October 2011

In this issue:
“With knapsacks on their shoulders”
The Other December Raid of 1776
Care and Feeding Your Musket
Maple Pumpkin Pie
March to Trenton

“With knapsacks on their shoulders”
Methods of Carrying Personal Equipment for Outwater’s Company – Matt Skic



    Dated October 25th, 1775, “An Ordinance for regulating the Militia of New Jersey,” issued by the NJ Provincial Congress, states that a man serving in the militia “shall with all convenient speed furnish himself with a good musket or firelock and bayonet, sword or tomahawk-, a steel ramrod, priming-wire and brush fitted thereto, a cartridge-box to contain twenty-three rounds of cartridges, twelve flints, and a knapsack.” Since it was a required item for militiamen in New Jersey, the knapsack is the best choice for carrying personal equipment (such as an extra shirt, stockings, or even your modern wallet and keys) when portraying the men of Outwater's Company. In his recollections of what is now called Simcoe’s Raid, Lt. Colonel John Graves Simcoe wrote, “At Quibletown, Lt. Col. Simcoe had just quitted the advance guard to speak to Lieut. Stuart, when, from a public house on the turn of the road, some people came out with knapsacks on their shoulders, bearing the appearance of a rebel guard.”Although we do not know what type of knapsack a militiaman in NJ would be wearing, the one pictured above is the best option available. This knapsack is based off one carried by a militia Captain from Dutchess County, NY just after the American Revolution. The double bagged knapsack in the collection of Fort Ticonderoga was used by Benjamin Warner, a Continental soldier, but it is unclear whether a militiaman would have used it. The one pictured above is of a simpler, backpack style making it a better option for what we portray. When buying or making a knapsack, stay away from British knapsacks and the “new invented knapsack-haversack” and be sure to use linen or hemp fabric.

For more information on knapsacks: Mark Tully’s, Packet III


A haversack is a bread-bag. It is a typical military item used by soldiers to carry their rations. It was probably not used to carry personal items, for that was the job of the knapsack. Remember, regular soldiers usually carried both a knapsack and haversack. When portraying Outwater’s Militia, the haversack should not become a man purse. The only original military haversack known is a British haversack made out of oznaburg linen. The haversack should sit high and tight on the body so as to flop around when running or performing the manual of arms. Make sure it sits just under the armpit as pictured above. When choosing a bag to carry personal items, choose a knapsack over a haversack since it was a required item. Note: haversacks can easily be converted into knapsacks.

See the original British haversack:



    The tumpline is a simple way to carry extra clothing such as a shirt or stockings (see picture). The roll is tied and then slung across the chest or over the shoulder and sits high on the back (at the shoulder blades) so as not to get in the way of the canteen or cartridge box. You can use twine, linen or hemp rope, or leather straps to tie up and secure the tumpline.

Blanket Roll


The blanket roll is another simple and unique (at least in the reenacting world) way to carry extra supplies. It is basically a long cylinder tied at both ends. Utensils, cups, shirts, and stockings are just some of the items you can put in a blanket roll. The roll is then slung over the shoulder and still allows the soldier to be able to shoulder and fire his musket.

Market Wallet


    The market wallet is a rectangular linen bag with two pouches and a center opening. Carried by both civilians and soldiers, the market wallet is a great item to use when visiting the sutlers at a reenactment. Slung over the shoulder, arm, or neck, this bag is easy to carry and holds a lot of stuff. It is also easy to make. The one pictured is based off an existing example from Pennsylvania.

Buy a market wallet at:

    Pouches or possible bags are another option for carrying personal items or extra cartridges. Made of linen or leather, there are a number of 18th century examples that still exist. More of a civilian method of carriage, pouches are probably a decent choice for carrying personal goods. Do not forget that pouches or any other method carriage should not be worn any lower than the top of the hip so as to prevent them from flopping around when running or performing the manual of arms.

Read more about knapsacks, haversacks, etc. at:

The Other December Raid, 1776 – James Smith

As Outwater’s prepares to host the first historical reenactment at Historic New Bridge Landing depicting the March 1780 Raid on Hackensack and Bergen County, we wanted to share with you an account of an earlier raid in the region. In upcoming Broadsides, we will have more information about military actions in the Hackensack Valley, leading up to our October 2012 event.

