So, you have all those papers and forms. Where are you going to carry them?
The answer just might be a field desk. These desks were common sights at every
headquarters, from company headquarters to army headquarters. We own one, and it
can often be seen in our tent at shows. But for those that want to see what one
looks like, and why ours looks like it does, we've provided the following
documentation and information.
Field Desks in the Union army had to have a place to keep the company or
regimental books. These books were issued and were 16 inches high by 10 inches
wide. So when you see a field desk, you will see at least one compartment that
is big enough to accommodate these books.
Our field desk was made several years ago by Mr. Paul Sutcliff of The Eagle's
Nest sutlery in Dobson, North Carolina. It's copied from an original that Mr.
Sutcliff owns. We found an original remarkably like our reproduction in the Civil
War Collector's Encyclopedia, vol. 3, by Francis Lord. Here's the picture
and description from the book:
Field Desk: Made of cherry wood with a brass carrying handle. The
compartments are labeled for various papers - e.g. CLOTHING INVOICES, ORDNANCE
FORMS, DISCHARGE PAPERS, etc.
Dimensions: 18 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and 10 1/4 inches deep.
Markings: On the back of the desk: CAPT. J. H.
Co. "M" 62 Reg Pa
Mr. Sutcliff no longer makes these desks. So if you're looking for a nice
reproduction, we suggest you go to Charlie's Boatworks. Charlie makes some great
reproductions, and among them is a field desk.
Note: Our reproduction is 18 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and 11 inches deep.
Our desk. Note the construction of the drop-down writing panel.
A straight-on view of our desk. Note the buff leather pulls on the drawers.
They're tacked on with upholstery tacks.
A close-up view of the side of the desk. Note the joining techniques used on the
side and also on the drawers.
A view of the front of the desk, with the writing panel in the closed and locked
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