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"The load a soldier generally carries during a campaign

The British Soldier's Burden in the American War for Independence

John U. Rees
(A preview for the recreated 17th Regiment of Foot)

Contents
1. Overview
2. Complement of necessaries, etc., for the soldier.
Personal Equipage as Stipulated in Military Treatises
3. "An enormous bulk, weighing about sixty pounds"
British Troops Necessaries in Garrison and on Campaign
a. 1762, British Grenadiers
b. 1771, 7th Regiment
c. Undated, Brigade of Guards
d. August 1776, Gen. Sir William Howes troops
e. 1776, Brigade of Guards
f. 1777, 40th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
g. 1777, 49th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
h. 1778, Guards Battalion
i. 1779, 17th Regiment
j. 1780-1781, Cornwalliss Army
4. British Camp Kettles, 1776-1781
5. A habersack for Each Soldier":
Ways and Means of Carrying Food, and the Burden of Rations
6. "Four Days' flour to be Issued to the Troops": The Burden of Rations, 1762-1783
7. "The men having no other way ...": Shortages of Equipment for Food Carriage and Cooking
8. "Very Dirty and muddy.": Carrying Beverages and Difficulties in Finding Drinkable Water
9. Other Resources (Online Articles)
Overview

A foot soldier's most important assets, after native intelligence and discipline, are a strong back
and healthy feet. An important factor that added to the comfort or distress of marching troops was
the load which they were expected, or chose, to carry with them. The intent of the complete
monograph will be to examine the items Revolutionary soldiers carried in their knapsacks, but this
preliminary study lays out the complement prescribed in British military treatises as well as actual
usage by Crown troops in service.
On an active campaign the load carried by soldiers could be quite heavy, especially when
increased by three or four days rations and forty to sixty rounds of ammunition. Ensign Thomas
Anburey, 24th Regiment of Foot serving with Maj. Gen. John Burgoynes army in 1777, left a
colorful account of British common soldiers encumbrance and attitude:

... nothing can be more repugnant to the ideas of a rapid march, than the load a soldier generally
carries during a campaign, consisting of a knapsack, a blanket, a canteen for water, a hatchet, and
a proportion of the equipage belonging to his tent [which included a camp kettle]; these articles,
(and for such a march there cannot be less than four days provision) added to his accoutrements,
arms, and sixty rounds of ammunition, make an enormous bulk, weighing about sixty pounds. As
the Germans must be included in this rapid march, let me point out the incumbrance they are loaded
with, exclusive of what I have already described, especially their grenadiers, who have, in addition, a
cap with a very heavy brass front, a sword of an enormous size, a canteen that cannot hold less than a
gallon, and their coats very long skirted. Picture to yourself a man in this situation, and how
extremely well calculated he is for a rapid march.
It may be urged, that the men might be relieved from a considerable part of this burthen, and that
they might march free from knapsacks and camp equipage, being divested of which, they might have
carried more provision. Admitting this it would not remedy the evil, it being with difficulty you can
prevail on a common soldier to husband his provision, in any exigency whatever. Even in a settled
camp, a young soldier has very short fare on the fourth day after he receives his provision; and on a
march, in bad weather and bad roads, when the weary foot slips back at every step, and a curse is
provoked by the enormous weight that retards him, it must be a very patient veteran, who has
experienced much scarcity and hunger, that is not tempted to throw the whole contents of his
haversack into the mire, instances of which I saw on several of our marches. When they thought they
should get fresh provision at the next encampment, and that only when they were loaded with four
days provision: soldiers reason in this manner: the load is grievous want but a little way off -
and I have often heard them exclaim, "Damn the provisions, we shall get more at the next
encampment; the General won't let his soldiers starve." 1

Lt. Loftus Cliffe, 46th Regiment, wrote similarly of British and German foot soldiers at the Battle
of Brandywine,

The 11th Sepr. being pretty near [the enemy] we divided Gen. Kniphausen taking the right
column, marching towards them fell in [with them] early in the Day we the 2d Column haven
taken a circuit of 17 miles to get round them passed the forks of the Creek 6 miles from where
Kniphausen crossed were instantly arranged for Battle and in two hours utterly routed them
The fatigues of this Day were excessive: some of our best men were obliged to yield, one of [the]
33[rd Regiment] droped dead, nor had we even Day Light, we could not make any thing of a pursuit.
If you knew the weight a poor Soldier carries, the length of time he is obliged to be on foot for a train
of Artillery to move 17 miles, the Duties he goes thro when near an Enemy, that the whole night of
the 9th we were marching, you would say we had done our Duty on the 11[th] to beat an Army
strongly posted, numerous & unfatigued.2
Despite this testimony, almost from the wars outset British commanders used lessons learned
during the French and Indian War to modify clothing and equipment for field conditions. Even
officers were expected to bow to the demands of hard campaigning. In September 1776 Capt.
William Leslie, 17th Regiment, wrote of the few possessions he carried into the field, My whole
stock consists of two shirts 2 pr of shoes, 2 Handkerchiefs half of which I use, the other half I carry
in my Blanket, like a Pedlar's Pack.3 A year later Lieutenant.Cliffe, in Camp near Philadelphia 24
October 1777, noted,

Our field equipage ... was reduced to two shirts & a blanket & a canteen for each Officer, this last of
little purpose for a daily allowance o' Rum given on this Service was stopped for want of carriage &
indeed to the Horrors of our Soldiery, not withstanding the fatigues of the march & inclemency of
the Weather. Nights & mornings Cold & noon extreamly Hot & some excessive Rains they never
murmured at the want.4

And German Lt. Christian von Molitor, Bayreuth Regiment noted in Field Camp outside
Amboy, 24 June 1777,

We have received no pack horses and had to send all our baggage and saddles into storage at New
York. Each officer has only a few shirts and stockings and that which is most essential with him,
because each company had been given only one wagon on which the tents, blankets, and officers
baggage must be loaded. The officers must be satisfied walking, regardless of how long the march
might be. And anyone who does not wish to die of thirst, must carry his own canteen. No staff officer
has a horse. They must walk like all the rest. Therefore we have taken off our boots and wear long
white linen breeches and shoes, with the sword on a belt over the shoulder and the canteen on the
right side. Our hair has been cut short. You would laugh and be sorry for us were you to see us. 5
Lt. William Hale, 45th Regiment Grenadier Company, gives a good picture of campaign
conditions for officers and common soldiers alike:

I observe with great pleasure the credit given us by the General for our constancy in supporting the
fatigues of the march from the Head of the Elk River to Philadelphia; which were really great, our
best habitations wigwams, through which the heavy rains of this climate whenever they fell easily
penetrated, the season however proved so favourable as not to incommode us often in this manner.
At our first landing the rain fell three nights successively, and we had only the cloths on our backs,
the only resource was standing by a large fire next morning till they were dried; not a very agreeable
method in the heat of August [1777] [after several December foraging expeditions, Maj. Gen. Sir
William Howe led a final foray late in the month] we returned from our excursion to Derby the 31st
of Dec. [1777] where we went into winter quarters, till which time I constantly slept in my cloths
from the first landing. I never enjoyed a greater share of health than at present.6

By comparison, Continental troops may have suffered more from equipment shortages, but often
adhered to more conservative practices. Add to this the tendency for inexperienced soldiers to carry
unnecessary gear. In the end, Washingtons men may have carried a somewhat lighter load but did
not always enjoy an easier lot because of it. Capt. John Chilton, 3rd Virginia Regiment, told of what
was likely a typical early-war route march:

[27 July 1777] By reason of rain the night past [we] did not move till late this morning ... [marched
through] Hackitts Town ... passed 2 Miles when we were ordered to sit down in the Sun no water
near to refresh ourselves no victuals to eat as the returns of last night was so late that nothing could
be cooked. 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, as 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.7

In the later years of the war many Continental troops had become veteran campaigners, but new
enlistees and levies added a leavening of inexperienced men and southern campaign conditions
could be rigorous. In May 1781 Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne and his Pennsylvania provisional
battalions marched from York, Pennsylvania to join Maj. Gen. the Marquis de Lafayettes
northern light battalions and composite southern forces in Virginia. Initially slated to reinforce
Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene in the Carolinas, Lt. Gen. Charles Earl Cornwalliss activities in
Virginia detained Waynes troops there. Col. Richard Butler reported on their activities up to
July 8th 1781:

After a fatiguing march, prosecuted with bad weather, we joind the Marquiss, the 10th of June;
about this time Ld Cornwallis was really sporting through the country without opposition. The
very name of a dragoon had such influence on the minds of (not only) country people, but the
troops of the army, that few dard to approach them; the consequence of which was very bad
Intelligence. Charlottesville was sackd without a shot, and every kind of depredation committed
with Impunity our junction gave a zest to business, and things began to wear a new face.
Cornwallis turnd about on hearing of our arrival, & the Exaggerated Accts of our force aded to his
anxiety in return, & he movd back with a little more Caution than he Advancd. The Army is
generally healthy, though they undergo much fatigue; the Country here is poor and sandy, the
weather intensely hot, & the water but middling; our provisn is tolerably good, and the troops get
some applebrandy, which I think is of service to them; these are the things I know your
humanity & good wishes for a Soldier Interests you in, I therefore take pleasure in informing you
I find we shall be at a great loss for shoes, overalls, & shirts in a little time; indeed, many of the
men are now barefoot, owing to the heat of the sand, which burns the leather, & is insupportable
to the bare foot; the swet, & want of soap & opportunity to wash, destroys the linen so that the
men will be naked if they dont get a supply soon 8

