As per the Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States: “1577. Haversack–of painted canvas, with an inside sack unpainted, according to the pattern now issued by the Quartermaster’s Department.”
Our imported tarred haversack is the U.S. regulation issue for the Civil War. It is black tarred canvas with a simple wide shoulder strap of the same material sewn to the reverse corners, and a single fastening strap (with five holes) and buckle for the flap. The interior has the rice/bread bag and two black buttons.
The haversack was of primary importance to the soldier, rivaled perhaps only by the canteen. Used by every soldier to carry his mess gear and rations, these were an essential part of every soldier’s kit. An army marched, and fought, on its stomach. One Civil War recruit was warned by a friend’s father, a veteran of 1812, that obtaining food would be their primary object while in service and to miss no opportunity to do it. Another Civil War veteran recalled looking for every opportunity to gather them up from inexperienced new regiments who might drop them on a march.