Old South Military Antiques

Confederate Tin Canteen With Its Original Strap and Spout
Item #: OS-7505

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. Tin-smithing was a skilled craft in the antebellum period; cup, plates, buckets, pans, light fixtures, wash basins and myriad other essentials were made by the tinsmith. Any village larger than a tavern had a tinsmith and every town had numerous skilled tinsmiths.

When the War was forced upon the South tinsmiths near and far, whether from a motive of profit or patriotism they turned their skilled hands to war. And every hand was needed as every soldier needed a tin plate and cup, a scabbard, either of leather or tin and a canteen of wood or tin. There were far more needed than could be supplied but for the soldier’s friend, the enemy.

The tin drum canteen was manufactured before, during and after the War, so most tin drum canteens cannot, even if they are from the mid nineteenth century, be identified specifically as Confederate.

Fortunately, this rare canteen is not one of those obscure, unidentifiable canteens; this is unquestionably a Confederate manufactured canteen. This can be determined because the canteen has its original Confederate manufactured canvas sling, and even has its original cork stopper. The strap button came off or was removed so the soldier could adjust its length by passing the end of the strap through the whipped eyelet and tying it at the desired length.

The canteen is in excellent condition, as is its original strap, which is strong enough to hang on a mannequin.