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 Post subject: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:14 pm 
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I figured that I would start a new topic on this one instead of running this of the "High Cholesterol" Topic. But I ask Brian about about information on responsibilities and understandings of a modern day mess. He kindly replied with great information but I thought I would make this public for everybody to see and comment on this.


Brian and Bill,

Meat Rations- So is buying a slab of smoked bacon the best way to go? Is there a particular cut of smoked bacon, like the fatty part with little meat or just regular smoke uncut?

I have a butcher chain by me that I usually go to for special meats and Great Amish Turkey for Thanksgiving. But I didn't think about going to them about this.

Basically I am the cook of the mess because of my culinary background from my grandmother teaching me at her house and her resturant... :lol: But so far this is my mess cooking gear:

-Tin Canteen Half with Nail Riveted Handle from S & S Sutler
-Regular Tin Canteen Half from Regimental
-5" tall Tin Kettle holds about 1 gallon from Smoke & Fire Sutler in Waterville, Ohio
-Tin Mucket (Personal) from The Village Tinsmith

I sure this is enough stuff for our mess of 4. What do you guys think of the gear or possible improvements?

Now I haven't read Hardtack and Coffee but I hopefully I will sometime. But I always heard people praise over it. Just don't know why I haven't yet.

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Joseph Edwards
The Deadeye Mess
Company C 2nd United States Sharp Shooters


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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:11 pm 
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Brian and Fellow Sharpshooters

My apologies for not identifying you as 'Le chef du Pastry' for the Billium pie. I vaguely recall seeing the photo but it has been many moons since the pie was created/photographed and devoured.

While not exactly pertinent to the topic of cholesterol, it might be an entertaining opportunity to learn what fellow Sharpshooters cook and eat while 'on campaign'. And I do not mean what you buy at the vendors at the large events. Granted, I've had many ‘guilty pleasures’ gorging on Bayou Billy's jumbo-lya, Orange County (VA) Eagle/Boy Scout hot dogs, and more questionable cuisine my early career; I have since pooled the contents of my haversack with the Mess and enjoyed good camaraderie over a hearty meal.

Scoosh. I don't exactly know which of the Michigan sharpshooters coined the name for this repast. But it is hearty fare for hungry sharpshooters—even a small portion, added to hard crackers and a cup of coffee is mighty satisfying.
Ingredients:
1 large onion
2-3 potatoes
1-2 pound smoked lean, bacon
1-2 apples
Dried cherries (optional)

Preparation: Slice bacon into 2x3x ½ inch sections. Chop onion, dice potatoes, and cut apples into ¼ inch wedges or cubes Place ingredients in empty tin plates until needed. Usually the ‘prep cooks’ are those in the Mess who have sharp jackknives. Cutting table is any freshly split log. Another Mess-mate tends to the fire…Schoosh is best prepared coals and not open flame.

Cook bacon in a small skillet or canteen half-pour off ½ the grease, keep the rest
Add onion and potatoes-let cook until onions brown and potatoes soften-stir with bayonet, wooden spoon or forked stick whittled to serve that purpose.
Add apple slices
Add cherries just before removing from fire
You should have enough food to serve 4 sharpshooters with enough left over for seconds.

Bon appetite!

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess-USSS


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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:20 pm 
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Joe, and fellow Sharpshooters:

My personal ‘mess kit’ is as follows:
• Jackknife
• Spoon
• Mid-War tinned plate (looks similar to a pie plate)
• Canteen half (two wires punched through the im, fixed opposite of the other)
• Large tin cup/coffee boiler with wire bail

I don’t recall what Dan, Brian or Chad's kits comprise of. Hopefully they will contribute this information.

The canteen halves work great. They are lightweight and can be tied on the outside of your canteen or carried in the haversack. One only needs to slide the blade of a bayonet through the bail wire to lift the ‘skillet’ from the fire. Likewise, I hold the blade and use the crook of the socket to ‘hook’ the bail of my coffee boiler and put it to the side of the fire pit to cool. You do have to be careful when using a halve when frying large quantities of bacon. Flames can cause the grease to catch fire and you have a "Oh-Pah" moment (this will only make sense to guys who visit Greektown in Detroit, where a favorite appetizer is flaming saganaki cheese). Trying to remove your flaming canteen half without dumping the bacon into the fire is the sign of a steel-nerved chef or very hungry sharpshooter.

