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Thread: 1760's 42nd kit

  1. #1
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    1760's 42nd kit

    i do french and indian war reenactments, i was wondering if anybody knew of a place i could get my hands on the back pack that they would have been issued, my unit wants to march into events with all of out gear like they would have then,

    thanks

    Donald Campbell

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    Here are the websites for two groups that reenacts the 42nd of Foot during the American Rebellion on 1775 - 1783. They might be able to give you some information on what the 42nd would have been wearing a few years earlier.

    musketsofthecrown.homestead.com/Home.html

    bw42rh.host22.com/
    "You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." -Obi Wan Kenobi

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    Quote Originally Posted by clan campbell View Post
    i do french and indian war reenactments, i was wondering if anybody knew of a place i could get my hands on the back pack that they would have been issued, my unit wants to march into events with all of out gear like they would have then,

    thanks

    Donald Campbell

    I recently did some research into packs, both military and civilian, carried during the F&I War for a School of the Ranger presentation.

    Packs were not a "regulation" item, but purchased by the commanding officer. The predominant military-style pack of this time was a single-strap bag (think of an envelope). The bag was commonly made of cowhide, but some were made of hemp canvas. The soldier's personal effects were carried inside the bag, while the blanket was folded under the flap.

    There are vendors who make these types of bags, but they can also easily be made.

    The two-strap style bags (worn over both shoulders) was coming into fashion late in the war, initially being little more than a converted haversack. These seem to have been popular with the provincials but the British Army didn't seem to start adopting them until 1760.
    Virginia Commissioner, Elliot Clan Society, USA
    Adjutant, 1745 Appin Stewart Regiment
    Adjutant, Post 2, Scottish-American Military Society
    US Marine (1970-1999)

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    Hmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir William View Post
    I recently did some research into packs, both military and civilian, carried during the F&I War for a School of the Ranger presentation.

    Packs were not a "regulation" item, but purchased by the commanding officer. The predominant military-style pack of this time was a single-strap bag (think of an envelope). The bag was commonly made of cowhide, but some were made of hemp canvas. The soldier's personal effects were carried inside the bag, while the blanket was folded under the flap.

    There are vendors who make these types of bags, but they can also easily be made.

    The two-strap style bags (worn over both shoulders) was coming into fashion late in the war, initially being little more than a converted haversack. These seem to have been popular with the provincials but the British Army didn't seem to start adopting them until 1760.
    Sir William,
    Interesting. My research into the subject gave me the opposite understanding (though I admit it is not extensive). Do you have references regarding the envelope style of pack in use prior to the 1760s? If so, can you share it?

    I have read in at least two places (pretty sure that Mark Baker was one of them) that the envelope type of bag can only be dated back to the 1760s and that the knapsack was "de-rigeur" during the F&I period. I know that there are multiple extant examples of American units using the envelope style of bag with painted and stenciled flaps during the American Revolution (ref. Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution)...but, as you have stated, I believe the British Army did use knapsacks rather than the envelope style during the American Revolution. I thought they used the same style during the F&I period as well, however?

    To the OP...Another early style of bag that was in use was the "snap sack" which is basically a tube of fabric that is stuffed with your belongings and tied to the strap at both ends. The blanket would then be wrapped around the outside of the tube and buckled or tied. I don't believe that this would have been an "issued" style of pack either...but if Sir William is correct, this style may have been in use by military troops.
    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." -- Thomas Paine

    Scottish-American Military Society Post 1921

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    Here is one of the Penicuik drawings showing British regulars on the march, 1745. Four have snapsacks, and one (2nd from left) seems to have the envelope style:



    And here's one of the Morier paintings fromthe 1750s showing grenadiers in field kit. Note the linen haversack worn on the right side, and the dark-colored snapsack (probably leather) worn on the left:



    I'd go with a cowhide snapsack...!
    Brian

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    If you are look for websites try some of these.

    C & D Jarnagin Company
    http://www.jarnaginco.com/revwarframe.html
    G. Gedney Godwin
    http://www.gggodwin.com/default.asp
    Stuart Lilie Saddlery
    http://www.stuartliliesaddles.com/index.htm
    Wilde Weavery
    http://www.wildeweavery.com/Default.htm

    Just a few places that I know sell the packs I think you are looking for.

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    Thanks to Woodsheal for the illustrations.

    The snapsack was being phased out in favor of the "envelope" type bag by the F&I war, though it was certainly in use, particularly on the Continent and also by the French in Canada.

    I'll have to go back and look at my notes, but most references just said "pack" and my conclusions were based on the examination of period illustrations such as Woodsheal provided.

    I found little evidence that British regulars used the more contemporary style two-strap knapsack during the F&I War, though by the Revolution it was pretty much the standard. I would note, however, that from my own experience, if you're wearing a great kilt, the two-strap knapsack is very uncomfortable, while the single-strap knapsack is not. On the other hand, for light troops and rangers, the two-strap knapsack is very efficient.

