1864 DATED CIVIL WAR GUNNER’S HAVERSACK

$1,195.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 2022-1176

Very nice condition US regulation artillery gunner’s haversack, complete, and clearly marked on the lower front of the flap: “WATERTOWN / ARSENAL / 1864/ U.S.” with an inventory number “648” stamped between the date and U.S. marking. These were made of heavy leather and provided with a narrow two-piece shoulder strap attached to the upper rear corners of the back of the bag by five rivets and adjusted by a simple brass frame buckle. The bag is formed by a gusset sewn to the heavy front and back panels, the latter extending to form the long flap, with is secured by a leather billet sewn to the flap and an iron roller buckle sewn to the front face of the bag.

In contrast to the tarred canvas haversack carrying foodstuffs and mess gear, the artillery or gunner’s haversack was worn by the “Number 5” of the gun crew on a field gun who used it to carry the artillery round from the ammunition chest carried on the limber or caisson to the gun, where he then handed it to the “Number 2” for loading into the muzzle of the cannon. Of course, these were complete, fixed rounds with the propellant powder charge contained in a cloth bag, so protection from sparks or flaming debris from firing guns while getting it to the artillery piece was a necessary consideration. Period photographs of artillerymen posed in position around their guns often show these.

The condition is excellent, with good seams, latch tab, shoulder sling and both buckles in place, and clear markings. The finish of the black leather is very good, showing just some wear along the edges of the shoulder sling, the outer fold of the flap along the top and portions of the gusset on the bottom. This has not been treated with any preservatives or polish.

These are rather tough to find, since they were so useful for general purposes in civilian life after the war. This one would make a great addition to an artillery collection or display. [sr] [ph:L]

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