Dan Sullivan of Providence (and later Pawtucket), Rhode Island, enlisted on August 21,1862 at North Providence as a Private in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers to serve his country. He was transferred out on May 1, 1864, before transferring into the Veteran Reserve Corps on May 21, where he served until the end of the war. The Veteran Reserve Corps was for soldiers too ill or wounded to serve on the front lines, but who still had a desire and some physical ability to serve.
Sullivan likely carried this canteen throughout his service. The canteen, cover, and strap show clear evidence of use in the field. The cover is faintly painted with “DS” in red, white, and blue paint. The cork stopper chain is also painted as is the exposed part of the canteen. This was possibly done post War for display at the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veteran post. The period brass tag marked “Daniel Sullivan of Pawtucket RI” came along with the canteen when acquired.
The 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers was a battle-hardened unit seeing action at virtually every major battle fought in the Eastern theater by the Union Army of the Potomac. Major battles that the 2nd RI participated in during Dan’s service include Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.
To think that this canteen was present at these pivotal and epic events in American history is awe inspiring. Thanks to Brendan Synnamon and the Union Drummer Boy for helping us acquire this fantastic piece.