Click on individual items for more information.

Items in blue italized text are extracts from the Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States, 1861.


The Model 1855 Double-bag knapsack is the prefered knapsack for use.

Knapsacks should be 14 to 15 inches wide and 30 to 31 inches long, when fully opened. Packs
should be made of a heavy cotton fabric and treated with a black paint for waterproofing. The smaller
of the two bags, which closes like an envelope, will be between 11 and 11 ½ inches. The larger
bag, which has a flap closure will be about 14 to 15 inches. The two are joined by a strip of cloth
about 5 inches wide. One of the two leather shoulder straps uses an adjustable buckle, the other
uses a hook and heavy triangular shaped piece of metal. Three leather straps and buckles are
used to hold the bottom of the knapsack closed when worn. Two additional leather straps are
attached to the shoulder straps. Most likely these straps were hooked to the waist belt.

2 pairs of leather loops will be attached to the center piece which connects the two bags. These
are used to secure two additional straps (greatcoat straps) to the bag. If you choose to purchase
a knapsack, and it does not otherwise include greatcoat straps, you should also purchase them.

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The Federal Tarred Haversack with an inner bag is the prefered haversack for use.

7/8 cotton or pure linen drilling, to weigh 6 ounces to the yard.

Haversacks were made from a painted light weight cotton or linen drilling. Haversacks will be
between 12 and 14 inches tall (when closed), about 12 inches wide, and have a 3 to 5 inch
gusset sewn into the bottom. The cover flaps, which can either be part of the back or a
separate piece of cloth will measure between 4 ½ and 5 ½ inches. The cloth strap will be
between 1 ½ and 2 inches wide and from 42 to 45 inches in length. A closing strap of leather
between 5 and 7 inches in length is secured (sewn or riveted) to the front cover.

The inner ration or rice bag can be the same material as the outer-bag (just not tarred) but is
often a somewhat heavier fabric. They will be slightly smaller than the haversack and can be
buttoned (usually 3 buttons) to the haversack with small bone or paper-backed tin buttons.

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Cooking items

Many of the following cooking items are not required unless you choose to participate in a mess
and have dinner or breakfast at the Fort. If not participating in cooked meals at the Fort, the only
item that should be purchased is a dipper (cup). General Order 70, 3 September 1861, authorized
the issue of knives, forks, tin cups, and tin plates (but not spoons) to volunteers.

Avoid stainless steel for cups, boilers, plates, etc. Stainless is much too shinny plus its invention
and the first commercial use of stainless steel did not occur until after 1910. Members who currently
have stainless steel items can continue to use them - however, if the item is later replaced please
replace it with a more appropriate tin item. Except for cups and canteens (covered) stainless steel
items should not be left in view during hours when Fort Tejon is open to the public.

Tin cups, muckets, and coffee boilers:

While many sizes of tin cups were in use during the war one typical size was about 4 inches tall and
    about 4 ¼ wide. Cups should have handles and rims that have been wired (meaning that the edges
    have been rolled around a length of wire). While not required the wires in the handle should be
    punched through, and looped around the rim. - this helps keep the handle on the cup should you leave
    it in a fire a bit too long. Cups should have flat bottoms with a simple turned rim.

Coffee boilers and muckets usually refer to items taller than cups (dippers) and, in the case of muckets,
    usually imply a lid. These items may also have a bail (wire handle). When buying these items it is best to
    look for handles, lids, etc. that use rivets, in addition to sodder. This goes back to durability - items using
    only sodder can, somewhat easily, fall apart by being over-heated.


Plates should be made of tin, have fairly deep bowls, and be about 9 inches in diameter. Avoid two piece
    plates with bottoms soddered on and these are quite easy to damage. A suitable substitude for a plate is
    a canteen half. Sold by most sutlers canteen halves can be used as plates, fry pans (with the addition of
    a handle), wash basins, etc.

Knives, forks, & spoons:

Knives, forks, and spoons were most often of stamped steel or iron (tinned). Handles were usually
    wood, metal, or bone. Forks in use during the Civil War could have 2, 3, or 4 tines.  Knives usually
    had a straight blade, one side of which was sharpened. The most common size for a spoon seems
    to have been the table spoon.

    In addition to individual utensils several types of combination sets were in use. One type was a fork,
    spoon, and knife set, simular to a pocket knife. In this type the knife could be separated from the fork
    and spoon.  Another combination type was one where the fork and spoon were on opposite ends of
    one piece and the knife was a second piece. In this type the 2 pieces would slide together for storage.

    Either of the common types of knife, fork, spoon combinations or separate items are acceptable for
    use. Members should avoid using modern utensils and stamped tin utensils such as sometimes
    found with World War I mess kits.

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The "standard" Federal issue blanket is the preferred blanket for use.

1599. BLANKET - woolen, gray, with letters US in black, four inches, in the center; to be seven feet long,
and five and a half feet wide, and to weigh five punds.

While a majority of blankets used during the war were produced outside the United States, most
came close to matching the above regulation. Most were gray, grayish brown, or brown, were
between 4 and 5 pounds in weight, and most came close to the regulation size. The vast majority
have the required US stitched near the center and almost all will have darker stripes, about three
inches wide woven into the material at either end. Original blankets display a marked "wale" or
ribbing, especially after the nap has worn off.

A blanket (or two) is needed, if you are going to bivouac (spend the night) at the Fort or other CW
events. Members should make every effort to purchase a blanket that matches the regulations.
Correct blankets are available through several of the sutlers listed in the links section.

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Tentage - Shelter Halves

When used, an "early" war pattern shelter half is the preferred tent for Company K.

During the war tentage took on many shapes and sizes. For the infantry man, however the most
common type was the Shelter Tent. Adopted in the fall of 1861 the Shelter, or "Dog Tent", started
to make it's way into the field and by the Spring of 1862 had been issued to many units in the
Army of the Potomac (Eastern Theater). Each soldier would carry a shelter half which, when joined
with another section, could be made into a tent the provided at least a minimal level of protection.

Ponchos, Rubber and painted ground cloths

A Federal issue gum blanket or poncho is the preferred ground cloth for use by members of Co. K.

Waterproof blanket... To be made of good, strong material, coated with gutta-percha or india rubber,
vulcanized... for infantry, to be 46 inches wide by 71 inches long.

A properly constructed gum blanket or poncho (ponchos should be about 16 inches wider than a
waterproof blanket) will have small "O" sized grommets about 9/16 of an inch in outside diameter.
Almost all surviving examples have backings, or stays, under the grommets acting as a reinforcement.

Several of the listed sutlers sell good quality gum blankets and ponchos that can last for several
years of reenacting. You should avoid buying those items with over-sized grommets.

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Extra items

Sewing kit

A sewing kit, or "housewife", was an item carried by many Civil War soldiers. Contining thread, needles,
buttons, cloth patches, etc. a housewife allowed soldiers to repair rips, sew on buttons, and do other
simple field repairs to their uniforms. The most common type of housewives seen in reenacting are roll
types which are usually between 3 and 4 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long when opened (unrolled).
They can be made of cloth, gum blanket or painted cloth material, or leather.

Eye glasses

Modern eye glasses should, if at all possible, be replaced with either glasses using period frames or
contact lenses. Unless medically required, sunglasses are not to be worn, while in uniform, during public

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