The secret to campaigning is that all of the items you carry must be able to perform multiple tasks. Fewer items translates into less weight—which becomes critical if you are attending a Authentic Campaigner ‘immersion’ event where you are required to march and fight for 2-5 days at a time with only the ammo and equipment you can carry on your back. This is where paring down your kit to the absolute basics and sharing the vital extras (hatchet, butcher knife, skillet, rope/twine, Sharps cleaning kit) is so important.

Joe, I get my bacon from our local butcher (Burritts Meat) in Traverse City. When I first went there I scared the butcher when I yelled at him as he was preparing to run our 5 pound hock through the slicing machine. After I explained what I was going to do with the bacon he has since kept a supply of smoked bacon on reserve for the Mess. Usually it is much leaner than the sliced commercial packaged bacon--which tends to run fatty and shrinks horribly when cooked.

I would also highly recommend that you get a copy of Billing's Hardtack and Coffee , it is a wonderfully educational and entertaining book to read. If you want to know about what it was like soldiering in the Army of Potomac (the real, day to day life of the soldier) this is the book. Since you are the cook, Billings has devoted a chapter on the food consumed by the AoP and it's preparation. You can get a copy from Amazon, Borders or even your local bookstore.

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess-USSS


Last edited by Bill Skillman on Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:32 pm 
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The recipe that Bill provided is something we sometimes make in the fall season when we're at local events. While it's definitely a documented dish, it would have been prepared by soldiers who had access to the ingredients and also the time it takes to sit and cook it up. The fried bits go remarkably well with the sweetness of the apples and dried cherries.

Another great reference to period food can be found in the "Columbia Rifles Research Compendium, 2nd Edition." Actually, this book is in my opinion a must have for any reenactor seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the "Three M's" which are "Man, Material, and Method." A few excerpts from the book for those interested, taken from original accounts:

"It would make you laugh to see us cook our grub when we are marching and every man has to carry his grub with him and cook for himself; to see every man with his tin dipper boiling his coffee and frying meat on a tin plate."

"A dirty, smoke-and-grease-begrimed tin plate and tin dipper have to serve as our entire culinary department. We boil potatoes, fry pork, and make coffee-all in our dippers."

"We serve out our pork and bacon raw except when we have beans to boil with our pork. i youst (used) to get a meal when i had a chance and fry flap jacks. you would laugh to see us frying them on a tin plate. and our crackers we sometimes soak them and fry them."

"In drawing his ration of meat from the commissary the quartermaster had to be governed by his last selection. If it was a [meaty] hindquarter then he must take a [bony] forequarter the next time....The kind of piece drawn naturally determined its disposition in the soldier's cuisine. If it was a stringy, flabby piece, straightaway it was doomed to a dish of lobscouse....If the meat was pretty solid...it was quite likely to be served as beefsteak."

"Our beef, when we got any, marched with us and was in the best of condition, no fat, all bone and muscle. It was usually killed about 4:00 a.m. and we got it in time for breakfast. We were supposed to get 3/4 of a lb. No choice cuts, take it as we got it, bone and muscle counted, we stuck it on a sharp pointed stick, held it to the fire, and roasted it with our coffee and hard tack."

"I am writing...after eating a very good dinner of stew. I will tell you what my stew is made of-small pieces of beef cut up very fine and four potatoes cut up fine and hardtack broke up fine, well seasoned with salt and pepper to suit. It makes a very good dish."

"The dessicated vegetables used in our army...I regard these compressed vegetables as the best preparation for prairie traveling that has yet been discovered. A single ration weighs, before being boiled, only an ounce, and a cubic yard contains 16,000 rations."


