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"To subsist an Army well ...

"
Soldiers' Cooking Equipment during the American War for Independence

John U. Rees
(Military Collector & Historian, vol. 53, no. 1 (Spring 2001), 7-23.)
___________

"Understand that the foundation of an army is the belly. It is necessary to procure nourishment
for the soldier wherever you assemble him and wherever you wish to conduct him. This is the
primary duty of a general." Frederick II of Prussia.1

“The Engines of War”

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Contents

"All the tin Camp-kettles they can procure ...":
Light-Weight Military Kettles, and Cast-Iron Cooking Gear, 1759-1782
Subheadings:
“Tin Kettles, 1759-1771”
“British Kettles in the American War, 1776-1781”
“Continental Army and States’ Militia, 1775-1780”
“American Sheet Iron Kettles, 1781-1782”
“Iron Pots, Pans, and Makeshift Cookware”
“Eating Utensils”
“Officers’ Cooking Equipment”
“Kettle Covers”
“’The extreme suffering of the army for want of … kettles …’:
Continental Soldiers and Kettle Shortages in 1782”
“’A disgusting incumbrance to the troops …’:
Linen Bags and Carts for Carrying Kettles”
“’The Kettles to be made as formerly …’
Kettle Capacity and Weight, and Archaeological Finds”
Subheadings:
“Kettle Capacity and Sizes, 1759-1782”
“Louisbourg Kettle, Cape Breton Island”
“Fort Ligonier (Buckets or Kettles?)”
“Rogers Island (Bucket or Kettle?)”
“1812 Kettles, Fort Meigs, Ohio”
“Overview of Cooking Equipment, 1775-1783”
Addendum:
“Iron pots,” “Spiders,” and Tea Kettles: Cooking and Eating Utensils in Sullivan’s Brigade, 1776
“Two brass kettles, to contain ten gallons each … for each company …”: Brass and Copper Kettles

For more on Revolutionary soldiers’ food see:
"`As many fireplaces as you have tents ...': Earthen Camp Kitchens”:
Contents
Part I. "Cooking Excavations": Their History and Use by Soldiers in North America
A. Advantages.
B. Digging a Field Kitchen.
Part II. Complete 1762 Kitchen Description and Winter Covering for Field Kitchens
Part III. Matt and I Dig a Kitchen.
Sequenced photos of kitchen construction, June 1997, Bordentown, New Jersey.
Part IV. Original Earthen Kitchens Examined by Archaeologists.
A. The Laughanstown, Ireland Earthen Kitchen.
B. The Gloucester Point (VIMS) Kitchen, 1781.
C. Hessian Kitchens, Winchester, England, 1756.
Appendices:
1. Encampment Plans (with an emphasis on kitchen placement): Continental Army, Hessian, and British
2. British Image of Cooking Excavations (Redcoat Images No. 2,000)
3. Newspaper Article on the Discovery of the Gloucester Point Kitchen
4. Miscellaneous Images of Earthen Camp Kitchens and Soldiers Cooking
https://www.scribd.com/document/229610630/As-many-fireplaces-as-you-have-tents-Earthen-Camp-Kitchens
(Video of Old Barracks kitchen, courtesy of David Niescior, https://vimeo.com/151154631 )

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"`To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.’: Soldiers' Food and Cooking in the War
for Independence”
"The manner of messing and living together": Continental Army Mess Groups
“Who shall have this?”: Food Distribution
"A hard game ...": Continental Army Cooks
“On with Kittle, to make some hasty Pudding …”: How a "Continental Devil" Broke His Fast
1. The Army Ration and Cooking Methods.
2. Eating Utensils.
3. The Morning Meal.
4. Other Likely Breakfast Fare.
Addenda
“The men were very industrious, in baking, all the forepart of the evening.”: Soldiers’ Ingenuity,
Regimental Bakers, and the Issue of Raw Flour
“The Commissary [is] desired … to furnish biscuit and salt provisions …”:
Hard Bread in the War for Independence.
"The victuals became putrid by sweat & heat ...": Some Peripheral Aspects of Feeding an Army
1. The Ways Soldiers Carried Food
2. The Burden of Rations, 1762-1783
3. Carrying Drink and Procuring Water
4. Equipment Shortages
5. Spoilage of Issued Meats
"We had our cooking utensils ... to carry in our hands.": Continental Army Cooking and Eating Gear,
and Camp Kitchens, 1775-1782
Endnotes:
#50. Compendium of Ration Allotments, 1754-1782
Continental Army rations (summary)
British Army rations (summary)
Caloric Requirements and Intake
#73. Miscellaneous returns of cooking gear and eating utensils, 1778-1781
(Appended) List of author’s articles on food in the armies of the American Revolution
http://www.scribd.com/doc/129368664/To-the-hungry-soul-every-bitter-thing-is-sweet-Soldiers-Food-and-
Cooking-in-the-War-for-Independence

“`Six of our regt lived together …’: Mess Groups, Carrying Food … (and a Little Bit of Tongue) in the Armies of the
Revolution”
Mess Groups
Food Distribution
Carrying Food
The Burden of Rations
And … Tongue
http://revwar75.com/library/rees/pdfs/tongue.pdf

“The common necessaries of life …” A Revolutionary Soldier’s Wooden Bowl,” including, “’Left sick on the Road’:
An Attempt to Identify the Soldier Left at the Paxson Home, ‘Rolling Green,’ June 1778.”)
http://tinyurl.com/at3dj3e

_________________________

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After six years hard-won experience in the war with Great Britain, Maj. Gen. Henry Knox
(former bookseller and amateur military scholar) noted his appreciation of the crucial need to
provide fuel for soldiers' bellies. "To subsist an Army well, requires the utmost attention and
exertion. Unless an Army is properly fed, all calculations and schemes of enterprize are in vain. For
the moment an expedition is to take place, the troops may be said to have wanted provisions for
one, two, or more days, and that it will be impossible to begin a march until they shall be supplied.
Experience has often convinced us of the truth of this assertion, and some times at too dear a rate."2
Soldiers' rations and food preparation stand at the most elemental level of an army's daily
existence. In this the first of several articles examining the various elements necessary for feeding
soldiers during the American War for Independence (1775-1783), we will discuss cooking
equipment, with an emphasis on the most important item, camp kettles.

"All the tin Camp-kettles they can procure ..."
Light-Weight Military Kettles, and Cast-Iron Cooking Gear, 1759-1782

Cooking equipment for soldiers in the Continental and British armies was relatively simple.
While items such as pans and broilers (the latter sometimes made by soldiers from iron barrel
hoops) were occasionally used, a 1779 American equipment receipt shows the extent of the usual
issue: "Recd. Morris Town 25 May 1779 of James Abeel DQMG. thirty five Camp Kettles two
Hundred Twenty nine Canteens fifty Knapsacks, forty Iron Cups ... p[er] Order Col Shreve of 2d
Jersey Regmt." According to Continental Army usage, thirty-five kettles were enough for two
hundred and ten men, at six men per mess squad.3
Contrary to widespread conceptions, from as early as the French and Indian War, on into the late-
19th century, tin or sheet-iron kettles were the cooking equipment most often issued to soldiers to
prepare their meals. First we will examine light-weight kettles, then equipment less often used, as
well as eating utensils.4
Tin Kettles, 1759-1771. From the period of the French and Indian War (1754-1763) camp kettles
used by troops in the field were usually made of tin or sheet iron, they being lighter than cast-iron
pots. Several early accounts corroborate this: Boston Evening-Post, 26 March 1759: "To each
Soldier who shall proceed in the Year's Campaign, there be ... allowed a good Blanket, a Knapsack,
and a wooden Bottle or Canteen ... this Government has likewise engaged to allow to each Mess of
six Men, two Tin-Kettles, containing Ten Quarts each, and a Hatchet ..." An advertisement in
Weyman's New-York Gazette, 7 January 1760, included a list of goods "TO BE SOLD by Hayman
Levy, in Bayard Street," and went on to state, "Said Levy supplies the Army with any Quantity of
Officers and Soldiers tents of the best ravens duck, tin camp kettles and Kenteens, hand hatchets
and tomahawks, haversacks, kettle bags, &c., camp equipage at the cheapest rates." Royal Governor
William Tryon modeled his militia army upon the British model during his 1771 campaign against
the rebellious Regulators in North Carolina. Among the camp equipage were "200 Tin Camp
Kettles" purchased in April of that year.5
British Kettles in the American War, 1776-1781. Tin kettles were standard issue for the Crown
forces, though, like the Continental Army and its auxiliaries, iron pots were used on occasion. Here
are several examples: 20 December 1776, "... Camp Equipage ... for his Maj[esty']s service in
America," intended to supply eight thousand men, listed "Tin Kettles -- 1600 - being one to every
Tent." Preparations for the 1779 campaign detailed "The complete set of Camp Necessaries needed

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for the Guards detachment [which] should be ready for shipping by 20 February, 1779." Among
these items were "224 Tin Kettles with Bags." In the same year provisions were made to supply
Loyalist troops serving in America. A 21 January 1779 listing set forth the "Articles Sent out for
Provincials for the ensuing campaign," including "2,500 tin kettles in bags ..." (The following year
"3000 Provincials in Canada" were "To be Provided ... 750 Camp Kettles ... [and] 1000 Iron
Pots.") Finally, a "Return of ... Camp Necessaries" shipped to Sir Henry Clinton's "British Forces in
North America" in March 1781, specified one thousand, three hundred sixty-six "Kettles with
Bags." German troops also used British equipment on occasion. Captain Georg Pausch of the
Hesse-Hanau Artillery noted that upon arriving at Chambly, Quebec Province, his unit was
"without suitable conveniences for encamping - everything of this nature being still aboard ship."
An officer of the Royal Artillery gave them to use, among other items, "fourteen new camp kettles
made of white tin."6

Continental soldier wearing typical warm weather wear consisting of linen hunting shirt
and linen overalls. This soldier carries a camp kettle, one kettle was allotted to each six-
man mess group. Illustration by Peter F. Copeland; “7th Virginia Regiment, 1777,” Peter F.
Copeland and Donald W. Holst, Brother Jonathan print series. Courtesy of the artist.

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Continental Army and States' Militia, 1775-1780. In his memoirs Joseph Plumb Martin made
note of the camp kettle he carried when serving with the Connecticut militia in 1776. "There were
but three men present [in the mess]. We had our cooking utensils ... to carry in our hands. They
were made of cast iron and consequently heavy." By 1777 Martin had joined a Continental regiment
and carried a camp kettle of tin or sheet-iron. After crossing into New Jersey in the autumn of 1777,
Martin's regiment halted in the town of Burlington, "where we procured some carrion beef, for it
was not better. We cooked it and ate some, and carried the remainder away with us ... as we were
not overburthened by provisions, our mess had put ours into our kettle, it not being very heavy, as it
was made of plated iron."7
Very early in the War for Independence the American military showed a preference for light-
weight cookware. A notice in the 7 October 1775 Virginia Gazette, listed among the items "Wanted
Immediately for the Army, camp kettles, either tin or brass, to hold about three gallons ..." To the
Maryland Council of Safety, 3 February 1776: "John Townsley can make of Camp Kettles 50 at 3
gallons each at 10 shillings each likewise 250 of Cantins to hold a quart or better at 3s/9d each the
above number is as near as I can undertake. But by overhalling my tin the number may be more or
possable a little less." (These three-gallon kettles were approximately ten inches high by ten inches
wide.)8
During 1776 large numbers of light kettles were sought for both Continental regiments and militia
units. Minutes of the Continental Congress, Philadelphia, 14 June, "... Thomas Bates, Blacksmith,
proposing to supply the Continental Troops with a quantity of Camp-Kettles, of Sheet-Iron" asked
for credit to purchase "five tons of Sheet-Iron." In this same entry Timothy Matlack was "directed to
write to Thomas Mayberry, of Mount-Holly [New Jersey], the manufacturer of sheet-Iron, to send
down ... five tons of Sheet-Iron" to be delivered out "as it may be wanted, to Thomas Bates, and
receive the Kettles as fast as made." The Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Committee of Inspection,
Observation, and Correspondence, "Resolved, [on 11 July 1776] That [several men] ... be requested
to collect and purchase from the inhabitants of this town all the tin Camp-kettles they can procure ...
for the use of the Militia now preparing to march by order of Congress."9
In June 1778 Timothy Pickering, then serving with the Board of War, alluded to camp kettles
being made of tin. "We are disappointed in our expectation of getting a number of iron cartridge
boxes [also known as cannisters]. We hoped they would have yielded immediate relief. But the
principal workmen in that branch are busily engaged in making camp kettles, and cannot touch the
cartridge boxes under two months from this time ... However, the disappointment is of less
consequence than was feared, for our stock of tin suitable for cannisters is much larger than was
imagined ..." Little is presently known of kettle manufacture in 1779 and 1780, though light-weight
kettles continued to be used. As the war progressed sheet-iron kettles became the predominant type
in the Continental Army, possibly due to difficulty in obtaining tinned iron; by 1781 sheet-iron had
totally replaced tin.10
American Sheet-Iron Kettles, 1781-1782. Kettles issued to Continental troops in 1781 were likely
of the dimensions given by Samuel Ogden in May of the following year when considering a new
manufacturing contract: "... supposing the Kettles to be made as formerly, which I find to average
about 8 Inches High and about eight and a half or nine Inches wide, made without Ears and without
covers." The use of sheet iron in 1781 is corroborated by a letter from Jacob Weiss to Aaron
Forman written in May, "I have sent you ... a quantity of ... sheet Iron [which] you will please to

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have work'd up into Camp Kettles - Colonel Miles Depy. QMaster for the State of Penna. informs
me that the Kettles are immediately wanted ..."11
An "Estimate of Camp Equipage intended for a Regiment of Infantry," dated 31 January 1782,
mentions kettles for mess squads. After stating that the "Sergeants of each company" were assigned
one common tent, and the "Drums & fifes, and rank & file" were to have "1 [common tent] to every
six men," the document went on to note that "Camp kettles & pails (when you have the latter) are to
be furnished as above directed ... you are to issue one of each to a mess, only where messes are
permanently small, small kettles should serve them." Small mess squads may have had only three or

Sheet-iron camp kettle as per Timothy Pickering's 1782 specifications. This reproduction, by
Patrick M. Cunningham, measures 9 1/2 inches wide by 9 1/2 inches high, weighs 2 pounds,
12.1 ounces, and holds 2 gallons, 1 pint (8 1/2 quarts), and was the standard-size mess kettle
for the Continental Army during 1782. American sheet-iron kettles issued in 1781
"average[d] about 8 Inches High and about eight and a half or nine Inches wide, made
without Ears and without covers." From the beginning of the war kettles of this type were
issued in large numbers to soldiers on both sides. (To determine capacity kettles were filled
with water to one inch below the rim.) (Photo by Ross Hamel)

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four men; the size of the above-mentioned "small kettles" is not known, nor is the difference
between camp kettles and "pails." A document detailing "The allowance of kettles for the last
campaign [1782]" stipulated that one kettle would serve "every six men," including "Non
commissioned officers & privates & Waggoners."12
In April 1782 Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering contracted with Samuel Ogden for camp
kettles. Two months after that initial order (in which he wrote "I have formerly seen many kettles so
small as that two would be no more than sufficient for a mess") Pickering amended his
specifications and settled on a standard-size mess kettle. "Before this time I hope you have received
four or five hundred camp Kettles from Mr Forman ... At all events I intended to have enough made
with covers to supply the Officers but the price was so much higher (three shillings on each Kettle)
& I distressed so insufferably for want of money I order'd the whole 1500 to be made plain [i.e.,
without ears or covers]. They are to average 9-1/4 inches in breadth and depth, measured in the
clear, and to hold 9-1/2 quarts each." (In actuality, kettles of this size had a capacity of about eight
and one-half quarts when filled to one inch below the brim.) Undoubtedly most kettles made for
the Continental Army in 1782 were of these dimensions.13
Iron Pots, Pans, and Makeshift Cookware. There seems to have been two primary reasons why
iron pots were procured for the troops. First, a unit may have been assigned to a fort, or serving in
some other non-mobile situation. On 26 February 1776 the New York Provincial Congress listed
the needs of four new regiments being raised for garrison duty, including "... 458 Camp Kettles 2/3
of this number ought to be iron pots ..." The issue of large numbers of iron pots (along with frying
pans and skillets) was unusual, though regular regiments and militia units sometimes carried such
non-standard equipment. Minutes of the Maryland Council of Safety, 27 July 1776, "... for ... Camp
Utensils for Colonel Josias C. Hall's Battalion [of Maryland Flying Camp militia] ... Ordered, That
the Commissary of Stores deliver to Mr. Griest ninety-two Iron Pots, seven Frying Pans, three Iron
Kettles, four Skillets, and sixty Wooden Dishes."14

Cast-iron pot measuring 11 inches at its widest point (10 inches wide at the mouth) by 7 inches high,
weighs in at 6 pounds, 15.5 ounces, and holds 2 gallons (8 quarts). Of the same construction as a larger
pot found on the Gunboat Philadelphia, cast-iron cooking vessels of this capacity were provided for the
Connecticut militia in autumn 1776. (Original iron pot from author's collection Photo by Ross Hamel.)

