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Late 19th/Early 20th Century Canteens and Haversack

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Posted 6 years ago


(310 items)

Scott’s cabinet card photo made me decide to post these.

The first canteen is a model 1902 and is marked US on front in 1 ½” tall letters that I hope you can see in picture #2 – it’s very faded and almost gone. The difference between the Model 1902 and earlier round canteens is that it is slightly convex in the center of the back so it lies against the soldier’s body more comfortably. There is also a layer of felt insulation under the canvas. What’s strange about this one is it has a model 1903 canteen strap (Check out the canteen strap in Scott’s posted cabinet photo) that is sewn to the back of the canteen instead of attached to the sides of the canteen by hook and eye (Picture 3). There is what I believe to be an inspector’s stamp on the back of the canteen with initials JHC or JMC or even JHO – it’s too faded to be sure.

The second canteen is similar to the canteens used in the Spanish American War, and is stenciled with the insignia of the 7th Cavalry Regiment. It has an appropriate era folded and sewn canvas sling and buckle on one side, but a replacement piece of webbing on the other side. Instead of a detachable hook & eye at the edge of the canteen, the sling is permanently riveted to a wire bale (picture 4). Instead of a cork top, there is a screw top cap. My guess is that this may have been purchased rather than issued. You probably also notice the repair job at the bottom, which is clearly hand sewn and not too well. Both of these canteens were purchased at a shop in Northern California back in the early 1990s.

I picked up the Haversack at an incredible surplus store I found in Galveston Texas back in the late 1980s. It is marked to Company K, 1st Infantry Regiment. During the Spanish American War, haversacks were a bit smaller than this one. Based on the experiences of that war, haversacks were made this size starting in 1898, and in 1903 the Army started making the haversack with spring clips in back instead of D-rings (picture 3) like the spring clip on the canteen strap. The haversack was to clip through the grommets in the new web belts issued with the 1903 Springfield. This haversack has eye-hooks instead of either the D-Ring or the spring clips, and I assume it’s a transitional piece for attaching to the new belt.


  1. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for sharing and thanks for getting me on track with the cabinet card!

  2. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
    Thanks Scott, Officialfuel, Bellin68 and Tlmbaran.
  3. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
    Thanks Kevin
  4. alibi, 3 years ago
    The canteen with the strap sewn to the back cover was officially designated "Infantry Canteen" and was manufactured at Rock Island Arsenal 1909-1910, as a result of field trials in 1908.

    The canteen on the right was not a regulation pattern, the marking was probably applied by someone that wanted to "militarize" the canteen.

    The larger haversack went into production at Rock Island Arsenal in 1899, and should be considered a Philippine Insurrection related item.
  5. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 3 years ago
    Thanks Alibi!

    I see your first post was a couple months ago, so belated welcome to CW. Always happy to get another knowledgeable militaria enthusiast here. Your post cleared up a few issues I had with these items.

    In regards to the first canteen, I don't doubt you are right, and I do appreciate this info. I would like to know if you have a reference book/website I could find the info on. I like to document this stuff.

    In regards to the second canteen, I figured it wasn't a regulation pattern. With the sewn canvas/web combination sling, I would not be surprised if this were a put-together item. Your response made me take a closer look at the stencil, and I just realized the swords are wrong! traditionally, US Cavalry insignia has sword blades facing up, but the grips on this marking would have them facing down. That means the scabbard rings are on the wrong side of the swords! Thanks for having me take a second look. Fortunately I didn't spend much money on this.

    Lastly, about the haversack - with the hooks instead of D-rings on the haversack, wouldn't that make this 1903 at the earliest?


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