View Full Version : Canteen cloth strap authenticity

10-12-2006, 09:30 AM
My son is giving me grief because, although I was diligent with the style of script and conservative with color, I block-lettered my regiment name and an appropriate Latin phrase on my strap, between my shoulder and the canteen body. The lettering is vertical, making it readable when slung.

My son says he's never seen an original (or a reenactor's for that matter) strap marked with anything. I do not wish to use as sole justification "Show me that it wasn't done". However, just as I often mark personal items today either with initials or slogans to personalize them, I can see myself or a period soldier writing something of personal significance on a canteen strap.

Any farb experts on this subject?

49th Virginia Infantry
Co's A-K

Western Blue Belly
10-12-2006, 10:14 AM
While the question here is about the strap alone, I refer you to a page from The Horse Soldiers web site.


About 1/4 of the way down the page is a section on the effects of L. Frank Liscom. Check out the red felt and velvet covered canteen with, it looks to be, a red ribbon for a strap. Also note Liscoms initials on the canteen front. I would not recommend that everyone place their initials on or customize every piece of equipment that they have, but the point is, it was done. I dont see anything wrong with having your initials on your canteen strap. However, the minute everyone else in your unit starts doing it, I recommend changing back to a plain standard issue strap free of personal markings.

W PA bumpkin
10-12-2006, 10:19 AM
Yep, I do it. Not to that extent, BUT, it comes in handy when the fresh fish return from a water detail with X number of canteens to hand back that look alike.

Actually, I mark most of my equipment, just like any soldier would. Carefull using the "f" word along with "expert."


10-15-2006, 12:45 AM
I would not reccomend something such as the red velvet covering such as in the link above, but a little personal identification is indeed well documented and useful.

Jurgitem Valetem

bob 125th nysvi
10-28-2006, 07:51 PM
to consider marking your strap with just your number. The number you are assigned on the company roster. For example mine is 'C 88' for 125th NYSVI Company C, Soldier #88.

I am sure soldiers marked their canteens in some manner. After all look around I'm sure there are a couple of 'pards' you wouldn't want to exchange spit with. CW soldiers probably felt the same.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

10-28-2006, 08:12 PM
On the original I have in my possession, there are no markings whatsoever. There is a picture of some Federal Artillerymen somewhere in Petersburg over on the AC, one of those soldiers having a large "W" sewn onto the cover of his canteen. Also, on some originals (both excavated and not) I have seen numerous carvings on the pewter spout, either initials, numbers, or just random slashes...not to mention the "rolling up" of the strap with hard use (the edges rolling into eachother forming almost what looks like a rope from a distance) would prevent those markings from being visible. My point is...it is possible that straps were marked, but there are better, more documented places to initial / mark.

Jim Mayo
10-28-2006, 08:52 PM
It is not uncommon to find original canteens identified by the soldiers name marked in ink on the strap or somewhere on the cover. I can't remember seeing a regiment or company designation on the strap probably since it would not be necessary to retrieve the canteen from a group in the same company.


Mint Julep
11-05-2006, 08:10 PM
Aside from Mr. Mayo's fine examples of canteens (he has one of everything, doesn't he?), may I direct your attention to pages 206 and 207 of Echoes of Glory - Union? Every canteen on those two pages has been marked by the owner for easy ID. In the CS version of the book, page 209, there is one wooden canteen that has been marked significantly.


11-05-2006, 10:58 PM
Here is a marked canteen strap from the horsesoldier.com site showing a canteen carried by a William E. Manchester of the 3rd Mass Infantry


And in this case Samuel M. Wakley decided to hand scratch the letter W on one of the upper strap loops of his "bullseye"...