PDA

View Full Version : What's in your Haversack ?



Richard Schimenti
05-22-2006, 08:20 PM
I thought that this would be an interesting thread to have a few laughs, share a few thoughts and pick up a few tips.

What do you carry in your haversck ? Items for "show and tell" for the general public or just things that you need.

Anyway, lets sit back and keep it light and have a few interesting posts as we sit wait for the next encampment.

Rich Schimenti
2nd Kentucky Cav. Co. D , Morgan's Raiders

toptimlrd
05-22-2006, 08:26 PM
Depends on the situation. If I am making a school presentation then it is usually show and tell stuff.

At an event it's usually some combination of salt pork or ham, fruit, hard tack, goober peas, cheese perhaps, maybe a tin of oysters, eating utensils, biscuits or cornbread, jerky,..........

VaTrooper
05-22-2006, 08:47 PM
Right now? A MBS roller buckle belt and a Brad Malone English revlover holster (Thats awesome!!).

TimKindred
05-22-2006, 10:30 PM
Comrades,

Well, to be frank, the only things that should be in your haversack is your rations, and perhaps your plate and cup and flatware. If you have anything else in there, then that's pretty idiotic, since it'd be rapidly stained by the grease and rsidue of your rations. provided you had any.

Rationalize it all you want to, but those non-food, non-tin items belong either in your knapsack or blanket roll, and/or your pockets. Try thinking like a soldier for a change instead of as a reenactor.

Respects,

MStuart
05-22-2006, 11:00 PM
So much for "keeping it light".

Since I'm not at an event right now, I've got a pocket watch, caps, knife and (God help me) a Slim Jim.

Mark

flattop32355
05-22-2006, 11:49 PM
I thought that this would be an interesting thread to have a few laughs, share a few thoughts and pick up a few tips.
What do you carry in your haversack? Items for "show and tell" for the general public or just things that you need.
Anyway, lets sit back and keep it light and have a few interesting posts as we sit wait for the next encampment.

Non-food: Mucket or cup, canteen half plate (sometimes with metal handle), spoon and fork in a pouch, cloth or towel.

Rations: Double smoked bacon, potatoes, hardtack, onion, salt and pepper in glass vials. Sometimes also carrots, jerky, eggs, sugar, tea block. The eggs go in the mucket or cup, covered by the poke of sugar, then more eggs (if available), then the towel. So far, only lost one egg, but I'm very careful not to take a casualty and fall on my left side!

For Show and Tell, I carry....the same.

Jim Mayo
05-23-2006, 07:15 AM
Tater Tots, especially in the summer.



I have two haversacks. One that is used as a haversack and looks like it
and another for demos. My demo haversack is still used to carry only food stuffs and tin ware. No greasy stuff allowed unless it is wrapped in good paper.

blt37thga
05-23-2006, 08:10 AM
Well, In My Haversack I Got A Mucket, Tin Cup, Fork, Spoon, Eating Knife, And My Hunting Knife. I Also Got My Corn Cob In There Too. It Usaully Gets Quite Full For An Event. I Can Stuff Quite A Bit A Food In That Thing.


Cprl. Ben Taylor
37th Ga Co.i
Chickamauga Ga,

AZReenactor
05-23-2006, 11:15 AM
Right now it is empty, inside out, boiled, and scrubbed fairly clean. Until quite recently it had been left in the trunk of a car for several weeks containing a nice slab of sow belly, some hardtack, a small bottle with some vinegar, a poke bag of rice, some unidentifiable vegetables (I think) and my eating utensils.

Generally, my haversack is used simply as a ration bag. With three days rations, there isn't room for much else and anything that might go in there usually gets quite greasy and fouled up. Lately I've taken to carrying cooked rations at most events (I try to cook all my rations at the event on Friday night). Occasionally, I might boil up some coffee, rice, beans, pinole, or the occasional scrounged vegetable if time permits. My eating utensils simply are a tin plate, cup, knife, spoon, and an ever so useful old tin can.

Depending on my portrayal any extra gear such as my towel, soap, toothbrush, stationary, handkerchief, etc. will go in my knapsack (infantry or artillery), saddlebags and bedroll (cavalry), or saddle valise (artillery driver).

Whether participating in a campaign or presenting to a group, I find less is truly more in helping me or my audience comprehend the Spartan existence that typified the lives of most American soldiers between 1861 and 1865. Remembering and reminding people of the daily privations and sufferings soldierly endured by the men we represent seems to me an essential aspect of understanding and honoring the sacrifices they made so long ago. Considering that many endured these hardships for four long years without break, I reckon I can endure it for a two and a half day reenactment a few times a year.

tompritchett
05-23-2006, 11:57 AM
Depends on what type of event I am going to. Living History - very much the demo with sacks of rice, coal meal along with a poke sack of fried bacon. Mainstream event - hardtack, single canteen size servings of gatorade in a poke sack, copy of Hardee's, tin for my cigars, tin of caps in a poke sack, poke sack of precut cleaning patches, cloth saturated with oil and beeswax for recoating the outside of the weapon after battles, and a clean cloth for wiping down weapon whenever it gets wet. Lately, I have added a clay pipe and pipe tobacco.

tenfed1861
05-23-2006, 01:01 PM
When I do an event,I carry a slab of slat pork,rice,oatmeal w/dried cherries and sugar,a couple of sugar cones,and occasionally a couple of apples,boiled eggs,or small potato.If I'm doing US,I will carry hard tack;corn bread for CS.I do sometimes carry homemade bread if it's a garrison/early war event.I also carry a pocket knife,a canteen half,an original fork and knife with a repro army spoon in a period hankerchief and a napkin.I carry on top of my food my pipe and tobacco pouch.If I carry a US haversack,my army cup w/bail wire it attached to the strap.If I carry my CS Baliey bag,my cup is attached to my bedroll or knapsack.All this weighs only about 3 or 4 pounds.Simple,but I can life for most events.
Cullen Smith

Rob
05-23-2006, 04:19 PM
Being a paper-pusher, I use two.

