Old South Military Antiques

Confederate Wood Drum Canteen
Item #: OS-6575

During the course of the War millions of canteens were manufactured in the South. Every man in the Southern Army carried a canteen and most would go through several by War’s end. To supply this need, canteens were manufactured at Confederate government facilities, but the government facilities could supply only a small fraction of the canteens required to equip the army. In order to meet the pressing need for canteens the Confederate government purchased the vast majority of canteens from private manufacturing concerns.

The most widely used Confederate canteen was made of wood because any cooperage could easily convert to the manufacture of wooden canteens as they required exactly the same skills as barrel making. Revolutionary War canteens were also made of wood and are often confused with Confederate era canteens. The Confederate canteen can be differentiated from its Revolutionary War counterpart by the lathe turned front and back faces. The front and back faces of the Revolutionary War canteens were cut and shaped by hand, consequently they lack lathe turning marks. The lathe marks are readily apparent on faces of Confederate manufactured canteens. The lathe turned wood faces were joined by horizontal slats and banded with iron. The bands were held together with copper or tin loops.

The canteen shown here has the letters J.C.C deeply carved into the face. Unfortunately JCC did not tell us any more about himself. No regiment number or company letter can be found; J.C.C. must remain anonymous. This is the standard Confederate issue wood drum canteen with forged iron bands and three tin cross straps. The spout looks old and is correct for this canteen, but I can tell it is not original. Otherwise the canteen is perfect, solid and tight. It has the remains of a pig skin strap attached.

One is unfamiliar with my business might conclude from the exceedingly low price that there is something more wrong with the canteen, but there is not; it simply does not have the completeness and historical value of the canteens that I usually sell. This is truly a bargain for someone.

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