Saratoga National Historical Park
National Park Service Department of the Interior
Traveling Haversack Program Teachers’ Guide
Funding for the program was contributed through the generosity of the Friends of Saratoga Battlefield. We certainly acknowledge the contribution of time and talent by members of Leadership Saratoga: Lisa Cardone O’Connor, Kathy Gosier, Matt Bergin, Alissa Dalton, and Shelley Dixon. Distribution of the kits was made possible through the Saratoga, Washington, Warren BOCES Media center’s director, Terry Bruno.
Saratoga National Historical Park Staff and Volunteers who contributed ideas, critiques and material: Bill Valosin, Eric Schnitzer, Gina Johnson, Linda White Herb Dieck, Sean Kelleher, Ralph Carotenuto, Laura Antonensen, Jack Reber and Joe Craig.
How to Use the Kit The kit that you have borrowed has been designed to introduce elementary grade students to the life of soldiers during the War for American Independence (1775-1783). To explore the lives of soldiers at the time of the War of American Independence, the haversack contains reproductions of items that would provide sustenance or comfort. Laminated cards accompany each of the items with quotes from original sources, a glossary of terms and questions to generate discussion. Copies of the cards with answers are included in this guide. The activities involved with using the Haversack Kit take forty-five minutes. For all but the smallest sized classes, the discovery bags should be examined by groups of students working as a team. After they have examined the objects, read the associated documents and written down answers to the questions, each groups should present what they’ve discovered. As part of the presentation, a student from each group will need to read the quotes aloud from original sources. Admittedly, some of the sources may prove difficult as writers in the 18th Century did not adhere to recognizable rules of spelling or syntax. You might elect to read the quotes aloud yourself, depending on the reading levels of your students. To assist discussion some suggested questions and further activities for each of the topics are included. These are designed to engage students by using other disciplines such as math, and science. Naturally, additional “home grown” activities are quite acceptable and encouraged.
Objectives After participating in the activities students will be able to: 1. Understand 18th Century armies in
terms of a human system through some of the basic functions, problems and needs of the armies of the War for American Independence.
2. Identify differences and similarities by comparing their own style of life to the experiences of the women and men who populated the various armies.
3. Recognize how soldiers adapted to the rigors of 18th Century military life.
4. Explain two ways that the war inflicted economic hardships upon military and civilian life.
5. Interpret historical documents. 6. Empathize with the experiences of
the people who populated armies at the time of the War for Independence.
GENERAL DISCUSSION In studying the War for American Independence, as with many conflicts, there is a tendency to ignore the “human face” of history. Armies become an indistinct mass rather than collections of individuals. As a result, attention is paid to the events such as battles and little or no heed is paid to the people’s lives that made up the army and suffered the most in the “great historic events.” In fact, it must always be recalled that the common soldier’s experiences could determine the outcome of “great historic events.” Grand plans are often upset by the realities of long, tiring marches, empty bellies, disease and a host of other seemingly insignificant factors. Soldiering in the 18th century was quite harsh, especially compared to modern day civilian life. It was a world inhabited by people all too familiar with hunger and deprivation. The hardships that soldiers and camp followers encountered were offset by few pleasures, some of them officially forbidden by their armies. Discipline was ferociously administered. Sickness, injury, or death were constant hazards. It was an existence that was unenviable to contemporaries and almost incomprehensible to modern observers. Surprisingly, the majority of people in the military were volunteers. Army life did offer certain advantages and basic amenities as guaranteed food, clothing and pay. Armies were something of a refuge for someone who lacked economic advantages or had troubles in the community. Life outside the military
could be sufficiently uncertain that even the negative aspects of soldiering were comparatively better. Hardships increased when armies went on campaign. For the most part, soldiers traveled on foot, which meant that their lives would be stripped to the most basic items required for their survival and comfort. Only very heavy equipment would be transported on wagons and carts. As it was, a soldier might find himself encumbered with over 40 pounds, approximately 18 kilos, to carry on his back. Activities: 1. Weighing In: (science and math)
Have your students pretend that they are going on a trip. Remind the students that they must carry everything for the whole distance. Have them make up a list of everything they think necessary or desirable to carry along. Assume that they will be traveling for three days and to allow for food for that time. When they have finished, have them compute the weight of whatever items they selected to carry. Ask students to compare the weight of their packs to the soldiers’ burdens. Students should re-examine their lists to see if there are any unnecessary items. Also, they should determine if any items could be acquired while on the trip. Remind students that many lightweight, modern fabrics used in camping equipment were unavailable to people in the 1700’s. Some items will be lighter for your students to carry.
2. Try to Remember (language arts) Play a game called “I’m Going on a March.” Have the students sit in a circle. The first student begins by saying, “I’m going on a march, and in my haversack I will bring...” The student names any item ,serious or in fun. The next student repeats “I’m going on a march,” the item named by the previous student and then adds another item to the list. This process continues around the class. When someone forgets an item they are eliminated from the game. The student is left is the winner. If your class is large, you might consider dividing them into “companies.” Each company gets to play, and the winners go on to compete to become the “regimental champion.” Also, you could keep a list of the items the students mention, to be sure they are all mentioned in their proper order.
3. Build Your Own: Make a haversack
out of a brown paper bag. Suggested instructions are included in the guide.
4. Take a hike: (physical education,
geography and math) Using a map of New York State, locate Fort Ann, Albany and Saratoga National Historical Park. If you decide to use an historical map, locate Bemis Heights [north of Stillwater] instead of the park. Divide your class into two teams. One will represent the British Army. The other will represent the Continental Army. Create a marker for each of the teams, and place them at Fort Ann (British) and Albany (American). Work with your school’s physical education staff and set up a program of fitness walking. Have the
students and teachers walk each day for a set amount of time along a measured area such as the perimeter of the school property or playground, the track meet area etc.). See how long it takes to walk 10-12 miles, which is roughly one day’s march for a Revolutionary War soldier. Mark your groups’ progress toward Saratoga National Historical Park. Which “army” will arrive first? Be sure to remind the armies that they will not face the many difficult physical barriers that confronted the forces in 1777. (You might decide to tally the accumulated distance walked by each team. Ten students walking one half-mile can equal five miles progress for their army.
