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| | |-+  18th century Riflemen and their Hunting/Shot Bags
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Author Topic: 18th century Riflemen and their Hunting/Shot Bags  (Read 2197 times)
Elnathan
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2013, 03:12:51 PM »

I think it is supposed to be his coattails, but it could be interpreted as a game bag. It is a pretty small engraving after all and not particularly detailed - notice that both ends of the powderhorn strap attach to the middle of the horn, not the ends. To be honest, I doubt that we can get much useful information, at least information pertaining to this discussion, from the figure - apart from the small size and lack of detail, the more I think about it the more likely it seems to me that it is a picture of a tidewater planter out with his fowling piece, not a backwoodsman (I wonder if the dog is a retriever?). I just thought that it was a fun little drawing that you might like to see.

It does, however, help illustrate that there are a lot of pictures that show hunters carrying powderhorns but not pouches. I'm not sure if this means that pouches tended to be a backwoods regional thing, or if they weren't as interesting to illustrators as horns. English portraits often don't show any accoutrements, but they were gentlemen who might have had someone else loading for them. One of the questions about the Trumbull painting that I have been pondering is why a captain from New Hampshire wanted to be portrayed in rifle dress in the first place, and why the powderhorn was included but not the rest of the kit. Given that powderhorns were often engraved as commemorative pieces, I wonder if powderhorns had a particular cultural significance that pouches did not, and if this particular horn was important to Blodgett - something he had carried during the war or had been presented or commissioned as a commemorative piece after it.
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton
Artificer
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2013, 10:06:46 PM »

Elnathan,

I've been doing some more searching on portraits with guns and have found one very like the engraving that does show the game pouch in a similar position.  Also finding out some portraits have the gentleman's coat OVER the hunting pouch or bags, etc. that I didn't notice before.  It will take a while, but I think I will start a new thread on sporting images and get this information together.

Gus
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2013, 09:16:49 AM »

I would like to point out that when looking at photos from film, the negative or slide can be easily reversed confusing which side something is on.   Only someone who had seen the original object would know the correct orientation.   With digital photos, you can create a mirror image in software, but it is not as easy to mix up the orientation. 
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sloe bear
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2013, 10:45:42 AM »

 Although the drawing is interesting,it is only a advertising piece any resemblance to reality could and should be taken with a grain of salt. if your a history buff and don't realize that the pioneers and the traders and hunters of the past are just the same as we are today, I think your hung up on being authentic I don't think fashion was a big deal on the frontier,the accoutrement's they carried were custom fit and made by them or purchased and fitted. if you have spent any time in the field with your own rifle/smoothbore or other then you have customized the length of the strap the way the bag hangs what you carry and where. we all personalize our stuff to fit us. the old timeres did the same in my humble opinion. I have only been hunting/and shooting BP for the last 40yrs and my equipment and the equipment of my hunting and shooting partners all reflect their own style and needs. we build for function not fashion .even though we look to the past and reflect on it we still follow our own drummer.
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Elnathan
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« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2013, 05:35:07 PM »

Although the drawing is interesting,it is only a advertising piece any resemblance to reality could and should be taken with a grain of salt. if your a history buff and don't realize that the pioneers and the traders and hunters of the past are just the same as we are today, I think your hung up on being authentic I don't think fashion was a big deal on the frontier,the accoutrement's they carried were custom fit and made by them or purchased and fitted.

Not to be contentious, but...

1) I don't think that any of the pictures shown are advertising pictures. The one I posted is an engraving from a half-dollar bill issued by the state of NC in 1776, Artificer's pictures include a portrait, two private sketches, and a couple of engravings intended as illustrations of a foreign army.

2) No, they weren't necessarily the same - they may have had the same types of bodies and existed in the same material world that we do today, but they lived in an entirely different social and cultural world, and operated with a very different set of assumptions about how the world worked. Stuff that we would consider "common sense" wasn't necessarily commonsense to them, nor would stuff they assumed to be obvious be obvious to us. That is one of the hardest things about history to get your mind around, but it is also one of the most important in the long run (which is why I am writing all this.)

