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Accession Number: 1904.24.0

Physical Description: Wooden drum canteen. Flat, circular front and back. Sides are short wooden staves held in place with two iron bands riveted at ends. Two iron straps on canteen sides set perpendicular to and held in place by iron bands, provide a way to securely hold a carrying strap. This iron strap curves over the iron band to better secure it in place. A portion of a third iron strap is on the base of the canteen near the riveted end of the top iron band. Hole drilled in center of top stave for mouthpiece.

History of Object: According to accession ledger, the donor, John C. Collins, captured this canteen on Feb. 15, 1864, in Wayne County, West Virginia. John Collins served as a Union soldier in the Civil War. He enlisted on November 19, 1861 and was commissioned into G Company of the 14th Kentucky Infantry. He was promoted to Captain on June 5, 1862 and was mustered out on Jan 31, 1865. On February 15, 1864, the 14th Kentucky fought in the Battle at Laurel Creek in Wayne County, WV, against Confederate Colonel Milton J. Ferguson and members of the 16th Virginia Cavalry. The 14th captured Colonel Ferguson, two lieutenants, an assistant surgeon, 38 men, 80 stands of arms, and 20 horses. As is noted in the accession ledger, Collins took this canteen at the battle, perhaps from one of the captured or killed soldiers. Collins commanded the 14th Kentucky?s B, H, and G companies during this battle. Geo. W. Gallup commended Collins in a letter to the Headquarters District of Eastern Kentucky on February 19, 1864. John Collins married Mary Jane Simonin during the war, on March 27, 1863, in Ohio. They later lived in Richland and Paola, Kansas, and had nine children. John was a farmer. The cataloger was unable to find an exact name to match the carved initials S.A.A. Sylvester Adkins and Smith Asberry were both in the 16th Virginia Cavalry under Colonel Ferguson during the Battle at Laurel Creek. According to both ancestry.com and the American Civil War Research Database (ACWRD), Sylvester Adkins enlisted in Company E and Smith Asberry enlisted in Company C. Online battle histories and company histories do not record the specific companies that took part in the Laurel Creek battle. Information on the 16th Virginia Cavalry regiment suggests that Company C was not under Ferguson. Company E was under Ferguson?s command and most of the men were from Wayne County. This may suggest that Sylvester Adkins was the owner of this canteen. Neither Adkins nor Asberry have middle names listed on either Ancestry.com or the ACWRD. It may also be true that neither Adkins nor Asberry were the owners, and the canteen was taken by one of the 16th Cavalry soldiers from a different soldier at a different battle. Soldiers used canteens to carry water and possibly other liquids like milk, cider or molasses. Canteens generally held about three pints and had carrying straps so they could be hung from the shoulder. The wooden drum canteen was most common among the Confederate soldiers. Union soldiers often had canteens issued by the U.S. Army.

Date: Between 1861 and 1864

Dimensions (in cm): 18.75 (H) 19.50 (W) 5.50 (D) W: 2 1/4"; Diam: 7 1/4"

Marks/Inscriptions: [carved into front of back side] S A A ||

Index Terms

Associations and Subjects

    Individual: Adkins, Sylvester
    Individual: Collins, John C., 1837-
    Business / Organization: United States. Army. Kentucky Infantry Regiment, 14th (1861-1865)
    Event: Laurel Creek, Battle of, W. Va., 1864
    Origin, Place of: West Virginia
    Business / Organization: Confederate States of America. Army. Virginia Cavalry Regiment, 16th
    Event: Civil War, 1861-1865
    Individual: Ferguson, Milton J.
    Use, Place of: Wayne County (W. Va.)
    Individual: Asberry, Smith

Status: Cataloged

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