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"An Account of some things I carried in my Pack.The Continental Soldier's Burden in the American War for Independence

John U. Rees

Burden in the American War for Independence John U. Rees Detail of part of a group

Detail of part of a group of Continental soldiers from Pierre Charles L'Enfant (1754-1825) painting of West Point and dependencies. View is from the east side of the Hudson River, at the top is the lower part of Constitution Island. This was done after August 1782, as service chevrons, worn on the saluting soldier’s left sleeve, were first authorized on the 7th of that month. Several soldiers in group are wearing knapsacks, and what appears to be a rolled blanket can be seen on top of three of the packs. (Second half of the soldier group is included in Appendix A of this monograph. Library of Congress, 2


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 Reid’s 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 Soldier’s 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 Kettell’s 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


Light-Weight Military Kettles, and Cast-Iron Cooking Gear, 1775-1782.


Continental Army and States' Militia, 1775-1780.


American Sheet-Iron Kettles, 1781-1782.


Iron Pots and Pans.


Makeshift Cookware.


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 Tilden’s

diary, 1776-1777

Appendix B. Soldiers had what and how many? List of Related Articles by the Author

IMAGES, PART ONE Wool and Linen Caps, Combs, Razors, Neckwear, Shirts, Drawers, Breeches, Overalls, Stockings, Shoes and Buckles, Watches, Sewing Gear (including Housewives), and Fire Making Equipment.

IMAGES, PART TWO Plates, Bowls, Eating Utensils, Clasp Knives, Pillow Cases, Blankets, Rugs, Coverlets, Slipcase Pocket Books, common Pocket Books, Linen Wallets, Mittens, Cups, Pipes, Tobacco and Snuff Boxes, and Writing Implements.

"According to orders our brigade marched from Prackanes on the 29th of July, and encamped at Paramus at night, fifteen miles. The men were exceedingly affected with the heat and fatigue. We marched on the succeeding day at two o'clock in the morning; at this early hour, the drums beat the reveille, which summons us from our hard beds and slumbers, in haste we roll up our travelling bed furniture, strike our tents, order them thrown into the wagons, mount our horses, and with a slow pace follow the march of our soldiers, bending under the weight of the burden on their backs." Surgeon James Thacher, August 1780. 2

Overview “Our almost incessant marching marching almost day & night.

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 Burgoyne’s 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." 3

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. 4

Despite this testimony, almost from the war’s 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.” 5 A year later Lieutenant.Cliffe, in “Camp near Philadelphia 24 October 1777,” noted,

Our field equipage

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. 6

was reduced to two shirts & a blanket & a canteen for each Officer, this last of little

& a canteen for each Officer, this last of little 40 t h Regiment order book

40 th Regiment order book: “Regimental Orders, 23 May 1777 The Non Commissd Offrs and Men to have their Necessareys Constantly packd in their Wallets ready to sling in their Blanketts which they are to parade with Every morning at troop beating to Acustom them to do it with Readiness and Dispatch.” 4th Grenadier Battalion’s order book: “26th. Augt. 76 Bn. Orders: The Commanding Officers of Compys. will see that the Mens necessary’s are pack’d up in their Blankets immediately. It is expected in future that the Men constantly Parade with their Packs & that they do not undo them until Night –” British Orderly Book [40th Regiment of Foot] April 20, 1777 to August 28, 1777, George Washington Papers (Library of Congress), series 6B, vol. 1, reel 117. "`Necessarys … to be Properley Packd: & Slung in their Blanketts’: Selected Transcriptions 40th Regiment of Foot Order Book,” 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. Paul Pace, ed., “4th British Grenadier Battalion Order Book, Kept by Adjutant and Lieutenant John Peebles, Grenadier Company, 42nd or Royal Highland Regiment, August 1 to October 17, 1776,”

40 t h Regiment, orders 14 May 1777: “Each Compy will immediately receive from the

40 th Regiment, orders 14 May 1777: “Each Compy will immediately receive from the Qr. Mr. Serjt 26 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 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.British Orderly Book [40th Regiment of Foot] April 20, 1777 to August 28, 1777, George Washington Papers (Library of Congress), series 6B, vol. 1, reel 117. "`Necessarys … to be Properley Packd: & Slung in their Blanketts’: Selected Transcriptions 40th Regiment of Foot Order Book,” See also,

Linen shirt worn by Col. William Ledyard when he was illed by a British o

Linen shirt worn by Col. William Ledyard when he was illed by a British officer at Fort Griswold, New London, Connecticut, on 6 September 1781. (Connecticut Historical Society) 18th Century Material Culture: Shirts”

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. … 7

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. 8

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, Gen. George Washington’s 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

Hackitts Town

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. 9

[marched through]

passed 2 Miles when we were ordered to sit down in the Sun no water near to refresh

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 Lafayette’s northern light battalions and composite southern forces in Virginia. Initially slated to reinforce Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene in the Carolinas, Lt. Gen. Charles Earl Cornwallis’s activities in Virginia detained Wayne’s troops there. Col. Richard Butler reported on their activities up to July 8 th 1781:

After a fatiguing march, prosecuted with bad weather, we join d the Marquiss, the 10 th of June; about this time L d 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 dar d to approach them; the consequence of which was very bad Intelligence. Charlottesville was sack d 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 turn d about on hearing of our arrival, & the Exaggerated Acct s of our force aded to his anxiety in return, & he mov d back with a little more Caution than he Advanc d . … 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 provis n 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 don’t get a supply soon … 10

Lt. Col. Francis Barber, an experienced officer and commander of one of Lafayette’s northern provisional light battalions, also emphasized the campaign’s rigors,

Camp 15 miles from Williamsburgh July 3 rd 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 wast’d 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 assure you, I am very healthy. Billy is also much reduced, but enjoys his health & spirits. 11

much reduced, but enjoys his health & spirits. 1 1 Two of four Continental soldiers drawn

Two of four Continental soldiers drawn in 1781 by French Sublieutenant Jean-Baptiste-Antoine de Verger, Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment. The soldier on the left has long been thought to be from the Rhode Island Regiment of 1781, that on the right of Hazen’s Canadian Regiment. Another version, found in French officer Baron Ludwig von Closen’s journal, is headed “Costumer de l’Armé Américaine en 1782.” Closen’s copy notes that the left-hand soldier belongs to a Massachusetts Continental regiment, that on the right a New Jersey regiment. Howard C. Rice and Anne S.K. Brown, eds. and trans., The American Campaigns of Rochambeau's Army 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, vol. I (Princeton, N.J. and Providence, R.I.,: Princeton University Press, 1972), between pages 142-143 (description on page xxi). Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University. Sidney Kaplan, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution, 1770-1800 (Greenwich, Ct.:

Sgt. Roger Lamb, a veteran of Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s 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 day’s 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 Americans. 12

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 British Treatises

The full allowance of clothing, equipment, and various small items deemed necessary to provide British soldiers of the 1770’s and 1780’s was set out in several period military publications. First, let us look at the soldier’s necessaries listed in Capt. George Smith’s 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. See REGIMENTALS. 13

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.” 14 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 soldier’s 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 musket’s 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



And the 1781 edition of Simes’ Military Guide for Young Officers contains the same basic list as Smith’s 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. 16

3 spare powder-horns, and 12 [empty] bags for ball. 1 6 English military neck stock with

English military neck stock with brass clasp, circa 1770. (Private collection) 18th Century Material Culture: Neck Stocks, Rollers, & Cravats”

English military stock clasp found at Stony Point, New York, circa 1779. (Stony Point Battlefield)

English military stock clasp found at Stony Point, New York, circa 1779. (Stony Point Battlefield) 18th Century Material Culture: Neck Stocks, Rollers, & Cravats”

Bennett Cuthbertson’s 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=7

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 Firelocks; but at other times they can certainly be of little use. 18

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. 19

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-maker of the Company can always do them … 20

Every Serjeant and Corporal should be provided with a cloaths brush and hatter’s 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 should 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. 21

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 fuller’s earth … 22

Square knapsacks are most convenient, for packing up the Soldier’s 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 carriage of the Knapsack much easier, than across the breast, and by no means so heating. 23

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 lost among those of other Corps. 24

Using Captain Smith’s 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.

“The load a soldier generally carries during a campaign …” What British Troops Actually Carried, 1755-1783

Hard-won experience in the Seven Years War in America (French and Indian War), 1755-1763, taught British commanders the need to balance soldiers’ campaign gear with the need for mobility, combat effectiveness, and some modicum of comfort. Thus, with the expectation of taking the field against Whig forces in 1776, clothing and accoutrements, as well as in addition to tactical formations, were modified to suit American conditions. Coats were cut down or

sleeved jackets substituted, gaitered overalls largely replaced breeches, knapsacks gave way to blanket slings, and the two-rank, open-order line was adopted. 25 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

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 26

[of] Garters, A Hankerchief

The equipment listed (including clothing, musket, bayonet and hanger) was noted on the return as weighing approximately sixty-three pounds. By midpoint of that earlier war British commanders had begun a program of altering their troops’ clothing and equipment to match conditions in the North American wilderness. Perhaps the best-known was Sir Jeffrey Amherst’s 1759 directive, as reiterated by Gen. James Wolfe on 30 May 1759:

The following order for the dress of the light infantry, as approved by his excellency General Amherst:

Major-General Wolfe desires the same may be exactly conformed to by the light troops under his command: the sleeves of the coat are put on the waistcoat and, instead of coat-sleeves, he has two wings like the grenadiers, but fuller; and a round slope reaching about half-way down his arm; which makes his coat of no incumbrance to him, but can be slipt off with pleasure; he has no lace, but the lapels remain:

besides the usual pockets, he has two, not quite so high as his breast, made of leather, for ball and flints;

and a flap of red cloth on the inside, which secures the ball from rolling out, if he should fall. His knapsack

is carried very high between his shoulders, and is fastened with a strap of web over his shoulder, as the

Indians carry their pack [i.e., tumpline]. His cartouch-box hangs under his arm on the left side, slung with a leathern strap; his horn under the other arm on the right, hanging by a narrower web than that used for his knapsack; his canteen down his back, under his knapsack and covered with cloth, he has a rough case for his tomahawk with a button, and it hangs in a lethern sling down his side, like a hanger, between his coat and waistcoat, no bayonet, his leggins have leathern straps under his shoes, like spatterdashes; his hat is made into a cap with a flap and a button and with as much black cloth added as will come under his chin

and keep him warm when he lies down; it hooks in the front, and is made like the old velvet caps in England. 27

Wolfe later amended this directive: “The light infantry of this army are to have their bayonets, as the want of ammunition may at some times be supplied by that weapon, and no man should leave

his post, under pretence that all his cartridges were fired. In most attacks of the night it must be remembered that bayonets are preferable to fire.” While not strictly pertinent to this monograph,

it is worthwhile to keep in mind British equipment and uniform modifications adopted for French

and Indian War field service, practices foreshadowing similar actions taken in the later American War. 28 We have seen above the items British military writers thought necessary for soldiers to carry; now let us examine several similar accounts produced at the army, brigade, or regimental level during the War for American Independence. Capt. Walter Home, 7 th Regiment, noted the “Establishment of Necessaries in Lord Robt. Bertie’s Company” in March 1771: four shirts, two rollers (neckwear), one black stock, two pair of shoes, four pair of stockings, one pair long gaiters,

one pair short gaiters, one buff ball, one black ball, one pair shoe brushes, one “turnkey & worm,” one “pick & brush,” one knapsack, and one haversack. A list for the 65 th Regiment, circa 1776/1777, mirrors Home’s with several minor alterations, as follows: “3 pairs of white Worsted Stockings, not ribbed, and one pair of white thread … shoe and knee Buckles, Stock Clasps, according to the Regimental Pattern … Knapsack with double straps to come over each Shoulder." It must be noted one of these lists was pre-war, the other for a unit sent home from America in 1776. 29 A February 1776 list of the “Necessary Equipment of the Detachment from the Brigd. of Foot Guards Intended for Foreign Service” shows some added items thought to be needed for campaigning in America. 30

£ s

d 100


Cloak (if Objected to, to be Dispenced With) -. 11. -


pr. of Leggens




pr. of Trowsers








pr. of Mittens




pr. of half Gaters




Check Shirt




pr. of Shoe Soles & Heels




pr. of Socks



Alteration of the Mens Knapsacks .



A revised list was posted Guards brigade orders, London, 13 March 1776:

The Necessarys of the Detachment are to be Compleated to the following Articles -- Three Shirts Three Pair worsted Stockings

Two pair of Socks

Two pair of Shoes Three pair of Heels and Soles Two Black Stocks Two Pair of Half Gaiters One Cheque Shirt

A Knapsack

Picker, Worm & Turnscrew

A Night Cap

7/ 1/4 pr. Pair

1/2 d pr. pair

1s/ pr. pair 3/9 d

(2/6 d Allowed by Government)

The deficient Articles of the Necessarys are to be carried in the Waggons to Wimbledon on Friday, and Delivered in the manner the Captains shall Direct before the men shall be sent to their Quarters. The Soles, Socks and half gaiters to be packed up and put on Board the Transports with the new Cloathing. The Cheque Shirt may be Delivered at Wimbledon or remain packed up & carried in the Waggons as the Commanding Officer of the Detachment shall Direct. 31

When British forces disembarked on Staten Island in August 1776 they carried only the bare necessities, even leaving knapsacks behind, resorting instead to slings to carry their blankets rolled around their personal belongings. Capt. William Leslie, 17th Regiment, described these ad hoc packs to his parents: "Bedford Long Island Sept. 2nd 1776… 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." 32

Orders, 4th Battalion Grenadiers (42nd and 71st Regiments), off Staten Island, 2 August 1776: "When the Men disembark they are to take nothing with them, but 3Shirts 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 ship which are carefully to be laid up by the Commanding Officers of Companys in the safest manner they can contrive." 33

Brigade of Guards, off Staten Island, "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." 34

Readying for the summer 1777 campaign season the commander of the 40 th Regiment stipulated blanket slings and the necessaries to be placed inside linen wallets and carried in the rolled blankets 35 .

R[egimental]:O[rders] 14th May 1777 Each Compy. will immediately receive from the Qr. Mr. Serjt. 26 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 snugest 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

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

The new Trowzers to be put

After Regtl. Orders 2 Oclock Afternoon

Mention is also made of issuing of pipeclay (regimental orders, 11 and 18 May 1777) and sixty rounds of ammunition (army orders, 26 May 1777; brigade orders, 17 and 22 May 1777; regimental orders, 3 and 4 May 1777).

“… my Blanket, like a Pedlar's Pack." Private, light company, 63d Regiment, 1777, New Jersey

“… my Blanket, like a Pedlar's Pack." Private, light company, 63d Regiment, 1777, New Jersey and Philadelphia campaigns. Artwork by Don Troiani (Courtesy of the artist, )

In August when Gen. Sir William Howe’s army lay in the Chesapeake Bay at off Head of Elk, the men were similarly equipped.

