Dispatches - News from the National Musuem of Military Vehciles

Published 2022-02-16

Model 1910 mounted cartridge belt.

By Douglas R. Cubbison, Curator, National Museum of Military Vehicles with contributions from Rae Whitley, Assistant Curator, National Museum of Military Vehicles

10th U.S. Cavalry Ammunition Belt, 1916-1917

The 10th U.S. Cavalry was organized at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1866. All enlisted members of the Regiment were Black Americans, as the U.S. Army was then segregated. The regiment subsequently served with considerable distinction throughout the Indian Wars, in the Spanish American War, and the Philippine Insurrection. Eight members of the Regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Between 1916 and 1917 the 10th U.S. Cavalry helped secure our nation's southern border, serving predominantly in New Mexico and Arizona.

The artifact presented here is an example of the CARTRIDGE BELT CALIBER .30, MODEL OF 1910 (MOUNTED). This particular belt was issued to a member of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. Stenciled on the inside center section of the three-piece belt is "A" "10-Cav." "3" denoting that at one time the belt was issued to a horse soldier of Company A, 10th Cavalry, 3rd squad.

This webbed cotton belt was made by the Mills company and would hold rounds for the 1903 U.S. rifle as well as cartridges for a revolver. The 8 larger pockets each held 5 rounds of .30 caliber ammunition on stripper clips while the 4 smaller "over and under" pockets each held 6 loose rounds of .38 caliber pistol ammunition.

By 1912, these belts were superseded in design...but tell that to the soldier. These older style belts continued to be issued well after revolvers were no longer standard sidearms.

The 10th Cavalry continued to serve through 1944 when it was disbanded and reorganized as other units. Interestingly, through an administrative error found after World War II, elements of the 10th Cavalry had not actually been inactivated and were not officially inactivated until 1951. It was reactivated in 1958, now as a member of an integrated U.S. Army - and today a squadron of the 10th Cavalry is assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado.

The National Museum of Military Vehicles is proud to exhibit this belt, originally worn by a Black American trooper of the 10th Cavalry while patrolling our Southern Border. The ammunition belt is part of our military history collection in the Museum's General George S. Patton, Jr. Gallery.

Model 1910 mounted cartridge belt.

Interior of Model 1910 mounted cartridge belt, showing distinctive 10th Cavalry stencil markings.

Buffalo Soldier Case in the Museum's Patton Gallery.