Copyright 21eme Regiment de Ligne
18. The haversack; in calfskin after curing, one foot deep in the interior, width 17"; two sides of 4" by 16" high; the cover-flap is 18" wide; the sac is 39" in circumference, comprising the cover-flap, two "ears" of the flap 10" long by 3.5" high in the centre; the lining of the haversack is in unbleached linen, and with a partition in the same, of the same length and depth as the sack, a slit 6" long edged with lambskin, in the cover 'flap, with two ties of lambskin; the cover- flap and the front of the sack is edged in lambskin; the sack closes with three straps in buff, 7.5" long 1 " wide, three tinned iron buckles, with 1 " openings enclosed by buff straps with keepers, the carry-straps are in buff 26" long by 16 lignes wide, stitched squarely 1 ' apart with a re-enforcing piece inside the skin in buff, and also attached, in buff, is a strap 9 lignes wide folded to 3 " high (this is a carrying strap), on the front two toggles in wood are attached to 2.5" squares in buff, to attach to the carrying straps.
Memorial of the Officer of Infantry , 4th Subdivision -Equipment
No.240 Decision 4 Brumaire an 10, Paragraph 18 (page 720)
Now you know how to make a backpack! what should you carry in and on it; the
following is an extract from the "Manuel d'Infanterie" 17th Lesson Knowledge of the
corporal en route (No 426)-
Object Weight (kg)
water bottle 0.067
four days bread 2.935
two days meat 0.489
cloth sack 0.718
two shirts 1.068
pair wool socks 0.153
pair black gaiters 0.353
pair shoes 0.611
headscarf (nightcap) 0.052
equipment bundle (sewing) 0.137
button hook 0.028
clothes brush 0.041
(cat o’nine tails for cleaning clothes)
habit brush 0.076
shoe brush 0.072
brush for brass 0.030
button stick 0.022
leather polisher 0.042
service book 0.015
This does not include the greatcoat which was not in general issue 4 Brumaire an 10 (25
The cloth sack was also called the "sac a distribution" the dimensions of which are
given in paragraph 17 of the circular;
17. Sac a distributions. In raw undyed linen cloth; length 4 feet 10 inches, width 28 inches; the stitching pressed down except at the end which is open.
This tells us what the backpack should contain, their is also a regulation way of packing and this is taken from the Manuel d'Infanterie (llth Lesson)-
47. Form of the backpack.
The backpack is divided into four compartments: that of the front and back (depth) are separated by a piece of raw linen cloth. The third compartment ( 1) is situated to the side of the pack, and is designed to take the soiled linen, and finally the closing flap contains a pocket which forms the fourth compartment.
Note 1. This compartment does not exist in later models of backpack.
48.Employment of the compartments.
That of the rear (depth) is designed to take the principal effects; the two shirts which are assumed to have been rolled up as tightly as possible and placed one beside the other at the bottom of the compartment. They are placed in the bottom because they are not required everyday and it is better to place the objects required daily above them; the shirts do not take up all the length of the sack, one places at the free side the socks
rolled together with the comb, the stock, and the spare gaiters. Over the gaiters, are placed the trousers turned inside-out carefully folded along the length of the sack. Placed within the trousers are the martinet, and the button stick, making sure that they do not dirty the trousers or injure the body of the soldier .
The black gaiters, turned inside-out and folded, the gusset within are placed over the trousers, one beside the other .
The "bundle" (trousse) is placed in one of the comers of the sack.
The front compartment is designed to take the bread, salt, cooked meat etc.
The interior sack encloses the soiled linen.
The lining pocket of the lid contains the shoes; -the leather polisher (astic) wrapped in paper; -scraper (curettes); -a small bag of wire-wool or emery; -the shoe-brush, wrapped in paper or a piece of cloth; -the box of grease; -the wax for the cartridge box; -a small bag enclosing the "Spanish white", the pipe-clay, the rottenstone (Tripoli); -a sponge or piece of cloth.
49. The Linen Sack (Sac de toile) (1)
It is placed on top of the backpack, under or over the greatcoat, rolled to a proportional size;but this method has its disadvantages; it offers a poor look, and it is difficult to obtain uniformity .Besides, in case of a storm, it is necessary that the soldier quickly removes the greatcoat,and re-attach the linen sack, and then the sack becomes soaked by the rain, accordingly it becomes heavier and because of the dampness it no longer serves as a sleeping bag. For this reason it is better to enclose it in the interior part of the backpack, where it forms and division between the clothing proper and the shoes and the necessary tools.
Note 1. Reglement de campagne du 5 avril 1792 title 1, article 5.
To place the linen sack, it is folded in half along its length and rolled loosely and used to cover all the objects contained within the backpack.
