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Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
en it and hardtack that was untenanted. It was no uncommon occurrence for a man to find the surface of his pot of coffee swimming with weevils, after breaking up hardtack in it, which had come out of the fragments only to drown; but they were easily skimmed off, and left no distinctive flavor behind. If a soldier cared to do A box of hardtack. so, he could expel the weevils by heating the bread at the fire. The maggots did not budge in that way. The most of the hard bread was made in Baltimore, and put up in boxes of sixty pounds gross, fifty pounds net; and it is said that some of the storehouses in which it was kept would swarm with weevils in an incredibly short time after the first box was infested with them, so rapidly did these pests multiply. Having gone so far, I know the reader will be interested to learn of the styles in which this particular article was served up by the soldiers. I say styles because I think there must have been at least a score of ways adopted t
Wilson's Creek (Missouri, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
, but the men used to sing the following chorus:-- 'Tis the song of the soldier, weary, hungry, and faint, Hardtack, hardtack, come again no more; Many days have I chewed you and uttered no complaint, O Greenbacks, come again once more! It is possible at least that this song, sung by the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, was an outgrowth of the following circumstance and song. I am quite sure, however, that the verses were different. For some weeks before the battle of Wilson's Creek, Mo., where the lamented Lyon fell, the First Iowa Regiment had been supplied with a very poor quality of hard bread (they were not then (1861) called hardtack). During this period of hardship to the regiment, so the story goes, one of its members was inspired to produce the following touching lamentation:-- Let us close our game of poker, Take our tin cups in our hand, While we gather round the cook's tent door, Where dry mummies of hard crackers Are given to each man; O hard crackers
Jeffersonville, Ind. (Indiana, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
y from this single source; and so closely did the delivery of these follow upon the manipulations of the bakers that the soldiers quite frequently Soft bread: commissary Department, Headquarters Army of the Potomac, Captain J. R. Coxe. received them while yet warm from the oven. Soft bread was always a very welcome change from hard bread; yet, on the other hand, I think the soldiers tired sooner of the former than of the latter. Men who had followed the sea preferred the hard bread. Jeffersonville, in Southern Indiana, was the headquarters from which bread was largely supplied to the Western armies. I began my description of the rations with the bread as being the most important one to the soldier. Some old veterans may be disposed to question the judgment which gives it this rank, and claim that coffee, of which I shall speak next, should take first; place in importance; in reply to which I will simply say that he is wrong, because coffee, being a stimulant, serves only a t
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
For a time, in 1861, the vaults under the broad terrace on the western front of the Capitol were converted into bakeries, where sixteen thousand loaves of bread were baked daily. The chimneys from the ovens pierced the terrace where now the freestone pavement joins the grassy slope, and for months smoke poured out of these in dense black volumes. The greater part of the loaves supplied to the Army of the Potomac up to the summer of 1864 were baked in Washington, Alexandria, and at Fort Monroe, Virginia. The ovens at the latter place had a capacity of thirty thousand loaves a day. But even with all these sources worked to their uttermost, brigade commissaries were obliged to set up ovens near their respective depots, to eke out enough bread to fill orders. These were erected on the sheltered side of a hill or woods, then enclosed in a stockade, and the whole covered with old canvas. When the army reached the vicinity of Petersburg, the supply of fresh loaves became a matter of
Brandy Station (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
an. The commissioned officers fared better in camp than the enlisted men. Instead of drawing rations after the manner of the latter, they had a certain cash allowance, according to rank, with which to purchase supplies from the Brigade Commissary, an official whose province was to keep stores on sale for their convenience. The monthly allowance of officers in infantry, including servants, was as follows: Colonel, six rations worth $56, and two servants; A brigade commissary at Brandy Station, Va. Lieutenant-Colonel, five rations worth $45, and two servants; Major, four rations worth $36, and two servants; Captain, four rations worth $36, and one servant; First and Second Lieutenants, jointly, the same as Captains. In addition to the above, the field officers had an allowance of horses and forage proportioned to their rank. I will speak of the rations more in detail, beginning with the hard bread, or, to use the name by which it was known in the Army of the Potomac, Hardta
