Canteen with water filtration

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
I had the impression it was just normal age staining but I guess it is always possible. The blue denim covered canteen I have has spots on it that I would swear was blood (I posted pictures of the nicer side for this thread). There is also a cut in the fabric and a slight dent on the canteen under the cut area. I let my mind tell me this was damaged from either a saber or bayonet glancing off of the surface and there was blood staining from a battle, obviously I was super excited about the prospect. I posted it here somewhere, but in the end it was said to likely be rust/age stains. To be honest I was a little relieved but also a little disappointed as well. If it was blood that would be confirmation that it saw at least some action. I think I saw what I wanted to see and let it get the better of me.

Luminol works to identify blood but it was pointed out that it is not always effective on something so old. I never tried it for fear it could damage the canteen cover. We may never know for sure.
These canteens were made of tin and then hot dipped in a rust proofing/galvanizing. Coating is extremely thin and the slightest scratch will produce rust, which looks like blood. The straps are always the key, if it looks newer the canteen saw little use. Straps took a beating and most extent canteens do not have them as a result, or a small remnant remains.

Canteens were not usually filled from a spigot, but submersed in creeks and streams, there for a scratch will rust. They were also carried on the bayonet side of the body and subject to battering.

What we rarely take into account, the war lasted 4 years, these artifacts are 160 years old. How have they been handled in the past 156 years? Did they go west, did they go to reunions, did the kids and grandchildren play with them?
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
I had the impression it was just normal age staining but I guess it is always possible. The blue denim covered canteen I have has spots on it that I would swear was blood (I posted pictures of the nicer side for this thread). There is also a cut in the fabric and a slight dent on the canteen under the cut area. I let my mind tell me this was damaged from either a saber or bayonet glancing off of the surface and there was blood staining from a battle, obviously I was super excited about the prospect. I posted it here somewhere, but in the end it was said to likely be rust/age stains. To be honest I was a little relieved but also a little disappointed as well. If it was blood that would be confirmation that it saw at least some action. I think I saw what I wanted to see and let it get the better of me.

Luminol works to identify blood but it was pointed out that it is not always effective on something so old. I never tried it for fear it could damage the canteen cover. We may never know for sure.
Here’s what you can do, where there is a rip in the fabric, lift it up and see if there is rust underneath the stained area.
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
These canteens were made of tin and then hot dipped in a rust proofing/galvanizing. Coating is extremely thin and the slightest scratch will produce rust, which looks like blood. The straps are always the key, if it looks newer the canteen saw little use. Straps took a beating and most extent canteens do not have them as a result, or a small remnant remains.

Canteens were not usually filled from a spigot, but submersed in creeks and streams, there for a scratch will rust. They were also carried on the bayonet side of the body and subject to battering.

