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dorcas
11-26-2008, 10:16 AM
Is there some way to identify civil war cots? There is one that my Dad and Mom kept that was said to be a cot used by my g grandfather, John B. Beams, during the war. It was recently removed from the family home and stored in a shed. All the years I was growing up it was referred to as "Pap's" civil war cot.

flattop32355
11-26-2008, 12:49 PM
Take a few pictures from different angles with a digital camera and put it up on here for the "experts" to take a look at (I ain't one of 'em).

plankmaker
11-26-2008, 01:10 PM
I have seen Civil War Army cots mentioned in a few instances. Most of these involve the establishment of homes for Civil War orphans. The descriptions of them are basically limited to narrow, iron, and sleep two children. The photos I have seen of different hospitals also mostly look like narrow metal bed frames.

Mark Campbell
Piney Flats, TN

paul hadley
11-26-2008, 02:56 PM
Here's an officer's cot that a Google search turned up, along with some 2006 discussion on this very site, so maybe a search here is in order?
All this talk about cots is making me sleepy -- better rest up for tomorrow's turkey banquet!
Paul Hadley
(Hope my attachment attached)

Spinster
11-26-2008, 10:42 PM
Mr. Hadley,

That image won't enlarge for me--I'd be interested to know if there is a patent date stenciled on the frame of the bed.

Reason being--I've got two wooden folding beds, with the wire mesh on the platform. One of them sports a headboard which is awfully close to a bed I once saw at Gettysburg NPS before the bulk of the collection was stored---but my bed had an 1880 patent date.

MBond057
11-26-2008, 11:26 PM
Here is a Civil War era cot.

dorcas
11-28-2008, 12:01 PM
Thanks for your replies. This cot is iron and looks basically like a narrow bed. When I am back to the homeplace I might get a picture of it. Great Grandpap was in the hospital a number of times and convelacing in camp, too.

Dorcas

tompritchett
11-28-2008, 12:13 PM
When I am back to the homeplace I might get a picture of it. Great Grandpap was in the hospital a number of times and convelacing in camp, too.

Being iron, I could see the potential of the cot being from a hospital or from a permanent convelance camp but I would find it hard to believe that it would be found in any semi-mobile camp environment just because of the relative differences in weight between an iron frame versus a wooden frame.

mravery
11-28-2008, 05:29 PM
Hello all,

Here is one that is dated 1862.

Thought about making a copy of it though not sure if it would hold my 215lbs as those legs look awfully tiny :p

http://img83.imageshack.us/img83/2543/eba83tb5.jpg

mravery
11-28-2008, 05:35 PM
Another

http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/8774/f42b3rc8.jpg

http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/187/f2a13zm8.jpg

http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/6172/f81f3ii9.jpg

http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/7807/f5543mw7.jpg

Ross L. Lamoreaux
11-28-2008, 07:36 PM
What is the provenance of that cot, Mark? It looks to me like those that were marketed during the CW centennial in the 1960's where some folks took army surplus cots from WWII and Korea and added the headboard and contractor stenciling. It does not resemble any cots that I've seen with Civil War provenance. Those from the CW era were made in a variety of manners, including wood, iron, and other metal frames, and in a variety of shapes as well, but nothing like that pictured. It definitely looks like one of those modern military surplus reworks. There is a famous photo of a Federal officer, probably field grade, napping in a wall tent with the sides rolled up. He is resting on his cot which elevated slightly at one or both ends and folded up in thirds. I wish I could drag up the pic on line, but it is in several of the coffee table books out there if someone more savvy than I can scan it here.

mravery
11-28-2008, 08:15 PM
Hey Ross,

The only providence was the auction that it was listed in (yes, I know.. just because its in an auction doesn't mean it is what they say it is ;) ). I have no other reference to it other that that.

I have never seen a wooden cot made like this as all the military surplus ones I have seen, fold in thirds and have 6 legs. This one only had 4 with no middle support. The canvas is nailed to the sides and not slipped over.

In regards to the other pic you are talking about, I have seen the same pic and would assume that it is this style cot (also from and auction).

http://img370.imageshack.us/img370/6093/officerscotji8.jpg

Poor Private
11-28-2008, 09:03 PM
Any way you can get us dimension on this lovely piece of sleeping apparatus?