With Crown Forces chasing Washington through New Jersey and across the Deleware, another raid took place in December 1776 that surely must have put the British Supply Lines on edge. This event occurred in Hackensack, 1776, prior to the formation of Outwater’s Company and prior to Washington’s daring attack on Trenton.  The below excerpt is taken from “History of Passaic and its environs ...: historical-biographical, Volume 2”  By William Winfield Scott.

In December, 1776, it was reported that there were at Hackensack about one thousand of the enemy, and the suggestion of Huntington to Major-General Heath was to intercept them in their foragings. The latter on the 14th expressed his purpose to sweep the village, which he did the next day. Making a forced march by way of Tappan, he came upon the inhabitants by surprise; but the enemy had left. He says, "The enemy had left the lower town some days since, except five, whom we took, two of them being sick. We had taken about fifty of the disaffeced, and about fifty or sixty muskets, the greater part of which had been taken from the Whigs, it is supposed, and stored. At the dock we found one sloop loaded with hay, house furniture, and some spirits, etc., which we have this day unloaded, etc. A brig, loaded, ran down the river about seven miles and grounded. I am afraid we shall not be able to secure the effects. A Schooner loaded with hay, furniture, etc., which had sailed from the dock, ran on the banks of the river, the wind being very fresh, and in the night overset, by which the goods are damaged, if not lost. Two or three, companies have been raising here and there in the vicinity, and field-officers appointed: one Van Buskirk, Colonel. At his home we found fifty barrels of flour, a number of hogsheads of rum, and at one Brown's, who is lieutenant colonel, about one thousand pounds of cheese. One Tenpenny(Timpanny) is major.

They are all gone to New York to have matters properly settled, get ammunition, arms, etc., and were to have returned yesterday. I believe we have luckily disconcerted them. Such inhabitants as are friendly, received us with joy, but are almost afraid to speak their sentiments, and indeed, little or no intelligence can be got from the inhabitants." In referring to the brig that ran aground seven miles below, Mr. Romeyn writes: "The brigantine which grounded just below the village was subsequently boarded, but was retaken by the enemy. Among other articles taken from her was a large chest of plate, said to belong to a Mr. Yates, but it had been put in his possession for safety at Hackensack by Mr. William Wallace. It was worth about fifteen hundred pounds.

'Care and Feeding' of your musket (Originally printed 2005) - Glenn Valis

Flintlock muskets require special care and maintenance to function correctly. The barrels need to be kept very clean and oiled, the flint must be replaced, positioned correctly for the musket, the lock must be clean and lubricated, and the pan/frizzen assembly cleaned and oiled. Parts need to be inspected- the lock and flashpan are part of the pre battle inspection.
First, when you show up at an event with your firelock, you are proclaiming that your musket is safe to use. That means that YOU should have inspected it before you left home for safety. What do you inspect, and how? At battle pre-inspection, each musket should be checked for a well fixed, (not loose) flashpan, a half cock that does not release when the trigger is pulled, a well set flint, and an empty barrel. Those are not the entire list of what you should check however.

Inspecting your musket-
1) The barrel is empty. Run your ramrod down the barrel, and listen for the ping of it hitting metal at the bottom. While it is down, resting on the bottom, check its length. If it is sticking out abnormally, you have something solid in there. Sometimes tourist drop something done a barrel- check it before going out to the field.
2) The pan and frizzen are clean, and so is the pivot and contact point.
3) The Lock works properly- the flint is set, sparks well, and the half cock holds when the trigger is pulled. CHECK THE LOCK ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE CHECKED THE BARREL AND PAN and you know the gun is not loaded!
4) The flint is tight, sharp, and it is not hitting the barrel. Tighten it again.
5) The flashguard is positioned properly, and is not loose.
6) The stock is not cracked or broken so that there is a hazard.
7) The barrel is bright and clean.
8) The ramrod is not damaged; especially the tip is not loose.
9) The lock screws are snug.
10) Put your touch hole prick DEEP into the touch hole. This not only checks that the touch hole is clear, it also checks that nothing is stuck deep in the bore, like a patch, tool, etc.
11) Check your cartridges: You should be carrying only blanks. Keep live rounds ALWAYS separate from your blanks.

