Soldier's cartridge box, ca. 1863
Grenville Sparrow of Portland, who had this cartridge box in his possession, enlisted as a sergeant in the 17th Maine Infantry in August 1862. Sparrow, 25 at his enlistment, remained in the regiment until August 1865, having been promoted to lieutenant and captain. The box has the initials "L.W.P." scratched on it. Infantry soldiers carried 40 rounds of ammunition - bullets and gunpowder charges wrapped in paper - in two tin compartments of their cartridge boxes. These could be worn on the belt, but since they were heavy when loaded, they often were worn on belts over the left shoulder, with the box resting on the right hip.