SUBMITTED BY: Robert Jones
This would be considered a “Wagon” or “Surgeon’s” canteen because of its larger size. It has a diameter of 10 ½” x 6” deep and stamped on one side of the canteen is “N C”, for North Carolina. It has a raised “bung” and tightly lapped wooden lock bands, no nails. The verbal history is that it was brought home by a New York Civil War veteran as a souvenir.
Judging by the style and manufacturing of this canteen, I would say it has been around since the Revolutionary War. During that war the opposing sides in North Carolina took on the name of English Parliamentary parties. The “Whigs” were the patriot side and the “Tories” were the Loyalists. Tory forces were defeated in the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge in February 1776, the first military action in North Carolina and the last until near the end of the war. In March 1781, American forces under General Nathanael Green defeated Lord Cornwallis’ forces at Guilford Courthouse, which forced the British to vacate the Carolinas.
In my book “The Civil War Canteen – Third Edition,” I discuss these types of canteens. The large wood canteens weren’t practical for the individual soldier but worked out well for wagons and surgeons. Although they pre-date the Civil War, they were still around and out of desperation by the Confederacy, they were sought out and used.