Late 18th to Early 19th Century Field Drum


Late 18th to Early 19th Century Field Drum – We have had several Civil War period field drums, but this is the earliest drum that we have been able to obtain. This drum, constructed of heavy, sheet iron, has an impressive, military, decorative design on one side – an eagle with lightning bolt-like arrows, clutched in its talons; the eagle is perched on a pole that is surmounted with a “Liberty Cap” which is, in turn, encircled with red, white and blue concentric circles; behind the eagle, beginning just behind the bird’s back, are two olive branches, one on either side of the eagle and the concentric circles surrounding the Liberty Cap. Both of the drum’s original heads are intact, each with some slight cracks along their edges; the rims, which are now detached from the top and bottom of the drum, are intact, with each exhibiting red, white and blue triangles, surrounding the entire circumference of each rim. Accompanying the drum are its original tension rope and ears; the tension ears are constructed of a white, buff leather, each hand-stitched together. The drum measures as follows: Height – 18.5”; Diameter – 14.5”.

We have obtained the opinions of several knowledgeable individuals regarding the age and country of origin of this drum, with varying opinions offered. All suggested that the drum dates to the late 18th to early 19th century; some have suggested that the drum may be from an early Napoleonic period and thereby French, in origin; others have suggested it is American and perhaps an early, U.S. military drum. Regardless, this drum, in consideration of the decorative painting on the iron shell, the white, buff tension ears and marked cylindrical construction, is an early drum. The drum remains in excellent, overall condition.