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“Square knapsacks are most convenient …”

A Hypothesis Regarding British Knapsack Evolution

John U. Rees

The recreated 17th Regiment of Foot. Their knapsacks are based on the sketch from the 1778 71st
Regiment order book (see below).
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Contents

1. British Knapsack Timeline, 1758-1794
2. Discussion of British Knapsack Evolution, Single-Pouch and Double-Pouch Packs, and
Carrying Blankets
3. Notes Regarding the Use of Over-the-Shoulder Blanket Rolls
4. Follow-Up: “Like a Pedlar's Pack.”: Blanket Rolls and Slings
5. Articles on Knapsacks and What Soldiers Carried in Them

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British Knapsack Timeline, 1758-1794

1758-1765 (and earlier), Single-pouch purse-like leather knapsack carried by British troops, as
pictured in paintings by David Morier (1705-1770) and Edward Penny, R.A. (1714-1791). These
knapsacks could not accommodate a blanket. 1768, Cuthbertson recommends “square” knapsacks
with two shoulder straps.
1771, Painting of a private soldier of the 25th Regiment of Foot shows him wearing a hair pack with
two shoulder straps. His knapsack seems to be a single-pouch model made of hide covered with
hair, and, given the maud (a plaid cloak, worn by shepherds in Scotland) slung over his shoulder,
could not accommodate a blanket.
1774, Timothy Pickering describes a single-pouch, double-shoulder-strap leather knapsack being
used in the British Army.
1776, An American contractor touts his double-pouch, single-shoulder-strap linen “new Invented
Napsack and haversack” to Maryland officials. One pouch was meant for food, the other for
soldiers’ necessaries. Some Maryland units are known to have been issued the knapsack, and there
is some indication it was used by Pennsylvania troops as well.
1776-1777, British regiments are issued knapsacks, but many Crown units use blanket slings
instead of packs in these two campaigns. (Possibly because the knapsacks then being used could not
accommodate a blanket, which were deemed necessary for American service.)
1778, The first known image of a double-pouch British knapsack appears in a 71st Regiment order
book. One pouch is shown as holding food, the other, soldiers’ necessaries.
1778, On 28 July “1096 Knap & Haversacks” (from the context likely the same as the “new
Invented Napsack and haversack”) are sent from Reading, Pennsylvania to supply Continental
troops.
1780, Benjamin Warner was likely issued his double-pouch double-shoulder-strap linen knapsack
while serving with a Continental artillery regiment. `
1782, First known documentary references to double-pouch knapsacks.
1782, British 29th Regiment order book seems to refer to rolled blankets worn on top of knapsacks.
1782, L’Enfant painting of West Point showing soldiers with rolled blankets attached to the top of
their knapsacks.
1794, The earliest known surviving British double-pouch, double-shoulder-strap linen knapsack,
made for the 97th Inverness Regiment, raised in 1794 and disbanded the same year.
_____________________

This monograph began with the vague idea of discussing the 17th Regiment’s recreated
knapsack. To my mind it is the only one that comes close to representing the design of the
originals likely carried by mid-war (and possibly late-war) British soldiers. But that set me to
ruminating on how the double-pouch knapsack (such as the Benjamin Warner pack at Fort
Ticonderoga and the one pictured below in the 71st Regiment’s 1778 order book) came to be.
The following narrative, based on both primary and, admittedly, circumstantial evidence,
attempts to trace that transformation, and (spoiler alert) leads the author to think it very likely the
double-pouch pack was a wartime innovation.
Drawing of knapsack from British 71st Regiment 1778 order book. This is likely evidence that
double-bag knapsacks, undoubtedly of linen, were being used by British troops at least by 1778.
Note that food was to be carried in one bag, and a minimum of necessaries (“1 pair of shoes,” “1 set
Brushes,” “1 shirt, “1 Pr. stockings”) in the other. Continental Army two shoulder-strap double-
bag packs were probably copied from British knapsacks. The Warner knapsack (probably issued in
1779) had two storage pouches; orders for American army knapsacks in 1782 stipulated, “Let them
be made double, & one side painted.” Standing Orders of the 71st Regiment, 1778, Lt. Col.
Archibald Campbell, National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS 28 papers), Isle of Canna,
Scotland, U.K. (Knapsack drawing courtesy of Alexander John Good.)
___________________________

Recreated knapsack, 17th Regiment.
Recreated knapsack, 17th Regiment.
There are occasions (actually, many occasions) when my understanding runs on a very slow
burn. In this vein, researching and writing about knapsacks used before, during and after the
American War (1775-1783), eventually led me to the conclusion that British knapsack design
took a right turn early in that conflict. Is my conclusion conclusive? No, it isn’t, as there are
missing pieces in the records, but the possibility (or probability) is intriguing.

* * * * * *
In his 1768 treatise System for the Compleat Interior Management and Oeconomy of a
Battalion of Infantry Bennett Cuthbertson wrote,

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, 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.
Bennett Cuthbertson, System for the Compleat Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of
Infantry, (Dublin, 1768), 82-85, 93, 101.

Cuthbertson reveals here several notable clues. First, of course, is his statement touting the
superiority of “square” knapsacks with two shoulder slings. The 1751 Morier figures and the
circa 1765 painting “An Officer Giving Alms to a Sick Soldier” by Edward Penny (1714-1791)
show soldiers wearing single-shoulder-strap skin packs, so Cuthbertson’s square knapsack was a
relatively recent innovation. Mr. C. also states square packs “should be made with a division, to
hold the shoes, black-ball and brushes, separate from the linen” and “a certain size must be
determined on for the whole …” ”[M]ade with a division.” That, to me, indicates Cuthbertson is
speaking of a single pouch knapsack, like the David Uhl and Elisha Grose packs, while his
remark about determining size can only mean no standard design had yet been settled on. And
his reference to “all white goat-skins” refers to a knapsack likely made entirely of leather, again
like the Grose knapsack. Both pre-war and in the war’s early years leather seems to have been
the preferred material for many, perhaps most, knapsacks. (For references to leather packs see sections
titled “Leather and Hair Packs, and Ezra Tilden’s Narrative” and “The Rufus Lincoln and Elisha Gross Hair
Knapsacks” in “’Cost of a Knapsack complete …’: `This Napsack I carryd through the war of the
Revolution,” Knapsacks Used by the Soldiers during the War for American Independence’”
http://www.scribd.com/doc/210794759/%E2%80%9C-This-Napsack-I-carryd-through-the-war-of-
theRevolution-Knapsacks-Used-by-the-Soldiers-during-the-War-for-American-Independence-Part-1-
of%E2%80%9C-Cos ; see also, Al Saguto, “The Seventeenth Century Snapsack” (January 1989)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/212328948/Al-Saguto-The-Seventeenth-Century-Snapsack-January-1989 )
Detail from David Morier, “Grenadiers, 46th, 47th and 48th Regiments of Foot, 1751”
http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection-search/david%2520morier
This undated painting by Paul Sandby shows a British soldier wearing what appears to be a black
goatskin pack. The small size of the knapsack seems to indicate a single-pouch version. Given the
coat cuffs alone, it looks to pre-date the 1768 clothing warrant. (Image courtesy of Shaun Pekar)
Based on the writing of Massachusetts militia colonel Timothy Pickering (below), sometime
prior to 1774, packs like the one Cuthbertson described seem to have been adopted by at least
some British regiments:

