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rebel yell
12-29-2006, 07:18 PM
Pards,
I recently bought a double bag knapsack, without blanket straps. Couldn't I use something a soldier would have had access to and make some kind of straps, or should I just fold the blanket up and put it inside? I used the search function, and had no luck.

chase196126
12-29-2006, 09:38 PM
I don’t think you would have any trouble using a substitute for your blanket straps. Just make sure it is something that would have been common, something that the every day soldier would easily come upon. As for folding your blanket inside of your knapsack, that is the way I do it and I find it very comfortable compared to keeping my blanket on top of the knapsack. There is also photographic evidence of this practice if you look for a bit.

Chase Pinkham

csuppelsa
12-29-2006, 09:53 PM
Just keep it inside, there is more than enough room

rebel yell
12-29-2006, 09:54 PM
:) Thanks Chase. My mule collar gets pretty hot during the summer, I'm looking forward to not being quite as hot with the knapsack. Plus I can get to the contents better than unrolling the bed roll. I think I'll try the blanket and shelter half folded up on the inside.

toptimlrd
12-29-2006, 10:35 PM
Derrick,

I too normally put my blanket inside my pack inside the section that folds and buckles. In case of rain it keeps the blanket dry. About the only time I strap anything to the top is when it's cold enough for an overcoat which I roll and strap to the top when not wearing it. If you do strap something to the top, a word of advice: either loop the straps around the shoulder straps or run a still stick through the straps and behind the shoulder straps as this will keep the roll on top and it will be much more comfortable on your back. Otherwise the roll tends to shift back away from your back which will cause quite a bit of strain on your back.

flattop32355
12-29-2006, 11:30 PM
I've found that placing the blanket in the flap (near)side is most comfortable. I'll then place the shelter half and/or gum blanket between the halves (it's a bit tight if you do both, especially if you have a heavier than normal shelter half). If I'm carrying a second gum blanket, or don't want the extra bulk between the halves of the shelter half, it goes on top.

Leather shoe strings, hemp or jute twine, or straps seem reasonable options for tying down up top. Supposedly, the blanket/greatcoat straps were sent off with the greatcoat for storage when warm weather approached.

rebel yell
12-30-2006, 01:09 AM
I've found that placing the blanket in the flap (near)side is most comfortable. I'll then place the shelter half and/or gum blanket between the halves (it's a bit tight if you do both, especially if you have a heavier than normal shelter half). If I'm carrying a second gum blanket, or don't want the extra bulk between the halves of the shelter half, it goes on top.

Leather shoe strings, hemp or jute twine, or straps seem reasonable options for tying down up top. Supposedly, the blanket/greatcoat straps were sent off with the greatcoat for storage when warm weather approached.

I always keep Leather shoe strings, hemp or jute twine on me, they come in handy for all sorts of things. I will probably go with the consensus, and put it on the inside of the pack. I haven't worn it on a forced march yet, that will be the litmus test.:)

flattop32355
12-30-2006, 08:35 AM
I always keep Leather shoe strings, hemp or jute twine on me, they come in handy for all sorts of things. I will probably go with the consensus, and put it on the inside of the pack. I haven't worn it on a forced march yet, that will be the litmus test.:)

I've found that I have to fold the blanket into thirds to make it fit the flap pocket. Putting it there seems to give more shape and stability to the pack, and keeps the bulky items closer to the body, where they don't slip backwards and weigh you down.

You may have to adjust the shoulder straps to accomodate the changed loading style.

Try it out on a two mile jaunt in your neighborhood; it will test the load and give those living around you a chance to interface with the local police....

tompritchett
12-30-2006, 10:32 AM
Try it out on a two mile jaunt in your neighborhood; it will test the load and give those living around you a chance to interface with the local police....

, especially if you are carrying your musket also. :D

rebel yell
12-30-2006, 11:12 AM
, especially if you are carrying your musket also. :D

Yeah, I had thought about doing that too.:D Walking two miles, and walking two miles in heavy marching order around the neighborhood are two totally different experiences. ;)

bob 125th nysvi
12-30-2006, 01:39 PM
while a lot of us refer to them as 'blanket straps' techincally they weren't. That is where your greatcoat is supposed to go (when you're carrying one).

