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Erastus Blakeslee

Blakeslee did not invent the Spencer Carbine, he just made it more convenient to use.
Repeating weapons effectively increased the ability of the Cavalry to defend itself. Federal Cavalry came to be armed with more effective repeating weapons [like the Spencer] as the war progressed. Confederates were equally inventive, but their manufacturing facilities -- already strained by war production -- just could not master the production of non-reusable metallic cartridges.

Federal authorities feared that repeating weapons would cause soldiers to expend their ammunition too quickly and out run their supply. Blakeslee addressed the need for troopers to carry large quanties of ammunition with them with the introduction of the "Blakeslee Box."

  Commander of the 1st Connecticut Cavalry and inventor of the Blakeslee Box pictured below.

Erastus Blakeslee made Colonel in 1864 and Brevet Brigadier General in 1865.
  To the left is the cavalry model of the Blakeslee Cartridge box, 10-tube variety. One of 10,000 manufactured by the Federals in an effort to further increase the firepower advantage of the Spencer Carbines and Rifles.They were first issued to the 1st Conn. Cav. in 1864. This box is marked on the face "BLAKESLEE CARTRIDGE BOX" over "U.S." and "Patented Dec. 20, 1864/Reissued Feb 7, 1865" manufactured by "W.H.Wilkinson/Springfield, Mass."

The Spencer Carbine (insert: not to scale) used metal cartridges that fed into a spring loaded tube in the butt. The round was put into the chamber by activating the lever. The spent cartridge was ejected on opening."Load it on Sunday and shoot all week."
  The operating principle of the Spencer Carbine as seen in a copy of the patent.