Lt. Col. Francis Barber, an experienced officer and commander of one of Lafayettes northern
provisional light battalions, also emphasized the campaigns rigors,

Camp 15 miles from Williamsburgh July 3rd 1781


My dear Girl We have since our reinforcements afforded the enemy numerous opportunities
for action; but they have carefully declined them. We have frequently marched for that purpose
from our camp another four or five miles of theirs in the morning & have remained until after
sundown; and the only reason why we are encamped at so great distance from them, is, there is no
water for an army between this & Williamsburgh The campaign in this quarter has been much
the most severe that I ever experienced from the warmness of the climate & our almost incessant
marching marching almost day & night. Altho we are perfectly healthy, yet we do not look like
the same men. Our flesh & colour have gradually wastd away. Three of my captains are, as we
say, totally knocked up; one of them John Holmes is obliged to quit the department & return to
New Jersey to be relieved by another officer. I am leaner than ever I was in my life; but I do
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assure you, I am very healthy. Billy is also much reduced, but enjoys his health & spirits.
Sgt. Roger Lamb, a veteran of Maj. Gen. John Burgoynes 1777 New York campaign and the
operations in Virginia and the Carolinas in 1781, wrote a wonderful description of British troops
entering camp at the end of a days march that, with minor amendments, would suffice for
Continental forces as well:

It is a pleasing sight to see a column arrive at its halting ground. The Camp is generally marked
out, if circumstances allow of it, on the edge of some wood, and near a river or stream. The troops
are halted in open columns and arms piled, pickets and guards paraded and posted, and in two
minutes all appear at home. Some fetch large stones to form fire places; others hurry off with
canteens and kettles for water while the wood resounds with the blows of the tomahawk.
Dispersed under the more distant trees you see the officers, some dressing, some arranging a few
boughs to shelter them by night, others kindling their own fires. How often under some spreading
pine tree which afforded shade, shelter and fuel have I taken up my lodging for the night. Sitting
in the midst of my comrades, men whom I loved and esteemed partaking of a coarse but
wholesome meal, seasoned by hunger and chee[r]fulness. Wrapt up in a blanket, the head
reclining on a stone or a knapsack cove[r]d with the dews of the night or drenched perhaps by the
thunder shower sleeps many a hardy veteran. A bivouack in heavy weather does not I allow
present a very comfortable appearance. The officers sit shivering in their wet tents idle and angry.
The men with their forage caps drawn over their ears huddle together under the trees or crowed
[i.e., crowd] round cheerless smoky fires complaining of their commissaries, the rain and the
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Americans.

Now let us look in detail at the items issued and what they took with them on campaign.

Complement of necessaries, etc., for the soldier.


Personal Equipage as Stipulated in Military Treatises

The full allowance of clothing, equipment, and various small items deemed necessary to provide
British soldiers of the 1770s and 1780s was set out in several period military publications. First, let
us look at the soldiers necessaries listed in Capt. George Smiths 1779 Universal Military
Dictionary:

NECESSARIES, in a military sense, implies, for each soldier, 3 shirts, 2 white stocks, 1 black
hairs stock, one pair of brass clasps, for ditto, 3 pair of white yarn stockings, 2 pair of linen socks,
dipped in oil, to be worn on a march; 2 pair of white linen gaiters, if belonging to the [English
foot] guards; 1 pair of black long gaiters, with black leather tops for ditto; 1 pair of half
spatterdashes, 1 pair of linen drawers [worn under the breeches in cold weather], 1 pair of red skirt
breeches, 1 red cap, 1 cockade, 1 knapsack, 1 haversack, 1 pair of shoe-buckles, 1 pair of garter-
buckles, black leather garters, 2 pair of shoes, 1 oil bottle, 1 brush and picker, 1 worm, 1 turn-key,
1 hammer-cap, and 1 stopper.
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See REGIMENTALS.

Under the last-named term, REGIMENTALS, is the uniform clothing of the army; and
consists in a hat, coat, waistcoat, breeches, shirts, stocks, shoes, stockings, spats, spatterdashes,
&c.12 Of course some of the clothing listed under Necessaries would have been worn when on
duty, and only a portion of the remaining clothing and other items would have been considered
suitable for a campaigning soldiers knapsack. Clarification of some of the smaller items on the
necessaries list is in order: a brush and picker was used to cleaning a fouled musket lock and
clear the touchhole; a worm was a sharp spiral iron implement that, when attached to a
muskets ramrod, was used to clean and clear a dirty barrel; turn-key was another name for a
screwdriver; a hammer-cap was a leather cover for the hammer on the lock of a musket; and a
stopper, also known as a tompion, was used to stop up the end of a musket barrel, preventing
rain and dirt from entering.
Thomas Simes 1778 work, The Military Instructor for Non-Commissioned Officers and Private
Men of the Infantry list differs only slightly.

Complement of necessaries, etc., for the soldier. 1 coat, 1 waistcoat, 1 pair of cloth breeches, and
another of ticking, 1 hat and cockade, 3 shirts, 2 white stocks and 1 black, 3 pairs of stockings, 2
pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of black linen gaiters and 1 pair of half-gaiters, 2 pair of white linen tops
and one pair of black leather tops, 1 forage cap, a ball of pipeclay, 1 stock buckle, one pair shoe-
buckles and one pair garter buckles . . .13

And the 1781 edition of Simes Military Guide for Young Officers contains the same basic list
as Smiths 1779 Dictionary, plus some few additions.

In grenadier and battalion companies, each man should be provided with, and carry 1
ammunition-box, to contain 24 rounds of powder and ball, with 2 flints, which are not to be used but
in cases of necessity Each man in a light company should carry 12 rounds of powder and ball,
made into cartridges; 4 pounds of lead and 1 quart of gun-powder, which will make about 58
cartridges.
Besides the usual small articles, each Serjeant and Corporal must carry a mould to cast bullets, and
a ladle to melt lead in, with 3 spare powder-horns, and 12 [empty] bags for ball.14

Part of these last instructions did not match practices established in America, as British army
battalion company cartridge pouches in the War for Independence commonly carried twenty-nine
rounds, not twenty-four, and the quart of gunpowder slated to be carried by the light infantry could
only have been held in a powder horn, and it is doubtful light troops continued carrying horns
during that war.
Bennett Cuthbertsons System for the Compleat Interior Management and Oeconomy of a
Battalion of Infantry (1768) provides some explanation and adds several items to the complement of
necessaries. These next relate to firelock implements:

A picker being often useful to a Soldier, for cleaning the touch-hole of his Firelock, in the firings,
one of strong wire should be fixed, by a small chain, to the edge of his Pouch-belt, under the front
Buckle, and as close to the Pouch as possible, but never to hang in view, as it may be troublesome, in
raising the flaps of the Pouch, to take out a Cartridge.15

On Service, leather Hammer-stalls are undoubtedly an advantage to a Battalion, when loaded, and
resting on their Arms, as accidents may be prevented by having then fixed upon the hammers of the
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Firelocks; but at other times they can certainly be of little use.

Was every Soldier to have a painted linen case, to fit exactly upon the Lock of his Piece, and to be
fastened by two small buttons, it would be of the utmost use and consequence, upon a march, in
damp and rainy weather, and might in an instant (if occasion required it) be taken off, and carried in
his Pouch. 17
Mr. Cuthbertson also gave advice regarding knapsacks and haversacks, and their contents:

besides two pair of shoes, a Soldier should have a pair of soles and heels in his Knapsack, by
which means, he can never be distressed, should his shoes want mending on a march, as a shoe-
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maker of the Company can always do them

Every Serjeant and Corporal should be provided with a cloaths brush and hatters cocking needle, for
the use of his squad, which they are always to bring to every roll calling, and inspection of men for
duty: it is likewise requisite, that every soldier shoulf be furnished with a pair of shoe-brushes, and a
blacking ball of good ingredients, that there may be no excuse, for not having at all times their shoes
and gaiters extremely clean and highly polished.19

That the Buff [straps of the accoutrements] may at all times be perfectly clean, and free from spots,
every Soldier should be provided with a ball of white pipe-clay another circumstance to
recommend a preference of it, is, its cleaning every part of his clothing, almost as well as fullers
earth 20

Square knapsacks are most convenient, for packing up the Soldiers necessaries, and should be
made with a division, to hold the shoes, black-ball and brushes, separate from the linen: a certain
size must be determined on for the whole, and it will have a pleasing effect upon a March, if care
has been taken, to get them of all white goat-skins, with leather-slings well whitened [1779
edition coloured as the Accoutrements], to hang over each shoulder; which method makes the
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carriage of the Knapsack much easier, than across the breast, and by no means so heating.
On Service, a Soldier cannot conveniently get through the Duties of a Campaign, without a
Haversack; of strong coarse, grey linen (which is always issued as part of the Camp-equipage) to
carry his bread and provisions on a March; therefore need not be deemed a part of his
appointments, nor provided with that exactness, which some Regiments always practice;
whenever such things are delivered to the Men, the Name of the Owner, with the Number of the
Regiment and Company he belongs to, should be marked on them, to prevent their being mixt or
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lost among those of other Corps.