A knapsack may be contrived that a man may load and fire, in case of necessity, without throwing
down his pack. Let the knapsack lay lengthways upon the back: from each side at the top let a
strap come over the shoulders, go under the arms, and be fastened about half way down the
knapsack. Secure these shoulder straps in their places by two other straps which are to go across
and buckle before the middle of the breast. The mouth of the knapsack is at the top, and is
covered by a flap made like the flap of saddlebags.- The outside of the knapsack should be fuller
than the other which lies next to your back; and of course must be sewed in gathers at the bottom.
Many of the knapsacks used in the army are, I believe, in this fashion, though made of some kind
of skins.
Timothy Pickering, Jr., An Easy Plan of Discipline for a Militia (Salem, Massachusetts: Printed
by Samuel and Ebenezer Hall, 1775), 3-4.

Pickering, too, refers to packs made of leather, infers that they had only a single pouch, and
adds that the closing flap resembles those on saddle bags of the time. Period examples have
closing flaps similar to those on the Uhl (linen) and Grose (bearskin) knapsacks.

Reproduction of David Uhl linen knapsack.
18th century saddlebags. Timothy Pickering wrote in his 1774 treatise, “The mouth of the knapsack
is at the top, and is covered by a flap made like the flap of saddlebags …”
(Courtesy of Don Troiani, www.historicalimagebank.com )
Elisha Gross (Grose) bearskin knapsack. (Private collection.) The current owner notes “the
knapsack … [has an] all-leather sack, with H strap construction, the outer rear flap being of
bearskin, about 20% of the hair remaining … The straps engaged with the simple open frame, non-
roller style buckles often recovered from campsites.”
So, just when were double-pouch knapsacks (like Benjamin Warner’s 1780 pack) first
introduced to British troops in America? The drawing from a 1778 71st Regiment order book
found and shared by Alexander John Good may provide the answer. That image shows a very
simple double-pouch knapsack, with food placed in one pouch and “1 pair of shoes,” 1 set
Brushes,” “1 shirt,” and “1 pr stockings” in the other. (It is interesting that this apportionment
mirrors that of the “new Invented Napsack and haversack” used by some Whig units in 1776,
1778, and possibly 1777, but more on that later).

Drawing of knapsack from British 71st Regiment 1778 order book. This is likely evidence that
double-bag knapsacks, undoubtedly of linen, were being used by British troops at least by 1778.
Note that food was to be carried in one bag, and a minimum of necessaries (“1 pair of shoes,” “1 set
Brushes,” “1 shirt, “1 Pr. stockings”) in the other. Continental Army two shoulder-strap double-
bag packs were probably copied from British knapsacks. The Warner knapsack (probably issued in
1779) had two storage pouches; orders for American army knapsacks in 1782 stipulated, “Let them
be made double, & one side painted.” Standing Orders of the 71st Regiment, 1778, Lt. Col.
Archibald Campbell, National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS 28 papers), Isle of Canna,
Scotland, U.K. (Knapsack drawing courtesy of Alexander John Good.)
Private soldier, 25th Regiment of Foot, Minorca, ca. 1771, wearing a blanket roll under his
knapsack. His knapsacks looks to be covered with hair, probably goatskin The blanket itself is a
maud, a Scottish shepherd’s plaid. (Artist unknown, National Army Museum, London, UK.)
Gregory J.W. Urwin, Redcoat Images, No. 26 http://astro.temple.edu/~gurwin/ Also pictured in W.
A. Thorburn, Uniforms of the Scottish Infantry, 1740-1800 (Edinburgh: H.M. Stationery Office,
1973), 8.

British regiments already in America at the beginning of the war had knapsacks, but we have
no idea of their design. At this time, given what we know of pre-war packs from period images
and the comments of Cuthbertson and Pickering, I can only surmise that early-war (1775-1777)
British knapsacks were leather (goatskin?), possibly linen, “square” models, with a single pouch
(possibly with a divider to separate a spare pair of shoes from the other necessaries), and two
shoulder straps. They also could not easily accommodate a blanket, an item deemed necessary
for service in North America. British, French, and German troops campaigning in Europe did not
carry blankets on the march, those coverings being carried in the same wagons as the regimental
tentage. The packs (tournisters) German troops carried while serving in the American War still
could not carry a blanket, and we are still unsure how, or even if, German troops carried blankets
on the march.
A Musketeer of the Hessian Regiment Von Bose
(Painting by Don Troiani, www.historicalimagebank.com )

Supply documents for the British Brigade of Guards, 1776 to 1778, including numbers of
knapsacks issued and the use of blanket slings on campaign, and generate some interesting
questions.
[Numbers of knapsacks needed and requested]
List of Waggons, Tents, Camp necessaries &ca for the Detachment from the Three Regiments of
Foot Guards, consisting with their Officers of 1097 men destined to Serve in North America.
February 5th 1776 …
1062 Haversacks
1062 Knapsacks
(Earl of Loudoun Papers, Additional Manuscript #44084, p. 213, British Museum Manuscript
Collection. John Campbell, the 4th Earl of Loudoun, was the commander of the three Regiments of
Foot Guards until 1778; see also Barrington to Loudoun, 7 February 1776, War Office Record Class
4/96 [p. 45], Secretary at War Out-Letters, Public Records Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey,
England.)

