UNION KNIFE COMPANY “ARMY KNIFE” COMBINATION MESS SET

$350.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 809-105

Civil War mess gear was issued to new soldiers by state, and later federal, recruiting services. It was varied and often of indifferent quality. Entrepreneurs stepped in to offer alternatives for private purchase by soldiers or their well-wishers, often combination mess sets that would be more conveniently carried and with the added attraction of owning a new gadget.

This is an example of a popular pattern occasionally displayed proudly by Civil War soldiers in photos sent home, likely to show they are “getting along just fine.” The body, with wood sides, slides apart, one side forming a separate jack knife and the other holding a two-tine fork and alloy spoon (soft metals were necessary in forming the bowl.) This one is stamped of the “Union / Knife Co. / Naugatuck” and “Union / Army Knife,” where the word Union does double-duty. Since the knife had a practical use on its own, these sets often turn up missing one part or the other. This is complete. The marking are good. There are minor handling marks to the wood and some light graying and shallow corrosion to the metal but no rust or nicks.

Mess gear was essential to every Civil War soldier and is a broad collecting field with lots of variety. It was as necessary as a rifle musket, and more often used. This would display nicely with canteens, cups and the contents of a typical soldier’s haversack.  [sr]

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