Using Captain Smiths list as a template, and adding items mentioned by Messrs. Cuthbertson
and Simes, a complete foot soldiers outfit would be:
1 coat, 1 waistcoat, 1 hat and cockade, 1 pair of wool breeches, 1 pair of ticking breeches, 3
shirts, 2 white stocks, 1 black hair stock, one pair of brass stock clasps, 3 pair of white yarn
stockings, 2 pair of linen socks, dipped in oil, to be worn on a march; 1 pair of black long gaiters,
with black leather tops; 1 pair of half gaiters, 1 pair of linen underdrawers, 1 forage cap, 1
cockade, 1 knapsack, 1 haversack, 1 pair of shoe-buckles, 2 pair of shoes, 1 pair of extra soles
and heels, 1 pair of garter-buckles, black leather garters, 1 ball of white pipeclay, 1 blacking ball,
1 pair of shoe brushes, 1 oil bottle, 1 brush and picker, 1 worm, 1 turn-key, 1 hammer-cap, 1
hammer cover, 2 flints, and 1 stopper.

Now let us compare this list with items issued to the troops and actual campaign equipage.
"An enormous bulk, weighing about sixty pounds"
British Troops Necessaries in Garrison and on Campaign

1762, British Grenadiers

The earliest pertinent and comprehensive listing of equipment carried by British troops in America is dated
1762. Titled a "Return of the Weight for the Cloathing, Arms, Accoutrements ... Necessary's &Ca of a
Grenadier, upon a March," this document, made sixteen years prior to the War for Independence, gives a
good idea of the British soldier's burden at the beginning of that conflict. Besides the clothing worn and the
weapons carried (the English Short-Land musket alone weighed ten to eleven pounds) a soldier's load
contained the following items:
A Bayonet and Scabbard
A Tomahawk, and Cover
A Cartridge Pouch ...
Containing 24 Cartridges
Brush & Wire, Worm & Turnkey, Oyl Bottle & Rag
2 Flints and a Steel
A Knapsa[ck] with Strap, and Buckles
Containing 2 Shirts, 2 Stocks, 2 Pair Stockings
A Pair Summer Breeches
A Pair Shoes
A Clothes Brush, pair Shoe Brushes, & a Black Ball
A Pair ... [of] Garters, A Hankerchief
2 Combs, a Knife, & Spoon
A Haversack, with a Strap Containing Six Days Provisions
A Blanket with Strap & Garters
A Canteen with a String & Stopper, full of Water
(Arthur Baillie, lieutenant, to Henry Bouquet, colonel, 28 August 1762, Henry Bouquet, Papers of Col.
Henry Bouquet, series 21648, part 2 (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1940), 77-78.
Courtesy of R. Scott Stephenson.)

1771, 7th Regiment


4 shirts, 2 rollers, 1 black stock, 2 pair of shoes, 4 pair of stockings, 1 pair long gaiters, 1 pair short gaiters, 1
buff ball, 1 black ball, 1 pair shoe brushes, 1 turnkey & worm, 1 pick & brush, 1 knapsack, 1 haversack.
Establishment of Necessaries in Lord Robt. Berties Company, 7th Regiment, Royal Fuzileers, 30 March
1771. (Walter Home, captain, Officer's Memorandum Book. George Chalmers Collection, Peter Force
Papers, Library of Congress.)

Undated, Brigade of Guards


"Necessarys to be furnished for the Detachment by the Company's ---" (undated, likely 1776)
"3 Shirts
3 pr. of worsted Stockings
3 pr. of Socks
3 pr. of shoes. Two
2 pr of Soles and heels. Three
2 Black Stocks
2 pr of Half Gaiters--Linen
1 Check Shirt
1 Knapsack 2S/6d to be received from Government in lieu of it. [Note: probable reference to using
blanket slings in place of knapsacks.]
Pricker, worm and Turnkey.--
1 Nightcap
Extra proposed
1 pr. of Leggins
2 pr. of Trowsers
2 pr. of Mittens
(Compiled by Linnea M. Bass, with assistance from William P. Tatum, Feb. 2002, from information in
"Receipt Books and Guards Orderly Book," Newbold Irvine Papers - 4th Floor - Box; Historical Society
of Pennsylvania. Courtesy of Linnea M. Bass.)

August 1776, Gen. Sir William Howes Army


4th British Grenadier Battalion Order Book, commanded by Maj. Hon. Charles Stuart of the 43d Regt.
Order book kept by Adjutant and Lieutenant John Peebles, Grenadier Company, 42d or Royal Highland
Regiment, August 1 to October 17, 1776:
Head Qrs. Dykers ferry Staten Island, 2d. Augt 76 (R: O) [Regimental Order] When the Men
disembark, they are to take nothing with them, but 3 Shirts, 2 prs of hose & their Leggings which are to
be put up neatly in their packs, leaving their knapsacks & all their other necessaries on board o [sic] Ship
which are carefully to be laid up by the Commanding Officers of Companys in the safest manor they can
contrive. A small guard to be left on board each ship and only 4 Women per Comy to come ashore.
[Battalion orders] Morng Orders, 19th. Augt.
The Battn. to Parade, Armd & Accoutred at [sic] with their Packs, haversacks & Canteens and
everything else as for a March, at 12 OClock at the Exercising Ground. all the officers to attend
Battn. orders 21st. Augt.
The Companys to parade tomorrow Morng with their Arms Accoutrements & Packs at half after 2
OClockat Major [Hon. Charles] Stewarts Quartrs. The Commanding Officers of Compys. to be
particularly carefull they do not excid this hour.
("4th Battalion of Grenadiers Orderly Book, 30 June - 15 November 1776," John Peebles (42d Regiment)
diary, notebook 2, GD 21/492, 2, Scottish Record Office. Courtesy of Don N. Hagist and Andrew Watson
Kirk)

General Orders to the British Army


"Head Quarters Staten Island 20th August 1776
When the Troops Land, they are to carry nothing with them, but their Arms, Ammunition, Blankets &
three days Provisions. The Commanding Officers of Compys. will take particular care that the Canteens
are properly filled with Rum & Water, & it is most earnestly recommended to the Men, to be as saving as
possible with their Grog."
("Howe, William Orderly Book, June 30 - October 4 1776," "General Orders from 30th June to 5th. Octr.
1776," "General orders by His Excellency the Honble. Wm. Howe From 30th. June & ending
5th. October 1776," Collection of Morristown National Historical Park, Wisconsin Historical Society
microfilm #P79-3244. Transcribed by Steve Gilbert. Courtesy of Steve Rayner)
1776, Brigade of Guards
Memo Mathew to Loudoun 28 Feb. 1776
"Estimate of the Extra expence of the Necessary Equipment of the
Detachment
from the Brigd. of Foot Guards Intended for Foreign Service"
s p
"a Cloak (if Objected to, to be Dispenced With) -. 11.-
a pr. of Leggens 4.6
2 pr. of Trowsers 5.-
a Cap -. 6
2 pr. of Mittens 1.2
2 pr. of half Gaters 2.-
a Check Shirt 3.9
2 pr. of Shoe Soles & Heels 2.4
3 pr. of Socks 1.3
Alteration of the Mens Knapsacks . 6
(Loudoun Papers, Manuscript Collection at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. LO 6514.
Courtesy of Linnea M. Bass.)
_______________
"Necessarys to be furnished for the Detachment by the Company's ---" undated, but likely 1776.
"3 Shirts
3 pr. of worsted Stockings
3 pr. of Socks
3 pr. of shoes. Two
2 pr of Soles and heels. Three
2 Black Stocks
2 pr of Half Gaiters--Linen
1 Check Shirt
1 Knapsack 2S/6d to be received from Government in lieu of it.
Pricker, worm and Turnkey.--
1 Nightcap
Extra proposed
1 pr. of Leggins
2 pr. of Trowsers
2 pr. of Mittens
Cloak (if approved)"
[verso] "Necessarys for the Detacht to be furnished by the Captains out of the Stoppages and the Extra
Necessaries"
(Earl of Loudoun Papers, Additional Manuscript #44084, British Museum Manuscript Collection: LO
10468 transcribed by James L. Kochan. Courtesy of Linnea M. Bass.)
Synopsis of 1776 Necessaries
Efforts were made to see that the men going to war were provided with adequate supplies of what were
termed "necessaries." The prices of some of these items were recorded, and a number of them were
inventoried and inspected prior to the departure of the detachment. The items ordered by Loudoun were
as follows:
Three Shirts Three Pair worsted Stockings Two pair of Socks - /7 1/4d pr. Pair
Two pair of Shoes Three pair of heels and Soles 1/2d pr. pair Two Black Stocks
Two Pair of Half Gaiters l/- pr. Picker, Worm & Turnscrew A Night Cap
pair A Knapsack
One Cheque Shirt 3/9d (2/6d Allowed by Government)
The soles, socks, and half gaiters were packed aboard the transport ships with the new 1776 clothing.44
The Coldstream Guards considered some of the items to be "Extraordinary Necessaries," implying that
they were over and above the normal allotment. These included the soles and heels, check shirts, half
gaiters, socks, stocks, and caps.45 The men's coats, waistcoats, and breeches were inventoried and
reviewed to see if they were "Clean" or "Dirty." The necessaries - shirts, shoes, stockings, gaiters,
turnscrews, pickers, brushes, and black balls - were counted to see if any were wanting. Firelocks,
bayonets, shoulder belts, and waist belts were examined to see if any needed repairs. Finally, the
knapsacks were checked to see if they were serviceable or unserviceable.46
(William W. Burke and Linnea M. Bass, Preparing a British Unit for Service in America: The Brigade of
Foot Guards, 1776, Military Collector & Historian, vol. 47, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 2-11.
http://www.military-historians.org/publications/journal/samples/Guards.pdf )
Brigade of Guards:
"Brigade Orders August 19th [1776.]
When the Brigade disembarks two Gils of Rum to be delivered for each mans Canteen which must be
filled with Water, Each Man to disembark with a Blanket & Haversack in which he is to carry one Shirt
one pair of Socks and Three Days Provisions a careful Man to be left on board each Ship to take care of
the Knapsacks. The Articles of War to be read to the Men by an Officer of each Ship."
(Thomas Glyn, "The Journal of Ensign Thomas Glyn, 1st Regiment of Foot Guards on the American
Service with the Brigade of Guards 1776-1777," 7. Transcription courtesy of Linnea M. Bass.)