Those are just a few accounts of what was being rationed to soldiers, and what they did with it. Even better are accounts of the supplemental food items that soldiers begged, bought, borrowed, or stole...most often they stole it from local farms and mills. Such foraging was looked down upon by officers but with a wink and a nod the men would provide an officer who witnessed the killing of a hog, etc. with a choice cut of the meat. Several accounts of this happening among the sharpshooters themselves have been documented; Wyman White mentions killing a pig, leading a calf away from it's mother, stealing apples, etc., Stevens mentions a Swiss member of Company A getting in trouble with Col. Berdan for not killing a chicken he had stolen. One of the most widely joked about foraging exploits within Company F was when the men had broken into a hogshead of molasses and dunked one of the more ambitious men into it headfirst. About foraging, stealing, etc. and the preparation of such things, the CRRC:2 gives several accounts:

"I...had picked up an apple from the ground, a fine, big, juicy fellow, and commenced to eating it...A lady suddenly appeared at an open window in the house some 15 yards distant...She addressed me in the following language, leaning out of the window, "I say, you damned infernal Yank, don't touch one of my apples"...I, however, heeded not the order. Continuing to feast on the delicious fruit, I eyed her ladyship with silent scorn and contempt...After indulging for fully ten minutes in the must abusive, obscene, and blasphemous language that I ever heard, she added, "Go home, you damned thieving Yankees to your whoring mothers in the North." I hauled off with all my force, driving the fruit through the window, and smashing the glass into a thousand pieces. This caused her ladyship to beat a hasty retreat."

"We approached the pen cautiously, relying upon the bayonet and butt end of the musket as the instruments for the slaughter, for we dared not shoot...We pulled open the small door of the pen. Immediately out bounced four or five large hogs, followed by an innumerable family of youngsters, squeaking and grunting at every step, terribly frightened and running pell-mell between our legs. We soon commenced the chase...[I] at last succeeded in cornering a fine young pig. It weighed about 40 pounds. One plunge of the bayonet fastened the pig to the ground....We allowed it to bleed freely; after which it was carefully wrapped up in a gum blanket."

"We built a scorching fire of pine logs...The cook was a certain officer of my company...The officer first prepared a paste of moist earth and clay. This paste was placed two or three inches thick all around the hog in it's natural state. The whole was then laid in the middle of the fire. The mud covered the pig was blanketed in hot ashes and burning wood. About an hour after, it was drawn out. The coating of clay, then burnt to a crisp, fell in pieces. It revealed the roast pork. In flavor and whiteness, I never tasted anything as good....I often afterward saw chicken cooked in the same way."

"In the old mill we found some flour and it was soon doing duty as something resembling griddle cakes. We disposed of them all and would have licked the platter if there had been one."

"....when we have a chance to get any flour or indian meal we make flap jacks....when the corn was standing in the fields we used to pull the ears and grind them to meal by punching holes in a piece of tin and rubbing the ear of corn on the rough side of it, thus by a goodeal [sic] of labour one could get a good mess of meal and it is quite a treat when one has been a long time on hard bread."

"Corn meal...requires no forment, and requres no cooking utensils, a plain board placed before the fire is all the oven absolutely necessary. With a frying-pan, thin cakes can be rapidly baked, and are an excellent diet."

You can see from these accounts that men sometimes did a lot with a little, especially in terms of cooking utensils. Culinary knowledge and experience ran the gamut from men who simply relied on crackers at each halt during a march to men who would actively forage and prepare pigs, chickens, etc. in the manner above. Perhaps the simplest, most bare-bones thing someone can do authentically with their rations is eat the crackers plain or toasted (toasting actually softens them!) while boiling a can of coffee and holding pork or beef impaled on a stick over the fire. If you get a mess going, like my friends have, food preparations can be as simple or grandiose as were may be in the mood for. At the Payne's Farm event several years ago my mess was issued authentic field rations; something we're used to. I think we marched about nine or ten miles in a day, in full marching order, before being sent immediately into an intense skirmish that covered nearly two miles. Believe me when I say that during our only rest on the march everyone munched down their hardtack and went to sleep! At night after the skirmish it was too cold to worry about anything but a proper fire; we toasted our crackers and turned in.

If you feel like jazzing your period rations up a bit, using pretty much nothing but period rations, here are a few time-honored classics invented by Civil War soldiers:

"Skillygallee" was made by soaking hardtack in cold water for several hours, frying it in grease until golden brown, and salting to taste. I've done this myself and trust me....it WILL curl your toes.

"Hell-fired Stew" was made by pulverizing hardtack to a powder before soaking it in water and frying it. I've never tried this one but it has always seemed that it would come off as something like falafel.

