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Civil War Soldier’s Mess
Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Civil War Soldier’s Mess

Accession #: 195333
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 4" H x 4" W x 0.17" D

Physical Description

Small metal box to protect matches, two piece metal lantern, metal frying pan and cup. Hardtack.

Specific History

A match safe, lantern, frying pan and cup would have been part of a soldier’s equipment. Hardtack is the name given to a thick cracker made of flour, water, and sometimes salt. While it has been called by several nicknames, the Union Army of the Potomac referred to the ration as hardtack, and the name stuck. When stored properly, hardtack would last for years. Because it could be prepared cheaply and would last so long, hardtack was the most convenient food for soldiers. The army furnished hardtack by weight, but in most units the biscuits were doled out by number with a ration generally being nine or ten.


Keywords

Country: United States
War: Civil War
Service: Army
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