[Knapsack pattern]
Memo Brig. Gen. Edward Mathew to John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun 16 Feb. 1776
"Memorandum concerning the [Guards] Detachment Fryday Feb 16 1776" "
Light Infantry Company. Colo. Mathews applies for the proper Clothing. proposes: To cut the
2nd Clothing of this Year into Jackets. --
Caps, Colo. M to produce a pattern --
Arms, The Ordnance will deliver them with the others. a fresh Application.
Accoutrements, upon the plan of the light Infantry. Colo. M--
Bill Hook and Bayonet in the same case. Colo M.-- "
"Gaiters and Leggins
Knapsack -- Genl. Tayler has a pattern.
Nightcaps -- Colo. M to shew one
Canteens -- to see a Wooden one."
(Loudoun Papers, LO 6510, Manuscript Collection at the Huntington Library, San Marino,
California.)
[Altering knapsacks]
Memo Mathew to Loudoun 28 Feb. 1776 "Estimate of the Extra expence of the Necessary
Equipment of the Detachment from the Brigd. of Foot Guards Intended for Foreign Service"
Alteration of the Mens Knapsacks .6 [pence]
To Receive from the Goverment in Lieu of Knapsacks 2.6
Allowance from Govermt. to each Man for a Knapsack 2.6
(Loudoun Papers, LO 6514, Manuscript Collection at the Huntington Library, San Marino,
California.)

[Fitting knapsacks]
Regimental Order, London 7 March 1776 The 1st Regt. will draught the 15 men "by Lot out of
such Men as are in every respect fit for Service."
2nd and 3rd Battalion to draught Sat the 9th
1st Battalion on Sun the 10th
A return to be sent in of the name, age and service of the men.
Commanding Officers of companies "will Inspect minutely into the Men's Necessaries who are
Draughted, that they may be Compleated according to the List to be seen at the Orderly Room,
The Knapsacks to be fitted to each Man, according to a late Regulation, and to be seen that they
are perfectly whole and strongly sewed."
"The Extraordinary necessaries furnish'd are not to be deliver'd to the Men till they are in their
first Cantonments."
(Brigade and Regimental Orders from First (now Grenadier) Guards Headquarters Orderly Books,
London. Regimental Headquarters, Wellington Barracks, London.)

[List of soldiers’ necessaries, including knapsacks]
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 7/ 1/4 pr. Pair
Two pair of Shoes
Three pair of Heels and Soles 1/2 d pr. pair
Two Black Stocks
Two Pair of Half Gaiters 1s/ pr. pair
One Cheque Shirt 3/9 d
A Knapsack (2/6 d Allowed by Government)
Picker, Worm & Turnscrew
A Night Cap"
(Brigade and Regimental Orders from Scots Guards Headquarters Orderly Books, London, 1774-
1781 and 1781-?. Regimental Headquarters, Wellington Barracks, London.)

A little over a month later, on 26 April 1776, the three Guards Battalions set sail for North
America.
With all the trouble taken to procure knapsacks for the Guards Brigade, those packs seem to
have either been left aboard the transports when the Guards went ashore at Long Island, New
York or sent back on board after landing. Several 1776 documents mention knapsacks or the lack
thereof during the New York campaign.
"[Guards] Brigade Orders August 19th [1776.]
When the Brigade disembarks two Gils of Rum to be delivered for each mans Canteen which
must be filled with Water, Each Man to disembark with a Blanket & Haversack in which he is to
carry one Shirt one pair of Socks and Three Days Provisions a careful Man to be left on board
each Ship to take care of the Knapsacks. The Articles of War to be read to the Men by an Officer
of each Ship."
(Thomas Glyn, "The Journal of Ensign Thomas Glyn, 1st Regiment of Foot Guards on the
American Service with the Brigade of Guards 1776-1777," 7. Transcription courtesy of Linnea
M. Bass.)

General (Army) Orders 20 August 1776
"When the Troops land they are to carry nothing with them but their Arms, Ammunition,
Blankets, & three Days provisions. The Commandg. Officers of Compys. will take particular
care that the Canteens are properly fill'd with Rum & Water & it is most earnestly reecommended
to the Men to be as saving as possible of their Grog."
(1) From an original manuscript entitled "Howe Orderly Book 1776-1778" which is actually a Brigade
of Guards Orderly Book from 1st Battalion beginning 12 March 1776, the day the Brigade for
American Service was formed. Manuscript Dept., William L. Clements Library, Univ. of Michigan, Ann
Arbor. (Microfilm available for loan.) May not be cited without permission from the Clements.
(2) From "Orderly Book: British Regiment Footguards, New York and New Jersey," a 1st Battalion
Orderly Book covering Aug. 1776 - Jan. 1777. Reel 3, document 37 of Early American Orderly Books
Series microfilmed by Research Publications Inc.

Brigade Orders 23 August 1776 [the day after their landing on Long Island]
"the Brigade will Assemble with their Arms Accoutrements Blankets & Knapsacks to Morrow
Morning at 5 oClock upon the same ground. . ."
(Sourced as above (1) and (2))

Brigade Orders 24 August 1776
"the Commanding offrs of Battns may send their Knapsacks on board of Ships again if they find
any ill Conveniency of them."
(Sourced as above (1) and (2))

It seems that many Crown soldiers used only slung blankets during the 1776 campaign,
perhaps due to the “ill Conveniency” of their knapsacks, whatever that may mean. Here are two
more 1776 references to carrying only blankets and blankets on slings:

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."
("4th Battalion of Grenadiers Orderly Book, 30 June - 15 November 1776," John Peebles (42d
Regiment) diary, notebook 2, GD 21/492, 2, Scottish Record Office. Courtesy of Don N. Hagist
and Andrew Watson Kirk)

Capt. William Leslie, 17th Regiment of Foot, 2 September 1776, “"Bedford Long Island Sept.
2nd 1776… The Day after their Retreat we had orders to march to the ground we are now
encamped upon, near the Village of Bedford: It is now a fortnight we have lain upon the ground
wrapt in our Blankets, and thank God who supports us when we stand most in need, I have never
enjoyed better health in my Life. My whole stock consists of two shirts 2 pr of shoes, 2
Handkerchiefs half of which I use, the other half I carry in my Blanket, like a Pedlar's Pack."
(Sheldon S. Cohen, "Captain William Leslie's 'Paths of Glory,’" New Jersey History, 108 (1990),
63.)
Preparing for the 1777 campaign the British Guards were slated for another knapsack issue:

Secretary at War William Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington to Loudoun 7 Sept 1776
His Majesty Orders that for the 1777 Campaign the Detachment is to receive the following Camp
Necessaries …
1062 Haversacks
1062 Knapsacks
10 Powder Bags
Note: Correspondence on pages 150, 157, and 171 of citation below indicates that only 150
knapsacks per regiment in America were supplied for the 1777 campaign. [That would make a
total of 450 for three battalions.]
(War Office Record Class 4/98 [p. 144], Secretary at War Out-Letters, Public Records Office,
Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.)