What we rarely take into account, the war lasted 4 years, these artifacts are 160 years old. How have they been handled in the past 156 years? Did they go west, did they go to reunions, did the kids and grandchildren play with them?
These are certainly valid and logical points. Often times I think our excitement gets the better of us and we all want to make an incredible discovery. Even if it would turn out to be blood how can we be sure it was a product of the war or even human blood? As you stated theses canteens were around, and likely used, long after the war ended. It could very well be the canteen was taken on hunting trips and the blood, if thats what it is, could be from an animal. The tear could be from getting snagged on a branch or barbed wire, etc. After 156 years the stories are lost to us, but if only they could talk, the stories they could tell.
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Here’s what you can do, where there is a rip in the fabric, lift it up and see if there is rust underneath the stained area.
That's a great suggestion. I may try that if I can lift the fabric up enough. The cover is rather tight on the canteen and I don't want to damage it anymore than it already is. I'll let you know if I'm able to see anything.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
These are certainly valid and logical points. Often times I think our excitement gets the better of us and we all want to make an incredible discovery. Even if it would turn out to be blood how can we be sure it was a product of the war or even human blood? As you stated theses canteens were around, and likely used, long after the war ended. It could very well be the canteen was taken on hunting trips and the blood, if thats what it is, could be from an animal. The tear could be from getting snagged on a branch or barbed wire, etc. After 156 years the stories are lost to us, but if only they could talk, the stories they could tell.
If those marks are blood then I have a whole company of bloodied canteens.....:smile:
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Take a look at your bullseye canteen, make a canvas or wool cover and put it on, dip it in water and see what happens. Just because they have covers doesn't mean they can't be scratched and then rust while covered. Canteens were meant to last a short duration and to be economically made.
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Take a look at your bullseye canteen, make a canvas or wool cover and put it on, dip it in water and see what happens. Just because they have covers doesn't mean they can't be scratched and then rust while covered. Canteens were meant to last a short duration and to be economically made.
I imagine they were cherished at times and taken for granted at others. They certainly would have seen their fair share of bumps and dings and I have no doubt they would get scratched up and rusty, even with a cover in place. I can picture a soldier after a long march unloading his burden, taking a drink from his canteen and tossing it to the side not caring where or how it landed while he rested under a nice shade tree. Or a lucky soldier who got selected to fill canteens from a nearby stream, not sure if this happened often if at all, I may just be remembering the scene from Red Badge of Courage. He probably wouldn't take great care while toting around a shoulder full of canteens loaded with water. Even if they went home in near pristine condition they probably hung on a hook in a barn, shed, cellar, etc. until needed. 156 years is a long time to get banged around and, I think, we are lucky to have them in the condition that they come to us in.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
I imagine they were cherished at times and taken for granted at others. They certainly would have seen their fair share of bumps and dings and I have no doubt they would get scratched up and rusty, even with a cover in place. I can picture a soldier after a long march unloading his burden, taking a drink from his canteen and tossing it to the side not caring where or how it landed while he rested under a nice shade tree. Or a lucky soldier who got selected to fill canteens from a nearby stream, not sure if this happened often if at all, I may just be remembering the scene from Red Badge of Courage. He probably wouldn't take great care while toting around a shoulder full of canteens loaded with water. Even if they went home in near pristine condition they probably hung on a hook in a barn, shed, cellar, etc. until needed. 156 years is a long time to get banged around and, I think, we are lucky to have them in the condition that they come to us in.
Not only that, but as a long time reenactor, I have fallen on it multiple times, diving behind cover during tacticals and just plain clumsiness. I have sat on it dozens of times, banged it against everything imaginable.
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Not only that, but as a long time reenactor, I have fallen on it multiple times, diving behind cover during tacticals and just plain clumsiness. I have sat on it dozens of times, banged it against everything imaginable.
I can only imagine, I'm sure a lot of gear probably gets in the way. I have considered reenacting but it is a huge commitment, both time and money. Maybe one day I'll do it but for now I'm good with living vicariously through others and enjoying the relics I have become the caretaker for.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
OK, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to know what a black light shows when dealing with blood, old or new. The answer, nothing! I purchase a rather high end black light with directional bean some time ago, no not for collecting, but to see if our puppy at the time was piddling on the carpet! The vet warned us that Cocker Spaniel females will piddle when excited and he was right!

The minute urine areas would glow very brightly under the beam, it really helps with spot cleaning the carpets when needed. So I though OK that is a bodily fluid, so will this work on fresh and old blood, resounding "no".

I like to experiment and test a different hypothesis from time to time, so I took one for the team and cut my finger, smeared it on a repro forage cap and voila, nothing! I also shined the beam on the interior of a wheel cap in my collection that belonged to a trooper in the 1st VA Cavalry Co B and worn at Manassas. The interior of the cap has what appears to be obvious blood staining, not from a wound, but most likely a small cut, mosquito bite or plain scalp rash due to the Virginia heat.

So back to luminal, though i do not recommend it unless you have to know, urine apparently shows up due to the high ammonia content.......

The cap is in marvelous condition and very likely put away as soon as the trooper could acquire something a bit cooler, see below:

Wheel4 (2).jpg
 

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