Civil War rations were no picnic

Print Article

  • Photos: BETHANY BLITZ/Press 1st Lt. reenactor Joseph Taylor, left, and Sgt. Maj. reenactor Ben Benninghoff talk to Judy Waring about the kinds of food Civil War soldiers typically ate. The men are part of the 1st Michigan Small Artillery Reenactors that hosted the Taste of Civil War at the Coeur d’Alene Library on Sunday.

  • 1

    Parched corn, corn bread, bacon and hushpuppies line the table at the Taste of Civil War hosted by the 1st Michigan Small Artillery Reenactors at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library on Sunday.

  • 2

    BETHANY BLITZ/Press Taste of Civil War at the Coeur d’Alene Library on Sunday, hosted by the 1st Michigan Small Artillery Reenactors, had some Civil War-era items on display, such as this tall hat soldiers used to carry food.

  • Photos: BETHANY BLITZ/Press 1st Lt. reenactor Joseph Taylor, left, and Sgt. Maj. reenactor Ben Benninghoff talk to Judy Waring about the kinds of food Civil War soldiers typically ate. The men are part of the 1st Michigan Small Artillery Reenactors that hosted the Taste of Civil War at the Coeur d’Alene Library on Sunday.

  • 1

    Parched corn, corn bread, bacon and hushpuppies line the table at the Taste of Civil War hosted by the 1st Michigan Small Artillery Reenactors at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library on Sunday.

  • 2

    BETHANY BLITZ/Press Taste of Civil War at the Coeur d’Alene Library on Sunday, hosted by the 1st Michigan Small Artillery Reenactors, had some Civil War-era items on display, such as this tall hat soldiers used to carry food.

By BETHANY BLITZ

Staff Writer

For decades, Judy Waring and her husband have been reading old tales of wars and the West and have imagined the hard lifestyle that came with the territory.

Sunday, they got a taste of what that life might be like.

The 1st Michigan Small Artillery Reenactors, a Civil War reenactment group with the Washington Civil War Association, hosted the Taste of Civil War at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. Reenactors in traditional garb greeted guests and guided them through the buffet line of typical 19th century foods that Civil War soldiers survived on.

“It’s not that good,” Waring said as she bit into a piece of hardtack, a type of cracker so hard it seemed like it should be stale. “But if I were out there, I’m sure it would be [tasty].”

Mike Dolan, the first sergeant reenactor of the group, said the goal wasn’t for people to come try delicious foods, rather get a sense of what Civil War soldiers had to eat.

He said canned foods, jellies, molasses and sugar often helped make the starch and corn based foods more palatable, but toward the end of the war, such items were harder to come by.

“Their diet was so horrible back then, you wouldn’t want to eat it today,” he said. “They fed soldiers anything that would keep.”

Hardtack, parched corn, baked beans, cornbread, bacon and hushpuppies lined the table for people to try. Other Civil War-era items were laid out on tables for guests to read about.

Soldiers often chose to wear taller hats, which were also used to carry food. The larger the hat, the more food a soldier could carry.

Soldiers sometimes received care packages from their families, but the goods would take about three months to get to them. So soldiers were often scraping mold off the cheeses and baked goods sent from their mothers and wives.

Travis Combs, a retired Marine, said he attended the event because he’s interested in joining the group. He said he’s been really interested in the ways of the military men who came before him.

“I’m not very interested in the fighting; I’ve seen enough of that,” he said. “I’m more interested in the everyday kind of things.”

The reenacting group wore their traditional garb — one woman said she was wearing “totally authentic Civil War underwear.” Group members answered any questions people had and were excited to share what life was like in the mid 1800’s.

First Sgt. Dolan said he wanted people to learn about that period in U.S. history.

“I hope people understand that times were tough but people were resilient,” he said.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Move toward voluntary building code compliance stirs sweeping reaction

December 10, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By BRIAN WALKER Staff Writer COEUR d'ALENE — Kootenai County's recent decision that made compliance with building codes voluntary has ignited swift and widespread reaction from industries tied to...

Comments

Read More

Christmas comes to life

December 10, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By DEVIN WEEKS Staff Writer COEUR d’ALENE — It was a zoo in Sherman Square Park on Saturday afternoon, but it was the best possible kind of zoo. "I was so excited when I saw this," sai...

Comments

Read More

Loving grandparents struggle to care for their grandkids

December 10, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press These grandparents never expected to be parenting young children again at their age. But when their daughter passed away suddenly last year, the couple took custody of their daughter’s kids, now ag...

Comments

Read More

Fatal crash on I90 near Rose Lake

December 10, 2017 at 10:23 am | Coeur d'Alene Press A Coeur d’Alene man is dead and two other people are injured after a single-vehicle crash Saturday evening near Interstate 90’s Rose Lake exit. Gregory Vandouris, 52, was pronounced dead at the sce...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X