And in March 1777 the following order was issued:

[Guards] Brigade Orders 11 March 1777
"The Waistbelts to Carry the Bayonet & to be wore across the Shoulder. The Captains are
desired to provide Webbing for Carrying the Mens Blankets according to a pattern to be Seen at
the Cantonment of Lt. Colo. Sr. J. Wrottesleys Company. The Serjeants to Observe how they are
Sewed."
(From an original manuscript entitled "Howe Orderly Book 1776-1778" which is actually a
Brigade of Guards Orderly Book from 1st Battalion beginning 12 March 1776, the day the
Brigade for American Service was formed. Manuscript Dept., William L. Clements Library,
Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor.)

So, were British knapsacks in use up to and including the year 1777 both single-pouch and
incapable of accommodating a blanket? Were blanket slings used to carry blankets with
knapsacks as well as without? Or were the knapsacks used by Crown forces at the time merely
considered cumbersome, and blanket slings thought to be more proper for campaigning soldiers.
Added to those questions, we are not at all certain how British soldiers carried their blankets
even after double-pouch knapsacks came into use.
While we may never learn the answers to the aforesaid questions, here are several things we
do know or think we know. First, we look at a crucial clue in this discussion, but one that is
accompanied with some uncertainty and a caveat or two. The first known image of a British
double-pouch knapsack (see below) was found in a 71st Regiment manuscript book titled
“Standing Regimental Orders in America”; the first half of the volume contains standing orders
for 1775 (before the regiment arrived in North America), the second half entries for 1778,
beginning 3 June and ending with a 24 August order. The context of the knapsack image is
difficult to ascertain but, in my opinion, was likely done in 1778. A caveat – while we can
assume it portrays a piece of British equipment, the possibility of the image showing a captured
item remains in the realm of possibility. That possibility seems to be lessened by the absence of a
descriptor noting such. Added to that, there are indications the British went into the war using
single-pouch knapsacks, the 71st order book drawing, likely dating to 1778, being the earliest
evidence for the double-pouch variety.
Next, a known item with a supposition attached to it. In February 1776 a contractor sent a
proposal to convince the state of Maryland to procure for their troops his “new Invented Napsack
and haversack.” In the end numbers of his knapsack were made and issued to several Maryland
units, and probably some Pennsylvania and New Jersey troops. Though impossible to prove, an
intriguing possibility is that the new British knapsacks were inspired by the American “Napsack
and haversack,” a not unreasonable contention given the similarity in design and that the 71st
knapsack drawing also shows one pouch designated to carry food.

“Rough draft of the new Invented Napsack and haversack in one,” included with J. Young’s
February 9 1776 letter to Maryland Congressman Samuel Chase. (For more see “The ‘new
Invented Napsack and haversack,’ 1776.” http://www.scribd.com/doc/217351637/The-
%E2%80%9Cnew-Invented-Napsack-and-haversack%E2%80%9D-1776 )
From 1776, we move four years ahead, to Benjamin Warner’s service with Col. John Lamb’s
2d Continental Artillery Regiment. Given that his other tours, from 1775 to 1777, were with state
or militia units, and given what we know of America knapsacks during those years, it is most
likely his extant knapsack dates from his 1780 stint. Warner’s pack may have been copied from
captured British equipment. The practice did occur, perhaps the best known instance being the
Continental Army twenty-nine round “New Model” cartridge pouch, copied from British
pouches taken with Burgoyne’s troops and first made in Massachusetts in the winter of 1777-78.
(See following page for images of the Warner knapsack.)
(Above) Benjamin Warner's Revolutionary War knapsack. This artifact has evidence a second
pocket on the inside of the outer flap. (Courtesy of Fort Ticonderoga Museum)
(Following page) Reproduction of Warner knapsack.
While Benjamin Warner’s existing knapsack is evidence that the Continental Army used
double-pouch knapsacks with two shoulder straps by at least 1780, the first documentary
mentions date to 1782.

Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering to Ralph Pomeroy, D.Q.M., 23 April 1782: "I observe
in your return the mention of upwards of three thousand yards of oznaburghs Tho' this kind of
linen is not the best for knapsacks yet they have very commonly been made of it. Of that in your
possession I wish you to select immediately the best, & to have one thousand knapsacks made up.
They should be made double, & one side painted with the cheapest paints. I will furnish you with
Mr. Morris's notes to enable you to pay for this work which cannot cost much. Be pleased to have
the knapsacks made with dispatch & forwarded without delay to Colo. Hughes."
Numbered Record Books, National Archives, 1780-July 9, 1787, vol. 26.
Timothy Pickering to Peter Anspach, 23 April 1782: "Desire Mr. [Mery?] to examine the bolts of
oznaburghs which came from Virginia, and pick out those fittest for knapsacks, & get as many
made as he can: If he would cut out one of a proper shape, he could get some careful woman to
cut out the residue, & employ other women to make them up. Let them be made double, & one
side painted. Perhaps all the oznaburghs will answer as well as those knapsacks usually made.
There are some here which were left or rather contracted for by Col. Mitchel, that are wretched
indeed: I think any of our oznaburghs better by far."
Miscellaneous Numbered Records (The Manuscript File) in the War Department Collection of
Revolutionary War Records 1775–1790's, National Archives Microfilm Publication M859,
(Washington, D.C., 1971), reel 87, item no. 25353.