5. What is that stuff? (science, math) As your students examine in the discovery bags, remind them that the items are made of the same materials as used in the 18th Century. Today, we have plastics and lightweight metal alloys that are lightweight and resistant to breakage. Using Venn diagrams, have your class compare the characteristics of several materials available in the 1700’s for containers such as canteens. For example, glass is breakable, lightweight, and watertight but expensive. Tinned iron is lightweight, fairly sturdy, expensive, and watertight, but it can rust. Cast iron is heavy, sturdy, expensive, watertight, but it can rust also. Cow Horn is lightweight, inexpensive, watertight, and fairly sturdy. Wood is heavy, sturdy, inexpensive, but not entirely watertight. Pottery is heavy, inexpensive, and watertight, but breakable.
Food (Card from Haversack) “…Sept. 26 [1776 at Quebec]…Each officer and soldier receives 1 ½ lb. Of white bread, 1 lb. Of meat and ¼ pound of rice as sustenance. Nobody may demand the least bit from the inhabitants without paying cash…” Diary of Ensign Johann Heinrich Carl von Bernewitz Regiment Specht [Brunswick] “…11th [August 1777]…The parish is called Saratoga …Some of the corn [grain] had been harvested and stored in the houses…[The inhabitants] enmity against the King of England and fear of the Germans had driven them away. They were probably roaming around in the woods, for their cattle returned to the house in the evening, but were treated in an overly aggressive manner by us strange, hungry guests.—They cultivate much Turkey wheat here and many pumpkins have been planted in between the gardens are full of fruit [and vegetables] especially potatoes, from which one can conclude that we are enjoying ourselves very much….” Diary of Julius Friedrich Wasmus Dragoon Regiment Prinz Ludwig [Brunswick]
“An excellent wholesome Dish of Meat contrived by an Officer in the Army, for the Use of the Soldiers in Summer Time. Take a Breast, or Half a Neck of Mutton, or the like Quantity of any Flesh-Meat, chop it small, and put it into a Pot with ten Quarts of Water, let it boil almost to pieces, thicken it with two Pounds of Oatmeal, put into it about four Pounds of shred Turnips, and two Quarts of Green Peas, a Halfpenny worth of pepper: These very well boiled will feed ten Men without Bread or Drink. Parsnips, Carrots or Potatoes will do very well where Turnips cannot be had, and green Beans bruised a little will do instead of Pease….” From the Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1741
Glossary Sustenance: Means of supporting life, in this case food. Turkey wheat: A European name for maize or corn Mutton: Flesh of sheep as food. Ration: A fixed allowance or share of food, drink and other necessities.
The items in this bag are a wooden spoon and bowl. Remind your class that soldiers’ gear needed to be durable and inexpensive. A bowl would allow a soldier to hold hot liquids as stews and soups, which were probably consumed on a regular basis.
Using the documents on the other page answer the following questions: 1. What was the most important part of
a soldier’s daily ration of food? [Answer: Bread]
2. What are two ways that soldiers
could add to their daily rations of food? [Answer: Purchasing food or “foraging.” To a farmer on the receiving end of things there probably seemed little difference between theft and forage. In theory, foraging – the collection of supplies condoned by the army - would result in some sort of payment.]
3. What would we call the “Wholesome
Dish of Meat” today? [Stew or soup. Armies in the 1700’s preferred that their soldiers boiled their meats rather than broiling them. Often the cuts of meat would be less suitable for grilling and considering the lack of refrigeration, boiling probably killed off some microbes.]
FOOD Many 18th Century soldiers enlisted for extremely basic reasons. Despite the hard life, the military was an escape from grinding poverty. Promises of regular meals, clothing, medical care and pay were powerful inducements for many men to join up. Supplying an army in the 1700’s could be a very difficult undertaking. Transportation could be slow and uncertain. Since refrigeration, pasteurization and canning were far in the future, drying and salting were perhaps the most effective ways of preserving food for transporting. Both these methods could result in food that lacked proper nutrition for soldiers. Often, soldiers might purchase or take food from civilians to supplement the rations issued by the army. During the Revolutionary War, the area of Lake Champlain and the upper Hudson River caused immense supply headaches for the armies. Certainly waterways like lakes and rivers were the best transportation routes, but they did not always connect with each other. Sooner or later all traffic would have to travel overland, much of it through very rough and wild terrain. Additionally, the area was sparsely populated compared to other parts of the country. There being fewer farms from which to obtain or seize food, armies had to depend upon transporting what they required.
Activities: 1. Spoiled Rotten: (science) Have your
students peel, core and slice an apple. Dry the slices in a warm oven or food dehydrator.
2. Once dried, peel, core and slice another apple, but just leave the slices to the atmosphere. How long will the slices of undried apple last before becoming moldy or rotten? Wet one or two slices of the dried apple. Find out how long it takes for the slices to go bad. Remind your class that not all containers were entirely waterproof, so even well dried foods could be spoiled. Repeat the experiment with a slice of bread and a slice of toast. Which spoils faster? Why?
