Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Tin Cup and Plate, Knife, Fork, and Spoon....

Union Soldiers Eating

According to Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics, the rations for a soldier during this time usually included:

-20 oz. pork or beef (Beef was either fresh or salted, and pork was always salted.)
-12 oz. hard bread in camp or garrison or 16 oz. of hard bread at sea, on campaign, or on the march
- 1 oz. compressed cube of desiccated mixed vegetables or a 1.5 oz. compressed cube of desiccated potatoes if supplemental foods were unavailable

 This would be supplemented by (per 100 rations):
-8 qts. of beans or peas
-10 lbs. of rice or hominy
-10 lbs. of green coffee beans or 8 lbs. of roasted coffee beans
-10 lbs. of sugar
-2 qts. of salt
-1 gallon of vinegar

 In July of 1861 the 6th Iowa, still encamped at Burlington were to provide themselves with eating utensils. This is the following account :

July of 1861

"The supply for the meals furnished by the contractors was abundant, but the cooking and facilities for serving were horrid — grub, dirt, and flies was the general mix- ture. Three meals were served each day consisting of fresh beef, boiled; bakers bread, raised with yeast sponge ; boiled vegetables ; coffee and tea — with an abundance of sugar. Not many of the men were accustomed to the use of fresh beef at that season of the year, and it was seldom that any of them used bakers bread at their homes, so that, when they partook in such large quantity of the prepared food and were forced by the circumstances to inactivity, as compared with their active habits of life on the farms, many developed camp diseases and ailments. The arrangement was soon made
to issue the army ration to the companies and then have the food prepared by company cooks ; each man supplying himself with a tin cup and plate, knife, fork, and spoon. This gave much better satisfaction, and improved the health in the camp."

The Boys of Iowa would have to adjust to army rations quickly. Soon salt pork and hardtack would be the mainstay of their diet.
Soldier eating hard tack 

Civil War era plate, bowls, knife and fork

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