War of 1812 - Artefact of the Week - September 14, 2012

United States Army Field Artillery Caisson Chest (6 lbs)

During the War of 1812, storage chests were needed to carry ammunition and supplies for battle. Both the British and American armies were required to travel great distances, and needed to be well-prepared. The artefact seen below is a chest, which would ordinarily rest on a two-wheeled ammunition wagon called a caisson. The chests were usually detachable from the small wagon, and each wagon carried two of these chests, as well as a spare wheel. Artillery carriages were meant to be simple, though they were extremely heavy. The weight of the equipment made artillery units the least mobile of a military commander’s fighting units.

This chest is one of two in the Parks Canada collection, and the two may be the only surviving examples of the type of caisson chest used during the War of 1812. This chest was used by a United States army Field Artillery unit. These units primarily used artillery weapons in long-range indirect fire, and there are six currently active United States Army field artillery units who earned credit for their involvement in the War of 1812.

United States Army Field Artillery Caisson Chest (6 lbs) United States Army Field Artillery Caisson Chest (6 lbs)
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