1777, 40th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings


R[egimental]O[rders] 14th May 1777
Each Compy will immediately receive from the Qr. Mr. Serjt 26 [blanket] Slings & Wallets to put the
quantity of Necesareys Intendd. to be Carrid. to the field Viz 2 shirts 1 pr of shoes & soles 1 pr
of stockings 1 pr of socks shoe Brushes, black ball &c Exclusive of the Necessareys they may have
on (the[y] must be packd. in the Aranged manner & the Blankts. done neatly round very little longer than
the Wallets) to be Tyed. very close with the slings and near the end -- the men that are not provided with
A blankett of their own may make use of one [of] the Cleanest Barrick Blanketts for to morrow
"M.[orning] R: O: 26th. May, 1777...
After Regtl. Orders 2 Oclock Afternoon The new Trowzers to be put on this After noon and the Non
Commissd. Offrs and men keeping three good shirts, two good pr. of shoes A pair of good stockings & 2
pr. of socks- - the Surplus of those kind of Necessaries with their Blue Leggons, Britches to be put up
with their name on them and the whole of each compy. to be put up in one Bundle with the Capts. name
on it, and to be ready for the Waggon to be taken into town this After noon and Embarkd. for York"
(British Orderly Book [40th Regiment of Foot] April 20, 1777 to August 28, 1777, George Washington
Papers, Presidential Papers Microfilm (Washington: Library of Congress, 1961), series 6 (Military Papers,
1755-1798), vol. 1, reel 117. See also,"`Necessarys to be Properley Packd: & Slung in their Blanketts:
Selected Transcriptions 40th Regiment of Foot Order Book,
http://revwar75.com/library/rees/40th.htm
Observation of blanket slings in the field. American surgeon Dr. Benjamin Rush had an opportunity
to view the British army after Battle of Brandywine (11 September 1777): "One of the [British] officers, a
subaltern, observed to me that his soldiers were infants that required constant attendance, and said as a
proof of it that although they had blankets tied to their backs, yet such was their laziness that they would
sleep in the dew and cold without them rather than have the trouble of untying and opening them. He said
his business every night before he slept was to see that no soldier in his company laid down without a
blanket." L.H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush, vol. I (Princeton: Princeton University Press for
American Philosophical Society, 1951), 154-155.

1777, 49th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings


Order book, 49th Regiment of Foot:
"Regimental Order on Board the Rochford 21 [July] 1777
When the Regt. Lands Every Non Commissd Officer and soldier of the Regiment is to have with him 2
very good Shirts, Stokings, 2 pair Shoes, their Linin drawers, Linnin Leggins, half Gaiters and their
Blankets very well Rold. Every thing to be perfectly Clean.
Officers Commanding Companies will be answerable to the Commanding Officer that these orders are
Strictly Complyed with-
N.B if the Men land in half Gaiters, the officers are to land in them, if in leggings the officers also in
Leggins"

23d Augt. 1777


R: O When the Regt lands, the Officers and Men are to have on whole linnin leggings and their
Blankets properly Rolled and the Necessaries in them as before ordered
(49th Regiment, "British Orderly Book, June 25, 1777 - Sept. 10, 1777, George Washington Papers,
Presidential Papers Microfilm (Washington: Library of Congress, 1961), series 6 (Military Papers, 1755-
1798), vol. 1.)
Capt. William Leslie, 17th Regiment, nicely described his blanket sling in a letter to his parents:
"Bedford Long Island Sept. 2nd 1776
The Day after their Retreat we had orders to march to the ground we are now encamped upon, near the
Village of Bedford: It is now a fortnight we have lain upon the ground wrapt in our Blankets, and thank
God who supports us when we stand most in need, I have never enjoyed better health in my Life. My
whole stock consists of two shirts 2 pr of shoes, 2 Handkerchiefs half of which I use, the other half I carry
in my Blanket, like a Pedlar's Pack."
(Sheldon S. Cohen, "Captain William Leslie's 'Paths of Glory'", New Jersey History, 108 (1990), p. 63.)
1778, Guards Battalion
From Wrottesley Company Account Book May 1778
Of a company of 83 privates, 1 lance corporal, 4 corporals, 4 serjeants, and
1 drummer, this number of men was charged for the following items:
Half gaiters -- 87
Trousers -- 60
Black stocks -- 40
Shoes -- 37
Brush and wire -- 32
Shirts -- 19
Rose -- 5
Coat altering -- 16
("Lt. Colo. Sir John Wrottesleys Acctent. Book 1778," in (NARS 922), "Orders, Returns, Morning
Reports, and Accounts of British Troops 1776-1781," microfilm reel M922, National Archives and
Records Service, General Services Administration, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of Linnea M. Bass.)

1779, 17th Regiment


R[egimental] O[rders] Each Man to take the Field with three Good Shirts, 3 [sic] Collon, two Pr Good
Shoes Two pr of Stockins two pr of Socks pr of Drawers & pr of Trowsers, Long Black Leggins &
Blankett
Head Qr Morris House 27th May /79
(A True Transcription of the Orderly Book of Captain Robert Clayton, His Majestys 17th Foot,
February 14th-June 29th, 1779, Huntington Library, California, call number: mssHM 52666 Transcribed
by Michael J. F. Sheehan, Summer 2014-Fall 2015. Courtesy Andrew Watson Kirk.)

1780-1781, Cornwalliss Army


Lt. Gen. Charles, Earl Cornwalliss army, 1780-1781
IX, 2 (1932), pp. 178-179.
On board ship off of Charlestown, South Carolina, 15 December 1780.
General orders: "The Corps to Compt. their Men with Camp Hatchets Canteens, & Kettles ... It is
recommended to the Comdg Offrs. of Regts. to provide the Men with Night Caps before they take the Field."
Brigade orders: "The Necessaries of the Brigde. are to be Imdy. Comptd. to 2 Good pr. Shoes, 2 Shts. & 2 pr.
Worsted Stockgs. per Man ... Each Mess to be furnish'd with a Good Camp Kettle, & every Man provided
with a Canteen, & Tomahawk - & the Pioneers wth. all kind of Tools. The drumrs. are to carry a good Ax
Each & provide themselves with Slings for the Same."
IX, 3 (1932)
p. 286.
General orders, Ramsour's Mills, 24 January 1781: "When upon any Occasion the Troops may be Order'd to
March without their Packs; it is not intended they Should leave their Camp Kettles and Tomahawks behind
them."
p. 287.
Brigade orders, 24 January 1781: "There being a Sufficient Quantity of Leather to Compleat the Brigade in
Shoes ... It is recommended to ... the Commandg. Officers of Companies, see their Mens Shoes immediately
Soled & Repaired, & if possible that every Man when they move from this Ground take in his Blankett one
pair of Spare Soles ..."
IX, 4 (1932)
p. 367.
Brigade orders, "8 oClock at Night", 14 February 1781.
"It having been Signified to B.Genl. O'Hara that Ld Cornwallis means to make a forward move in the Morng
of Twenty Miles in a rapid Manner ... it is Wish'd Commdg Offrs. of Battns. will Signify the same to their
respective Corps ..."
After orders, "9 oClock at Night"
"The Army will March precisely at four oClock in the Morng. The Offrs. are expected to take With them no
more Baggage but their Canteens, & the Men will leave their Packs behind them under the Charge of such
Men or Any that may not be able to March."
p. 378.
Brigade orders, "Camp Smith's Plantation", 1 March 1781.
"It is Br Genl. O'Hara's orders that the Officers Commanding Companies cause an immediate Inspection of
the Articles of Cloathing at present in the possession of the women in their Companies & an exact Account
taken thereof by the Pay Serjts. after which their Necessaries are to be regularly examin'd at proper
opportunities; and every Article found in Addition thereto, Burnt at the head of the Company; Except such as
have been fairly purchas'd on Application to the Commanding Officers & regularly added to their former List
by the Serjts. as above. The Offrs' are likewise order'd to make these Examinations at such times & in such a
manner as to prevent these Women (Suppos'd to be the Source of the most infamous plunderg.) from evading
the purport of this order."
("A British Orderly Book, 1780-1781", A.R. Newsome, ed., North Carolina Historical Review, vol. IX, no. 1
(1932); IX, 2 (1932); IX, 3 (1932); IX, 4 (1932).)
_______________
43rd Regiment, Virginia, 1781
"Apollo Transport
O[f]f Brandon James River 23rd May 1781
Orders by Major Ferguson
It is positively Ordered that no Soldier lands with more necessaries than his Blanket, Canteen, haversack,
Two pair of Trowsers, Two pair of Stockings, and Two Shirts, and Two pair of good Shoes. The
Remaining Necessaries of each Company to be carefully packed up and Orders will be given as soon as
possible for its been taken proper care of."
(Order book, 43rd Regiment of Foot (British), 23 May 1781 to 25 August 1781, British Museum, London,
Mss. 42,449. Ttranscription courtesy of Gilbert V. Riddle.)
Preparing a meal for the light infantry company, 40th Regiment, 1777.
(Photo courtesy of the recreated unit.)