Bacon
Hardtack
Coffee beans
Brown sugar
Salt & pepper
Spoon
Tin plate
Two tin cups (one large, one small)
Huck towel

Pens
Pencils
Travelling inkwell
Small lap desk from C&J, or roll-up field desk from Haversack Depot
Forms
Stationery
Journal
Reading glasses

cblodg
05-23-2006, 08:26 PM
I thought that this would be an interesting thread to have a few laughs, share a few thoughts and pick up a few tips.

What do you carry in your haversck ? Items for "show and tell" for the general public or just things that you need.

Anyway, lets sit back and keep it light and have a few interesting posts as we sit wait for the next encampment.

Rich Schimenti
2nd Kentucky Cav. Co. D , Morgan's Raiders

Always in the Haversack:
Tin Plate
Fork, Knife, Spoon combo
Hardtack
Matches and one candle
extra poke bags
small tin cup
peanuts
coffee

At times:
Apple
Potato
"Show and Tell" items

That's what I carry.

Chris

harley_davis
05-23-2006, 11:51 PM
Lemme see, what's in the far reaches of the bag. We are primarily a living history unit so my sack is filled accordingly. I have my canteen half, small skillet with folding handle, fork, knife & wood spoon, tin cup on the outside. Since we we often portray our company as still on the frontier of Minnesota prior to duty with the Regiment in the south, we have a fairly good supply line. So I will have pokes of salt, raw sugar, green coffee beans (real fun roasting), ginger snaps (sometimes molasses cookies if we are close to civilization), dried apples (ginger snaps and dried apples make a real nice apple stew), dried cranberries & raisins, maybe thick sliced bacon (occasionally salt pork but since my bout with some authentic trots last year, I try to avoid the real stuff if possible) but sometimes I get a real nice chunk of summer sausage made with cranberries and rice, hardtack or maybe a chunk of stone ground homemade (in a wood stove) wheat bread, MInnesota wild rice or dried split peas, yellow corn meal or a slice of cheese from a cheese wheel. Yummmmmm.

AzTrooper
05-24-2006, 12:56 PM
Troy,
I could not help but start laughing when I read about your cooking on Firday evening, I had a hilarious flashback to the beans that your burned...errrr cooked friday night at Picacho, wow they were something to behold hahahahahaha!!!!
Sorry I couldnt resist!!!!
Respectfully,(with a little chuckle)
John Rogers

HighPrvt
05-24-2006, 02:24 PM
I kept my cup in my haversack........


Once.


I rolled over onto it after taking a hit.
My ribs didn't much care for that.


Rations/snack, and maybe extra rounds, and a small towel.

Garrison Beall
05-24-2006, 02:59 PM
2006 Fort Fisher haversack contents; Car keys, digital camera and change for the drink machines.

AZReenactor
05-24-2006, 04:07 PM
John,
Just for the record, Andy was cooking. He just asked me to keep an eye on the beans for him. Cooking for a company is a whole lot different than cooking for a three man mess. ;-)


Troy,
I could not help but start laughing when I read about your cooking on Firday evening, I had a hilarious flashback to the beans that your burned...errrr cooked friday night at Picacho, wow they were something to behold hahahahahaha!!!!
Sorry I couldnt resist!!!!
Respectfully,(with a little chuckle)
John Rogers

Kimmel
05-24-2006, 08:48 PM
I only keep a few things in my haversack. Usually utensils, plate, cup, rations, money and a deck of cards (bacon grease keeps them cards smellin' right good and also keeps them slick for dealin')

AzTrooper
05-25-2006, 01:10 PM
Troy,
I stand corrected,I could only remember the sight of you scraping the charred beans, hahahah. Sorry :)
Respectfully,
John Rogers

bob 125th nysvi
05-26-2006, 08:57 PM
Comrades,

Well, to be frank, the only things that should be in your haversack is your rations, and perhaps your plate and cup and flatware. If you have anything else in there, then that's pretty idiotic, since it'd be rapidly stained by the grease and rsidue of your rations. provided you had any.

Rationalize it all you want to, but those non-food, non-tin items belong either in your knapsack or blanket roll, and/or your pockets. Try thinking like a soldier for a change instead of as a reenactor.

Respects,

To be frank a real soldier is going to carry anything on him that he feels he might need at a moments notice or not want to lose. You might drop your knapsack before going into action (and consequently lose it) but you were keeping your haversack.

Consequently you darn well might carry other things in your haversack depending on where you might have room and as rations went down there'd be more room in the haversack. Example a house wife or candle take up very little room. Ditto for extra shoe laces or a little twine. Even a pack of cards takes up almost nothing.

Three days issued rations (2.25 pounds of salt pork and about 27 crackers) doesn't fill out the thing anyway.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

bob 125th nysvi
05-26-2006, 09:24 PM
Rations: At the last event 3 lbs of salt pork, two medium potatoes, 18 hardtack crackers, dried fruit and jerky. All (except the potatoes) wrapped in brown kraft and wax paper in individual poke bags.

Other items:

Extra Laces (two sets) my emergency medical papers, a small huckabuck towel, housewife, utensils in a poke bag, dominos in a poke bag, extra gun cleaning rag, emegency gun cleaning/fixing supplies (scrapper, extra screws and nipples, borer) in a tin, extra ear plugs in a tin, a small plate and in another poke bag: tooth brush, tin of tooth powder, two candles and a bar of soap. If I want to carry my cup in the bag I put Items in the cup to save room.