49 th Regiment, "Orders in Board the Rochford 21 August 1777

Commissd. Officer and Soldier of the Regiment is to have with him 2 very good Shirts, & [?] Stocking[s] 2

pair of Shoes, their Linen drawers, Linnen Leggins, half Gaiters and their Blankets well Rold.” 36

When the Regt. lands, Evry Non

British enlisted men had other equipment to carry, as mentioned in the following directives: 37

Head Qrs: N:York 2nd: June 77


5 Waggons will be Allowed to each Battn: And 10 Waggons for each Corps of Gredrs: & Lt: Infantry British, no more can possabley be Allowd: for the Baggage The Regts: under Orders for Embarkation will Immediately receive the Names of the several Transports Apropriated to them, on board of which they are as soon as possable to Embark their Camp Equipage Except such Canteens Camp Kettles Hatchets & Haversacks, as their Respective Regts: may be in Immediate want of

[Middlebush, New Jersey] A[fter]:O[rders]: 11: Oclock at nig[ht]: 15th: June A working Party Consisting of 3 Field Offrs: 12 Capts: 26 Subaltrens and 1200 men, with Non Commissd: Offrs: in proportion to parade to morrow morning at day break 800 of the Number to bring with them their Camp Hatchetts for makeing Facines

Three order book entries from the late-war southern theater reiterate the pared-down kit carried by British soldiers campaigning in America.

43d Regiment order book, "Apollo Transport O[f]f Brandon James River [Virginia]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." 38

Lt. Gen Charles Earl Cornwallis’s army, 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

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." 39

Each Mess to be furnish'd with a Good Camp Kettle, & every Man provided with

Cornwallis’s army, Ramsour's Mills, 24 January 1781: General orders, "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 … [Brigade orders] There being a Sufficient Quantity of Leather to Compleat the

Brigade in Shoes

immediately Soled & Repaired, & if possible that every Man when they move from this Ground take in his

Blankett one pair of Spare Soles

It is recommended to



the Commandg. Officers of Companies, see their Mens Shoes

Next we will look at efforts to pare down army baggage and soldiers’ gear and accounts of what “Rebel” soldiers carried in their knapsacks.

“Only such articles as are necessary and useful …” Lightening the Soldiers’ Load

We will finish with a look at the belongings Whig soldiers carried, but first an overview of related considerations, including commanders’ repeated instructions to reduce the amount of gear officer and enlisted men took with them on campaign. To begin at the most elementary level, we turn to Steuben's 1779 Regulations where the duties of the captain, non-commissioned officers, and privates are detailed. Regarding soldiers' equipment and personal effects captains were to "examine [the mens'] knapsacks, and see that they carry nothing but what is allowed, it being a material object to prevent the soldier loading himself with unnecessary baggage." Sergeants and corporals were to ensure that the privates "have their effects always ready, and where they can

get them immediately, even in the dark, without confusion; and on every fine day he must oblige them to air their effects." In turn, private soldiers were instructed, "whenever he is ordered under arms, [he] must appear well dressed, with his arms and accoutrements clean and in good order, and his knapsack, blanket, &c. ready to throw on his back in case he should be ordered to take

them," and "when warned for guard, he must

sentry must have them at his back." Above all "When ordered to march, he must not charge

himself with any unnecessary baggage

On 26 May 1777, just before the start of the campaign in northern New Jersey, Gen. George

Washington wrote Maryland brigadier William Smallwood about mobility, excess baggage and other issues,

carry all his effects with him, and even when on



See that the Officers pay great attention to the Condition of the Soldier's Arms, Ammunition, and

Accoutrements, as also to the manner of Cooking their Victuals; and as far as in your power lies, cause the Men to appear Neat, Clean, and Soldier-like, not only for the sake of appearances, but for the Benefit of their Health. Improve all the leizure time your Brigade may have from other Duties, in Manoeuvring, and teaching the Men the use of their Legs, which is infinitely more Importance than learning them the Manual Exercise. Cause the Officers to attend regularly and perform their part of these duties with

the Men

The Experience of last Campaign abundantly evinced the Absurdity of heavy Baggage and the

disadvantages resulting therefrom to Individuals and the Public. Prevent therefore, as much as possible, all

Incumbrances of this kind, and do not, upon a March, suffer the Soldiers to throw their Arms or Packs into Waggons, unless they are either sick or Lame. 42

July 4 1777 after orders directed how to organize units prior to and during a march, with some mention of baggage:

When the order is given to march, and the men are paraded for that purpose, the rolls are to be called; and the commanding officer of each corps is to see that his men are all present When they are told into Subdivisions, in platoons, and officers are assigned to each, such officers are to abide constantly with them; and upon a march see that no man is suffered to quit his rank, upon any occasion, without a non-commissioned officer with him, who is to bring him to his place again. Whenever a halt is made, and the ranks are suffered to be broken, in order for the men to sit, or refresh

themselves, the officers commanding each division

they have every man of their division in his place When a march is to begin, after a halt, the drummers are to beat the first division of the foot march, to be

taken from front to rear; and upon the last flam of the first division being struck, the whole are to move. If any man falls sick, or lame, and is therefore unable to walk, the officer commanding the Sub-division

or platoon in which he is, is immediately


As much irregularity in many instances was observed on the march yesterday, particularly with respect to the guards, women and waggons; the General further orders that the following regulations be observed - viz: [ 1st. That when the baggage waggons accompany the army, and form part of the line of march, no regiment do allot more than two men as a guard to each waggon; and that these men be under the care of a subaltern, or non-commissioned officer, as the Colonel, or commanding officer of the regiment may choose, and the case may require: That each brigade furnish a Captain, to superintend these; and (where the baggage of the whole division moves together) each division a field officer. 2nd. That the two men assigned to each waggon, shall march on the sides, but as far back as the tail, of

each waggon; that if any thing falls out, they may discover, and pick it up--The Subaltern, or non- commissioned is to be about the center of his regimental waggons; the captain about the same place of those of the brigade, and the field officer in that of the division. 3rd. That no women shall be permitted to ride in any waggon, without leave in writing from the Brigadier to whose brigade she belongs: And the Brigadiers are requested to be cautious in giving leave to those who are able to walk--Any women found in a waggon contrary to this regulation, is to be immediately turned out by the Quarter Master General, Waggon Master General, or any of their Assistants, in the division or brigade to which the waggon appertains; as also by any of the officers who command the baggage guard of such waggons. If any interruption is given to the execution of this order, the name and regiment of the person giving it is to be reported to the General. 4th. None but spare arms, and such as belong to sick and lame men, shall be suffered to go in waggons, as they are almost certain of receiving some injury. Or if any drummer presumes to put his drum into a waggon, unless under similar circumstances - The Soldier or drummer so offending, shall be immediately flogged by any officer commanding the baggage guard of such waggon. 5th. 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. 43

so soon as they are orderd to Arms again, to see that

[take measures to ensure that] the Waggon Master of his

provide a birth for him in some waggon under his care

On 6 August General Washington addressed common soldiers’ excess gear in detail while, unusually, at the same time allotting wagons to carry the knapsacks.

Whenever the army moves, it will probably be necessary, that it march with the utmost celerity - the tents


difficulty, keep up with the troops; For the same reason, the officers will take with them, only a few articles

of cloathing, such as shall be indispensably necessary, leaving the bulk of their baggage to be brought on after them, and in order to facilitate the march, the Quarter Master General is to provide so many waggons as shall be necessary to carry the men's packs: But these packs are not to be stuffed with loads of useless trumpery, as from the sizes of many, there is great reason to suppose now is the case, and the officers are to see that they are not; for which purpose, the Commander in Chief most earnestly desires and expects, that the officers particularly inspect the packs of their men, and select only such articles as are necessary and useful: All the rest (each mans being rolled up by itself) is to be collected by the Quarter Masters of the regiments, and by them deposited in proper places, to be provided by the Quarter Master General. 44

are to be loaded in waggons by themselves, and in such manner, that they may, without

With the British landing at Head of Elk in Maryland in late August, Washington’s troops were enjoined yet again to lighten their burdens.

Head Quarters Newport 7th Sepr 1777

General Orders

of last night, that the Enemy has Disencumber'd themselves of all their Baggage even tents Reserving only their Blankets, & Such part of their Clothing as is Absolutely Necessary, this Indicates A Speedy and Rapid movement, & points out the necessaty of following the example & Ridding ourselves for A

few days of all things we possible can dispence with as A verry Imperfect obedience has been paid to former orders on this Subject, now once more Strictly enjoins that all baggage which can be Spared

Both officers & men, be immedietly pack'd up & sent off this day to the otherside Brandewine Officers Should only retain their Blankets & Great Coats & only three or four Shifts of under

Cloaths, & that all the men Should besides what they have on keep only a Blanket, one Shirt a piece & Such as have great Coats, all trunks Chests & boxes either bedding or Cloaths then these mentioned, to be Sent away till the elapsing of a few days Shall determine whether the Enemy means

to make an immediate attack or not

today, have it Cook'd & deposited with the Regimental QrMaster, Provided Salt provisions can be got,

otherwise one days fresh Provisions to be Cooked deposited as aforesaid & two days hard Bread if to be


Knapsacks, that they may be perfectly light & free for Action. 45

The Genl has Received A Confirmation of the Intilligence mentioned in the after orders


The whole Army is to Draw two days provisions exclusive of

the QrM. Genl is to Spare no pains Immedietly to provide Waggons to carry the mens

The injunction to lighten baggage was aimed at officers as well. For details on officers’ excess

gear see Appendix C. of “’With my pack and large blanket at my back …’: British and American Officers’ Equipage and Campaign Gear” pack-and-large-blanket-at-my-back-British-and-American-Officers-Equipage-and-Campaign-Gear

American rearguard troops, Fort Ticonderoga, July 1777. (Fort Ticonderoga, 2014) “Spare cloathing and necessa ries

American rearguard troops, Fort Ticonderoga, July 1777. (Fort Ticonderoga, 2014)

“Spare cloathing and necessaries


Personal and Other Items Carried by Continental and Militia Soldiers

From citizen-soldiers at Bunker Hill, to a soldier-tailor at West Point, the extant accounts of Whig soldiers’ personal belongings give a wide-ranging view of what was carried, on campaign and off. We will begin with Ezra Tilden, who served most of his time in the Massachusetts militia, with a 1775 stint in the proto-Continental Army and another short-term Continental enlistment in 1780.

a. Ezra Tilden, 1775 to 1779

Ezra Tilden was kind enough to record in detail his military experiences during the War for American Independence. Better still, he also left inventories of the items he carried into military service. On top of those good deeds, Mr. Tilden, also left a record of the items he sold, and, being a purveyor of used knapsacks, pocket watches, and any other items that would bring in some extra cash or serve as barter, left records of all those transactions. Below we will look at Tilden’s lists of belongings in relation to his military service, with selected journal entries recording items sold or acquired during his enlistments.

(Note: the 1776 and 1777 diary entries are taken from Dwight MacKerron, ed., “Exult O Americans & Rejoice!” – The Revolutionary War Diary of Ezra Tilden (Stoughton, Ma.: Stoughton Historical Society, 2009). See also, Ezra Tilden, pension file (W14020) (W2197) (National Archives Microfilm Publication M804, 2,670 rolls, roll 804) Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 18001900, Record Group 15; National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)

1775 and Winter-Spring 1776

From May to 31 December 1775 Ezra Tilden served in Col. Joseph Reed’s Massachusetts.(nascent Continental) Regiment, at Roxbury and neighboring towns;

From February to April 1776 Tilden served in Capt. Jedediah Southworth’s company, Col. John Robinson’s Militia Regiment, February to April 1776 (two months), at Dorchester Heights

1776 Fort Ticonderoga Garrison

Ezra Tilden served from 20 July 1776 to 10 December 1776 in Capt. James Endicott’s company, Col. Ephraim Wheelock’s Militia Regiment, at Fort Ticonderoga.

Wheelock’s Militia Regiment, at Fort Ticonderoga. Combs found at Fort Ticonderoga, 18th century. (Fort

Combs found at Fort Ticonderoga, 18th century. (Fort Ticonderoga) Gregory Theberge, “18th Century Material Culture: Dressing the Hair & Wig

p. 9 August 5, 1776 An Account of some things I carried into the Army in my Pack:

A woolen Shirt with a snuff bottle full of ground coffee in it, and one and a half of chocolate in it too, wrapt up in a piece of brown paper and a new cotton and linen shirt and a new milk cheese wrapt up in it which weighed five pounds, a pair of white stockings, a pair of blue stockings, a bag of plumbs, a bag with three pounds and half of sugar in it, a pair of boots, a cap, a powder horn, four sheets of paper wrapt up in a piece of brown paper and four quills in it, a brown paper with two pieces of soap in it, one great pin, four small ones, one brown thread needle, and one worsted darning needle, one ball of white yarn, one ball of blue yarn, some strings, some thread, some sealing wax, a snuff box full of snuff, a pewter bason, a wooden plate, a spoon, a fork, a Jack-knife, a pen-knife, a pair of knee buckles, a pocket book and case to it, a small toothed comb, a pocket looking glass, an under-jacket, a short coat, a great coat, a pair of grey stockings, two pair shoes, a striped shirt, a pair of long trowsers, a hat, two handkerchiefs, a pair of shoe buckles, a pair of garters, a pack to carry my things in, some bread, a pair of arm strings, a pair of leather breeches, a pair of cloth breeches, a leather strap, a cod line, a frock, some tow. N.B. I have here set down, not only my pack and things in it, but even my clothes and things that I wear, besides the things in my pockets that I carry & other things.

Should anyone assume Tilden’s list of the belongings he carried into service in 1776 represented a typical Continental soldiers’ burden, it must be remembered that he was a short-term militia soldier serving at a fixed post. And, despite previous tours of duty (eight months in 1775, and two months earlier in 1776) Tilden was still very much an amateur, with no campaign experience. He also had recourse to placing excess gear, and occasionally his entire knapsack, on a cart accompanying his unit. With those caveats, still his roster of goods does provide examples of the type of personal belongings Continentals likely carried on occasion. Tilden’s recounting also shows how certain items could be wrapped for protection or to separate them from other knapsack contents. Below are included a several excerpts from two campaigns showing how Ezra Tilden bartered and sold some of the gear he carried into service, and his purchase and trade for new items.

(Note: Some of the entries not given here deal with a series of purchases and sales of pocket watches and Ezra Tilden’s repeated swopping of knapsacks with other soldiers The entire series of excerpts may be see in the Appendix of this monograph.)

American steel knee buckle, 18th century (Philadelphia Museum of Art) Gre g or y Theber

American steel knee buckle, 18th century (Philadelphia Museum of Art) Gregory Theberge, “18th Century Material Culture: Breeches & Overalls”

p. 10

“An account of the towns through which we came from Stoughton to Ticonderoga … Aug. 6 1776 we came from Stoughton, Aug. 23 we arrived at Ticonderoga.”

p. 11

“Thurs. Aug. 15, 1776. We came to the town of No. 4 in Charlestown [New Hampshire] … that day I

sent home by Mr. Spear a great coat a woolen shirt and an under jacket … that we drawed ammunition, powder, balls and flints and provisions.”

p. 12

“tues. Aug. 20 … that A.M. I hired some of my pack carried about a dozen miles I believe which cost me six coppers and that P.M. I joined with the mess in buying a short handled pan to fry in which cost me for my part of it six coppers …”

p. 12

“Wed. Aug. 21 … I laid out 3 Dollars for a pair of shoes in Brookfield …”

p. 13

“Fri. Aug. 23 … obliged to have my pack carried some as well as at two other different times I had to hire all or part of my pack carried a little way.” Tilden next refers to feeling unwell, so it is not known if he had his pack carted due to sickness, its weight, or both.