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Soldiers serving with General Benedict Arnold's Lake Champlain fleet were in a situation similar
to garrison duty, where more cumbersome cookware was suitable. A 3 August 1776 list of stores
"Wanting on ... [the] Gundalo Providence" included "two Camp Kettles." The kettles on the
Providence were undoubtedly of cast iron, like those found on her sister ship, the Philadelphia
when she was raised from the lake in 1935. The recovered utensils included two cast-iron pots (one
nine and three-quarters inches wide, five and three-sixteenths inches deep, and a larger pot, ten and
three-quarters inches wide, eight and three-quarters deep), a large fry pan (thirteen inches wide,
with an eighteen and one-half inch long handle), and a three-legged fry pan (with a fourteen and
three-quarter inch wide pan, fourteen and three-quarter inch long handle, and standing eight and
one-half inches high). As far as the author knows the iron pots found on the Philadelphia are the
only intact examples known to have been used by Continental soldiers.15

Small three-legged fry pans such as this were probably used on occasion by Continental
soldiers. This illustration is based on a large example found aboard the Gunboat Philadelphia.
That artifact has a 14 3/4 inch wide pan, a handle 14 3/4 inches long, and stands 8 1/2 inches
high. (George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the
American Revolution (Harrisburg, Pa., 1975), p. 91. Illustration by Ross Hamel.)

Heavy iron cookware was also issued when lighter kettles were unavailable. Massachusetts Bay
Assembly, 27 June 1776, "Resolved, That the Committee appointed by this House [are] to provide
Canteens and Kamp-Kettles for the Troops to be raised ... [and] are directed to provide one Canteen
for each Soldier, and five hundred Tin Kettles, if to be obtained, for the use of the Troops destined
for Canada; and also three hundred and thirty-three Kettles of Tin for the Troops destined for New-
York, if to be had; otherwise that they procure Iron ones ..." A March 1776 equipment return for
John Sullivan’s brigade of four regiments listed 336 pots and 74 kettles, an indication that cast-iron
cooking gear was seen in greater numbers prior to 1777. (See Addendum for the Sullivan’s brigade
return.)16
Lastly, an August 1781 "Return of all Public Property in the Quarter Masters Department with
the Southern Army," serves to focus our perspective and delineates commonly used equipment
from the rarer items of cookware; listed "In Use" were one hundred and ninety-five camp kettles
(probably sheet-iron), thirty iron pots, five dutch ovens, and one tea kettle. Two facts relating to

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Tin kitchen, also known in the 18th century as a Dutch oven.
(Photo courtesy of Dana B. Shoaf)
T.W. Moran, “Reflector Ovens,” ALHFAM Bulletin (Association of Living History, Farm and
Agricultural Museums), vol. XXXII, no. 3 (Fall 2002), 16-17.

this document must be emphasized; it includes no frying pans and out of scores of examined
returns this is the only one mentioning dutch ovens. (See endnote for a discussion of dutch ovens
of the period.)17
Makeshift Cookware. There were times when cooking equipment was not on hand and, given the
ingenuity of hungry young men, it is not surprising soldiers found means for cooking without
utensils or made ad hoc replacements from non-food-related items. Among the utensils soldiers
made were broilers fashioned from iron barrel hoops, several of which have been excavated at
Revolutionary camp sites. Another interesting item is an iron spade converted into a pan, now in the
collections of Morristown National Historical Park. Soldiers persisted in frying foodstuff, even
though it was not an officially condoned cooking method; in July 1777 Virginia Captain John
Chilton noted the utensils carried by troops on a forced march in northern New Jersey, including
"Kettles, pans &c. ..." Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, 3d New Hampshire Regiment, wrote the day before
the army marched to Valley Forge: “18th [December 1777] … this is Thanksgiving Day thro the
whole Continent of America – but God knows We have very Little to keep it with this being the
third Day we have been without flouer or bread … we had for thanksgiving breakfast some
Exceeding Poor beef which has been boil.d & Now warm.d in an old short handled frying pan in

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which we ware Obliged to Eat it haveing No other Platter …” When pans were unavailable they
found other means for frying food. In late June 1782 Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering
wrote of sheet-iron kettles being burnt out long before they should have been; nine months later he
noted the reason: "As they are used as frying pans, as well as kettles, they are thereby much sooner
destroyed than if they were used only in boiling."18

A spade converted into a frying pan by soldiers, based on one in the collections of Morristown
National Historical Park. (George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic, Collector's Illustrated
Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (Harrisburg, Pa., 1975), p. 94. Illustration by Ross
Hamel.)

American and British forces both converted corn into meal with ad hoc rasps: British
commissary officer Charles Stedman noted of an incident in South Carolina in October 1780, "In
riding through the encampment of the militia, the Author discovered them grating their corn,
which was done by two men of a mess breaking up their tin canteens, and with a bayonet
punching holes through the tin; this made a kind of rasp, on which they grated their corn; The
idea was communicated to the adjutant-general, and it was afterwards adopted throughout the
army."19 Private John Robert Shaw, 33d Regiment, was captured by Whig forces just before the
Guilford Courthouse battle. Shaw mentioned he and his comrades using graters as they were
marched north by their captors:

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We came to place where there was a mill turned by a stream, the source of which was not more
than 100 yards above the mill: - here we expected to draw some provisions, but were sadly
disappointed, as some had been three days without any, and through perfect weakness, I trembled
like a patient in a severe fit of the ague. All we drew was but one ear of corn per man, and this
was a sweet morsel to us: - we softened it in water, and grated it on the lid of our camp-kettle,
and made bread of it. This we did until we came to Frederickstown barracks, where we drew
provisions.20

New Hampshire soldier Nathan Davis recalled of the 1779 campaign against the Iroquois, ”We
… proceeded into the Indian Country where we destroyed their towns, orchards and cornfields.
The Indian corn was very large, & our soldiers made corn meal of it by grating it on the outsides
of old camp kettles which they first perforated with bayonets.”21

An iron "broiler" made from a barrel hoop by soldiers in camp. (George C. Neumann and
Frank J. Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (Harrisburg,
Pa., 1975), p. 93. Illustration by Ross Hamel.)

In the complete absence of cookware, and lacking materials to fashion such items as broilers or
pans, even more primitive utensils or cooking methods had to suffice. Sticks and flat stones filled
the role nicely. Shortly after the Battle of Harlem Heights in September 1776, Connecticut
militiaman Joseph Martin returned to camp to find the "invalids... broiling... beef on small sticks in
Indian style round blazing fires made of dry chestnut rails." A year later, at Barren Hill,
Pennsylvania, he "drew a day's ration of beef and flour... And how was it cooked? Why, as it
usually was when we had no cooking utensils with us, - that is, the flour was laid upon a flat rock
and mixed up with cold water, then... scorched on one side, while the beef was broiling on a stick in
the fire. This was the common way of cookery when on marches..."22
At the most elementary level, flames or a bed of hot coals served as both fireplace and oven.
Surgeon Jonathan Todd echoed Joseph Martin's firecake recipe, but without using a flat stone; from
"Camp Church's Hill 12 Miles N.W. Philadelphia 9th Nov 1777," Todd wrote, "Now 2 Months we
have drawn No other Provision than Fresh Beef & Flower - Salt we draw but Little not half Enough
to season the Beef / Our Flower we Wet with Water & Roll it in dirt & Ashes to bake it in a

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Horrible Manner..." At the Whitemarsh camp in December 1777 Sergeant Ebenezer Wild told of
receiving "some fresh beef and flour, but had nothing to cook in, but were obliged to broil our meat
on the fire and bake our bread in the ashes." And Joseph Martin related that after crossing the
Delaware River to Pennsylvania in November 1777 "we procured a day's ration of salt pork... We
marched a little distance and stopped 'to refresh ourselves.' We kindled some fires in the road, and
some broiled their meat; as for myself, I ate mine raw."23
Other foods were also cooked without the aid of utensils. Rhode Island Sergeant Jeremiah
Greenman told of his arrival at Valley Forge on 19 December 1777, "this morn ye hole camp
moved about 6 milds & stoped in a thick woods ware a corn field stud by / about 10 acres not
gethered / in 5 minits it was all gethered & sum of it to the fire." Pumpkins could be cooked in a
similar manner. Martin recalled in his memoirs, "I lay here [at Valley Forge] two nights and one
day and had not a morsel of anything to eat all the time, save half of a small pumpkin, which I
cooked by placing it upon a rock, the skin uppermost, and making a fire upon it. By the time it was
heat through I devoured it with as keen an appetite as I should a pie made of it at some other
time."24
One Massachusetts soldier recounted an interesting instance of minimalist cooking:

I recollect the manufacture of a dripping-pan which pleased us very much. Some person in
Massachusetts had a very large ox, which he fatted very carefully and presented to Washington
for his own table. The General divided it among the officers then at West Point, so that a piece or
two fell to each mess. Ours was a fine roasting piece, which we were hesitating to have made
into soup, our usual method of cooking beef, when a soldier by the name of Skelden said that he
would contrive a way to roast it by hanging it before the fire. He was told that we could not
afford to lose the gravy; whereupon he ran out a little distance and returned with a smooth flat
stone, which he quickly cleaned. Then he took a roll of dough and laid it neatly round the stone,
carefully turning the whole to let the edge bake while it caught the gravy. Afterwards whatever
was done quickly and well was 'equal to Skelden's dripping-pan.’25

A barrel hoop broiler found in the 21st Royal North British Fusiliers’ encampment site on
Saratoga battlefield. Similar broilers have been excavated at Continental Army sites as
well. (Saratoga National Historical Park, SARA 1770)

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Eating Utensils. Unless soldiers ate directly from camp kettles, several additional food containers
were needed at mealtimes. One militia private described a repast prepared and consumed during a
brief halt on a march. Taking the "Kittle of Pudding, [he] turned it out in six Piles on the Board"
taken from a fence, a crude but practical substitute for bowls. Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, 3rd New
Hampshire Regiment, noted in December 1777 using “an old short handled frying pan in which we
ware Obliged to Eat it haveing No other Platter …” It is likely that bowls, when available, were
also shared between several men. In 1776 the Connecticut militia were to be supplied with two
thousand cooking pots and "four thousand Wooden Bowls." Supposing six men in a mess, this
meant three soldiers to each bowl. Other documents list similar utensils. The receipt book of
James Abeel, deputy quartermaster general and superintendent of stores at Morristown, New Jersey,
shows a December 1778 issue of "38 Wooden Bowls, thirty six Trenchers & 36 wooden Dishes...
for the use of the 1 Jersey Regt." Three monthly returns for Captain Maxwell's Company, 2nd
Massachusetts Regiment, in 1779 list a total of eight camp kettles and eight bowls, on hand or
deficient, an indication that only one bowl commonly accompanied each kettle. In January 1781
Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering wrote of carts made to "carry all the kettles of a
regiment, with one small bowl to each..." Seventeen months later Pickering described camp kettle
covers, "which would be vastly convenient... as a dish to eat out of"; further evidence of common
soldiers using communal eating receptacles.26

Staved wooden bowl belonging to a soldier left sick along the line of march from Valley Forge
to Monmouth Courthouse in June 1778. “’The common necessaries of life …’: A
Revolutionary Soldier’s Wooden Bowl,” http://tinyurl.com/at3dj3e

14
Turned wooden mess bowls were likely more common than staved ones. Above is a wood
bowl from the wreck of the HMS Invincible, sunk in 1758. A total of 11 wood bowls
(ranging from 9 inches to 13.4 inches in diameter), the fragments of 13 other wood bowls,
plus 1 pewter bowl, 1 gourd bowl, and the remains of a “green glazed stoneware” bowl
were recovered from the Invincible. Image courtesy of John Broomhead, director
Invincible Conservations Ltd. (http://www.invincible1758.co.uk/)

Several documents mention government supply of bowls, cups, spoons, and even some knives;
some are estimates of needs, while others are returns of items actually on hand. A blank
regimental "Ledger of Accounts of the Camp Equipage," dated 1779, lists covered kettles, common
kettles, bowls, "Mess Tubs" (possibly trenchers), and iron spoons, while a "Plan for the Cloathing
of the [Light] Infantry" stated the soldiers' necessaries: a "Pocket Knife," "Tin Spoon" and
haversack were the only food-related items given. In June 1779 Timothy Pickering included
among the “Articles to be imported in the Department of the Board of War & Defence,” “Jack
Knives, or Pocket Knives _ 10,000 Doz[en], “English fashioned knives and forks with [bone?]
handles 1500 Doz,” “Pewter or other Cheap spoons for soldiers 10,000 Doz,” and “Spoons of a
better kind for Officers _ 1000 Doz.” And among the items noted in a two other equipment
estimates were 1,400 iron cups, 15,000 wooden bowls, and 20,000 iron spoons “Requisite for an

15
Army of 40,000 Men," and 4,000 wooden trenchers, 12,000 wooden bowls, and 40,000 pewter
table spoons “for an Army of Twenty five thousand Men." 27
Cups, spoons, and bowls were included on returns of camp equipage actually in use. Deputy
Quartermaster General Abeel's receipt book lists "Fifty Iron Cups" issued "for the use of Genl
Maxwells Brigade" on 10 June 1779. The September to November 1779 returns of Captain
Maxwell's 2nd Massachusetts company show that while spoons were wanted for each man, none
were on hand. And two August 1779 returns for units at or near West Point (including the 2nd
Massachusetts) list wooden bowls, "Iron Cups" and "Iron spoons," though not nearly enough for
every man. Five more equipment returns for various Continental units from 1778 to 1781 show
similar shortfalls of bowls, cups, and spoons, making it probable that some men ate directly from
camp kettles, while others found their own bowls. It is also likely most men procured the non-issue
spoons, knives, and tin or horn cups. (See endnotes for equipment returns.)28 (See endnote for
Continental Army equipment returns, 1778 to 1781.)
When eating utensils were not to be had, soldiers again improvised. Here are a few accounts of
officers and enlisted men making do with ad hoc utensils. John Howland (Col. Henry Babcock’s
Rhode Island State Regiment,1776/1777) noted of the march to reinforce Washington’s forces in
December 1776,
Our condition … was bad enough. Our day's ration which we drew in the morning, was a pint of
flour per man. Some of us had canteens with only one head. This was fortunate for the possessor,
as he could receive his flour in it, and with water mix it into dough to be baked on the embers.
Some received their flour on a flat stone, if they could find one …29

Fife-Major John Greenwood, 15th Continental Regiment, wrote of the retreat from Canada in
1776,
Our general having now procured a number of open boats, we all embarked for Ticonderoga.
Being short of provisions, and without camp kettles or other cooking utensils, it may be supposed
that our situation was far from being agreeable. Our daily rations consisted of only a pint of flour
and a quarter of a pound of pork, for each man, and every day, at noon, we used to land for the
purpose of cooking our food. For want of vessels in which to mix our flour, we made and baked
our cakes on thick pieces of the bark of the trees, but such cooking was any thing but tempting,
especially to the sick, who fared no better than the rest.30

Pennsylvania Brig. Gen. William Irvine told in a letter from “Camp Short Hills, (New Jersey,)
June 14th, 1780,” during a short-term Crown forces incursion, “We have been eight days without
Baggage or Tents and cut a most curious figure. I have been so extravagant in furniture, as never
to eat twice off the same dish or plate. The bark of a friendly Oak not only supplies us with our
kitchen furniture, but we make Tents to sleep in of it ...”31
Thomas Tallow (or Tulloh), Hanover County, Virginia, in old age recalled his 1781 field
service with the Virginia militia,
we … pursued the British by day and by night down James River, I recollect at old James Town
General Wayne got near enough to fire on the rear of the British Army before they could crossed
the River, my impression was that General Lafayette was the commander in chief I frequently
saw him during this term of service ... it would be perfectly unnecessary to attempt a description