Your blanket is supposed to go inside your knapsack (where depends on the model) but in the double bag common to the Union forces it should be folded inside your shelter half and put in the bag that folds outward to load.

Makes sense from a military point of view. A blanket on top of a knapsack would get soaked in wet weather rendering it relatively useless.

As to what you use if the straps are missing. If a soldier lost his and had to carry something on top I'm sure he used whatever was available up to and including his extra shoelaces (if he had any).

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Hog-Eye Man
12-30-2006, 03:33 PM
Pards,
I recently bought a double bag knapsack, without blanket straps. Couldn't I use something a soldier would have had access to and make some kind of straps, or should I just fold the blanket up and put it inside? I used the search function, and had no luck.
You could probably order knapsack straps from an authentic sutler, if you really want to. I would go that route myself.

I don't have any contact info, but I'm sure Serio could help you out. No harm in asking.

Robert A Mosher
12-30-2006, 03:55 PM
while a lot of us refer to them as 'blanket straps' techincally they weren't. That is where your greatcoat is supposed to go (when you're carrying one).

Your blanket is supposed to go inside your knapsack (where depends on the model) but in the double bag common to the Union forces it should be folded inside your shelter half and put in the bag that folds outward to load.

Makes sense from a military point of view. A blanket on top of a knapsack would get soaked in wet weather rendering it relatively useless.

As to what you use if the straps are missing. If a soldier lost his and had to carry something on top I'm sure he used whatever was available up to and including his extra shoelaces (if he had any).

Bob SanduskyCo C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY


Bob -
I'm not so sure about the "your blanket is supposed to go inside your knapsack" again though it does depend upon the model. But there arein any case plenty of illustrations of soldiers with their rolled blankets on top of the knapsack - so we know it was done.

The wool blanket actually doesn't get too wet unless it's a real downpour or if you place it so that the end of the blanket is exposed to elements and creates a 'catch basin' for rainwater, otherwise it tends to shed rainwater. Also, there are some illustrations that show the blanket rolled wlth the groundcloth and the finished bedding roll placed on top of the knapsack.

Robert A. Mosher

rebel yell
12-30-2006, 05:59 PM
A Great coat rolled on top would be great, If I had one.:D For a Federal impression I plan on getting a great coat and GC straps. I was coming from the idea of a confederate soldier picking one up off of somebody's darling that didn't need it any more. In that situation your stuck with what you get and have to improvise. :)

Mothers-Finest
12-30-2006, 10:37 PM
Correct me if I am wrong But wasnt regulations that you put your blanket in closer against your back to carry also for more comfort?

flattop32355
12-30-2006, 11:56 PM
Correct me if I am wrong But wasnt regulations that you put your blanket in closer against your back to carry also for more comfort?

Flap (inner) pocket was supposedly for military gear, envelope (outer) was more for personal gear, though it was also a catchall.

Soldiers did it however the individual wanted to do it, up to a point.

GaWildcat
12-31-2006, 10:10 AM
There is a reason they are refered to as "coat straps"

csuppelsa
12-31-2006, 04:29 PM
There is a reason they are refered to as "coat straps"

sure is, you roll your overcoat in them.

bob 125th nysvi
12-31-2006, 08:57 PM
Bob -
I'm not so sure about the "your blanket is supposed to go inside your knapsack" again though it does depend upon the model. But there arein any case plenty of illustrations of soldiers with their rolled blankets on top of the knapsack - so we know it was done.

the greatcoat goes on top and the blanket inside.

That being said there were a huge number of troops who used the greatcoat spot for their blanket or oilcloth (as I do) because they either never had a greatcoat or like the AOP from 1862 onward they turned in their greatcoats in the spring and got them back in the fall (maybe).

Not matter what the use - they weren't blanket straps!

LOL

There's the book and there's what the soldiers do.