Also in 1782, Pierre L’Enfant, captain Corps of Engineers, painted a panorama of West Point.
To one side are two groups of Continental troops, including several soldiers wearing rolled
blankets atop their knapsacks, the first images showing that being done.
(Above and below) 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 7 August 1782, as
service chevrons, worn on the saluting soldier’s left sleeve, were first authorized on that date.
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, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004678934/
For the Crown forces, what seems to be the first reference to blankets (“Necessarys”) attached
to the top of knapsacks was an order for the 29th Regiment, dated 10 May 1782 at Terre Bonne,
Canada:
“The men for Guard are in future to Parade in thair Blankets and Cases[?], which are to be Worn
according to a Regimentl form Which Serjt Wilkinson will Shew to the Non-Commissiond
Officers of the different Companys. And Upon those days ordered for Reveiws With Arms &
Necessarys they are to be Worn according to the Regimtl form on the top of the Knapsacks.”
Capt. Paul Minchin's order book, 29th Regiment of Foot, 1781-83, Malcolm Fraser Papers,
MG23, K1, vol. 28, Library and Archives Canada. (Courtesy of Nick Spadone)

One painting shows British troops, after their surrender at Saratoga in October 1777, with
rolled blankets attached to their knapsacks. Unfortunately, the painter, James Peale, was not an
eyewitness, and executed the image in 1799 or 1800. (See below)

British troops of Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne’s army as it moved off to captivity in October 1777.
Painted over twenty years after the event, there are inaccuracies in some details, but the image of
British soldiers on the march, fully loaded (minus firelocks) is one of the few we have. Detail
from James Peale’s, “General Gates at Saratoga” (circa 1799-1800)
Rounding out this discussion, we close with images of the earliest known surviving British
double-pouch knapsack, dated to 1794 and attributed to the 97th Inverness Regiment. (This and
following pages.)

The 97th Inverness Regiment linen knapsack; that unit was raised in 1794 and disbanded
the same year. Scottish United Services Museum, Edinburgh, U.K.
The 97th Inverness Regiment linen knapsack; that unit was raised in 1794 and disbanded
the same year. Scottish United Services Museum, Edinburgh, U.K.
_________________________________

A note regarding the use of over-the-shoulder blanket rolls during the American War. While
there are not many specific references to them in the written or pictorial record, they were used.
Besides the painting showing a soldier of 25th Regiment of Foot (ca. 1771) carrying the maud
over his shoulder and underneath his knapsack strap, the narrative accounts are few.

Private soldier, 25th Regiment of Foot, Minorca, ca. 1771, wearing a blanket roll under his
knapsack. His knapsacks looks to be covered with hair, probably goatskin The blanket itself is a
maud, a Scottish shepherd’s plaid. (Artist unknown, National Army Museum, London, UK.)
Gregory J.W. Urwin, Redcoat Images, No. 26 http://astro.temple.edu/~gurwin/ Also pictured in W.
A. Thorburn, Uniforms of the Scottish Infantry, 1740-1800 (Edinburgh: H.M. Stationery Office,
1973), 8.

For many years I had only one period written account describing blanket rolls used by either
American militia or Continental troops. Found in J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur's
"Landscapes" (circa 1783), it is included in a transcript for a play and was to be used as the basis
of an illustrative plate. Crevecoeur lived in Pennsylvania during the war, and likely had had
many opportunities to observe local militias,
A plate representing Capt. Shoreditch with a bushy head, six militiamen with linsey-woolsey
blankets tied from the right shoulder to the left arm, and three Quakers at a tavern door with a
post and sign.

Despite its brevity, it seems quite clear that the blankets worn were draped over the right
shoulder and tied at the waist under the left arm, the common method of wearing a blanket roll.
Then recently, my friend Jason Wickersty sent me this from Benjamin Alsop, 6th Virginia
Regiment, in his pension deposition (S.9269):

He was afterwards at the battle of Brandywine in Gen’l Weedons Brigade in Gen’l Green’s
Division, where he was struck with three balls, only one however wounding him, that in the left
shoulder, whilst in the act of reloading his Musket. The blanket slung along to his back had 16
bullet holes through it.

Granted, Alsop could be describing a blanket slung over his shoulder, or one carried on an ad
hoc sling made from rope, but it is more evidence of an alternative mode of carrying blankets.

A private of the Delaware Battalion of the Flying Camp, 1776, wearing a blanket roll in lieu of a
knapsack. carrying a brass kettle. Artwork by Peter Copeland.
______________________

Follow-Up: “Like a Pedlar's Pack.”: Blanket Rolls and Slings

While British troops used blanket slings instead of knapsacks during several campaigns, one
reason being the “ill Conveniency” of their packs (whatever that might mean), slung blankets
had their own inconveniences, one of those being having to undo them every night and re-roll
them before marching. Here we have American surgeon Dr. Benjamin Rush’s observations while
tending to American wounded after the Battle of Brandywine:

One of the [British] officers, a subaltern, observed to me that his soldiers were infants that
required constant attendance, and said as a proof of it that although they had blankets tied to their
backs, yet such was their laziness that they would sleep in the dew and cold without them rather
than have the trouble of untying and opening them. He said his business every night before he
slept was to see that no soldier in his company laid down without a blanket."1

That said, British troops certainly used slings, and likely used rolled blankets slung over the
shoulder, as well (see image of 25th Regiment soldier at Minorca, below). Here are a series of
British narratives or general orders mentioning blanket slings, or occasions when blankets were
to be carried without knapsacks.

84t h Regiment, “point au Trimble,” Quebec, 18 August 1776, "Every Man to be pervided With
a Topline [tumpline] if Wanted and to prade Opisite the Church, on Thursday Morning With thire
Arms Accutements and packs, properly Made up as for a March.”2

Brigade of Guards, orders, 19 August 1776, "When the Brigade disembarks two Gills of Rum at
most must be put into each Man's Canteen which must be fill'd up with Water. Every Man is to
disembark with a Blanket, in which he is to carry three days provisions, one Shirt, one pair of
Socks, & one pair of Shoes. A careful Man to be left on Board each Ship to take care of the Mens
Knapsacks, if there are any Convalescents they may be order'd for this.”3

Capt. William Leslie, 17th Regiment, 2 September 1776, “"Bedford Long Island Sept. 2nd
1776… The Day after their Retreat we had orders to march to the ground we are now encamped
upon, near the Village of Bedford: It is now a fortnight we have lain upon the ground wrapt in our
Blankets, and thank God who supports us when we stand most in need, I have never enjoyed
better health in my Life. My whole stock consists of two shirts 2 pr of shoes, 2 Handkerchiefs
half of which I use, the other half I carry in my Blanket, like a Pedlar's Pack."4

Brigade of Guards, orders, 11 March 1777, "The Waistbelts to Carry the Bayonet & to be wore
across the Shoulder. The Captains are desired to provide Webbing for Carrying the Mens
Blankets according to a pattern to be Seen at the Cantonment of Lt. Colo. Sr. J. Wrottesleys
Company. The Serjeants to Observe how they are Sewed. The Officers to Mount Guard with
their Fuzees."5
A soldier of the 63d Regiment light infantry company. He wears clothing modified for field use in
the summer of 1777, but allowances for an active campaign had already been enacted by autumn
1776, including the use of blanket slings (tumplines) in place of knapsacks.
Artwork by Don Troiani (Courtesy of the artist, www.historicalimagebank.com )
40th Regiment orders regarding blanket slings, wallets, and contents, spring and summer
1777:6