Otherwise the cup goes on the back of the haversack.

And yes I do make only one trip from the car to the camp carrying everything either in my knapsack or haversack unless I'm carrying an extra tent. That gets rolled around the sticks and carried via a rope sling in the same trip.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

75thbugler
05-30-2006, 04:44 PM
Flatware
Canteen Half
Tin Cup
old captin for matches
small huck towel
hardtack
fruit (pending on event)
carrot and/or potato
coffee beans
spare mouthpiece in a poke sack. (just in case)

RJSamp
05-30-2006, 04:49 PM
Good to hear you're carrying a spare mouthpiece on you....

RJ Samp

8thILCavalry
05-31-2006, 05:30 PM
Well, I know I will get heck for some of it.

A throw away Camera (for when I don't, I wish that I did)
Sometimes my car Keys, Wallet or Checkbook for the sutlers
loose COW powder (yuck)
hanky for the sweat (eeewwww)
Musket and pistol caps ( just in case)
Beef jerky (yum)
Spoons (not for eating, for Music)
A little book with Lyrics

The eating stuff is in a box in my tent.

Pete K
06-01-2006, 07:55 AM
I just did my annual Living History lesson with my 8th grade students yesterday. As I got to showing the tinware and fork/spoon in the haversack I realized I left a summer sausage in the sack from about six weeks ago. The green moldy meat was a big hit- almost as much as firing the Musket!

Pete Kappas
Moldy meat mess
Freedom, PA

AZReenactor
06-01-2006, 10:03 AM
Well, I know I will get heck for some of it.

....

The eating stuff is in a box in my tent.

Interesting.... I am really curious about your motives for reenacting. Obviously you can't carry a tent and box of food with you on horseback (or do you perhaps portray horseless cavalry?) If you know you're reenacting choices are inathentic, inaccurate, and could be better why would you choose to deliberatly be farther from authentic than nearer?

I'm not trying to pick a fight. I'm curious about the thought patterns here.

AZReenactor
06-01-2006, 10:27 AM
To be frank a real soldier is going to carry anything on him that he feels he might need at a moments notice or not want to lose. ...Consequently you darn well might carry other things in your haversack depending on where you might have room and as rations went down there'd be more room in the haversack. ...Three days issued rations (2.25 pounds of salt pork and about 27 crackers) doesn't fill out the thing anyway.
Bob,
Interesting opinion. You'r haversack must be considerably larger than mine. I can barely fit rations, plate, cup, and spoon in mine, it has been my experience that the problem with keeping things in my haversack isn't the space but the condiion they'd come out in. Grease, hardtack crumbs, and soot from my plate and cup tend to make a mess of anything that goes in there.

TheQM
06-01-2006, 12:24 PM
Troy,

You might try my trick. I picked up the sleeve lining from a Great Coat at a Sutler a few years ago. (Why he had a spare lining is another question!) I cut about foot off the top and sewed the bottom shut. I keep my sooty, greasey canteen halfs (I carry two nested together) in that bag. It keeps my haversack a lot cleaner. The bag also makes a good pot holder.

tenfed1861
06-01-2006, 12:40 PM
Remember gentlemen,the haversacks would have gotten dirty during the war,too.I understand why y'all would want a clean haversack,for health reasons and all.But we mustn't forget that the haversacks on campaign would be filty.I've read accounts of men describing the inner bags of their haversack as being as black as their kanpsacks,greasy like some meat,and smelling like the dead.I do keep everything in either poke or in brown butcher paper,but if the bag gets alittle dirty,then that's fine with me.Just my opinion,though.
Cullen Smith

AZReenactor
06-01-2006, 02:56 PM
You might try my trick.
Oh, I wasn't meaning to imply that I don't wash my plate or use poke sacks. I do. It is just after a day of trotting about, the contents of a haversack can all become quite jumbled. And on more than one occaision sudden orders have prevented me from stowing items in my haversack as well as I might like. Add to the mess an occaisional lost oir burnt poke sack, a pilffered egg that gets broke or, a squash that gets squashed when your horse decides to roll while still saddled and the interior can become a mess quite quickly quite quickly.

Certainly soldiers occaisionally put keepsakes, incidentals, diaries, or other important items in their haversack but it only takes a little experience in the field to demonstrate that a haversack ain't necessarily the best choice for stowing such items. Now adays my expense book, wallet, housewife etc. all find my way into pockets if I am to keep them on my person.

5thNYcavalry
06-26-2006, 05:15 PM
Rigt now, I have an 1864 Poker Deck, candles, matches, union money, and a sandwich from 2 weeks ago.

VaTrooper
06-26-2006, 10:30 PM
From the diary of Lt Holtzman, 4th Va Co D:

March 30th 64': F. Hoffman found a mouse nest in his haversack. With young ones. Quiet a novel affair.

frankstevanus
06-27-2006, 07:07 AM
I can't afford a haversack but I am sure a Le Mat revolver would fit nicely in one! Come on, Wildman! You know you want one! Give in, man!

From the diary of Lt Holtzman, 4th Va Co D:

March 30th 64': F. Hoffman found a mouse nest in his haversack. With young ones. Quiet a novel affair.

bill watson
06-27-2006, 07:55 AM
"it only takes a little experience in the field to demonstrate"

And there it is again.

Three years ago most of the answers to this question about haversack contents would have shown the users making little distinction between the haversack and the knapsack. Now most people are using them for food-related stuff.

FWL
06-27-2006, 08:55 AM
"it only takes a little experience in the field to demonstrate"

And there it is again.

Three years ago most of the answers to this question about haversack contents would have shown the users making little distinction between the haversack and the knapsack. Now most people are using them for food-related stuff.