“Fri. Sept. 20 … I sold my calfskin pumps to Solomon Jordan for 10s L.M.”

p. 33

“Thurs. Oct. 24, 1776 … I swopt my best purse away to Elijah Hawes for his old one and he gave me

7d. L.M. to boot … I swopt away my cotton handkerchief with Nath’l Tilden Jr. for his checkered one, and I had 26s 6d o[ld].t[enor]. to boot.”

p. 33

“Fri. Oct. 25, 1776 … I Sold my white stockings to one of the Jersey blues for five s. 6 d. … I sold them buckles to a man, I know not who, for a dollar in the p.m. of that same day, and that day in the p.m. I sold my leather breeches to a man I know not who for a dollar.”

p. 38

“Tues. a.m. Nov 26, 1776 … I swopt combs with Elisha Hawes & I gave him 3 cop. To boot. We did start out from Ticonderoga for Stoughton … home.”

did start out from Ticonderoga for Stoughton … home.” “ A Sticker-up of Bills on Tower

A Sticker-up of Bills on Tower Hill at the Rendezvous at the King's Arms,by Lt. Gabriel Bray, 1774 (National Maritime Museum) 18th Century Material Culture: Handkerchiefs, Neckerchiefs, & Fichus”

Birdseye resist dyed handkerchief worn in America (possibly English import), circa 1750 – 1820. (Colonial

Birdseye resist dyed handkerchief worn in America (possibly English import), circa 17501820. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation) 18th Century Material Culture: Handkerchiefs, Neckerchiefs, & Fichus”

Culture: Handkerchiefs, Neckerchiefs, & Fichus” American linen handkerchief, 18th century. (Museum of Fine

American linen handkerchief, 18th century. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) 18th Century Material Culture: Handkerchiefs, Neckerchiefs, & Fichus”


Ezra Tilden served two months with Capt. Theophalus Lyon’s company, Col. Samuel Pierce’s Militia Regiment, in the early spring of 1777, at Fort Independence on Castle Island, Boston Harbor.

1777 Campaign to Saratoga

Tilden served from 27 August 1777 to mid-December 1777 in Capt. Aaron Smith’s company, Col. Gill’s Militia Regiment, in northern New York, present at but not participating in the Saratoga battlers, and witnessed the surrender of Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s army.

p. 39

“Sab. Night Aug. 31 I bought a new pair of cow hide pumps of one Mr. Gilbert of Brookfield for which I gave him 18s L.M. three dollars.”

p. 40

“Sat. Sept 6, 1777 … at the house of one Mr. Barber … I sold my pocket looking glass to one mr. Garner of … Worthington. I sold it to him for a dollar.”

p. 40

“Wed. Sept. 10, 1777 … Our teamsters … who brought up the baggage for Cap. Smiths’ company did set out from Bennington for home for they did not go no farther than Bennington head quarters with the pack[s], and then we had to take our packs and carry them ourselves. Some things we were ordered to leave at Bennington and I left the following things there viz: A blue jacket, a pair of gloves, a pair of muffetts, a pair of new shoes, six sheets of papers wrapped up in a piece of paper, a

pair of boots, some rags, needles, thread and yarn.” (Oxford English Dictionary, Compact Edition, two vols. (Glasgow, New York, and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1971), vol. 1, 1871. Muffetee:

a muffler worn around the neck; refs. 1706, 1772)

p. 41

“Mon Sept. 15 A.M. In Powlet I sold my black hamdkerchief that I had up there to a man I know not

who for 15s L.M. …”

p. 47

“Fri. Oct. 3 I think I have made since I came from home 9£, 2S, 4d L.M. a trading in watches, in a handkerchief, going on guard and upon fatigue for people besides doing my own duty upon guard

and fatigue, and dong some writing and selling my allowance of rum … besides I have made something perhaps in selling my black handkerchief and pocket looking glass and in swopping packs … I made 3s L.M. a buying apples and selling them out again etc.”

p. 48

“Mon. … Oct 6, 1777 … I bought a pair of almost new stockings of Enoch Talbot for which I gave

him two dollars.”

p. 50

“Wed. Oct 8, 1777. I laid out half a dollar for a book … of a man, I know not who, a book he took out of the regulars’ camps that morning after the regulars went and left their lines … The title of

the book was ‘An Account of the European Settlement in America.”

Edmund Burke: “What is considered a joint work of Burke and his cousin, William Bourke,


appeared in 1757 -- An Account of the European Settlement in America -- and shows how carefully at

this date he had studied the condition of the colonies.”




“Thurs Oct. 23, 1777 … At Clinconsborough I gave a negro 18d L.M. for a pipe. I bought a checkr’d

shirt of 1 of the Continental soldiers. I have him 5 dollars … I bought a cartouche box of Sam Hayward … I gave him 3£”

p. 54

“Wed. p.m. Oct. 29 th … At Clinconsborough I sold Wm. Davis my checkered shirt that I bought a few

days ago for which he gave me 39s L.M. …”

p. 57

“Fri. Nov. 7, 1777 … [paid] 9d L.M. for a book entitled An Oration Delivered when Gen. Montgomery and other brave officers and soldiers fell at Quebec, I bought of a woman in


An Oration in Memory of General MONTGOMERY, and of the Officers and Soldiers who fell with


him, DECEMBER 31, 1775, before QUEBECK; drawn up (and delivered FEBRUARY 19, 1776,) at

the desire of the Honourable Continental Congress, by WILLIAM SMITH, D˙ D˙, Provost of the


College and Academy of PHILADELPHIA. American Archives: Documents of the American


Revolutionary Period, 1774-1776


p. 60-61

“Fri. Nov. 28, 1777 A.M. I was on picquet guard again at Scarsdale … At Scarsdale I sold a woman my pint porringer and spoon, plate and fork for 5s 1d L.M. … I sold Timothy Moore my book that I bought … entitled `An Account of the European Settlements in America.I sold it to him … for two dollars so in selling the book I gained 9s L.M. …frid. P.M. I swopt packs with Sergt. William Everett. I let him have my calfskin one that I had of John McIlivain, I let him have it for his cloth one and he gave me 22s. L.M. to boot so that now in swopping packs I have made 4s. L.M. besides having a better pack than I let McIlvain have.”

p. 61

“Sat. Nov. 29, 1777 … I spent 41/2d L.M. for apples … I gave Thaddeus Fuller six apples … for a sugar box. I bought a little tin kettle of Spear for which I gave him 1s. 18d. l.m. and that night I lost an old striped shirt of mine by turning up a copper with Davis, to see which should have both shirts his and mine …”

p. 61

“Sab. Day, Nov. 30, 1777 … I sent a pack that weighed eleven and one half pounds … by Mr. John Spear in his cart home to Stoughton which comes to 8s 6d. L.M. at 9d L.M. a pound for carrying and there was in the pack an ax wrapped up in an old piece of shirt and a blanket and leggings and a

blue jacket and a pair stockings and an old pair of trousers.”

P. 62

“Tues. Dec. 2, 1777. P.M. At New Haven I gave one Mr. Isaac Doolittle a dollar for cleaning my

watch and putting a new hook to the chain to wind it up.”


Ezra Tilden served during the Rhode Island campaign, from July to autumn 1778.


Our hero served from August 1779 to 1 April 1780 at, mostly at West Point, in Capt. John Ellis’s company, Col Thomas Poor’s Militia Regiment, 9 months. This was likely a nine-month levy regiment, created by a state draft to form a regiment to augment the Continental army. For details see:

“`The pleasure of their number’: 1778, Crisis, Conscription, and Revolutionary Soldiers’ Recollections” Part I. “’Filling the Regiments by drafts from the Militia.’: The 1778 Recruiting Acts” Part II. "’Fine, likely, tractable men.’: Levy Statistics and New Jersey Service Narratives” Part III. "He asked me if we had been discharged …”: New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and North Carolina Levy Narratives” ALHFAM Bulletin, vol. XXXIII, no. 3 (Fall 2003), 23-34; no. 4 (Winter 2004), 23-34; vol. XXXIV, no. 1 (Spring 2004), 19-28.

A second manuscript diary, covering the period 1779-1780, along with a typescript copy of the first diary, can be found in the collections of the Stoughton Historical Society. For both years he again listed in his diary all of the personal articles he carried in his knapsack, along with his military equipment:

p.20 An acct of things, carryd up, wth me, To Claverick, in ye year 1779 & c.(viz)


107 8 0 in cash; L.M. - Left at home 4 4 0 in cash; L.M. (besides 6£ L.M due me from Mr. Haws) & 79 dolrs or more , due to me from ye Select men of Stoughton for things: a gun, Cartridge Box, powder horn, a pipe, some tobacco, wrapt up in a handkerchief, some tow, a spoon, 2 knives, some chalk, a canteen, a pack, a pocket Book, wth another book in it, 3 Large Loose papers, & 7 Small ones, Loose in sd Book, a dish, a pr of garters, a pr of overhalls, a pr of Leather Breeches, a pr of mittens, a pr of muffittees, 2 pr of Stockings, a pr of shoes & taps, a Coat, a Jacket, some yarn, thread, a needle, 4 pins, a string, an inkhorn, wth 3 pens, 1 Quill, & a thing to pick my teeth wth in it, 1 hand kerchiefs, a snuff-box wth Snuff in it, some flag-root, some Liquorish, a pr of knee buckles, wth Leathr Straps to ym[i.e., them], a horn cup, som sugr & tea, Some bread, & cheese, 2 shirts a Comb, a Blanket, a Surtout, a hat, 6d York in Cash, a sugr Box, 2 shirts, a case to my pocket book & c.

s. d.

This list shows that by 1779, although still a militia soldier, Tilden had learned to make do with less during his nine month military sojourn.

(Note: Ezra Tilden’s 1779 list of belongings carried into military service courtesy of Dwight MacKerron and Henry Cooke.)


Ezra Tilden served at West Point from July 1780 to January 1781 as a six month levy in Capt. Lunt’s company, Col. Benjamin Tupper’s 11 th Mass. (Continental) Regiment.

Note: There is no record of Tilden serving in 1781, thus the following list is likely misdated.

An Account of things yt I Carryd up, wth me, to west-point, in ye year 1781 [sic, actually 1780], viz. a gun, a cartridge Box, a Blanket, a spoon, 2 knives, a Pocket book, wth paper in it, & Cased to it, 3 pens in ink horn, also an almanack, 3 Lose pieces of paper, & a Paper Buk, Loose in my Pocket Book, also 16

Silver dollars wanting 10 sh. O.T., in silver, 2 red, & 2 white, & 2 black handkerchiefs, silk ditto, a Snuff Box & some Snuff it it, a cap, 2 pipes, a line & some chalk a piece of chalk & some tow, a hat, a canteen,

2 horns, a horn comb; a tin cup; some tea, sugar & chocolate, 1 coat, 1 Jacket, 2 shirts, 1 pair of 'trowsers,

1 pair of Buck Breeches, 2 pair of Stockings, 2 checker'd handkerchiefs, 2 pair of shoes, 1 pair of shoe Buckles, 1 pair of knee Buckles; 10 pins, a pair of sleeve buttons, a pair of gloves; a thing to pick my teeth; a Book Baxter's Call &c, a nother Book Memorable accidents &c… brown thread, needle, some thread, & a pair of garters & c…a razor, a girt to a saddle, & also a Book, Concerning Barnett Davenport, &c…”

1780 was Ezra Tilden’s second term of service in a Continental regiment, though, admittedly, his 1775 enlistment was in a still nascent Continental unit.

The four books he writes of carrying were as follows:

1. Almanacs were very popular and often given as presents in varying forms to suit every pocket. One

example is the London Almanack for the Year of Christ 1781 (London: Printed for The Company of Stationers, 1780). Spectacular miniature Almanac from the year 1781 providing all sorts of useful information such as: common notes for 1781; a 12-month calendar; a table of Kings and Queens' reigns; a

table of Lord Mayors and Sheriffs from the year 1760 to the year 1781; a list of holidays; and a table of the current coins.”

2. Richard Baxter, Call to the Unconverted to Turn and Live; “A slim devotional work published in


3. T. Léonard, Memorable Accidents and unheard-of Transactions, containing an account of several

strange events, as the deposing of tyrants, lamentable shipwrecks, dismal misfortunes, strategems of war, perilous adventures, happy deliverances, with other remarkable occurrences and select historical events which have happend in several Countries in this last age. Translated from the French, printed at Brussels

in 1691, and dedicated to his present Majesty William King of England, etc. (Published in English by R. B. London, 1733). or

A chronology of some memorable accidents, from the creation of the world, to the year, 1742 (Dublin:

printed by James Carson, 1743.)



Chronology Of Some Memorable Accidents, from the Creation of the World, to the Year, 1754

(Dublin: printed by James Carson, 1754) and (James Carson, at the Bagnio-Slip, Temple-Bar, 1755 )


Sentence of Death, for a Series of the most horrid Murders, ever perpetrated in this Country, or perhaps any other, on the Evening following the 3d of February, 1780. Is to be executed at Litchfield, on the 8th of May. (Printed in the Year, M.DCC.LXXI).

The Crime of the (Eighteenth) Century Blog entry posted on February 3, 2011 by JD Thomas

Today, February 3rd, marks the anniversary of the first mass murder in the post-revolutionary United States. Two hundred and thirty-one years ago today, Barnett Davenport [a Continental Army deserter], a young man living in Litchfield County, Connecticut murdered his landlord, Mr. Caleb Mallory, and Mallory’s wife and granddaughter. He then stole anything of value and set fire to the Mallory house which resulted in the death of two more sleepers in the house. Davenport’s vicious actions resulted in multiple books and his life and crime became a ‘teaching

moment’ for the young nation.

press, as resulting from common sinners losing their way. Davenport’s crime and its portrayal by the press and fledgling publishing industry changed all that. American’s began to perceive criminals as evil and alien to the rest of society and that view continues to a large degree into the present.(See also,

Prior to this incident, crime was most often seen, and reported in the

incident, crime was most often seen, and reported in the Shaving set with brush, razor and

Shaving set with brush, razor and soap dish, owned by Solomon Moon (Fort Ticonderoga) Gregory Theberge, “18th Century Material Culture: Dressing the Face” (i.e., shaving)


Following the Lexington and Concord fights and related actions on 19 April 1775 Massachusetts set about forming an army of New England troops. Not yet called a Continental army, Rhode Island designated their forces an “Army of Observation”; later when the Rhode Island troops were sent to Boston, their commander Brig. Gen Nathanael Greene was directed to join the “combined American army” there. A At the Bunker Hill action, two months after Lexington and Concord, six men of Reuben Dow’s Hollis, New Hampshire company, serving with Col. William Prescott’s Massachusetts regiment, were killed. Their captain tallied their lost equipment:

Cambridge, Dec. 22, 1775. Nathan Blood, Isaac Hobart, Jacob Boynton, Thomas Wheat, Peter Poor, Phineas Nevins. The men whose names are above written belonged to Capt. [Reuben] Dow's company, and Col. William Prescott's regiment and were all killed in the battle of Bunker Hill, on the 17th of June last, and were furnished each of them with a good gun, judged to be worth Eight Dollars apiece also were furnished with other materials, viz. Cartridge Boxes, Knapsacks and Tump-lines and were well clothed for soldiers Also had each of them a good blanket. Nathan Blood had a good Hanger. B

Captain Dow then listed lost items for twenty-eight men who survived. Of those, twenty-five lost knapsacks, and twenty-three lost tumplines; both items were valued at one shilling, six pence each. All of Dow’s men were using tumplines in conjunction with knapsacks, leading to the assumption that the former were used to carry blankets, the latter extra clothing and small necessary items. There seems to be no other explanation; the only thing that quashes this notion is that there were no blankets included in the roster of lost goods. Perhaps they were not considered valuable enough to include or were not personal property. C Besides Dow’s men, ten companies in Col. James Reid’s New Hampshire regiment tallied equipment lost that day: Note in the synopsis below the further use of tumplines in conjunction with packs, and several alternate spellings of knapsack.

b. Reid’s New Hampshire Regiment, Equipment Lost on 17 June 1775 D

Capt. Hezekiah Hutchins’ Company

10 knapsacks

5 packs

19 blankets

Capt. Levi Spalding’s Company

2 (or 20?) knapsacks (spelled “snapsack”)

26 blankets

Capt. Jacob Hind’s Company 20 knapsacks (spelled “napsack”) 1 tumpline 11 blankets

Capt. Ezra Town’s Company

6 knapsacks (spelled “napsack”) 2 tumplines

3 blankets

Capt. Jonathan Whitcomb’s Company


knapsacks (spelled “snapsack”)

Capt. William Walker’s Company 13 knapsacks (spelled “snapsack”)



7 knapsacks (spelled “gnapsack”)


bed rug

13 blankets

Capt. Philip Thomas’s Company

Capt. Benjamin Mann’s Company



11 knapsacks (spelled “snapsack”)



5 tumplines

8 blankets

Capt. Josiah Crosby’s Company

Capt. John Marcy’s Company


knapsacks (spelled “gnapsack”)

1 knapsack (spelled “snapsack”)



14 tumplines



18 blankets 14 pillow cases *

*Ens. James Taggart lost “2 good shurts, 3 pr stockings, 1 pr sadelbags, 1 pr Shous, 1 tumpline, 1 pillar case” [Note: See below for discussion of the term “snapsack.”]

