Food Fun and Facts- Recipe for Civil War Hard Tack Bread

Hard Tack Bread Recipe from the Civil War


5 cups flour
1 cup water
1 tbsp salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Knead dough and roll out till it is 1/2 inch thick.
Cut dough into 3x3 squares, and poke a 3x3 series of holes in the center, evenly spaced.

Bake in preheated oven, 425 degrees until dry and lightly golden brown.

Be sure to keep dry..
If they get damp, they will get moldy quickly and cannot be eaten.

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Title: 'Hard Tack' 8x12 inch print
Stereograph showing Union Captain J. W. Forsyth, the Provost Marshall, sitting on a crate of hardtack, a cracker like bread served to soldiers, at Aquia Creek, Virginia.
Crate says '50lbs. net. Army Bread from the Union Mechanic Baking Company, 45 Leonard St.'
'Hard Tack'

Most histories of the Civil War focus on battles and top brass.

Hardtack and Coffee is one of the few to give a vivid, detailed picture of what ordinary soldiers endured every day in camp, on the march, at the edge of a booming, smoking hell.

John D. Billings of Massachusetts enlisted in the Army of the Potomac and survived the conditions he recorded.
The authenticity of his book is heightened by the many drawings that a comrade, Charles W. Reed, made in the field.

This is the story of how the Civil War soldier was recruited, provisioned, and disciplined.
Described here are the types of men found in any outfit; their not very uniform uniforms;
crowded tents and makeshift shelters; difficulties in keeping clean, warm, and dry;
their pleasure in a cup of coffee; food rations, dominated by salt pork and the versatile
cracker or hardtack; their brave pastimes in the face of death;
punishments for various offenses; treatment in sick bay; firearms and signals and modes of transportation.

Comprehensive and anecdotal, Hardtack and Coffee is striking for the pulse of life that runs through it.
This book was originally written in 1887 and this book is a reprint of this old edition, complete with sketchings!
Hardtack and Coffee:
or, The Unwritten Story of Army Life

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While vacationing in the White Mountains, the author was induced by a rapt audience of boys—too young to have experienced the Civil War—to recount his adventures in the Army of the Potomac; these evening gatherings "led to the preparation of these important contribution of warp to the majestic woof which comprises the history of the Great Civil War..."

While most texts treat the war's battles, campaigns, and generals, this book attempts to comprehensively record army life of the common soldier in detail, "to permanently record information which the history of no other war has preserved with equal accuracy and completeness."

Topics covered include: enlisting and raw recruits, life in tents and log huts, rations, offences and punishments, drills, foraging, inventions and devices of war, the army mule, hospitals and ambulances, army road and bridge builders, signal flags and torches, and much more.

Charles W. Reed, the illustrator, did sketches in the field during this stint with the Army of the Potomac; over 200 of his drawings are included in this work.
Hardtack and Coffee:
or, The Unwritten Story of Army Life

A classic on the the daily life of the average soldier, from food, to shaving, to sleeping, drilling and personal activities. I would recommend this book for readers age 12 thru adult!

There are over 400 pages of wonderful information that are usually not seen in other Civil War Books.
I give this book a 5 Star Rating!

Hardtack was originally called "hard bread" and the term hardtack came into use by the Army of
the Potomac.
This biscuit was just plain flour and water and not filling. Many times, the biscuits were so hard,
they could not be bitten or broken and could not be softened when soaked.
Other times, the biscuits were moldy or included weevils and maggots as an added bonus!
They were not required to eat moldy hardtack, but they had to eat those with the extra nutrients of weevils and Maggots, etc.
Many men ate the hardtack at night, so they could not see the bugs they were eating!

Hardtack and Coffee:
or, The Unwritten Story of Army Life

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