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HEAVY MARCHING ORDER

Heavy Marching Order was worn on the march and on campaign, when soldiers were expected to carry the entirety of their clothing, equipment and personal effects with them.  This could be a substantial burden; Sergeant Cooper of the 7th (Royal Fusiliers) Regiment noted that during service in the Peninsular War the total weight of his kit amounted to almost 60lbs.

 

To carry his extra belongings, the soldier utilised a strong canvas knapsack.  This figure carries the ‘envelope’ pack used since the 1780s.  Though by 1812 it had been officially replaced by the more rigid ‘Trotter’ pack introduced in 1805, the envelope pack continued in use by some regiments until 1815.  In Canada there are records of large numbers of envelope packs held in storage at Quebec since the end of the American War of Independence being issued to regiments in Upper & Lower Canada when the United States declared war in 1812.  Accordingly, this example bears the reddish-brown paint common to packs manufactured in the late 18th century and an intricate crest, both otherwise abolished in favour of black paint and simple numerals in 1809, though earlier practices sometimes persisted unofficially.

 

Alongside the knapsack, this figure carries a coarse linen haversack containing his rations, and a tin canteen.  As property of the Commissariat Department, these were issued temporarily for field service or marches and returned immediately afterwards.  The haversack was a simple unlined linen bag which inevitably became filthy from the rations stored within, to the disgust of many soldiers. 

 

 

Notwithstanding protests over its poor design, it remained unchanged throughout the period.  In 1793 the canteen resembling a squat blue wooden barrel was adopted, although stocks of the earlier tin ‘half moon’ variety remained.  Like the knapsacks from the previous war, hundreds of the latter were issued from stores at Quebec at the start of hostilities against the United States.

 

In compliance with the dress regulations issued on 15 July 1812 (and anticipated by some units in Canada such as the 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment the year before), this figure wears the medium-grey “pepper & salt” trousers with matching short grey gaiters ordered for service in the field.  Note also the small brass drum badge on the back of the shako, a feature carried over from the bearskin cap when shakos were adopted for everyday wear by drummers after 1800.