Of those listed for Captain Marcy’s company, one ensign and thirteen enlisted men lost pillow cases (out of a total of three officers and twenty-eight enlisted men), the only company to list that item. Possibly the pillow cases were used as a wallet to store extra clothing and personal items carried in knapsacks or rolled inside the slung blankets. Complete lists of the equipment lost in Reid’s Regiment are given below.

Snapsacks: Several of the above returns listing clothing and equipment lost at Bunker Hill contain alternate spellings of the word knapsack; the variations are “napsack,” “gnapsack,” and “snapsack.” The list for a single company, Capt. William Walker’s, uses two of those variations, “gnapsack” and “snapsack,” leaving one to think the writer was describing two different items. Possibly the list may have been written by two different people, each with their own spelling preference. Unfortunately, without examining the handwriting on the original document we have no way of knowing. In recent years, the term “snapsack” has been linked to a simple single-strap crude knapsack, formed like a bag and closed by a drawstring at one end. The examples pictured in period images of British soldiers were made of skin, but many reproductions have been made of linen. Previously this author broadcast requests for others to provide research confirming that such receptacles were named snapsacks in 18th century America or Britain, and, failing that, have also been unable to do so myself. Pending solid information on the matter, I am left to conclude that the term “snapsack” is an alternate spelling of knapsack, and a generic term referring to no specific design. For now, let us close with the definition provided by the Oxford English Dictionary, “Snapsack … A knapsack. Common from c 1650 to 1700.” The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 1971), 2889. Finally, at this time there is no evidence at all that the single-sling drawstring bag/knapsack was used during the American Revolution by anyone, even American militia.

Linen drawstring knapsack, modern reproduction made of linen. See also,

Linen drawstring knapsack, modern reproduction made of linen.

also, Detail from David Morier, “ Grenadiers, 16th and 17th

Detail from David Morier, “Grenadiers, 16th and 17th Regiments of Foot, and Grenadier and Drummer, 18th Royal Irish Regiment of Foot, 1751”

Detail from David Morier, “Grenadiers, 46th, 47th and 48th Re g iments of Foot, 1751”

Detail from David Morier, “Grenadiers, 46th, 47th and 48th Regiments of Foot, 1751”

Detail from Edward Penny, R.A. (1714-1791 ), “An Officer

Detail from Edward Penny, R.A. (1714-1791), “An Officer Giving Alms to a Sick Soldier” (circa 1765, oil on canvas). The painting depicts an officer of the 3rd Irish Horse (now the Scots Dragoons Guards) extending charity to an infantryman and his family. A variant of the Marquis of Granby relieving a sick soldier, which was exhibited by Penny at the Society of Artists in 1765 and which was presented to the Bodleian by the artist in 1787. The 3rd Irish Horse fought under Granby at the battle of Warburg in 1760 during the Seven Years War, and it is probable that this painting may have been commissioned from the artist at the same date.

Here is a letter possibly describing the use of knapsacks (not snapsacks) in the form of a bag with a drawstring closure used by Connecticut Provincial troops:

Norwich Connecticut, 6 September 1755 Capt [John] Terry [Maj. Gen. Phineas Lyman’s 1st Connecticut Provincial Regiment]


cords which your men may do and put them in; I sent 50 knapsacks to Lieut. [Prince] Tracy but had not their straps made and if he has supply'd that matter please to send back the 50 now sent by the bearor. Your humble servt Hez. Huntington [Col. Hezekiah Huntington, commissary to the Connecticut Provincial troops]” Connecticut Historical Society, Miscellaneous Manuscripts. (Courtesy of Gary Zaboly, via Rob Frasier) See also, Al Saguto, “The Seventeenth Century Snapsack” (January 1989)


send you by the Bearor 33 knapsacks with cord and straps and twine to whip the end of the

Sources for “Reid’s New Hampshire Regiment, Equipment Lost

A. Robert K. Wright, Jr., The Continental Army (Washington: GPO, 1984), 16, 17.

B. Samuel T. Worcester, History of the Town of Hollis, New Hampshire, from its First Settlement to the Year

1879 (Press of O. C. Moore, 1879), 155-156.

C. Ibid., 155.

Return of equipment lost at Bunker Hill in Capt. Reuben Dow’s New Hampshire company, Prescott’s Massachusetts Regiment, 1775.

“Cambridge, December ye 22d, 1775. This may certify that we the Subscribers in Capt Reuben Dow's Company in Col. Wm. Prescott's Reg1 in the Continental Army, that we lost the following Articles in the late engagement on Bunker's Hill at Charlestown on ye 17th of June last. James McConnor, 1 gun, 1 napsack, l hat, 1 Jaccat, 1 tumpline. Wm. Nevins, 1 knapsack, 1 jacket, 1 tumpline. Minott Farmer, 1 knapsack, 1 sword, 1 tumpline. Sam1 Hill, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Ephraim Blood, 1 gun, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. James Macintosh, 1 knapsack, 1 jacket, 1 tumpline. Libbeus Wheeler, 1 knapsack, 1 hat, 1 tumpline. David Farnsworth, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Noah Worcester, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Elias Boynton, 1 gun. Francis Blood, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Abel Brown, 1 gun, 1 cartridge box, 1 tumpline. Nahum Powers, 1 knapsack, l hat, 1 jacket, 1 bayonet, 1 tumpline. Isaac Stearns, 1 gun, 1 knapsack. Israel Kenney, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Titos Pratt, 1 gun, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Nath1 Patten, 1 knapsack, 1 jacket, 1 tumpline. David Ames, 1 knapsack, 1 cartridge box, 1 tumpline. Sam1 Jewett, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Wm. Wood, 1 gun, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Benjn Cumings, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline. Francis Powers, 1 gun, 1 bayonet. Wm. Adams, 1 knapsack. Josiah Fisk, 1 knapsack, 1 cartridge box, 1 tumpline. Wilder Chamberlin, 1 knapsack. Nehemiah Pierce, 1 knapsack, 1 hat, 1 tumpline. Abel Conant, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline.

Uriah Wright, 1 knapsack, 1 tumpline.” [Note: The estimated value of the above said articles, was (on an average) for a gun, £2: 4.11; a knapsack, 0:

1:6; a jacket, 0: 16: 0; a cartridge box, 0: 4: 8; a tumpline, 0: 1:6.] “It appears that the eight Hollis men in Capt. Spalding's company, in the New Hampshire regiment of Col. Reed, were all present in the battle, and that each of them lost portions of his clothing or equipments, as is shown from the returns of losses made after the battle, now to be found in the New Hampshire Provincial Papers (Volume 6, page 592). These losses with their appraised value were as follows:

Andrew Bailey, 1 coat, 1 shirt, trousers, stockings, Job Bailey, 1 cartridge box, knapsack, and shirt, Phineas Hardy, 1 blanket, coat, shirt, breeches, Thomas Hardy, 1 blanket, coat, jacket, stockings, Ephraim [?] 1 gun, breeches and shirt, Samuel Leeman, 3 coats and 1 blanket, Ephraim Rolfe, 1 gun, blanket, shirt, stockings, Ephraim Smith, 1 knapsack, shirt, stockings”

D. Nathaniel Bouton, ed., Provincial Papers: Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New-Hampshire, from 1764 to 1776, vol. VII (Nashua: Orren C. Moore, State Printer, 1873), 586- 597, 603.

Some Brief Observations on Soldiers’ Belongings in Reid’s New Hampshire Regiment.

The men in the ten companies whose lost possessions are listed below most commonly included coats, shirts, breeches, trousers, stockings, blankets, knapsacks, firearms, and cartridge pouches, Shoes appeared less often, but still fairly regularly. Here are a number of objects lost by the soldiers that were not often mentioned or stand out in some way:

“a shag great coat” “one shagge greatcoat” “one shag great coat”

“1 gr't coat” “1 great coat” “1 surtoot “

“1 st[raight] Bod'd” coat “1 new Blue serge coat lin'd”

“1 tow shirt” “bed-tiking shurt” “1 cotton shirt” “1 cotton shirt” “one woolen shirt”

“1 pr. Mooskin-breeches” “2 pr. Leather-breeches” “1 pr. Deerskin-breeches” “1 pr. sheepskin-breeches” “1 pr. Leather-briches” “1 pr. Lether briches” “1 pair of Leather-Breeches” “1 pr of Deer-skin Breeches”

2 good capes” (caps?) “caps”

“1 pair of calfskin pumps”

“handkerchief” “silke handkerchief” “a silk handkerchief” “2 silk handkerchief” “a Rasor” “razor”

“1 Pocket book” “1 Book” “1 Malitia Book” “1 Book” “1 Psalm book” “1 Bible” “one Bible”

“1 sett of shoe-makers Tools” “Ink-pot” “1 pr. spectacles” “1 coverlid” (coverlet)


“3 Fills [phials?] of Firr Balsome” Health Benefits of Fir Needle Essential Oil [modern claims] Some of the health benefits of fir needle essential oil include its ability to reduce pain, prevent infections, improve respiratory function, increase the metabolism, detoxify the body, and reduce body odor.

“one Bottle” “1 good Rasher”

“1 Rasher” “Rasher … a piece ‘rashly or hastily roasted’ … A thin slice of bacon or ham, cooked (or

intended to be cooked) by broiling or frying.” Oxford English Dictionary, Compact Edition, two vols.

(Glasgow, New York, and Toronto: Oxford

“sack & sundry articles” “sack” “1 pillar case” “1 good piller case

“one haversack” “havsak” (haversack)

“1 lb rope” “1-2 lb rope”

“1 Tin Quart” (canteen?) “1 Tin point” (canteen?)

1 Fife” “Drum sticks & sling” “1 drum”

University Press, 1971), vol. 1, 1871.

“1 good Drum” “iron strike sword” “1 bayonet” “one byanot” “cartridge box shot to pieces” “1 Pistol“1 Powder horn” “one Bullet Mold”

“1 Pistol ” “1 Powder horn” “one Bullet Mold” Capt . David Brown’s Minute company, Concord,

Capt. David Brown’s Minute company, Concord, Massachusetts. April 2014.

(page 590) A Return of the packs & Bagag lost by the Solders to Capt. Hezekiah Hutching Company, lost in the Battle of the 17th Day of June, 1775. Sargent James Goss 1 great coat ; Sargent John Lane 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 2 shirts, 1 pr Trousers, 2 prs stockens, 1 lb rope, napsack and catterage Box ; Corp'l John Tuck 1 Blankett, 1 coat, 1 shirt, 2 pr stockens, 1 pr Trousers, 1 jacket, 1 knapsack, with sundry articles. Wil'm Harraman 1 coat, 1 Tin Quart [canteen?]. Benj'n Couch, 1 Blanket, 1 coat, 1 shirt, 2 pr. Stockens, 1 pr. Trousers, 1 Tin poynt, 1 knapsack with rope. Levi Hildreth 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 1 pr stockens, 1 pr Trousers, 1 pr Breeches, 1 shirt. 1 pack, 1-2 lb rope. John Clifford 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 1 shirte. 1 pr. Trousers, 1 pr. stockens, 1 pack. Sam'l Heath 1 pr Breeches, 1 shirte, 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 1 pr Stockens. Moses Webster 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 1 shirte, 1 pr Trousers, 1 pr Stockens. 1 Tin poynt. Thomas Wilson 1 coat, 1 pr Breeches, 1 Blanket, 1 shirt, 1 pr stockens. 1 pr shoes, 1-2 lb rope, 1 Tin poynt, 1 knapsack. Gilbert Bond 1 Blanket, 1 pr Breeches. 1 shirt, 1 jacket, 1 pr stockens, 1 coat, 1 knapsack. Simon Norton 1 coat, 1 jacket, 1 shirt, 1 pr stockens, 1 blanket, 1 pr shoes, 1 knapsack with sundrys. John Lane 3d 1 coat, 1 shirt, 1 pr stockens, 1 pr Breeches.

Thomas Waddly 1 shirt, 1 pr stockens, 1 knapsack, 1-2 lb rope. Amos Knowls 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 1 shirt, 1 pr stockens, 1 knapsack. Ebenezer Wells 1 pr shoes. Sam'l Healy 1 coat & jacket, 1 pr Breeches, 2 pr stockens, 2 shirts, 1 Blanket, 1 pack, 1 pr Trousers. Simon Merrill 1 gun, 1-2 lb rope, 1 Tin poynt. Wm. Severance 1 pr shoes, 1 pr stockens, 3-4 [pounds?] rope. Peter Severance, Josiah Morss 1 blanket. Moses Kimball 1 coat, 1 pr Breeches, 2 shirts, 1 pr Trousers, 1 pr stockens, 1 Blanket, 1 knapsack. Wm. Gross 1 Blanket, 1 shirte, 1 pr stockens. Sam'l Morrill 1 blanket, 2 jackets, 1 shirte, 2 pr trousers, 1 pr stockens, 1 pack, 1 gun. Thomas Wadley 1 shirt, 1 pr trousers, 1 pr stockens, knapsack, 1 lb rope. Nath'l Levite 1 gun, 1 knapsack, 1 shirt, 1 blanket, 1 coat, 1 pr Breeches, 1 pr stockens. John Varnum 1 blanket, gun, shirt, coat, pack. Moses Quimby 1 gun, 1 blanket, 1 shirt, coat, pack. Stephen Peabody 1 blanket, 1 shirt.