3) Actually, it appears that they were quite interested in "fashion," both ones specific to the frontier and those from Europe- Doddridge notes that wearing a breechclout and leggings in lieu of pants even at formal occasions was a fad among young men at one point and not just something done because it worked (The good reverend seems to have about the same attitude towards the style as we might have towards the modern fashion of wearing ones' pants around the knees...), while at least one study of goods sold in a Virginian backwoods store indicates that folks were quite interested in what was fashionable in Europe. Now, whether this fashion sense extended to shooting equipment is unknown, but it might not be wise to dismiss the possibility that factors other than personal preference and utility played a role.
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton
Clark B
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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2013, 05:55:05 PM »

Although the drawing is interesting,it is only a advertising piece any resemblance to reality could and should be taken with a grain of salt. if your a history buff and don't realize that the pioneers and the traders and hunters of the past are just the same as we are today, I think your hung up on being authentic I don't think fashion was a big deal on the frontier,the accoutrement's they carried were custom fit and made by them or purchased and fitted. if you have spent any time in the field with your own rifle/smoothbore or other then you have customized the length of the strap the way the bag hangs what you carry and where. we all personalize our stuff to fit us. the old timeres did the same in my humble opinion. I have only been hunting/and shooting BP for the last 40yrs and my equipment and the equipment of my hunting and shooting partners all reflect their own style and needs. we build for function not fashion .even though we look to the past and reflect on it we still follow our own drummer.

I see so many wrongful assumptions here. They thought a lot different than we do. They very much cared for their public appearance, and would go to great lengths to not look like trash. Foppishness was not a bad thing 150+ years ago. Have you never looked at the clothing that most of them wanted to wear?
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Psalms 144
Luke MacGillie
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« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2013, 07:04:29 PM »

Couple of things here. 

First off we have to take into account Dodderidge's bias towards the younger generation.  If you don't think he had a bias, read his forward.  His entire book is really a "Uphill both ways, barefoot in the snow" tale for the disrespectful kids who did not experience the time he grew up in.

Second, I have been doing a detailed study of clothing recorded in probate inventories in Kentucky during the revolution, there are very few hunting shirts and leggings, and a whole lot of breeches, silk waistcoats, jackets and coats. 

The only way to reconcile the written accounts with the actual legal documents is to consider hunting shirts, clouts and leggings "Work" clothing, the most common clothing someone was going to be killed in, but they did have nice clothing to wear when they wanted to.

To bring this back to Dodderige,   the younger generation wearing what was in a sense, battle dress all the time could in fact be the cause of his distain, not because it was the only thing they had......

And understand that Western PA/MD frontier experience is different that Kentucky....

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Elnathan
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« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2013, 08:03:09 PM »


To bring this back to Dodderige,   the younger generation wearing what was in a sense, battle dress all the time could in fact be the cause of his distain, not because it was the only thing they had......


That is exactly what I was saying - it was a fad among the younger men (his contemporaries, or nearly so, IIRC) to wear Indian dress all the time, even to church services. It might have been a short-lived, localized fad, but it does indicate that clothing choices could be based on something other than merely utilitarian considerations.

Just because Doddridge has an agenda doesn't make him worthless as a source, it just means that you have to account for the fact that he has a pretty selective memory. In this particular case, his anecdote actually works against the message he is trying to push - the fact that such a fashion was notable indicates that he expect the young men in question to be able to acquire a decent set of clothes, and that other people were indeed doing so. If he were chalking the Indian dress up to poverty we might want to take it with a grain of salt, but as it is I don't see why we can't take him at face value.
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton
Artificer
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« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2013, 12:28:27 AM »

I would like to point out that when looking at photos from film, the negative or slide can be easily reversed confusing which side something is on.   Only someone who had seen the original object would know the correct orientation.   With digital photos, you can create a mirror image in software, but it is not as easy to mix up the orientation. 

Good point.
Gus
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Centershot
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« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2013, 04:05:52 PM »

I think what you see in the painting is a tied sash below the powder horn. I think he is carrying a musket and that the object on his left side is his cartridge box.

Centershot
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Clark B
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« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2013, 05:31:45 PM »

I would like to point out that when looking at photos from film, the negative or slide can be easily reversed confusing which side something is on.   Only someone who had seen the original object would know the correct orientation.   With digital photos, you can create a mirror image in software, but it is not as easy to mix up the orientation. 

