Excellent condition Civil War Confederate wood drum canteen in untouched condition. This canteen, for many years, was in the well known collection of noted author and dealer Steve Mullinax of Villa Rica, Georgia (and thanks to Matt Hagans for sending the pic of Steve sitting next to it decades ago). The wood is dark and smooth. There is no loose wood or cracks. Everything is tight. Each edge is bound with an iron loop that has a nice dark patina. These loops also hold the three matching iron sling keepers. Bunghole is minus the stopper and there is no sling. The two center panels of the body are excellent with a nice smooth patina and a clean surface.
Carved into one of the side panels are the initials “WTD.” Lightly scratched above this is “W. T. DREW.” Near the center of the panel is an old paper label with clipped corners that reads “VICKSBURG” in bold period ink. Label has some surface dirt and is missing a little along one edge but is otherwise excellent.
The opposite side panel has “H. L. BRUSH / OTTAWA / LA SALLE / ILLINOIS.” Each word is underlined and arranged in a descending echeloned pattern. Lettering appears to be done in period black ink or paint. Also lightly scratched into this side below the above inscription is “W. T. DREW CANTINE JUNE 29th 1863.” In this same area is “CHARLES JOCKEY or JOEKEY CO. D or B.” No sure ID was made on this name.
William T. Drew, the original Confederate owner of the canteen, was from Crawford County, Georgia and enlisted as a Private in CO. F. 57th Georgia on May 3, 1862 and was mustered in on the 24th. He was involved in several actions in Kentucky and Tennessee where his regiment suffered light losses. Then on May 16, 1863 his regiment was engaged at Baker’s Creek, Mississippi where it suffered 39 killed, 127 wounded and 60 captured.
Drew then participated in the siege of Vicksburg and on July 3, 1863 he was surrendered with the rest of the city garrison. It was probably at that point his canteen was taken from him.
The H. L. Brush named on the canteen is Mr. Henry L. Brush of Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois. At the time of the fall of Vicksburg Mr. Brush was 58 years old and not a soldier. However, he did have two sons of age and one of them, Charles H. Brush, was at Vicksburg with the 53rd Illinois. The inscription to Henry L. Brush on the canteen’s side panel is either a presentation from Charles to his father or simply the address to mail it home.
Charles H. Brush was born in Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois on December 20, 1838. He enlisted as Sergeant Major of the 53rd Illinois on January 1, 1862. By November of that year he was a regimental adjutant. Brush would be promoted to Major in April of 1865 and finally to Lieutenant Colonel in July of 1865. He died in Minnesota in 1910.