(page 591) An acount of the things that was lost in Capt. Jacob Hinds company in Col James Read's Ridgment lost in the Field of Batel on the 17th Dav of June at Charlestown 1775. Capt. Jacob Hinds, blanket, 3 shirts, trouses, stockings; Serg't Richard Cochlan shirt, shoes, gun; Serg't Ezekiel Davis 1 blanket; Serj. William Farwell l blanket, 2 shirts, 1 pr trouses, 3 pr stockings; Corp. Samuel White, blanket, shurts, trouses, stockings, shooes. Corp. Nath'l Petingel, blanket, shurts, trouses, stockings, shooes. Job Britun. Buckels, shoes, handkerchief. Luther Windslow, blanket, 1 shurt, 1 pr trouses Silas Farnsworth, blanket, shirt, pr. trouses, 2 pr stockings, shooes. Ira Evans 1 pr stockings. Israel Thomas, shurt, trouses, shooes. John White 1 shurt, 1 pr shooes. Jonathan Wright, stockings. David Darby, 1 blanket, 3 shirts, 1 pr stockings, shoes. Lemuel Wintworth, shirt, 1 gun? John McMitchell 1 Pocket book. David Robens, shirts, trousers, 2 pr stockings, caps. Samuel Robens, shirts, trousers, stockings. Elezer Robens 1 handkerchief. Elijah Elmer blanket, shirt, trousers, stockings, handkerchief. Elijah Taylor, shirt, trousers, stockings. Nahum Goodenow, 1 drum. James Symonds 1 shirt, trousers. Oliver Johnson 1 shirt, one pr. stockings. Ebenezer Chamberlin, blanket, stockings, shoes, razor; Jonathan Barret, coat, shirt, blanket, 2 pr shoes, sack, tumplines, stockings, trousers; Elisha Balding, coat, shurt, shoes, sack & sundry articles; Daniel Carlile, shoes, stockings; Lewis Acres, 1 gun, 1 pr shoes, 1 pr stockings ; Ephraim Stone, 1 fine shirt, 1 blanket, 1 pr shoes, 1 tow shirt, 1 pr stockings ; Ruben Tarble, shirt, shoes.

(pages 591-592) A Return of clothing and other things lost in the fight of the

(pages 591-592)

A Return of clothing and other things lost in the fight of the 17th of June, 1775, Belonging to Capt. Spaldings company. Capt. Spalding, one shurt, 2 pair stockings, 1 Briches:

Lieut. Bradford, 1 Blanket, 1 Shurt; Ens. Butte, 2 shurts, 1 jackett, 2 pr stockings; Serjant Lee, 1 Blanket. 1 coat, 1 jacett, stoking & shoes; Serj.Hutchins, 1 blankett, &c. ; Serj. Merril, 1 coat, 1 blanket, bed-tiking shurt; Serj. Bayley, Catridge Box, 1 shurt, a snapsack; Corporal Pike, 1 Blanket, 1shurt, 2 pair stokins, 1 pr shoes; Do. Hutchinson, 1 blanket, 1 coat, 1 jacett, 2 shurts, &c.; Do. Walker, 1 blankett; Do. Campbell, 1 blanket, 1 coat, 2 shurts, 1 pair stokons; Joshua Chace, 1 blanket, 1 shurt, 1 pr Briches, stokens; John Johnson, 1 shurt. 1 pair stokens, 1 pail Briches; Edward Bevins. 1 blanket. 1 shurt, 1 pair stokens; John Osgood, 1 Gun. 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 2 pr stokens, 2 shurts; Andrew Thompson, l coat, 1 Blankett, 1 Hankercheff; David Glover, 1 Blanket, 1 coat, 1 pr Briches, 1 shurt, 1 pair stokins; Robert Glover 1 blanket, 2 shurts, 2 pr stokens, pr. Briches; Samuel Currier, 1 gun, 1 blankett, 1 coat & jacket & Briches; Thomas Harday, 1 blanket, coat, jacket, stocking &c; Benja. Starnes, 1 jacket, 2 shirts, 1 pr. Briches; Jona. Starnes. 1 gun, 1 coat, 2 shurts, 1 pr. Briches, 1 pr Trowsers; Natha'l Bacheldor, 1 blanket, 1 coat, 3 shirts, 1 pr Briches; James Campbell, 2 shirts, briches, stockens, hand kerchief; Timothy Mclntire, 1 Blanket, 1 shirt, catreg [box?]; David Carlton. 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 1 stokens, 2 shirts; Phineas Hardy, 1 coat, 1 Blanket, 1 shurt, Briches; Joseph Elingwood, 1 coat, 2 Blankets, 1 shurt, &c.; Samuel Lowel, 2 shurts. 1 jacket, Catridge Box; Samuel Leeman, 2 coats, 1 Blankett; Isaac Carkin, 2shurts, 1 Briches, 1 pair Trowsers; Ezra Button, 1 coat, 1 shurt, Briches, stokens, &c; Eaphraim Rolf, 1 gun. 1 Blankett, 1 shurt, stockens; Ephraim Smith, 1 shurt, 1 snapsack, stockings; Samuel Stils, 1 shurt, 1 Trowsers, Catridge Box; Richard Hughes, 1 pair Briches, 1 coat, stokens; William Brown, 2 coats, 1 Briches, 2 shurts, stokens; William Duck. 2 coats, 1 shurt, 2 pair stokens; Andrew Baley, 1 coat, 1 shurt, 1 Trousers, stokens; Isaac Cowen, 1 Blankett, 1 coat, Trowsers; Robert Wilkins, 1 Blankett, 1 shurt, Briches. stokens. shoos; Jacob Wellman, 1 coat, 1 jacot, 1 shurt; Ephraim How, 1 gun Briches and shurt.

(page 592) A Return of the things lost in Capt. Ezra Towne's Company, in Col.

(page 592)

A Return of the things lost in Capt. Ezra Towne's Company, in Col. Reed's Regiment on the seventeenth of June, 1775, in the fight at Charleston. The names of those that lost things:

Lieut Josiah Brown, 1 hat, 1 sword, 1 Malitia Book, one Bottle; Ensign John Harkness, 1 gr't coat, 1 st[raight] Bod'd do., 1 sword, 1 Ink-pot; Benja. Williams, 1 cutlass. 1 Razor. 1 Bottle, tobacco; Farrow Miller, 1 st. Bod'd coat, 1 shirt, 1 pair hose, 1 Napsack; Isaac Stanhope, 1 Blanket; Timo. Avery, 1 Cartridge Box; Sam'l Soper, 1 gun; Eben'r Pratt, 1 st. Bod'd coat, 1 blankett, 1 Napsack; Josiah Stone, 1 coat, 2 shirts, 2 pair of hose, 1 pr. shoes. 1 hankerchief, 1 razor, Napsack; 1 pair Breeches, 1 pair of Trowsers; Levi Adams, 1 pr. of Trowsers; Daniel Severance, 1 g't coat, 1 st. Bod'd Do, 1 pr. of Breeches, 1 pr. trowsers, 1 bayonet, 1 pr. hose; 1 shirt, 1 Napsack. 1 Tumpline, 1 hankerchief, 1 waistcoat. 1 shirt, 1 Psalm book, 1 pr. spectacles, 1 gun lock; Daniel White, 1 Blanket, 1 coat, 1 shirt, 1 pr. hose, 1 Napsack, 1 hankerc'f ; Jonathan Stevens, 1 st. Bod'd coat, 1 g't coat, 1 pr. Breeches, 1 pr. hose, hat; 1 razor, 1 pr. of shoes, 1 Napsack, 1 Tumpline; Nath'l Carlton, 1 pr of shoes, 1 pr. of Buckles, 1 razor, 1 Book; Thos. Pattison, 1 Blanket, 1 shirt, 1 gun, 1 pr. Trowsers, 1 coat; Arch'l White, 1 hankerchief, 3 Fills [phials?] of Firr Balsome; Stephen Adams, 1 bayonet, 1 razor; David Eliot, 1 gun; Sam'l Hutchins, 1 st. bod'd coat, three shirts; Jeremy Pichard, 1 st. Bod'd coat, 1 bayonet ; David Avery, 1 cartridge box.

Bod'd coat, 1 bayonet ; David Avery, 1 cartridge box. (page 593) An account of the

(page 593) An account of the things that was lost in Capt. Whitcomb's company In Colo. Reed's Regiment on the 17th day of June, 1775, by the fight that was between the Continental troops, and General Gage's troops on Bunker Hill, at Charlestown. Capt. Jonathan Whitcomb, Great coat, St. Bod'd coat, handkerchief, sundries; Ens. Stephen Carter, shirt, hat; Sarg't William Heaton. shoes; Sarg't Amos Boynton, great coat, stockens; Sarg't Josiah Hastings, St. Bod'd coat. stockens, shirts. pocket book; Sarg't Silvenus Reed, St. Bod'd coat, jacket, shoes, stockens, trousers, handkerchief, short breeches, shirt; Corp'l Luther Trowbridge, stockens, short breeches;

Elisha Walton, stockens; Samuel Follet, shoes, trousers, shirt; Stephen Brigum. Sr. Bod'dcoat; Jo. Harrendon, St. Bod'd coat, stockens, trousers, shirt, hat ; Moses Tucker, Bt. Bod'd coat, trousers, handerkerchief; Asa Gale, st. Bod. coat, stockens, shirt; John Merrill, st. Bod. coat, shoes, stockens, short breeches, shirts, sundries; Edward Arnold, great coat, jacket, cartridge box, &c; Joshua Farr, st. Bod'd coat, hat, &c; Holowel Merril, great coat, stockens, short breeches, shirt; Eleazur Gurdin, stockens, trousers, short breeches; Jonathan Farr, hat, &C ; Charles Millens, st. Bod'd coat, stockens; Josiah Burton, cartridge box shot to pieces; Charles Jonston, great coat, shoes, stockens, short breeches, shirt; Luther Trobridge, stockens, short breeches; Jesse Cheney, great coat, st. Bod'd coat, shoes, stockens, tronsers, short breeches, shirt; Joshua Ellis, wounded, st. Bod'd coat. stockens, shirt, gun, &c.; Ebenezer Parsons, jacket, shoes; Benjamin Toleman, shoes, stockens. trousers shirt:

Joseph Fassett, great coat, shoes, stockens, trousers, shirt. &c; Andrew Butler, great ooat, stockens, trousers, shirt, &c.; William Toleman, stockens. trousers short breeches; John Whitney, shoes, stockens; Enoch Cummins, sundries; Amasa Parker, stockens, short breeches, shirt; Pearson Newell, sundries; Abija Whitcomb, st. Bod'd coat, shoes, stockens, trousers, shirt.

st. Bod'd coat, shoes, stockens, trousers, shirt. (page 594) A Return of what was Lost in

(page 594) A Return of what was Lost in Capt. Wm. Walker's company on the 17th of June, 1775. Lieut. James Brown, 1 surtoot, coat; Francis Putnam, 1 blanket, 1 surtoot, 1 shirt, 1 gun ; Jona. Emerson, 1 gun; Israel How, 1 snapsack, 1 great coat, 1 shirt, 1 pare Trowsers, 1 pr Hoes; Wm. Harris, jun 1 pr. Mooskin-breeches, 1 snapsack, 1 shirt, 3 woolen shirts, 1 pr. hoes; Abel Danforth, 1 snapsack. 1 shirt. 1 pr. hoes, 1 great coat; Jona. Danforth, 2 shirts. 1 tow-shirt, 1 pair breeches, 1 blanket, 1 catteridge box. 2 pr. hoes; Phineas Whitnev. 1 shirt, 2 pr Trowsers. 1 pr. hoes, 1 pr. shoes, 1 blanket, 1 snapsack; Paul Clogston, 1 snapsack. 1 pr. mooskin breeches, 2 shirts, 1 pr. trowsers, 1 blanket, 2 pr. hoes; Henry Lovewell. 1 snapsack, 1 coat, 1 shirt. 1 pair Hoes; Medad Combs, 1 snapsack, 1 shirt, l pr. Hoes; Ichabod Lovewell, 1 Blanket, 1 shirt, 1 pr. Hoes, 1 coat. 1 Pistol, 1 Fife; Phillip A. Roby, 1 snapsack, 1 blanket, 1 shirt, 1 pr. trousers, 1 pr. Hoes; John Snow, snapsack, 1 blanket. 1 shirt, 1 pr. trowsers, 1 pr. Hoes; Eleazer Blanchard, 1 new Blue serge coat lin'd;

Nehemiah Winn, 1 shurt ; Wm. Butterfield, 1 snapsack, 1 shirt, 1 pr. Hoes; Joseph Greele, 1 snapsack, 2 shirts, 2 pr. Leather-breeches, Cartridge-box; Jacob Blodgett, 1 pr. hoes:

Jona. Harris, 2 shirts, 1 pr. Trousers, 1 Blanket, 1 gun, 1 Catteridge Box ; Nehemiah Lovewell, 1 shirt, 1 gnapsack; Adrian Hawkins, 1 pr. shoes. 1 pr. Hoes; Mansfield Toplin. 1 shirt, 1 pr. Hoes, 1 gnapsack; Silas Chamberlain, 1 coat, 1 jacket, 2 shirts, 1 gnapsack; John Lovewell, 1 gnapsack, 2 shirts. 1 pr. Hoes; Henry Lovejoy, 1 gnapsack, 1 Blanket, 1 shirt. 1 great coat, 1 pr. Deerskin-breeches. 1 pr. sheepskin- breeches, 2 Hoes; Jona. Gray, 1 gnapsack. 1 Blanket, 1 great coat, 1 shirt, 2 pr. Hoes, 1 pr. trowzers; Wm. Harris. Drum sticks & sling; Isaac Brown, 1 gnapsack, 1 pr. Hoes, 1 pr. shoes, 1 shirt, 1 pr. breeches, 1 surtoot, 1 jacket, 1 pr. trowsers; James Harwood, 1 coat, 1 pr. Breeches. 1 shirt, 1 pr. Hoes; Benja. Whitney, 1 snapsack, 1 shirt, 1 pr. trowsers, 1 blanket, 1 pr. shoes. 1 Bible; Timothv Darlin, 1 coat, l snapsack; Benj. Bayley. 1 Powder horn, 1 cattridge-box ; Capt. Wm. Walker, 2 pair shoes, 1 3-4 yds. fine cloth att 3-4 per yd.; Asa Cram, 1 gun and bayonet. The above Account is the true account of what my company Lost on Bunker Hill, Charlestown. the 17th of June, 1775, and justly prized according to the best of my knowledge. Winter Hill, July 15 th , 1775. William Walker, Capt.

(page 595) A List of Losses, sustained in the Batal and Retreat on bunker hill the 17th of June, 1775, of Capt. Thomas's Company in the New Hampshire Reserves. Lieut. [John Harper,] one hat; Ens'n [Ezekiel Rand] coat two shirts, one gun, iron strike sword, pr hose; Sarg't. Benjamin Davis, a blanket, surtout. one byanot; Ezekiel Larned, one gone [gun] one byanot & belt, one powder horn; Sarg't Simon Dans, one coat; Sarg't Jacob Pierce, a coat, a shag great coat & pack; Corporal John Demary, one blanket, one byanot. one haversack; Corp'l Semion Inglas, one Cartridge Box, one gun, & byanot, one powder horn, one blanket:

Corp'l. Benjamin Lovring, Cadous Box & silke handkerchief ; Drums & Fifers Daniel Lake, one pair of suse [shoes] one blanket; Lemi Page, one shagge greatcoat; Richard Alexander, caduse Box & a coat; Thomas Hutchinson, a pare of trowsors; David Daves, a fine shirt, & a pair of yarn hose; Jonathan Lovejoy, a surtoot, four shirts, one coat, two waistcoats, one gun. three pare of hose, one pouch, neckcloth, one pr. of trousers, one coatbox, Baynot; Thomas Henderson. 2 shirts. 2 pr. hose, coat & waistcoat, & a pare of Lether breeches; James Cochran, blanket, pr. Briches, a pr. of hose, a Rasor, havsak [haversack]; Dudley Griffin, a coat & shirt; Benjamin Beales, a shirt, two pr. of hose; Ezekiel Demary, one pr. of hose; Reuben Paige, a great cote, & one shirt. 1 pr. of hose, l powder horn, one cartridge Box, one wastcoat; Obadiah Marsh, one shirt. 1 pr. of hose, one Havisack; Joell Russell, 1 coat, 1 pr. Leather-briches, 1 pr. hose, two shirts, one hat, 1 powder horn, haversack; Jacob Hobbs, one blanket; Timothy Rogers, one shirt :

Godfary Richison, one pare of suse [shoes] :

Henry Davis, one pare or trousers;

Hugh Gregg, one shag great coat, 1shirt. 1 powder horn. Bulet-pouch.