Ross L. Lamoreaux
11-28-2008, 09:13 PM
Yep Mark, that one looks right as rain. I've seen two identical in museums over the years that had CW provenance, all with field grade or higher officers. Someone handier with tools ought to start marketing those!

mravery
11-28-2008, 11:03 PM
Cris: No information other than the pics.. sorry. I would guess the dimensions would be around 72" long and 27-30" wide.

Ross: I spoke with the guy you told me about last year (who does woodworking) about making these and he figured the hinge would be the problem to find. Never heard back from him.
Yes... your thought about field grade is also what I was thinking, me being the soft Paymaster and all :D

Does not appear to be too difficult to put together, I may try it one of these days. The 'bed' is actually a wire mesh.

If I remember right, a cot of this style was also described in that book that is floating around about army furniture for the Western campaign (i.e. 1840-1850's).

Here is the cot folded up:

http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/1636/officerscot1yz5.jpg

Ross L. Lamoreaux
11-28-2008, 11:07 PM
The hinges don't look to be too big of a problem if you can find a blacksmith (and there are several at events in Florida - just bring some pics of what you want). The wire mesh is fairly obtainable as well; you'll just need some carpentry skills or know someone. Very nice images of the folding cot, including the users name and unit (a first lieutenant no less).

mravery
11-28-2008, 11:28 PM
Here is the actual description from the auction (sold for $1792 with BP).

Cris: it has your dimentions... larger than I thought!

Civil War Officer's Folding Wooden Camp Cot with Wonderful Period ID to Lieutenant Isaiah Conley of the 101st Pennsylvania Infantry. Folds into three sections, 94" long when opened, 29" wide. The head portion opens to and approximately 45 degree angle. Folding legs 17" high. The entire cot is covered with an iron wire mesh which, in essence, served as the "box spring" and apparently used with a mattress. Appears to be made of maple with cast iron brackets at the hinged points where it folds. Neatly painted in black on one side "1st Lt. I. Conley/ Co. G 101st Pa. Inft.", showing consistent and absolutely authentic and of the period. Perfect condition overall.

Conley enrolled in the 101st Pa. as a 2d lieutenant on February 20, 1862 and was promoted to first lieutenant on January 21, 1863, logically the point at which he acquired this cot the ID includes his rank as 1st lieutenant. Conley served with the regiment until his capture, along with most of the regiment, at Plymouth North Carolina on April 20, 1864. He remained a prisoner until November of 1864 when, according to his records he "Escaped from rebel prison and reached Union lines November 13, 1864." The 101st was heavily engaged during the period prior to Conley's capture including actions at Chantilly, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He was promoted to captain May 17, 1865 and mustered out June 25, 1865. A very rare piece of Civil War officer's equipment with wonderful ID to an officers who served gallantly through most of the major battles of the Army of the Potomac. One of only a few examples known with integral period ID.

TheQM
11-29-2008, 12:46 AM
What is the provenance of that cot, Mark? It looks to me like those that were marketed during the CW centennial in the 1960's where some folks took army surplus cots from WWII and Korea and added the headboard and contractor stenciling. It does not resemble any cots that I've seen with Civil War provenance. Those from the CW era were made in a variety of manners, including wood, iron, and other metal frames, and in a variety of shapes as well, but nothing like that pictured. It definitely looks like one of those modern military surplus reworks.

Ross,

This cot may be new made and have nothing to do with the Civil War; but it is not a converted modern military folding cot. Note how the canvas top is attached to the side pieces and the shape of the legs. Most important, there is no center hinge to fold the cot in half.

I should know. I used a WWII cot for years, until the canvas rotted out. I am now using a Korean War vintage cot.

CWRetired
11-29-2008, 01:52 AM
I own the cot in the pictures . Bought it off ebay a few months back. I can take some dimensions from it if someone is interested,

M

Ross L. Lamoreaux
11-29-2008, 02:14 AM
Ross,

This cot may be new made and have nothing to do with the Civil War; but it is not a converted modern military folding cot. Note how the canvas top is attached to the side pieces and the shape of the legs. Most important, there is no center hinge to fold the cot in half.