16
of the suffering of the Soldiers about this term of my Service, I have marched all night frequently
having nothing to eat, waded creeks & have frequently seen the Soldiers get up water in their
hats and drank as they marched, our provision was of the most inferior kind & scarcely enough to
sustain life (I have frequently seen Poplar bark used for a soldier's tray) … 32
Park Holland, a lieutenant in the 5th Massachusetts Regiment, in his memoirs noted of a post-
war visit with his former colonel, Rufus Putnam, “We had eaten in the army for months together,
from a clean chip, with a knife and fork among half a dozen of us, and our soup with a clam shell
for a spoon thrust into a split stick for a handle, and got along very well ...”33 Holland also
described preparations at Newburgh in 1782 for a celebration of the birth of the French Dauphin,
successor to Louis the XVI.
The bower built for a hall, neatly turfed and covered with evergreens, was about twenty feet wide
and a quarter of a mile long ... To show the lack of the common necessaries of life, I mention the
fact, that, on this occasion, orders came with the invitations, for each one bidden to [dine] bring
his plate, knife and fork; all of which articles were very scarce. I have known our foreign friends,
who were accustomed to dine off silver, for months together to eat from a clean chip [of wood]
instead of a plate. Colonel [and deputy quartermaster general, Henry Emanuel] Lutterlow, a
German, I think, by birth, an officer of distinction in his own country, put up with our fare with
the utmost cheerfulness.34

Henry Fanning Watson, writing in the nineteenth century, told of
A gentleman, (C. M.,) who was an officer at the camp, has told me of some of their hardships
there. Fresh beef they could scarcely get; of vegetables they had none, save sometimes some
potatoes. Their table was loose planks, rough, as split from the tree. One dish, of wood, or of
pewter, sufficed for a mess. A horn spoon and tumbler of horn was lent round. Their knife was
carried in the pocket.35

Another method of supplying plates was mentioned by Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall in a letter
to Samuel Adams: “West Point, Dec. 10th, 1781 Maj. [Caleb] Gibbs of your line is the bearer of
this, by whom I have sent you a plate, a specimen of the material which covers my board. It is
made, as the set is, of old unserviceable camp-kettles.”36
While not a cooking receptacle, the following reference does note an item repurposed to carry
beverages. In September 1777 Maryland Congressman Charles Carroll informed the commander-
in-chief,
I have had conversation with Mr. Peters, secretary to our board, who informs me that in the
month of June last 1000 tin cartridge boxes were sent to the Army and delivered to a Captain
French. Mr. Peters moreover informs me that to his certain knowledge several of these cartridge
boxes were converted by the soldiers into cantines, and by some officers into shaving boxes. 37

17
Tin cartridge canisters were used by some soldiers to carry water.
(Illustration by Ross Hamel)

Officers' Cooking Equipment. Officers' food was usually prepared by their waiters - men taken
from the ranks, sometimes black slaves. With occasional exceptions the only cooking equipment
issued to officers were camp kettles of tin or sheet iron. Early-war allotments are uncertain, but a
series of 1779 returns for a company of the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment list two covered kettles for
three company officers; the sergeants, musicians, and rank and file used six common kettles allotted
to the company. In the last years of the conflict a standard issue was implemented. Writing from
New Windsor, New York, in August 1782, Timothy Pickering informed Samuel Miles that "I
forgot to tell Arthur to bring my nest of camp kettles, be pleased to forward them." As
quartermaster general of the army, Pickering and his staff were entitled to four kettles.38 A 1783
document noted that "The allowance of kettles for the last campaign [1782] was agreeable to the
following list,"39

18
A Major General & family - 4 [kettles]
Brigadier & family - 4
Inspector - 2
Q.Master Genl & family - 4
Com[mis]s[ar]y of forage - 2
Waggon master Genl - 2
A Dep[uty] waggon master - 1
A deputy comisy of forage - 1
Forage Masters & wag[on]. conductors 1 [kettle] each

3 field officers of a regt - 3
3 captains & subalterns - 2
regimental staff - 3
Non commissioned staff of a regt. 2
A brigade quarter master 1
A chaplain - 1

George Washington, as commander in chief of the army, often lived quite well on campaign,
sometimes taking his meals at taverns or private residences. He also had with him three large tents,
one of which served as a dining area, and an assortment of cooking equipment. In anticipation of
the army's first active military campaign, in May 1776 Washington purchased various utensils for
cooking and eating, including "1 Nest of Camp Kettles," "3 large Tin Cannisters," "7 Tin
Cannisters," "1 doz Oval tin Dishes," "[3] doz. & 9 Tin plates," "2 cases knives & forks," "1 Doz
Camp cups," "1/2 Doz Coffee cups" and "2 half pint camp cups." Six years later the quartermaster
general of the army ordered for "General Washington ... a convenient nest of five Camp kettles. Be
pleased to have them made, the largest to hold three pails full, or about nine gallons wine measure,
the others of smaller size just to go one within another conveniently. Let them be made
immediately, and forwarded to Kings ferry ..."23

19
The gridiron portrayed above was excavated at a Continental Army camp site, circa 1776-
1780, and pictured in Neumann and Kravic’s Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia, is similar to
one in Gen. George Washington mess kit (below). (George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic,
Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (Harrisburg, Pa., 1975), 93.
Illustration by Ross Hamel.)

20
A listing of Washington's "Mess kit," in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, describes a
"Chest of wood covered with leather, lined with green wool," with the "Interior divided into
fourteen compartments and containing a tray with nine compartments." The chest contains, "4 tin
pots with detachable wooden handles, 6 tin plates, 3 tin platters, 2 knives and forks with black
handles, gridiron with collapsible legs, 2 tinder boxes, 8 glass bottles with cork stoppers, 2 glass
bottles for pepper and salt with pewter tops." Additionally, among Washington's possessions
inventoried by an aide in 1781 were "A Pair of Canteens compleat with White Glass Bottles &
brass to[p]'d Corks" and "1 Tea Box with Cannisters."24
Camp kettles and gridirons were not the only cooking implements used by officers. In autumn
1779 Major General John Sullivan's punitive expedition against the Iroquois was returning to
Easton, Pennsylvania. An "Advertisment" in the 8 October 1779 general orders, "Head Quarters
wyoming," noted that a few days previous, on the way from Tioga to Lackawanna, there "was put in
Some Boat at Missanking through Mistake A bag Containing a Nest of Camp Kittles A Coffe[e]
pot and Sundrey other things who Ever will Send them to [Brigadier] Genl. [Enoch] Poors Marque
will have his Cincere Thanks." (It is likely these utensils comprised all of General Poor's campaign
cooking equipage.) Looking ahead to a sedentary winter at New Windsor, New York, in November
1782 General Horatio Gates sent a request to the quartermaster department for "a tea kettle, coffee
pot, frying pan, dripping pan, ladle and skimmer ..." The cooking equipment intended for a 1793
Indian Treaty Commission to Sandusky, Ohio, was similar to that used by Washington and
requested by General Gates, though on a grander scale. For a party consisting of three
commissioners, one secretary, four interpreters, one steward, two cooks, two assistants, four
servants, and one washerwoman, the list of estimated supplies included "6 Sheet iron Boiling Potts
with Covers" holding eight quarts, three covered sheet-iron pots holding twelve quarts, and six
more with a four-quart capacity, "6 frying Pans," four "Oval Tin Tureens with Covers" (two at "4
quarts each" and two holding five quarts), twelve "Tin Pudding Pans" (six holding four quarts, and
six, three quarts), "2 Flesh Hooks," "2 Iron Ladles," "2 Skimmers," and "4 Sheet Iron Teakettles."25

21
A tinned-iron Camp Kettle with cover. Detail from James Malton, "A Military Encampment in
Hyde Park” (1780). watercolor, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
http://collections.britishart.yale.edu/vufind/Record/3632012

Kettle Covers. To facilitate cooking and keep dirt from the food it is likely that ad hoc kettle covers
were sometimes fashioned from shingles, clapboards, or any other wood at hand. Sometimes
specially-fitted metal covers were made for kettles; using metal would have added less weight,
made possible the construction of some covers to double as pans, and allowed the same craftsman
to manufacture both items.
In April 1782 Quartermaster General Pickering requested Samuel Ogden "to mention your lowest
price for the largest kettles when furnished with covers." Writing on 2 May the quartermaster
general told Aaron Forman, "You may contract for a thousand kettles, 200 of them with covers, if
the latter are of a moderate price." Six days later, when considering the new contract, Ogden wrote
that he supposed "the Kettles [were] to be made as formerly [i.e., in 1781], which I find to average
about 8 Inches High and about eight and a half or nine Inches wide, made without Ears and without
covers;" he went on to say "I have not, at any time made Kettles with Ears or Covers ..." On 26 June
1782, referring to the men using kettles for frying, Pickering indicated his preference for lids on
common soldiers' kettles, too. If it had been possible "I would ... propose there being made with
Covers, which would be vastly convenient not only as a frying pan (if they ought to be suffered to
fry) but as a dish to eat out of." Unfortunately circumstances were against him. Although he had
"intended to have enough made with covers to supply the Officers ... the price was so much higher
... & I distressed so insufferably for want of money I order'd the whole 1500 to be made plain."26
While none of Ogden's kettles were made with lids, there are records of covered kettles being
sought or issued on both sides prior to 1782. In January 1781, Deputy Quartermaster Edward
Carrington submitted an "Estimate of Quarter Masters Stores to be supplyed from the State of
Maryland" for troops serving with the Southern Army. Included on the list were six hundred camp

22
kettles (one for each common tent) and one hundred fifty "Camp Kettles with covers for officers."
Shortly thereafter, in February, a "Return of QMrs Stores at Succasunna," listed "185 Coverd Camp
Kettles & 728 common" kettles. A listing of stores held by the Quartermaster General's Department
and the Main Army from August 1781 to February 1782 (exclusive of those unfit for further
service) showed "21 covered camp kettles," and "1,756 "Common" kettles held in store, and "12
covered camp kettles," and "1,122 common kettles" being used by the army.27
Early in the war, numbers of captured British kettles were issued to Continental troops. In July
1776, General Artemas Ward sent Washington, "Returns of the Stores in this division of the
Continental Army ..." One document, dated 22 July, Boston, was "A Return of Ordnance Stores,"
listing, in part, "camp kettles, with frying pan covers, 66 ..." These were probably part of a shipment
captured on a British storeship, taken late in 1775; a notice in the 12 December Pennsylvania
Evening Post, contained an "INVOICE of STORES on board the Nancy, store ship ... taken by the
Schooner Lee ... Camp kettles, fifty ... Camp kettles, with frying pan covers, 100 ..." An account in
a Boston newspaper, dated 29 July 1776, told of "the [British] ship Peggy," "carried into
Marblehead, taken by ... [American] privateers." Amongst the Peggy's cargo were "twenty-four
camp-kettles, [and] ... two dozen kettles with covers ..."28
British accounts corroborate the use of kettles with covers. A "Warrant for Payment," dated 30
April 1776, lists "224 Tin Kettles with Stew pan Covers & Bags" in the "Camp necessaries for a
detachment of ye [British] Guards." Two entries in a "Journal of Stores Issued - kept by George
Wray, Royal Artillery Commissary in Rhode Island" also mention such equipment. 23 January
1778, "For use by Innes' Company ... 12 tin camp kettels with covers ...;" 24 August 1778, "For use
by Innes' Company ... 16 tin camp kettles with covers."29
For some idea of how "Stew pan Covers" may have looked, a 1788 German military manual
shows a camp kettle with one; the pictured lids fit closely to the top of the cooking container and
had a socket handle into which a wooden extension could be inserted.30

23
Above: Illustrations from a 1788 German military manual showing a camp kettle with detached
frying pan cover (figures 5 and 6); kettle with cover on (figure 7); and kettle in carrying bag (figure
13). (Was ist jedem Officier waehrend eines Feldzugs zu wissen noethig [trans., "What it is necessary
for each officer to know during a campaign"] (Carlsruhe, 1788), plate 3.)
Below: Prussian army copper kettle with fry pan lid. (Citation unknown and being sought.)

(Following page: German camp kettle with stewpan cover. "We are allowed to assign the
Forchtenstein pieces -- analogous to the tent flasks -- likewise to the Prussian area, of which there
has been heretofore neither an illustration nor an original preserved.
The iron kettle is, without cover, 24 cm. tall, and the casserol for it 10 cm., so that the set -
allowing for an overlap of 3 cm. -- has a combined height of 31 cm. The largest cross-section -- at
the rim of the casserol - is 28 cm.; the radius of the carrying handle is 20 cm. The Forchtenstein
pieces are browned on the outside and polished on the inside. The casserol shows a flat attachment
into which one would insert a right-angled handle.
For individual transport -- by a man of the tent company -- there was a linen bag with leather
carrying strap; for transport with the baggage there were bags of blackened cowhide in two
different sizes, designed for either 4 or 5 kettles."
Deutsches Historisches Museum Unter den Linden 2 10117 Berlin
Source: Dr. Ruth Bleckwenn, Zelt und Lager im altpreussischen Heere," Series: Das altpreussische
Heer. Part 4 (Biblio Verlag, 1975)

24
"The extreme suffering of the army for want of ... kettles"
Continental Soldiers and Kettle Shortages in 1782

The problem of supplying kettles in sufficient quantities, and in a timely manner, plagued the
Continental Army throughout the war, but the circumstances of one year in particular clearly
delineate the problem and show the effects of any shortfall.
The difficulties experienced by the army in 1782 had their origins in the previous year. In early
summer of 1781 the main British army occupied New York City, Long Island, Staten Island, and
the surrounding fortifications. A smaller force under Lord Cornwallis was in Virginia, and various
detachments garrisoned a number of posts further south. During June, Washington's main army in
New York and New Jersey was mobilized, and by the 24th of the month a large portion was
encamped at Peekskill on the Hudson River.31
Early in June, Quartermaster General Pickering wrote of his difficulty with procuring kettles. "As I
suspected, so it turns out, that not a single camp kettle can be procured at Boston - there is no tin or
iron. ... I should suppose the Stock of camp kettles at Easton remains untouched, & these with those
at Estherton will amount to upwards of 900." He then noted various quantities of sheet iron in
Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, Reading, Lebanon, and Carlisle, some of which, he then thought,
probably "remain unmanufactured. If they do, I beg your immediate attention to them, & that you
will have them made up into camp kettles as fast as you can, & collected at Philadelphia." Nine
days later, one of Pickering's assistants noted the continuing lack of equipment. Peter Anspach to D.
Carthy, 17 June 1781, "You will ... have to pay great attention to the delivery of Camp Kettles, as
there is such a small number of them in the hands of the public, that there is the greatest probability
of the troops suffering for the want of them ere long unless they can be obtained without money of
which I can assure you there is not the least prospect at present."32

25
In late August 1781 American and French forces left New Jersey on their way to lay siege to
Cornwallis's army at Yorktown, Virginia. The concentration of the two armies on the Virginia
Peninsula was completed on 26 September and siege operations commenced on the 28th.33
At this late date supplies were still wanting. On his way south Pickering stopped at Baltimore,
writing from there on 10 September, "I was informed at Georgetown that one of the Maryland
Regts. of 4 or 500 men lay there unable to march because they were ill provided with camp
equipage, particularly with camp kettles of which they were nearly destitute. Mr. Hunter of this
place can furnish that article. I would have waited on him myself but my stay here is too short to
admit of it. I request therefore you will immediately see him & engage a hundred & fifty be made
and delivered to you as soon as possible. The surplus will be wanted to supply other deficiencies in
the army near Williamsburgh ... As soon as you have engaged the kettles be pleased to write to Mr.
George ADQM at Georgetown to inform him by what day the kettles will be ready, that he may
give notice to Genl. Smallwood or the officer commanding the Regt. there, that its march may no
longer be delayed for want of camp kettles." The following month, in "Camp before York October
8th-1781," the quartermaster general informed Richard Young, "I find a much greater want of camp
equipage in the army than I supposed, & among the rest of camp kettles. Besides those already
made, I request Mr. Hunter to furnish you with two hundred immediately. Should he fortunately
have so many ready made, I beg you to send them hither immediately, by land or water, as you
judge most expeditious. ... That the manufacture of the kettles may proceed more expeditiously, let
the making of the intrenching tools be suspended."34
The stage was thus set for the year following. First, some numbers. An April 1782 inspection
return of the 2nd New York Regiment lists three field officers, nine captains, eight lieutenants, six
ensigns, eight staff officers, and five hundred thirty-three sergeants, musicians, rank and file.
Among the equipment held by the regiment were forty-four common kettles; deficiencies included
sixty-seven common kettles and eighteen covered kettles. The forty-four common kettles were
sufficient for two hundred sixty-four men at six men per mess. The deficient common kettles were
needed to supply the remaining two hundred sixty-nine N.C.O.'s, rank and file; covered kettles were
likely meant for any officers lacking cooking equipment.35
In July 1782 Captain Rufus Lincoln's company, 7th Massachusetts Regiment, contained one
sergeant, three corporals, and forty-three privates. Eight camp kettles were needed for forty-seven
men at six men per mess; in actuality, the company had to make do with a shortfall throughout the
year. Five "Com[mon] Kittles" and five wooden bowls belonged to the company in February 1782.
In May, cooking equipment for the company consisted of three wooden bowls and four kettles, one
kettle having been lost in March. On 1 June four common kettles were shown to be "in use" and
three additional kettles needed for a complete supply; seven days later another kettle was issued the
company, and by August cooking utensils consisted of three kettles, one kettle having been returned
to the quartermaster, and two wooden bowls. Matters did not improve greatly in the ensuing
months; in September 1782, three common kettles were in use, and in October 1782, five kettles
and one bowl were listed. With these two units as models, and given the quartermaster general's
representation of kettle shortages, it seems that most Continental regiments were in the same
situation throughout the year.36
Timothy Pickering starkly described what a lack of kettles meant to the common soldiers' daily
routine. "Camp Verplanks point," 29 September 1782:

