Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Historic Early War Canvas Knapsack Used by Massachusetts Sergeant. Made from uncoated canvas attached to a light wooden frame, this attractive knapsack was worn in the war's first months by Sergeant Benjamin Franklin Barnard when he served with the 5th Mass. Vol. Militia from May through July 1861. Although a bit discolored from age, the knapsack is surprisingly complete and sound, with all straps and fasteners apparently undamaged and in place. The body measures 15" wide by 12" tall with a larger flap designed to fall below the bottom and wrap around the sides, tying in the back with two long leather straps. Only a portion of one of those straps is missing. A 2" tall number "5" is nicely inked on the flap. The 1" wide tan leather shoulder and blanket straps with roller buckles are still flexible and fastened securely to the back with copper rivets. On the back Barnard has beautifully written in large letters "Sergent B F Barnard/ 2nd Company/ 5th Regiment/ Mass MVM." The single interior compartment is reached through a slit in the canvas with a three-button flap running the length of the top to open that area more. Barnard went on to serve as an officer in the 23rd and 59th Mass. Infantry. Certainly not something that would have withstood the rigors of service in the war that was ahead, this is a scarce example of what was worn by the conflict's first volunteers. Probably the only remaining example of this inherently flimsy item and with a great inscription.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,126

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Jun 25, 2009 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 44 days left to consign to the 2021 June 9 - 10 Rare Books Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    You reach a customer base that is in many ways completely unknown to the major auction houses, and your marketing to this base is as professional as one could hope for. As I continue to wind down my holdings.
    Michael Z.,
    Hawthorne, NY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search