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[137] obtained, then a fire was built in the hole and kept burning some hours, the beans being prepared for baking meanwhile. When all was ready, the coals were shovelled out, the kettle of beans and pork set in, with a board over the top, while the coals were shovelled back around the kettle; some poles or boards were then laid across the hole, a piece of sacking or other material spread over the poles to exclude dirt, and a mound of earth piled above all; the net result of which, when the hole was opened the next morning, was the most enjoyable dish that fell to the lot of the common soldier. Baked beans at the homestead seemed at a discount in comparison. As it was hardly practicable to bake a single ration of beans in this way, or, indeed, in any way, a tent's crew either saved their allowance until enough accumulated for a good baking, or a half-dozen men would form a joint stock company, and cook in a mess kettle; and when the treasure was unearthed in early morning not a stockholder would be absent from the roll-call, but all were promptly on hand with plate or coffee dipper to receive their dividends.

Here is a post-bellum jingle sung to the music of “The sweet by and by,” in which some old veteran conveys the affection he still feels for this edible of precious memory:--

The Army Bean.

There's a spot that the soldiers all love,
The mess-tent's the place that we mean,
And the dish we best like to see there
Is the old-fashioned, white Army Bean.

chorus.--'Tis the bean that we mean,
And we'll eat as we ne'er ate before;
The Army Bean, nice and clean,
We'll stick to our beans evermore.

Now the bean, in its primitive state,
Is a plant we have all often met;
And we en cooked in the old army style
It has charms we can never forget.--chorus.

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