In less than an hour on January 17, 1781, resolute American soldiers wrested a crucial victory from the British at a well-known pasturing area called the Cow Pens. This epic victory was one of several crushing blows that led to the British surrender at Yorktown just nine months later. If this British canteen could talk, what stories would it tell?
During the American Revolution, soldiers made their canteens from tin, wood, gourds, and even glass bottles covered with leather. The British typically carried either crescent or kidney-shaped tin canteens. Although this crescent canteen, made of tinned iron, was not carried at the Battle of Cowpens, it is one of less than ten surviving examples of this type used by the British Regulars.
Despite the missing neck and cork, Cowpens National Battlefield, which has few objects in its collection, chose this one for its rarity.