And I KNOW I am not recognized as an authority on anything so I suggest you check out "KNAPSACK AND HAVERSACK PACKING 101" by Kevin O’Beirne. Picked up the article on the internet a couple of years ago. Very interesting and very informative and Mr. O'Beirne is recognized as an authority.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance NY

rebel yell
12-31-2006, 09:56 PM
"That being said there were a huge number of troops who used the greatcoat spot for their blanket or oilcloth (as I do) because they either never had a greatcoat or like the AOP from 1862 onward they turned in their greatcoats in the spring and got them back in the fall (maybe)."

And like a lot if confederates, turned their coats in (if they had one) and the wagons would be burned or they were so far behind, they wouldn't see their coats or tents again. They would have to "stretch blankets" for shelter or cut a hole in the blanket to wear as a coat to keep warm.

Robert A Mosher
01-01-2007, 11:30 AM
the greatcoat goes on top and the blanket inside.

That being said there were a huge number of troops who used the greatcoat spot for their blanket or oilcloth (as I do) because they either never had a greatcoat or like the AOP from 1862 onward they turned in their greatcoats in the spring and got them back in the fall (maybe).

Not matter what the use - they weren't blanket straps!

LOL

There's the book and there's what the soldiers do.

And I KNOW I am not recognized as an authority on anything so I suggest you check out "KNAPSACK AND HAVERSACK PACKING 101" by Kevin O’Beirne. Picked up the article on the internet a couple of years ago. Very interesting and very informative and Mr. O'Beirne is recognized as an authority.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance NY

Bob -
No disagreement here - I think you, Kevin, and I are in general agreement on the reality that there was what the book said and what the soldiers did (and the latter introduces a large number of variations) - and the guiding principle has to be never say never and never say always. And I closely read anything offered by Kevin, especially as regards the gear, it's always good ot have one more authority to hear from.

(I'm also a big fan of the knapsack over the blanket roll myself - just as an experiment, I went through my last Recon carrying a knapsack with the blanket roll on top and the two halves of my shelter half tent pole tied to the side using original photos as guide for how it would work. I found the combination was not as much of a burden as I had anticipated.)

Robert A. Mosher

bob 125th nysvi
01-02-2007, 02:02 PM
and the guiding principle has to be never say never

Robert:

Had nuns in grade school and that was one of their favorite sayings ..... "Never say Never".

Got detention once by asking sister, after she said that, if she had ever tried to light a match on a wet bar of soap.

Never did find out if she had tried or not.

LOL

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

GaWildcat
01-27-2007, 03:38 PM
sure is, you roll your overcoat in them.

My Point exactly.

Sgt_Pepper
01-27-2007, 05:45 PM
The commanding officer of the battalion, regiment or brigade was usually the one to determine questions of this sort. He may have decided to order a specific arrangement or leave it up to his subordinates who may then in turn have done the same. It seems sensible to me to present research regarding the regulations, period descriptions, drawings and photographs as evidence and options to your unit's leader(s) and ask for a decision. If one is not or cannot be made, then do what soldiers have done since the beginning of warfare: arrange your knapsack however the **** you want. :)

sigsaye
01-27-2007, 06:59 PM
Intersetingly enough, everyone who has posted on this is correct. Both methods of carrying the blanket/overcoat are described in the Army Regulations of 1861 (Revised).

In the original sections of the regs, the order was to fold the blanket into the section of the knapsack against the back, and roll the overcoat and strap it to the top. In the "Revised" section ('62/'63), this is changed to the blanket rolled and straped to the top, and the overcoat "IF CARRIED" folded and placed between the two halves of the knapsack.

The reasons for this are not found in this regulation, but in both the Commissary manual and the Ordenance Manual. It's all about Logistics.

The original 1861 regulations were actually written in 1860. The effective date of the reg was in '61. Remember that at the time of the writting, it all had to be done by hand. In put collected, hand written, checked, put through the "chop chain", revisions put in, re checked and then sent to the printer. After acceptance from the printer, the publication had to be sent overland and by sea to all the assorted Army posts around the country (even out in California). Therefore, an "Effective Date" was decided on that the new regulations would go into effect at the same time everywhere.