26
Mr. Ogden has very importunately applied for the second payment due on his contract for
camp kettles ... Had he complied with his engagements, this sum would have been long
since due, but I am sorry to say that in the performance he has very essentially failed - When
he entered into the contract, he told Mr. Forman (who acted in my behalf) that he could
make 200 p[er] week, & if there were a great demand double that number. The demand was
in fact very great, & Mr. Ogden was again and again informed of it - he was told often of
the extreme suffering of the army for want of the kettles - The soldiers were in reality
obliged to broil their meat on the coals, or wait to boil the pot in succession from morning
to evening - Yet these representations did not appear to quicken Mr. Ogden; and instead of
delivering the first five hundred in three weeks & the second five hundred the three
weeks next following, his kettles have been recd. at the army, in small parcels ...37

In the event, kettles were delivered to the army in at least eight different shipments, spanning a
four-month period:

"Account of camp Kettles recd. from Aaron Forman ADQmr. for the campaign 1782"38
Number of
Date Kettles Received
6 July 100
18 July 199
13 August 185
4 September 90
9 September 200
15 September 190
10 October 204
23 October 37
Total 1,205

Writing to Aaron Forman, a week and a half before the army had moved to Verplanks Point,
Pickering claimed another possible consequence resulting from the shortage of kettles. "You may
judge then what inconveniences they [the soldiers] have suffered & will yet experience, until all the
kettles arrive, I mention inconveniences: I wish nothing worse may have arisen from this defect:
The troops are more sickly than usual at this season - owing in part, perhaps, to the improper
cookery to which the want of kettles has subjected them." (Cooking methods such as frying,
roasting, and broiling were then considered by the army's high command to be unhealthful.)
Without kettles, salted beef, pork, and fish could not be cooked properly, dumplings could not be
made from the flour ration, nor hard biscuit rendered edible by boiling. If raw flour was issued in
such circumstances it would have been prepared as firecake or ashcake, also considered "improper
cookery." Of course, the quartermaster general may have been indulging in a bit of hyperbole. On
two occasions Lieutenant Benjamin Gilbert, 5th Massachusetts Regiment, wrote of the army's good
health: West Point, 7 July 1782, "... only a part of the Troops have taken the field, the others remain
in Barracks. I fear the Campain will not be very active ... It is a General time of health with our
Soldiers. They are weel feed, and as well Clothed as any British Troops;" and with the Light

27
Infantry, near "Croten River," 3 October, "The Inhabitents of the Country the greater half of them
are Sick but the Army is healthy."39
In late June Pickering wrote to Peter Anspach about a factor contributing to camp kettle attrition.
"I did not know that the Kettles were so soon destroyed in the way you mention, or I would have
been induced to propose there being made with Covers, which would be vastly convenient not only
as a frying pan (if they ought to be suffered to fry) but as a dish to eat out of." The cause of the
kettles being "destroyed", not clearly stated in this letter, was specified in early in 1783. Timothy
Pickering to Captain Walker, 22 March: "As they are used as frying pans, as well as kettles, they are
thereby much sooner destroyed than if they were used only in boiling."40
Food preparation in the army was often rudimentary, even with sufficient numbers of kettles on
hand. Unless vegetables or fruit were purchased at camp markets, or otherwise obtained locally,
soldiers had only army rations to boil, bake, or fry. This sometimes left them little to work with.
One series of returns lists the food distributed to the 9th Massachusetts Regiment from late spring
to late summer of 1782. The issue for June 1st to the 4th (inclusive) was typical: a daily ration of
bread, beef, and whiskey (this last only for the common soldiers), fourteen and three-quarters quarts
of salt and twenty-nine and a half quarts of vinegar, with ninety-six pints of pease issued to the
officers in lieu of whiskey, and fifty-three pounds of bread in lieu of vinegar. Except for the small
amount of peas (in this instance given only to officers), no vegetables were issued. The small
quantities of salt and vinegar must have been distributed to everyone. For one period in May shad
was substituted for beef; again this may only have been for officers. The only other departure from
the norm occurred during a four-day period in August (5th to the 8th) when flour was substituted
for bread.41
In March 1783, still wrangling with Samuel Ogden over the fulfillment of his 1782 contract,
Pickering addressed the question of kettles' longevity. "Before the army left the field [in October
1782] they were duly supplied with camp kettles: but I suppose the old ones have since been burnt
out. I cannot tell exactly how long a camp kettle will last: but on an average probably not exceeding
a year." Unfortunately, goods supplied by Samuel Ogden had been long-since proved substandard.
A document headed "Weight of Camp Kettles [May] .1782." included a report from "Mr. Wister,
storekeeper to Colo. Miles, DQM for Pennsyla," who stated that "Colo. Mile's [kettles] procured in
Philadelphia,- half a dozen weighed 19 1/2 lbs average 3 lbs. 4 oz."; "Mr. S. Ogden's, of Booneton,
kettles of the same size, half a dozen weighed 14 1/4 lbs - average - 2 lbs 6 oz Note. Ogden's
[kettles] were evidently too thin & would soon burn out."42
Be that as it may, the estimate of one year for the life-span of a camp kettle seems to have been the
norm. A series of returns for the "Regiments of [British] Foot Guards" show these units being
issued new kettles each year, over a period of five years. Typical is the allotment mentioned in a
letter to John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudon, commander of the three Regiments of Foot Guards.
On 30 August 1776, he was informed, it is "His Majesty's Pleasure that Loudon get 224 Camp
Kettles with Canvas Bags ... to be sent to the Detachment in America without delay." The Guards
Regiments had already received their allotment of camp equipage for the year; evidently this new
shipment was intended for use in 1777. It is interesting to note that for each year, from 1776 to
1780, the allotment of "224 Kettles & Bags" remained the same despite likely fluctuations in unit
strength over that time.43

28
"A disgusting incumbrance to the troops ..."
Linen Bags and Carts for Carrying Kettles

Soldiers during the War for Independence usually had to carry their cooking equipment with them
on the march. In his memoirs Private Joseph Martin wrote of the trials and tribulations of carrying
both cast-iron pots and sheet-iron kettles early in the war; "We had always, in the army, to carry our
cooking utensils in our hands by turns ..." Captain John Chilton of Virginia graphically pictured the
soldier's burden on a march in July 1777: "By reason of rain the night past [we] did not move till
late this morning ... [we marched through] Hackitts Town [New Jersey] ... No Waggons allowed to
carry our Cooking Utensils, the soldiers were obliged to carry their Kettles, pans &c. in their hands.
Cloathes and provisions on their backs ... our March was a forced one & the Season extremely
warm the victuals became putrid by sweat & heat - the Men badly off for Shoes, many being
entirely barefoot and in our Regt. a too minute inspection was made into things relative to
necessaries that the Men could not do without, which they were obliged to throw away."44
The mere fact of the soldiers' normal load goes far to explain why kettles were considered an
annoying burden. Even without a kettle, each soldier carried from forty to fifty pounds, including
musket, knapsack (containing a blanket and other necessaries), cartridge box (with twenty to forty
rounds of ammunition), bayonet, haversack (with several days' rations, at roughly three pounds of
food per day), and canteen. Most of this equipment was slung by belts over the shoulders, but
muskets, kettles and, on occasion, tent poles, had to be carried by hand.
Camp kettles were the subject of numerous orders in the Continental Army, the following are
typical: General orders, Washington's army, 4 July 1777, "... To prevent the enormous abuse and
loss of kettles, by slinging them to waggons, from which numbers fall, the General positively orders
that each mess in turn carry their own kettles, as usual in all armies, and can be little burthensome
in this."; General orders, 19 June 1778, "In future the Camp Kettles are always to be carried by the
Messes; each soldier of the Mess taking it in his turn, and no man is on any Account to presume to
put the Camp Kettle belonging to the Mess in a Waggon."; General orders, 19 June 1781, "Every
Mess must carry its own Camp Kettle unless otherwise directed in General Orders ..."45
Early in the war the British army took measures to ease the burden of camp kettles. This was done
by providing "kettle Bags," in which the utensils were placed and slung over the bearer's shoulder.
In December 1776 a shipment intended to equip 8,000 men, included "kettle Bags -- 1600" for the
same number of tin kettles. Orders for the Brigade of Guards, "Rariton Landing [New Jersey] May
6" 1777, directed "A Return of the number of Kettles Bags and Canteens wanted in each Company
to be made to General Mathew as soon as possible." As the war continued, camp kettles continued
to be shipped with their carrying cases. A "complete set of Camp Necessaries needed for the Guards
detachment ... ready for shipping by 20 February, 1779," listed "224 Tin Kettles with Bags," and
among the "Articles Sent out for Provincials for the 1779 campaign - 21 January 1779," were
"2,500 tin kettles in bags."46
A series of orders in summer 1777 spoke of carrying kettles. Regimental orders, 40th Regiment,
and general orders, British army,47

29
Evening Regl: Orders 8 oClock 21st: June 77
... The Tent poles & Camp Kettles to be carried by the men on the march

G[eneral]:A[fter]:O[rders] 7 At Nig[h]t 25th: June 77
... The Whole to take their Camp Kettles with them & the Commandg Offrs: will take care
that they are properly fixd: upon the men & not Carried in their hands they are to leave their
Knapsacks wt: the Baggage & Carry wt: them three days provision & One days rum -

A[fter]:R[egimental]:O[rders] 10 at nigt: [1 July 1777]
The Tents to be struck & the Waggons loaded by 4 to morrow morning if the Wether is
fare - The men to carry their tent poles & Camp Kettles
The Offrs: will see that the latter Are properly slung Agreable to A former Order

Just how kettles were "properly slung" is testified in American sources. Carrying kettles in bags, at
their backs (adopted from the British), came late in the war for Continental soldiers. The first
intimation came early in 1781; General orders, Washington's army, 9 January, "All the Tents of the
Army are to be delivered to the Quarter Master General who will have them washed cleaned and
repair'd. Such as are irreparable or as many of them as will answer the purpose he is to reserve to
make cases for the Camp Kettles that they may not grease and injure the soldiers cloaths as they
will next Campaign be obliged to carry their own Kettles."48
Quartermaster General Pickering commented on kettle bags five days later. "Camp kettles ever
seemed to me to be a disgusting incumbrance to the troops when they were required to carry them.
If covered with close strong cases the difficulty would in a degree be obviated: but then they must
be carried at their backs (in the German manner) & each furnished with a leathern belt or sling. If
the troops carry their kettles & are attacked on their march, the kettles are of course thrown away."
He then protested using old tents, which "if made into cases for the camp kettles will not answer
your expectations. They have sometimes been made into forage bags but would not pay for the
expense of making them up." (In an aside to David Humphrey, aide to the commander in chief,
Pickering noted, "If bags for camp kettles are made of the oldest tents, they will soon wear out, &
tear with the slightest touch ...")49

30
A typical 18th-century cart or tumbril. This example from Muller's Treatise of Artillery has a
body measuring approximately 3 feet 8 inches wide, 4 feet 10 inches long, by 2 feet high.
Continental Army kettle carts would have been "about six feet in the body in length," with
higher sides, and pulled by two horses. John Muller, A Treatise of Artillery, 3rd edition
(London, John Millan, 1780; 1st edition, 1757; reprinted by Museum Restoration Service,
Bloomfield, Ontario, 1977), English "Tumbrel," plate XVIII.

On 10 February Washington answered Pickering, noting the "unwillingness in the soldiery to carry
their camp kettles themselves which would make it difficult to enforce it ..." The commander in
chief referred to an "experiment" with two-wheeled kettle carts and his previous request to "have a
sufficient number prepared" should they prove suitable. "I observed however that I was rather
doubtful of the success, and in case of failure, directed you to have recourse to the expedient of
converting the old tents unfit for use, into bags large enough to contain the kettles, that with proper
belts or slings of the tent cloth itself or of leather as you should judge best, they might be carried at
the mens backs ..." He then dismissed Pickering's objections to using old tentage, stating that "As
these bags will have to bear little weight they are not liable to the same objection as the forage
bags." At least one early attempt was made to comply with the commander in chief's
recommendation. On 21 January 1781 an "Estimate of Quarter Masters Stores to be supplyed from
the State of Maryland for the Southern Army" listed among the needs, six hundred "Linen bags with
slings for [600] Camp Kettles."50

31
Special carts were also to be built to hold cooking utensils. In his "Proposed distribution of
waggons for the campaign [of] 1781," Pickering recommended that "The axes and camp kettles of
each regiment are to be carried in a light two horse waggon by themselves." On 14 January he was
even more specific, calling for one "two horse open wagon or tumbril" to carry "116 camp kettles &
18 axes for the non com[missione]d. officers & privates." At the same time the quartermaster
general wrote Washington, "I mentioned the provision of carriages ... for officers, & for ...
transporting the camp kettles of the troops. The two horse carts or tumbrils for both purposes may
be constructed at Fishkill before the opening of the campaign," and in an accompanying
memorandum, "Major Cogswell & I (before the publication of the Genl. Order) had proposed
having one two horse waggon so constructed as to carry the kettles of a whole regt."51
Eventually Pickering described the vehicle, noting that "One two horse tumbril, about six feet in
the body in length, with higher sides than usual (like a coal cart) will carry all the kettles of a
regiment, with one small bowl to each, until our kettles can be made with covers." George
Washington's "experiment" with tumbrils to carry kettles seems to have borne fruit. In June
Pickering directed a subordinate, "to set some of your artificers to repair the close covered waggons
at Fishkill, doing those first which need fewest repairs. Great exertion will be necessary to get them
done in time. The other workmen must proceed to complete the camp kettle waggons."52
If kettles were carried in wagons there must have been some method by which each mess could
identify their own. Markings were suggested for the British Guards in 1778: Morning orders, 15
July, "it is Recommended to [the officers commanding companies] ... to Cause the New Tents &
Camp Kettles to be Immediately Mark'd Neatly & Uniformly. -- distinguishing Each Company by
the Number of it & Each Tent & Camp Kettle by the Number of the Mess to which it belongs."53
Although kettle bags were a commonplace item in the British army from 1776 on, they were likely
used in large numbers by American troops only in 1781 and 1782. On the other hand, when
considering the difficult American supply situation, finding enough carts to carry kettles was, as
Washington stated, "rather doubtful of ... success"; while some were certainly constructed for the
army in 1781, they were only an adjunct to kettle bags.

32
Early 19th century British army tin kettle and the only extant example of a linen kettle bag.
(1st Foot Guards c.1800-1810, Armémuseum, Stockholm Sweden) Image courtesy of
Gregory S. Theberge.