So you have your gun and it’s time for fun! Wipe the frizzen and pan off with a rag, to remove the oil. If you heavily oil your barrel, you might run a dry clean patch down the barrel to remove it

When you prime, add enough powder to the pan to cover the bottom. Do NOT fill the pan. Maximum for good ignition is up to the touch hole. The sparks should flash up into the touch hole; the powder shouldn't have to burn down to it. This will speed ignition and keep flash and external fouling reduced.

If you have a misfire, keep the musket pointed down range and in a safe direction! You might only have a hang-fire. If it goes off slowly, you want it go off safely!!!
Check the pan. If the powder in it did not ignite, dump and reload, and try again. Never reload without dumping if you are not sure the gun has fired. For safety, never reprime and hold an open cartridge in your hand as you fire. A spark could blow off your hand, and your fingers might poke someone in the eye as they leave!

When the gun does fire, you can easily tell by looking at the open pan- a just fired flintlock will have smoke rising from the touch hole. Since you may not, in a volley fire, see if you gun belched smoke, and probably won't feel any recoil with blanks, ALWAYS check the touch hole for smoke before you prime!

Most misfires are caused by a problem with the flint. Keep an eye on your flint as you prime. Is it still sharp and properly set in the cock? Is it loose, turned or askew?
Battles usually have fast and slow periods. When you get a slow period, check your piece! Use your brush on the pan, the pick on the touch hole, Carry a bit of rag to wipe off the frizzen and the pan. Look over the frizzen swivel point, and clean it if it is getting fouled. A fouled frizzen won't spark well. If the fouling stops the pan from opening, you may misfire- or worse, the flash might be channeled into your face. Check your flashguard as well. How is your flint doing? When in doubt, change it! 6 or 8 blanks cost as much as a flint- don't be cheap with flints. Check that your flint is tight.

Keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction while you prime and load (in particular), and after you load, and in fact, ALL THE TIME! Black powder does go off while people are loading sometimes, so be safe in your muzzle direction.


BEFORE you clean it, check it to be sure it is unloaded. Open pan, dump, and check barrel with ramrod. EVEN if you already checked when leaving the field, check AGAIN! "I didn't know it was loaded" is not an excuse, it is a complete failure!

There are several ways to clean your musket. Whatever method you use, make sure it leaves the barrel shiny, inside and out!
I recommend you remove your lock and place it and the lock screws in a safe place while you clean the musket. They are hard to replace!

Pour a generous amount of water down the barrel, letting the dirty, foul water run out (not on to your feet) several seconds, and then dump the barrel. Repeat until the water comes out looking clean. Warm water not only works faster, but warms the metal, which will dry faster
Run a wet patch down the barrel. Replace with new patch and repeat until the patch comes out fairly clean. Use one of the cleaner patches to wipe off the outside of the barrel. Repeat until the patch doesn't get dirty from wiping.

Run a dry patch down the barrel. Wipe the outside dry. Place the musket muzzle down to drain any remaining water.

Take your lock, and run water over the pan and frizzen area. Using a clean patch, scrub off any stubborn fouling. Make sure to get the pivot and contact points of the lock clean.
Dry the lock, place inside down while you oil the barrel. Run another dry patch down barrel. Oil the patch, and run it down the barrel. Use that patch to rub over the outside of the barrel. Use fine steel wool on any rusting on the outside of the barrel. If the barrel is bright and shiny, it is not rusty. If it is not rusty, you probably have maintained it right. In the 18th Century, muskets were kept bright and shiny, so the officers could see if your musket was clean.

Oil the ramrod and replace. Oil the lock and lock screws. Replace the lock. Polish your brass. You should not have to oil down the stock more than once or twice a year. Too much oil will make the stock soft and heavy.

Inspect your musket, top to bottom for damage, problems, or malfunctions. Replace the flint as needed. After cleaning your musket, do a THROUGH inspection. When you bring it to the next event, KNOW that it is ready to work, and nothing was left in the barrel. People have gotten hurt because someone lost a cleaning tool inside their barrel. Check it carefully after cleaning!