After Regl Orders 7 at Night [10 May 1777] A Return to be given immediatly from each
Company to the Qr. Mr. of the Number of Shoe soles and heels wanting to Compleat each man
with a pair to take with him the Ensuing Campaign The Regt. to parade to morrow Morning at
11 oClock with Arms, Accoutrements & Necessarys in order to be inspected by their Officers --
The Necessarys to be carried in their Wallet and slung over the Right Shoulder --

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 –

British light infantry soldier, pictured during the autumn 1777 Philadelphia
campaign, wearing a blanket sling on his back. (Detail from Xavier della Gatta’s
painting, “The Battle of Germantown,” painted in 1782. Museum of the American
Revolution, Philadelphia, Pa.)
Soldier’s necessaries to be rolled inside a blanket and sling, as enumerated in 14 May 1777 40 th
Regiment orders. (Courtesy of Rob Welch)
“After Regl Orders 7 at Night [10 May 1777] … The Regt. to parade to morrow Morning at 11
oClock with Arms, Accoutrements & Necessarys in order to be inspected by their Officers -- The
Necessarys to be carried in their Wallet and slung over the Right Shoulder – …
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 …”
After Regl. Orders 7 at Night [18 May 1777] … The Regt: to parade to morrow Morning at 11
oClock with Arms, Accoutrements & Necessarys in order to be inspected by their Officers – The
Necessarys to be carried in their Wallet and slung over the Right Shoulder … The pipe Clay
brought this day from Staten Island to be divided in eight equal parts and each Company to get a
dividend it is hoped the Compys: will make better use of this then thay did of the last

[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 The men of the Qr:Gd: to parade when the taps beat to be properly inspectd: and ready
to march of[f] Immediately fter the troop has beat –

Morn.g Regl. Orders 2d June 77 … Black tape to be provided immediately to tie the Mens Hair --
NB It is to be had in Amboy. -- The Mens Hair that is not properly Cut to be done this Day --
Each Company to give in a Return to the Quarr. Masr. of the Number of Wallets & Slings
wanting to Compleat each Man as the whole must have them to appear uniform in the slinging on
& Carrying their Blankets & Necessarys -- Any of the Wallets or Slings not properly made to be
returned to the Masr. Taylor –

R[egimental]:O[rders] [9 June 1777] … The Commanding Offrs: of Comp[anie]s. are
Immediately to settle their Accompts With the Qr: Mr: for the under Mentiond Articles
According to the following rates at 4 [shillings]:8d pr Doller

Trowzrs: making &c ....................... £ 4:2 1/2
Wallets & Slings. ......................... 2:2 1/2
Coats Cuting & Mending when at Hallafax..... 4 1/2
Do: Do: at Amboy .......................... 10
Diffeichinceis on Breeches cloth
when at Staten Island. ................ 4 1/2
Do: on Leggons ............................. 3
____________

49th Foot, "Regimental Order on Board the Rochford 21 August 1777 When the Regt. Lands
Every Non Commissd Officer and soldier of the Regiment is to have with him 2 very good Shirts,
Stokings, 2 pair Shoes, their Linin drawers, Linnin Leggins, half Gaiters and their Blankets very
well Rold. Every thing to be perfectly Clean. Officers Commanding Companies will be
answerable to the Commanding Officer that these orders are Strictly Complyed with-“7

Brigade of Guards, “Brigade Morning Orders 30 August 1779 The Qr. Masters are desir'd to
be as expeditious as possible in processing proper Bedding &ca from the Bk. Mr. Genl.-- & Field
Blankets from the Qr. Mr. Genl. for the Draughts received from England.-- & to deliver to them
from the Regl. Store a proper proportion of Camp Kettles, Canteens & Haversacks. The
Companies are desir'd to Compt. their Draughts with proper Straps to Carry their Blankets, & to
be as expeditious as possible in Compleating them with Trowsers."8

Brigade of Guards, “1st Battn Orders 9 September 1779 The Men lately Joind having received
their Field Blankets, the Serjts. are Ordered, to see that they are Mark'd with the Initial Letters of
each Mans Name. The Men are to be provided with proper Straps for Carrying them & Shewn
how to Roll them up.9
____________
Lt. Gen. Charles Earl Cornwallis’s army, South Carolina, 1780 and 1781:10

On board ship off of Charlestown, South Carolina, 15 December 1780.
General orders: "The Corps to Compt. their Men with Camp Hatchets Canteens, & Kettles ... It is
recommended to the Comdg Offrs. of Regts. to provide the Men with Night Caps before they take
the Field."
Brigade orders: "The Necessaries of the Brigde. are to be Imdy. Comptd. to 2 Good pr. Shoes, 2
Shts. & 2 pr. Worsted Stockgs. per Man ... Each Mess to be furnish'd with a Good Camp Kettle,
& every Man provided with a Canteen, & Tomahawk - & the Pioneers wth. all kind of Tools. The
drumrs. are to carry a good Ax Each & provide themselves with Slings for the Same."

General orders, Ramsour's Mills, 24 January 1781, "When upon any Occasion the Troops may be
Order'd to March without their Packs; it is not intended they Should leave their Camp Kettles and
Tomahawks behind them."

Brigade orders, 24 January 1781, "There being a Sufficient Quantity of Leather to Compleat the
Brigade in Shoes ... It is recommended to ... the Commandg. Officers of Companies, see their
Mens Shoes immediately Soled & Repaired, & if possible that every Man when they move from
this Ground take in his Blankett one pair of Spare Soles ..."
______________

43rd Regiment, Virginia, "Apollo Transport Of[f] Brandon James River 23rd May 1781 …
The Quarter Master will issue Canteens Haversacks and Camp Kettles to the Battalion
immediately. The Companies to send Returns for their Effectives as this is the only supply the
Regiment can possible Receive during the Campaign the Soldiers cannot be to careful to preserve
them.
Five Regimental Waggons will land with the Regiment. One to each Grand Division the fifth
for Major Fergusons Baggage.
The Quarter Master will issue an equal proportion of the Trowzers, made since the
Embarkation- to each Company to compleat them as near as possible to Two pair per Man.
It is positively Ordered that no Soldier lands with more necessaries than his Blanket, Canteen,
Haversack, Two pair of Trowzers, 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."11
__________________________________

