Army Painted Knapsack, 1760s - 1810
*special thanks to Joel Moffet for the
development of the prototype
had the fortune to study in detail an original late 18th century British Army
From this examination we are able to produce this completely
handmade replica including the buckles and marker's mark.
As the photos
attest this is must for any British Army reenactor.
item is made of oznaburg linen and closed with white leather straps (similar to buff), and
is waterproofed by reddish brown paint matched to that of the original.
The paint covers both sides of the knapsack:
Original Knapsack (special thanks to Keith Raynor)
the two main storage pockets are closed by three black horn buttons and all the
finishing is done by hand.
One delightful element about the original
knapsack was the presence of the marker's stamp for the famous firm Trotters of
This element is reproduced in fine style on our
and other evidence suggests the painted knapsack started to take hold in the
British Army just prior to the American Revolution.
By the 1790, it was
Indeed the Dayes prints of 1792 show this type of knapsack on
the ground beside each regiment the artist illustrated.
collection of the 97th Regiment of the early 1790s again supports this packs
A beautiful painting in 1805 of an unknown British volunteer in
the collection of the National Army Museum, almost identical to the original
above, shows its continued use.
the new design was implemented in 1806, it took many years for the various
Regiments to switch.
Regimental Inspection returns show this knapsack
still in use into 1810.
The 1806 knapsack is probably one of the
most mis-interpreted items of equipment and commonly believed to have boards in
it which it did not.
The practice of placing of boards in the knapsack
started in 1815 in some regiments and was not at all a universally-adopted
Of course this is another story. - Robert Henderson
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