Food, mold, tobacco pouch, knifes, rags, other scary things.

VaTrooper
06-27-2006, 10:25 AM
I can't afford a haversack but I am sure a Le Mat revolver would fit nicely in one! Come on, Wildman! You know you want one! Give in, man!

I dont want that thing........unless its free.

skamikaze
06-27-2006, 05:43 PM
dirt, rags, knife, a cookie that a child kept throwing at me, some farb scissors and matches from my best freinds wedding.

bob 125th nysvi
06-27-2006, 08:33 PM
Bob,
Interesting opinion. You'r haversack must be considerably larger than mine. I can barely fit rations, plate, cup, and spoon in mine, it has been my experience that the problem with keeping things in my haversack isn't the space but the condiion they'd come out in. Grease, hardtack crumbs, and soot from my plate and cup tend to make a mess of anything that goes in there.

The opinion is based on my sargent who was a vet of Nam (me ROTC 1976). He was of the opinion that you keep the essentials on you and the niceties go in the pack. So I put everything in my pockets or haversack first and the extras go in the knapsack. His first essential was weapon and ammo but all of that is taken care of before you get to the haversack.

Well I'm larger (taller) than anybody else in the unit but the haversack doesn't seem to be any larger.

I pack my meat ration in a combination of waxpaper and brown kraft paper tied with a string. I have been led to believe both were available during the time period. They then go inside a pretty heavy duty poke bag. I can cook part or all of the ration but it can always be rewrapped as necessary.

Its pretty tough to break the hardtack I make and grease doesn't seem to penetrate the stuff.

I use a small plate (6 inches) in conjunction with a canteen half hanging on the outside of the canteen to eat off. It may be the big plate that's killing your room. Everything gets washed or scraped before it goes back in the sack.

That does tend to make the huckabuck an item by itself when it gets home in the wash.

The plate goes in the back (flat against my butt) the utensils in their own poke bag on the bottom. The other hard items go INSIDE the cup saving space. The cloth items cushion everything and pack down pretty nice. the ration bags go on top. When we start out the strap is set on the last hole but as the rations disappear the bag closes better.

I have a liner but never use it.

Potatoes are dry. The dried fruit doesn't leak, even the jerky is pretty dry so all I have to worry about is the uncooked meat.

Besides as far as eating is concerned I'm a veteren of the ole 5 second club. It has to be in the dirt longer (considerably) than that to be inediable.

If things get really full a little extra room can be obtained by hanging the cup off the strap.

Maybe your rations are heavy compared to a 'normal' soldiers rations. I don't know. I try to keep pretty close to the 3/4 lb pork (instead of the 1 1/4 beef) and the 12 oz of hard bread per day. If something HAS to go its the extra rations.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

theknapsack
06-27-2006, 10:47 PM
I keep my plate or frying pan, cup (or can), eating utensils, handkerchief and food in my haversack, and have been doing so for the past five years. My food usually consists of bacon or sow belly, hardtack or soft bread, coffee (always), and sugar. Other things that have made an appearance in my haversack are Dried Peaches, Lemon Drops, Molasses or Ginger Snap cookies, tea, peas, rice, apples, carrots, sweet and normal potatoes, dried beef, coned beef, canned goods, period sausage and desecrated vegetables. I seperate everything with handsewn poke bags that I make and I use a large handkerchief to cover my bacon or sow belly.
My mess is planning on divying up the duties for food, mine will be carrying a coffee pot and making coffee, so that will be added in the future.
The bottom of my haversack is full of crumbs, coffee beans, and the inside is virtually black. I never really thought of cleaning it.
In Garrison I carry only a cup, plate or coffee cooler, my eating utensils, and various "snack" foods (sausage, dried peaches, etc.)
I've never really put anything that is not food related in my haversack, save once, when I put a book in my haversack during a Living History a few years back.
The rest of the "haversack stuffers" go in my knapsack: rubber comb, bone toothbrush, original bible, various "dime novels," drill manual(s), blank book, stationary, and if issued three days rations, excess rations (as per regulations).

As a side note, I can never really finish a full three day's rations in three days, unless I'm really hungry. My coffee disappears the first day or so, along with half the bacon, but then I slow down.


Cheers,

AZReenactor
06-28-2006, 11:00 AM
The opinion is based on my sargent who was a vet of Nam (me ROTC 1976). He was of the opinion that you keep the essentials on you and the niceties go in the pack. So I put everything in my pockets or haversack first and the extras go in the knapsack. His first essential was weapon and ammo but all of that is taken care of before you get to the haversack.
Well Bob, there's the problem. We're following the practices of veteran's of a different war.;)


Well I'm larger (taller) than anybody else in the unit but the haversack doesn't seem to be any larger.
My haversack is patterned after an original pre-war issued haversack and is a little on the smallish side (9.25x2.5x11) compared to most wartime contract bags (and about half the size of many mainstream suttler haversacks).


Maybe your rations are heavy compared to a 'normal' soldiers rations. I don't know. I try to keep pretty close to the 3/4 lb pork (instead of the 1 1/4 beef) and the 12 oz of hard bread per day.
For those events where I'm on the hook for my own rations I usually eat rather light, carrying just 2lbs hardtack, 1.5lbs sowbelly, couple tablespoonfuls of coffee and perhaps a small onion and seasonal vegetable. It is when I am issued a full three days rations (especially if it is beef) that things really start to get a little cramped.