Also remember that at the time of the original writing, the shelterhalf (dog tent) and Gum/Rubber blanket/Poncho had not yet been accepted for use. That is why they are not refered to in the reg.

Also, at the time of effect, the knapsack was to carry the Soldiers "stuff". His ammo was carried in his cartridge box (40 rounds) and his rations were carried in his haversack along with mess furniture (cup, plate, utinsels). Also three days rations. Nothing else will fit in a period sized haversack other than those items. All additional stuff (more rations and ammo) was to be carried on the "Company Wagon".

By 1862, it was painfully realized that this system did not work. The wagons could not keep up with the moving Army. The wagons were progressevily transfered to Regiment to brigade to division and so on. This meant that the individual Soldier was required to carry more of these items than his gear was actually designed to carry.

The first change was that each soldier was to carry five days rations and 80 rounds of ammo. Additionally it was realized that the Soldier did not need to carry his overcoat on campaign (and as discussed, were getting "lost" any way).

So, the overcoat was boxed and put in storage (most often), the blanket was shifted to the top of the knapsack and the extra rations and ammo were put in the knapsack along with the newly adopted shelter half and gum blanket.

By the end of '63, the ration and ammo load were again increased to eight days rations and 120 rounds of ammo. This meant that the majority of the Soldiers personnal items were to be dumped as the knapsack/haversack were to carry the government stuff. This is also why you see the tim cup moving to the outside of the haversack. It was originally carried on the inside, but as the ammount of rations to be carried increased, the room in the haversack decreased.

Now, The reality of all of this is that after the war got rolling, the regs were revised to make room for the extra rations and ammo, but were still unable to keep up with the reality of the war in the field. With the overcoat stored, as the extra rations and ammo were expended (if the Soldier ever received them at all), the blanket makes its way back into the knapsack where it would ride easier. And, of course, the individual Soldier is going to do what ever works best for him. The officers he comes into contact with routinely are for the most part walking too, and would be doing exactly the same thing. For official parades, of course, the Soldiers would be required to adhear to regulations. This brings to mind photos of my Son-in-Law. Prior to going to Iraq, he has all of his gear and is in accordance with regulations. Photos of him in Iraq, he has dumped much of his gear and what he is carrying is rearanged to be more accesable,usable and comfortable. I am sure that there were units that required strict adhearance to regulations no matter what (I went through those sorts of commands during my time in the service too).

Photos and first person accounts talk about the "rubber blanket" beign folded and carried between the halves of the knapsack. In that location, it could be easily retrieved and used ot cover the Soldier and his gear without having to un-pack/un-roll stuff to get to it. Which by the time he would get the thing out, he and all his stuff would be wet, so why bother?

Any way, hope this helps clear up something where every one is sort of correct.

Frenchie
01-27-2007, 09:02 PM
"No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection." -- Army axiom

We've had this discussion before. ****, I just realized I've been banging around this forum for what, eight or nine years? Things keep coming up over and over. Last time this one erupted I mentioned Guadalcanal Diary where the author, Richard Tregaskis, says the marines he was with were dressed, equipped, and looked "as different from each other as a bunch of pirates". One private showed him a large, wicked-looking screwdriver that he'd "just happened to find on his person" and which he carried "in case the Japs get too close".

A photo of the 4th US Colored Troops (raised in Maryland) shows a company of obviously proud and very uniformly-dressed men in frocks and kepis, all standing very much alike at Parade Rest and yet even in a formal dress-parade formation, many of them are expressing their individuality in the set of their kepis. One young fellow, apparently only too happy to be there, is positively beaming at the camera.

Volunteer soldiers especially never lost their individuality and took every chance to express it. Within reason, we should do the same. It's your unit that determines what is reasonable. And that reminds me of the first time I went to Rememberance Day and was asked why I was wearing the NCO belt plate when I was a private. My answer was, "They (my NCOs) told me to."

"... Regulars, by God!" ;)