33
"The Kettles to be made as formerly ..."
Kettle Capacity and Weight, and Archaeological Finds

Size and Weight: Sheet-Iron Versus Cast-Iron. Two reproduction sheet-iron kettles made by
Patrick M. Cunningham conform to late-war specifications. One measures nine and one-half inches
wide by nine and one-half high, weighs two pounds, twelve ounces, and holds two gallons, one pint
(eight and one-half quarts). The other kettle is eight and three-eights inches wide by eight and one-
eight inches high, weighs two pounds, two ounces, and holds one and one-half gallons (six quarts).
The larger kettle is the same size as the standard 1782 mess kettle which was "to average 9-1/4
inches in breadth and depth, measured in the clear, and to hold 9-1/2 quarts each." The smaller
kettle is similar to those made for the army in 1781, described by Samuel Ogden in May 1782;
"supposing the Kettles to be made as formerly, which I find to average about 8 Inches High and
about eight and a half or nine Inches wide, made without Ears and without covers." Mr.
Cunningham also makes another, larger, kettle which measures ten and five-eights inches wide by
ten and five-eights inches high, and holds three and one-half gallons. Though kettles of this size
were originally called for in the April 1782 specifications it is unlikely that many were delivered
that year.54
The characteristics of several sheet-iron kettles delivered to the army (holding "on an average nine
quarts") were given in a May 1782 enumeration of the "Weight of Camp Kettles." The dimensions
of the kettles were approximately "9 1/4 inches high & 9 1/4 inches in diameter." Kettles of this
size was stated to "hold 9 quarts and one pint"; in actuality their capacity was about eight and one-
half quarts. Kettles made in Philadelphia weighed on "average 3 lbs. 4 oz." Substandard kettles
made by Samuel Ogden averaged "2 lbs 6 oz."55
A comparison of sheet-iron kettles with cast-iron pots of the type occasionally used by
Revolutionary armies reveals a significant difference in weight, a very important consideration
since soldiers usually carried their cooking equipment. An eighteenth or early nineteenth-century
pot in the author's collection measures eleven inches at its widest point (ten inches wide at the
mouth) by seven inches high, weighs in at six pounds, fifteen and one-half ounces, and holds two
gallons (eight quarts); more than twice the weight of a sheet-iron kettle of similar capacity. (The
design of this artifact is the same as a larger pot found on the gunboat Philadelphia.) Joseph Martin
probably carried a pot of this size in 1776. On 10 October 1776 the Connecticut Assembly resolved
"That there be provided in this State, as soon as may be, for the use of the militia thereof, when
called into actual service, the following articles of camp equipage and utensils, viz: two thousand
Tents, two thousand Iron Pots containing two gallons each, [and] four thousand Wooden Bowls
..."56

34
Comparative Cooking Receptacle Capacities and Weights

Light-Weight Kettles

Dimensions Capacity Water Level

10 5/8" high and wide* 3 1/2 1 1/8"
gallons below rim

9 1/2" high and wide* 2 gallons, 1 pint 1 1/4"
below rim
(Sheet-iron, weight empty: 2 lbs. 12 oz.)

8 1/8" high* 1 1/2 1"
by 8 3/8 wide gallons below rim
(Sheet-iron, weight empty: 2 lbs. 2 oz.)

Louisbourg kettle (circa 1719-1768)
6" high* 1 gallon, 1 pint 3/4"
by 8 3/8 wide below rim

Cast-Iron Pot

7" high* 2 gallons
by 10 wide
at the mouth (Weight empty: 6 lbs. 15 1/2 oz.)

* outside measurements

Liquid Volume Measurements

ounce = 1/16th pint
gill = 4 ounces
pint = 16 ounces
quart = 2 pints or 1/4 gallon
gallon = 128 ounces or 8 pints or 4 quarts

Kettle Capacity and Sizes, 1759-1776. Knowing the capacity of Patrick Cunningham's
reproduction sheet-iron kettles, it is possible to determine the approximate size of several kettles
used in the French and Indian War period and during the first years of the War for Independence.
An article in the 26 March 1759 Boston Evening-Post mentioned "Tin-Kettles, containing Ten
Quarts each ..." These kettles would have been about ten inches high and the same in width, similar
to the 1782 Continental Army mess kettles. Some very small kettles were issued occasionally. A
receipt for the 2nd New York Regiment, dated 7 August 1775, listed as "Rec'd from Mr. Peter
Lansing 13 Tin Kettles, One half gallon." Though rare among common soldiers' mess equipment,
such small kettles were listed among stores captured from the British 71st Regiment's ships George
and Lord Howe in June 1776, in "An Account of ... Military Stores in possession of ... [the] Agent
for Continental Prizes:" "8 large camp-kettles," "16 small" camp kettles, and "2 dozen half-gallon

35
kettles and covers." Vessels of this size would have been quite suitable for gruel, porridge, and
other dishes not conducive to cooking in large batches.57
Some early-war kettles held more than most cooking vessels issued later in the war. The 7 October
1775 issue of the Virginia Gazette, listed items "Wanted Immediately for the Army," including
"camp kettles, either tin or brass, to hold about three gallons ..." These would have been of slightly
smaller dimensions than the large kettles requested for the Continental Army in 1782, which were
to be "made nearly eleven inches wide and eleven inches deep," and held about three and one-half
gallons. Some Maryland kettles were to have the same capacity as the Virginia kettles. John
Townsley, writing to the Maryland Council of Safety, 3 February 1776, stated he could make fifty
"Camp Kettles ... at 3 gallons each at 10 shillings each ..."58
Excavated Artifacts, Early 18th Century to Circa 1815. Three possible camp kettles have been
found at two French and Indian War sites, another kettle was excavated at a site dating from the
early to mid-eighteenth century, and a pair of kettles were discovered at a fort used during the War
of 1812.

Louisbourg kettle (early to mid-eighteenth century).
Photo (X78-74) courtesy of the Fortress of Louisbourg\
NHS (Parks Canada Agency).

36
Tin Kettle/Pail, Fortress Louisbourg (Artifact #16L92N19.1): modified illustration and notes by
Tin Kettle/Pail, Fortress Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada. Found in a well dating between 1719 and
1768 this artifact measures 8 3/8 inches wide (outside diameter) by 6 inches high; capacity is 1 gallon,
1 pint. (Artifact #16L92N19.1) Drawing #210-6-2095; modification of drawing #210-6-2094. Modified
by Jim Campbell, November 1998. Courtesy of the Fortress of Louisbourg NHS (Parks Canada
Agency). Corrections in construction details courtesy of James Campbell and Peter Goebel (letters to
John Rees, 6 November 1998 and 2 February 1999).

37
Louisbourg Kettle, Cape Breton Island: At Fortress Louisbourg a single, small camp kettle was
found in a stone-lined well dug after 1719 and filled in prior to 1768. Jim Campbell, Archaeology
Collection Supervisor at the site, noted that "artifacts associated with the French and British
occupation periods at Louisbourg were found in and around this well." Primarily associated with
the French, the fort was besieged and captured by British Provincial forces in 1745, returned to the
French by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, and again captured by the British in 1759. Thus,
the origin of the artifact cannot be exactly known.59
Measuring eight and three-eights inches wide by six inches high, and having the sides formed
from three pieces of tin, the capacity of this kettle was one gallon, one pint, when filled to about one
inch below the rim. The likely reason why this item was discarded was its being left untended or
forgotten on the fire; Mr. Campbell described the kettle as having been "exposed to a high degree of
heat. This is evident by the burnt base and the melting of the tin on the sides at a height of one and
one half inches to two inches from the base."60
The construction of the Louisbourg kettle is as follows: "This pail has three equidistantly spaced
soldered seams. The top rim is rolled over wire ... Only one rivet per handle ear ..." The ears are one
and one-quarter inch wide by two inches long; they are "soldered to the outside only ..." Recent
inspection of the kettle revealed that the ears (lugs) are made from a piece of tin one and a quarter
inch wide by four inches, folded in half (at the top) and grooved to fit the kettle rim. One ear is
centered between two seams, the other directly on the third seam. Additionally, the bottom corners
of the handle lugs (ears) are cut at an angle while the top remains square. The kettle's bottom
extends out from the sides one-quarter inch. Some details are mirrored by artifacts found on Rogers
Island and at Fort Ligonier (see below). Like the Rogers Island pail, the Louisbourg kettle is made
of more than one piece of tin, and the bottom construction is similar, leaving a one-quarter inch lip
extending out from the sides all round the base. While the handles of the Rogers Island and Fort
Meigs artifacts are held by holes pierced through the sides of the container, the Louisbourg kettle
has handle lugs (ears), similar to those on the Fort Ligonier pails.61

Fort Ligonier (Buckets or Kettles?): Two specimens in the collections at Fort Ligonier,
Pennsylvania (1758-1766), are interpreted by the curator as "tin-plated buckets," but may in fact be
camp kettles. The larger bucket/kettle is nine and one-quarter inches high with a rim circumference
of thirty-three inches and a bottom circumference of thirty inches (with a diameter at the top
approximately ten and one-half inches, at the bottom about nine and one-half inches, this receptacle
had a capacity of about two gallons, similar to the standard 1782 kettles made by Samuel Ogden). A
second partially complete bucket/kettle is seven and one-half inches high, top and bottom diameters
unknown. Both have ears to which the bails (handles) were attached.62

38
One of two similar artifacts excavated at Fort Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Described as a "tin-
plated bucket" they are just as likely to be camp kettles. This drawing is based on a
reproduction measuring 9 1/4 inches high with a rim circumference of 33 inches and a bottom
circumference of 30 inches. With a diameter at the top of approximately 10 1/2 inches, and at
the bottom around 9 1/2 inches, this bucket/kettle had a capacity of about 2 gallons, similar to
the standard-size 1782 kettles. This depiction nicely shows the ears to which handles were
attached, a construction detail often used on buckets and kettles. (Illustration by Ross Hamel)

Kettle/bucket excavated on Rogers Island, dated circa 1757-1759

39
Rogers Island (Bucket or Kettle?): During excavation of a soldiers' hut on Rogers Island, New York
(circa 1757-1759), "an extremely intact tin bucket" was found in one of the postmolds. Though no
one has yet claimed the possibility of the item being a camp kettle, it is included because of its
construction. An essay by David Starbuck notes that the artifact measures eight inches high by eight
inches wide. Mike Twist, who examined the bucket, claims that it is actually closer to eight and
one-half inches high by eight and one-half inches wide, and gives other details: "The bottom piece
extends past the body for about 1/8" [all] around;" There are no ears on the pail, but "a simple small
hole was punched from the outside going inwards" through which the handle was inserted and
attached. The body of the kettle was formed from three pieces of tin, and is described as "extremely
crude in its construction." The description of the bottom piece extending out past the body of the
pail mirrors construction of the Louisbourg kettle; the lack of ears for handles is also seen in the
late-war kettles manufactured for the Continental Army and the Fort Meigs kettles.63

1812 Kettles, Fort Meigs, Ohio: An article by Joseph M. Thatcher notes that "two nearly complete
sheet iron camp kettles which date between February 1813 and the summer of 1815" were
excavated by the Ohio Historical Society at Fort Meigs, near Toledo, Ohio. The two nesting kettles
still have their handles, which are attached through holes pierced through the sides just below the
top rim. The "larger kettle" was described as having "a diameter of 11 1/2 inches and is 11 1/4
inches high. The smaller version is 9 3/4 inches in diameter and 9 7/8 inches high." Measurements
taken by Patrick Cunningham show them to actually be eleven inches high by eleven inches wide,
and nine and three-quarter inches high by nine and one-quarter inches wide.64

Overview of Cooking Equipment, 1775-1783. From the available information various details of
camp kettles can be gleaned and some general conclusions arrived at concerning other utensils.
Several documents in 1782 mentioned kettle ears to which a handle was attached. Samuel Ogden
described the kettles made "formerly" (possibly only those purchased in 1781) as being "made
without Ears and without covers," stating that he had "not, at any time made Kettles with Ears or
Covers." (It is not known how long Ogden had been making kettles for the army.) In April 1782,
Timothy Pickering asked the price "difference between kettles made with and without ears;" Ogden
replied that "the additional price for Ears may be about ... sixpence; and of a [kettle] cover about
three shillings." By June, Pickering had decided that although he "intended to have enough made
with covers to supply the Officers ... the price was so much higher (three shillings on each Kettle) &
I distressed so insufferably for want of money I order'd the whole 1500 to be made plain." Whether
his cost-consciousness included doing without ears on the kettles is likely, but cannot be certainly
known. It is possible that most, perhaps all, of the early-war kettles had been made with ears. A
letter written in August 1781, described "kettles" requested by Captain David Bushnell for some
special purpose: "There is an indispensable demand for 70 kettles that will hold each five Gallons,
without handles & ears ..." This odd reference indicates that ears were sometimes put on kettles
during, or previous to, 1781.65
Covers were also mentioned frequently. While some were made for American officers' kettles
prior to 1781, covers were not made for the 1782 kettles. In 1776, and perhaps in other years,
numbers of British kettles with covers, some doubling as frying pans, were captured and made use
of by Continental forces. In the British army covered kettles seem to have been more common,
being used by officers, and, occasionally, common soldiers.

40
Tin and sheet-iron camp kettles were preferred by the armies serving in North America during the
late eighteenth century, but iron pots were occasionally used due to the nature of the particular
service, or problems with procuring lighter kettles. During the first four or five years of the War for
Independence Continental Army kettles were made of both tin and sheet-iron; beginning in 1778 or
1779 it seems that sheet-iron was the material predominately used, though precisely why or when
sheet-iron replaced tin is not known. By and large, camp kettles were the only army-issue item of
cooking equipment supplied and used consistently throughout the War for Independence. Utensils
such as pans, skillets, gridirons, and broilers were largely confined to garrisons or stationary camps,
though some were occasionally carried by troops on campaign.

Continental Army or militia soldier ready to march, carrying a sheet-iron camp kettle. Brush
hut (wigwam) used as shelter can be seen in the background.
(Author’s photo, Historic Stagville, Durham, N.C., April 1997.)

41
Images of Military Cook Fires (Recreated)

Above: Bordentown kitchen, June 1997
Below: Earthen camp kitchen, Monmouth Battlefield, June 2003

42
(Above and below) Earthen kitchen, Brandywine State Park, September 2010

43
Above: Camp kitchen fireplace, Brandywine State Park, September 2010.

Continental soldiers cooking on an earthen camp kitchen. Detail from C.W. Peale’s
portrait of Pennsylvania Colonel Walter Stewart. The pictured camp was likely sketched in
spring 1781 when the Pennsylvania regiments were stationed in Lancaster, Pa. (Peale’s bill
for the camp sketch was dated 23 May 1781). Edward W. Richardson, Standards and
Colors of the American Revolution (Philadelphia, Pa., 1982), 219.

44
Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of Pennsylvania Colonel Walter Stewart. The pictured
camp was likely sketched in spring 1781 when the Pennsylvania regiments were stationed
in Lancaster, Pa. (Peale’s bill for the camp sketch was dated 23 May 1781). Edward W.
Richardson, Standards and Colors of the American Revolution (Philadelphia, Pa., 1982),
219.

45
Soldiers of Capt. Andrew Fitch’s company, 4th Connecticut Regiment, in their mess groups
preparing an evening meal. (Model Company event, Putnam Park, Redding, Ct., 25 to 27
September 2009. Photograph courtesy of the Model Company.
http://www.fortticonderoga.org/learn/re-enactors/model_company

Cooking on fire pit coals by ladies of the Grenadiers of Virginia (as portrayed by the Augusta County
Militia and friends), “The Hook,” Gloucester, Virginia, September 19-20, 2013.

46
Simple food preparation in the field, camp kettles and small fry pan cooking on the coals,
and slabs of wood used as working surfaces for meat cutting.
Capt. Jonathan Phillips’ company, 2d New Jersey Regiment, June 1778.
Recreated by the Augusta County Militia (including members of the Queen’s Own Loyal
Virginia Regiment) for Monmouth Battlefield, June 2013.

47
Corporal, Capt. David Fitch’s company, 4th Connecticut Regiment, carrying a tin mess kettle,
Monmouth Campaign. "’Order out of confusion’: Marching to Monmouth Courthouse”
special event, June 24-26, 2016.

48
Dunlap's Partisan Corps (portrayed by the Augusta County Militia), on the march. Soldier
in the center is carrying a mess kettle. On the left the man in the dark coat has another
kettle in a shoulder bag. Picquet post event, Brandywine State Park, 24-26 September 2010.

Three examples of soldiers’ cook fires. Plate 3 is the most recognizable, being a simple
arrangement of forked sticks holding a cross–member from which kettles were hung. Plate 2 seems
to show a pit sunk into the ground, with a fire pit at the bottom, and a kettle hung from the top.
The firepit in plate 4 is dug into in a raised mound of dirt, similar to the fireplaces in an earthen
kitchen Was ist jedem Officier waehrend eines Feldzugs zu wissen noethig (trans., "What it is
necessary for each officer to know during a campaign") (Carlsruhe, 1788), Mit zehen Kupferplatten
(trans. "with ten copper plates")

49
“The Engines of War”
Capt. Jonathan Phillips’ company, 2d New Jersey Regiment, June 1778.
Monmouth Battlefield, June 2013.