"Lobscouse" was a stew made by boiling meat, hardtack chunks, and vegetables (dessicated veggie rations or fresh).

"Cush" or "sloosh" was similar to hell-fired stew and was must made from pulverized hardtack and water fried in grease with bits of meat. This is similar to Bill's recipe for "scoosh" but minus the good stuff.

"Hardtack pudding" was made "by placing the biscuit (hardtack) in a stout canvas bag, and pounding bag and contents with a club on a log until the biscuits were reduced to a fine powder; then we added a little wheat flour if we had it....and made a stiff dough, which we next rolled out on a cracker box lid, like a pie-crust; then we covered this all over with a preparation of stewed, dried apples, dropping in here and there a raisin or two for Auld Lang Syne's sake, rolled and wrapped it in a cloth, boiled it for an hour or so, and ate it with wine sauce. The wine was usually omitted and hunger inserted in its stead."

Man, I obviously love period army food and cooking it!

_________________
Brian White
Wambaugh, White, & Company
http://www.wwandcompany.com
----------------------------------
Randolph Mess, U.S. Sharpshooters


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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:56 pm 
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Brian and Fellow Sharpshooters;

I think the secret to Skillygalee is determining when your hardtack is sufficiently softened from the water, and you use bacon grease that has not burned...there also has to be a sizeable 'puddle' of the rendered porker so you can quasi 'deep fry' your cracker. Second, you have to keep a close eye on your cracker while it cooks. It should toast to a golden brown---don't let the cracker absorb too much grease--otherwise your cardiologist will faint when he sees the results of your cholesterol test; and as Brian says, your toes will decidedly curl when you bite into it. A 'good' skillygalee cracker should be crunchy and not become water logged. I have found Bent's crackers work the best to make skillygalee--though other's results may vary.

You can also turn your hard cracker into a cookie by dampening one side with honey and sprinkle a portion of your sugar ration on it. Or, if desperate, you can do as William Kent (Co. F. 1st USSS) did during the Seven Days--hardtack and garlic. I presume he crushed the cloves into a paste and spread them on the cracker. Brigham Buswell, of the same company, described the boys filling their haversacks with corn meal and when returning to the lines prepared a mush. A couple other enterprising foragers found some bee-hives and ran off with them--bees and all. The boys enjoyed honey with their mush.


For those who wish a more hearty meal that is better suited to a somewhat established camp; I will provide the directions for my 'field expedient' bean soup below:

• 2 cups dried Navy Beans
• ¾ pound cooked Bacon
• ½ chopped onion
• Small camp mess pan or pail

Place the beans in the mess pail and fill with water. Cover and let stand overnight—store it someplace safe so ‘Jonah’ won’t kick it over on his way to the sinks at night.

Prepare a good fire that will yield up plenty of coals.
Pour off the water to within 2 inches of the top of the beans. Set on coals and then stir in cooked bacon and chopped onion. Bring to boil and then set off to side to simmer for about 1 hour. Keep an eye on the soup, you may need to add water if it boils to steadily. Cover the top of the pail with a wood shingle to keep in heat/out flies. Stir the beans occasionally until done.

The soup is great for dinner, and if you keep it cool at night it can be reheated the next morning as 'Hooker Porridge'.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS


Last edited by Bill Skillman on Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:23 pm 
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You're right Bill, it's all about timing in order to get some edible. Well, something that may pass as edible at least. As with typical modern frying techniques, the grease will have to be nice and hot before dropping anything into it.

Bill, whenever the heck we get to an event together again I'll have to make you some of my corn oysters. A little flour, salt, pepper, condensed milk and grated corn go into it. If baking powder is handy that will cause them to puff up like fritters or hush-puppies during frying.

_________________
Brian White
Wambaugh, White, & Company
http://www.wwandcompany.com
----------------------------------
Randolph Mess, U.S. Sharpshooters


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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:40 pm 
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Brian and Fellow Sharpshooters,

At this rate we could wind up with enough Civil War recipes to get our own show on the Cooking Channel. Maybe a 'Skillygalee Throw Down' with Bobbie Flay or a Iron Chef 'Salt Pork' competition? Then again, we might wind up with a spot on the Travel Channel with Brian Zimmer chowing down on all the 'throw away' food that would otherwise have been eaten by the raccoons. I recall a few events I attended with my New York comrades of old Co. B. when John Carey would slice off huge chunks of Spam to hand out to the company as we trooped off to a skirmish--I think even Zimmer would have a tough time swallowing Spam and hardtack.

