led some one to say jocosely, with no disrespect intended to the people however, “that every other person one meets on a Southern street is a hog.”
They certainly were quite abundant, and are to-day, in some form, the chief meat food of that section.
But on the point of scarcity of rations I believe my statement will be generally agreed to by old soldiers.
Now, as to the quality
the case is not quite so clear, but still the picture has been often overdrawn.
There were, it is true, large quantities of stale beef or salt horse — as the men were wont to call it-served out, and also rusty, unwholesome pork; and I presume the word “hardtack” suggests to the uninitiated a piece of petrified bread honeycombed with bugs and maggots, so much has this article of army diet been reviled by soldier and civilian.
Indeed, it is a rare occurrence for a soldier to allude to it, even at this late day, without some reference to its hardness, the date of its manufacture, or its propensity for travel.
But in spite of these unwholesome rations, whose existence no one calls in question, of which I have seen — I must not say eaten — large
quantities, I think the government did well, under the circumstances, to furnish the soldiers with so good a quality of food as they averaged to receive.
Unwholesome rations were not the rule, they were the exception, and it was not the fault of the government that these were furnished, but very often the intent of the rascally, thieving contractors who supplied them, for which they received the price of good rations; or, perhaps, of the inspectors, who were in league with the contractors, and who therefore did not always do their duty.
No language can be too strong to express the contempt every patriotic man, woman, and child must feel for such small-souled creatures, many of whom are to-day rolling in the riches acquired in this way and other ways equally disreputable and dishonorable.
I will now give a complete list of the rations served out to the rank and file, as I remember them.
They were salt pork,