3. Hard bread: (home and careers)
Bread was the most basic food for the majority of people in the 18th Century. Unless soldiers were part of a garrison of a fort, or encamped for a long period of time, freshly baked bread was often unavailable. As bread could spoil easily, hard bread or biscuit was issued. (The word “biscuit” comes from the Latin meaning, “twice baked.”) Biscuit was often referred to as “ship’s bread” as it was often issued to sailors and eaten at sea. Because it had been baked several times, most, if not all, moisture was removed. The result gave it its most common name, “hard bread.” In later wars it was called “hardtack.” Have your class make hard bread with the following recipe, or “receipt” in the 18th century
Receipt for Hard or Ship’s Bread: 2 cups flour 3/4 cup water Roll into 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick Cut into square or circle shapes Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
3. Who’s Going to Pay the Check?: (math and home and careers) Armies produce very little. In the 1700’s armies had to rely upon the surrounding civilian society for much of their needs. As a result, having enough food for an army was an enormous task. For example, if the basic rations were one pound of bread and one of meat each day, an army of 5000 troops would need a minimum of 10,000 pounds, more than 4500 kilos of food for a 24 hour period. a. Have your students consider their
class as a military unit. Using the above ration of one pound of bread and one of meat, have your class compute the weight of food needed to supply them for one day, one week, month, etc.
b. Have your students compute the cost of supplying themselves for one day, one week and one month using modern day food store advertisements from a newspaper. The type of meat closest to what the soldiers ate would be the cheaper cuts of meat such as chuck.
4. No Anchovies, Please (health and science) According to the Continental Army’s General Orders for 4 July1775 at the siege of Boston, a soldier was to receive a daily allowance of: 1. One pound of bread 2. Half a pound of beef and half a
pound of pork; and if pork cannot be had, one pound and a quarter of beef; and one day in seven they shall have one pound and one quarter of salt fish, instead of one day’s allowance of meat.
3. One pint of milk, or if milk cannot be had, one gill of rice.
4. One quart of good spruce or malt beer.
5. One gill of peas or beans or other sauce equivalent.
6. Six ounces of good butter per week. 7. One pound of good common soap for
six men per week. 8. Half a pint of vinegar per week per
man, if it can be had. [Notes: The American Army at the siege of Boston 1775-76 was predominantly made up of New England troops. In 18th Century New England dialect, “sauce” meant vegetables. A gill (pronounced “jill”) was a liquid measure equivalent to one fourth of a pint. Spruce beer was a beverage made of tips from black spruce branches boiled in molasses, and then fermented. It was believed to be a cure against scurvy, and had a rather turpentine-like flavor. Malt beer, is essentially the alcoholic beverage still consumed today. One major difference was that the beer was not pasteurized, which-when fresh-meant greater nutritional value. Of course, it might spoil faster, unless there was a high alcohol content.] a. Using nutritional information guides
on modern foodstuffs, determine if a soldier’s diet gave him the recommended requirements for a healthy diet. Remember that a soldier will be burning up many more calories in his way of life than most people in the present.
b. Vinegar was often added to drinking water in hopes that it would destroy any harmful contents. Also it might mask some odors of less pure water, and perhaps help quench thirst, like we use lemon juice. Have your class examine pond water under a microscope. To a small amount of that water add some vinegar, and note any changes in the numbers of organisms observed. Contact your state’s Department of Environmental protection and find out how acid rain affects waterways and lakes. Using a pH chart, find out how acid in the rain compared to vinegar added to the pond water?
Drink (Card from Haversack) “…The greatest inconvenience we felt was the want of good water, there being none near our camp but nasty frog ponds where all the horses in the neighborhood watered, and we were forced to wade through the water in the skirts of the ponds, thick with mud and filth, to get at the water in any wise fit for use, and that full of frogs…” Joseph Plumb Martin Corps of Sappers and Miners (At Yorktown, Virginia 1781) “Respecting soldiers too generally they Would for choice rather go to Battle than to here preaching, and but few religious men in camp. Some would lye, some would steal, git drunk, break open around, steal money from a man’s desk and feather bed.” [Note: All spelling is as it appears in the original document] Henry Hallowell, 5th Massachusetts Regiment
SECT. XIV. Of Duties in Quarters, in Garrison, or in the Field. ART. V. Whatever Commissioned Officer shall be found drunk on his Guard, Party, or other Duty, under Arms, shall be cashiered for it; any Non-commissioned Officer or Soldier, so offending, shall suffer such corporal Punishment as shall be inflicted by the Sentence of a Court-martial. Articles of War – 1778 [British] “Capt. Hicks of Col[onel] V[a]n Schaiks Reg[imen]t lodged a Comp[lain]t against some of his Sold[ie]rs selling their Cloaths for Liquor and desired a search Warrant to search the House of one Harry Hill which was granted. The Ser[gean]t appointed to search returned and Brought from Henry Hill[,] from Mat[hew} Clark a Bundle[,] from V[an} Vorsts and 2 pair of stockings from Mr. McCreddles supposed to belong to the soldiers…. Schenectady County Committee of Correspondence, December 11th 1777. The item in this discovery bag is a cup made of tinned iron. It feels and weighs about the same as an empty “tin can.” For a soldier, his drinking utensil would have to be strong enough to withstand the hazards of being carried about, but light enough for a soldier to carry.
Drink Glossary: Corps: (Pronounced “core”): A unit of troops of any sort. Sapper and Miners: Combat engineers of the 18th century.They would be responsible for erecting fortifications,digging trenches, building gun batteries and similar tasks. Cashiered: To be dismissed from a position of command. Non-commissioned officer: Sergeant. Court martial: A military trial. Corporal punishment: Physical punishment; in the 18th century it usually meant a whipping.
Using the documents on the other page, answer the following questions:
1. Was the quality of always water good for soldiers? [Answer: The quality of the water could be rather dubious, as the account shows. Apparently if the frogs were living in the water, there might not be substances that would be very harmful. Their skins not being watertight, frogs are quite sensitive to changes in their aquatic environment. However, wastes generated by the horses would make the water at least very unpalatible.]
