When Will Braddock left his home in Burlington, Iowa, to commence his quest to determine his own destiny, he took with him his father’s Army Colt .44-caliber revolver and two pouches. The larger of the two pouches held the cartridges. Each paper-wrapped cartridge contained a conical-shaped, lead bullet and the black-powder charge. The smaller pouch held the percussion caps that were affixed to a nipple at the rear of each of the six chambers in the revolver’s cylinder. The caps were required to make the pistol fire.
In the beginning, Will simply placed the two pouches in a haversack. He lost those pouches and his haversack in a stable fire in Omaha. Later, when General Grenville Dodge offered Will work on the Union Pacific Railroad, he was outfitted with a cavalryman’s belt, flapped holster, and replacement pouches for the two he had lost earlier.
[media-credit name=”Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]This photo shows similar equipment owned by Private James M. Bunch, Company L, 9th Missouri State Militia Cavalry. Private Bunch’s items are on display at the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Missouri.