Saturday, January 28, 2012

Civil War Discussion Group, Part 4 - An Army Moves on Its Stomach

After taking a month off for the holidays (whatever combination of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or just Holiday (as in the dreaded "Holiday Party") one chose to observe, the Civil War Discussion Group had its January meeting on the 25th to converse about a subject near and dear to my heart: food.

Specifically, the day's text was from Hardtack and Coffee: Or, The Unwritten Story of Army Life, by John D. Billings. Billings was a Union army officer, and his book appears to cover a wide variety of topics under the umbrella of army life. Our focus was from the chapter entitled "Army Rations," and included such topics as: the quantity and type of rations, the awfulness of hardtack, the importance of coffee to army life, and the difficulty in finding an adequate way of transporting the coffee, sugar, and meat rations in a way that did not combine all the above in a disgusting mess.

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The discussion, led by Sir JJ and Dame Kghia, as always, touched on subjects such as worms in the hardtack, the difficulties in supplying the rations to the troops, and the entrepreneurs who sold decent food to the soldiers who could afford it.

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Sir JJ Drinkwater

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Dame Kghia Gherardi

The three of us were the evening's only participants, which is too bad, as we had a rousing time. Perhaps others were still digesting the figgy pudding.

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