SCARCE U.S. REGULATION ISSUE CIVIL WAR HAVERSACK

$1,950.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-109

Haversacks were an essential piece of gear. Used for carrying food, they, along with a canteen, were certainly a lot more used by a soldier than his weapons, and likely regarded as more essential to survival. This is the standard issue wartime federal pattern of painted, or “tarred,” canvas, with a fixed shoulder strap of the same material and a flap secured by a long leather billet and small buckle. The shoulder strap, as is correct, is made in one piece, folded lengthwise, attached by stitching to the upper rear corners of the bag.

The bag itself is in uncommonly good condition, with no tears or holes. The shoulder strap, as usual, shows some wear to the finish from flexing, some places where the long seam has opened up, showing the uncoated interior side of the fabric, and a few small holes and some edge wear on one bend, likely from being hung up, but is not broken and generally solid. The long billet with adjustment holes is full length and in place, sewn to the bag by stitching it through the canvas and using a small leather piece on the reverse to keep the thread from pulling out, likely indicating an early war piece since later ones went used a rivet as well. It shows some loss of finish, naturally, from use. The lower billet securing the small iron D-buckle is broken, but there, as is the buckle itself. These were issued with a removable liner, usually missing, as is the case here, secured by small tin buttons inside, one of which is visible at the upper left in one of our photos.

This pattern was developed about 1858 and replaced not only the uncoated cloth haversacks of the Mexican War, but various trial pieces coated with India Rubber or gutta percha. They were so successful, useful and produced in such quantity during the war, that the army did not have to think about changing the pattern and making new ones until 1872. But, even though every soldier was issued one of these, and most probably went through several, they are uncommon in any condition. They were carelessly treated during the war and even if they survived a messy combination of greasy pork, spilled coffee and other rations, and mess utensils poking through them, they were so useful later in civilian life as general purpose bags that few survive. Even when surplus dealers like Bannerman literally had rooms full of knapsacks in tall piles, haversacks were hard to find.

During the war veterans constantly advised new recruits to be on the lookout for food, and were themselves on the lookout for haversacks unwisely discarded on a march by an over-burdened novice. This would look great in a display of Civil War messgear, canteens, and personal items. It is a simple and rather unsophisticated piece, but one absolutely necessary in any collection or display of Civil War military gear.  [SR] [ph:m]

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