The 1789 decree calling for general conscription begins,

Henceforth, until the enemies have been driven from the territory of the republic, the French people are in permanent requisition for army service. The young men shall go to battle; the married men shall forge arms and transport provision; the women shall make tents and clothes, and shall serve in the hospitals; the children shall turn old linen into lint; the old men shall repair to the public places, to stimulate the courage of the warriors and preach the unity of the Republic and hatred of kings

Straightforward enough, but what's with the lint? I can't think of any military purpose for it, unless maybe you were making guncotton, but (a) that wasn't used in the revolutionary era and (b) you usually use cotton to make guncotton, not old linen.

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    B.H. Liddell-Hart listed wool in his list of a nation's critical war material in his book, History of the Second World War. I wonder if lint is a poor man's substitute? – Smith Jun 7 '17 at 13:53

Lint seems to have a number of potential uses in the period:

  • As tinder for starting fires.
  • In the treatment of wounds.
  • As wadding for guns (cannon and muskets).

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