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MODEL 1878 CANTEEN - REGIMENTALLY MARKED TO THE 5TH REGIMENT - COMPLETE WITH A ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL MODEL 1878 LEATHER STRAP:  An original Indian War period US Army issue Model 1878 Canteen complete with the 1878 pattern, wide leather shoulder strap manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal that was intended to serve for both the canteen and haversack.   

The canteen is complete with both of the triangular hangers that were attached as part of the modification process the arsenal used to convert the Civil War canteens to the Model 1878 Pattern.  The “US” stencil is clear and legible, and is of the desirable “large” pattern characters, indicating that this is one of the earlier stenciled covers.  The cover is solid and free from any holes or tears, and the seams are intact.  The body of the canteen holds it shape on the front and the rear surface of the canteen has the characteristic concave indention that was intentionally made by the soldiers so the body of the canteen would rest more comfortably against their hip or against the side of their saddle.  The original cork stopper and brass chain are present, and while the cork has suffered some loss, it is still maintaining its upper form, and fits, and stays, in the neck of the spout.   

In addition to the “US” on the front of the cover, it is also stenciled with unit inventory markings - "C 5 32" - indicating this canteen was issued in C Company of the 5th Regiment to soldier number 32.  While there is no way of knowing whether this canteen was issued in the 5th Cavalry or 5th Infantry, both units were very active on the western frontier during the height of the Indian Wars and this is very nice unit identification.  

The wide leather strap – introduced with the Model 1878 Haversack and adopted for the canteen as well with the introduction of the 1885 Equipment - is in very good condition.  The strap is full length with no weak points, complete with both brass hooks and leather keepers, and the leather is supple with only minor flexing in scattered spots on the surface.  The piece worker’s initials stamp is legible on one tip.       

This is the canteen issued to the regular army in the west, identified to one of the more active regular army units with no National Guard or State Militia unit marks, and it is a very solid specimen.  (0962)  $275 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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