The grenadier's match case discovered by NPS archeologists at Fort Stanwix is a unique artifact because of its rarity. Originally found in the West Casemate of the fort, the match case you see here is one of only a few that have been found in the archeological record. Eighteenth century match cases are so rare to find as archeological artifacts that this one was initially misidentified as a nozzle to a garden hose. Curators at Fort Stanwix 'rediscovered' the object and sent it to Harper's Ferry for conservation in order to better preserve the artifact.
This match case was worn on a grenadier soldier's uniform to keep slow matches dry. A grenadier was a soldier assigned the task of igniting and throwing grenades. The holes in the case allowed for ventilation and prevented moisture from building up inside the case, while at the same time preventing the matches from getting wet in rainy conditions.
The bronze luster of the case also added to the decoration of the soldier's uniform. The perforated cylinder would have been attached to the soldier's shoulder belt for easy access. The slow match and the pull ring used with this case were not found during the archeological excavations. The match case is currently on exhibit at Fort Stanwix National Monument at the Marinus Willett Collections Management and Education Center.
More detailed images of the match case can be found on the National Park Service Museum Collection Web Catalog: match case
For more information about British Grenadiers see these online references:
, Military History Monthly, November 14, 2011.
The Seven Years War Website: .