Delaware history prof discovers Civil War relic

Historians in the News

8:19 a.m., July 6, 2011--Ritchie Garrison was helping to clean out his late uncle’s attic in Massachusetts when he came upon an intriguing department store bag.

“When I saw what was inside, I almost fell over,” the University of Delaware history professor says. It was his great-grandfather George T. Garrison’s folded-up shelter tent from the Civil War, or more correctly, half of a shelter tent.

“Each man carried a half, and when you buttoned the two halves together and suspended it over a sapling or a rope, you had a two-man tent,” explains Garrison, director of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at UD. “They looked a little like pup tents and were an idea borrowed from the French military.”

Only about 30 shelter tents are known to exist from the Civil War, according to Garrison, and this one is even more rare because of its regiment of origin....

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