2. Would you think it safe to drink?
[Answer: Even if the water seemed potable, no one examined it for microscopic creatures.]
3. What do you think soldiers might prefer to drink instead of water? [Answer: Various forms of alcoholic beverages would be preferred, especially cider and beer. If nothing else they probably tasted better than water shared with army livestock.] 4. What could happen if a soldier drank too much alcohol? [Answer: Various undesirable activities often occurred: theft disorders, fighting, and sale of army property are some things mentioned in the above texts.] 5. Why do you think armies were strict about drunkenness? [Answer: In most any organization, armies need to maintain a sense of orderliness. As the well being of the whole army and its component members often rests upon the proper execution of duties, preventing disorder becomes extremely important.]
DRINK Having access to a supply of clean drinking water is all but taken for granted by most Americans today. Water pollution is by no means a modern phenomenon, and many people in the 18th century simply did not trust their water supplies. While bacteria were unknown, people at least did recognize the unpalatability of water exposed to industrial, human and animal wastes. As the water was suspect, soldiers and civilians alike preferred to consume alcoholic beverages. Some historians believe that Americans at the time of the War for Independence drank as much as three times the amount of alcohol per capita as is consumed today. Another reason alcoholic beverages were consumed is that they are safer and perhaps better tasting than the available water. As with foodstuffs, canning, pasteurization and refrigeration were unavailable. Alcohol was an important, and the only real, preservative for liquids. Eighteenth Century recipes exist for “Cider [or Beer] to Keep all the Year.” The addition of yeast would, naturally, cause fermentation and make an alcoholic beverage and slow to spoil. Unlike more recent times, alcohol was considered to be a beneficial substance to be consumed. Temperate consumption was considered to be the ideal, with beer, cider and wine seen to be healthy when taken in moderation. Distilled liquors were often seen as dangerous, leading to drunkenness, “dissolute living,” alcoholism and its attendant evils and death. This did not prevent people from imbibing spirits. Indeed, the military often issued rum or whiskey as a reward for special service.
Activities: 1. Clean Water in Your Community:
(science and social studies) Have your class contact your municipal water company to understand the effort needed to provide clean water to your community. You may be able to set up a visit to the water treatment plant in your community. If your community relies on wells, contact your county or state department of environmental quality to learn about maintaining a clean water supply, and any threats to it. Learn how you can help preserve and protect clean water.
2. Clean Water in the World: (science and world culture) Write or visit the website of the World Health Organization to learn about threats to clean water supplies throughout the world. Find out what you can do to help.
3. Spoiled Drink: (science) Place a cup of fruit juice in a bottle with a cork, the same amount in another jar with a cloth cover. Leave them on a shelf, and note any changes (smell, color, cloudiness, sediment, insects, molds etc.) that occur over a week’s time. For a comparison, leave a sealed bottle of the same fruit juice to compare.
4. Alcoholism: Most school districts offer DARE programs. Have your school’s representative present a program about alcohol abuse appropriate to your class’s grade level.
Cleanliness (Card from Haversack)
“…Sometimes we drew soap [with rations]. I have known, however, that no soap would be drawn for six months at a time. We have often procured white clay, and used it as soap in washing our shirts, pantaloons etc. I recollect that when we laid at Carlisle barracks, we procured white clay and mixed it up like mortar, and made it into large balls and after they would become dry we would rub them on our pantaloons, like to buff balls upon buckskin breeches. By their use thus, we made them for a time almost as white as chalk….” Simeon De Weese 11th Pennsylvania Regiment “That the men may always appear clean on the parade, and as a means of preserving their health, the non-commissioned officers are to see that they wash their hands and faces every day, and oftener when necessary. And when any river is nigh, and the season favourable, the men shall bathe themselves as frequently as possible….” Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States Baron De Steuben 1778
“When a soldier takes so little pride in his person as to suffer his hair to be over-run with vermin, after repeated admonitions against it, some rigorous steps must be taken to inspire him with a proper notion of cleanliness; it will however be but right, first to try, if disgracing him before his brother Soldiers, and exposing him in a publick manner to their derision, will produce the desired effect; therefore, during the inspection of the Company he belongs to, at one of the roll-callings, he should be placed in front of it at a proper distance, and be obliged to comb himself all the time: this method practiced once or twice, must (if he has any sense of shame) reclaim him; if not nothing but the weight of a severe punishment ever will.”
Cuthbertson ‘s Some Thoughts on the Management of a Battalion of Infantry 1768
The items included in this discovery bag are a horn comb, a wooden block with a bar of soap and a horse hair shaving brush. You may need to explain to your students that the soap would be moistened, and the brush would be used to make and apply lather for shaving.
Cleanliness Glossary: Non-commissioned officer: Sergeant Derision: Mockery, the act of making fun of someone or something Admonition: A warning to see to one’s duties Breeches: Short trousers that reach to the knee Vermin: Undesirable animals, such as head and body lice
Using the documents on the other page, answer the following questions: 1. Would rubbing breeches with clay really clean them? [Answer: Obviously not, however any stains could at least be masked. This at least gave the appearance of cleanliness, perhaps this was a goal that soldiers could accomplish considering the realities of their lives.] 2 What do you think was the main
reason for ordering soldiers to keep themselves clean? [Answer: Although bacteria was not known in the 18th Century, cleanliness was regarded as a means of ensuring healthier soldiers.]
3. Soldiers are supposed to wash their
hands regularly, how and when are
they supposed to take baths? [Answer: As soldiers would be bathing mostly out of doors (rivers, streams, ponds and lakes), it could only be during temperate weather. Soldiers-and civilians might not bathe at all during colder weather. In very warm weather it was believed to be unhealthy for soldiers to bathe in cold water.]
