Artifacts Of The
   American Revolutionary War

Bullet Bags

     Bullet bags were used to hold loose bullet balls and shot, small pellets that were intended to scatter when fired from a gun.
     One of the forms of ammunition used by the soldier of the 1700s was the musket cartridge. The cartridge generally consisted of a bullet ball and a pre-measured amount of powder wrapped in paper into a cylindrical shape. Loose paper for cartridges was not an easily obtained commodity; therefore a supply of paper often came from a printed book, such as a Bible. Pictured below is a page from the celebrated "Gun Wad Bible". The soldier could prepare a quantity of cartridges when he was in camp, and the materials for their construction were available. But when time or circumstances did not permit, powder would be carried in, and poured from, a powder horn and loose musket balls would be carried in a leather bag such as the ones pictured here.

     The bullet bag shown below came from an estate at Scranton, Pennsylvania. It is believed that the bag itself is made from a bull's scrotum. The opening has been attached around a cylinder of bone or ivory, and string has been wound around it to keep it held tight. A wooden stopper is stuck into the cylinder end to contain the contents.