Non-regulation percussion cap pouch
Percussion caps were small cylinders that contained an explosive material. When a soldier put the cap in his gun and pulled the trigger, a small hammer hit the cap, ingited the explosive, and lit the gunpowder on fire. These caps made it easier to load and fire in rainy weather, because the ignition happened inside the gun. This percussion cap pouch contains a Minié ball that grazed the cup of Colonel Ozora Pierson Stearns. Stearns was colonel of the 39th Infantry of Colored Troops, one of several regiments composed of African American men but commanded by white men. After the war, Stearns served in all three branches of government in Minnesota: mayor of Rochester, United States Senator, and judge of the 11th judicial district of Minnesota.