by Mark Tully
Two of the more basic tools employed by the American Revolution-period armies were the shovel and the spade. Though at first glance they may appear to serve basically the same function, they are in fact two distinctly different tools.
It is much easier to find period-correct spades than shovels. For our purposes digging fire pits or trenching around tents a spade is the proper tool anyway, so this works out nicely. The primary differences between period tools and their modern counterparts are that the handles and sockets are typically in-line and straight on 18th-C tools. Modern shovels and spades usually have a curved socket and/or handle, though you can still find spades very similar to style "D" at flea markets, auctions, and rummage sales.
"Return of the Stores Wanted for the Service of His Majesty's Works in the Engineering Department at Boston, 7th August, Enclosed to the Honourable Board of Ordinance, 19 August, 1775".
|Chevaux de Frize, sets||200|
|Cuirasses with head pieces,||50|
|Caltrops or Crows Feet||2,000|
|Crows of Iron||100|
|Carpenters Tools in Boxes, sets||6|
|Grind Stones with Troughs,||20|
|Mantlets of Cured Hides,||200|
|SPIKES OF SORTS|
|Size from 5 to 8-1/2 inches||Barrels 20|
|Nails, 24d||do. 10|
|Augers of Sorts||200|
SOURCE: Colonial Office 5/5 pages 717-718 (from microfilm in the Wisconsin State Historical Society Library)