4. How did a soldier remove head lice?
[Answer: Using fine toothed combs were the main line of defense against these pests. It is doubtful that the nits would all be removed, so re-infestation would soon occur. It is noteworthy that in the 18th Century (and to some extent today) having head lice was considered a sign of uncleanness. Humiliation was used as a method to try and correct the erring soldier’s ways: he would have to comb his hair standing before his unit. Today it is mostly understood that head lice take up residence in clean hair as much as hair in need of washing.]
Cleanliness Personal cleanliness in the 18th Century falls far short of modern standards. Indeed, to many modern people it seems that this concept did not exist in the 1700’s at all. At first glance, this attitude is difficult to refute. Washing and bathing were practiced, but by no means with the thoroughness or even frequency that is expected today. Body odors were not masked as attentively as today, nor were some articles of clothing effectively cleaned between use. While the aesthetics could be lacking, the real problem facing people in the 1700’s was bacteria. Although the concept of bacteria was unknown in the 18th Century, people were well acquainted with sickness, disability and death. Improved sanitation could have prevented much sickness and misery. Some American units that fought at Saratoga marched south after Burgoyne's surrender, and joined with Washington’s army in time for the encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (1777-78) This cantonment is one of the most notorious examples of bad sanitation in the Continental Army. Although a mild winter, the stay at Valley Forge stands as the worst in terms of loss of life for such encampments. The army suffered terribly, lacking proper clothing, shoes or food. These were problems that arose on many other occasions, but contemporaries noted that the Valley Forge encampment was extremely unclean. As a result of the dearth of supplies and lack of proper sanitation, some 1500 American soldiers of the 11,000 in the army died. Fortunately for the cause of American Independence, the army survived as an entity, and rules
were enforced to improve personal cleanliness and all over sanitation. Activities: 1. Next Time Remember to Use Soap:
(science and health) Have your school nurse, or other health care professional, give a presentation to your class about the importance and method of washing hands to prevent the spread of bacteria.
2. Hairnets, Anyone? (science and health)Visit your school cafeteria and learn how food is handled safely. What sorts of equipment and clothing are required?
3. Counting Runny Noses: (math) Armies must need to know how many troops are available and fit for service. The records from the 18th Century noting the numerical strengths of armies are called “Returns.” a. Have your class create a return
noting the number of students present and absent due to illness for one month’s time. Have them track the results by creating a graph showing the “strength” of your class, that is the number of students present during that time.
b. Do the same using the numbers for your entire grade level and/or school’s student body.
4. Discover a New World: (science and health) Use a microscope to have your class discover what 18th Century people didn’t know about the world around them.
a. Take samples of water from a
tap, from bottled water, from a pond, stream and/or puddle. Count how many organisms that are seen in each. Draw some of the creatures observed. Are any dangerous if ingested, such as amoebae or paramecia?
b. Wipe a bit of chocolate syrup on three plastic plates. Wash one with water and soap, one with water only, and leave one unwashed. Prepare microscope slides for each. Draw and describe what is seen. Check with your school’s science department for the best ways to prepare slides
5. Talking Trash: (science and social Studies) A major problem for any society, military or civilian, is disposal of garbage and other waste. One major source of waste for 18th century armies that needed disposal was produced by the main source of transportation: horses. An average horse can produce as much as 45 pounds of manure each day. As armies might have several thousand animals, their waste could be a major concern. The Continental Army got rid of the problem by burning the accumulated animal wastes. (The carcasses of animals that died in camp would have to be transported one mile from the encampment area.) In modern times garbage continues
to be a concern especially as landfill areas are used up.
a. Have your students save items such as fruit, vegetable and cereal debris in a container. Add red wriggler worms and make compost. Have them measure the volume of the waste before and after decomposition.
b. Repot two similar houseplants and put some of the compost in one pot. Give them the same amount of water and sunlight. After two weeks note any differences in height, all over health, tendency to blossom etc.
c. Find out about recycling efforts in your community. How many tons of waste materials are recycled? How many tons are discarded? Set up a recycling program in your classroom and keep track of your efforts.
6. No Whiskers! Soldiers were required to shave every three days. Beards were not fashionable in 18th Century America, and armies worried that they would be a breeding ground for lice. Have your class make his or her own “razor” from cardboard using the pattern included with this guide.
Pay and Money(Card from Haversack) “…John Jacob Zabriske appeared before this Board and Complained, that he had purchased from one Albert Van Der Zee last Spring a large parcel of Boards and Plank, and that he offered to pay him for the same in Continental Currency which the said Van Der Zee absolutely refused declaring that he had plenty of it, and that it was worth no more to him than so many Chips of Wood…”
Albany Committee of Correspondence 9th January 1777
“Resolved That every Person who shall offer any thing for Sale, or shall sell anything for a less Sum in Gold or Silver Money than in Continental or other Paper Money now passing Currently in this County shall be Considered as a Depreciator of the Paper Currency and treated accordingly-And that every Person who shall refuse to take the same in Payment shall be treated in like manner….”
Albany Committee of Correspondence 21 January 1777.
“…It being represented to this Board that Daniel Campbell and John Sanders of the Township of Schenectady, have refused to receive as Payment the Continental Currency which at this Day of Distress saps the very foundation of the opposition made by The United States of America against the Hostile Invasion of the King of Great Britain Therefore Resolved that the said John Sanders & Daniel Campbell be immediately apprehended and sent down to the Council of safety, to be dealt with as [the Council] shall think proper and that the Committee of Scenectady cause this Resolution to be Carried into execution. Resolved that this Resolution be and is hereby extended to all such Persons, as Shall be found Guilty of the same Offense…”
Albany Committee of Correspondence 30th July 1777
.”[In 1781] We..Sappers and Miners…stayed [at Philadelphia] some days…And here, or soon after, we each of us received a MONTH’S PAY, in specie, borrowed, as I was informed, by our French Officers from the officers in the French Army. This was the first that could be called money, which we had received as wages since the year `76, or that we ever did receive till the close of the war, or indeed, ever after, as wages….”