Philip Thomas. Capt.

(pages 595-596) A True account of what was lost in the Battle on Bunkers Hill

(pages 595-596)

A True account of what was lost in the Battle on Bunkers Hill in Capt. Benjamin Mann's Company in June

ye 17th 1775. Samuel Campbell, a coat, a pare of Trousers, shirt, Snapsac, Tumpline, Blanket, a pr. Of Breches, a pare Stockens; ; John Adams, a pare of Shoes; John Buxton, a gun; John Thomas, a coat, a pr. of shoes,,a Snapsack, a Tumpline; Robert Wolsey, a pare of Stockens; John Slone, a coat, shirt, a Snapsack & Blankett; Zacheus Hodgman, a Blankett; William Parker, a shirt, a pare of Trousers, snapsack, a pr. of stockens, hat; Amos Coburn, a coat, a pr. of trousers, a snapsack, a Blankett, pr. Stockens; Joseph Hodgman, a Blankett; Thomas Tarbell. a coat; Isaac Barrett, a Blankett; Samuel Scripture, 2 shirts, a gun, a snapsack ;

Elijah Avery, a pair of Stockens, a gun ;

Benjamin Mann, a gun ; James Brewer, a pare of shoes; Jeremiah Holt, Snapsack; Samuel Right, a coat, 2 shirts, 1 gun, a snapsack, a Tumpline, a Blankett, a pr. of breeches, a pr. of Stockens; Isaac Flagg, 2 coats, a shurt, a pr of shoes, a Snapsack & tumpline, a Blankett, a pare of Breeches, a pr.

of stockens;

Samuel Abbott, a gun & Bayonet; John Fish, a jacot, a pare of trousers, 2 shurts, a pr. of shoes, a Snapsack & Tumpline, a pair of breeches; Daniel Collins, a pr. of Breeches; Simeon Hildreth, a coat, a shurt, a snapsack, a Blankett; Ebenezer Carlton, a silk handkerchief;

Geo. Willson, a coat and handkerchief.

Benjamin Mann, Capt.

(page 596) An account of things that was lost at the Battle on Bunkers hill, on the 17th of June, 1775, belonging to Capt. Crosby's Company, viz. Capt. Crosby's things are 1 pistel & 1 pair of worsted stockings; Lieut. Daniel Wilkins 1 cotton shirt; Ens'n Thomson Maxwell, 1 fine shirt & one powder horn ; Adg't Stephen Peabody one blanket & one shirt; Quarter Master Frye one coat & one Hatt ; Serg't William Bradford one shirt; Serg't Lemuel Winchester one pair of shoes; Eli Wilkins 1 Blanket& one Bullet Mold; Alexander Brown 1 cotton shirt, one pair of stockings & one gnapsack; Thaddeus Fitch 1 shirt, 1 pair of calfskin pumps, 1 pr. trowzers & Gnapsack; Samuel Starnes 1 pair of shoes; Stephen Crosby, 1 great coat & 1 shirt; Jona. Wilkins 1 shirt;

Thomas Giles one gun, 1 cartooch Box & one jacket; Thomas Perry one woolen shirt, one powder horn & one gnapsack; Joseph Boutel, one pair of stockings, 1 pair of Leather-Breeches; Nathaniel Barrett 1 gnapsack, one pair of shoes & buckles & 1 handkerchief; Sam'l Williams 1 shirt & one handkerchief & one gun; James Gilman, 1 Blanket & one Handkerchief; Joseph Wakeiield, 1 pr of Deer-skin Breeches, 1 Cartooch Box; Eben'r Wakeiield, 1 sett of shoe-makers Tools, 1 shirt 2 pr of stockings & 1 pr of shoes; Dan'l Kenney, 1 great coat & one gun; Joseph Wallis 1 pair of shoes; Andrew Leavitt, 1 coverlid, one pr. of stockings, 1 gnapsack & Handkerchief:

Josiah Sawyer one gun, one coat, one Powder horn & one Bible; Joshua Abbot 1 gnapsack & pair of stockings.

Josiah Crosby. Capt.

(page 597) Charleston, June ye 21. This is the acompt of the Packs that was lost in the fite the 18[sic] of the same month Belonging to Capt. John Marcy. Capt. Marcy 1 good coat, 2 good fine shurts, 1 pr. stockings, 1 blanket, 1 pr Boots:

Lt. Farwell, 1 sword, 1 good coat, 4 good shurts, 4 pr. of stockings, 1 pr of Boots, 1 pr. Sadelbags, 1 pr of spurs, 1 pr. Lether briches, 2 silk handkerchief, 1 Blanket; Ens. James Tagard, 2 good shurts, 3 pr stockings. 1 pr sadelbags. 1 pr shous, 1 Tumpline, 1 pillar case:

Isaac Johnson. 1 good Blanket. 1 good piller case. 3 good shurts. 3 good pr. of stockings. 1 good pr. trouses, 1 good frock. 1 good razor and sum other things Besides; Ebenezer Kingsbury 1 good shurt, 1 pr. stockings. 1 pr trouses, 1 pr. shoos, 1 tumpline, 1 Blanket; Jonathan Eastman, 1 good Blanket, 1 good shurt, 1 pr trouses, 2 good capes. 1 good Rasher, 1 new pair of shoues; Jonathan Eastman jun'r. 1 good piller-case. 1 good Blanket. 1 shurt. 1 pair trouses; Heskier Clark. 1 Blanket, 1 shurt, 1 pr. trouses. 1 pr stockings; Daniel Adams, 1 Blanket, 1 coat, 1 shurt, 1 pr velvet briches; Elisha Gustin 1 Blanket. 1 shurt, 2 pr stockings. 1 piller case, 1 tumpline; Stephen Gilman. 1 shurt, 1 pr stockings, 1 piller case. 1 pair shous, 1 pr buckels; Joseph Parke, 1 velvet jacat. 1 shurt, 2 pr stockings, 1 tumpline; Amos Flud, 1 shurt, 1 pr trouses. 1 piller case, 1 shurt; Alexander Dihbel, l Blanket, l pr cloath Briches. 1 pr stockings; Caleb Airl, 1 pr stockings. 1 tumpline; John Downs. 1 blanket, 1 tumpline, 1 pr stockings, 1 shurt, 1piller case; Gilbert Castwell, 1 blanket. 1 coat. 1 fir stockings. 1 shurt. 1 piller case; David Cross. 1 blanket. 1 shurt. 1 coat. 1 jacut, 1 pr trouses. 1 pr stockings. 1 tumpline:

Cornelius Warren, 1 blanket, 1 piller-case, 1 shurt. 1 pr trouses. 1 Rasher; Samuel Marcy, 1 blanket, 1 pr stockings, Samuel Bur, 1 blanket, 1 pr of Lether Briches. 1 gun. 1 tumpline, 1 pr stockings, 1 piller case; Isac Read, 1 gun. 1 coat, 1 Blanket. 1 shurt. 1 pr stockings, 1 piller case, l tumpline. l pr Briches; Jesse Knot, 1 Blanket; John Cross. 1 shurt. 1 snapsack, 1tumplin, 2 pr stockings; Joseph Powars, 1 pr trouses, 1 pr stockings, 1 piller case. 1 tumpline; John Pulsepher, 1 piller case, 1 blanket. 2 shurts. 1 good pr. briches. 1 pr trouses, Timothy Clark, 1 grate coat, 1 tite coat, 1 good shirt, 1 good Drum. 1 tumpline; John Barrett, 2 pr stockings, 2 shurts, 1 pr lether Briches, 1 pr shous, l pr white briches, 1 white shurt; Phillip Huntoon. 1 grate coat. 1 Blanket. 2 shurts. 2 pr stockings. 1 piller [case], 1 tumpline. 1 pr shous:

Edward Kies. 2 good shirts. 1 pr shous, 1 grate coat, 1 pr stockings, John Calkins. 1 shurt. 1 tumpline.


c. An "Estimate of the Expences of raising a foot soldier in the Year 1776, say in Colo. Smallwood's battalion & ye 7 independent Companies" included one blanket, 1/6 part of a tent, 1/6 part of a camp kettle; a knapsack and haversack; a razor; a comb; a knife; a musket with bayonet and scabbard, gun sling, and bayonet belt; a cartridge box and belt; and a canteen with sling. Peter Copeland and Marko Zlatich, "4th Maryland Independent Company, 1776," Military Collector & Historian, 53, no. 2 (Summer 2001), 83 (Military Uniforms in America, plate no. 788); (Original source cited: William H. Browne, ed., Archives of Maryland (Baltimore: Maryland Hist. Society, 1892), 11, 223, Council of Safety, 9 March 1776.)

d. An inventory of the possessions of the late Samuel Lamson of Colonel Fisher Gay's Connecticut Regiment. "New York Sept 2 1776 Gamamiel Dardy dr To 1 Pr of Plated Shoebuckels belonging to []

To 1 hatchet


1 = 0

To 1 Wompum Belt


= 0 = 9

To 1 B[illegible] Case


= 0 = 6

To Cash


= 4 = 0

To 1 Silver Broach


= 1 = 6

To 1 Caster Hat


= 5 = 0

To 1 Hankerchief Silk


= 1 = 4

To 1 Old Pocket Book


= 1 = 0

To 1 Powderhorn & belt


= 3 = 0

2 [6? 6?]???"

[These appear to be clothes of Lamson's that Dardy had already taken on account and owed money for.] "Corpl Gershom Dormon Dr To a pr of old Shoes of Lamsons @ [illegible] To a Read Jacket Ditto [illegible]

[These appear to be clothes of Lamson's that Dorman had already taken on account and owed money for.] [Page 2] Inventory Brot forward

Cash 24/


1 = 4 = 0

1 Handkerchief


= 4 = 0

1 Garters

1 Knapsack


= 2 = 0

1 Pr silver Kneebuckels


= 6 = 0

1 Silver Broach


= 1 = 6

1 Old Pocket Book


= 1 = 0

New York Septr 2nd 1776 We the Subscribers being calld to apprize the above Articles belonging to Saml Lamson late a Soldier in Capt Rogers Company & Col Gays Regt Deceasd we did apprise his apparil & Accoutrements &c according to the foregoing list

[Illegible] Jabez Wright Robert Rood" Old Heritage Auctions / 2006 October Grand Format Autographs #629 / 1776 Battle of Long Island Document Re: Rogers 25977 1776 Battle of Long Island Document Re: Rogers


e. Sergeant Major John Hawkins, 2 nd Canadian Regiment, noted the contents of his knapsack lost at the Brandywine battle, “viz; 1 uniform Coat – brown faced with white; 1 shirt; 1 pair stockings; 1 Sergeants sash; 1 pair knee buckles; ½ lb. soap; 1 Orderly Book; 1 Memorandum Book, of Journal and State of my company; 1 quire paper; 2 vials ink; 1 brass ink horn; 40 Morning returns, printed blanks; 1 tin gill cup; A letter and a book entitled Rutherford’s Letters.” * Stephen R. Gilbert, "Original Documents: The Diary of Sergeant-Major Hawkins," The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXI, no. 2 (Summer 1990),

Regarding ink, soldiers sometime had to make do, as in this passage from a private soldier’s letter (Henry Johnson, Spencer’s Regiment), is interesting: Morristown, April 1780, “But Remember Me to all Enquiering friends / You must ExCuse my Bad writing / you must Read it as well as you Can my ink Was Bad Nothing to make it [out] of But gun powder” (Collection 429, Henry Johnson letters, 1778-1780, Library and Archives, Monmouth County Historical

Society, Freehold, N.J

revised by John U. Rees, January 2002.)


by James L. Kochan, May 1990, transcription verified and

* NOTE: Samuel Rutherford, 16001661, Scottish clergyman. His Exercitationes apologeticae pro divina gratia (1636), urging a Calvinist view of grace against Arminianism (see Arminius, Jacobus), caused his suspension from his living at Anwoth on the charge of nonconformity to the Acts of Episcopacy. Banished to Aberdeen until the National Covenant was drawn up in 1638, he then was made professor of divinity at St. Mary’s College, St. Andrews, and rector of the university in 1651. In 1643 he was chosen a commissioner from Scotland to the Westminster Assembly, and was attacked by name in John Milton’s sonnet “On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament.” His Lex Rex (1644) brought him wide attention as a political theorist; it was burned by the public hangman after the Restoration, and Rutherford was removed from his official positions and summoned (1661) by Parliament on a charge of treason. He died before he could be tried. Rutherford’s letters, first published as Joshua Redivivus (1664), edited by A. A. Bonar with a life (2 vol., 1863), have passed through a number of editions.

f. Inventory of a Deceased Rhode Island Soldier’s Belongings (Courtesy of Kirsten Hammerstrom)

An inventory of Searjeant George Babcock’s Wearing Apparil who was Killed at fort Mercer Octor 22d 1777 Belonging to Capt Thos Arnold’s Comp’y in Colo Green’s Regemt Two Check Linen Shirts one Pair of Striped Linen overalls one Striped Cotton & linen Jacket without Sleeves one flannel Jacket without Sleeves one home spun Woolen Jacket without sleeves one Linen & Worsted cotee one Kersey outside Jacket Lined with flannel one beaver Hat & one Pair of shoes one Pair of blue worsted stockings one pair of thread ditto one pair of blue yarn Stockings one Linnen Handkerchief one knapsack Clothing inventory, Capt Thos. Arnold, Col. Christopher Greene, Rhode Island Regiment Rhode Island Historical Society, MSS 673 SG 2, S1, SSA Box 1 Folder 13.


g. Frederick Wilhelm de Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. Part I. (Philadelphia, Pa. 1779)

"Instructions for the Captain." "If the company make any stay in a place, he must, previous to their marching, inspect into their condition, examine their knapsacks, and see that they carry nothing but what is allowed, it being a material object to prevent the soldier loading himself with unnecessary baggage." p. 141.

"Each serjeant and corporal will be in a particular manner answerable for the squad committed to his care. He must pay particular attention to their conduct in every respect; that they keep themselves and their arms always clean; that they have their effects always ready, and where they can get them immediately, even in the dark, without confusion; and on every fine day he must oblige them to air their effects. When a man of his squad is warned for duty, he must examine him before he carries him to the parade, obliging him to take all his effects with him, unless when specially ordered to the contrary." pp. 148-149.

"Instruction for the private Soldier."

