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American Revolutionary War Canteen 

marked: 

L* N*

J 75 4

One of the most knowledgeable men in antique firearms I have had the privilege to know was Robert Stewart of Bloomington Indiana. Bob was my mentor in the 1970s & 80s in the study antique firearms from Japanese Tanegasima (Matchlocks) to American Volcanic firearms. He instilled in me not only the passion for antique weapons, but the passion to study and research anything antique. Bob taught me to "read an antique firearm" as many past owners through the ages made art of engraving their initials, full names, home state, military information etc on the stocks or metal parts of firearms. In regards to military arms, sometimes this was the only way to identify the soldier carrying the weapon in case of death or loss, the article could be identified and returned to the soldier or the family. These marks are called Cipher marks, because sometimes the marks appear to be in code. 


This particular Canteen has those same Cipher marks that identify the owner and other information. We can deduce that the Canteen itself is of the American Revolutionary War period and is the same type that was contracted by the US Government for issue to it's regular troops. In other items from the Revolutionary war, War of 1812 and the American Civil War that I have had the experience of deciphering the pattern is as follows: 

L*N* = The initials of the Soldier in the American Civil War. 

J = Company designation

75 = 1775 (Date of service) 

4 = Regiment in service