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess-USSS


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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:49 pm 
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I remember Anthony Bourdain "No Reservations" doing an episode on Civil War Cooking in South Carolina. Kind of a Farb Fest, but it was funny just seeing him dressed up.

But I finally got "Hardtack and Coffee" from Boarders this past week and I must say this is a great book. Why haven't I got it earlier? It's very interesting and gives you to most little details that most books tend to leave out.

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Joseph Edwards
The Deadeye Mess
Company C 2nd United States Sharp Shooters


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:30 pm 
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My apologies to Brian, but when I was viewing the Authentic Campaigner this evening I found a topic: "Food in the Trenches". Brian White, a regular contributer here, wrote a very interesting and detailed reply--documenting rations issued, donated to or purchased by the USSS during the siege at Petersburg. It was too good to leave on just one forum.

This sort of information is very valuable for those of you doing living history or interact with the public during weekend reenactments. When Brian and I served with Co. B; on two occasions our group constructed authentic riflepits at the Jackson Cascades Musters for Petersburg scenarios. We manned the works day and night, ate cold rations, and other duties. It didn't occur to me to construct a kitchen directly behind the works to prepare the various 'victals' described below.

Last month, I attended a weekend event at Fort Wayne (a masonry fort constructed along the Detroit River in the 1840's to protect the region during the tensions with Great Britian). Pat Price, who is a member of the Save Fort Wayne Coalition, decided to introduce a new impression as 'Post Sutler'. A $1 US was coverted into a 10 cent sutler chit. The chits could then exchanged for foodstuff or other items the soldier might desire. Needless to say, Pat did a bustling business...and I found myself a frequent visitor...fresh pickled cukes, molassus and sugar cookies elevated my humble meal of hardcrackers and salt horse into a repast. I could also appreciate the enlisted man's delimma of old when I had a hankering to buy a seegar that cost 20 cents but all I had in my wallet was 10--ah, a curse on the devil's weed!!! Also, you never appreciate the depth of comraderie until your chum invites you to dig into his opened tin of smoked oysters---which go very well with wheel cheese and hardtack, by the way.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess
Hudson Squad-USS

Authentic Campaigner Yesterday, 06:26 PM
GreencoatCross
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
505 Food in the Trenches

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I found a couple in three separate books I have here, all written by members of the 1st or 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters. Both regiments served continually during the siege of Petersburg and were also involved in several night-time raids on Confederate outposts or forts. Some of the foodstuffs mentioned in their letters or diaries are regular issue or specially procured by the commissary department. Others are foraged from civilians, traded for, purchased from sutlers, and in one case a forged order was used to basically steal from the commissary! I have several more transcribed letters and diaries, as well as some other memoirs, but I have to locate them...others are on loan to friends!

From "Soldiers In Green: Civil War Diaries of James Mero Matthews 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters;"

"Mon. July 11.....Drew pickled onions in the P.M. issued to the Army by the Sanitary.

Mon. Aug. 8....Had hard bread pudding for dinner.

Thurs. Aug. 11....Apple duff for dinner.

Thurs. Sept. 8....We are satisfying the inner man now with sweet potatoes only $0.15 per lb.

Thurs. Oct. 20....Argyle lost his beans last night - 127th appropriated them for their special use.

Mon. Oct. 24...Left a good pot of beans at old camp, but the boys as they returned from picket soon devoured them.

Fri. Nov. 25...Some turkey, cakes, etc. were issued to the men today as a Thanksgiving memento - it having been received one day late for a Thanksgiving dinner. A small dinner however when divided among the men."

From "Memoirs of a Swiss Officer in the American Civil War" by Capt. Rudolph Aschmann, Co. A 1st U.S.S.S.;

"Under the kitchen floor a man found some 20 pounds of best smoked ham which, of course, was immediately consumed by those standing close by." This apparently happened on the last day the 1st U.S.S.S. spent marching into Petersburg and was practically right behind the lines.

