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Rare Civil War Knapsack of the 22nd New York - PUBLISHED

$1,150.00 $850.00
(You save $300.00)

Product Description

Civil War Knapsack. It is the early war Militia-Style Box Knapsack. They were made with a wood frame and covered with a tarred canvas material. It measures 15” x 13 ¾” x 4 ¼” and when opened, has two flaps with fabric ties. On the outside back in old white paint is the number “22”, on the side in the same paint is “211”, and on top is a modern museum marking which appears to be “L-19” (Lotz #19). On the back is a wire which was used to hang this item for display and an early paper string tag with “U.S. Militia issue backpack / Civil War Period”. There are also remnants of the leather straps along with the copper rivets. This unique piece is published in my new book "The Civil War Soldier - His Personal Items" (see pictures). 

This rare piece was on display for many years at the Lotz House Museum in Franklin, Tennessee, which closed in 2000 and sold off some of its contents. After almost ten years, this museum is now planning to reopen. When I purchased this item several years ago, verbal history was that this knapsack belonged to a soldier of the 22nd New York. I assume that it would be from the 22nd New York National Guard, a militia unit organized in New York City before the outbreak of the war. They were known for carrying this type of hard knapsack (see period pictures of the 22nd). The purpose of the affluent men of the “Union Grays” was to protect the city, but with the war raging in the south, they were anxious to get in the “fight”. Now known as the “Strawberry Grays”, they left the city in May of 1862 in response to Stonewall Jackson’s campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. In August of 1862, they would return to New York City, but would be called up again for action in the Gettysburg Campaign.


The knapsack remains in very nice condition, with no chipping or flaking. Crumbled newspapers from the 1970s are inside to give it body. These types of knapsacks were used during the early part of the war by both sides, and there are examples in Time/Life Echoes of Glory – Arms and Equipment of the Union and the Confederacy. A great opportunity to add a rare piece to your Civil War collection.

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