Id’d Gardner or Richmond Arsenal Pattern Confederate Wood Drum Canteen


Id’d Gardner or Richmond Arsenal Pattern Confederate Wood Drum Canteen – This Confederate wood drum canteen, either of cedar or cherry wood, is in excellent condition. Carved on one side of the canteen face is “IRL” and “1776”. The IRL is the abbreviation for the name Isaac R. Lilly of Co. B, Virginia 23rd Battalion of Infantry. We presume that the 1776 date is indicative of the Confederacy’s belief that they were participating in a “Second Revolution”, divesting themselves of a despotic Federal government, analogous to the colonists’ desire to divest themselves from a despotic King George III. The canteen, although missing its original mouthpiece, has remnants of its original leather shoulder strap, beneath the three iron sling guides. Although the Confederate arsenals initially produced soldered, tin drum canteens, by 1862, with metal a precious and increasingly scarce commodity, Confederate quartermasters began ordering wood canteens, comparable to pre-war types. Francis Gardner, employed at the Richmond Arsenal, initiated the use of slightly curved faces to enhance durability for these wooden canteens; in addition, the curved staves were inserted beneath two circumferential iron bands, affixed to the wood body by nails or tacks. Three sling guides were positioned beneath the circumferential retaining bands. Gardner obtained a patent on this style of canteen, and the wood drum canteen would, thereafter, become the preferred Confederate, arsenal issue canteen.