"[the soldier was] half-beaten before he came to the scratch."

-A veteran soldier, describing the weight of individual supplies (Frey, 102)

Powder Horn, Cartridge Box, Bullet Mold, Canteen c. 1776-1783

By the end of the 18th Century, as overseas military operations become more complex, packs become heavier and more compact. All of these accoutrements are standard equipment for British infantrymen during the American Revolution. Powder horns, often engraved with words or pictures, load gunpowder through the muzzle of your musket.

Towards the end of the century, many soldiers begin to rely on cartridges-pre-packed rolls of powder, paper and bullet that allow the soldier to load his musket with greater efficiency-instead of powder horns.(Moore, 170)


Misc. Equipment, photograph by Henry Bedlivy, 1967

Powder Horns, photograph by Henry Bedlivy, 1967


It is critical, however, that cartridges be kept safe and dry, and soldiers who use cartridges must carry heavy cartridge boxes. These boxes, combined with cartridges, balls, bullet mold, bayonet, flints, and cleaning materials add up to twelve pounds hanging off the soldier's waist-not to mention the sixteen-pound musket on his shoulder. (Frey, 102)

In addition, soldiers in the field carry a full wooden canteen (pictured,) and a kit on his back, holding a great-coat, a blanket roll, a camp kettle, leather tools (for shoe repair,) a hatchet, and a three-day supply of beef and ship biscuit. Along with a sixteen-pound "Brown Bess" musket, a soldiers individual supplies alone North America may weigh up to sixty pounds. (Frey, 102-103)

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