" whenever he is ordered under arms, [he] must appear well dressed, with his arms and

accoutrements clean and in good order, and his knapsack, blanket, &c. ready to throw on his back in

case he should be ordered to take them. When warned for guard, he must appear as neat as possible, carry all his effects with him, and even when on sentry must have them at his back." pp. 152-153.

"Instruction for the private Soldier." "When ordered to march, he must not charge himself with any unnecessary baggage

at camp or quarters, he must clean his arms, prepare his bed, and go for necessaries, taking nothing without leave, nor committing any kind of excess." p. 154.

When arrived

General Orders, 12 May 1779: “Instructions for the Inspector General, included the stipulation that a

return be made of "the men's cloathing and necessaries

regiment will parade with their Arms, Accoutrements, Blankets and Knapsacks containing their spare "

cloathing and necessaries

John C. Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington, vol. 15 (Washington: Government Printing Office,

At 7 o'Clock on friday morning the 1st.

1936), 48.

h. A "Plan for the Cloathing of the [light] Infantry" (circa 1779), George Washington Papers, Presidential Papers Microfilm, (Washington, DC, 1961), series 4, reel 63.

Plan for the Cloathing of the Infantry Whatever Cloathing the Foot Soldiers receive from the States, may be reduced to the three following Heads.

I. The Necessaries II. The Uniform III. The Small Mounting

The Necessaries of a Soldier Should consist of:

1. An Haversack of Calf Skin

2. A Knapsack of Grey Linen

3. A Blanket

4. A Pair of Shoe Buckles

5. A Pair of Knee Do

6. A Stock Do

7. A Cloaths Brush

8. A pair of Shoe Brushes

9. A large Comb ----------


10. A Small Do


The Whole Enclosed

11. Six needles


in a Leather case

12. Two Oz. Blue Thread

13. Two Oz. White Do ----- -|

14. A Pocket Knife

15. A Tin Spoon


The Uniform Should Consist of:

1. A Hat

2. A Coat

3. A Waistcoat ------ | Woolen

4. A P. of Breeches -|

5. A Pair Woolen Overalls

6. A Leather Stock

7. A Pair of Garters wth Buckles

8. A pair Woollen Gloves

The Small Mounting Should Consist of:

1. Two Shirts --------------

2. Two Pairs Wool. stockgs. |

3. A pair of Shoes ---------

4. A Queue Ribband { to be renewed every six months

5. A Hunting shirt ------- | P[er]

| one of each Article Every

four months



i. Sgt. Andrew Kettell, Jackson’s Additional Regiment/16 th Massachusetts Regiment Journal, May 1780-March 1781

7 June 1780, "

at 9 AM. we Recd orders for marching / paraded about 1/2 after ten with

Knapsacks arms & 40 Rounds / proceeded to Chatham arrived about 3 in the Afternoon heard that 6000 of the british was within 4 Miles of us at Spirngfield and had set several Houses on fire / we halted about 1 1/2 hours and Drew 1/4 Gill Rum / Proceeded for Springfield with about 3000 men and a

number of paces of Artillery. we marched in Sight of the enemy and halted for the night. it Rained and thundered all night / we Laid out upon the Ground."

Thursday, 8 June, "

we still remain at the heights 3 Miles from Springfield / it was current this

morng that the british was intrenching hear Connecticutt farms / this morng 1 hessian deserted who Informed that the number I have aserted is out - besides Staten Island Militia. we now proceeded on our march to the farms about 11 OClock AM met 22 British Prisoners / Arrived at the farms at 4 OClok / We slept all night in an Orchard near Mr. Churk's on the farms"

Friday, 9 June, "

had [3 or 5] Men Killed for the Brigade / we had not time to get breakef[ast]

when there was Orders to Retreat back to the heights from whence we Came / we Draw 3 Days Rations of Bread and 3 D[ays] of fresh Beef "

Sunday, 11 June, " Friday, 16 June, "

Thursday, 22 June, "

the Brigade had Canteens Issued to them"

the Enemy is very still in there Works at Elizabethtown -"

I whent up to the Hutts at Morristown to Git some of my Cloathes which

I Left there / I Returned in the Afternoon & I was taken sick at night I Lay sick all night on the Ground" Friday, 23 June, "it was very hot / 3 alarm guns was fired the Brg[ade] Paraded and march on to - Springfield. I was sent to Chatham about [1 or 2] Miles and staid at Mr. Ward were I was taken Great Care of / the Enemy march[ed] for Springfield about 10.000 of them they were Opposed by Colo Angells Regt and the Jersey Brig[ade] on there Coming over a Bridge where was a Large Creek that hindered there passing otherways the Engagement Continued about 2 hours a very Constant hot fire of Cannon and Musquetry our troops Retreat[ed] to the Heights. the Enemy took the town and set the most part [of] it on fire. When they Retreated to Elizabethtown from whence they Came our Army followed after them to the farms where they halted [and] Marched Bak to old Encampment"

June 24, 1780 "

I was very sick but Better then I was before / it began to Rain Very hard Thunderd

and Lightned untill night / I heard that the Brigade was to march in the morning."

June 25 "

I was so well that I went to the Regt. / the Brigade Marched at 9 OClock I kept in the

Rear. I was very unwell But I endeavoured to Cheer up my hart untill Meridian Sun [when] the

Brigade halted I was Obliege to Lay on the Ground by the water side wereby I took Could and was worst again than I was before" June 26 "[it] was thick & heavy and Like to rain. I Proceeded with the Brigade till Night and then Halted at Ramapo in the Woods. I laid Down On the Ground the Rain Came on [and] I was obliged to lay in it as I Could not Git to any house -"

June 27 "it was Pleasant for me this Day" Wednesday, June 28 "

Greatly But Left me Weake "

I remained in a poor Condision our Docr. was behind I had nothing Don

the Doctr. Came to see Me he Give me [a] Puke which I took / it help me

June 29 " June 30 "

I was some Better than I was the Day before" this Day Receivd orders to march to morrow morning. the Sick was to be sent to the

Flying Hospital. I had no mind to Go as I never had been at one. But the Docr. told me I had Better Go or I was in a poor weake Condision -"

July 1, 1780 "

the Army marched this morning at 3 OCok I whent to the Hospital-"

July 2 "it was very hot the Doctr Came in to the Barn to see me / he Gave me some Bark to take he took a great Deal of Care of me I wanted for nothing -"

July 3 " July 5 "

July 9 "it was pleasant

I found I Got Better fast" I found I Got Stronger every Day -"

I was so well as I went to Camp to Deliver some soldiers who was well I

staid in Camp this Night / our Brigade pitch tents this morning -" Monday, July 10 "it was Very Hot light breezes at S. I Return to the Hospital this Afternoon at the

request of the Docr. to stay a few days with him"

July 18 " July 20 "

Saturday, July 22 "

July 23 "

I left the hospital for good and Joind the Regt. and Drew 3 lb of [?] and 1/4 of Tea -"

Drew Shirte Blankett and Shoes -"

we had the news of the french Fleet arrival -"

this Eving we had the Acct of the Engagement of the Day before between the Brave Genl

Wayne and a number of Negroes & Refugees to the amt of 3000 belonging to British in possession of a block house on a point of land - Convenent to the North River - Genl. Wayne Endeavoured to beseige it by Storme and Sustained some loss" July 28 "it was p[l]easant / there was a party of Militia arrived in Camp this Day with Mr Kent / we

had orders for marching and all [pre]parations making this Eving / at Eving parade it was read that we should Decamp at 3 OC AM / it rained hard this night" July 29 "it was pleasant / Struck tents at Day break and proceeded on our march to toataway [New Jersey] where we arrived about 8 OC AM near a pleasant River / after Refreshment proceeded to pearamus 8 Miles / the Day was Vary hot. I never Endured so much fatigue in my life / arrived at Pearamaus at 4 OC Aftn and halted for the Night. it thunderd lightned and Rained Very hard about 3 hours then Seased Raining. I Slept in a Barn this night as our Tents did not Come up -" July 30 "was Coole & Cloudy the wind at SE / the genl. beat at 3 OClock we struck tents and proceeded to Keikeate Meeting house which was 12 Miles, arrived at Noon and halted Refreshed our Selves and proceeded 6 Miles - farther to harverstraw where we Encamped and remained for the night. at Sun down we had orders for marching at 1 OClock AM" July 31 "it was pleasant / we Struck tents at 1 OClock proceeded to the King ferry arrived before Sun Rise Crossed about 8 OC AM / we Marched a Mile from the ferry towards peaks Kill and halted / at Eveng. Role Call we had Orders to have half our baggage & half our tents sent to West point."

were making all [preparations] to proceed for Kings Bridge to

beseige N. York / this Even.g heard that the British had returned to York" August 2 "it was Very hot we had hard Rain with Thinder and Lighting / at Even.g Role Call we had Orders for Marching to Recross the River again which was disagreable news to me for I did not

expect to Cross into the Jerseys again "

Tuesday, August 1 "it was Very hot

August 3 "

I whent to see John Baker and took a Drink of Grog wt him"

August 4 "it was pleasant / we had orders to hold our Selves in Readiness to march at moments warning " August 5 "it was pleasant Very hot / we had orders to Strick tents at Sun down and to march to the ferry / we were Crossing the River all night" August 5 "It was pleasant but Very hot we marched on to Haverstraw about 6 Miles and then Halted for the night / pitch our tents about 3 OClok in the Afternoon Came on a heavy Rain with Thunder and lightng / at Eveng parade had orders for Marching at 2. OC -" August 7 "It was foggy the Wind at E. the Genl. beat agreable to orders we Marched towards the River and passed over a great mountain / Marched [through?] the East end of Kakeack and to green bush before we halted which was a 11 Miles. we Encamped there and Remained the night / at Even.g Role Call we had orders to march at 3 OC. in the Morng" August 8, 1780 "it was pleasant / we proceeded on our march to the Junction of two Roads where we met the Right wing of the Army thay then marched in front of the Left, when the whole proceeded to tappan, where the Right Wing halted & Encamped / the Left marched two Miles farther to Orang town. halted & Encamped. we Encamped in a bad place for Water"

August 13 "

I when to sea [?] in the forenoon I took a Drink of Grog with him"

August 22 "It was pleasant / at 12 OClock Read orders for Marching the next morning and all [pre]parations making this Even.g for the march" August 23 "it was pleasent the wind at S. at 7 OClock we struck tents and March at 9 OC from Orange town to Teneyck about 12 Miles and within 2 Miles of fort Lee. the March was very fatigueing as the Day was Sultry hot. we arrived on the Ground at 2 OC at which time there Came on a heavy shower of Rain with thunder / we Remained on the Ground till the 3 of September -"

September 3, 1780 "it Rained Very hard all Day with hign Winds at NE the Storms put me in mind of the Storm on Rhoad Island as it was as bad for two hours as ever I new. at Even.g Role Call we had orders for Marchg the next morning." September 4 "It was Clear and pleasant we struck tents at 7 OC and at 10 OC the Army began the March / we Marched to Steenropia [Stonearabia?] 8 Miles, over New Bridge, and Encamped upon the "

Heights / It was a bad Place for water

September 9 " September 10 "

the Brave Genl Poor Died this Morning"

Genl Poor was interred this Afternoon at Hackensack Church"

September 11 & 12 " at 4 OC for Plundering

I was this Day to sea the Execution of David Hall who was executed this Day

an Inhabitant of money and Plate


September 16 "Clear and Pleasant to Day / Colo Spencers Regt is to march to morrow morng to

Join Colo Livingstons at Stony Point


September 17 "

the Commander in Cheif this Day set off for Rhoade Island and Major Genl.

Green took the Commd / Cuffe and Barrett Deserted to York last night from our Regt" September 18 "Clear and pleasent / at Even.g Role Call had Orders for the whole Army to be Readiness to march at the Shortest Notice / Colo Meiges Regt. has ordeers to march to morrow Morng. for West Point" September 19 "it was Clear and Pleasent / at Role Call had orders for to march in the morn.g at 7 OClock -" September 20 "this Morn.g Cloudy and Coole / we struck tents at 7 OC and the Grand Army began the march at 10 OC / the army march[ed] in the following order Genl. McDougalls Division

Genl. Howes Genl Steubens Parke of Artillery Connecticut Lord Stirlings St, Clairs






left Wing



the army Marched to the old Encampment at Orange town / we arrived on the Ground at 3 OC we pitch our tents. this Even.g had a pleasent Shower"

September 21 "

I had the Unwelcome News at the Death of [White or W. Lite] which was as

Greate a Shock as I ever met with in my life as was [an] agreable Mess Mate and a obliging Companion it is loving him with too selfish an Affection to be sorrow that he has left us in order to enjoy in the other world a Repose which he could not enjoy In this world of Sin and Sorrow" September 25 "Clear and Cool the Army was this Day Review By the Inspector Genl and the Officers of the Grand Army" September 26 "Clear and pleasent. the whole army was ordered to turn out last Night at 12 OC to Draw Provision and Cook 2 Days of it in order to march. the Cause of this movement was that the Enemy was a Going to take West Point that Arnold had Sold to them which was happely Discovered. the Enemy Came up the River as far as they were permitted it pleased God in the last moment to Confound the Plot which was laid fore our Distruckion. Arnold made his Escape to York and Andrew [their?] Ajt Genl is now our Prisoner he was taken the Planes of the fort in order to Bring his army to

the fort. at Even.g parade we had the orders read Givein the account of Arnold going to the enemy / the Commander in Cheif arrivd at West Point Yesterday from Hartford -" September 28 "Rain & Cold / at sun down we Drew 1 Jill of Rum"

Sunday, October 1, 1780 "this morn.g foggey about 9 OC Clear away pleasent

this Day Majr.