Washington (United States) (search for this): chapter 8
iency as circumstances would permit. For a time, in 1861, the vaults under the broad terrace on the western front of the Capitol were converted into bakeries, where sixteen thousand loaves of bread were baked daily. The chimneys from the ovens pierced the terrace where now the freestone pavement joins the grassy slope, and for months smoke poured out of these in dense black volumes. The greater part of the loaves supplied to the Army of the Potomac up to the summer of 1864 were baked in Washington, Alexandria, and at Fort Monroe, Virginia. The ovens at the latter place had a capacity of thirty thousand loaves a day. But even with all these sources worked to their uttermost, brigade commissaries were obliged to set up ovens near their respective depots, to eke out enough bread to fill orders. These were erected on the sheltered side of a hill or woods, then enclosed in a stockade, and the whole covered with old canvas. When the army reached the vicinity of Petersburg, the suppl
City Point (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
th the weevils, they had to stand it as a rule; for the biscuits had to be pretty thoroughly alive, and well covered with the webs which these creatures left, to insure condemnation. An exception occurs to me. Two cargoes of hard bread came to City Point, and on being examined by an inspector were found to be infested with weevils. This fact was brought to Grant's attention, who would not allow it landed, greatly to the discomfiture of the contractor, who had been attempting to bulldoze the inin a stockade, and the whole covered with old canvas. When the army reached the vicinity of Petersburg, the supply of fresh loaves became a matter of greater difficulty and delay, which Grant immediately obviated by ordering ovens built at City Point. A large number of citizen bakers were employed to run them night and day, and as a result one hundred and twenty-three thousand fresh loaves were furnished the army daily from this single source; and so closely did the delivery of these follo
England (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 8
meals; and men going on guard or coming off guard drank it at all hours of the night, and to-day the old soldiers who can stand it are the hardest coffee-drinkers in the community, through the schooling which they received in the service. At a certain period in the war, speculators bought up all the coffee there was in the market, with a view of compelling the government to pay them a very high price for the army supply; but on learning of their action the agents of the United States in England were ordered to purchase several ship-loads then anchored in the English Channel. The purchase was effected, and the coffee corner tumbled in ruins. At one time, when the government had advertised for bids to furnish the armies with a certain amount of coffee, one Sawyer, a member of a prominent New York importing firm, met the government official having the matter in charge — I think it was General Joseph H. Eaton--on the street, and anxiously asked him if it was too late to enter ano
Chicago (Illinois, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
dient of soups and lobscouse. Many of us have since learned to call it an indigestible ration, but we ignored the existence of such a thing as a stomach in the army, and then regarded pork as an indispensable one. Much of it was musty and rancid, like the salt horse, and much more was flabby, stringy, sow-belly, as the men called it, which, at this remove in distance, does not seem appetizing, however it may have seemed at the time. The government had a pork-packing factory of its own in Chicago, from which tons of this ration were furnished. Once in a while a ration of ham or bacon was dealt out to the soldiers, but of such quality that I do not retain very grateful remembrances of it. It was usually black, rusty, and strong, and decidedly unpopular. Once only do I recall a lot of smoked shoulders as being supplied to my company, which were very good. They were never duplicated. For that reason, I presume, they stand out prominently in memory. The bean ration was an imp
Eaton, Preble County, Ohio (Ohio, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
de public, and the successful bidder had not been notified, so that no injustice could accrue to any one on that account; he would therefore assume the responsibility of taking his new bid. Having done so, the General informed Sawyer that he was the lowest bidder, and that the government would take not only the amount asked for but all his firm had at its disposal at the same rate. But when General Eaton informed him that his first bid was also lower than any other offered, Sawyer's rage at Eaton and disgust at his own undue ambition to bid a second time can be imagined. The result was the saving of many thousands of dollars to the government. I have stated that by Army Regulations the soldiers were entitled to either three-quarters of a pound of pork or bacon or one and one-fourth pounds of fresh or salt beef. I have also stated, in substance, that when the army was settled down for a probable long stop company cooks did the cooking. But there was no uniformity about it, eac
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