Beyond the space available issue though, the real problem is the condition of things that have been stored in my haversack with rations. It is often a lot more convenient to stuff items into a haversack than into a knapsack, blanket roll, or saddle bags but experience quickly teaches that soaking one's pocket diary in meat juice or filling one's housewife with crumbs and coffee grounds isn't the best idea most of the time.

bob 125th nysvi
06-28-2006, 09:00 PM
Well Bob, there's the problem. We're following the practices of veteran's of a different war.;)

I contend that the practices my sargent taught us have absolutly NOTHING to do with a specific war but with war from the first soldier who went on campaign.

Between wars the powers that be load up the soldier with all kinds of gadets that sound cool or useful and make less than useful changes to the uniforms, drills and tactics.

During the war. The useless gets discarded either offically or by a soldier to whom it is more important to stay alive than be with in regs.

Think like a soldier first and CW soldier second.

What do I absolutly HAVE to have? My weapon. I'm a dead man or prisoner without it. The bayonet could go in a pinch but everything that I need to keep it operational are my most important assests. Whether its a club, musket or laser its all the same. With a weapon I can get anything I want/need.

What do I need next? Water. I can go farther with water and no food then I can with food and no water.

What's next? Food. With food I survive.

Everything beyond that is negotiable based on my personal preferences and what my officers want.

My unit was raised after the war started. And with a high number it isn't likely we got first dibs on pre-war stocks. So wartime contract material makes sense. The regiment was armed with a mix of Enfields and Springfields. Captured at Harper's Ferry we would have been stripped of eveything that wasn't the clothes on our backs. And then re-equipped. The likelihood of having any pre-war stuff is nil.

My haversack lying flat is 9.5 x 12. The bottom flap is 8.75 x 3.5. Not much larger than yours so why I get a lot more into it than you get into yours?

Got me. Magic?

Nah wrong reenacting time period.

Bob Sandsky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Brandon313
06-28-2006, 09:33 PM
well i just got a new one, i am yet to use that one in the field. Right now i am using it as storage for some reenacting items. I will have some anti heat rash spray hidden in a poke sack, extra rounds, coffee, extra caps, whatever rations i am issued at the event. But i usually bring along some peanuts, some grandmas cornbread and a maybe a couple small apples.

tompritchett
06-28-2006, 10:52 PM
Another thing to consider - how precious the item was to the soldier. In the many iterations of this thread, reenactors have talked about not keeping letters in haversacks but instead in knapsacks. I can guarantee you that to anyone that has been away from home and family for over a year and that has seen enough death to know that there is a very real chance that he will never see them again, those letters are worth their weight in gold and would never be placed in an item of equipment which he knows he may have to abandon, and possibly never see, the next time he has to go into battle.

Again, goes back to thinking like soldiers first and then placing yourself in CW times.

Wolfgang
06-28-2006, 11:43 PM
Really old potatoes, canteen half, pocket knife, knife, poke sacks, handkercheif, tobacco, rice, spilt coffee, hardtack and a tin cup. All exciting stuff.

AZReenactor
06-29-2006, 12:25 PM
Another thing to consider - how precious the item was to the soldier. In the many iterations of this thread, reenactors have talked about not keeping letters in haversacks but instead in knapsacks. I can guarantee you that to anyone that has been away from home and family for over a year and that has seen enough death to know that there is a very real chance that he will never see them again, those letters are worth their weight in gold and would never be placed in an item of equipment which he knows he may have to abandon, and possibly never see, the next time he has to go into battle.
Tom,
I heartily agree that Civil War soldier's letters and keepsakes were indeed very precious to them. (Although the limited number of extant letters to soldiers may well be an indication of how readily soldiers were able to keep such precious items.) Several Civil War veteran accounts describe the pains endured during the decision making process of trying to figure out what to take, what to leave, and how to pack it. Soldiers in the Civil War often endured a very Spartan existence and had limited options available to them. My contention isn't that keepsakes are unimportant to soldiers or that you should put everything in your knapsack. Rather my contention is that, when used as soldiers of the civil war used it, a haversack quickly becomes a rather messy, greasy, foul container for food that is really unfit for anything else. A haversack used to carry rations that were frequently issued loose and in a very hurried manner becomes a rather foul place to store precious items.

The haversack of the Civil War was not the handy "man purse" that so many reenactors carry today stuffed with "haversack stuffers", cameras, papers, car keys, granola bars, and other items reenactors want to hide from public view. When they were hungry, they couldn't simply run to the ice chest hidden under their blanket covered cot in their personal wedge tent. Nor did Civil War soldiers have the luxury of choosing, preparing, and nicely bundling their ration issues the night before packing them carefully in their haversack. They didn't have the option of throwing away any of its leftover contents at the end of a weekend, washing it with hot water and detergent, and allowing it to air out till the next month's event. They had to use and rely on it on a daily basis to carry what ever was issued. Whether well wrapped, cooked, raw, wet, greasy, crumbly, sticky, or smelly all the soldiers food went in that bag. In naivety or necessity, soldiers certainly placed other items in there on occasion, but they didn't come out the same as the items many reenactors place in there today.


Again, goes back to thinking like soldiers first and then placing yourself in CW times.
In attempting to depict and understand the life of a Civil War soldier, to assume that thinking like a modern soldier is some sort of short cut is a frightful mistake. While there is a shared heritage and much continuity between soldiers today and soldiers a century ago, there is a great deal that has changed as well. In trying to depict and understand the Soldiers of 1861-5 it is necessary to understand the life and times that shaped them before the war, the experience of their induction and acclimation to military life, the way they existed and carried out their duties as the war progressed, and even the manner in which the war shaped and affected their lives after the war. While thinking like a soldier is indeed important, it can in no way be separated from the importance of thinking like a Civil War soldier if one is to be honest and accurate in their depiction and understanding of the men we portray.

tompritchett
06-29-2006, 01:32 PM
In attempting to depict and understand the life of a Civil War soldier, to assume that thinking like a modern soldier is some sort of short cut is a frightful mistake. While there is a shared heritage and much continuity between soldiers today and soldiers a century ago, there is a great deal that has changed as well. In trying to depict and understand the Soldiers of 1861-5 it is necessary to understand the life and times that shaped them before the war, the experience of their induction and acclimation to military life, the way they existed and carried out their duties as the war progressed, and even the manner in which the war shaped and affected their lives after the war. While thinking like a soldier is indeed important, it can in no way be separated from the importance of thinking like a Civil War soldier if one is to be honest and accurate in their depiction and understanding of the men we portray.