British Camp Kettles, 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 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."23
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."24 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:

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.25

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.26

Original British haversack. (Private Collection.)


A habersack for Each Soldier"
Ways and Means of Carrying Food, and the Burden of Rations

To carry rations on the march the army issued soldiers a coarse linen bag, called a haversack,
which the men slung over their right shoulders, hanging under their left arms. One surviving British
example measures 13 1/2 inches high by 16 3/4 inches wide, with a two-inch linen strap. On at least
one occasion Continental soldiers were directed to construct their own. "College Camp
[Williamsburg, Virginia] October the 11th. 1775 ... [A] Captain of Each Company is to Apply to the
Quartermaster for Linnen Cloth to make a habersack for Each Soldier one yard of Oznabrigs is
Supposed to be Sufficient for the purpose of making the sack ... Each Soldier to make his own sack
... as near one General Size & patern as Possible. Thread Sufficient for the purpose must be Drawn
..." Haversacks could be multi-purposed. In November 1757 British troops at Annapolis, Nova
Scotia, went to an apple orchard and "filled bags, haversacks, baskets and even their pockets with
fruit." When in Pennsylvania, soldiers of the 64th Regiment were ordered to convey a ration issue to
camp: "Ashtown Camp 14th September 1777 ... The Men are to go with their Haversacks for flour
to Hills Milles."27
Soldiers transported food other ways, too. Some of a mess squad's food was occasionally carried in
a camp kettle, each man taking his turn with the burden. Connecticut soldier Joseph Martin wrote of
this in the autumn of 1777. Martin's regiment halted in the town of Burlington, New Jersey, "where
we procured some carrion beef, for it was not better. We cooked it and ate some, and carried the
remainder away with us. We had always, in the army, to carry our cooking utensils in our hands by
turns, and at this time, 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."28
Other items were specifically intended to hold food or converted to that purpose. In 1776 some
"Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Virginia" Continental regiments were issued the "new invented
Knapsack and Haversack", a piece of equipment used for carrying a soldier's clothing as well as
food. In May 1779, the colonel of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment directed his officers that the
"Compys will have the [new] Knapsacks delivered, that the men may appear with their Cloathing in
them this afternoon. The old Knapsacks the men have in their Possession, they will keep to carry
their Provisions in them."29
Sometimes soldiers packed together in their knapsacks rations, clothing and other necessaries.
Orders for Jackson's Additional Regiment, "Boston Oct 4. 1777 The Regiment to hold themselves
in readiness to embark ... it is expected that every Non Commissioned Officer & Soldier, will have
his Cloathing & Necessaries put up in their Knapsacks this afternoon, together with two days
provisions Cook'd ..." The same month a private with General Horatio Gates' Northern Army noted,
"at night we drew rations and were notified to be ready early on the next Morn' to march to
Stillwater, so we boiled our Meet and had our provisions all in our Paiks ready ... early in the Morn'
[we] were paraded and marched off ..." Joseph Martin wrote of returning to the Valley Forge camp
in early spring of 1778, carrying "two or three days' rations in my knapsack," and in July 1779 the
troops on Sullivan's Expedition were issued rations and ordered "to take [them] in their packs ..."30
"Four Days' flour to be Issued to the Troops"
The Burden of Rations, 1762-1783

The amount of food a haversack could hold depended upon its size, which may have varied even in
the British army; a 1762 listing of equipment carried by British troops in America included "A
Haversack, with a Strap Containing Six Days Provisions." (The weight of the soldier's entire burden
given in this list was slightly over sixty-three pounds, at least twelve of which was comprised of
foodstuff.) A British officer with General John Burgoyne, writing in August 1777, noted soldiers
carrying an "enormous bulk, weighing about sixty pounds" including "four days provision ...
[which] load is a grievous incumbrance."31
Continental troops often carried a similar quantity of food in their haversacks or knapsacks.
Several examples: General Washington's "Head-Quarters, Smithe's Clove, June 10th, 1779. The
Rum and whiskey in the maggazine to be Delivered amongst the Brigade Commissaryes, and a Gill
Pr man to Be Issued to the whole army this Day. Four Days' flour to be Issued to the Troops, so that
the whole Army will be supplyed up to Sunday Next Inclusive. Two Days' fresh Beef to be Issued
this Day, and Cattle Eaquel to two Days' supply to be with each Brigade Commissary, Redy to be
slaughtered when wanted." "Head Quarters, New Windsor, July 20th, '79. ... If the maggazines will
afford it, the Brigade Commissary will allway[s] have about them, Redy to Issue at a Moment's
warning, tow Days' salt Provisions and a Larger Quantity of Bread or flour. The troops are allways
to have two Days' [meat] Cooked ... that they may be Redy to march at a moment's warning." On
the 30th of July General John Sullivan's soldiers in Pennsylvania were ordered "to take in their
packs ten days bread, part hard & part soft, also two days' salted meat." (The allotment of these
articles had been set on 11 July at "1 1/4 pound of soft bread or flour or 1 pound of hard bread per
day [and] 1 1/4 [pounds] of fresh or salt beef ...")32

"The men having no other way ..."


Shortages of Equipment for Food Carriage and Cooking

Using equipment unsuited to carrying and cooking rations increased the mens' burden
considerably, and without adequate containers to carry provisions they were easily spoiled or lost,
thus wasting the extraordinary effort expended to obtain it. Unfortunately, in the Continental Army
haversacks, canteens, and camp kettles had a high rate of attrition. Prior to each campaign large
supplies of each were needed to complete the men adequately, but often sufficient quantities had not
been received even after the army marched. This remained true until the war's end. While preparing
to take the field in 1782, Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering informed General Washington
that nothing more was needed "except knapsacks, canteens & camp kettles." He particularly
mentioned canteens as "an article so frequently lost & broken."33
If enough equipment did not arrive in time soldiers improvised and suffered the inconvenience.
Orders for the attack on the British at Germantown (4 October 1777) directed soldiers to "take their
provision in their habersacks [sic], such as have not habersacks are to take their provision in their
pockets, or in such manner as may be most convenient." Writing after the battle, Timothy Pickering,
then Washington's adjutant general, noted that "Haversacks ... are exceedingly wanted for carrying
the men's provisions. In the last action the men having no other way tied their provisions up in their
blankets and shirts some of which were left in consequence thereof." (In a similar manner Sergeant
Jeremiah Greenman, travelling to Valley Forge in 1778, "toock sum provision in a hankerchife.")
When the New Jersey Brigade had a large influx of drafted men in June 1778, their commander
wrote, "There is about 450 of the new Leveys come in. I do not know what we shall do for want of
Haversacks, should we March, to carry their Provisions. Coll. Cox has given orders to the first and
2d Regts. to get as much cloath from his agent here as will make them [haversacks] but he says
there is no more therefore the 3d and 4th [Regiments] must be served from camp."34
Every locale saw shortages and commanders' frustrations. In May 1778 a two-thousand man
expedition was sent against British-held St. Augustine, East Florida. From "Camp at Fort Howe on
Alatamaha" River, Georgia, an American officer complained to William Moultrie, "you have been
much too parsimonious in your fitting us out for this expedition ... what is more inconvenient than to
have only one camp-kettle to ten, twelve or fifteen men? and in this hot climate to have one small
canteen to six or eight men? we think no expense too great to procure men, but we do not think after
we have got them, that we ought to go to the expense of preserving their health ... the Gen.
requested me to desire you to send round in a boat ... 500 canteens, 100 camp-kettles, and 35 or 40
tents ..."35
Units earmarked for John Sullivan's 1779 Indian Expedition also experienced shortages. General
Edward Hand wrote in March, from Minisink on the New York/New Jersey frontier, that he
"wish[ed] to know where we may be supplied with ... Camp Kettles & Canteens all which we are
destitute of ..." (The units under his command were the 2nd New York Regiment, German
Regiment, Spencer's Additional Regiment, Armand's Legion Infantry, and Captain Schott's
Independent Company.) A series of receipts made early in 1779 show severe shortfalls in numbers
of canteens and knapsacks needed by the New Jersey Brigade for the year's campaign. On 29
January, 301 knapsacks and 175 canteens were issued to the 2nd New Jersey Regiment; four
months later on 25 May an additional 50 knapsacks, 229 canteens, and 35 camp kettles were issued
to the same unit. (Thirty five kettles would supply 210 common soldiers; during this period the
overall strength of the 2nd New Jersey ranged from 431 non-commissioned officers and rank and
file in January, to 356 three months later.) In April, when the entire Jersey Brigade numbered 1,011
men, "86 Canteens 581 Knapsacks ... [and] five Hund. Canteen Straps" were issued to supply a
deficit. In August 1779, after the troops under Sullivan had already marched great distances in
difficult country, at Tioga, Pennsylvania, General Sullivan ordered "The different Corps ...
immediately to call on the Qr.Mr Genl For ... Knapsacks, haversacks, & Canteens."36

"Very Dirty and muddy."


