a lot of change going on... But in general, three methods of holding powder/shot would have been used. It MIGHT be surmised that the three each had their years of being dominant and less so, so take what I am going to say with a huge grain of salt....

Closer to the 1650s, I would say bandolier of cartouches. (commonly referred to as apostles).

Then shot boxes, the most solid examples for these are the Phipps shot box of the 1690s, and the Whydah shot box of the earlier 18th century. These are different from the block drilled boxes used by F&IW re-enactors and later 18th century re-enactors. The Phipps and Whydah boxes are leather boxes with internal wooden frame/boxes, but have no drilled block like later belly boxes did. I have seen written records of "cartouche boxes" going back as far as 1668, perhaps they date earlier, but that is the earliest solid date I know of for their use. I think some of the earlier ones were also lined in tin rather than wood.

There is examples of shot bags being used at least back to the (I think) the 1680s. There is an image of a grenadier dating to that decade that has what looks to be a shot bag (but my memory is shakey on that, perhaps someone who remembers better than I do has the image or recalls the date more accurately).

I have used all three at various points, a bandolier, a shot box based on the Phipps/Whydah (which I could fit up to 30 to 40 charges in), and a shot bag based on the grenadier image (which could hold a similar amount to the box, if not more), and find they are all easy to use and good for the period. In fact, for the Searle's Raid event, because the battle is so long, I often wear two of the three above options so I don't run out of ammo half way through. ;)

Hope this helps
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#3 Brass

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 11:08 AM

John,



To add to what the good Mr Bagley posted, following is information that gives context regarding the use of ‘cartridge’ boxes/pouches and the cartridges that went in them. Source information from pages 63-65 Arms and Armor in Colonial America: 1526-1783 by H. Peterson (Dover Publications, Inc 2000):



“The device that appeared to supplant the bandolier in America after less than half a century of popularity was the paper cartridge. This innovation was developed in Europe sometime during the second half of the 16th century. The first cartridges were simply individual charges of powder rolled in paper tubes. The balls were still carried in the pouch [leather ball pouch like those affixed to bandoliers]. They were, thus, a true form of semi-fixed ammunition. By the end of the century, however, a means of attaching the ball had been devised. This was done by tying one end of the paper tube to the sprue which was left when the ball was cast or to a special flange which was sometimes added to the ball. In neither of these instances was the ball covered by paper, but now a form or fixed ammunition had been developed. It is not known just when the completely wrapped cartridge was developed, but as late as 1697 Saint Remey illustrated a cartridge with the ball attached by its sprue as the latest type.



Cartridges were normally carried in a box or pouch specifically designed for that purpose. The earliest boxes were usually comparatively small, designed to hold pistol cartridges, and were used primarily by cavalry. These boxes are known today by the name of patrons, from the German and Scandinavian word meaning cartridge. Usually they were made of wood or bone, often with elaborately etched and engraved iron mountings…



Later, when the use of cartridges spread from the cavalry to the infantry, cartridge boxes of the more conventional form began to develop. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden is often credited with being the first European monarch to equip his infantry with cartridges, and indeed his action early in the 17th century certainly places him as one of the first, well ahead of England and France. The Swedes brought their fondness for cartridge boxes with them to America, and the earliest actual description of a cartridge box in America is found in the report of Governor Rising of the Swedish settlements in 1654. In this report he asked specifically for: “…bags of leather with three or four compartments, in which one could place cartridges; these are many times better in the woods than bandoliers…”



The exact date at which cartridges were first brought to America will never be known, but most of the references to them are found about the middle of the 17th century. The Dutch in New Amsterdam used bandoliers for their matchlocks but ordered cartridge boxes for their wheel locks and flint arms. In New England, Captain Church frequently referred to the use of cartridges in King Phillips War, 1675-1677, and inventories of arms of that period in various individual colonies included cartridge boxes. It is safe, then, to assume that the cartridge was in widespread use in America by the third quarter of the 17th century.



It should not be supposed from the above comments that the bandolier completely superseded the flask in the period under consideration. The flask and horn retained considerable popularity, especially for non-military use, throughout the entire period and indeed until the metallic cartridge made the muzzle loader completely obsolete. The bandolier enjoyed only a short period of popularity, but a few survived until almost 1700.”


Brass

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#4 Tattooed John

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:25 PM

My thanks to both of you gentlemen for the info!
One of the main aspects of this period that I've always found to be both fascinating (and yet somewhat frustrating in trying to reconstruct it, like many periods) is the various transitions going on within it in regards to weapons technology (among other things). Since I'm using paper cartridges, I'll probably be going with some sort of pouch or cartridge box. Possibly a couple!
As you mentioned that you do Mr. Bagley (always a good idea to not run out of ammo!:P :lol: ) By the way, you mentioned the Grenadier picture Was this the one you were talking about?My link
This was the image I was thinking of when I mentioned the shot bag.