Actually we are not so far apart on this issue. As reenactors we must adopt the 19th Century mindset and try to understand the influences that shaped the men prior to and during the war. You will notice that I said "first" and not "exclusively". Studying the mindset of soldiers in general just gives one more piece of he puzzle that helps explain how the war itself may have shaped them. One of my most cherished references when I was an officer in the NG was Bill Maudlin's "Up Front" in which he describes the typical life of an infantry soldier in WWII. The best part of the book is that was written while the war was ongoing and so shows the minute portions of a soldiers life in the rawest detail. Again, this is just one piece of the puzzle which only compliments and does not replace studies of soldiers' diaries and letters as well as other period references.

Button Whizzer
06-29-2006, 03:21 PM
Small spoon, tin bowl, 3 small rags, tin cup, and food.

Maybe a better question would be what do you do with the stuff in your haversack? It isn't just a decoration bag.

Brandon

tompritchett
06-29-2006, 04:27 PM
Mostly it carries items that I am likely to use at the event that I am at. Always patches for cleaning my weapon (had to clean weapon in field once after falling well away from camp), dry rag for wiping down equipment and such, oiled rag for recoating weapon, tin of extra caps, hardtack, eating utensils, poke bag with extra string, tin w/ advil, alieve and immodium, extra stopper for canteen, a small copy of Hardee's, small notebook with pencil, pipe w/ tobacco, and food based upon the type of event.

At non-mainstream events, keys and cell phone (off, of course but so that I can in the evening check my voice mail for emergency calls from the wife) that I would normally keep in my tent.

frankstevanus
06-29-2006, 04:30 PM
I see many original pictures where the guys (at least on the Confederate side) tote most of thier stuff in thier blanket. In fact, I have seen few original pictures where they even had knapsacks. I am curious as to why more infantry (at least, again, Confederate) don't just wrap their stuff in thier blanket?
I put all my stuff in my other blanket and tie it down to the back of my horse and it works great. I don't have much stuff to put in there, but what I do fits in there just dandy.
Just an idea.
Frank Stevanus

VaTrooper
06-29-2006, 08:01 PM
Frank,
Your bedrolls a fine place for extra clothing. Shoes, nails, brush, curry comb, hoof pick, ect have a nice home in the saddlebags. Rations, cup, plate, knife, fork, spoon, and other eating utensils should be in your haversack.

frankstevanus
06-29-2006, 08:03 PM
You tell 'em, Wildman. And remember to save room in that haversack for that Le Mat-rojer that!?!

Frank,
Your bedrolls a fine place for extra clothing. Shoes, nails, brush, curry comb, hoof pick, ect have a nice home in the saddlebags. Rations, cup, plate, knife, fork, spoon, and other eating utensils should be in your haversack.

VaTrooper
06-29-2006, 08:08 PM
If my haversack was empty that dang thing wouldnt fit.

bob 125th nysvi
06-29-2006, 08:29 PM
In attempting to depict and understand the life of a Civil War soldier, to assume that thinking like a modern soldier is some sort of short cut is a frightful mistake. While there is a shared heritage and much continuity between soldiers today and soldiers a century ago, there is a great deal that has changed as well. In trying to depict and understand the Soldiers of 1861-5 it is necessary to understand the life and times that shaped them before the war, the experience of their induction and acclimation to military life, the way they existed and carried out their duties as the war progressed, and even the manner in which the war shaped and affected their lives after the war. While thinking like a soldier is indeed important, it can in no way be separated from the importance of thinking like a Civil War soldier if one is to be honest and accurate in their depiction and understanding of the men we portray.

of being soldier. A field that is only really just starting to be explored from an historical prespective.

What changes for a soldier is technology, organization and tactics.

Not the base instincts that drive them.

The base instincts in humans is as valid today as it was 5,000 years ago (a blink of an eye in the terms of evolution).

A CW soldier was no more likely to throw away a necessary item than a legionairy was. And no more likely to carry unnecessary frills than a Special Forces guy would today.

Read the accounts of campaigns, about the trail of items tossed away as unnecessary or perceived as unnecessary by rookies. Later in the war what the soldier had already discovered was formalized into regs. Like when the AOP Quartermaster General issued orders in the spring of 1862 ORDERING great coats to be stored away as unnecessary.

You know there was some idiot looking in regs and trying to insist that the soldiers should be carrying them because the book said so.

Where a soldier puts items changes based on technology.

What a soldier might believe is personally important will change on societal mores (example bathing. A lot of CW soldiers probably didn't do it on a regular basis but regs REQUIRED a washing of the feet every night and bathing once a week because the medical officers understood the value of some hygene and minimum maintenance of the body.)

What a soldier HAS to have never changes (weapons, water/foods) because without them he is ineffective.

But once you get past those items, that is when the societal experience of a soldier will dictate the extras he carries. A diary would be important to a non-electronic society. A computer is more appropriate today.

The ancient Greeks went into battle naked. I won't and you should be thankful for that.

Knowing both ends of a horse would be important to most CW soldiers. Most guys in the ranks today are lucky if they can actually identify a horse v mule.

A post WWI soldier spreads out a, CW soldier doesn't.