Andree was tried and sentence to Suffer Death. he was to be Executed at 5 OC this Afternoon but was reprived till the next Day -" October 2 "Clear and Pleasent this forenoon past Muster after Mustering I whent to Sea Major Andree who was Executed for coming out from the enemy as Spy to [negotiate] the Business with Genl Arnold -"

October 3 "this morn.g Came on a hean Storm of Rain

October 5 "this Morn.g Col and Stormey

after Roll Call we Drew a Jill of Rum" "

this Afternoon Drew A Jill of Rum

October 6 "at Even.g Parade had Orders for Marching in the morning. this Even.g all prepartions makeing for the March." October 7 "Cold and Cloudy at 7 OClock Struck tents at 9 OClock March from Orang town and Arrived at Harverstraw at 4 OClock and pitch tents / Rainey & Stormey at 12 OClock Clear away -" October 8 "Clear and Pleasent [s]truck tents at 7 OClock and March for West Point over the

Mountains at night halted two miles from the point and lay out this night. A fatigueing March Inding file for 14 Miles" October 9 "this Morn.g foggy at 8 OClock Clears away Pleasent / We Pitch tents"

October 10 " October 11 " October 12 "

October 15 "this Morn.g hazeay and Warm the Wind at

this Morng the three months Men were Dischard" this Afternoon Drew a Jill of Rum [and] Bread for two Days" Drew 1 Days flour"

Colo Ganowarts Regt had orders to

prepare for Embarkation for Albany and the other Regts of the York Brigade to be ready to march

when ordered" October 17 "

October 18 "Clear and Cold the wind at NW last night so Cold as the Ise made [illegible] at Even.g Parade had orders Read for the Brigade to move into Barracks which was verry agreable / this Even.g was keep in Remembrance [of] the 17 of October -"

this Day Major Genl Heath Appointed to Command this Post"

Saturday, October 28 "

this Even.g had the agreable newes of the Defeat of Colo Fergusons Corps

in its March to Charlestown. Our Party Come up with them at a place called Kings Mountain advantageous posted And gave them a total Defeat in which Colo Fergasons with 150 of his men were Killed 800 made Prisoners and 1500 Stands of Armes taken. on our part the Loss was inconsiderable - at Role Call Drew a Jill of Rum -"

October 29 "Cloudy this Morn.g the Rigdment took Possesion of the Barrack / at 11 OClock Cleare away Pleas[ant] / Drew 2 pound of Shugar and 1 pound of Coffee a man -"

Wednesday, November 1, 1780 "a heavey Storm of Snow and Rain

away - Drew a Jill of Rum" November 2 "Cleare and Cold. the mountains Coved with Snow -" November 3 "this M.g Cloudy and Cold / this forenoon I attended the Execution of George Baker a Matross of Colo Harrisons Regt. for being Concerned in a Conspiracy with a number of others to

spike the Cannon at Fort Schyler and intending to Desert to the Enemy and Induceing others to Desert with him -"

till night at 12 OClock Cleard

November 14 "

November 21 "Clear and Pleasent. this Morn.g the Troops at this Post under the Command of Genl

I was on fatigue takeing up the Chaine


Starke Crosed the river and March on Expidition toward the enemy - at 12 OClock 13 Cannon was Dischared on the Arrivel of the French Genll from Rhoad Island -" November 22 "a heavey Storm of Rain with high wind / this Morn.g 13 Cannon was Dischard, the French Genll sit of for Head Quarters -" November 27 "Clear & Pleasent / this Day the Troops Arrived from there expidition from the Planes -"

November 28 "this Morn.g Warm and Pleasent / at Roll Call had Orders Read for the Jersey Brigade to March to Morrow Morning" November 30 "Cloudy and Cold / this day two Brigades of Bay Troops Arrived at this Post" Friday, December 1 "Clear and Cold / this Mor.g the other two Brigades of Bay Troops

Arrived - Colo Webbs Regt March to the Hutts the other side of the River and Colo Angells Regiment "

Crossed the River and March for Roberson Mills to Build Hutts December 2 "Cloudy and extreme Cold / this Morn.g the 2 Regiments of the 4 Briga Joind with us" December 7 "Cloudy / this Day being a Day of Thanksgiving throughout the United States But a Day of Fasting with us -"

December 8 " December 9 " December 10 " December 11 "

No Bread to Day" the third Day and no Bread -" Drew a Jill of Rum and a Jill of Flour - a Man" this Day Arrived at this Post 300 Barrells of flour which gave great Joy to the

Troops" Monday, January 1, 1781 "this Day the pleasentist New Years Day as ever I new -" January 2 "Warm Rain this Morng. / the Arrangementt took place / our Regt left the Barracks and

March to the Hutts in the woods about 3 Miles from the Point"

January 5 " January 6 " February 1 " February 11 " February 17 "

no Bread to Day" no Bread to Day" January 8 "

no Bread to Day"

Drew a Jill of Rum this Afternoon for New Years agreeable to General Order -" this forenoon Drew one Jill of Rum -" Drew a Jill of Rum"

February 19 "Cloudy and cold some snow last night / this Morng the light Infantry march for Peeks Kills"

February 21 " for 10 Months -" March 10 "

this day I Rec 9 hard Dollars from the State wich was the first Money I had Recd

Drew a Jill of Rum"

Wednesday, March 14, 1781 "

Drew a Jill of Rum"

On March 24, 1781 Sergeant Kettell received a furlough to visit his home, an account of which journey concludes his journal.

Andrew Kettell, pension file (W2197), National Archives Microfilm Publication M804, 2,670 rolls, roll 2395, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 18001900, Record Group 15; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

j. “Inventory of the Effects of Frederick Oblieskie(Courtesy of Henry Cooke)

Frederick Oblieskie was a private in Captain Elias Parkman’s company, Colonel Ebenezer

Thayer’s Regiment of Massachusetts militia, three months service in 1780. Oblieskie died 27 August


“West Point, September 19 th , 1780”

“Inventory of the Effects of Frederick Oblieskie, Viz


gun, /Bayonet & Carteredge Box


pr. Of thread stockings, 3 stocks


check d handkerchiefs, 1 Coat, Jacoat & Britches


whit[e] shirt, 1 pr. New Shoes, 1 pr. half worn


phelt Hatt, 1 pr. wool stockings

money &c. 162 2/3 paper Dollars, 5 3/8 Silver Ditto

1 pistareen [Spanish silver coin], 1 pr. shoe, 1 pr. knee 1 stock Silver Buckles

1 pr. Shoe, 1 stock puter Buckels

Tailors Tools

1 pr. Large Shears, 1 pr. Sizers [scissors], 1 Thimble, Bobken & Dividers, 1 penknife, 1 comb, 1 Bowl,

1 pencel, Book, 1 paper, case and

one knapsack … “Inventory of the Effects of Frederick Oblieskie,” Board of War Letters, 1778-80, vol. 153, no. 398, Massachusetts Archives, Boston, Ma.

For more on soldier-tailors see:

"’The taylors of the regiment’: Insights on Soldiers Making and Mending Clothing, and Continental Army Clothing Supply, 1776 to 1783,” Military Collector & Historian, vol. 63, no. 4 (Winter 2011), 254-265.

Detail of part of a group of Continental soldiers from

Detail of part of a group of Continental soldiers from Pierre Charles L'Enfant (1754-1825) painting of West Point and dependencies. View is from the east side of the Hudson River, at the top is the lower part of Constitution Island. "Encampment of the Revolutionary Army on the Hudson River," Library of Congress.

"All the tin Camp-kettles they can procure Cooking Gear and other Food-Related Items


Light-Weight Military Kettles, and Cast-Iron Cooking Gear, 1775-1782. 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

Continental Army usage, thirty-five kettles were enough for two hundred and ten men, at six men per mess squad. 46 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 preferred for soldiers to prepare their meals in. First we will examine light-weight kettles, then equipment less often used, as well as eating utensils. 47

p[er] Order Col Shreve of 2d Jersey Regmt." According to

p[er] Order Col Shreve of 2d Jersey Regmt." According to Continental soldier wearing typical warm weather

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; “7 th Virginia Regiment, 1777,” Peter F. Copeland and Donald W. Holst, Brother Jonathan print series. Courtesy of the artist.

Continental Army and States' Militia, 1775-1780. 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 48 Wooden



plates &

Tea Bowls Canteens Spiders Kettles





Vizt in Colo Starks Regt






Colo Nixons







Colo Poors









Colo Reeds






Do Brigade Store









Whole Number









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

Majr Frazier at Boston

March 24 th 1776

E[rrors] Excepted 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. 49 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

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

into our kettle, it not being very heavy, as it was made of plated iron." 50 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

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.) 51 During 1776 large numbers of light kettles were sought for both Continental regiments and militia

units. Minutes of the Continental Congress, Philadelphia, 14 June, "

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


receive the Kettles as fast as made." The Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Committee of Inspection,

Observation, and Correspondence, "Resolved, [on 11 July 1776] That [several men]

to carry in our hands. They were made of cast iron and consequently heavy." By

as we were not overburthened by provisions, our mess had put ours

" To the

Thomas Bates, Blacksmith,

five tons of Sheet-Iron" to be delivered out "as it may be wanted, to Thomas Bates, and

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." 52 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

consequence than was feared, for our stock of tin suitable for cannisters is much larger than was


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. 53 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: "

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

have work'd up into Camp Kettles - Colonel Miles Depy. QMaster for the State of Penna. informs "

me that the Kettles are immediately wanted

However, the disappointment is of less

" Little is presently known of kettle manufacture in 1779 and 1780, though light-weight

supposing the Kettles to be made as formerly, which I find to average

a quantity of


sheet Iron [which] you will please to

Sheet-iron camp kettle as per Timothy Pickering's 1782 specifications. This reproduction, by Patrick M. Cunningham,

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)

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

permanently small, small kettles should serve them." Small mess squads may have had only three or 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." 55 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

you are to issue one of each to a mess, only where messes are

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

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. 56 Iron Pots and Pans. 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 "

to be iron pots

unusual, though regular regiments and militia units sometimes carried such non-standard

equipment. Minutes of the Maryland Council of Safety, 27 July 1776, " Colonel Josias C. Hall's Battalion [of Maryland Flying Camp militia]

Commissary of Stores deliver to Mr. Griest ninety-two Iron Pots, seven Frying Pans, three Iron

Kettles, four Skillets, and sixty Wooden Dishes." 57

At all events I intended to have enough made

458 Camp Kettles 2/3 of this number ought

" The issue of large numbers of iron pots (along with frying pans and skillets) was


Camp Utensils for

Ordered, That the

and skillets) was for Camp Utensils for Ordered, That the Cast-iron pot measuring 11 inches at

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.)

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

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. 58

[the] Gundalo Providence" included "two Camp Kettles." The kettles on the

included "two Camp Kettles." The kettles on the Small long-handled fry pans such as this were

Small long-handled fry pans such as this were used on occasion by Continental soldiers. This reproduction has a 13 ½ inch handle and a 7 ½ inch diameter pan. (Fry pan made by Jymm Hoffman of Hoffmans Forge, )

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

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

John Sullivan’s brigade of four regiments listed 336 pots and 74 kettles, an indication that cast-iron

[and] are directed to provide one Canteen

" A March 1776 equipment return for

cooking gear was seen in greater numbers prior to 1777. (See Addendum for the Sullivan’s brigade return.) 59 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

" Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, 3d New Hampshire Regiment, wrote the day before

"Kettles, pans

the army marched to Valley Forge: “18 th [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 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." 60

destroyed than if they were used only in boiling." 6 0 Spade converted into a frying

Spade converted into a frying pan by soldiers, from the collections of Morristown National Historical Park. (Pictured in George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1975), 94.)

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." 61 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. 62

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.” 63

kettles which they first perforated with bayonets.” 6 3 An iron "broiler" made from a barrel

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

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

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

the fire. This was the common way of cookery when on marches

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 "

Horrible Manner

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

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." 65 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." 66 One Massachusetts soldier recounted an interesting instance of minimalist cooking:


beef on small sticks in

And how was it cooked? Why, as it

scorched on one side, while the beef was broiling on a stick in "


At the Whitemarsh camp in December 1777 Sergeant Ebenezer Wild told of


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.’ 67

A barrel hoop broiler found in the 21st Royal North British Fusiliers’ encampment site on

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)

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, 3 rd 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

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

"which would be vastly convenient using communal eating receptacles. 68

for the

Seventeen months later Pickering described camp kettle covers,

as a dish to eat out of"; further evidence of common soldiers

Staved wooden bowl belonging to a soldier left sick along the line of march from

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,” including, “’Left sick on the Road’: An Attempt to Identify the Soldier Left at the Paxson Home, ‘Rolling Green,’ June 1778.”)

Green,’ June 1778.”) Turned wooden mess bowls were likely more common than staved

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.

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 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." 69

“for an Army of Twenty five thousand Men." 6 9 Wooden spoons excavated from HMS Invincible,

Wooden spoons excavated from HMS Invincible, which sank in 1758. Identified as being made of sycamore. Maritime Archaeology Trust.

"Description - has an engraved silver band on handle of spoon a silver label has

"Description - has an engraved silver band on handle of spoon a silver label has been added to the "

back of the spoon: Porridge Ladle/made by/Samuel Adams/at/Valley Forge/ 1778

Historical Society. http://mainehistory.pastperfect-


951653866210%3Btype%3D10 Maine A soldier’s spoon with initials , found at the site of

A soldier’s spoon with initials, found at the site of Fort Montgomery, New York. Charles L. Fisher, ed., The Most Advantageous Situation in the Highlands. An Archaeological Study of Fort Montgomery State Historic Site (Albany: (New York State Education Department, 2004), 17.

(Above and following page.) Pewter spoon excavated on Brandywine battlefield (found on the southwest side

(Above and following page.) Pewter spoon excavated on Brandywine battlefield (found on the southwest side of Sandy Hollow, across the road, along the line of retreat from Birmingham Hill). The handle was purposely cut off, similar to several others of pewter and lead excavated by Frank J. Kravic at Hudson Highland camp sites. Overall length, 4 1/8 inches; bowl of spoon, 2 1/2 inches long by 2 1/4 wide; length of remaining handle, 1 3/4 inches. The maker’s mark “WB with a fleur- de-lis,” denotes New York pewterer William Bradford. (Courtesy of Bob McDonald.) George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (Harrisburg, Pa., 1975), 110. Morrison H. Heckscher and Leslie Greene Bowman, American Rococo, 1770-1775: Elegance in Ornament (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992), 107.

Above is an unexcavated example of the same pattern spoon, with full-length handle intact. Lot
Above is an unexcavated example of the same pattern spoon, with full-length handle intact. Lot

Above is an unexcavated example of the same pattern spoon, with full-length handle intact. Lot 602, pewter spoon, William Bradford (1688-1759). New York City, 1719-1759. Maker's mark stamped inside bowl. Length 6 5/8 inches, width 2 1/8 inches. Provenance: William D. Carlebach, Bedford, New York, 1990. New Hampshire Weekend Auction Platinum House (Northeast Auctions) 24 February 24, 2007, Manchester, NH, USA.

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.) 70 (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 … 71

Fife-Major John Greenwood, 15th Continental Regiment, wrote of the retreat from Canada in


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. 72

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 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

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) … 74

it would be perfectly unnecessary to attempt a description

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

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

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. 76

75 Holland also

To show the lack of the common necessaries of life, I mention the

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. 77

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.” 78 The Ways Soldiers Carried Food. The army issued soldiers a coarse linen bag, called a haversack, in which to carry rations on the march. Haversacks were worn slung over the right shoulder, hanging under the left arm. One surviving British example measures 13 1/2 inches high by 16 3/4 inches wide, with a 2 inch linen strap. Given supply difficulties and the haste in which many were produced, it is likely most haversacks manufactured for the Continental Army were made without buttons. On at least one occasion soldiers were directed to construct their own.

"College Camp [Williamsburg, Virginia] October the 11th. 1775

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

Sufficient for the purpose must be Drawn

called for "An Haversack of Calf Skin," although none of this type are known to have been used by Continental troops.) Haversacks were used for purposes other than carrying rations on the march. 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 British 64th Regiment were ordered to convey a ration issue to camp: "Ashtown

Camp 14th September 1777

Milles." 79 There were other ways food was transported. Whether haversacks were available or not, it was probably common for some of a mess squad's food to be carried in a camp kettle, each man taking his turn with the burden. Connecticut soldier Joseph Martin wrote of this in the autumn of

[A] Captain of Each

as near one General Size & patern as Possible. Thread

" (A 1779 "Plan for the Cloathing of the Infantry"

The Men are to go with their Haversacks for flour to Hills

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." Other items were specifically intended to hold food or converted to that purpose. In 1776 some regiments were issued the "new invented Knapsack and Haversack," a piece of equipment used for carrying a soldier's clothing as well as food. Other expedients were resorted to. 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." 80 Knapsacks designed to carry only clothing and other necessaries were sometimes used to carry food in lieu of haversacks. Orders for Jackson's Additional Regiment, "Boston Oct 4. 1777 The

Regiment to hold themselves in readiness to embark

Commissioned Officer & Soldier, will have his Cloathing & Necessaries put up in their

Knapsacks this afternoon, together with two days provisions Cook'd

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