But if the regiment is to travel in greatcoats and put the habit in the backpack, then it is necessary to place the linen sack on the cover of the backpack fixed there by the greatcoat retaining straps, and the folded habit the lining outermost replaces the linen sack in the backpack.
50. The greatcoat. fold along its length and place the sleeves beside each other, not upon each other, so that the volume of the greatcoat when rolled is equal on both sides.
Lay the coat flat and fold the right and left sides of the cloth in to conform to the dimensions of the backpack measured across its width. Roll very tightly the coat, beginning at the collar, stop 6 inches from the bottom edge of the coat this last part is used to form an envelope to enclose the coat.
Having folded the coat it is placed on the backpack where it is held by means of two buff straps, each formed from two pieces, one of which is about 176mm (6 or 7 inches), carries a buckle and keeper, which is attached about 95mm (3 or 4 inches) from the edge of the backpack, the other part, which is about 526mm (19 to 20 inched), is attached at the same distance from the edge on the line where the carrying straps are
stitched and united to said straps.
When it is necessary to fix the coat by means of the straps, the strap is pulled through the buckle, but the excess strap is not allowed to hang loose, this end is passed through the keeper, not from bottom to top but from top to bottom. The strap is rolled tightly, and forms a solid full spiral.
Reglement manuscrit de Bardin 1812
The haversack shall be in hair-on calfskin well "split". It shall be composed of the part forming the body of the sack, the lid, the two sides of the sack, two " ears " , the lining in linen, finished with buff and with carry-straps for the gratcoat.
Dimensions of the haversack
Body including the lid (circumference ) 960mm
body width (not including sides) 380mm
width of lid 430mm
interior depth of sack 320mm
width measured to middle of sides 460mm
height of lid 320mm
sides, same depth as the sack 320mm
width of sides 90mm
The side pieces have pieces 160 by 90mm attached.
The lid has two "ears" 100mm by 130mm wide measured at its base.
The lower edge of the lid is 130mm from the edge of the ears.
The "height" of the sack, the ears and the lid are bordered with buff.
The sack closes by three straps, 200mm by 25mm stitched to the bottom of the lid, one in the centre, the others 100mm from the central stap, attaching to three tinned buckles 25mm wide, held in place with a buff strap and keeper. The height of the buckles shall be 160mm from the upper edge of the sack.
The strap of the exterior buckles shall form part of the piece of the buff which holds the toggle to support the carrying straps.
The carrying straps are in buff 700mm by 40mm stitched alongside each other, with two horizontal stitchings and two diagonal stitchings of 60mm each.
They are attached to two wooden toggles, fixed 220mm apart, with a buff strip lOmm wide stitched into the middle of a piece of rectangular buff.
On each side of the lid, parallel to the front edge are two holders to take the greatcoat straps. These are 70mm by 25mm stitched 50mm from the side of the lid.
The greatcoat straps are 650mm by 25mm with a tinned buckle.
A third strap (the long strap) 1.lm by 25mm wraps round the sack and the greatcoat
passes over the middle (of the sack).
Hassock Lane North
Derbyshire DE75 7JB
7 Lowcroft Crescent
Oldham OL9 9UU
1790 Regiment Guyenne at Lyon
1792: Journal militaire:1st battalion arrived Besancon
1793 Landau, siege until 28th December.
1794 At Nice, General Kellerman formed a Polish battalion with men found in the 21eme demi-brigade, 9 companies of 3 officers and 70 men.
1796 Evening, Massena's division (21e) along left bank of the Ellero, from Mondovi to the Tanaro.
1798 Into garrison at Amiens, 2nd battalion at Nantes (formed March 1797), 3rd at Dunkirk
1799 Magnano, towards Brescia.
1800 Pas de Suse, and town of Suse.
1801 Battalion expeditionnaire formed on the Ile de Re, with 140 of the 21eme, 106 56th Line, 59 5th Light, 58 Colonial depot Ile de re, 28 legion Loire, 119 cannoniers 5th Foot artillery, on the frigate l'Africaine.
1803 Bruges Camp/Ostend, 3/4 battalions Flessigne until July 1804.
1804 3rd and 4th battalions to Cologne.
1805 Crossed the Danube at Pressberg, one battalion at Bruick, other in villages of Regelbrun, Arbestal, Collesbrunn, Willfersnauer, and Schadendorf, until 5th January 1806.
1806 Division Kreus Munster
1807 Division at the Hohenstein camp until 5th June.
1809 Division left Ebersdorf for Vienna
1810 Brunswick, until October.
1812 Division Thorn
1813 Order to form 1st Corps, 1st division, 33rd Provisional demi-brigade (2/12, 2/21) forming near Erfurth, united into corps at Wittenberg.
1814 Bergen op Zoom
1815 Between Quatre-Bras and Waterloo.
Boulogne 1991 on the Video page.