None of that doesn't mean they both don't duck when they hear BOOM.

Don't assume what I'm saying is that you study today's soldiers and you don't need to study CW soldiers.

But also don't assume that there was something special about the base psyche or needs of a CW soldier that didn't exist for Sargon or Patton.

But anyway this whole thread proves my point. We all agree that we need to carry our weapons, water and rations. Where we digress is after the big three and where we put it. And where we put it depends on where we have ROOM for it.

And notice how many things guys just "have to have" are left in camp.

As I've said before everything I bring in is moved in one trip from the supply wagon to camp. And if I have to go 20 miles on foot that stuff it can still all go with me no problem.

I'll bet you dollars to donuts if a CW soldier had to carry it 20 miles he did so because he was sure he'd need it.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Ol'Hickory
07-04-2006, 05:49 AM
I'd have things for practical use, and personal items.

Cards, housewife, razor (cut throat of course) shaving impliments, cigar tin candles etc etc

FloridaBummer
07-05-2006, 08:48 AM
Well;
At all events, and I mean all I attend, the things carried in the dark cavity of the one of my many semi clean haversacks, depending on research of scenario, usually consists of; salt pork or slab bacon wrapped in a rag, hardtack crackers, or whatever correct rations that were issued, period matchsafe, P53 Enfield privates tool, canteen half, can of essance of coffee, period knife fork and spoon, a piece of a "Harpers Weekly" to start fires with, and 2 or 3 pokesacks, and 2 or 3 small beeswax candles. Cup usually hangs on outside if full with 3 days rations, or goes inside if bag is empty. Everything I have in my H-sack gets used at events.
I don't own a "show haversack" for living history, most of my bags are well maintained, somewhat clean, and tolerable in smell.
Kindest Regards;

Rob Weaver
07-20-2006, 05:34 PM
My bread bag carries food and cooking implements. Fatback and hard crackers, a small onion, a couple pieces of fruit that's in season, a small sheet iron fry pan, a cup and a folding knife/fork/spoon. My pipe and tobacco are usually on top, if they're not in my pocket. I put food items in sacks, so they're easy to find and don't roll around together.
Personal stuff like toothbrush and clothing, letters, etc, are in my pack. That way they don't get coated with grease from my rations.
I'm a big believer in using the pockets in your uniform, too. How many guys fish around in their haversack or pack for matches? Or cards? Or a pencil to take notes from the captain? Or your knife? What kind of things do you put in your pockets everyday? The Army graciously put pockets in my uniform and by jingo I'm going to fill them!

Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

bob 125th nysvi
07-23-2006, 07:05 PM
I'm a big believer in using the pockets in your uniform, too. How many guys fish around in their haversack or pack for matches? Or cards? Or a pencil to take notes from the captain? Or your knife? What kind of things do you put in your pockets everyday? The Army graciously put pockets in my uniform and by jingo I'm going to fill them!

Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

Me too sarge.

In my pockets go my pocket knife and three tins. One tin carries my matches, springfield rag jag, oil cloth hooks and two non-period items. My ear plugs and car keys. Another tin carries extra ear plugs (can never have enough). The third tin carries emergency rifle cleaning and repair items (nipple, worm, scraper, borer, bullet puller and steel wool).

I use Altoids tins with the paint taken off. Considering the candy was around back then I feel like I'm not cheating too much.

Don't need pencils, I'm a private I go where I'm told and don't have time to refer to notes.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Rob Weaver
07-24-2006, 09:11 PM
I keep my pipe-lighting matches in a tin in my pocket. That is if I can't get a light off an existing fire somewhere. I keep a tin of big kitchen matches in my haversack - they're strictly for the business of fire-starting. I also keep my Bible and drill manual in my coat pockets - never know when you might need to refer to either one!

Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
CoI, 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

skamikaze
07-24-2006, 09:45 PM
i too am a big fan of the pockets.

in the sack coat is a large pocket that i usually fill with matches, a knife and a carrot or two. if im lucky, a pencil and bits of paper.

my trowsers get filled with a handkercheif and other assorted rags, as well as any other knick-knacks i might find, as well as a harmonica.

Scottish Songbird
07-24-2006, 10:30 PM
My bread bag carries food and cooking implements. Fatback and hard crackers, a small onion, a couple pieces of fruit that's in season, a small sheet iron fry pan, a cup and a folding knife/fork/spoon. My pipe and tobacco are usually on top, if they're not in my pocket. I put food items in sacks, so they're easy to find and don't roll around together.
Personal stuff like toothbrush and clothing, letters, etc, are in my pack. That way they don't get coated with grease from my rations.
I'm a big believer in using the pockets in your uniform, too. How many guys fish around in their haversack or pack for matches? Or cards? Or a pencil to take notes from the captain? Or your knife? What kind of things do you put in your pockets everyday? The Army graciously put pockets in my uniform and by jingo I'm going to fill them!

Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

Wow....I think I might be able to 'stow away' as a spy in one of your haversacks!!!!:p
Ok, ok...I'll bow out of this men's only discussion...just having a little fun guys!!;)

tompritchett
07-24-2006, 11:53 PM
Wow....I think I might be able to 'stow away' as a spy in one of your haversacks!!!!

I could just see the look on my wife's face when I empty my haversack after an event and out you pop. :rolleyes:

Even more fun.

cookiemom
07-25-2006, 12:28 AM
I think I might be able to 'stow away' as a spy in one of your haversacks!

... and as we all know, "There is nowhere you cannot put spies to good use." ;)

Mrs. Rose O'Neal Greenhow
SunTzuMess

Scottish Songbird
07-25-2006, 04:54 PM
I could just see the look on my wife's face when I empty my haversack after an event and out you pop. :rolleyes:

Even more fun.


