C.A. McEvoy experimental Civil War cartridges

Hi. I thought there might be some interest here. I found this relic hunting with a metal detector in a Civil War Winter encampment a few years ago. These are confederate experimental muzzle loading cartridges. The ones I found were patented by C.A. McEvoy and these were previously unknown until found in this location. There have been a few others found here, but all have come from a very small location in this campsite and even one of the world’s experts on Civil War ammunition had no idea what they were, but he eventually was the one that found the patent showing these and how they were used. Some of my rarest pieces and thought I would share them here for those not familiar with these. Thanks for looking.


Are they rolled tinplate? Or some other thin metal?
Were they for ML or Breech loading?
How was the powder ignited at the base? By a small window, or did they need pricking before loading?

And a hundred other questions…
Doc AV

The material you have them resting is is not inert, it will decompose & may well attach it’s self to the cases. Fill the box with cotton & also get rid of the wood box & replace it with a box made of inert material. It may not be as classy, but it will be a big help in preserving them.

What is the patent number for this patent?

The seperate bullet (upper right) looks to be a Yankee US .58 musket.

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Hi, Doc, They were rolled over a brass lining with fins on the back. I believe it was tin that was rolled over it. They were made to load from the muzzle and the round was pushed through and would then be re-loadable. I will share more photos and the patent, but can only a photo at a time being a new member. It was made to make the cartridge reusable and prevent chapping on lips via the old way of biting off the paper covering on the minnie balls, but for some reason it was never adopted and was not even known about anymore until the patents were discovered. I’ll post what photos it will allow me.

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Hi, PetedeCoux. Yep, I need something better for displaying these. I just posted the patent for this on here, so you can see it. The separate bullet is actually from another one of these cartridges I dug. Sadly it was rusted over and I crushed it in my hand (not knowing what it was as it was my first one I dug) and the bullet is all that is left. It has green on the side where it rested inside the green lining. I also uploaded a photo where you can see a nipple in the base of it. All of them have that. I have two complete cartridges and the other three are empty cartridges I dug up. You can also see the brass fins in the back in the one photo, just like the patent. This is the Confederate version and a month or so later there was one patented (for a Union version) that is similar but different and my theory is it was copied from this Confederate version. Besides mine, I know of two others that were dug and many lifelong relic hunters had never seen any before.

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Thanks griestal

The bullet with the “nipple” in the base is similar to the Gardiner Explosive bullet, but in those the “nipple” is set much closer to the base of the bullet. Which allowed more of an inner area to contain the explosive material.

Your friend might be able to identify it for you. I don’t seem to be able to easily lay my hands on my copy of Mason & McKee, which shows bullet bases so at the moment I can’t be much help. Sorry.

Wonderful find! A real contribution to the Forum!

Many Thanks!


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