Actual Period Mess Kit


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johan_steele

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#2
I have bought several sets of original tableware over the years priced from $5-$15 and passed them on to others. I have a messplate and "cooler" copied directly from a member of the Iron Brigade, my copper handle tin cup is a copy of one from a private collection. Many on the higher end of the hobby use high end copies and some originals.

The soldier was expected to provide his own utensils, cup & plate so there was quite a variation is styles.

Haversack.JPG
 

James N.

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#3
I was watching the youtube and one gentleman was talking about mess kits. He made mention of using actual period utensils and plates. Is this common? Looking around utensils seem easy to find and not terribly expensive.
View attachment 295622
Photo credit: @johan_steele
As johan has already indicated there were essentially NO such things as mess kits during the Civil War, and I think that's worth stressing. As I recall, the first appeared sometime in the latter part of the century and became issue to soldiers fighting the Indian Wars. The closest thing during the war were large, cumbersome cooking sets originally sold for camping and often brought to camp by well-heeled Union officers. These consisted of cook pots, utensils, cutlery, etc., etc. usually packed in big wooden crates which naturally proved completely impractical for active campaigning. You can find period advertisements for them in ads in Harper's and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Magazines and in catalogues from high-class "gentleman's outfitters" like Schuyler, Hartley, and Graham and Tiffany's.
 
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#6
somewhere I read that a popular plate was made by putting powder in a canteen which would blow it apart at the seam and then use one of thosw halves as a plate.
If you are going to go the route of a canteen half plate then id suggest to just melt out the solder and pull apart (for safety and noise reasons). I have seen mention of these on the Youtube channel Civil War Digital Digest in their haversack episode. Also some originals. The included images were found at the Battle of Kernstown, Battle of Wilderness, and Petersburg.
 

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#7
somewhere I read that a popular plate was made by putting powder in a canteen which would blow it apart at the seam and then use one of thosw halves as a plate.
These were often if not usually to create an improvised skillet or frying pan - the half was used by attaching it to a forked green stick to be held over a campfire.
 
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#9
These were often if not usually to create an improvised skillet or frying pan - the half was used by attaching it to a forked green stick to be held over a campfire.
Something of note is that according to artifacts when the canteen was split one half would have a spout and be used as the pan the other without it would either become a plate or be modified to work as a pan by attaching a wire.
 



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