I should know. I used a WWII cot for years, until the canvas rotted out. I am now using a Korean War vintage cot.
I agree with you that there are several things making it different from 20th century military cots, but the guys I know who were reenacting back in the 1950's and early 60's bought some of these from Bannerman's and they were definitely known to rework some things. It wouldn't be out of the realm for them to change the frame, rip off the OD canvas and nail on some new canvas. I plan to pull out my copies of Lords and see if there's anything in there on cots.

Rob Weaver
11-29-2008, 09:08 AM
I have one of those mesh cots and it is indeed a joy to sleep on. Harder to carry around than I like, though.

mravery
11-29-2008, 10:13 AM
I have one of those mesh cots and it is indeed a joy to sleep on. Harder to carry around than I like, though.

Rob,

Is it one that you made or an original?

How sturdy is it?

Cheers
Mark

Rob Weaver
11-29-2008, 08:34 PM
It's an original and I'm afraid that at this point it isn't very sturdy. I'm not a very big person (5'5", 160) and I don't move around a lot when I sleep. The legs are getting a little rickety and I'm careful about how I get in and out of it. On the other hand, it's in fine shape for the shape that it's in. I should be doing so well at that age.

flattop32355
11-30-2008, 01:58 AM
...it's in fine shape for the shape that it's in. I should be doing so well at that age.

I think we all fit into that catagory quite nicely. :)

JohnSeever
04-30-2009, 03:39 PM
On the subject of cots, what would be the best dimensions and the type of wood to use to make one? Also, would rope or mesh work better?

tompritchett
04-30-2009, 07:03 PM
On the subject of cots, what would be the best dimensions and the type of wood to use to make one? Also, would rope or mesh work better?

I would suggest that you consider a mattress tic instead of a cot. It is just as comfortable, is period correct, far easier to pack in and out, and does a far better job protecting you from the cold in the Spring and Fall. I have used both in my career as a reenactor and now only use the mattress tic.

JohnSeever
04-30-2009, 08:26 PM
I would suggest that you consider a mattress tic instead of a cot. It is just as comfortable, is period correct, far easier to pack in and out, and does a far better job protecting you from the cold in the Spring and Fall. I have used both in my career as a reenactor and now only use the mattress tic.

Ok. What is a mattress tic and where would one get one at?

GaWildcat
04-30-2009, 08:33 PM
Ok. What is a mattress tic and where would one get one at?


Simply put, a mattress tick is a sack mattress. It opens at one end, and once rolled out, can be filled with straw, leaves, or pine straw, buttoned, and then slept on. Great way to keep you off the ground.

http://www.regtqm.com/blankets.htm#Mattress%20Tick

JohnSeever
04-30-2009, 09:01 PM
Thank you for the link and info on what one is. Looks like I will be buying that in a few weeks.

Parault
05-01-2009, 10:07 AM
Thank you for the link and info on what one is. Looks like I will be buying that in a few weeks.

John, next to good quality brogans, the mattress tick/tic is a good investment.

Silas
05-01-2009, 10:57 AM
... sleeping on the ground with only a blanket and gum for cover is underappreciated.

flattop32355
05-01-2009, 03:12 PM
... sleeping on the ground with only a blanket and gum for cover is underappreciated.

I usually express my full appreciation each morning that I wake up doing so.
Sometimes, the appreciation can be repeated in mixed company and in front of small children.

"Embrace the suck" is, I believe, the current expression for this small part of originality.

IsleGuy57
05-01-2009, 03:41 PM
I would agree most heartily with Tom. I have been using a mattress tic for several seasons now. It is a great piece of kit. Stuffed full of straw or whatever material is handy makes a great sleep. It has the added advantage of being good insulation for those cooler events. Cots do get you off the ground but allow the cool air to circulate. I bought mine off EBay and the lady that makes them is a joy to deal with. Her EBay ID is patv9154.

FloridaConfederate
05-01-2009, 03:41 PM
... sleeping on the ground with only a blanket and gum for cover is underappreciated.


This.

Bunch up those same needles, straw, hay under your ground cloth.

Dig furrows for your hip pressure points first.

Viola.

No bed tic required.

Chris Rideout
Tampa, Florida

Poor Private
05-01-2009, 04:37 PM
I have been using a tic for years. My wife made mine, very simple sewing operation. But be ware there are some events out there that don't have straw for use. Bring your own (which I have done, just toss a 1/2 bale into your putt putt). Some places where you have to camp there are not many leaves let alone grass. Make sure you read their description of the event before you leave. 2 years ago we were not even allowed to have fires due to restrictions- due to drout conditions.