Carrying Beverages and Difficulties in Finding Drinkable Water

Soldiers received or procured various beverages, including alcohol, vinegar, molasses, and water,
which were carried in canteens made of tin or wood (the predominant type in the Continental
Army), slung over the right shoulder. German Lieutenant Christian von Molitor noted in June 1777,
while campaigning with the British army, that "The officers must be satisfied walking, regardless of
how long the march might be. And anyone who does not wish to die of thirst, must carry his own
canteen." The importance of soldiers' canteens was also remarked by Corporal Joseph Martin: sent
out foraging for the army in the Pennsylvania countryside in winter 1778, he one day returned to the
"quartermaster general's quarters" where an officer "asked me if I had a canteen. I answered in the
negative, I had left mine at my quarters. 'A soldier,' said he, 'should always have a canteen,' and I
was sorry that I was just then deficient of that article, for he gave us a half-pint tumblerful of
genuine old Jamaica spirits, which was, like Boniface's ale, 'as smooth as oil.'" (During the
American Civil War (1861-1865) Lt. Eugene Carter, on the Virginia Peninsula in August 1862,
mindful of his newly-enlisted brothers, echoed these sentiments in a letter to his parents: "my
experience enables me to give them some good advice, and you must see that they follow it. ... Tell
them never to throw away their knapsacks, haversacks or canteens ...")37
Soldiers needed water for cooking and commonly mixed it with their issue of alcohol or vinegar,
but obtaining that water was another matter, the usual source being the nearest spring, creek, river,
or lake. Virginia Captain John Chilton noted on 26 July 1777, "Marched 11 Miles by 9 Oclock
breakfasted in a Meadow by a fine Spring ..." When on the march commanders allowed the men to
refresh themselves at regular intervals. General orders, 19 September 1780, "... Before the March
commences the soldiers are to fill their Canteens with Water ... The officers who lead the columns
will take care to regulate the Motions of the Troops so as not to injure them by too rapid a march
and will order proper halts at about every five Miles distance, and if possible at such places as to
give the men an opportunity to replenish their Canteens with Water." Heading south to Virginia in
late spring 1781 Ensign Ebenezer Denny, 7th Pennsylvania Regiment, described General Anthony
Wayne's march routine. "Struck our tents every morning before day. About eight or nine o'clock, as
we found water, a short halt was made, the water-call beat; parties, six or eight from each company,
conducted by a non-commissioned officer, with canteens, fetched water. Seldom allowed to eat until
twelve o'clock, when the arms were stacked, knapsacks taken off, and water sent for by parties as
before."38

Original tin canteen. (Private collection.)


Of course, merely ordering the troops to be watered did not necessarily make it so. Captain
Chilton, 27 July 1777, "By reason of rain the night past [we] did not move till late this morning ...
[we marched through] Hackitts Town [New Jersey] ... passed 2 Miles when we were ordered to sit
down in the Sun no water near to refresh ourselves ..." Nor was the water always potable. A soldier-
turned-sailor wrote from one of Benedict Arnold's row gallies on Lake Champlain, "Octo 3 [1776]
... we are forst to ... Drink lake worter." A number of accounts described Champlain's water south of
Crown Point as "near stagnant" and of very poor quality.39
At Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, in November 1777, another man expounded on conditions in camp:
"the warter we had to Drink and to mix our flower with was out of a brook that run along by the
Camps and so many dippin and washin [in] it maid it very Dirty and muddy." Joseph Martin
recalled poor water in the summer of 1780. Assigned to a detachment from the Corps of Sappers
and Miners, Martin was set to work on fortifications on Constitution Island, across from West Point.
He reported that their rations were "salt shad and bread," the work strenuous, and the days hot. "... to
complete a bad business there was not a drop of water on the island, except the brackish water of the
river, and that was as warm as milk and almost as nauseous as the waters of the Nile after it had felt
the effects of Moses' rod."40
The need for good water for cooking and drinking forced commanders to adopt proactive
measures. Washington's army "Head-Quarters, Middle-Brook, June 3, 1777 ... The Brigadiers to
have the Springs, adjacent to their several encampments, well cleared and enlarged; placing Sentries
over them, to see that the water is not injured by dirty utensils. A board sunk in them, will be the
best means to keep them from being muddy, and an arbour over them will serve to preserve them
cool." General orders, Orangetown, New York, 9 August 1780, "No time is to be lost in sinking
Wells as the water of the brook is rather indifferent."41
Occasionally some rather unique precautions were taken to protect a water source. On 11 August
1779 a force of Continental troops under Brigadier General James Clinton were moving down the
Susquehanna River to join Major General John Sullivan's army in Pennsylvania. On the 11th
Clinton recommended "that the Commanding officers ... will start their Boats at Leas[t] three
ABrast and the whole in a close order"; he then noted that "as the Troops are under the Necessity of
Cooking and Drinking the River water the Genl orders that No person presumes to Swim."
Evidently, no sacrifice was too great when the mens' health was concerned.42
Other Resources
With my pack and large blanket at my back : British and American Officers
Equipage and Campaign Gear
Contents
1. Things necessary for a Gentleman to be furnished with
Officers Kit for Regimental Service
a. British Officers Belongings
b. Continental Army Officers Kit.
c. Cooking and Eating Utensils.
2. "The officers must be satisfied walking : Allotment of Horses
3. Officers and Knapsacks: A Compendium of Accounts and Images
a. 1762, British Grenadiers
b. 1771, 7th Regiment
c. Undated, Brigade of Guards
d. August 1776, Gen. Sir William Howes troops
e. 1776, Brigade of Guards
f. 1777, 40th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
g. 1777, 49th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
h. 1778, Guards Battalion
4. Other Resources (Online Articles)
Appendix A.
Officers and Knapsacks: A Compendium of Accounts and Images
a. Knapsack: Rufus Lincoln, Massachusetts militia and 14 th Massachusetts
b. 1775, British, 43d Regiment, officers knapsack
c. 1776, 17th Regiment, Officers Rolled Blanket (Pedlar's Pack ) and
Personal Belongings
d. 1776, Continental, 22d Continental Regiment, knapsack and belongings
e. 1777, Massachusetts Militia officer carrying a knapsack
f. 1777, British, 42d Regiment, portmanteau, no knapsack
g. 1777, British 49th Regiment, officers blanket slings
h. 1777, Continental Officers Knapsack Contents Described by a German Officer
i. 1777, British Officers, Saratoga Campaign, Knapsacks and Packhorses
j. 1779, British, 43d Regiment, officers marquee and possibly officers knapsack
k. 1781, British, Cornwalliss Southern Army, officers and knapsacks
l. 1782, Continental, 2d Maryland Regiment, lieutenant colonel wearing a knapsack.
m. 1782, Continental Army, New Jersey Regiments, officers issued canteens but not knapsacks
Appendix B.
Miscellaneous Narratives on Officers Belongings and Campaign Living
a. 1776, British, Suggested Officers Campaign Equipage
b. 1776, British, 5th Regiment, campaign camp and food
c. 1776, Continental, 3d Virginia officers chest
d. 1776, Continental, Gen. Thomas Mifflins blanket coat and Colonel Lippitts andirons
e. 1776/1777, Militia, 1st Battalion Philadelphia Associators, Deceased Officers Belongings
f. 1776/1777, British, 33d Regiment, Officers Necessaries
g. 1777, British, 40th Regiment, Reduction of Officers Baggage
h. 1777, British, 24th Regiment and 24th Regiment, Saratoga Campaign
i. 1777, British, 46th Regiment, Officers Field Equipage
j. 1777, Continental, 7th Pennsylvania Regiment, Officers Belongings
k. 1777-1778, Continental, Rev. Enos Hitchcocks personal belongings
l. 1777 and 1782, British and Continental, a bed made of chairs or stools (In honor of Joshua Mason)
m. 1778, Continental Officers and Horse Canteens
n. 1778, British, 42d Regiment, campaign living
o. 1780, German, Jaeger Camp Description
p. 1781, Continental Maryland Regiments, Officers Portmanteaus
q. 1781, French Officers Remarks on Continental Officers Life Style
r. 1781, Continental, 3d Maryland Regiment, Officers Greatcoat and wearing red coats
https://www.scribd.com/document/338154147/With-my-pack-and-large-blanket-at-my-
back-British-and-American-Officers-Equipage-and-Campaign-Gear
"An Account of some things I carried in my Pack.: The Continental Soldier's Burden
in the American War for Independence
Contents
1. Overview: Our almost incessant marching marching almost day & night.
2. Complement of necessaries, etc., for the soldier.
Personal Equipage as Stipulated in British Treatises
3. The load a soldier generally carries during a campaign
What British Troops Actually Carried, 1755-1783
4. Only such articles as are necessary and useful : Lightening the Soldiers Load
5. Spare cloathing and necessaries ..."
Personal and Other Items Carried by Continental and Militia Soldiers
a. Ezra Tilden, 1775 to 1779
b. Equipment Lost on 17 June 1775 in Col. James Reids New Hampshire Regiment
(including discussion of snapsack[s])
c. An "Estimate of the Expences of raising a foot soldier 1776, in Colo. Smallwood's
battalion & ye 7 independent Companies
d. An inventory of the possessions of the late Samuel Lamson of Colonel Fisher
Gay's Connecticut Regiment, 1776.
e. Sergeant Major John Hawkins, 2 nd Canadian Regiment, September 1777
f. Inventory of a Deceased Rhode Island Soldiers Belongings, October 1777
g. References to Soldiers Belongings and Knapsacks in Regulations for the Order and
Discipline of the Troops of the United States. 1779
h. "Plan for the Cloathing of the [light] Infantry,"circa 1779
i. Massachusetts Soldier: Sgt. Andrew Kettells Journal, May 1780-March 1781
j. Soldier-Tailor: Inventory of the Effects of Frederick Oblieskie, West Point,
September 1780
6. "All the tin Camp-kettles they can procure ...": Cooking Gear and other
Food-Related Items
a. Light-Weight Military Kettles, and Cast-Iron Cooking Gear, 1775-1782.
b. Continental Army and States' Militia, 1775-1780.
c. American Sheet-Iron Kettles, 1781-1782.
d. Iron Pots and Pans.
e. Makeshift Cookware.
d. Eating Utensils.
7. The Ways Soldiers Carried Food.
8. The Burden of Rations, 1762-1783.
9. Carrying Drink and Procuring Water.
10. Equipment Shortages
Appendix A.
I hired some of my pack carried about a dozen miles : Excerpts from Ezra Tildens
diary, 1776-1777
Appendix B.
Soldiers had what and how many?
List of Related Articles
https://www.scribd.com/document/340889214/An-Account-of-some-things-I-carried-in-my-
Pack-The-Continental-Soldier-s-Burden-in-the-American-War-for-Independence