Flints are harder than steel. Hard contact of flint and steel shaves pieces of steel off. Those pieces struck off are very hot and show up as sparks. To get a good spark, your flint must make proper contact with the frizzen. It should strike squarely, and not hit the barrel or pan when the cock drops. The flint should be almost razor sharp! Most muskets like the edge down, (bevel up) but some like it reversed. The flint/cock should play nice with the frizzen, without unnecessary roughness or contact. The frizzen should be struck by the flint alone, about 1/4 of the way down from the top, and drag along the about a third of the face. You may need to use flints that are shorter than average, or larger than average. If your cock falls hard and you break flints too often, you may want to try using a lead strip instead of a piece of leather to hold the flint. Reportedly they are more shock resistant than leather. However, lead does not compress as well, and you might find that your flints come loose.

If everything seems to be set up right, working correctly, but you are not getting sparks, you may have a dirty or oily frizzen face. Wipe it off and try again. If it still does not work, you may need to have your frizzen face hardened. Case hardening of the face should suffice. If your spring is too soft, you may need to replace it.

Both the B.A.R. and Continental Line require that blanks cartridges be limited to under 120 grains, made of bond paper, not newsprint, and not be sealed with tape, or staples. You shouldn't use large amounts of glue either. In fact, you can make cartridges without any glue, and save time and effort. Roll the cartridge, then pull your former out from the end the diameter of the cartridge. Push the end in, once from the paper edge, then from the left and right. Once you have folded them flat, pull the former another eighth of an inch or so, and press the outer edge of the cartridge into the center. This will lock the bottom of the cartridge.

Once your cartridge is filled with a measured amount of powder, fold the cartridge top flat, fold the flat edges into the center, then fold the tail formed back over the bottom of the cartridge.
Keep your musket clean and oiled. Carry a wisk, pick and wiping rag with your cartridge box, and a musket tool to change and tighten flints. Check your flint at the first sign of trouble. If you get a flash in the pan, check the touch hole with your pick. Use slow periods to check your musket, clean the pan and frizzen, check the flint. Change flints often- after every battle should be a good start.

To keep your musket from rusting and to make the fouling easier to remove, you can use some light grease on the barrel area above the pan. It is easier to prevent rust than to remove it, and once pitted, your barrel can't be like new again. Too much oil in the barrel or pan will interfere with powder ignition.

A well maintained musket is dependable. So is the soldier who keeps it!

Maple Pumpkin Pie – Michele L

Perfect Pie Crust  (I made without sugar, for Julie)   
Recipe for filling
1 ½ C pumpkin (fresh or puree)
¾ C maple syrup (real maple syrup, not Log Cabin)
½ C honey
¼ molasses
1 C heavy cream
½ C milk
4 eggs
2 TBsp flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. ground ginger
a pinch of ground cloves
Beat with mixer and pour into crust.
Bake pie at 425 F for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for approx.  40-45 minutes. (Note – I use aluminum foil strips around the edge of the pie to keep the crust from burning).

Women’s Shifts-  Michele Dansak

Shifts were the first layer of a woman’s multi-layered ensemble.  They were a simple, loose fitting A-line garment with elbow length sleeves and a deep neckline that was usually made out of white linen.  Shifts were a washable liner that protected the outer clothing from body soil and perspiration.  It also protected a woman’s skin from abrasions that could be caused by the boned stays, hoops, woolen petticoats (skirts) and other discomforts of “fashionable” clothing.  Many middle-class and wealthy women would have used a finer quality linen in the construction of their shifts, while poorer and servant class women wore coarser tow linen shifts that were a “brown” or unbleached tan color.
 Many women slept in the same shifts that they wore during the day.  Wealthy women, who usually had larger wardrobes, may have had separate nightshifts.  As a rule, a woman did not expose her shift in public by removing the top half of her outer garment, such as a jacket or gown.  Most textile historians feel that there may be two exceptions; slave women working in rural areas and free women far removed from social settings.
When choosing linen for your shift, your best choice is medium-weight white linen that will withstand frequent wear and washing.  ALWAYS preshrink any fabric before using it in clothing.