1. L.H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush, vol. I (Princeton, N.J., 1951), 154-155.
2. 84th Regiment order book, Malcolm Fraser Papers, MG 23, K1,Vol 21, Library and Archives Canada.
3. "Orderly Book: British Regiment Footguards, New York and New Jersey," a 1st Battalion Order Book
covering August 1776 to January 1777, Early American Orderly Books, 1748-1817, Collections of the
New-York Historical Society (Microfilm Edition - Woodbridge, N.J.: Research Publications, Inc.: 1977),
reel 3, document 37.
4. Sheldon S. Cohen, "Captain William Leslie's 'Paths of Glory,’" New Jersey History, 108 (1990), 63.
5. "Howe Orderly Book 1776-1778" (actually a Brigade of Guards Orderly Book from 1st Battalion
beginning 12 March 1776, the day the Brigade for American Service was formed), Manuscript
Department, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. (Courtesy of Linnea
Bass.)
6. British Orderly Book [40th Regiment of Foot] April 20, 1777 to August 28, 1777, George Washington
Papers, Presidential Papers Microfilm (Washington: Library of Congress, 1961), series 6 (Military
Papers, 1755-1798), vol. 1, reel 117. See also, John U. Rees, ed., "`Necessarys … to be Properley Packd:
& Slung in their Blanketts’: Selected Transcriptions 40th Regiment of Foot Order Book,”
http://revwar75.com/library/rees/40th.htm
7. "Captured British Orderly Book [49th Regiment], 25 June 1777 to 10 September 1777, George
Washington Papers (microfilm), series 6, vol. 1, reel 117.
8. "Orderly Book: First Battalion of Guards, British Army, New York" (covers all but a few days of
1779), Early American Orderly Books, N-YHS (microfilm), reel 6, document 77.
9. Ibid.
10. A.R. Newsome, ed., "A British Orderly Book, 1780-1781", North Carolina Historical Review, vol. IX
(January-October 1932), no. 2, 178-179; no. 3, 286, 287.
11. Order book, 43rd Regiment of Foot (British), 23 May 1781 to 25 August 1781, British Museum,
London, Mss. 42,449 (transcription by Gilbert V. Riddle).
_____________________________

For more on knapsacks and what soldiers carried in them see:

“’Cost of a Knapsack complete …’: Notes on Continental Army Packs and the Soldiers’ Burden”
Part 1. “This Napsack I carryd through the war of the Revolution”: Knapsacks Used by the
Soldiers during the War for American Independence
Overview
Knapsacks and Tumplines, Massachusetts, 1775
The Uhl Knapsack
Leather and Hair Packs, and Ezra Tilden’s Narrative
The Rufus Lincoln and Elisha Gross Hair Knapsacks
The “new Invented Napsack and haversack,” 1776
The Benjamin Warner Linen Pack
British Linen Knapsacks
Appendices
Carrying Blankets in or on Knapsacks.
“Like a Pedlar's Pack.”: Blanket Rolls and Slings
More Extant Artifacts with Revolutionary War Provenance or with a Design Similar to Knapsacks Used
During the War
Extant Knapsacks Discounted as having Revolutionary War Provenance
http://www.scribd.com/doc/210794759/%E2%80%9C-This-Napsack-I-carryd-through-the-war-
ofthe-Revolution-Knapsacks-Used-by-the-Soldiers-during-the-War-for-American-
IndependencePart-1-of-%E2%80%9C-Cos

Part 2. “I have a Number of Women employ’d in making Knapsacks …” Miscellaneous General
Orders and Notes on Knapsack Manufacture and Supply (Work in progress)

“The ‘new Invented Napsack and haversack,’ 1776.”
http://www.scribd.com/doc/217351637/The-%E2%80%9Cnew-Invented-Napsack-and-
haversack%E2%80%9D-1776
“’With my pack and large blanket at my back …’: British and American Officers’ Equipage and
Campaign Gear
Contents
1. “Things necessary for a Gentleman to be furnished with …”
Officers’ Kit for Regimental Service
a. British Officers’ Belongings
b. Continental Army Officers’ Kit.
c. Cooking and Eating Utensils.
2. "The officers must be satisfied walking …”: Allotment of Horses
3. Officers and Knapsacks: A Compendium of Accounts and Images
a. 1762, British Grenadiers
b. 1771, 7th Regiment
c. Undated, Brigade of Guards
d. August 1776, Gen. Sir William Howe’s troops
e. 1776, Brigade of Guards
f. 1777, 40th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
g. 1777, 49th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
h. 1778, Guards Battalion
4. Other Resources (Online Articles)
Appendix A.
Officers and Knapsacks: A Compendium of Accounts and Images
a. Knapsack: Rufus Lincoln, Massachusetts militia and 14th Massachusetts
b. 1775, British, 43d Regiment, officer’s knapsack
c. 1776, 17th Regiment, Officer’s Rolled Blanket (“Pedlar's Pack “) and
Personal Belongings
d. 1776, Continental, 22d Continental Regiment, knapsack and belongings
e. 1777, Massachusetts Militia officer carrying a knapsack
f. 1777, British, 42d Regiment, portmanteau, no knapsack
g. 1777, British 49th Regiment, officers’ blanket slings
h. 1777, Continental Officers’ Knapsack Contents Described by a German Officer
i. 1777, British Officers, Saratoga Campaign, Knapsacks and Packhorses
j. 1779, British, 43d Regiment, officer’s marquee and possibly officer’s knapsack
k. 1781, British, Cornwallis’s Southern Army, officers and knapsacks
l. 1782, Continental, 2d Maryland Regiment, lieutenant colonel wearing a knapsack.
m. 1782, Continental Army, New Jersey Regiments, officers issued canteens
but not knapsacks
Appendix B.
Miscellaneous Narratives on Officers’ Belongings and Campaign Living
a. 1776, British, Suggested Officers’ Campaign Equipage
b. 1776, British, 5th Regiment, campaign camp and food
c. 1776, Continental, 3d Virginia officer’s chest
d. 1776, Continental, Gen. Thomas Mifflin’s blanket coat and Colonel Lippitt’s andirons
e. 1776/1777, Militia, 1st Battalion Philadelphia Associators, Deceased Officer’s Belongings
f. 1776/1777, British, 33d Regiment, Officer’s Necessaries
g. 1777, British, 40th Regiment, Reduction of Officers’ Baggage
h. 1777, British, 24th Regiment and 24th Regiment, Saratoga Campaign
i. 1777, British, 46th Regiment, Officer’s Field Equipage
j. 1777, Continental, 7th Pennsylvania Regiment, Officer’s Belongings
k. 1777-1778, Continental, Rev. Enos Hitchcock’s personal belongings
l. 1777 and 1782, British and Continental, a bed made of chairs or stools (In honor of Joshua Mason)
m. 1778, Continental Officers and Horse Canteens
n. 1778, British, 42d Regiment, campaign living
o. 1780, German, Jaeger Camp Description
p. 1781, Continental Maryland Regiments, Officers’ Portmanteaus
q. 1781, French Officer’s Remarks on Continental Officers’ Life Style
r. 1781, Continental, 3d Maryland Regiment, Officer’s Greatcoat and wearing red coats
https://www.scribd.com/document/338154147/With-my-pack-and-large-blanket-at-my-back-
British-and-American-Officers-Equipage-and-Campaign-Gear

