on campaign the Union soldier was authorized, by regulation,
the following items and quantities for 3 days :
hard bread..............................3 lb
pork.......................................2 lb 4 oz
garrison issue items such as beans, rice, desiccated vegetables,
candles, etc. were not provided to the soldier on active
campaign. Does this mean we should be limited to only
hardtack and salt pork while portraying a Confederate
or Union soldier on campaign? Not all of the time. Rations
were occasionally supplemented by foraging or from food
boxes sent to the front by the folks at home.
soldiers were often ordered to cook three days rations
prior to leaving their bivouac area. For this impression
you might want to consider cornbread or hoe-cakes in lieu
of hardtack. Biscuits and coarse un-sliced bread are also
acceptable substitutes. I recommend that bread be baked
at home and brought to the field. Attempting to bake bread
in the field is a hit-or-miss proposition at best.
the meat ration, two pounds of either pork or beef will
suffice for a weekend. Carrying uncured raw meat in a
haversack during hot weather can be risky. An option is
to cook the meat at home by boiling, broiling, or frying.
Ham or pork loins are great. Thick sliced bacon is a good
choice. Any lean cut of beef, such as bone end round steak,
will work. Cook the meat on Thursday and place it in the
freezer. When you leave for the event on Friday, wrap
it in brown paper and put it in the haversack. It should
be thawed by Friday night. Once in the field, simply slice
and enjoy as is or heat it up in a small frying pan.
can be bought in a variety of forms, but we should stay
with whole beans or coarse ground. A period form of instant
coffee, called "essence of coffee", can be made
at home. Take modern instant coffee, add sugar in a ratio
to suit your taste, and mix with a small amount of boiling
water to create a goo that has the consistency of axle
grease. Spoon into a period tin to take to the field.
Mix a small amount in a cup of hot water and you've got
hot sweetened coffee! Note: "essence of coffee"
was not normally available to Rebs, but could sometimes
be obtained from the Yanks by pillaging haversacks or
trading between the lines.
are the safest and easiest foods to carry in the haversack.
Sweet potatoes and the small new potatoes can be either
baked or boiled at home and carried to the field pre-cooked.
Wait until they are cool before placing them in the haversack.
Once in the field they can be eaten cold or heated by
placing them in boiling water for a short while. The new
potatoes make an excellent breakfast when sliced, fried
with onions, and served with bacon. Carrots can be eaten
raw or boiled with the potatoes and meat to make a stew.
the grain category there are several choices. Cornmeal,
grits, and rice take only a short time to boil in your
cup over a small fire.
beans and peas are another option but take longer to prepare.
These require a lengthy soaking, usually overnight, and
then an hour or more cooking time. They do produce a good
meal, especially when pieces of your meat ration are cooked
in with the mixture. Supplement with a hunk of cornbread
from your haversack and you've got it made.
are simple. Plain gingersnaps are very period and available
in bakery or dessert sections in the grocery. Dried fruits
such as apple and peach slices weigh little and travel
in the haversack very well. Try stewing some apple slices
and a sprinkle of brown sugar in a cup till it's soft,
then add some crumbled ginger snaps and simmer awhile
longer. It makes a fine ginger-apple stew. I like to prepare
a couple of fold-over fried apple or peach pies ahead
of time and bring to the event.
food supplements can consist of any combination of the
following items: summer sausage, raw or parched peanuts,
fresh or parched corn, brown sugar, salt and pepper, tea,
molasses, boiled eggs, cheese, fresh apples, apple butter,
SHOULDN'T been seen in any form is plastic, modern commercial
containers, and foods that weren't available during the
1860s: Slim-Jims, OREO cookies, Doritos, potatoes chips,
burritos, pop tarts, Ramon noodles, snickers bars, etc.
preparation utensils are simple. You need a can with a
bail wire, billy-cup, or mucket for boiling and a small
steel (not cast iron) frying pan or canteen half for frying.
A frying pan 6 inches in diameter easily fits in the knapsack.
Members of a mess section can share a larger, 9-inch pan
and carrying it can be rotated between the members. A
small hatchet also comes in handy.
sure to wrap your rations in brown paper or place in canvas/cotton