Circa 1820’s-30’s Militia Knapsack


A complete knapsack with it’s original canvas shoulder straps, in old dark “barn red” and white trim.

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A item that is getting hard to find these days, are the complete, fully painted militia knapsacks of the early 19th century.  It seemed that most every company of militia in every state in that period developed their own design, embellishing these canvas accoutrements, painting them with eagles, geometric symbols, or simply like this example with the initials of it’s owner.

The construction is simple, using one section of canvas, folded appropriately to create the bag section, and folding again to form the flap.  The exposed edges of the flap area employ heavy hemp twine to sew down the rolled edge. Three leather straps with sections to hold wrought iron buckles are sewn down, equally distant on the front.  Canvas straps and the back of the knapsack are in their natural color, unpainted.

The condition is surprisingly sound, with most of the original barn red, and white (trim & lettering) paint still in tact. The rectangular panel on the center of the upper flap most likely are the painted initials of the owner, and not a unit designation, a common practice.

It would appear the style of the knapsack is one of the north eastern states, most likely New England, or New York State.

These knapsacks were more for parade in this period, a showy piece of the uniform, and not really intended for its original intended military use of carrying most of the needed belongings of a soldier in the regular establishment.

A scarce and desirable military item.

USPS First Class Mail  $20.00

Additional information

Weight 6 lbs
Dimensions 22 × 20 × 8 in