"’The load a soldier generally carries during a campaign …”’: The British Soldier's Burden in the
American War for Independence”
Contents
1. Overview
2. “Complement of necessaries, etc., for the soldier.”
Personal Equipage as Stipulated in Military Treatises
3. "An enormous bulk, weighing about sixty pounds"
British Troops’ Necessaries in Garrison and on Campaign
a. 1762, British Grenadiers
b. 1771, 7th Regiment
c. Undated, Brigade of Guards
d. August 1776, Gen. Sir William Howe’s troops
e. 1776, Brigade of Guards
f. 1777, 40th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
g. 1777, 49th Regiment, Personal Effects and Blanket Slings
h. 1778, Guards Battalion
i. 1779, 17th Regiment
j. 1780-1781, Cornwallis’s Army
4. British Camp Kettles, 1776-1782
5. “A habersack for Each Soldier"
Ways and Means of Carrying Food, and the Burden of Rations
6 "Four Days' flour to be Issued to the Troops": The Burden of Rations, 1762-1783
7. "The men having no other way ..."
Shortages of Equipment for Food Carriage and Cooking
8. "Very Dirty and muddy."
Carrying Beverages and Difficulties in Finding Drinkable Water
9. Other Resources (Online Articles)
https://www.scribd.com/document/335479170/The-load-a-soldier-generally-carries-during-a-
campaign-The-British-Soldier-s-Burden-in-the-American-War-for-Independence
"An Account of some things I carried … in my Pack.”: The Continental Soldier's Burden
in the American War for Independence
Contents
1. Overview: “Our almost incessant marching – marching almost day & night.”
2. “Complement of necessaries, etc., for the soldier.”
Personal Equipage as Stipulated in British Treatises
3. “The load a soldier generally carries during a campaign …”
What British Troops Actually Carried, 1755-1783
4. “Only such articles as are necessary and useful …”: Lightening the Soldiers’ Load
5. “Spare cloathing and necessaries ..."
Personal and Other Items Carried by Continental and Militia Soldiers
a. Ezra Tilden, 1775 to 1779
b. Equipment Lost on 17 June 1775 in Col. James 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
a. Light-Weight Military Kettles, and Cast-Iron Cooking Gear, 1775-1782.
b. Continental Army and States' Militia, 1775-1780.
c. American Sheet-Iron Kettles, 1781-1782.
d. Iron Pots and Pans.
e. Makeshift Cookware.
d. Eating Utensils.
7. The Ways Soldiers Carried Food.
8. The Burden of Rations, 1762-1783.
9. Carrying Drink and Procuring Water.
10. Equipment Shortages
Appendix A.
“I hired some of my pack carried about a dozen miles …”: Excerpts from Ezra Tilden’s
diary, 1776-1777
Appendix B.
Soldiers had what and how many?
List of Related Articles
https://www.scribd.com/document/340889214/An-Account-of-some-things-I-carried-in-my-Pack-
The-Continental-Soldier-s-Burden-in-the-American-War-for-Independence

“`That damned blue Regiment …’: Continental Army Clothing during the Monmouth
Campaign,” Appendix M of, "’What is this you have been about to day?’: The New Jersey
Brigade at the Battle of Monmouth,”
http://revwar75.com/library/rees/monmouth/MonmouthToc.htm
"`The great distress of the Army for want of Blankets ...': Supply Shortages, Suffering
Soldiers, and a Secret Mission During the Hard Winter of 1780":
1. "Our condition for want of ... Blankets is quite painful ..."
Shortages in the Continental Army, 1776-1779
2. "Without even a shadow of a blanket ..."
Desperate Measures to Procure Covering for the Army, 1780
Addendum.
“To Colonel Morgan, for the use of the Light Infantry, twenty four Dutch Blankets & four pair of rose
Blankets.”: Examples of Bed Coverings Issued to Continental Troops
Endnote Extras.
Note
20. Clothing New Jersey's Soldiers, Winter 1779-1780
38. The Effect of Weather on the Squan Mission
Location of Squan Beach
43. Captain Bowman's Soldiers
46. Bowman's 2d New Jersey Light Company at the Battle of Connecticut Farms
Military Collector & Historian, vol. 52, no. 3 (Fall 2000), 98-110.
https://www.scribd.com/doc/274667902/The-great-distress-of-the-Army-for-want-of-
Blankets-Supply-Shortages-Suffering-Soldiers-and-a-Secret-Mission-During-the-Hard-
Winter-of-1780

"`White Wollen,' 'Striped Indian Blankets,' 'Rugs and Coverlids': The Variety of
Continental Army Blankets," The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXVI, no. 4 (Winter 2000), 11-
14. http://www.revwar75.com/library/rees/variety.htm

“To Colonel Morgan, for the use of the Light Infantry, twenty four Dutch Blankets & four
pair of rose Blankets.”: Examples of Bed Coverings Issued to Continental Troops
https://www.scribd.com/doc/273957204/To-Colonel-Morgan-for-the-use-of-the-Light-
Infantry-twenty-four-Dutch-Blankets-four-pair-of-rose-Blankets-Examples-of-Bed-
Coverings-Issued-to?secret_password=xY0eynb69XnvEPEOnKFY

“Images and Descriptions of Wool Blankets and Wool, Wool/Linen Coverlets in the American
Textile History Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts (The Chace Catalogue)”
https://www.scribd.com/doc/273789670/Images-and-Descriptions-of-Wool-Blankets-and-
Wool-Wool-Linen-Coverlets?secret_password=9AeF0J9Ae2vyuCCoKqRC
With thanks to the recreated 17th Regiment of Foot
https://www.facebook.com/hm17thregiment/