was frequently due to exposure to the weather.
It was no uncommon sight to see thousands of boxes of hard bread piled up at some railway station or other place used as a base of supplies, where they were only imperfectly sheltered from the weather, and too often not sheltered at all. The failure of inspectors to do their full duty was one reason that so many of this sort reached the rank and file of the service.
The third condition was when from storage they had become infested with maggots and weevils.
These weevils were, in my experience, more abundant than the maggots.
They were a little, slim, brown bug an eighth of an inch in length, and were great bores
on a small scale, having the ability to completely riddle the hardtack.
I believe they never interfered with the hardest variety.
When the bread was mouldy or moist, it was thrown away and made good at the next drawing, so that the men were not the losers; but in the case of its being infested with 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 inspector to pass it.
The quartermasters did not always take as active an interest in righting such matters as they should have done; and when the men growled at them, of course they were virtuously indignant and prompt to shift the responsibility to the next higher power, and so it passed on until the real culprit could not be found.
But hardtack was not so bad an article of food, even when traversed by insects, as may be supposed.
Eaten in the dark, no one could tell the difference between it and hardtack that