Hello again! Thank you for returning for another history post! I’m continuing with a series I began last year (Joining up and Drummers can be found by clicking on the links!) At times it can be difficult to find the information you need without reading a hundred books and finding a snip here and there. It’s my goal to compile here on the blog a little of the information I’ve learned so you won’t have to hunt and peck as much! Hope this helps!
(Be sure and read all the way to the end for a special "P.S." note!)
Like everyone, soldiers had to eat. But have you ever given thought to what exactly they were eating during the War Between the States? Well, it certainly wasn’t anything to get excited about.
First, we’ll look at the federal fare. One ration that was common was a preserved meat that tasted so bad, the men called it “embalmed beef.” Another ration was “desiccated” vegetables, cubed, dried out veggies that required soaking for hours before they could be eaten. It may have contained carrots, turnips, and parsnips, but it is said to have tasted like straw. The soldiers called them “desecrated” vegetables.
They also received salt pork, dried apples, beans, and rice. Often, they would steal whatever they could from the southern countryside as they went, though the worst account of this was during Sherman’s march to the sea. The federals took all they could carry and burned what they couldn’t.
Confederate soldiers made due with poorer rations, especially as the war continued. At the beginning, they drew either beef or pork rations, cornmeal, peas and rice, coffee and sugar when it could be gotten. As the war came to its final days, Southern soldiers made do with bark, leaves, roots and worse.
A favorite treat of the Stonewall Brigade was Corkscrew Bread. After mixing a dough of flour, baking powder, salt, lard or meat drippings, milk (when they could get it) and water, they would take two forked sticks and plant them on either side of the fire pit. Then they would wind the dough around a green stick in a corkscrew shape. The sick would then be propped on the forked sticks and turned until every side was crisp. Then, they would slide the bread off the stick and enjoy.
And of course, on both sides, there was the famous hardtack. This flour and water cracker was unsalted most of the time and hard as a rock. The soldiers would soak them in broth or coffee before they ate them. They could be called the Civil War MRE (Meal Ready to Eat).
If you would like to read more on the subject, I do have some books that I have found quite helpful.
The Civil War for Kids by Janis Herbert
A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham
These two are histories in general and include lots of valuable information, but I do not recommend them if you are studying the cause of the war as both have incorrect information. But their camp life and battle facts are spot on!
The last two books are recipe books. Please note, I do not condone cooking all the recipes inside, as some call for alcohol. I am a firm believer that alcohol ruins lives and is forbidden in the Scriptures.
Civil War Period Cookery by Robert W. Pelton
The Virginia Housewife by Mrs. Mary Randolph
I hope you found this article useful! Why not look up some 1860’s recipes and give them a try. For fun, my siblings and I made hardtack and love it, though we salted ours and didn’t let it cook long enough to get too hard 😊
Until Next Time,
P.S. Now, for our snippet of information on “The Rivers of Sorrow.” The book weighs in at 327 pages and 89,732 words 😊 35 chapters round out this book. One of the chapters is entitled “The Hero.” Who do you think the hero is?
Hello Everyone! Today I thought I’d share a bit of Civil War randomness with you. I love random facts about almost anything, so without further ado, let’s get started!
Until next time,
Hey! I’ve got a fun post for y’all today! I don’t know about you, but I love nicknames! Especially Civil War nicknames! So, I’m gonna give you a list of some famous (and not so famous) Southern and Northern nicknames! Enjoy!
Stonewall: General Thomas Jonathan Jackson was the owner of this special name. At the Battle of First Manassas on July 21st, 1861, C.S. General Bernard Bee stated to his men, “…There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall.” The South Carolinians under his command banded together and stood with the Virginians under Jackson, helping the Southern forces to carry the day. “Stonewall” stuck to Jackson and his brigade. Interestingly, Gen. Jackson is better known by his nickname than his real name!
Old Granny: This may surprise you, but this nickname belongs to none other than Gen. Robert E. Lee! Many Southern officers didn’t think Lee could make it as a field officer, since during the opening months of the war, his jobs were that of an engineer and military counselor. But this Mexican War veteran soon proved to be an expert on the field. Some of his tactics are still studied today!
Old Pete or Gloomy Pete: This name stuck to Gen. James Longstreet. Why Pete? I have no idea. But this Southern General was known for being a bit pessimistic and acted a bit like an “old man”. A more positive nickname he was given by Gen. Lee was “Old War Horse.”
Old Blue Light: Another nickname for Gen. Jackson. Stonewall had piercing blue eyes and his men described how when they were preparing for battle, the general’s eyes would light up.
The Last Cavalier: Gen. James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stuart was a prominent Confederate Cavalry man. His men baffled Union forces time and time again, circling the Union Army of the Potomac twice. Known for his chivalry and jaunty air, J.E.B. Stuart truly was the last of the legendary cavaliers.
Unconditional Surrender: This name belonged to Ulysses Simpson Grant or “U.S.” Grant. This name stems from his order for “Unconditional Surrender” from the Confederates holed up in Ft. Donelson. This excited the Union press, who dubbed him “Unconditional Surrender Grant.”
Little Mac: Gen. George B. McClellan wasn’t the tallest Northern General, but no commander was more loved by his men, in spite of the fact that he wasn’t that great of a tactician.
Spoons: This nickname is strange and certainly not a complement. Gen. Benjamin Butler was the man who overthrew New Orleans and set up housekeeping there. He’s dictatorship of the city is often criticized and the Southerners said he would stoop so low as to steal silverware. In all seriousness, that was the last thing the New Orleans population had to be concerned about.
Rock of Chickamauga: Gen. George Henry Thomas earned this nickname for standing firmly during said battle. It did little good though, for the Confederates won a hard fought victory in this Georgia territory.
Drummer Boy of Shiloh: John “Lincoln” Clem is hailed as one of the youngest Union soldiers to fight in the war. The nickname is actually steeped in legend as official records show that Johnny didn’t start on with the Federals until after the famous battle of Shiloh. He was present in the 1863 Georgia campaign and was even taken prisoner. Later exchanged, the boy’s story was noised throughout the South, since he was an honorary sergeant at that point. They stated that the Union troops were in dire straits since they were pulling babies from the nursery and promoting them to sergeant. Clem was actually a drummer and courier. J
There are so many fun nicknames, I could do a series on just those! I hope you enjoyed this sampling…maybe I’ll do another nickname post sometime!
Have a blessed day!
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