Brass, I never knew that about the balls being attached to the outside of the cartridge. I always assumed there was a transition from bandolier with loose shot, to either pre rolled cartridge (including ball) or in respect to militia etc the use of loose shot and powder.

I am also planning to participate in Searle's Raid next year. So I'm assuming I might see both of you guys there. Look forward to meeting you both!

With Thanks,

-John

Edited by Tattooed John, 18 April 2011 - 06:51 PM.



-Tattooed John



"Although your letter does not deserve a reply, since you call me a corsair,

I write you these few lines to ask you to come quickly.

We are waiting for you with great pleasure and we have powder and ball with which to receive you."

-Sir Henry Morgan

#5 Patrick Hand

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:13 AM

This is the Cartridge box that I made for my Buccaneer stuff.
I think the drawing I based if from is on my other computer........

I used a hammer to show where the plug bayonet would/will go...and I still need to make a better powder flask....

I don't like priming from the cartridge, so I added a primming flask to it.



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#6 Tattooed John

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:13 PM

Very Cool! If you don't mind my asking, is it cow or pig skin? Obviously buccaneers had access to both, (especially in the early buccaneering era) I'm kind of thinking of trying to make mine out of pig skin.
It depends on what I can get from Tandy Leather (for a good price):angry:

Although I doubt they were commonly used, because I haven't found any documentation suggesting it, but I've always wondered if sheaths, bags, etc. were made out of the various reptilian species
(caiman, snakes, gator, etc.) people ran into throughout the Main and the Caribbean?

-Tattooed John


-Tattooed John



"Although your letter does not deserve a reply, since you call me a corsair,

I write you these few lines to ask you to come quickly.

We are waiting for you with great pleasure and we have powder and ball with which to receive you."

-Sir Henry Morgan

#7 MarkG

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:00 PM

Hey Tattooed John,

The late 17th century had a lot of change going on... But in general, three methods of holding powder/shot would have been used. It MIGHT be surmised that the three each had their years of being dominant and less so, so take what I am going to say with a huge grain of salt....

Closer to the 1650s, I would say bandolier of cartouches. (commonly referred to as apostles).

Then shot boxes, the most solid examples for these are the Phipps shot box of the 1690s, and the Whydah shot box of the earlier 18th century. These are different from the block drilled boxes used by F&IW re-enactors and later 18th century re-enactors. The Phipps and Whydah boxes are leather boxes with internal wooden frame/boxes, but have no drilled block like later belly boxes did. I have seen written records of "cartouche boxes" going back as far as 1668, perhaps they date earlier, but that is the earliest solid date I know of for their use. I think some of the earlier ones were also lined in tin rather than wood.

There is examples of shot bags being used at least back to the (I think) the 1680s. There is an image of a grenadier dating to that decade that has what looks to be a shot bag (but my memory is shakey on that, perhaps someone who remembers better than I do has the image or recalls the date more accurately).

I have used all three at various points, a bandolier, a shot box based on the Phipps/Whydah (which I could fit up to 30 to 40 charges in), and a shot bag based on the grenadier image (which could hold a similar amount to the box, if not more), and find they are all easy to use and good for the period. In fact, for the Searle's Raid event, because the battle is so long, I often wear two of the three above options so I don't run out of ammo half way through. B)

Hope this helps


There was a lot of overlap with these. Bandoleers were used by foot soldiers from at least the early 16th century past the middle of the 17th century. Cartridge boxes were used by hunters and cavalry. In addition to the leather ones, there are many surviving metal ones in non-sparking metals (copper, brass, silver). These were often half-round. I've seen speculation that they might have held a drilled block for a half dozen charges. I have seen surviving hunter's cartridge boxes from the 16th century. For any event later than Searle's Raid, cartridge boxes or pouches are more appropriate.

From personal experience, loading from a bandoleer is very fast but you are limited to the number of chargers hanging from your bandoleer. If you run out you have to retire from the battle and use a flask to reload. It takes longer to load from paper charges but large quantities can be made ahead of time and it is easy to hand out cartridges. Cartridge boxes are much quieter than bandoleers (the charges rattle).

BTW, the term "apostle" seems to be a 20th century invention. The Sealed Knot in England has been offering a bounty for years to anyone who can document the term to the 17th century and no one has been able to claim it.

#8 Hawkyns

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 04:58 PM

Patrick, that looks very similar to the 30 round French giberne here
http://www.thequarte...ics=true&id=803

I'm in the process of making one for my 1685 kit. It's very similar to the illustrations for the Brit one of the same era.

Here is a source showing pulverins and gibernes from the various periods. The giberens are on page 33-34. It's in French, but the info is well illustrated.

http://www.reenactor...il_Petard_1.pdf

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