A Beautiful Glittering Lie
One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

What does 'canteen' mean?

Find out what canteen means. Canteen is explained by J D R Hawkins - author of A Beautiful Glittering Lie

canteen

A round, somewhat flat container used to carry drinking water. Canteens were constructed of tin or wood during the Civil War, and were carried over the shoulder by a strap. In my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the word "canteen" is used as follows:

(Page 28)
The train embarked on a long ride through pine-covered countryside. After two days of rugged riding, the North Alabamians reached Dalton on May 2. They were the last company from Alabama to arrive. Once the recruits were out of the cars, their respective sergeants began calling roll, and the men responded to their names, after which they were assigned tent partners. Each soldier was given half a small white tent, and taught how to combine the two pieces in order to provide shelter. After they had built their temporary homes, they stood in line again to receive rations, and were served breakfast on tin plates that they were instructed to keep, as well as tin cups. They indulged in cornbread, steak, fried potatoes, eggs, and coffee, all provided by the local townsfolk. Upon finishing their meal, they lined up to receive additional provisions, including haversacks, gum cloths, canteens, blankets, and roll straps. Smooth-bored muskets were distributed to those without their own guns, to which the men grunted, knowing the weapons were relics. Some of the soldiers who had brought along extra money purchased additional accoutrements from the commissary, but they soon found out that the items were significantly overpriced, so most did without.

(Pages 33-34)
The men were requested to return to the field and gather the fallen. It wasn’t long before Hiram wished he had been assigned to a less gruesome task. All across the field, swarming flies swirled about strewn body parts, broken soldiers cried out in pain, and the wounded, both men and horses alike, writhed in agony as gathering buzzards slowly circled overhead. A white clapboard house that had been at the center of the commotion was now splattered with bullet holes, the wooden sideboards shattered from gunfire. Hiram passed his canteen from one thirsty casualty to the next until it was drained, and still they cried out for more. Finally, an ambulance arrived. Litter-bearers carried off the wounded. Colonel Jones was discovered where he had fallen, and was transported to a nearby hospital at Orange Court House.

(Page 100)
A lull came in the battle. Colonel Bowles, who had been promoted from captain, approached his men, asking for volunteers to fill canteens, so Hiram accepted the challenge.

(Page 100)
Bud chuckled quietly. He looked back across the hillcrest to see Hiram making his way through the ranks. Deciding to join him, he sprang to his feet and rapidly caught up. Hiram gave him several canteens to fill. They cautiously went down the hill, made their way through a stiff, frozen cluster of reeds, and dipped the metal containers into the frigid water at the river’s edge. While they squatted to fill the receptacles, they discussed the upcoming holiday, and how they excitedly looked forward to seeing their kinfolk, knowing that once the battle concluded, the winter campaign would be over.

Search result for 'canteen' in A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"...and were served breakfast on tin plates that they were instructed to keep, as well as tin cups. They indulged in cornbread, steak, fried potatoes, eggs, and coffee, all provided by the local townsfolk. Upon finishing their meal, they lined up to receive additional provisions, including haversacks, gum cloths, canteens, blankets, and roll straps. Smooth-bored muskets were distributed to those without their own guns, to which the men grunted, knowing the weapons were relics. Some of the soldiers who had brought along extra money purchased additional accoutrements from the commissary, but they soon found out that the items were ..."
"...cried out in pain, and the wounded, both men and horses alike, writhed in agony as gathering buzzards slowly circled overhead. A white clapboard house that had been at the center of the commotion was now splattered with bullet holes, the wooden sideboards shattered from gunfire. Hiram passed his canteen from one thirsty casualty to the next until it was drained, and still they cried out for more. Finally, an ambulance arrived. Litter-bearers carried off the wounded. Colonel Jones was discovered where he had fallen, and was transported to a nearby hospital at Orange Court House. ..."

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Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
146.
"... bearers could deliver him to the field hospital, he was dead. A lull came in the battle. Colonel Bowles, who had been promoted from captain, approached his men, asking for volunteers to fill canteens, so Hiram accepted the challenge. “You sure you want to go down there?” Bud asked him. ..."
"...Bud chuckled quietly. He looked back across the hillcrest to see Hiram making his way through the ranks. Deciding to join him, he sprang to his feet and rapidly caught up. Hiram gave him several canteens to fill. They cautiously went down the hill, made their way through a stiff, frozen cluster of reeds, and dipped the metal containers into the frigid water at the river’s edge. While they squatted to fill the receptacles, they discussed the upcoming holiday, and how they excitedly looked forward ..."

Search result for 'canteen' in the FAQs of A Beautiful Glittering Lie

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