Saturday, September 02, 2006

Civil War Cooking

The following are some of the recipes used in the Civil War:


1. Get some green coffee beans and roast them in a skillet over an open fire, occasionally stirring in water (one ounce per pound of beans) until the beans are a deep brown. Make sure you keep stirring to prevent the beans from burning.

2. Take the beans off and let them cool.

3. Take a handful of beans for each cup of water, place them in a mess tin, and grind them by using the butt of your musket.

4. Place the grounds in the coffee pot and add water. Hang the pot over a fire until the mixture is boiling.

5. Use a cloth to strain the coffee as you pour it into the cup.

6. Add sugar and milk (if available) to taste.

Commonly used by Union troops.


4 cups flour
2 teaspoons shorting
1 cup water

1. Combine flour and shorting in a bowl and mix with hands until blended.

2. Add water and knead until dough is stiff and elastic.

3. Place dough on a surface that is dusted with flour and pound it with a mallet until its about ½-inch thick. Then fold the dough over and repeat pounding. Do this about 5-6 times.

4. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is ¼-inch thick.

5. Cut the dough into three-inch squares and poke four rows of four holes in each square. Place squares on an ungreased cookie sheet.

6. In the 1860s, they would be made by commercial bakers. The modern day equivalent is to place the cookie sheet in a 325 degree oven for 35 minutes. At that time, turn the oven off and let carryover heat dry out the crackers.

7. Makes 10-12 crackers.

Common names: Army Bread, Sheet Iron Crackers, Hard Bread, Worm Castles.

Commonly used by Confederate troops.


½ cup cornmeal
Bacon Grease (vegetable oil can do)

1. Mix the cornmeal in a bowl with one tablespoon of bacon grease. Mix in water until the consistency is about runny scrambled eggs. Salt to taste.

2. Coat the bottom of a skillet with bacon grease and heat until the grease almost reaches smoke point.

3. Pour the dough into the skillet and smooth out with a spoon. Make sure the mixture is smaller than the bottom of the pan to allow easier turning.

4. When bottom is browned, turn over the bread and brown the other side.

5. When both sides are brown, take out and eat.

Salt Pork:


¼ pound of salt pork.


1. Cut the pork into three parts.

2. Place in pan over a fire and cook until fat is crisp and meat is cooked. (If there is no fire, then a cook top will do.)

3. Can be eaten straight or on a piece of hart tack.


1. Cut up the meat into three parts and skewer then on a musket’s ramrod.

2. Position the ram rod over the fire.

3. When done, remove and eat on hardtack.


1. Put entire slab into a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Keep it boiling until meat is cooked.

2. When meat is cooked, pull the slab out and let the water drain. Then cut into portions.

3. Serve on hardtack.




8 to 10 ounces of beef.

1. Cut beef into chunks and skewer them on a stick or musket ram rod.

2. Position beef over fire and roast until done to preference.


1. Get some bacon grease and heat in a frying pan.

2. Cut beef into chunks and place in pan.

3. Season with salt (if available)

4. Fry until coked to preference.

5. Eat with hardtack.



One square of hardtack
Bacon grease

1. Place hardtack in pan and cover it with water until soft (usually 15-20 minutes but it might take you all day).

2. Heat grease in a frying pan.

3. Place soften hardtack in the hot grease and fry until brown.

4. Remove from pan. salt to taste. and eat.

Hell-Fired Stew

Sane as Skillygalee but the hardtack is pulverized prior to soaking.

Hardtack Pudding


One square of hardtack
A cloth bag
Apples (dried)
Raisins (if available)

1. Put hardtack in the bag and pulverize it. Pour onto a plate and add flour and water and stir until mixture is moistened.

2. Put dough on clean surface and roll it out, using the palms of your hands, until it is 1/8-inch thick.

3. Cover with the dried apples and raisins.

4. Roll up the dough and pinch the ends closed. Wrap that in some clean cloth.

5. Place in a pot of boiling water and boil it for an hour.

6. Remove it from the water, open the cloth, scrape into a mess plate, and eat.

A favorite amongst Confederate troops.

One portion of cooked beef (or bacon will do)
Bacon grease

1. Heat up some grease in a frying pan.

2. Add beef (or other meat) and fry for a couple of minutes.

3. Add water and continue cooking for about five minutes.

4. Crumble cornbread into mixture and continue cooking until water is absorbed.

5. Spoon onto a plate and eat.

Confederate Stew
A favorite amongst troops of the Army of Tennessee.


8 to 10 ounces of beef (usually per person)
Two potatoes
Salt and pepper
½ cup of flour (per person)

1. Cut up beef and potatoes and place then in a pot of water. Season to taste. Boil for 45 minutes.

2. Mix flour and water until almost a liquid (a roux). Add the mixture to the beef and potatoes a little at a time until all is mixed in.

3. When beef and potatoes are soft, spoon out and eat.

Parched Corn
A common short ration


One or two ears of corn.
Bacon grease

1. Remove corn from ears and place in a hot pan of bacon grease.

2. Cover and shake until the kernels have burst.
3. Remove from pan and salt to taste.

4. Eat.

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