From Joseph Plumb Martin’s Memoir
This discovery bag has reproductions of several European coins that would be circulated in the Thirteen States. Also there is a copy of Continental or paper money. (These are encased in plastic to lessen the chance of loss.) Original coins would be made of precious metals, and their weight would be an indication of their value.
Pay and Money Glossary: Currency: Money issued and used by a country Continental Currency was the paper money issued by the United States during the War for Independence Depreciator: Someone who causes money to lose its value. Specie: Money issued as coins made of precious metals like gold and silver
Using the documents on the other page, answer the following questions: 1. Did soldiers and civilians willingly
accept Continental Currency? [Answer: The value of paper money was not based upon precious metals, and often the defeat of American Independence seemed possible, and at times likely. As there was little value in the money during the war, many people were extremely reluctant to accept the paper money in payment.]
2. What did some individuals do when
they accepted Continental Currency? [Answer: They took every opportunity to demand more paper money, as its value was questionable.]
3. What was supposed to be the value
of paper money when compared to gold or silver coins? [Answer: the value of paper money and specie was supposed to be equal.]
4. If someone refused to accept
Continental Currency, what could happen to him or her? [Answer: Persons who were reported as not accepting paper money at its face value could face arrest and possible imprisonment.]
5. With what sort of money were
Continental Soldiers paid? What sort of money did they prefer? [Continental soldiers were paid in paper money. As paper money often was almost worthless, the soldiers would find themselves unable to purchase anything-whether it was a luxury or necessity. Without doubt the soldiers preferred specie, same as their civilian counterparts.]
Pay and Money Soldiers enlisted in 18th Century armies for many a variety of reasons. Economic pressures were often important factors in deciding to enter into service and remain so to this day. As noted earlier, this could be a very basic need, such as a regular meal. For others, the idea of cash employment was a decisive factor. Soldiering has never been a high paying employment. During the War for American Independence, British privates were paid 8 pence a day, roughly 46 cents by today’s standards. Unfortunately for them, 6 pence was withheld for “subsistence,” the costs of food, clothing etc.. A cartoon of the day pointed out that this pay was less than that paid to an average chimney sweep’s apprentice. Their counterparts in the Continental Army were paid 6 2/3 dollars per month, fairly good pay for an 18th Century soldier. The bad news that it was paid in paper Continental currency, issued by the Continental Congress and the various states. This paper money lacked reserves of gold and silver to guarantee its worth. Additionally, there was the possibility, at times a not very remote, that the United States would lose the war. Continental money was all but worthless. Governments conducting a war must have ready money. Besides soldiers’ pay, there are a variety of expenses involved with supplying the troops. In the War for American Independence, Britain enjoyed an economic advantage over the United States. Having hard money or species, gold or silver coins, made it easier for their agents to
purchase food from sources in North America. Britain’s having a good credit rating allowed them to borrow money easier than the USA. The Thirteen States, with very little specie available, found it difficult to obtain supplies at a fair price. If sellers were willing to accept Continental money, they often demanded higher prices, devaluing the currency. Inflated costs for commodities were one of the economic by-products of the war. Combined with devalued currency, the economy of the United States was often in very sorry straits. It was only the intervention of France that eased some of the economic woes, but money was a problem throughout the entire conflict for the United States.
Activities: 1. I’ve Got Sixpence: (math) The
British monetary system in the Eighteenth Century was far more difficult to understand than the Decimal Pence instituted in the 1970’s. The main values were pounds, shillings and pence. These were represented by the symbols $, s and d respectively. [Note: the symbols came from the Roman monetary system and stand for Librii, soldarii and dinari. The ‘d’ for pence is still used in hardware stores in sizing of carpentry nails. A 4d nail meant that one pound of nails of that size once sold for 4 pence.]
12 pence equals 1 shilling 20 shillings ,or 240 pence, equals 1 pound, sterling Using the above information solve the following problems: A private British soldier was entitled to 8 pence per day. How much he would earn in one month’s time (30 days)? In one year? A British Sergeant earns 1 shilling 6 pence per day. How much would he earn in one month (30 days)? In one year? A British Captain earns 10 shillings a day. Compute how much he earns in one month (30 days)? In one year?
2. Save Your Receipts: (math) “An account of the Provision Drawn from the Publick Stores for the use of Majr. Johnathan Clap’s Regtt of Massachusetts Bay Militia on Late Expedition att Moses Crick down to Stillwater” was computed for the unit’s service between 22 July and 10 August 1777. . Costs for 3773 rations of milk, “bear [beer],” peas, rice and soap was estimated at $62:17:4 in “Pennsylvania Money”, paper money. It was also shown that the cost of the same supplies was $50:5:1 in “lawful money” (face value of the paper money as expressed in specie). Compute the percentage that the paper money was devalued. [Answer: convert the totals into pence and compare for percentage.] 4. Not Worth a Continental (math) In
January 1777, prior to the Saratoga Campaign, Continental Money had lost 1/3 of its value. Using the following costs, given as the value of specie, estimate how much Continental Money would be needed to buy the items. [Answer: Add one third to the cost.]
Flour, 10 bushels: one half dollar in specie per bushel Salted pork, 25 pounds: one tenth of a dollar in specie per pound Spruce beer, three barrels: one half dollar in specie per barrel Three years later, Continental Currency had been devalued so that it was one hundredth of its face value. Using the same costs, compute how much Continental Money would be needed to purchase the same items. [Answer: multiply the costs by 100.]
Gambling (Card from Haversack) General Orders Head-Quarters, Morristown [New Jersey], May 8, 1777.