50
Acknowledgements

My thanks go to the many people who contributed to this article. Charles Beale, Patrick M. Cunningham,
John R. Elting, Fred Gaede, Peter Goebel, Justin Grabowski, Rick Guthrie, Daniel Joyce, Charles and Sarah
LeCount, Donald Londahl-Smidt, George C. Neumann, Susan McLellan Plaisted, Gregory Theberge,
Michael Thompson, Mike Twist, and Donald Wickman all provided valuable assistance and/or information.
James Campbell of the Fortress of Louisbourg NHS (Parks Canada Agency) kindly provided information on
the Louisbourg kettle and worked out construction details of the artifact by telephone and letter with myself
and Peter Goebel. Peter Copeland has been kind enough to allow me the use of his artwork in this and past
articles. Ross Hamel's advice, original artwork, and photography were invaluable in bringing the subject to
life. James Kochan provided the original impetus with his discovery of documents pertaining to the 1782
kettles. Linnea Bass kindly gave me hard-to-find material showing equipment issues to the British Guards
Regiments over a period of years. Special thanks go to Stephen Gilbert and Marko Zlatich, without whose
help the wide range of material on tin and sheet-iron kettles could not have been properly dicussed. Marko
pointed the way to a large treasure-trove of additional information on the 1782 kettles, and provided several
documents from his research collection. Steve Gilbert's collection of information on British kettles, and the
material he gathered on early-war kettles, filled in many blank spots, and saved a lot of research time.
Thanks to Steve, I was able to concentrate on collating the various materials and writing the narrative.
Finally, I am grateful to Sandra Oliver, my good friend and editor of Food History News, who gave me the
impetus for further research into soldiers' foodways.

(Author may be contacted at ju_rees@msn.com. A number of articles are available online at
www.revwar75.com/library/rees/ and http://www.scribd.com/jrees_10 )

51
Addendum

“Iron pots,” “Spiders,” and Tea Kettles:
Cooking and Eating Utensils in Sullivan’s Brigade, 1776

The article "'To subsist an Army well ...': Soldiers' Cooking Equipment, Provisions, and Food
Preparation During the American War for Independence” (MC&H, vol. 53, no. 1 (Spring 2001),
7-23) focused largely on cooking utensils, emphasizing that tin or sheet-iron kettles
predominated in the armies. Heavier cast-iron pots are known to have been issued to Continental
troops early in the war (1775-1776), but here we have evidence of just how prevalent they were
at the time.

A return of Camp Utensils in four Regts in Genl Sullivans Brigade 66
Wooden
Iron plates & Tea
pots Kettles Pails platters Bowls Canteens Spiders Kettles

Vizt in Colo Starks Regt 65 36 42 79

Do Colo Nixons 80 64 97 163 2

Do Colo Poors 89 35 64 183 83 4 2

Do Colo Reeds 107 48 114 44 1

Do Brigade Store 1 3 1 3 1 1 1

Whole Number 336 74 219 183 293 291 5 6

A true Return as recd. from the QMr of each Regt – Attestd N Norton [illegible letters]

Majr Frazier at Boston
E[rrors] Excepted
March 24th 1776 Jno. G. Frazer AQMG

Compare that return with cooking and eating utensils in the store at Medford, Massachusetts,
in a listing dated 25 March 1776: 11 “Potts,” 0 kettles, 4 “Spiders” (frying pans with three legs),
1 skillet, 1 “Stewpan,” 1 frying pan, 2 tea kettles, 12 wooden bowls, 2 canteens, 1 “Cheese
Toaster,” 1 grid iron, 1 ladle, and 1 flesh fork. The frying pans, tea kettles, skillet, stew pan,
toaster, and grid iron would have been reserved for the officers of the brigade.67
The size of the iron pots in Sullivan’s Brigade is not known, but perhaps the ones procured by
Connecticut give some indication. During the 1776 campaigns around New York, Connecticut
militia troops (including Joseph Plumb Martin, author of Private Yankee Doodle) carried heavy
cooking gear. In October, with many troops already in the field and supplies of light-weight kettles
strained to the utmost, the Connecticut Assembly decided to gather additional supplies, including
"for the use of the militia ... when called into actual service … two thousand Iron Pots containing
two gallons each ..."68

52
“Two brass kettles, to contain ten gallons each … for each company …”
Brass and Copper Kettles

A private of the Delaware Battalion of the Flying Camp, 1776, carrying a brass kettle. Such
receptacles were occasionally used by soldiers in the militia and Continental Army, though
cast-iron, and especially tin or sheet-iron camp kettles, were more commonly used during the
War for Independence. (Courtesy of the artist, Peter F. Copeland.)

After this article was originally published in 2001, the caption for the above image noted the
soldier was carrying a cast-iron pot. Soon after Neal L. Trubowitz, Ph.D., Hrdy Visiting Research
Curator, Harvard University Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, wrote to point out
that the pictured utensil "is probably a brass or copper kettle ..." He went on to say, "Copeland very
precisely illustrated the bail attachment [i.e., lug] on the pot. The bail is attached with two rivets.
Such single eye bails were riveted onto brass or copper pots and pails, not on cast-iron, as the rivet

53
holes would create stress and fracture points on the iron vessel."
Dr. Trubowitz noted that "Such brass containers were very important in the fur trade with Native
Americans, and were certainly available to the military." He also tells of finding lugs and other
brass kettle pieces at various 18th century sites, particularly referring to artifacts discovered at Fort
Michilimackinac, pictured in Lyle Stone's Fort Michilimackinac, 1715-1781: An Archaeological
Perspective on the Revolutionary Frontier.69
Found at that site were seven copper bails, fifteen complete rectangular copper lugs (out of sixty-
five copper kettle fragments), five "rectangular to elongate" sheet-iron lugs, two cast- or sheet-iron
"eared" or "winged" shaped lugs, two cast-brass lugs, and sixty-five cast-iron kettle fragments; no
complete kettles were unearthed. The fact that the fort had been in use since 1715 could be one
reason for so many copper kettle artifacts; from the few references I have seen it seems that before
circa 1750 military units serving in America commonly used both copper and brass kettles. Lyle
Stone, too, notes that brass and copper kettles were important Native American trade items; the fact
that Fort Michilimackinac was a frontier post may also account for the great number of copper
kettle pieces. By way of comparison, among the artifacts excavated at Fort Stanwix (occupied for
25 years, 1758 to 1781), were one brass pot lid, two brass kettles, and sixty-nine cast-iron kettle
fragments of varying size. The smaller incidence of brass kettles at that post may be an indication
that the Indian trade was less of a factor than at Michilimackinac.70
Some mention is made of copper and brass cooking kettles being used by, and/or issued to, troops
on both sides in the War for Independence. Here are several excerpts which have been brought to
my attention; excepting one, all are from the war's first two years. A "List of Camp Necessaries for
the 17th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons" includes fifty "Copper Kettles and Bags." This is actually a
pre-war document; the 17th, a British unit, did not reach Boston until May 1775. On the American
side, in August of the same year Colonel Alexander McDougall of New York recommended "that
two brass kettles, to contain ten gallons each, be provided for each company of the troops raised in
this colony ..." Whether his plan was ever adopted is not known.71
Other sources emphasize the fact that such kettles were used by the armies only in the breach, and
were often taken or borrowed from local residents. At Montreal in March 1776 "W.V. Wemple,
Sen., Surgeon to General Hospital" submitted a "Receipt of Goods taken from Bernard & Co.,"
local merchants. Dr. Wemple "Received of Major Nicholson three copper camp-kettles ... for the
use of the Continental Hospital, by order of General Wooster." In autumn 1776, after hearing of
equipment losses incurred during the setbacks around New York, Major General Artemas Ward
notified George Washington, "Sir: Having been informed that the army was in great want to
cooking utensils, and there being fifty-five copper camp-kettles and twenty iron pots and kettles in
the store here [i.e., Boston], I have this day sent them forward ..." And, finally, Massachusetts
militiaman Ebenezer Fox told of stopping at a farm in 1779, "and having borrowed a large brass
kettle, emptied the contents of the knapsacks into it ... and soon converted the heterogeneous mass
into what we called a chicken soup ..."72
In closing, the Copeland illustration caption mistake could have been avoided had I not been so
focused on tin, sheet-iron, and cast-iron kettles, especially since Donald Holst's accompanying text
specifically states that the pictured kettle is of brass. On the other hand military use of brass and
copper kettles during the Revolutionary period, while important to note, was the exception rather
than the rule, even among militia units.

54
Many thanks to Stephen R. Gilbert, Gilbert V. Riddle, and Neal L. Trubowitz for information on
brass and copper kettles.

Endnotes

1. "The Instruction of Frederick the Great for His Generals," written by Frederick in 1747, when
still a Prince, at age 35. First printed in English in 1762 under the title "Military Instructions by the
King of Prussia," Thomas R. Phillips, Brig. Gen., ed., Roots of Strategy (Harrisburg, PA, 1985),
172, 323. Other military commanders stated their thoughts on food and food supply. Few quotations
are better known than, "An army marches on its stomach," which, though apocryphal, is attributed
to Napoleon I, Emperor of France. The Roman Vegetius wrote, "An army unsupplied with grain
and other necessary provisions will be vanquished without striking a blow." In his Instructions,
Frederick the Great of Prussia noted, "Understand that the foundation of an army is the belly. It is
necessary to procure nourishment for the soldier wherever you assemble him and wherever you
wish to conduct him. This is the primary duty of a general." And Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of
Wellington, one of the victors at Waterloo, paid tribute to food and military logistics in his Spanish
campaigns when he said, "It is very necessary to attend to detail, and to trace a biscuit from Lisbon
into a man's mouth on the frontier, and to provide for its removal from place to place, by land and
by water, or no military operations can be carried on." "An army marches on its stomach," is
attributed to Napoleon I, Emperor of France (d. 1821), but probably condensed from a long passage
in E.A. de La Cases Memorial de Ste-Helene (1823) vol. 4, 14 November 1816. Also attributed to
Frederick the Great of Prussia, in Notes and Queries, 10 March 1866, 196, The Oxford Dictionary
of Quotations (Revised fourth edition, Oxford and New York, 1996), 490. Flavius Vegetius
Renatus (Vegetius), "The Military Institutions of the Romans (De Re Militari)," book III (written in
the reign of Emperor Valentinian II or III), Phillips, Roots of Strategy, 172, 323. Vincent J Esposito
and John Robert Elting, A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars (New York and
Washington, 1978), Wellington quote on page prior to map 84.
2. Henry Knox to Washington, 24 March 1781, George Washington Papers, Presidential Papers
Microfilm (Washington, 1961), series 4, reel 76.
3. James Abeel Receipt Book 1778-1779, Manuscript Collection of Morristown National Historical
Park Collection (microfilm edition), reel 1, entry 656.
4. Charles E. Hanson, Jr., "Sheet Iron Kettles," The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly, vol. 28,
no. 1 (Spring 1992), 2-6. This article discusses the use of sheet-iron kettles by both soldiers and
civilians from the late-18th century to the mid-19th century.
5. Account and Receipt of Samuel Cornell, 27 June 1771 The Correspondence of William Tryon
and Other Selected Papers, ed. William S. Powell, vol. 2 (Raleigh North Carolina Division of
Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1981), 794.
6. John Robinson to Messrs. Mure & Company, 20 December 1776, Great Britain, Public Record
Office, Treasury, Class 27, General Letter Books (Out-Letters), vol. 31 (T27/31). Jenkinson to
Gloucester, 21 December 1778, ibid., War Office, Class 4, vol. 104, 421. ibid., Colonial Office,
Class 5, vol. 171, 16. Leonard Morse to William Knox, 1 February 1780, ibid., War Office, Class

55
34, vol. 232, 367-370. "Return of Tents, and Camp Necessaries, Shipped on board the Fanny
Transport, and compleated 7th March 1781, for His Majesty's British Forces in North America,
under the Command of General Sir Henry Clinton," ibid., War Office, Class 4, vol. 275, 90.
William L. Stone, ed. and trans., Journal of Captain Pausch, Chief of the Hanau Artillery During
the Burgoyne Campaign (Albany, N.Y., 1886), 32.
7. Joseph Plumb Martin, Private Yankee Doodle: A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers
and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier (New York, 1962), 51, 81.
8. Mark Hutter, "Supplying Virginia's Regiments," The Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter, vol. 17,
no. 2 (Summer 1996), p. 17. John Townsley to Council of Safety, 3 February 1776, William Hande
Browne, ed., "Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety August 29, 1775-July
6, 1776", Archives of Maryland, vol. XI (Baltimore, 1892), 138.
9. Force, American Archives, series 4, vol. VI (1846), 1707. ibid., series 5, vol. I (1848), 188.
10. Pickering to Washington, 9 June 1778, GW Papers, series 4, reel 49.
11. Samuel Miles, D.Q.M., to Pickering, 21 February 1781, Miscellaneous Numbered Records (The
Manuscript File) in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records 1775-1790's, no.
24506 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M859, reel 84) U.S. War Department Collection
of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93, Washington. Samuel Ogden to Pickering, 8 May
1782, ibid., reel 88, no. 25500. Melville J. Boyer, ed., "The Letter Book of Jacob Weiss,"
Proceedings of the Lehigh County Historical Society, Vol. 21 (September, 1956), 124.
12. Timothy Pickering, "Estimate of Camp Equipage intended for a Regiment of Infantry", 31
January 1782, target 4, Numbered Record Books Concerning Military Operations and Service, Pay
and Settlement Accounts, and Supplies in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War
Records (National Archives Microfilm Publication M853, reel 29) Record Group 93, NA.
Pickering to Walker, 22 March 1783, GW Papers, series 4, reel 91.
13. Pickering to Samuel Ogden, 30 April 1782, Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 83, reel 26, 252-253.
Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26 June 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, NA, reel 87, no. 25345.
14. Journals of the Provincial Congress of New York, vol. I (Albany, 1842), 324. Peter Force,
American Archives, series 5, vol. I (Washington, 1848), 1344.
15. "A Return for Stores Wanting on [Board?] Gundalo Providence ...," 3 August 1776, Misc. Nod.
Records, NA, reel 69, no. 21134. Philip K. Lundeberg, The Gunboat Philadelphia and the Defense
of Lake Champlain in 1776 (Basin Harbor, VT, 1995), 36-43. See Howard P. Hoffman, Ship Plan,
Gondola Philadelphia, drawing no. 00122, sheet 13 of 16, Anchors, Fireplace and Cooking
Utensils, Division of Armed Forces History (Naval Section), National Museum of American
History, Smithsonian Institution. Harold L. Peterson, The Book of the Continental Soldier
(Harrisburg, PA, 1968), 147-148. George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic, Collector's Illustrated
Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (Harrisburg, PA, 1975), 91. George C. Neumann to John
U. Rees, 6 May 1997 (letter, author's collection). Most of the articles described as coming from the
Philadelphia are at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.. The three-legged fry pan is in a
private collection.
16. Force, American Archives, series 5, vol. I (1848), 294.
17. "Return of all Public Property in the Quarter Masters Department with the Southern Army,"
31 August 1781, Misc. Nod. Records, Natl. Archives, reel 94, no. 27556. There is some contention
regarding just what the appellation “dutch oven” referred to in the parlance of America in the

