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Civil War food was far from fine cuisine. A typical Union ration was a pound of beef or salt pork, a little bit of bread, commonly of a pound of hardtack or cornmeal. coush.asp (13393 bytes)

Hardtack was a hard soda cracker many times infested with bugs! It was extremely tough and many times the only way to eat it was to crush it with the butt of your gun and soak it for up to 2 days! For meals many soldiers fried rancid meat in grease, ate hardtack, and had coffee to drink. Coffee was drunk because drinking water was usually very dirty.

 civilwarcook.gif (2809 bytes)Confederates usually had even worse rations than Union soldiers. Many times they were left to fend for themselves. When rationed, the best way to make a meal was to put every man’s rations in a stewpot, mix it together and dish it out. A Confederate private was lucky to receive even this! When on the march, many soldiers were not rationed at all! They were left to fend for themselves. Some southern soldiers were even known to put cats, dogs, mules, and bullfrogs to their stewpots! Can you imagine eating a bullfrog?