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[134] on sale by sutlers. It was a common sight on the march to see them borne aloft on a musket, to which they were lashed, or tucked beneath the straps of a knapsack. But there was another fry-pan which distanced these both in respect of lightness and space. The soldier called in his own ingenuity to aid him here as in so many other directions, and consequently the men could be seen by scores frying the food in their tin plate, held in the jaws of a split stick, or fully as often an old canteen was unsoldered and its concave sides mustered into active duty as fry-pans. The fresh-meat ration was thoroughly appreciated by the mell, even though they rarely if ever got the full allowance stipulated in Army Regulations, for it was a relief from the salt pork, salt beef, or boiled fresh meat ration of settled camp. I remember one occasion in the Mine Run Campaign, during the last days of November, 1863, when the army was put on short beef rations, that the men cut and scraped off the little rain-bleached shreds of meat that remained on the head of a steer which lay near our line of battle at Robertson's Tavern. The animal had been slaughtered the day before, and what was left of its skeleton had been soaking in the rain, but not one ounce of muscular tissue could have been gleaned from the bones when our men left it.

The liver, heart, and tongue were perquisites of the butcher. For the liver, the usual price asked was a dollar, and for the heart or tongue fifty cents.

The “salt horse” or salt beef, of fragrant memory, was rarely furnished to the army except when in settled camp, as it would obviously have been a poor dish to serve on the march, when water was often so scarce. But even in camp the men quite generally rejected it. Without doubt, it was the vilest ration distributed to the soldiers.

It was thoroughly penetrated with saltpetre, was often yellow-green with rust from having lain out of brine, and, when boiled, was four times out of five if not nine times out of ten a stench in the nostrils, which no delicate palate cared

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November, 1863 AD (1)
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