This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 10 May, 2007.
The standard Federal knapsack, commonly called the “double-bag, softpack” by reenactors, copied from an original in my collection. Owing to the lack of markings, I date it to pre 1863. It is made of 100% linen and hand finished. As I explained at the Wilderness, I had the large 1 1/4" roller buckles custom made. These buckles are so distinctive, that I cannot comprehend how anyone could offer a replica without them. Nonetheless, to my knowledge, I am the first one to have taken “the plunge”. It was not an inexpensive endeavor, costing me several thousand dollars for the buckle company to tool up to make it. All reinforcements on the knapsack are of split leather and are chain stitched with black linen thread as per originals. It should be noted that these knapsacks are completely hand stitched before assembly. While some knapsacks of this pattern were noted with the straight seams done by machine, the overwhelming majority of the ones we examined were hand stitched throughout. While the knapsack contracts were given to the harness manufacturers who attached the leather components, it seems that the hand sewn lined bodies were subcontracted to other shops. We encountered correspondence from a contractor who literally spelled this process out to Col. Crosman at Schulkyl Arsenal in Philadelphia. This is underscored by the fact that we have found more consistency between the details of the linen bags of the various contract knapsacks than there is between the leather straps. Not only are there slight differences between the dimensions of the leather straps and pieces, we have also found that there were different manufacturers who either die cut or hand cut their leather components. Presumably, the bigger establishment were set up for die cutting. We are now offering these knapsacks with the war- time“riveted”style hardware most often encountered on original knapsacks. These are composed of stamped discs riveted to the “J” hooks. To our knowledge, these pieces of hardware have not been manufactured since the Civil War. These knapsacks, are complete with blanket straps.