Then they worked into milk-toast made of condensed milk at seventy-five cents a can; but only a recruit with a big bounty, or an old vet the child of wealthy parents, or a re-enlisted man did much in that way. A few who succeeded by hook or by crook in saving up a portion of their sugar ration spread it
The hodge-podge of lobscouse also contained this edible among its divers other ingredients; and so in various ways the ingenuity of the men was taxed to make this plainest and commonest yet most serviceable of army food to do duty in every conceivable combination.
There is an old song, entitled Hard times,
which some one in the army parodied.
I do not remember the verses, 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, come again no more!