From Keith Burgess by way of Capt. Hickey

I originally got this information by way of an email from Martin Hickey... who apparently cut and pasted it from a piece that was written by Keith Burgess at

In the 1756-1760 journal of Louis Antoine de Bougainville, there is an inventory of clothing and equipment issued to French soldiers going on a winter expedition in the New World. It reads as follows:

One overcoat

One blanket

One wool cap

Two cotton shirts

One pair of mitasses

(A type of legging)

One breechclout

Two hanks of thread

Six needles

Two pair of deerskin shoes

One dressed deerskin

Two portage collars

One butcher's knife

One pair of snowshoes

*One tarpaulin per officer, one large one to every four men*

Two Siamese knives

(clasp or folding knives).

One waistcoat

One awl

One tinderbox

(the word "tinderbox" was also used to denote flint & steel).

One drag rope

One comb

One worm

(fits the end of a cleaning rod or ramrod, for wrapping tow around for cleaning the barrel)

One bearskin
(could be a bearskin, or could mean a course blanket).

One tomahawk

Two pair of stockings

One pair of mittens

Here at last we have mention of a "tarpaulin", a canvas shelter; "One
tarpaulin per officer, one large one to every four men". The translation
from French to English could also mean an oilcloth or a plain untreated
canvas. In the Webster's dictionary a tarpaulin is a: "canvas treated with
tar or oil". The Oxford dictionary says: "waterproof cloth Esp. of tarred
canvas". Tar in the 18th century was pine pitch.


Keith said...

This piece was written by myself and is copyright. It was my research, and I would appreciate it if you could at least add a link to my blog, and give me some credit. Regards, Keith H. Burgess.

The Doctor said...

Done and done, Sorry Keith!