"...the Sanitary Commission sent several wagons filled with fruit, nourishing food...." This happened immediately after the Sharpshooters arrived at Petersburg, around June 16th to 18th. At the time they were halted and camped near the II Corps hospital which may account for fruit being on hand so readily.

"When we arrived in the new camp there already was such a severe lack of water that each regiment had to dig its own well. Good water was usually found only at a depth of 20 feet." Thought this may be of interest. The digging of wells, noted as having been lined with pork barrels and hardtack boxes, is a common theme in nearly every U.S.S.S. related text I have. Three separate diaries mention that some men had a knack for finding underground water by "divining" with sticks!

Finally, from "Letters From a Sharpshooter: The Civil War Letters of William B. Greene, Co. G Berdan's Sharpshooters (2nd Regt.);"

"Aug. 9th, 1864....I have just eaten my supper, which consisted of something I have not had since I left home. Tea, toast, soft bread & butter, boiled cabbage & pork, fried beef stake. Coffee with a little condensed cow in it. I can assure you that I made a supper of it & am now enjoying the pleasures of a Havana Cegar....I borrowed two dollars off of one of the N.H. boys in the 1st Regt. a while ago & I spent the last tonight for 1/2 lb. of butter, which is 75 cents a pound.

Aug. 21st, 1864....Anson Littlefield was pretty tight & F. Fullonton was so drunk that he could not speak nor see. Elias seemed glad to see me & gave me a can of milk & a lb. of sugar...I received your letter last night with stamps, tea, thread & money. The money came just in time as I felt pretty well worn out when I got here & could not eat hard bread & I took some of the money & bought me some cakes & cheese, which tasted good.

Aug. 24th/'64....I have just been to the commissary with a forged order of Capt. Smith's & got a peck of potatoes & 8 lbs onions & had a good supper of fried onions & potatoes. The potatoes are 40 cts a peck & the onions 6 cts a lb.

Sept. 1st, 1864...The principle articles of merchandise are Hard bread, coffee & sugar on our side & tobacco on the Johnny's side.

Sept. 6th, 1864....Last night I got three pounds of sweet potatoes & Fletch got some butter & I tell you we had a supper fit for a civilian. We have onions once in a while which we fry & make them quite eatable & when we can we buy flour & make flap jacks, which are as good as any I eat at home.

Sept. 12th, 1864....so we had to remain there in the pits all day in a hot sun without a mouthfull to eat, making 24 hours we went without food. Just as soon as it was dark, on the night of the 10th, I struck for camp & if I did not eat hard tack with good relish, I never did."


I hope you and others will find these useful! I'll check some other sources and post them if you are interested.
__________________
Brian White
Wambaugh, White, & Co.
GHTI
USSS


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 Post subject: Re: Mess
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:59 pm 
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While researching the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery (see post about Fair Oaks) I located this amusing introduction of the boys to hardtack, and their use of the same:

It was here, comrades, we found the first hard bread the writer had ever seen, and like many of the boys I filled my haversack full, for I was nearly starved; but feeling the need of a wash we searched about until we found some water, a generous use of which refreshed us very much after our long and dusty ride through the coal regions. But the hard bread must not be forgotten; before the day was spent we had learned that the crackers were better adapted for wagon wheels than for eating purposes, and we tried to educate ourselves as to their make-up. Some of the boys concluded that they had been made a long time, from the fact of their being marked "B. C." The 1st Wisconsin regiment were also encamped here, and among them we found many warm friends, who, like ourselves, were ready for any amusement; so we commenced making young wagons, using the crackers for wheels, as we had a goodly supply. We had them for breakfast, and for dinner, and for change of diet, had them for supper; in fact crackers were used for all purposes, and when we had our wagons completed, we tried to trade them off among the Wisconsin boys for something different to eat.

The Sharpshooters also recieved a supply of these round crackers with the manufacturers marks "B" and "C" prominently stamped on each side. The boys joked that the reason the crackers were so hard was that they were made "before Christ". I don't recall them using the round crackers to make wheels for toy wagons though.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess
Hudson Squad-USSS


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