Contract Issue Haversack

Description This Federal Issue contract haversack was widely issued to New England as well as Western Theater Federal troops.

Time Frame 1861-1865

Materials Blue lined cotton duck w/ bone button

Assembly Machine sewn.

Size 12.5 x 13.5

Color(s) Natural

Price $39.00

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The following is a quote regarding white Federal issue haversacks from: Corporal Si Klegg and His "Pard": How they lived and talked, and what they did and suffered, while fighting for the Flag. by Wilbur F. Hinman, late Lieutenant-Colonel Sixty-Fifth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. N.G.Hamilton & Co. Cleveland, Ohio 1889

"Another detail returned from a visit to the quartermaster, and the orderly began to hand around to each man a white canvas bag that would hold about a peck, with a strap attached to opposite sides. "

"What's this?" asked Si of his new acquaintance, who was standing near as one of the bags was giving to him.
"That's yer haversack!"
"But what's it fer?"
"Ter carry yer grub in!" replied Shorty. "If ye've got's good a appetite's I think ye hev f'm yer looks, ye can't git 'long 'thout that nohow.  Ye may see the time 't ye'll wish ye had more to put in it; but jest let me tell ye ter hang onter yer haversack through thick 'n' thin. It'll be the best friend ye'll find in the army."

"Si readily conceded with his comrade's views concerning its value, and inwardly resolved that whatever might betide, he would stick to his haversack, and defend it with his life.  He thought it was very nice, it looked so white and clean."

"There were haversacks-and haversacks.  Theoretically, they were all water-proof but practically they were quite the reverse, particularly after they had become a little worn.  A penetrating rain storm was very likely to make a sorry mess of their contents.  Some of them were black and some of them were white-that is to say, they were white when new. By the time one of these had been in use for a few weeks as a receptacle for chunks of fat bacon and fresh meat, damp sugar tied in a rag-perhaps a piece of an old shirt- potatoes and other vegetables that might be picked up along the route, it took on the color of a printing office towel.  It would have been alike offensive to the eyes and nose of a fastidious person.  Very likely he would have gone hungry for a good while before he could bring himself to eat anything out of it.  But the educated taste of the soldier disdained all such squeamishness.  When his regiment halted he would drop by the roadside, draw his grimy and well-greased haversack around in front of him, and from its dark and odorous recesses bring forth what tasted better to him than the daintiest morsel to the palate of an epicure.  It was all in getting used to such things."

"If at this time one of the war-worn haversacks that went through "to the Sea" had been laid before Si Klegg at dinner time, he would have placed his fingers to his nose and turned away in dire disgust, saying: "Is thy servant a dog that he should do this thing?"  It would be all right after a while, but he would have to come to it gradually.  "Rome was not built in a day;" no more did a soldier learn in that limited time to eat a campaign meal out of one of those fearful haversacks and be thankful. Sometimes a stray recruit joined a veteran company.  His hands were white, his face clean, and his appetite had been pampered by home diet. For a time he was altogether too "nice" and particular, and the old soldier treated with withering scorn such symptoms of effeminacy."

"Now and then, in a spasm of reform, a man would try to wash his haversack, but the laundry facilities of the army were sadly defective, and only indifferent results were attained.  The original whiteness of that haversack was gone forever.  If it showed an improved appearance, it was but brief and delusive.  It was soon blacker than before, and the last state of that haversack was worse than the first."

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