Parole New York Countersign Albany
As few vices are attended with more pernicious consequences, in civil life; so there are none more fatal in a military one, than that of GAMING; which often brings disgrace and ruin upon officers, and injury and punishment upon the Soldiery: and Reports prevailing, which, it is to be feared are too well founded, that this destructive vice has spread its baneful influence in the army, and in, a peculiar manner, to the prejudice of the recruiting Service, -The Commander in chief, in the most pointed and explicit terms forbids ALL officers and soldiers, playing at cards, dice or any games, except those of EXERCISE, for diversion; it being impossible, if the practice be allowed, at all, to discriminate between innocent play, for amusement, and criminal gaming, for pecuniary and sordid purposes….
“W[illia]m Hall appeared with Elis[abeth] Mabb as an evidence to confirm the Charge against Abr[aham] Brown, she being upon Oath said that on the 26th inst: Wm. Hall and Abrm. Brown came to her House [tavern] and sat down to play Cards and Brown cheating s[ai]d Hall a Quarrel arose and Brown got down a Gun and said he would shoot Hall who had went out of the house a little before…” Schenectady Committee of Correspondence December 30th 1777.
The items in this discovery bag are a set of wooden dice and a deck of cards similar to those used in the 1700’s. Both could be used in games that involved gambling. Although armies forbade gambling of any sorts, it seems to have flourished nonetheless. Gambling was a social problem outside of armies, too. Many people gambled away huge amounts of money and property, impoverishing themselves and their families. Nonetheless, the Encyclopedia Britannica in the 1770’s featured an article about a popular card game called Brag.
Gambling Glossary: Gaming: playing games that involves betting; gambling Pernicious: wicked, evil Vice: Very bad habits or activities. Explicit: Clear, definite Prejudice: Harm caused to something by an action Diversion: Amusement Pecuniary: Having to do with money Sordid: Dirty, foul or filthy Using the documents on the other page, answer the following questions:, 1. Why is the army forbidding
gambling? [Answer: Gambling could lead to fights, or as shown in the second document attempted murder, over perceived cheating or delays in repayments of debts.]
2. What sorts of gambling are
forbidden by the order? [Answer: All sorts of gambling were expressly forbidden.]
3. Who in the army is allowed to
gamble? [Answer: No one was allowed to gamble; the ban included officers and enlisted men.]
4. What kinds of games are allowed? [Answer: Games involving exercise, the ban on wagering held for these too.]
What could happen when soldiers broke the rules and gambled? [Answer: He could probably be court-martialed and punished. The punishment might be something like additional duties, confinement or physical punishment.] 5. What kinds of games are allowed?
[Answer: Games involving exercise, the ban on wagering held for these too.]
6. What could happen when soldiers
broke the rules and gambled? [Answer: He could probably be court-martialed and punished. The punishment might be something like additional duties, confinement or physical punishment.]
Gambling Armies in the 18th Century rarely provided much entertainment for the common soldiers. For the most part, a soldier’s day, and sometimes nightly, would be taken up with the variety of duties: guarding, drill, fatigue work, marching, cleaning and more. In the rare times of leisure, soldiers were expected to provide their own amusements. One of the most popular pastimes, found in practically all levels of society, would involve “gaming” or wagering. Armies forbade gambling by anyone, including all ranks. Gambling, it was noted, often lead to indebtedness and behavior that today would be recognized as types of addiction. Soldiers might wager away their equipment or food. Gambling also could result in fights and discord over perceived cheating or failure to pay debts. Despite threats and punishment, gambling continued to be part of army life. For soldiers, a deck of cards or a pair of dice could be a source of amusement, but was also lightweight, an important consideration when all one’s worldly goods have to be carried. However, almost every game played with dice and cards were centered on gambling.
Activities: 1. Passage: (math) Passage is an 18th
Century game played with three dice. The object of the game was to have two of the three dice add up to ten or more. Students need three dice and graph paper. Have the students record ten rolls of the dice, and illustrate their results on a graph. Out of each work group find out how many rolls were winners. Find out how many winning rolls were achieved in the entire class. On a large poster or on the classroom blackboard make a graph of the numbers of winning rolls versus the losing rolls.
2. Odds Are: (math) If your state has a
lottery commission, contact them and find out how much wagered money is collected and how much money is paid out as winnings. Have your class compute the percentage of money paid as winnings versus the amount of money collected.
3. Let’s Roll: (math) Using the pattern
included with this guide have your students make dice, either from paper or glue the cut out pattern to light cardboard. From archeological evidence, we know that some soldiers made their own dice from lead musket balls. Like your students’ paper dice, the musket ball dice might not roll true or fairly. You might note that arguments could easily develop and degenerate into fights, or worse.
