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 Post subject: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:51 pm 
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Location: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
I was just wondering if there was anybody out there making the Berdan Knapsacks? It would be nice to own one, but I'm making due with my tarred double knapsack.

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Joseph Edwards
The Deadeye Mess
Company C 2nd United States Sharp Shooters


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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:45 pm 
To the best of my knowledge no one is making them at present.


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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:24 am 
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Yes there is a man who is making them. I will get back with info shortly.

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Ernie Manzo
1st Corp. Co. C 1st USSS


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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:50 pm 
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Sharpshooter,
I am certainly happy to hear that, and am looking forward to what you have in store for us! :)

Here's hoping I can afford it... :roll: ...

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Mr. Jason G. Wolczanski
Co. C, 2nd U.S.S.S.


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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:04 pm 
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Friends,

Whomever runs American Civil War Knapsacks (http://www.acwknapsacks.com) included in their Civil War Historian magazine ad that they produce USSS knapsacks. I'm a knapsack junkie so I had to check them out; their current line of products look very good but as we all know a Berdan knapsack isn't exactly a bag of oilcloth with some leather straps sewn to it.

Maybe contact them and see if they intend on doing the USSS knapsack any time soon. Heck, maybe if they don't do a good replica someone here can offer them notes on an original!

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Brian White
Wambaugh, White, & Company
http://www.wwandcompany.com
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Randolph Mess, U.S. Sharpshooters


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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:08 am 
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I will be receiving one of their packs for Evaluation, I have been speaking with them about the Berdan Packs. The cost on the Packs are suppose to be under $400. They will offer an exact size reproduction as well as a larger (Packer) size pack as well.

They are also working on Leggings, keep an eye on the website. Pictures of the Leggings are suppose to be posted Friday morning.

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David Rider
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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:46 am 
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Dave,
has there been any word on on the Knapsacks at all?

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Joseph Edwards
The Deadeye Mess
Company C 2nd United States Sharp Shooters


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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:46 am 
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I was told after Santa's Elfs finished the holiday order items, they would be working on them.

I will post here as soon as I see one.

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David Rider
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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:40 pm 
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David Rider wrote:
...They will offer an exact size reproduction as well as a larger (Packer) size pack as well....


Hi David!

I had to laugh when I first read this to see that someone else is now having to deal with the same 'legacy' issues that I had to! Some things never change...

For those that don't know the story... in 1994 I was contacted by Lonnie Cryan because he had heard I was making Berdan knapsacks. I actually wasn't I was making French Napoleonic cowhide knapsacks; but Lonnie could provide me with all the sketches and information that his unit had (which turned out to be a pretty comprehensive collection at that time).

Based on this research a prototype (Mark 1) was made for evaluation at the annual Berdan Dinner at Gettysburg that November. Objections were raised at that time that the overall dimensions were noticeably smaller than the reproductions that some units were using, and the curve of the sides more severe. Providing that that was the common consensus of representatives of all the USSS units there, I agreed to modify the pattern to one closer to the previous designs. For myself I needed one single design that everyone was happy with, rather than trying to keep tabs on eighteen different patterns for eighteen different units (those people dealing with leggings will know where this story goes when you can NOT get a consensus...). This 'universal pattern' was settled to those compromise standards, and became the one that everyone knows now (or the Mark 2 as I know it!).

As I added my own research to the pile, it did appear that the Mark 1 prototype may have been the more accurate design; but by then the Mark 2 had been very solidly established as the standard, and became very difficult to move away from. I know that there has been some wild speculation as to why the dimensions of these packs are off, but that's the unromantic answer -- horse designed by committee!

As a matter of curiosity (rather than practical use) for most of you, I will be developing a Mark 3 pattern this Spring which is being redone completely from the ground up going back to the original data, and incorporating new info that has turned up since 1994. It'll make an interesting comparison to the first one...

Unfortunately, this is more of a research project than anything else. I now live in Europe and the hammering that the US Dollar has taken combined with materials prices will, I am certain, make anything I make here completely un-competitive and un-saleable to a US audience. If your new supplier can provide you with consistently acceptable knapsacks at the $400.00 mark that will definitely be the easier and cheaper option.

I will take some photos of the process though, and keep everyone up-to-date, if there is any interest in following this. If anyone is thinking about making their own, I'm also more than willing to help with questions of construction or assist however I can.

Anyway, strange to feel I'm the old inaccurate one that the new guy has to compromise to...!

FWIW

Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Knapsacks Available?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:26 pm 
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Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Greetings Frank.

Good to hear from you again. Are you still living in Germany?

I appreciate you posting your abbreviated version of the recreated Tiffany-Berdan knapsack. Like Larry, I still treasure my Packer knapsack that I bought in 1995. Your USSS knapsack, despite it's 'committee' pedigree, continues to be the 'gold standard' until you decide to create the Pattern 3. And yes, there are probably enough of us 'lunatic fringe' chaps who would willingly mortgage the house and eat Chef Boyardee for a year just to own one of your 'ultimate USSS knapsacks'.

What I would like to do is open this topic to you, Dave Rider and others who have examined original USSS or suspected USSS knapsacks so you can describe for us who have not had the opportunity to do so, the various construction details you have observed.

I recall last September a couple of Co. C. fellows traveled to SC to examine a hair covered knapsack that had been captured and worn by a CSA soldier during the Petersburg campaign. Further research on the faded lettering on the inside flap linked it to a sargeant from the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. I can assure you, after examining the records in Lansing and consulting with Ray Herek and other researchers; the 1st MI SS was never issued hair covered knapsacks.

When I visited the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond with Dan and Brian a few years ago, we saw a another hair covered knapsack on display (also captured). If I recall, it lacked the leather triangle for the knapsack straps. I don't recall if there were attachments on the top of the pack for the overcoat straps.

I recall Co. C. posting photos of a third knapsack in the Smithsonian collection. Then there is the knapsack that belonged to Leonard Small of Co. D-2 that was published in Marcot's book.

How many of these surviving knapsacks truly match up with the USSS issued model? Is there a single USSS 'pattern' knapsack or do variations exist? Is there original documentation that survives that provides the specifications and drawn pattern for the Tiffany/Berdan knapsack? What about when they were made, when issued?

To complicate matters, is anyone aware of any State regiments in the North who may have ordered/been issued hair covered knapsacks?

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess-USSS


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