Common Soldier Activity



Instructions: You are a Civil War soldier getting ready for your first major campaign. You may be “on the road” for several months-sometimes marching over twenty miles/day, perhaps fighting several major battles with the enemy. The army has issued you a U.S. Model 1861 “Springfield” Rifle-Musket, bayonet, belt, bayonet scabbard, cap box, cartridge box, haversack and canteen. These weigh 13 ½ pounds. In addition, you will be expected to carry five pounds of ammunition. From the list of personal items, decide what else you will take with you on your marches. Answers will vary.

List of Personal Items

Item

Weight of Item

(X) Quantity

(=) Total Weight

Pants

1 lb.

Forage cap

½ lb.

Shirt

½ lb.

Jacket

3 lbs.

Socks

½ lb. (pair)

Shoes

2 lbs.

Cup

¼ lb.

Utensils

¼ lb.

Cooking Pan

1 lb.

Canteen

4 lbs.

Soap

¼ lb.

Shaving razor

¼ lb.

Comb

1/8 lb.

Blanket

3 lbs.

Candle

¼ lb.

Playing cards

1/8 lb.

Bible

½ lb.

Stationary

¼ lb.

“Dog” Tent

12 lbs

Knife

¼ lb.

Coat

4 lbs.

Rifle, cartridges, etc. required by Army

+ 18 LBS

TOTAL WEIGHT

How much are you going to carry? If you would like, use a scale, backpack, and weights (books?) and load your total weight into a backpack and walk around the room to see what is would feel like to be a common soldier on the march. (Imagine marching 20 miles with that weight on your shoulders).

Thanks to Antietam National Battlefield for the loan of this activity.

Last updated: June 7, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
P.O. Box 218

Appomattox , VA 24522

Phone:

434 352-8987

Contact Us

Stay Connected