For Blog 7, Dr. Wharton has asked us all to discuss what we have encountered in our research for the Timeline project that could add to our understanding of material culture studies as a discipline and expository writing as a material practice. At first, I found this task a bit daunting, considering my object is bland and has no significant images or writing on it. Simply put, my canteen is old and metal with distorted brownish colors. However, after taking a step back and taking a different approach in my examination, I realized that this canteen has a lot to offer regarding the Civil War and what times were like for those during this era. Coming from the blog post by YLEE56, the statement, “its history was what it helped to make it stand out,” relates to my situation.
From the MARTA excavation records, it reveals that this canteen dates back to the Civil War era. The site that it was found was in and/or around where both the Battle of Atlanta and the Battle of Ezra Church were fought. Furthermore, this knowledge led me back to the origin of canteens to see when they were first used in war.
According to the US Army Center of Military History website, the term canteen shared no association with a "small container for water carried by soldiers on the march" until 1744. In these early stages, canteens were primarily made of wood but available in all different shapes and sizes. Furthermore, the US Army Center of Military History website states that the two most prominent canteens were the "barrel-type made of wood with side slats like a barrel, and the cheesebox-type made of wood with a single wrap around side." This information reveals the early use of canteens and how they were first used by soldiers.
Another interesting aspect I have learned about the canteen is how significant it was to make sure the top quality canteens were realized then shipped out to the soldiers. This job fell upon a man by the name of Callendar Irvine. He was elected the Commissary General of Purchases during the War of 1812 and most of the Civil War. This role is significant because he was responsible for providing soldiers with the quality equipment, including uniforms and other essential items. The U.S. Army Center of Military History website indicates that Irvine invested lots of time and money into running the department.
While these two aspects of canteens are completely separate in nature, they are connected through this analysis. Originating in mainly wooden form, the canteens eventually changed over to tin because it made them stronger and more durable. These types of connections is something that has intrigued me about working on this timeline project. You never really realize how interconnected certain things can be until you take the time to research and analyze.
"Economic Growth and the Early Industrial Revolution." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015.
"Prints & Posters - The American Soldier - U.S. Center of Military History." US Army Center Of Military History. US Army Center Of Military History, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. <http://www.history.army.mil/html/artphoto/pripos/amsoldier-print/1815-p.html>.