56
1770’s and ‘80’s. Metalsmith and researcher T.W. Moran contends that at the time of the
Revolution, “Dutch Oven” did not refer to cast-iron bake kettles, but tin reflector ovens (“tin
kitchen”). A search through the Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, collection of books dealing with
metal working and metal goods, indicated that “the terms ‘Dutch oven,’ ‘hastener’ and ‘tin
kitchen’ were synonymous in the 18th and earlier centuries.” Whether this is true for the Dutch
ovens listed in the August 1781 Southern Army return is unknown. It is curious that this
document is the only one found mentioning Dutch ovens, perhaps because of different supply
sources or local southern practices. T.W. Moran, “Reflector Ovens,” ALHFAM Bulletin
(Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums), vol. XXXII, no. 3 (Fall 2002),
16-17.
18. Neumann and Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia, 92, 94. Peterson, Book of the Continental
Soldier, 148-149. William Louis Calver and Reginald Pelham Bolton, History Written With Pick and
Shovel (New York, 1950), 216. Charles Knowles Bolton, The Private Soldier Under Washington
(Williamstown, MA, 1976), 82-83. Dan L. Morrill, Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution
(Baltimore, 1993), 148-149. 27 July 1777 entry, John Chilton's Diary (captain, 3rd Virginia Regiment),
Keith Family Papers, 1710-1916, Virginia Historical Society. Lloyd A. Brown and Howard H. Peckham,
eds., Revolutionary War Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1775-1783 (Chicago: The Caxton Club,
1939; reprinted Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, Inc., 1994), 123-125. Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26
June 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, Natl. Archives, reel 87, no. 25345; document courtesy of Marko Zlatich.
Pickering to Captain Walker, 22 March 1783, George Washington Papers, Presidential Papers Microfilm
(Washington: Library of Congress, 1961), series 4, reel 91.
19. Charles Stedman, The History of the Origin, Progress and Termination of the American War, vol. 2
(two vols.; Dublin: privately printed, 1794), 225. See also Roger Lamb, soldier in the 23rd Regiment,
who noted converting canteens into rasps during Cornwallis' southern campaign: "Sometimes we had
turnips served out for our food, when we came to a turnip field, or arriving at a field of corn, we
converted our canteens into rasps and ground our Indian corn for bread, with our lean beef." Don N.
Hagist, A British Soldier's Story: Roger Lamb's Narrative of the American Revolution" (Baraboo, Wi.:
Ballindalloch Press, 2004), 90.
20. John Robert Shaw, The Life and Travels of John Robert Shaw, the Well-Digger, Now
Resident in Lexington, Kentucky (Lexington, 1807; reprinted, Louisville: George Fowler, 1930),
68. Roger Lamd, 23d Regiment, "Sometimes we had turnips served out for our food, when we
came to a turnip field; or arriving at a field of corn, we converted our canteens into rasps and
ground our Indian corn for bread; when we could get no Indian corn, we were compelled to eat
liver as a substitute for bread, with our lean beef. In all this his lordship participated, nor did he
indulge himself even in the distinction of a tent; but in all things partook our sufferings, and
seemed much more to feel for us than for himself.” Roger Lamb, An Original and Authentic
Journal of Occurrences during the late American War, from it’s Commencement to the Year
1783 (Dublin, 1809; reprint, New York: The New York Times and Arno Press, 1968), 381.
21. Nathan Davis account (1st New Hampshire Regiment), supporting deposition for William
Morris pension file (S1061), ”At the place called Tioga Point, we built a fort and left the women and sick
with a guard, with two brass field pieces and two howitzers. We then proceeded into the Indian Country
where we destroyed their towns, orchards and cornfields. The Indian corn was very large, & our soldiers
made corn meal of it by grating it on the outsides of old camp kettles which they first perforated with
bayonets.” (National Archives Microfilm Publication M804, 2,670 rolls, roll 1772) Revolutionary War
Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900, Record Group 15; National Archives

57
Building, Washington, D.C. Davis gave a longer recounting in Pliny H. White, “History of the
Expedition against the Five Nations, Commanded by General Sullivan, in 1779,” The Historical
Magazine, and Notes and Queries, concerning the Antiquities, History and Biography of
America, vol. III, second series (Morrisania, N.Y.: Henry B. Dawson, 1868), 203-205:
“It may now, perhaps, be proper to notice our manner of livelyhood. Whilst marching in the wilderness,
as before observed, we had only half our allowance of provisions, which was one half pound of flour, and
one half pound of fresh beef, or rather an apology for beef, as our cattle had become intolerably poor, in
consequence of constant driving. When we came to an Indian town, we had neither meal nor flour, but
only a trifle of salt. When we first came to the Indian towns, their corn was suitable to boil or roast; of
course we had plenty of succotash. When the corn became too mature for this, we converted some old tin
kettles found in the Indian settlements, into large graters, and obliged every fourth man, not on guard, to
sit up all night, and grate corn, which would make meal, something like hominy. This meal was mixed
with boild squash or pumpkin, when hot, and kneaded into cakes, and baked by the fire. This bread,
coarse as it was, relished well among soldiers fatigued with daily marches through the wilderness, and I
very much doubt, whether one of them would have allowed George III. one morsel of it, to have saved
him from the lock-jaw. When we left Tioga Point, we left the principal part of our clothing, by general
order. We were not allowed any clothing besides what we wore, with the exception of one spare shirt.
Our clothing consisted of a short rifle frock, vest, tow trousers, shoes, stockings, and blanket. Marching
nearly the whole time in the woods, among the thick underbrush, it may well be supposed that we had
little left of our clothing, on our return to the garrison. Our feet were many of them bare and bleeding. I
shall ever remember my own situation at this period. Destitute of shoes, and almost destitute of
pantaloons, we encamped one night on an open ground, covered with wild grass. In the morning, the
ground was covered with frost. Going some forty or fifty rods for water to boil my half pound of beef,
Lieutenant Thomas Blake, of our Company, observed my situation, went to his portmanteau, took out a
pair of shoes and a pair of pantaloons, and kindly presented them to me.”
22. Martin, Private Yankee Doodle, 43, 76.
23. Jonathan Todd to his father, 9 November 1777, Todd was surgeon's mate in Colonel Heman Swift's 7th
Connecticut Regt., Jonathan Todd, letters, 1777-1778, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty - Land -
Warrant Application Files, National Archives Microfilm Publication M804, reel 2395. "Journal of Ebenezer
Wild," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd series, vol. VI (Boston, 1891), 103-104.
Martin, Private Yankee Doodle, 97.
24. Ibid., 43, 103. Robert C. Bray and Paul E. Bushnell, eds., Diary of a Common Soldier in the American
Revolution: An Annotated Edition of the Military Journal of Jeremiah Greenman, (DeKalb, Il., 1978), 73-
74.
25. H.G. Mitchell, ed., "A Massachusetts Soldier in the Revolution. By Park Holland," New
England Magazine, New Series, vol. 20, March-August 1899 (Boston: Warren F. Kellogg,
Publisher, 1899), 323-324.
26. M.M. Quaife, ed., "Documents - A Boy Soldier Under Washington: The Memoir of Daniel Granger",
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XVI, 4 (March 1930), 546. Force, American Archives, series 5, vol.
III (1853), 453. 31 December 1778, James Abeel Receipt Book 1778-1779, Morristown NHP Collection,
reel 1, entry 656. 6 September, 5 October, 2 November 1779, Returns for Captain Maxwell's Company
commanded by Col. John Bailey (2nd Mass. Regt.) 1775-1780, Folder 8E-10, WARS 8 VI, The Revolution,
Box 5, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Historic Deerfield Massachusetts. Timothy Pickering to
Washington (with enclosed memorandum), 14 January 1781, Washington Papers, series 4, reel 74.
Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26 June 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, Natl. Archives, reel 87, no. 25345.
27. Blank regimental ledger, 1 September 1779, Josiah Harmar Papers (microfilm edition, reel 10),

58
William L. Clements Library, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor. "Plan for the Cloathing of the Infantry,"
1779, GW Papers, series 4, reel 63. “Estimate of Articles to be imported in the Department of the Board
of War & Defence,” June 1779, The Papers of the Continental Congress 1774-1789, (National Archives
Microfilm Publication M247 reel 158); Record Group (RG) 360, National Archives (NA), Washington,
DC, 1958: vol. 3, 424, 434-435). "Estimate of Necessaries Requisite for an Army of 40,000 Men,"
[1781?], and "Estimate of Stores &ca. for an Army of Twenty five thousand Men so far as concerns the
Quarter Master Generals Department," [1781?], Numbered Record Books Concerning Military
Operations and Service, Pay and Settlement of Accounts, and Supplies in the War Department Collection
of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93, National Archives Microfilm Publications M853
(Washington, DC, 1973: vol. 103, reel 29, targets 2 and 4).
28. 10 June 1779, James Abeel Receipt Book 1778–1779, Lloyd W. Smith Collection, 69 reels, Morristown
National Historic Park, reel 1, entry 656; 6 September, 5 October, 2 November 1779, Returns for Captain
Maxwell's Company commanded by Col. John Bailey (2d Mass. Regt.) 1775–1780, Folder 8E–10, WARS 8
VI, The Revolution, Box 5, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Historic Deerfield Massachusetts; "A
Return of Quarter–Master–General's Stores in The Brigades at West Point & Constitution Island," 1 August
1779, and "A Return of Quarter–Master–General's Stores in the Second Pennsylvania Brigade... at Camp
West Point," 4 August 1779, Papers of the Continental Congress (NA Microfilm Publication M247, vol. 3,
reel 192, 3, 145, 153). A number of other returns emphasize shortfalls in army–issue eating utensils:
“A Return of officers and men Camp Equipage now Present in the 1st. Penna. Brigade Commanded by Coln.
William Irvine” [included the 1st, 2d, 7th, and 10th Pennsylvania Regiments. The original return is broken down by
regiment.]
June 3, 1778
Field Officers 10
Commissioned Officers 79
Staff Officers 14
Non Commissioned Officers 111
Rank and File 729
Wooden Bowls 4
Camp Kettles 128 (kettles sufficient for 768 common soldiers in six–man messes)
“A Return of officers and men Camp Equipage now Present in the 1st. Penna. Brigade Commanded by Coln. William
Irvine” (Included the 1st, 2d, 7th, and 10th Pennsylvania Regiments. The original return is broken down by regiment.)
Thomas Alexander, Brigade Quartermaster, 3 June 1778, Irvine Family Papers, 1777–1869, no. 1743A, Historical
Society of Pennsylvania. (Courtesy of Joseph Lee Boyle)

59
"A General Return of Stores in The Quarter Master General's Department with the Army under the Command of ...
Major General John Sullivan on the Western Expedition Fort Sullivan, Tioga," 21 August 1779.
Unit strength August 1779:
Present Officers N.C.O.'s and Privates
Fit for Duty and Staff Present, Fit for Duty
Maxwell's Brigade 1225 83 1142
(1st, 2d, 3d New Jersey Regiments, and Spencer’s Additional Regiment)
Poor's Brigade 1049 85 964
(1st, 2d, 3d New Hampshire Regiments, 2d New York Regiment)
Hand's Brigade 800 66 754
(4th and 11th Pennsylvania Regiments, German Regiment, Morgan’s Rifle Corps,
Schott’s Rifle Corps)
Procter's Artillery 147 16 131
(4th Battalion, Continental Artillery)

Camp
Kettles Bowls
with Camp Iron and
Covers Kettles Cups Dishes Canteens
Maxwell's Brigade 184 26 80 957
Poor's Brigade 213 19 869
Hand's Brigade 109 555
Proctor's Artillery 13 39 180
Thomas Armstrong to Nathanael Greene, 21 August 1779, "A General Return of Stores in The Quarter Master General's
Department with the Army under the Command of ... Major General John Sullivan on the Western Expedition Fort
Sullivan, Tioga," Miscellaneous Numbered Records (National Archives Microfilm Publication M859, reel 94), no.
27523; Charles H. Lesser, Sinews of Independence: Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army (Chicago, Il. and
London: The University of Chicago Press, 1976), 124–125, July 1779 strength return; 138, Procter's Artillery Battalion
return, October 1779.
"A Return of Quarter–Master–General's Stores in The Brigades at West Point & Constitution Island," 1 August 1779.
Col. Clark’s North Carolina Brigade (1st and 2d NC)
(126 officers, 541 rank and file present, fit for duty; 128 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
122 camp kettles

Col. Bailey’s 4th Massachusetts Brigade (2d, 8th, 9th, Mass.)
(164 officers, 628 rank and file present, fit for duty; 229 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
136 camp kettles
19 wooden bowls
30 iron cups

General Patterson’s Brigade (10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, Mass.)
(223 officers, 981 rank and file present, fit for duty; 147 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
174 camp kettles
64 wooden bowls
32 iron cups
"A Return of Quarter–Master–General's Stores in The Brigades at West Point & Constitution Island," 1 August 1779,
Papers of the Continental Congress (NA Microfilm Publication M247, vol. 3, reel 192, 3, 145, 153).

60
“Return of the Pennsylvania Division in the service of the United States, Commanded by The Honble Major General
Arthur St: Clair. October 1st. 1779.”
4,032 rank and file (not including officers, staff, and non–commissioned officers)
covered kettles 60 good
common kettles 389 good, 41 wanting repair
bowls 51 good, 5 wanting repair
spoons 84 good
“Return of the Pennsylvania Division in the service of the United States, Commanded by The Honble Major General
Arthur St: Clair. October 1st. 1779.” (Transcribed by Mathew Grubel, 6 October 2003, from photostats in the
collections of Morristown National Historical Park filed under United States Army, Returns. Original manuscripts at
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.)
3d, 5th, 6th, 9th Pennsylvania Regiments, plus “Brigadier and others.”
The brigade returned 4 covered camp kettles (two with the 5th Regiment, two with the brigadier general), 196 camp
kettles (61 (3d), 48 (5th), 41 (6th), 44 (9th), and two with the “Brigadier and others”), 36 wooden bowls (10, 17, 2, 6),
and 20 iron spoons (12, –, –, 8).
Total brigade strength was:
3d (55 officers, 240 rank and file present, fit for duty; 80 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
5th (51 officers, 201 rank and file present, fit for duty; 78 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
6th (41 officers, 162 rank and file present, fit for duty; 42 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
9th (40 officers, 138 rank and file present, fit for duty; 51 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
"A Return of Quarter–Master–General's Stores in the Second Pennsylvania Brigade ... at Camp West Point," 4 August
1779
Papers of the Continental Congress (NA Microfilm Publication M247, vol. 3, reel 192, 3, 145, 153); Lesser, Sinews of
Independence: Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army, 124, July 1779 return.
“Return of Quarter–Master General Stores on hand in the first Connecticut Brigade Commanded by J Huntington
B.G.,” “Camp Highlands,” 25 May 1781.
1st. Regiment (45 officers, 147 rank and file present, fit for duty; 224 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
42 camp kettles
7 wooden bowls

3d Regiment (42 officers, 187 rank and file present, fit for duty; 144 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
73 camp kettles
18 wooden bowls
1 iron pot
1 brass kettle

5th Regiment (39 officers, 118 rank and file present, fit for duty; 177 rank & file sick, on command, and on furlough)
54 camp kettles
23 wooden bowls

B[rigadier]. & staff
4 camp kettles
“Return of Quarter–Master General Stores on hand in the first Connecticut Brigade Commanded by J Huntington B.G.,”
“Camp Highlands,” 25 May 1781, Miscellaneous Numbered Records (National Archives Microfilm Publication M859,
reel 94), no. 27553; Lesser, Sinews of Independence: Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army, 202, May
1781 return.
29. Edwin M. Stone, The Life and Recollections of John Howland, late President of the Rhode
Island Historical Society (Providence: George H. Whitney, 1857), 66 (World Wide Web),
http://tiny.cc/7THqK .

61
30. John Greenwood, "Memoirs of the Life of the late Mr. John Greenwood, Mechanical and
Surgeon Dentist, of New-York City: Compiled by E. Bryan," The American Journal of Dental
Science, devoted to Original Articles, reviews of Dental Publications; the latest Improvements in
Surgical and Mechanical Dentistry, and Biographical Sketches of distinguished Dentists (Kelley
and Fraetas, Printers, New York, 1839), 103 (Google Books). The unit he belonged to is
identified on page 99; major of his regiment was Henry Sherburne, his captain was Thomas
Theodore Bliss, 15th Continental Regiment.
31. “Letters of General William Irvine to his Family ... Mrs. Ann Irvine, Carlisle, Penn,” The
Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries, vol. VII (New York: Trubner and Co., 1863), 81-
82 (Google Books).
32. Thomas Tallow (Tulloh), pension application (W6334), transcribed by Will Graves.
http://revwarapps.org/w6334.pdf, Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements
& Rosters, (World Wide Web) http://www.southerncampaign.org/pen/
33. Park Holland, “A Visit to Judge Stephen Jones, at Machias, 1784,” The Bangor Historical
Magazine, vol. IV (July, 1888-June, 1889), Joseph W. Porter, editor and publisher (Bangor, Me.:
Benjamin A. Burr, 1888-1889), 104 (Google Books).
34. Jeffrey H. Fiske and Sally Ostergard Fiske, eds., Journal of Park Holland: Soldier of the
Revolution and Shays’ Rebellion, Maine Surveyor, and Early Penobscot Settler (New Braintree,
Ma.: Towtaid, 2000), 16, 17. Examples of available dishes, bowls, and plates of the Revolutionary
era are pictured in George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic, Collector’s Illustrated Encyclopedia
of the American Revolution (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1975), 110–114.
35. Henry Fanning Watson, Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, in the Olden Time ..., two
Volumes, vol. II (Philadelphia: Baird and King, Printers, 1850), 321.
36. James K. Hosmer, Samuel Adams (Boston and New York: The University Press Cambridge,
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913), 386. Adams responded to McDougall’s gift on 13 May
1782, “The present you sent me by Maj. Gibbs gratified me exceedingly. I intend to transmit it to
my posterity as a specimen of Spartan frugality in an American general officer. The citizen and
the soldier are called to the exercise of self-denial and patience, and to make the utmost exertions
in support of the great cause we are engaged in.”
37. Kate Mason Rowland, The Life of Charles Carroll of Carrolton 1737 - 1832 with his
Correspondence and Public Papers, vol. I (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1898),
217-218. .
38. 6 September, 5 October, 2 November 1779, Maxwell Company Returns, Historic Deerfield.
Pickering to Samuel Miles, 18 August 1782, Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 84, reel 27, 54-55.
39. Pickering to Walker, 22 March 1783, GW Papers, series 4, reel 91.
23. "large Dining Marque[e] with Double Front" and other equipage received 11 May 1776 from
Plunket Fleeson, Vouchers and Receipted Accounts, GW Papers, series 5, reel 116, vol. 24. Camp
equipage ordered 25 March, 18 April and 3 May 1776, received 11 May 1776, Vouchers and
Receipted Accounts, ibid., series 5, reel 116, vol. 24. Pickering to Aaron Forman, 16 June 1781,
Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 83-85.
24. General Washington's Military Equipment (The Mount Vernon Ladie's Association of the
Union, Mount Vernon, 1963), 20 (including photograph), 26.
25. Almon W. Lauber, ed., Orderly Books of The Fourth New York Regiment, 1778-1780; the

