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RELIC FOOD CANS FROM INDIAN WARS ERA NEW MEXICO US ARMY FORTS - FORT CUMMINGS, FT. WINGATE:  Recovered at the sites of Fort Cummings in southwest New Mexico, and Ft. Wingate located just west of Albuquerque,  these are the 19th Century Food Cans that were provided to the troops containing fruit, vegetables, or potted meats. 

Of the size issued at the company level, depending on the contents, this amount would probably feed 2-4 soldiers with the contents being consumed in a single meal.  All of these cans have been opened in the same manner one seemingly common to the frontier period.  One end of each can was pierced, probably with a large knife, and the tabs were bent back to access the contents.  It is worth noting that the cans were opened on what is actually the bottom.  The strengthening rings and the solder filled vent hole in the center of the lid is visible on each can.  The canning process involved heating the cans once filled and the lids laid in place, and once a vacuum was created and the lid sucked down into place, the vent hole was filled with a dab of lead solder. 

These cans are the sort of Frontier Army mess item that rarely survived exposure to the elements.  They represent a significant concern to the private soldier as an example of how the frontier troops were fed.  These cans would be an interesting addition to a display of Indian War mess utensils. 

I have the following cans and each is described below with accompanying photographs and identified to the fort where that can was found.   

 

NO. 1  FORT CUMMINGS, NEW MEXICO RELIC FOOD CAN:  Recovered at the site of Fort Cummings, New Mexico, this can measures 5 high and 4 in diameter.  This can still retains its form and displays quite nicely.  The lower end has some loss due to corrosion and there are two small breaks in the side wall, however the can is strong with no weak points.  SOLD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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