Women and the Army (Card from Haversack) “…On one of our movements Mrs. Brunson who had a husband and children in the camp with us Was on a march there came a heavy rain and this family got into a Very leaky Barn and in the Night was taken ill and sent for a Doctor. According he went in the Barn another child was Born. But what was singular she sent to the Colnl [Colonel] for a glass of Rum for a Morning Dram Which I delivered .The Doctor observed she had suffered much…” Memoir of Henry Hallowell Fifth Massachusetts Regiment Continental Line “…[During a patrol] I was convinced how much the Americans were pushed in our late action, on the 19th September, for I met with several dead bodies belonging to the enemy, and amongst them were, lying close to each other, two men and a woman, the latter whom had her arms extended, and her hands grasping [musket] cartridges….” Thomas Anburey 24th Regiment of Foot
“…On the day of the [second] battle of Saratoga [October 7, 1777], the American women followed close after the American soldiers, as they were advancing and even exposed themselves where the shot were flying, to strip the dead. These were doubtless the basest of their sex; such as sometimes follow an army. I saw one woman while thus employed, struck by a cannon ball and dashed to pieces…” Ambrose Collins Cook’s Regiment of Connecticut Militia
"Last thursday, a large number of British troops came softly thro the Town.....To be sure the sight was truly astonishing. I never had the least Idea that the Creation produced such a sordid set of creatures in human Figures--poor, dirty, emaciated men, great numbers of women ,who seemed to be beasts of burthen, having a bushel basket on their backs, by which they were bent double, the contents seemed to be Pots and Kettles, various sorts of Furniture, children peeping thro' gridirons and other utensils, some very young Infants who were born on the road, the women bare feet in dirty rags, such effluvia filld the air while they were passing, had they not been smoaking all the time, I should have been apprehensive of being contaminated by them." Hannah Winthrop American Farmwife Describing Camp Women with John Burgoyne’s Army, after its surrender
Women and the Army
Glossary Dram: A small quantity of alcohol, usually consumed quickly Burthen: An old spelling of burden Emaciated: Very thin and lean, having little muscle Effluvia: A nasty or disgusting smell Sordid: Coarse, gross or inferior The item in this bag is a copy of a sewing kit. Although there were many men who had tailoring skills, in domestic life chores such as sewing, laundry and nursing the sick were mostly a woman’s role. Some of the women who accompanied armies in the 18th Century would employ these skills, often to the betterment of soldier life. Using the documents on the other page, answer the following questions: 1. What are some of the shared
hardships that a woman following the army might encounter? [Answer: Long marches, arduous living conditions with little shelter, heavy loads, sickness, danger from enemy action, and dearth of supplies.]
2. What experience, not shared by men, could prove an additional hardship for women with armies? [Answer: As can be observed, women continued to have children while experiencing the many hardships of army life.]
3. What are some of the indications that
the many of the women were not frail, delicate creatures? [Answer: Accompanying the men on marches, presence on the battlefield (in the instances mentioned, carrying ammunition and looting), hauling heavy burdens, smoking pipes, consuming raw alcoholic spirits and giving birth to children in difficult conditions.]
Women and 18th Century Armies In a marked contrast to recent times, armies at the time of the War for Independence did not have female soldiers. There were, admittedly, some women who attempted to disguise themselves as men. Without exception, once their identity was discovered, they were ejected from the army. Deborah Sampson, of the Continental Army was the most successful of these would be soldiers. She served as “Robert Shurtliffe,” but eventually was discovered and made to leave the army. Unlike other women who attempted to pass as men, the US Government eventually granted Deborah Sampson a pension for her service. Although women were not serving in the ranks of the military, they played important roles in support of all armies. Some of the women found employment as laundresses, always a major contribution to the sanitation and hygiene of an army. Others found themselves ordered to act as nurses to the sick and injured soldiers in hospitals. Some armies allotted an amount of food and pay to these women for their work. Armies tried to limit the numbers of women who could receive rations. British General John Burgoyne’s army was to have 30 women for each regiment who could receive food from “the King’s stores.” Any other women, mostly soldiers’ wives, would have to shift for themselves. Their methods could include theft in various forms. Considering their hard life, such behavior should not be unexpected.
Officers’ wives would sometimes accompany their husbands on campaign. Notably, the Baroness Riedesel and Lady Harriet Acland, were both present during General Burgoyne’s expedition. Although their husbands were highly placed officers, their experiences included danger and hardships. From their journals we derive portraits of women who are intelligent, resourceful and quite brave. Activities: 1. G.I Jane: (social studies) Contact
your local US Military recruiting station to learn about opportunities and roles for women in the armed services. Have the students make a brochure or display of the literature.
2. Women of Importance: (social studies) Not only have roles in the military changed, but also many women have risen to prominence as national and international leaders. Using recent media publications find women in modern times whose roles help shape a nation’s military, social and economic policies. Have the students create a display about these people.
3. Pockets: (home and careers) An
important item for women of many ranks was a “pocket.” This would be worn around the waist over or under a skirt, and was used to carry various possessions. Existing examples from the 1700’s are often decorated with embroidery. Use the pattern included with this guide, have your students trace the shapes onto paper. Have them cut out the pocket, and paste the shapes together. Attach the pocket to string, so it can be worn around the waist, and decorate it.
Some books for further reading: Private Yankee Doodle by Joseph Plumb Martin. Acorn Press 1979. Written by a soldier from Connecticut, it ranks as one of the best American Military memoirs. Martin endured hunger, thirst, long marches, extremes of weather, sickness and combat. His experiences are a testimony to the courage of people who served in the Continental Army. Letters and Journals Relating to the War of American Independence, by Baroness Frederike von Riedesel. Corner House Publications, 2001. The memoirs of the Baroness are one of the most interesting accounts of the Saratoga Campaign. Her husband commanded the German contingent in Burgoyne’s army, and the Baroness, with her children, accompanied him throughout. Besides being an important eyewitness to the campaign, surrender and subsequent internment, the Baroness’s account is the portrait of an intelligent and courageous woman. Black Heroes of the American Revolution by Burke Davis. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976. An introduction to people of African descent who fought for American Independence. The Revolution Remembered, Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence, Edited by John C. Dann. University of Chicago Press 1980. This is a collection of pension claims from veterans of the War for Independence housed in the National Archives.
Secret Soldier, The Story of Deborah Sampson., by Ann McGovern Scholastic 1975. The account of a young woman who disguised herself as a man, and served in the Continental Army during the War for Independence. In The Path of War, Children of the American Revolution Tell Their Stories, Edited by Jeanne Winston Adler. Cobblestone Publishing Company, 1998. A collection of reminiscences of people who had been children during the Revolutionary War made in the 1800’s. The Book of the Continental Soldier by Harold L. Peterson. Stackpole Press, 1968. A good basic look at the equipment needed and used by common American soldiers in the Revolutionary War.