62
Second New York Regiment, 1780-1783, by Samuel Tallmadge and Others with Diaries of Samuel
Tallmadge, 1780-1782, and John Barr, 1779-1782 (Albany, The Univ. of the State of New York,
1932), 90-91. Janet Dempsey, Washington's Last Cantonment (Monroe, NY, 1990), 62. "Estimate
for the Supplies of the Commissioners and their Attendants on their intended Treaty with the
Indians at Sandusky," 1793, Nod. Record Books, NA, reel 29, vol. 148, 130-131.
26. Pickering to Samuel Ogden, 30 April 1782, Pickering to Aaron Forman, 2 May 1782, Nod.
Record Books, NA, vol. 83, reel 26, 252-253, 263-264. Samuel Ogden to Pickering, 8 May 1782,
Misc. Nod. Records, NA, reel 88, no. 25500. Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26 June 1782, ibid., reel
87, no. 25345.
27. Donald Yeates to the Governor and Council, 15 February 1781, J. Hall Pleasants, ed., "Journal
and Correspondence of the State Council of Maryland ... 1781", Archives of Maryland, vol. XLVII
(Baltimore, 1930), 72. Richard [Platt?] to Forman, 26 May 1781, Nod. Record Books, NA, vol.
127, reel 26, 41. "Return of all Public Property belonging to the Quarter Master Generals
Department from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania & with the Main Army", 1781-1782, GW Papers,
series 6C, reel 118.
28. Force, American Archives, series 5, vol I (1848), 662-663, and vol. II (1851), pp. 585-586.
William Bell Clark, William James Morgan, and Michael Crawford, eds., Naval Documents of the
American Revolution, vol. 3 (Washington, 1996), 69-71.
29. British Treasury "Warrant for Payment," 30 April 1776, GB/PRO, Treasury Office, Class 52,
vol. 64, 301. "Journal of Stores Issued - kept by George Wray, Royal Artillery Commissary in
Rhode Island," William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, (Mss) items 103, 130.
30. Was ist jedem Officier waehrend eines Feldzugs zu wissen noethig (trans., "What it is necessary
for each officer to know during a campaign") (Carlsruhe, 1788), plate 3, figures 5 and 6.
31. Mark M. Boatner III, Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (New York, 1966), 1230-1231.
32. Pickering to Colonel Miles, 8 June 1781, Peter Anspach to D. Carthy, 17 June 1781, Nod.
Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 60, 86-87.
33. Boatner, Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, 1236-1242.
34. Pickering to Richard Young, 10 September 1781, 8 October 1781, Nod. Record Books, NA,
vol. 82, reel 26, 84-85, 92.
35. "Inspection Return of the second New York Regiment of Foot ... April 1782," Revolutionary
War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives Microfilm Publication M246, Record Group 93, reel 67.
36. James Minor Lincoln, The Papers of Captain Rufus Lincoln of Wareham, Mass. (New York,
1968, reprint of 1904 edition), 125, 136, 138, 143, 154, 162, 172, 175, 176, 197.
37. Pickering to Robert Morris, 29 September 1782, Nod. Record Books, Natl. Archives, vol. 84,
reel 27, 163-164.
38. "Account of camp Kettles recd. from Aaron Forman ADQmr. for the campaign 1782," ibid.,
vol. 103, reel 29, 133.
39. Pickering to Aaron Forman (ADQMr), 18 August 1782, ibid., vol. 84, reel 27, 55. Benjamin
Gilbert to Joseph Dane, 7 July 1782, Gilbert to Daniel Gilbert, 3 October 1782, John Shy, ed.,
Winding Down: The Revolutionary War Letters of Lieutenant Benjamin Gilbert of Massachusetts,
1780-1783 (Ann Arbor, MI, 1989), 60, 70.
40. Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26 June 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, NA, reel 87, item 25345
(Document courtesy of Marko Zlatich). Pickering to Captain Walker, 22 March 1783, GW Papers,

63
series 4, reel 91.
41. John U. Rees, "'... the unreasonable prices extorted ... by the market People': Camp Markets and
the Impact of the Economy," and "'Complaint has been made by many of the Inhabitants ...':
Soldiers' Efforts to Supplement the Ration Issue," Food History News, vol. VII, no. 4 (Spring
1996), 2-3; vol. VIII, no. 2 (Fall 1996), 1-2, 7. Provision returns for Jackson's 9th Massachusetts
Regiment, 21 May to 8 September 1782, Henry Jackson Papers, 1772-1782, Library of Congress,
microfilm edition, no. 17,359, vol. 4, 379-443.
42. Pickering to Captain Walker, 22 March 1783, GW Papers, series 4, reel 91. "Weight of Camp
Kettles [May] .1782.," Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 103, reel 29, 100-101. This document also
related that "The Kettles above referred to [Miles' and Ogden's] would hold on an average nine
quarts"; this would make them about nine inches in height and width.
43. Barrington to John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudon, 30 August 1776, GB\PRO, War Office, Class
4, vol. 98, 121. "Return of Camp Necessaries Shipped on board the William and Elizabeth
Transport Thos. Egger Master for the British Troops on the Coast of the Atlantic Commanded by
General Sir Henry Clinton; Compleated 24th April 1780." ibid., War Office, Class 4, vol. 274, 281-
282. For the other Guards kettle issues, see: "Earl of Loudon ... Camp Necessaries for a detachm of
ye Guards," Warrant for payment from British Treasury, 30 April 1776, GB/PRO, Treasury Office,
Class 52, vol. 64, 301. "List of Articles of Camp Equipage for the British Troops acting in the Field
on the Coast of the Atlantick, over and above the compleat proportion for the Campaign 1778,
already sent or embarked for America 20th. February 1778," ibid., War Office, Class 4, vol. 274,
59. "Return of Camp Necessaries &c Shipped on Board the Juliana & Grand Duke Transports for
the Army in North America Commanded by General Sir Henry Clinton 1st March 1779," ibid.,
War Office, Class 4, vol. 274, 183-184.
44. Martin, Private Yankee Doodle, 51, 81. 27 July 1777, John Chilton's Diary, Virginia Historical
Society.
45. After orders, 4 July 1777, John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the
Original Manuscript Sources 1745-1799, vol. 8 (Washington, 1933), 345-348. General orders, 19
June 1778, ibid., vol. 12 (1934), 93-94. General orders, 19 June 1781, ibid., vol. 22 (1937), 233.
46. John Robinson to Messrs. Mure & Company, 20 December 1776, GB\PRO, Treasury, Class 27,
General Letter Books (Out-Letters), vol. 31 (T27/31). "The Journal of Ensign Thomas Glyn, 1st
Regiment of Foot Guards, on American Service with the Brigade of Guards, 1776-1777," Princeton
University Library collections, Mss transcribed by Linnea M. Bass. GB\ PRO, War Office, Class 4,
vol. 104, 421. Ibid., Colonial Office, Class 5, vol. 171, 16. See also, John Robinson to General Sir
William Howe, 4 March 1777 (enclosed shipping invoice by Thomas Harley, 19 March 1777, ibid.,
Treasury, Class 64, vol. 106, folio 76, LC Microcopy. Invoice of equipment for the British army
carried in two ships. One vessel, the Howe, had among "the Articles Contained in the Bill of Lading
... 600 Kettles ... 600 Bags ..." The other vessel, the Friendship, carried, among other items, "1000
Kettles ... [and] 1000 Bags ..."
47. British Orderly Book [40th Regiment of Foot] April 20, 1777 to August 28, 1777, GW Papers,
series 6B, vol. 1, reel 117.
48. General orders, 9 January 1781, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 21 (1937), 73-74.
49. Pickering to Washington (with enclosed memorandum), 14 January 1781, GW Papers, series 4,
reel 74.

64
50. Washington to Pickering, 10 February 1781, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 21 (1937), 206. Donald
Yeates to the Governor and Council, 15 February 1781, Pleasants, Archives of Maryland (2), 72.
51. Timothy Pickering, "Proposed distribution of waggons for the campaign 1781," reel 29, target 4,
Nod. Record Books, NA.
"Estimate of Waggons for a regiment of infantry under the new establishment of Octr. 1780",
Timothy Pickering to George Washington, 14 January 1781, GW Papers, series 4, reel 74.
Pickering to Washington (with enclosed memorandum), 14 January 1781, ibid., series 4, reel 74.
52. Ibid.. Pickering to Major Keese, 18 June 1781, Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 88.
53. "Orderly Book: Brigade of Guards. Commencing 29th January 1778," GW Papers, series 6B,
vol. 4, reel 118.
54. Samuel Ogden to Pickering, 8 May 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, NA, reel 88, no. 25500.
Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26 June 1782, ibid., reel 87, no. 25345.
55. "Weight of Camp Kettles [May] .1782.", Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 103, reel 29, 100-101.
This document gives the following specifications:
Mr. Wister, storekeeper to Colo. Miles, DQM for Pennsyla. reported to me that
A Camp kettle 10 1/4 inches high & 10 inches in diameter,
will hold 12 beer quarts -
One 9 1/2 inches high & 9 1/4 inches in diameter
will hold 11 quarts -
One 9 1/4 inches high & 9 1/4 inches in diameter
will hold 9 quarts and one pint.
56. Force, American Archives, series 5, vol. III (1853), 453. Martin, Private Yankee Doodle, 51, 81.
57. Receipt signed "John Vischer Capt," 7 August 1775, 2nd New York Receipts (1775), Henry
Hogart Papers, folder #8, New York State Archives. Artemas Ward to Washington, 6 October 1776
(enclosure with letter), Force, American Archives, series 5, vol. II (1851), 924.
58. Hutter, "Supplying Virginia's Regiments," 17. Pickering to Samuel Ogden, 30 April 1782, Nod.
Record Books, NA, vol. 83, reel 26, 252-253. John Townsley to the Maryland Council of Safety, 3
February 1776, Browne, Archives of Maryland (1), 138.
59. Jim Campbell to John Rees, 26 September 1997 (author's collection). Mary Beacock Fryer,
Battlefields of Canada (Toronto, Canada, and Reading, England, 1986), 34-44.
60. Campbell to Rees, 26 September 1997.
61. Tin Kettle/Pail, Fortress Louisbourg (Catalog No. 16L.92N19.1): Illustration and notes by Alex
Storm, courtesy of the Fortress of Louisbourg, NHS (Parks Canada Agency). Corrections in
construction details courtesy of Jim Campbell and Peter Goebel (letters to John Rees, 6 November
1998 and 2 February 1999).
62. Jacob L. Grimm, Archaeological Investigation of Fort Ligonier 1960-1965, vol. 42 (1970),
Annals of Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, 53-55, 169. It seems reasonable to assume that the
Ligonier artifacts are indeed camp kettles rather than buckets, though there is no single definitive
point indicating a preference for one identification over the other. There are arguments for both.
While both buckets and kettles could be made of tin, it was probably more economical to use wood
for buckets since that material was less expensive and would probably last longer in service;
supporting this was the necessity for making cooking kettles from tin, iron, or brass, while buckets
could be made of either material. Next, the two artifacts in question are of different sizes, one
slightly smaller than the other. This may indicate that they were a related pair, meant to nest

65
together, one inside the other. While buckets may have been made this way to ensure economy of
space in a wagon or storeroom, the ability to nest camp kettles was often done to allow for easier
transportation by hand; on a march one soldier could carry two kettles. Admittedly, since the fort
had no well and water had to be carried from a creek at some distance, it is likely that a large supply
of buckets were used by the garrison, though whether they were made of tin or wood is unknown.
Supporting the simultaneous use of both items is the fact that some units of the Continental Army
had both camp kettles and pails in their possession; an August 1779 return of camp equipage for
Patterson's Massachusetts brigade, the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment, and the 1st North Carolina
Regiment, all stationed at or near West Point, show four hundred thirty-two camp kettles and one
hundred sixty pails spread throughout the units. Again, it is not known if the pails were of tin or
wood. "A Return of Quarter-Master-General's Stores in The Brigades at West Point & Constitution
Island," 1 August 1779, PCC, NA, vol. 3, reel 192, 145.
63. David R. Starbuck, "Four Years of Archeological Research on Rogers Island," David R.
Starbuck, ed., Archaeology in Fort Edward (Queensbury, NY, 1995), 20-23. Other details are from
information given to Peter J. Goebel, Master Metalsmith.
64. Joseph M. Thatcher, "1812 Camp Kettles," Military Collector & Historian, vol. XXVIII, no. 4
(Winter 1976), 172. Additional information given to the author by Patrick Cunningham, Tinner, 3
February 1997.
65. Samuel Ogden to Pickering, 8 May 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, NA, reel 88, no. 25500.
Pickering to Samuel Ogden, 30 April 1782, Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 83, reel 26, 252-253.
Pickering to Peter Anspach, 26 June 1782, Misc. Nod. Records, NA, reel 87, no. 25345. Pickering
to Aaron Forman, 13 August 1781, Nod. Record Books, NA, vol. 127, reel 26, 209.
66. John Sullivan, 24 March 1776, Report on Utensils, George Washington Papers, Presidential
Papers Microfilm (Washington: Library of Congress, 1961), series 4 (General Correspondence.
1697–1799); Brig. Gen. John Sullivan’s March 1776 command comprised the following
regiments: Col. James Reed’s 2nd Continental (New Hampshire), Col. John Nixon’s 4th
Continental (Massachusetts), Col. John Stark’s 5th Continental (New Hampshire), and Col.
Enoch Poor’s 8th Continental (New Hampshire). For the ensuing campaign, these units were
split between the Northern (2nd, 5th, and 8th regiments) and Main armies. Charles H. Lesser,
Sinews of Independence: Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army (Chicago, Il. and
London: The University of Chicago Press, 1976), 20-21, 24-25; Fred Anderson Berg,
Encyclopedia of Continental Army Units: Battalions, Regiments and Independent Corps
(Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1972), 32-33.
67. John G. Frazer, “A Return of Camp-Utensils &c in Store at Medford,” 25 March 1776,
George Washington Papers (Library of Congress, 1961), series 4.
68. In his memoirs Joseph Martin noted the camp kettle he carried when serving with the
Connecticut militia in 1776: "There were but three men present [in the mess]. We had our cooking
utensils ... to carry in our hands. They were made of cast iron and consequently heavy." Joseph
Plumb Martin, Private Yankee Doodle: A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and
Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Co., 1962), 51; Peter
Force, American Archives, series 5, vol. III (Washington, D.C.: Published by M. St. Clair and
Peter Force, 1853), 453.
69. Lyle M. Stone, Fort Michilimackinac, 1715-1781: An Archaeological Perspective on the

66
Revolutionary Frontier (Publications of the Museum, Michigan State University, Anthropological
Series, vol. 2, East Lansing, Michigan, 1974), 171-173.
70. Lee Hanson and Dick Ping Hsu, Casemates and Cannonballs: Archaeological Investigations at
Fort Stanwix National Monument (Publications in Archaeology 14, Washington, Government
Printing Office, 1975), 133-134.
71. Lord Barrington, Secretary of War, to Major General George Preston, 27 January 1775, Great
Britain, War Office, Class 4, vol. 93, Public Record Office, Great Britain. Philip R.N. Katcher,
Encyclopedia of British, Provincial, and German Army Units, 1775-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.:
Stackpole Books, 1973), 24. Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention,
Committee of Safety and Council of Safety of the State of New York (Albany, 1842), I: 109.
72. Peter Force, American Archives, series 5, vol. II (Washington, 1851), 600, 1391. "The
Revolutionary Adventures of Ebenezer Fox of Roxbury, Massachusetts," Narratives of the
American Revolution, Hugh F. Rankin, ed. (Chicago: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 1976), 36.

67