JohnSeever
05-01-2009, 05:23 PM
Yea, and the events I will be attending, will at most be two more. One in June and one in October. I would go to the Lamoni, Iowa event, but my son will be born about 2 or so weeks before it, so that is out of the question.

The Kingston, Missouri Event is what I am looking at. As I plan on getting a 6x6x6 tent in a few weeks. And I guess I can sew a mattress tic if I do not get one before the first weekend of June.

My next purchase is a musket next year.

GaWildcat
05-01-2009, 05:28 PM
I do recommend sewing your own.. I attached the webpage to give a visual

Micah Trent
05-01-2009, 06:10 PM
Ok. What is a mattress tic and where would one get one at?

I have seen them several times at antique shops and Peddler's Malls.

JohnSeever
05-01-2009, 06:13 PM
I do recommend sewing your own.. I attached the webpage to give a visual

What web page? And I was talking with my mom on the phone and she said it would not be hard, and there are a few ideas to try. But that will be probably what I will be doing.

I am going to work on an ammo box first than the Mattress Tick so hopefully in a month I will have both finished. What would be a good material to get for it? Cotton right, but is there any specific pattern that is good to use?

GaWildcat
05-01-2009, 06:31 PM
See post #28

JohnSeever
05-01-2009, 06:54 PM
Oh. I thought you had another link. my bad.

Spinster
05-01-2009, 10:53 PM
Here are the US Sanitary Commission directions for a straw tic:

USSC Bulletin, Vol. 1, Number 31: "Bedsack of burlap or ticking, 2 yards and 12 inches long; 40 inches wide. Sew all around. Cut opening in middle 27 inches long; close with three [3] buttons; put a stay at each end of opening and one under each button. Required, 3 knots linen thread.

Pillow Sacks of ticking or crash: 16 inches wide, 30 inches long. Leave openings in middle of one end. Close with two buttons."


I'm having a good time making these, having done so for both 18th and 19th century garrison settings. I understand from another source that paper-backed tin buttons are likely the most correct choice for these, but I've also used two hole underwear buttons for the job (solely because that was what was in my stash).

The ticks fold neatly to store inside the pillow case, and do not take up much room.

Locating a variety of correct ticking stripes is a constant search, as I do get tired of working on the same stuff. Unlike most projects, I do not pre-shrink this fabric, as most have a finish that increases water repellancy, and you want that to stay in place.

I like to add a US Sanitary Commission stamp to the item as well, though that stamp would not be applicable to all impressions.

Silas
05-02-2009, 01:23 AM
With all that stuff you're acquiring, Seever, you'll pass for Jacob Marley in no time as you tramp from one reenactment to the next and the next :

http://images.broadwayworld.com/upload/23134/tn-500_02.jpg

Do yourself a huge favor. Stop acquiring the things you think you need but really don't. Here's a link to an article I wrote almost ten years ago when I was making the switch from heavy camping to light. It's entitled, "Less is more." (http://44tennessee.tripod.com/dutchman/090001.html) It's a good start.

Although published in the old Camp Chase, some of the tips are things I no longer do for authenticity reasons. This includes the opening of a #10 size can of vegetables the first night in the field and using the can the remaining couple days in the field. I've got a boiler I've used for most of the last eight years. The pair of gum blanks is down to a solitary gum, but is sometimes supplemented by a shelter half. Hand sanitizer is nice to carry during this swine flu thing, but I don't bring the stuff to reenactments.

You're jumping right into the hobby, but you might want to apply that tent, tick and box money towards a musket rather than acquiring stuff you really don't need. I purchased a tent in my first year of the hobby. I sold it shortly after and haven't seen it since the last millenium. I have never owned a box. I have never owned a cot or mattress tick ; however, I still have marks from the ticks that found me during Piney Woods.

You can get by just fine without that surplufulous impedimenta. Take Gen. Ewell's advice, "the road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage."

unclefrank
05-02-2009, 07:06 AM
I myself get a ton of good use out of my mattress tick. I only use it for Garrison events. I made it myself in a few hours with material that cost me less than 20 bucks.