    There are exceptions of course. As I said, the regiment's commanding officer was responsible for equipping his regiment and he could purchase whatever he wanted.

    Also, at least in the northern colonies, the use of a tumpline, worn with the strap across the chest, seems to have been popular with militia and rangers. I'm still looking for evidence that the tumpline was used in the southern colonies.

    By the way, the actual use of the "new invented knapsack" during the American Revolution has never been proven. though it is still widely popular with many continental units. As far as can be determined, it was only a recommended design, though very similar to the bags already in use, one of which was basically two pockets. I've tried this two-pocket design and like it, though you have to be careful when opening the "flap" as the contents can fall out. This is no doubt why the "new invented knapsack" was proposed as it closed the opening of the pocket on the flap, with the addition of a small slit in the face of the pocket to provide access to to it.
    Virginia Commissioner, Elliot Clan Society, USA
    Adjutant, 1745 Appin Stewart Regiment
    Adjutant, Post 2, Scottish-American Military Society
    US Marine (1970-1999)

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    Great info...thanks!

    Sir William/Woodsheal,
    Thanks for the great info!

    I think I'm following everything now...and I think I found the source of my confusion. I guess I was equating the "new invented knapsack" to the envelope style knapsack.

    Am I correct in my understanding that the "new invented knapsack" is the type that has one large pocket that loads from the top and then on the flap side, the pocket is a closed pocket with a vertical center slit which ties closed?

    How was the envelope style knapsack that was in use during the F&I period constructed? I'm assuming that the appropriate materials would by any type of heavy linen or hemp canvas...or were the military issued ones made of leather or "hair-on" cowhide? If linen/canvas, were the flaps painted as was done in the American Revolution by the continental troops or not?

    I don't think I've threadjacked here, but I apologize to the OP if I have. I think my questions and the answers given will help the OP answer his questions too.
    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." -- Thomas Paine

    Scottish-American Military Society Post 1921

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    Quote Originally Posted by longhuntr74 View Post
    Sir William/Woodsheal,
    Thanks for the great info!

    I think I'm following everything now...and I think I found the source of my confusion. I guess I was equating the "new invented knapsack" to the envelope style knapsack.

    Am I correct in my understanding that the "new invented knapsack" is the type that has one large pocket that loads from the top and then on the flap side, the pocket is a closed pocket with a vertical center slit which ties closed?

    How was the envelope style knapsack that was in use during the F&I period constructed? I'm assuming that the appropriate materials would by any type of heavy linen or hemp canvas...or were the military issued ones made of leather or "hair-on" cowhide? If linen/canvas, were the flaps painted as was done in the American Revolution by the continental troops or not?

    I don't think I've threadjacked here, but I apologize to the OP if I have. I think my questions and the answers given will help the OP answer his questions too.
    Your understanding of the "new invented knapsack" is correct.

    For the envelope style, they appear to be of two basic patterns: With just one pocket and a flap (ie, an envelope) and the second with two pockets (the flap also being a pocket) so that when folded in half, both pockets were on the inside.

    Materials could be of heavy linen, hemp canvas, or leather (with or without the fur). It appears most British military units used leather (as they did for the snapsacks) and there are quite a few illustrations that suggest they were made of hair-on cowhide. Unsheared goat fur, which was very evident during the Revolution, appears to have been used as well.

    I'm still trying to determine if the British military treated the linen or hemp bags with anything to make them more water repellent but so far haven't found enough information to be confident in my assessment. Reason suggests they did treat them, probably with an oil based paint or possibly linseed oil, but since tents weren't treated, perhaps applying our 21st century sensitivities is incorrect.

    I say this because I also discovered that most soldiers carried only the basic necessities, for their weapons and themselves. Most inventories suggest they carried little more than a set of smallclothes, a shirt or two (typically one dress and one fatigue), a spare set of hose, spare shoes, cleaning tools (including a bottle of oil and a rag) for their firelock, a comb for their hair, perhaps a brush for their coat, a blacking ball for their shoes, and their share of the mess equipment. Personal items, such as a "housewife" (sewing kit), were minimal. I suspect many carried a firestarting kit and probably a small knife as these were common to almost everyone back in the 18th century.
    Virginia Commissioner, Elliot Clan Society, USA
    Adjutant, 1745 Appin Stewart Regiment
    Adjutant, Post 2, Scottish-American Military Society
    US Marine (1970-1999)

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    Thanks again!

    Thanks Sir William.

    Here is a link to a French and Indian period group (with a great website I'd like to add) that shows a hair-on example of a knapsack that they consider appropriate to the period.

    1st Royal Regiment of Foote
    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." -- Thomas Paine

    Scottish-American Military Society Post 1921

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