I would hazard a guess that from the moment that humans first learned how to wage war on one another, soldiers have complained about their food. Said complaints may mention the quality, taste, preparation, or perhaps the lack thereof. Napoleon is credited with saying that "An army marches on its stomach." If that is true, one must wonder how wars even get fought at all. I'll never forget the day that my grandfather, a World War 2 veteran, informed me that the first "s" word in "stuff on a shingle" wasn't actually the word "stuff."
Soldiers from the Civil War were no different in this regard. They too had frequent complaints about the cuisine they were expected to eat. Often times their memoirs devote a chunk of time to describing various meals that they ate (if the meals were good) or describing their lack of meals at given points. Though supplies tended to flow more freely to Northern troops, that does not mean that they always ate better than their Confederate counterparts at any given moment. Also, troops on both sides could occasionally forage for food when on an active campaign. However this was not always possible. If you look at the available records, you will see how small (by today's standards) Civil War soldiers were. Part of this is due to their diet and part of it due to the hardships association with campaigning in the 19th Century. If they serve meals in Hades, hardtack is probably on the menu.
So friends, I leave with this question. If you could eat supper with ONE figure from the Civil War, who would it be and why? (Civilian, Military, or Political) My answer will be on my next blog post. Look for it on Thursday evening around 1900 hours. But I'll give you a hint......it may be an unexpected person.
I respectfully submit this post for your culinary consideration.
My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Civil War Addict.