How much clothing would a soldier actually carry in a blanket roll?

Yankee Brooke

First Sergeant
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An extra shirt? Two extra? A couple pairs of socks? Drawers? How many pieces would each actually carry/could you carry before it gets bulky?

Would rolling up two extra shirts, two pairs of socks, and one or two pairs of drawers be overkill? I'm just kinda interested, I want to get the blanket roll right....
 

111thNYSV

Corporal
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Jul 23, 2019
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Rochester NY
Not sure as I always use my knapsack. I always carry an extra pair of socks, an extra shirt or two and some of the smaller stuff in there. I use it as a pillow when I'm not wearing it. Sometimes I will wear it into battle at reenactments. Depends on what scenario we are trying to portray. One of our guys wears a blanket roll quite a bit. not sure what he keeps in there...
 

johan_steele

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South of the North 40
An extra shirt? Two extra? A couple pairs of socks? Drawers? How many pieces would each actually carry/could you carry before it gets bulky?

Would rolling up two extra shirts, two pairs of socks, and one or two pairs of drawers be overkill? I'm just kinda interested, I want to get the blanket roll right....
FWIW as soldiers grew to be veterans they learned that less is more. A soldier didn't want to have to carry anything more than absolutely needed. Blankets were often left behind altogether for summer campaigns. But that said some veteran units knew what was needed. When the 4th MN started the Vicksburg run in the spring of 63 D Co had every man start off w/ an extra set of brogans hanging from their blanket roll. When they made the assault on Vicksburg a little over a month later they had changed into fresh shoes as many had worn out.

I had a list somewhere of everything one soldier carried on campaign and remember being rurprised exactly how little he actually carried but it still came out to about 70 lbs.
 

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
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Jan 16, 2015
Examples from the Gettysburg summer campaign indicate foot soldiers typically put their extra set of good clothes in their knapsack (or a spare haversack), which could be stored on a regimental baggage wagon to avoid having to carry it. When given a rare opportunity to wash up on the march, they might remove their clothes, soak and wring them out to the extent possible, and put them on again. A mounted soldier had the advantage of being able to carry an extra (or partial set) of clothes in a saddle bag.
 

Yankee Brooke

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Being you mostly day trip I'd keep it simple and light and just the blanket. It is nice to have a dry shirt to change into on a hot day so maybe a spare shirt. This video may help.
I was mostly bringing the stuff just so I can unroll it in camp and show the public what a soldier would carry and how. Plus extra shirt and socks might be needed in summer.
 

Morrow7x

Private
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Jan 28, 2021
Technically not much help to the OP I suppose, but I keep coming across threads that remind me of letter passages...

A typical load- "Just think, a knapsack containing a shirt a pair of stockings, a pair of drawers, an overcoat and a dress coat, a blanket, a haversack full of [gibberish transcription] and trinkets, a canteen holding two quarts, a cartridge box containing forty cartridges, a belt holding a cap box and bayonet, and a musket. All these amount to forty pounds or more."

Learning the ropes, "...I have packed my extra shirt, drawers, blanket and stockings in the officer's baggage and if the time comes when I cannot do this my overcoat may "go to the dogs" and so may my shirt and drawers. Very few of the old soldiers we meet every day have knapsacks. They say a man cannot carry them. All they have is a blanket and one suit of clothes..."

Marching towards Perryville in the heat and dust of fall 1862 Kentucky, "It went hard with us the first day, I assure you. Our burdens made it so. I fortunately had packed some of my things as usual in the officer's mess chest at Louisville so that all I had was one suit of clothes besides a dress coat and overcoat and my rubber blanket. These are all I have and all I can possibly carry on my back. It is very doubtful about seeing the things I left behind but I do not care much... Most of the boys brought along knapsacks half as large as themselves and as a natural consequence clothing was scattered all along the road for 3 or 4 days..."

Showing both the evidence of ditched gear and the rapport the troops felt with Old Rosey... "Our division was reviewed the other day by Gen Rosecrans. Noticing that I had no knapsack on he pleasantly remarked as he rode by, 'Get all the law allows you and keep it. Remember that, Orderly Sergeant'... He joked pleasantly with the boys as he rode up and down the ranks..."

And maybe the only use many foot soldiers had for their sword... ;-) "...our hardest marching must be over. Mine anyway, for I have learned from 'the old soldier' and carry no knapsack. Only an extra overcoat, which if too warm I sling over my shoulder on my sword..." A month later they would be shivering and suffering in the cold winter rains of Tennessee...
 
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captaindrew

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I was mostly bringing the stuff just so I can unroll it in camp and show the public what a soldier would carry and how. Plus extra shirt and socks might be needed in summer.
A change of shirt and socks is perfect, they wouldn't be carrying much more than that if anything at all. The more miles they put on their feet the less they carried. If you don't already have one an oilclothe/gum blanket is a valuable thing to have even if you're just daytripping. You can add that to your roll or just hang it loosely so you can get to it easily if needed.
 

Yankee Brooke

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A change of shirt and socks is perfect, they wouldn't be carrying much more than that if anything at all. The more miles they put on their feet the less they carried. If you don't already have one an oilclothe/gum blanket is a valuable thing to have even if you're just daytripping. You can add that to your roll or just hang it loosely so you can get to it easily if needed.
I already do have a ground cloth/poncho. I would keep it out, just in case it rains lol
 
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