Cost of a Knapsack complete : Notes on Continental Army Packs and the Soldiers Burden
Part 1. This Napsack I carryd through the war of the Revolution
Knapsacks Used by the Soldiers during the War for American Independence
a. Overview
b. Knapsacks and Tumplines, Massachusetts, 1775
c. The Uhl Knapsack
d. Leather and Hair Packs, and Ezra Tildens Narrative
e. The Rufus Lincoln and Elisha Gross Hair Knapsacks
f. The new Invented Napsack and haversack, 1776
g. The Benjamin Warner Linen Pack
h. British Linen Knapsacks
Appendices
a. Carrying Blankets in or on Knapsacks.
b. Like a Pedlar's Pack.: Blanket Rolls and Slings
c. More Extant Artifacts with Revolutionary War Provenance or with a Design Similar to Knapsacks
Used During the War
d. Extant Knapsacks Discounted as having Revolutionary War Provenance
http://www.scribd.com/doc/210794759/%E2%80%9C-This-Napsack-I-carryd-through-the-
war-of-the-Revolution-Knapsacks-Used-by-the-Soldiers-during-the-War-for-American-
Independence-Part-1-of-%E2%80%9C-Cos
"The Care and Cleaning of Firelocks in the 18th Century: A Discussion of Period Methods
and Their Present Day Applications," published in The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXII, no. 2
(Summer 1991), 2-11, and Muzzleloader, vol. XXI, no. 4, (September/October 1994),
62-66. To be updated as `The first object should be to clean your Arms : The Care and
Cleaning of Firelocks in the 18th Century (work in progress)
https://www.scribd.com/doc/292985859/The-Care-and-Cleaning-of-Firelocks-in-the-18th-
Century-A-Discussion-of-Period-Methods-and-Their-Present-Day-Applications

When the whole are completely formed, they may ground their arms : Grounding versus
Stacking Arms in the Continental Army (With Notes on British and German Practices)
https://www.scribd.com/doc/292407335/When-the-whole-are-completely-formed-they-may-
ground-their-arms-When-the-whole-are-completely-formed-they-may-ground-their-
arms-Groundin

"`To subsist an Army well ...': Soldiers' Cooking Equipment, Provisions, and Food
Preparation During the American War for Independence:
"All the tin Camp-kettles they can procure ...: Iron Pots, Pans, and Light-
Weight Military Kettles, 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 to online version:
Two brass kettles, to contain ten gallons each for each company
Brass and Copper Kettles
Military Collector & Historian, vol. 53, no. 1 (Spring 2001), 7-23.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/180835470/To-subsist-an-Army-well-Soldiers-Cooking-
Equipment-Provisions-and-Food-Preparation-During-the-American-War-for-
Independence
"`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 authors 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
`Properly fixed upon the Men: Linen Bags for Camp Kettles, The Brigade Dispatch, vol.
XXVII, no. 3 (Autumn 1997), 2-5.
http://revwar75.com/library/rees/kettlebags.htm

"`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.academia.edu/21056265/_As_many_fireplaces_as_you_have_tents_..._Earthen
_Camp_Kitchens
(Video of Old Barracks kitchen, courtesy of David Niescior, https://vimeo.com/151154631 )