Ooooh.....this might really be fun!!!;).........uh oh maybe I'd better be careful though huh?...don't want to make anyone's wife mad!!!:p

Rob Weaver
07-25-2006, 08:22 PM
Wow....I think I might be able to 'stow away' as a spy in one of your haversacks!!!!:p
Ok, ok...I'll bow out of this men's only discussion...just having a little fun guys!!;)

When full of 2 or 3 days rations, it would be an uncomfortable , not to mention noxious, ride yielding little to enhance the war effort. By the third day, tho', there would be room aplenty. However, Mrs. Weaver would take a dim view of such a souvenier!

Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

Scottish Songbird
07-25-2006, 10:32 PM
When full of 2 or 3 days rations, it would be an uncomfortable , not to mention noxious, ride yielding little to enhance the war effort. By the third day, tho', there would be room aplenty. However, Mrs. Weaver would take a dim view of such a souvenier!

Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers


Sgt. Weaver, I imagine Mrs. Weaver would NOT take kindly to that...as well she shouldn't! I'll be sure to check out their "marital status" before I attempt this sort of "spying technique"!!!!;)

R.A. MacLean
07-26-2006, 03:03 PM
Hmmmmmm.........(Taking a peek)

Usually its:

1) English Mess Tins
2) Boiled Red Potatoes and one onion.
3) Bacon wrapped in brown paper in a ration bag
4) Essence of Coffe Tin with my version of it.
5) Small tin for Brown Sugar (I know, I should get a cone)
6) Small cloth towell for everday use.
7) Can of Milk (Can somebody E-mail me a label?)
Eight) Small Bible
9) Knife, fork, spoon combo
10) Mini DVD player with "Gods and Generals"
11) IPOD with soundtrack to "Gods and Generals"
12) I'm kidding about the last 2.

Scottish Songbird
07-26-2006, 09:04 PM
Hmmmmmm.........(Taking a peek)

Usually its:

1) English Mess Tins
2) Boiled Red Potatoes and one onion.
3) Bacon wrapped in brown paper in a ration bag
4) Essence of Coffe Tin with my version of it.
5) Small tin for Brown Sugar (I know, I should get a cone)
6) Small cloth towell for everday use.
7) Can of Milk (Can somebody E-mail me a label?)
Eight) Small Bible
9) Knife, fork, spoon combo
10) Mini DVD player with "Gods and Generals"
11) IPOD with soundtrack to "Gods and Generals"
12) I'm kidding about the last 2.

Ok...too much stuff!!.....I'm not going to be able to stow away here!!!!;)

bill watson
07-27-2006, 08:44 AM
OK, Jill, if nobody else will ask, I will: What in the name of Henry Hunt is a "battery singer?"

John1862
07-27-2006, 08:50 AM
OK, Jill, if nobody else will ask, I will: What in the name of Henry Hunt is a "battery singer?"

THANK YOU! :)

cookiemom
07-27-2006, 08:53 AM
OK, Jill, if nobody else will ask, I will: What in the name of Henry Hunt is a "battery singer?"
[QUOTE=Scottish Songbird]... Well.......................ummmm.....that's what the sign on my tent says!!! It reads: Battery Singer, Scottish Songbird Jill MacGregor (no this is not my real last name but my "scottish clan name"), Darlin Warbler, Voice of an Angel!! I love it, it's so me. It's painted a pretty blue with hearts and stars, and apples and little scottish thistle...awwwwww!!! I do sing professionally and I guess to answer your question, I really do sing when I'm at an event. YES....people do request songs and I oblige!!!! Ok, ok....this just gives me some identity in our unit!!!!

Scottish Songbird
07-27-2006, 12:20 PM
[QUOTE=Scottish Songbird]... Well.......................ummmm.....that's what the sign on my tent says!!! It reads: Battery Singer, Scottish Songbird Jill MacGregor (no this is not my real last name but my "scottish clan name"), Darlin Warbler, Voice of an Angel!! I love it, it's so me. It's painted a pretty blue with hearts and stars, and apples and little scottish thistle...awwwwww!!! I do sing professionally and I guess to answer your question, I really do sing when I'm at an event. YES....people do request songs and I oblige!!!! Ok, ok....this just gives me some identity in our unit!!!!

:D Thank you Cookiemom!! I "sing for my supper" too!!;)

Rob
07-27-2006, 07:17 PM
Hmm... I've heard of battery chargers, but never battery singers.

tompritchett
07-27-2006, 09:22 PM
Hmm... I've heard of battery chargers, but never battery singers.

If the singing is good, it will charge your batteries. :)

Scottish Songbird
07-27-2006, 10:41 PM
If the singing is good, it will charge your batteries. :)

Why Mr. Pritchett, I would like to think and hope that my singing IS that good!!!!;)

tompritchett
07-27-2006, 11:22 PM
Soprano, Mezo or Alto?

bill watson
07-28-2006, 08:42 AM
Thank you, Cookiemom and Jill.

Scottish Songbird
07-28-2006, 12:57 PM
Soprano, Mezo or Alto?

:D Mezzosoprano Sir!!! Come visit me in camp and I'll sing you a song!!;)

cookiemom
07-28-2006, 01:42 PM
:D Mezzosoprano Sir!!! Come visit me in camp and I'll sing you a song!!;)
I sang second soprano in university chorus. How about a duet, Jill? I'll catch you on the "other" thread.

Carole
DoReMi Mess

creel
08-01-2006, 08:36 AM
Your goober peas - if your from Georgia!

Scottish Songbird
08-01-2006, 09:23 AM
Your goober peas - if your from Georgia!

Yummm....at least I'll have a snack while I'm stowing away!!!!;) :p