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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Major David Dickinson (1747-1822) of Deerfield, Massachusetts, burned his initials into his army canteen. Dickinson held a commission in the 5th Massachusetts regiment in 1776. Keeping liquid in the canteen kept the wood swollen and watertight. There existed no company mess during the Revolution. Soldiers generally received their rations on an individual basis or foraged for food. Small groups of soldiers shared a cast iron pot in which they were supposed to cook their food. Inefficiency and graft rather than genuine food shortages caused much of the deprivation American soldiers experienced during the war.
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