Endnotes

1. Thomas Anburey, Travels Through the Interior Parts of America in a Series of Letters by an Officer,
vol. I (New York: The New York Times & Arno Press, 1969), letter XXXVI, 8 August 1777, 378381.
2. Loftus Cliffe to Jack, 24 October 1777, Loftus Cliffe Papers, William L. Clements Library, University
of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Loftus Cliffe correspondence, lieutenant, 46th Regiment, Collections of the
William C. Clements Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
3. Sheldon S. Cohen, "Captain William Leslie's 'Paths of Glory," New Jersey History, 108 (1990), 63.
4. Loftus Cliffe to Jack, 24 October 1777, Loftus Cliffe Papers, William L. Clements Library, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Loftus Cliffe correspondence, lieutenant, 46th Regiment, Collections of the William C. Clements Library,
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
5. Bruce E. Burgoyne, Enemy Views: The American Revolutionary War as Recorded by the Hessian
Participants (Bowie, Md., 1996), 160-162.
6. Walter Harold Wilkin, Some British Soldiers in America (London, Hugh Rees, Ltd., 1914), 246-247. For a
synopsis of British foraging operations around Philadelphia in December 1777, see, John W. Jackson, With
the British Army in Philadelphia, 1777-1778 (San Rafael, Ca., and London, U.K.: Presidio Press, 1979), 169-
170.
7. Part III, p. 10. T. Triplett Russell and John K. Gott, "Captain John Chilton's Diary", Fauquier Heritage
Society News, vol. 2, no. 1 (October 1994) part I, pp. 1-9.
8. Richard Butler to William Irvine, 8 July 1781, John Blair Linn and William H. Egle, Pennsylvania in the
War of the Revolution, Battalions and Line 17751783, vol. I (Harrisburg, Pa.: Lane S. Hart, State
Printer,1880), 530-532.
9. Francis Barber to his wife, Mary Ogden Barber, 3 July 1781, Roland M. Baumann, ed., Miscellaneous
Manuscripts of the Revolutionary War Era, 17711791, in the Pennsylvania State Archives, Manuscript
Group 275 (microfilm edition, 1 reel) (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,
1978), frame 298. The 1781 Virginia summer campaign was hard on that most crucial of items, footwear.
Despite receipt of a large quantity of shoes mentioned by Lt. Ebenezer Wild on 5 May, the light
troops sorely needed footwear by late summer, Ensign Benjamin Gilbert noted on 18 July while at
Malvern Hill, we are in Daily expectations of marching [to Carolina]. But I dread the march, our men
having not more than one pair of shoes or Hose to Eight men, and the sands are so hot in the middle of the
Day that it continually raises Blisters on the mens feet. General Wayne claimed the same hardship for his
troops, writing on August 9th, Notwithstanding this Circumstance, Delicacy has induced me to march the
Penns[ylvani]ans. bare foot over sharp pebbles, & thro burning sands (altho heretofore unused to such
treatment) rather than discriminate between any body of troops under my Command.
Gilbert to Park Holland, August 1781, John Shy, ed., Winding Down The Revolutionary War Letters of
Lieutenant Benjamin Gilbert of Massachusetts, 17801783 (Ann Arbor, Mi.: University of Michigan Press,
1989), 4647. Anthony Wayne to Lafayette, 9 August 1781, Stanley J. Idzerda, ed., Lafayette in the Age
of the American Revolution Selected Letters and Papers, 17761790, vol. IV (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell
University Press, 1981), 307309.
10. Don N. Hagist, The Bivouack of an Army : Roger Lambs Description of a Campaign Encampment in
America, The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXXVI, no. 4 (Winter 2006), 15-18.
11. George Smith, An Universal Military Dictionary: A Copious Explanation of the Technical Terms &c.
Used in the Equipment, Machinery, Movements, and Military Operations of an Army (London: Printed for
J. Millan, near Whitehall, 1779), 193.
12. Ibid., 223.
13. Thomas Simes, The Military Instructor for Non-Commissioned Officers and Private Men of the Infantry
(second edition; London, 1778)
14. Thomas Simes, A Military Guide for Young Officers 3rd Edition (London: Printed for J. Millan, near
Whitehall, 1781), 167. Simes earlier work The Military Medley (1768) contains the same list with few
differences. See, Thomas Simes, The Military Medley: Containing the most necessary Rules and Directions
for attaining a Competent Knowledge of the Ar: To which is added an Explanation of Military Terms,
Alabetically Digested (London, 1768), 5-6.
15. Bennett Cuthbertson, System for the Compleat Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of
Infantry (Dublin: Printed by Boulter Grierson, 1768), 101.
16. Ibid., 93.
17. Ibid., 94.
18. Ibid., 82.
19. Ibid., 114.
20. Ibid., 101.
21. Ibid., 85.
22. Ibid., 85. Cuthbertson also wrote on how to ensure soldiers cared for and retained the items issued
them: (p.87) To prevent as much as possible, the least embezzlement of the necessaries, with which a
Soldier is provided, and to give a greater chance for the discovery of thefts, all their linen articles should
have the name of the owner, with the number of the Regiment and Company he belongs to, marked with a
mixture of vermilion and nut-oil, which when perfectly dried can never be washed out; under the slit of
the bosom of the shirt, will be found the most convenient place, as at the weekly inspection of
necessaries, and Officer can easily examine, if the shirts at that time worn by the Soldiers are their own;
some mark should also be fixed upon the woolen Stockings and the Shoes, otherwise an officer will find
himself exposed to numberless impositions, from the irregularity of particular Soldiers, and their
unconquerable desire for drink, which tempts them frequently to exchange and pledge their necessaries, if
not prevented by every precaution in the power of an Officer to invent.; (pp. 87-88) That the
necessaries of a Soldier may always be kept up in good condition, and that it may be the more readily
discovered, if any part has been lost or embezzled, every officer should have a roll of those of his
Company, and every Serjeant and Corporal one of the Squad he inspects; and at the weekly review of
linen, &c. an Officer ought strictly to examine every particular belonging to his Company, observing
that they agree in quantity and likewise, that every article has the proper mark of belonging to the man
who shews it
23. 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 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.
24. 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.
25. 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 its Commencement
to the Year 1783 (Dublin, 1809; reprint, New York: The New York Times and Arno Press, 1968), 381.
26. 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, 18001900, Record Group 15; National Archives 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:
27. British haversack pattern (1992), Brigade of the American Revolution. Haversack kit available from Roy
Najecki, Sutler, 1203 Reynolds Rd., Chepachet, RI 02814. Brent Tarter, ed., "The Orderly Book of the
Second Virginia Regiment, September 27, 1775-April 15, 1776", The Virginia Magazine of History and
Biography, vol. 85, no. 2 (April 1977), no. 3 (July 1977), 165-166. "Plan for the Cloathing of the Infantry",
1779, George Washington Papers, Presidential Papers Microfilm (Washington, D.C., 1961), series 4, roll 63.
John Knox, captain, 43rd Regiment, The Siege of Quebec and the Campaigns in North America, 1757-1760,
Brian Connell, ed., (Edinburgh, U.K., 1976, originally published 1769), 50. Order Book of the 64th Regiment
of Foot, Washington Papers, series 6B, vol. 3, 2.
28. Joseph Plumb Martin, Private Yankee Doodle: A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and
Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier (New York, 1962), 81.
29. Samuel Chase to Thomas Jenifer, 10 February 1776, "Journal of the Maryland Convention, July 26-
August 14, 1775/Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, August 29, 1775-July 6,
1776", William Hand Brown, Archives of Maryland, vol. 11 (Baltimore, Md., 1892), 150. A "rough draft of
the new Invented napsack and haversack in one that is adopted by the American regulars of Pennsylvania,
New Jersey & Virginia ...", Samuel Chase to J. Young, 9 February 1776, (includes a rough sketch of new
invented knapsack and haversack, Maryland State Papers, (Red Books), Archives of the State of Maryland,
access. no. MdHR 4561, loc. 1-6-3-38, 4, item 13. Regimental Orders, 26 May 1779, The Orderly Book of
the First Pennsylvania Regiment, Col. James Chambers, 23 May 1779 to 25 August 1779, John B. Linn and
William H. Egle, eds., Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, Battalions and Line. 1775-1783, II
(Harrisburg, Pa., 1880), 442.
30. Orders, 4 October 1777, Orderly Book, possibly belonging to Lt. Col. William Smith of Jackson's
Additional Regiment, 1777-1780, 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, vol. 17), RG 93, NA, vol. 17, target 3. M.M. Quaife, ed.,
"Documents - A Boy Soldier Under Washington: The Memoir of Daniel Granger," Mississippi Valley
Historical Review, XVI, 4 (March 1930), 546. Martin, Private Yankee Doodle, 117. General orders, 30 July
1779, Order Book of Lt. Col. Francis Barber, 26 May 1779 to 6 September 1779, Louise Welles Murray, ed.,
Notes from Craft Collection in Tioga Point Museum on the Sullivan Expedition of 1779, (Athens, Pa., 1929),
55.
31. "Return of the Weight for the Cloathing, Arms, Accoutrements ... Necessary's &Ca of a Grenadier, upon
a March," Arthur Baillie, lieutenant, to Henry Bouquet, 28 August 1762, Scott Stephenson, "'The Camp
Looks So Pretty With all the Lanterns': Thoughts on Reconstructing the Physical World of the British Soldier
on Campaign in North America", Standing Orders: A Newsletter for Researchers of the British Army in
North America, 1739-1765, vol. 3, no. 1 (November 1990). Thomas Anburey, Travels Through the Interior
Parts of America in a Series of Letters by an Officer (New York, N.Y., 1969), vol. I, letter XXXVI, 378-381.
32. The Orderly Book of the First Pennsylvania Regiment, Col. James Chambers, 23 May 1779 to 25 August
1779, Linn and Egle, Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, II, 449, 470. Murray, Notes from Craft
Collection, 55. General orders, 11 July 1779, Orderly book of Col. Oliver Spencer's Regt., 27 July 1779 - 28
September 1779, Early American Orderly Books, 1748-1817, Collections of the New York Historical
Society, microfilm edition (Woodbridge, N.J., 1977), roll 9, item 93, 31.
33. Timothy Pickering to George Washington, 8 February 1782, Nod. Record Books, NA, roll 26, vol. 83,
72-73. George Washington, 8 July 1777, "Canteens, Tomhawks and other camp-utensils must be very
beneficial to the troops; but unless more care be taken to preserve, it will be impracticable to supply them,"
General orders, John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript
Sources 1745-1799, vol. 8 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1933), 369-371.
34. John F. Reed, Campaign to Valley Forge: July 1, 1777-December 19, 1777 (Philadelphia, Pa., 1965),
214. "Return of Cloathing wanting in the Brigades ... Camp at Towamensing", 13 October 1777, The Papers
of the Continental Congress 1774-1789, (National Archives Microfilm Publication M247 roll 38); Record
Group (RG) 360, National Archives (NA), Washington, DC, 117-118. 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), 119. William Maxwell to George Washington, 5 June 1778,
Washington Papers, series 4, roll 49.
35. Kenneth Coleman, The American Revolution in Georgia 1763-1789 (Athens, Ga., 1958), 106-108.
Charles Pinckney to William Moultrie, 24 May 1778, William Moultrie, Memoirs of the American
Revolution. vol. I (reprint, New York, N.Y., 1968), 212-214.
36. Edward Hand to George Washington, Washington Papers, series 4, roll 56. Receipts for equipment, New
Jersey troops, 29 January, 27 April, 25 May 1779, James Abeel Receipt Book 1778-1779, Lloyd W. Smith
Collection, Morristown National Historical Park Library (microfilm edition), roll 1. For unit strengths see
Charles H. Lesser, Sinews of Independence: Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army (Chicago, Il.
and London, 1976), 100, 112. Orderly book of Col. Oliver Spencer's Regt., 27 July 1779 - 28 September
1779, Early American Orderly Books, roll 9, item 93, 31.
37. George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American
Revolution (Harrisburg, Pa., 1975), 59-63. Bruce E. Burgoyne, Enemy Views: The American Revolutionary
War as Recorded by the Hessian Participants (Bowie, Md., 1996), 160-162. Martin, Private Yankee Doodle,
116-117. Robert Goldthwaite Carter, Four Brothers in Blue (Austin, Tx. and London, 1979), 70.
38. 26 July 1777 entry, John Chilton's Diary (captain, 3rd Virginia Regiment), Keith Family Papers, 1710-
1916, Virginia Historical Society (hereafter cited as John Chilton's Diary, VHS). General orders, 19
September 1780, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 20, 349-350. "Military Journal of Major Ebenezer Denny," Memoirs
of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, vol. VII (1860), 238-239.
39. 27 July 1777 entry, John Chilton's Diary, VHS. Journal of Jehiel Stewart, 1775-1776, Revolutionary War
Pension and Bounty - Land - Warrant Application Files, National Archives Microfilm Publication M804, roll
2290, W25138. Excerpts of this journal are covered in Donald Wickman, ed., "A Most Unsettled Time on
Lake Champlain: The October 1776 Journal of Jahiel Stewart", Vermont History, vol. 64, no. 2 (Spring
1996), 98, endnote 7.
40. William B. Lapham, ed., Elijah Fisher's Journal While in the War for Independence ... 1775-1784
(Augusta, Me., 1880), 7. Martin, Private Yankee Doodle, 192-193.
41. General orders, 3 June 1777, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 8 (1933), 175. General orders, 9 August 1780, ibid.,
vol. 19 (1937), 348.
42. Almon W. Lauber, ed., Orderly Books of The Fourth New York Regiment, 1778-1780; the 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), 78.