March to Trenton

  2011 is the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Trenton.  George Skic had the wonderful idea of doing a march from the crossing to Trenton to commemorate the battle this year.  
After talking to some people we quickly found support and now we will not only be doing the March to Trenton, but a special Crossing of the Delaware in the Durham boats on New Years Eve morning.  All men at arms capable of a 10 mile road march are encourage to participate!  This is a once in a lifetime event.
   Participants will be bussed from Trenton to the NJ park, walk across the bridge, get on the boats and cross the river at first light, and begin the march.h
  Volunteers are needed to help with this event.  We will need a 'chase car' driver to pick up anyone injured on the march, and maybe someone to man a watering station, and a videographer/photographer.

Suggestions on March to Trenton clothing

   We will of course be wearing proper Whig clothing, not modern gear.   Make sure your shoes are broken in- and wear them within a few days of the event to make sure they have not shrunken.  Make sure they are treated with leather preservative, minks oil or saddle soap.   You may want to put a pair of very light socks on under your stockings to reduce the chance of blisters.
  Temperatures may be well below freezing, or up to 50 or more...and might start below freezing and end up mid-day at 50.  Dress in layers you can open as it gets warmer, or even remove.   If it is cold, long underwear can really help- if it is good stuff. Cotton is just bad in the cold.  You walk and get warm and sweat, and the cotton loses all insulation.  Then you stop and cool down and have no protection.  Wear long underwear tops and bottoms made of artificial fabrics like polypropolyne  hich absorbs only 3 percent of its weight in water.  It wicks your sweat away from your skin, leaving an insulated layer.
  Needless to say, you need an outer garment, preferably of wool.  If you don't have a coat, a wool shirt is pretty inexpensive from Townsend and Sons on line.  Gloves or mittens are needed when cold to keep your hands from getting cold holding your musket.  Putting a bandanna under your hat  down over your ears helps if it is bitter cold.

   The time is coming when outer garments will be REQUIRED in the unit, meaning no more showing up in shirt and waistcoat.  This is a good opportunity to get one! You can get a linen sleeved waistcoat for $110, or a smock for $70, which will cover you for 8 or 9 months of the year.  For cold weather you can get a coat which run from $200 to $400, or an overcoat, or just get a wool shirt for $50.  You can even make a wool shirt or overcoat from a blanket quickly and easily, without a pattern, in a few hours by hand.  Ask Glenn for directions or look up those published in a previous newsletter.   Holidays are also coming...put  outer garments on your Wish List!   ORDER NOW is you want things made and delivered by Christmas!

News and Notes:

The summer has been a busy one for the unit. The unit kicked things off, literally at the Battle of Connecticut Farms in early June. Matt S. and Jim S. had the honor of starting the festivities on Saturday in a scenario that was very militia friendly. The unit also participated in the Annual Battle of Monmouth and had a great showing both days.  With an increase attention to unit authenticity, the unit did the Commander proud.

The month of July saw the unit participate in the Ridgewood 4th of July Parade and the memorable Escape from Wyoming event in North Eastern, PA. This event was a combined C.L. and B.B., resulting in over 1000 participants. Outwater’s constructed a brush lean-to that provided some much needed shade in the short down time that there was. Once again, the unit performed admirably in the face of superior Crown Forces.  On a few occasions when the lines were buckling, Outwater’s was called in, sprinting over 100 yards to fill in gaps, to prevent the entire line from being turned.  It was truly a memorably event and we give a hearty HUZZAH to the 24th Connecticut for organizing it.

August saw Outwater’s return, once again, to Washington Crossing State Park. The unit had a very large turnout, with many members displaying 18th century trades and crafts, with still other members participating in a children’s drill and patrols.

September saw us go to Mt. Harmon.  Though the rain was hard until late Friday night, Saturday and Sunday were sunny and the sandy soil dried out nicely.  Due to the rain only half the projected people came to the event, but Outwater's had its expected numbers and did well, and had a good time.

 The first Sunday of October is the Lord Stirling 18th Century Craft festival.  We had a good crew that spoke to many, many people who came by.  A very good job making presentations!

Outwater's Militia
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