George Washington was a humble man, yet he was dignified and valued organization. This very orderly camp chest, or “canteen,” belonged to America’s first commander-in-chief as he commanding from the field and remained constantly on the move during the American Revolutionary War.
The 18th-century canteen basically served as type of “lunchbox” that carried eating utensils, plates and cooking devices. George Washington bought two of them in May 1776 and captured more from the British during the course of the war.
This particular box — one of many that Washington carted along with him on campaign — contains tin plates and pots, glass bottles for salt, sugar and pepper and a tinder box and folding gridiron for cooking meals, among other handy items.
Although a step above the eating utensils available to average soldiers in Washington’s army, its simplicity speaks to Washington’s decorous yet down-to-earth nature which endeared him to his troops.
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