M1861 .69 Caliber Elongated Ball Cartridge Box
Orders existed prior to the outbreak of the war for arsenals to keep on hand .69 cal. round ball as well as .58 cal. elongated ball cartridge boxes. For example, the New York Arsenal was ordered to keep on hand 2,000 round ball sets and 3,000 elongated 58 cal. accoutrement sets. However, in April 1861 these orders changed.
To Major Thornton “You will immediately procure by purchase from the manufacturers in New York and Boston 10,000 sets of accoutrements. 5,000 sets for elongated ball cal 69 and 5,000 sets for round ball 69 cal." This is one of the earliest references to orders being placed for the elongated 69 cal boxes.
Orders continued in 1861 and by the end of 1862 somewhere around 300,000 69 cal. elongated ball sets had been contracted in all. Virtually all of these sets were contracted (virtually none being produced by the Arsenals) with the arsenals of delivery including Watertown, New York, Watervliet, Allegheny, St. Louis and Frankford.
As early as Feb 1862, contracts were no longer being issued for .69 cal round ball boxes. In a letter after this date General Ripley answers the question of what to issue the many units still carrying smooth bore muskets.
To Major Laidley, Frankford Arsenal: “Issue elongated ball accoutrements instead of round ball whenever the latter is called for.”