That is something us old photo researchers became quite adept at getting used too. There are tricks that can be used when looking at old early pictures. Most guns were made for right handers, if the lock isn't visable look for orientation of the screws on barrelbands or the retaining spings, or wedge pins, etc (for instance all bolts or screws on Enfield muskets will have the heads on the left side). Other things to keep in mind, the button line on coats, the left or right side opening wasn't as defined as it is today, but in most instances mens coats will have the buttons holes on the left hand side. If they are not wearing coats ALL trowsers were made with the fly opening as they are now, no left hand flies. Wedding bands, if worn will always be on the left hand, but it was not 100% on married men wearing them back then. If a martial photo, all cartridge boxes will be on the right side, swords on left. Just little tricks.
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Psalms 144
Centershot
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« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2013, 06:09:57 PM »

I would like to point out that when looking at photos from film, the negative or slide can be easily reversed confusing which side something is on.   Only someone who had seen the original object would know the correct orientation.   With digital photos, you can create a mirror image in software, but it is not as easy to mix up the orientation. 

That is something us old photo researchers became quite adept at getting used too. There are tricks that can be used when looking at old early pictures. Most guns were made for right handers, if the lock isn't visable look for orientation of the screws on barrelbands or the retaining spings, or wedge pins, etc (for instance all bolts or screws on Enfield muskets will have the heads on the left side). Other things to keep in mind, the button line on coats, the left or right side opening wasn't as defined as it is today, but in most instances mens coats will have the buttons holes on the left hand side. If they are not wearing coats ALL trowsers were made with the fly opening as they are now, no left hand flies. Wedding bands, if worn will always be on the left hand, but it was not 100% on married men wearing them back then. If a martial photo, all cartridge boxes will be on the right side, swords on left. Just little tricks.

I agree, but this only holds true if the artist didn't express his artistic freedom in the depiction of his subject. For instance George Washington is often depicted wearing two epaulettes one on each shoulder. In reality American Generals of that period  wore only one epaulette. Two look better and balance the picture.

Centershot
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2013, 06:26:58 PM »

I agree, but this only holds true if the artist didn't express his artistic freedom in the depiction of his subject. For instance George Washington is often depicted wearing two epaulettes one on each shoulder. In reality American Generals of that period  wore only one epaulette. Two look better and balance the picture.

Centershot

You just can't trust those artists.   They change reality to suit them. Angry  Grin Grin Grin Grin
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Clark B
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Southern Indiana


« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2013, 06:59:12 PM »

I would like to point out that when looking at photos from film, the negative or slide can be easily reversed confusing which side something is on.   Only someone who had seen the original object would know the correct orientation.   With digital photos, you can create a mirror image in software, but it is not as easy to mix up the orientation. 

That is something us old photo researchers became quite adept at getting used too. There are tricks that can be used when looking at old early pictures. Most guns were made for right handers, if the lock isn't visable look for orientation of the screws on barrelbands or the retaining spings, or wedge pins, etc (for instance all bolts or screws on Enfield muskets will have the heads on the left side). Other things to keep in mind, the button line on coats, the left or right side opening wasn't as defined as it is today, but in most instances mens coats will have the buttons holes on the left hand side. If they are not wearing coats ALL trowsers were made with the fly opening as they are now, no left hand flies. Wedding bands, if worn will always be on the left hand, but it was not 100% on married men wearing them back then. If a martial photo, all cartridge boxes will be on the right side, swords on left. Just little tricks.

I agree, but this only holds true if the artist didn't express his artistic freedom in the depiction of his subject. For instance George Washington is often depicted wearing two epaulettes one on each shoulder. In reality American Generals of that period  wore only one epaulette. Two look better and balance the picture.

Centershot

I  was talking about early photography, not paintings. I don't think many people would paint in reverse image.

On the subject of General Washington. He was General in Chief, was his sash his only badge of rank? Did HE only wear one epaulette? If line officers were wearing one epaulette, what means was used to differenciate staff officers and general officers?
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Psalms 144
Centershot
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« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2013, 09:55:50 PM »

I only recall seeing a painting of Washington with one epaulette. It may have been from his F&I  days. One epaulette was used to distinguish some line officers and enlisted non-coms. Different color sashes and coats were used later in the war to distinguish an officer's rank. The American uniform went through a number of changes during the war. I don't remember if early on in the war one epaulette was used for all officers or not.

Washington petitioned Congress on two or three occassions to be appointed as I believe Major General???  There is some confusion about Washington's actual rank. There is no doubt that he was General of the Army. I think he gave himself three stars to distinguish himself from other officers. His sash and the color of his coat did denote his rank.

Centershot
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