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115492Re: Campaign Equipage: Officers and Common Soldiers

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  • John U. Rees
    Mar 3, 2009

      I'm well along with my officers' campaign article (British and
      American), but thanks for the research you posted. I will email you a
      copy of the first part of my work-in-progress so you can see where
      I'm going with it and what I now have. In the meantime here are the
      titles and current section headings for the work:

      "'Taking to the field only what is essential for decency and comfort
      …': Officers' Food, Mess, and Campaign Equipage during the American
      War, 1775-1783"
      Part 1. "'Those necessaries only which cannot be dispensed with …':
      Revolutionary Officers' Campaign Experience and Equipage"
      1. "Things necessary for a Gentleman to be furnished with …"
      Officers' Kit for Regimental Service
      2. "Divers officers are intitled to two horse wagons …"
      Wheeled Carriage
      3. The Absurdity of heavy Baggage …": American and British Attempts
      to Reduce Excess Baggage
      4."The officers must be satisfied walking …": Allotment of Horses
      5. British Officers' Campaign Equipage and Living Conditions.
      6. American Campaign Gear and Conditions

      Part 2. "'A better repast …': Continental Army Field and Company
      Officers' Fare"

      Part 3. "'The repast was in the English fashion': Revolutionary
      General Officers' Culinary Equipage in Camp and on Campaign"
      1. "Plates, once tin but now Iron …": General Washington's Mess
      2. "40 Dozens Lemons, in a Box": British Generals' Provisions and
      Mess Equipage
      3. "My poor cook is almost always sick …": General Riedesel Goes to
      4. "A Major General & family": Nathanael Greene's Food Ware

      This work will be followed by a study of common soldiers' knapsacks
      and necessaries:

      "The Necessaries of a Soldier ...": The Common Soldier's Burden in
      the American War for Independence
      Current tenative subheadings:
      1. Overview
      2. "An enormous bulk, weighing about sixty pounds": British Troops
      A. "The load a soldier generally carries during a campaign …"
      3. "The burden on their backs.": American Troops


      1780 Paramus article: http://tinyurl.com/bja36

      --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "raynersteve" <steverayner@...> wrote:
      > Hi John;
      > There are also a few of the descriptive mentions of how the Officers
      > were equipped for the campaign.
      > The period could be from several days for small commands to several
      > months or the duration of the campaign. It all depended on when or
      > the baggage caught up to them.
      > In the case of the 1776 New York campaign Howe's army began to land
      > Staten Island and gather reinforcements in late June. During this
      > period, some troops were cantoned in the villages, while others were
      > encamped in tents. By the end of August, the army crossed to Long
      > Island, again leaving baggage behind. In mid-September, the army
      > crossed to New York (Manhattan) island, repeating the cycle. As
      > territory was gained, troops were posted to hold it, effectually
      > ending the campaign for them for the time being. The elite of the
      > and some Infantry Brigades however, proceeded to the mainland and
      > New Jersey continuing the campaign into December. There were
      > marches and changes of quarters, but the army in the Jerseys was
      > fairly settled down by Christmas. Then followed the Trenton-
      > campaign. Letters from Officers in New Jersey tell that they had to
      > without their baggage. Some never got theirs, some was captured on
      > way to them. The troops in this campaign were essentially,
      > bounding ahead of their baggage.
      > In the case of the New York - New Jersey campaign, it appears that
      > Officers and Soldiers had only the kit as described for the
      > In the spring 1777 New Jersey campaign, Howe made plans to bring
      > baggage, but lightened it prior to the opening of the campaign. The
      > campaign was of short duration, the troops being moved to transports
      > shortly after their return.
      > In the 1777 Philadelphia campaign, Howe landed at head of Elk,
      > Maryland, landed the baggage after about a week, giving the men and
      > horses a chance to get back in shape after the long sea voyage and
      > waiting out a period of heavy rains. But before marching, he sent
      > baggage aboard ship, and the troops marched to Philadelphia with
      > the lightest kit. They occupied Philadelphia on September 26, though
      > part of the army remained in hut camps north of the city. The
      > was brought by transports up the Delaware during the winter, but
      > of it was driven ashore by ice and captured.
      > In the evacuation of Philadelphia in June 1778, the light baggage
      > sent by wagon, with the troops following behind between it and
      > Washington's army. Some of the army appears to have got their
      > by sea, or to have partly replaced it in Philadelphia.
      > I haven't studied the later main army campaigns in detail, but they
      > appear to have followed much the same pattern.
      > Burgoyne's campaign sticks out in that we find references to
      > being carried. In this case, Burgoyne intended to take up winter
      > quarters at Albany. Marching with too much unnecessary baggage
      > (although not more than the issue allowance as far as I can tell)
      > be counted among the reasons why Burgoyne bogged down and ran short
      > provisions.
      > Howe on the other hand, marched light and succeeded. Cornwallis and
      > several others followed suit.
      > Any individual unit can see how the historical evidence applies to
      > them by creating a chronology of its movements.
      > Best Regards,
      > Steve Rayner
      > --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, Sgt42RHR@ wrote:
      > >
      > > Gentle List,
      > >
      > > What is listed here is evidence about when men were specifically
      > asked to
      > > lay aside things they normally had; that is, it records when times
      > were such
      > > that these items should not be carried. What if we pose the
      > question from the
      > > other side of the coin?
      > >
      > > In the first few examples it appears that something was afoot in
      > August
      > > 1776, no telling, but in those instances men were told to lay
      > the things
      > > they normally carried. When did they get those things back? What
      > is the
      > > evidence about the amount of time that men had access to those
      > things that on
      > > occasion they were told to lay aside?
      > >
      > > How often was a given private soldier with--as well as
      > without--those items
      > > they were sometimes asked to lay aside? Are orders recorded for
      > when they
      > > got their stuff back? What is the evidence regarding when they
      > this stuff
      > > (as each order asking them to lay it aside suggests that they had
      > at that
      > > point)?
      > >
      > > Cheers,
      > > John
      > >
      > >
      > > John M. Johnston,
      > > "There is a fine line between hobby and mental illness." Dave
      > >
      > >
      > > In a message dated 3/2/2009 6:41:38 P.M. Central Standard Time,
      > > steverayner@ writes:
      > >
      > >
      > >
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