This is an ornate case for storing cartridges, ammunition for a musket or pistol. It was taken from the body of a French officer after the Battle of Waterloo. Cartridges were cylinders made from waxed paper, about the size of a man’s finger. They contained the ball (or bullet) for a musket, and the gunpowder needed to fire it. They could easily become wet, making the ammunition useless, so watertight cases were needed to store them. This one is designed to clip to a belt for easy access.
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This object is in the collection of National Army Museum