How to Make Your Civil War Hardtack Crate
- How to Make Your own Civil War Hardtack Box
By Paula and Coach McCoach
"What is a Hardtack box," you might ask. These essential pieces of
the Civil War soldier's camp carried their very existence. These
simple wooden boxes were packed with the hardtack or "crackers" the
men ate on the march.
Both Federal and Confederate soldiers used Boxes which stored one of
the staples of their diet - hardtack. Other names for these boxes
included "Army Bread Box," "Hardtack Crate," "Hardtack Boxes" and I
am sure there were many other references to this simple box.
The one that I used to reproduce my Hardtack Crate is pictured in
ECHOES OF GLORY: ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY pg. 225.
These boxes were probably lying around wherever the soldiers were and
they would grab or be issued their hardtack from the box. After that
the boxes were discarded, and if they were in camp they would use
them for tables, break them up for firewood, use them to store
personal items while they were there, etc.
Having a Hardtack Box as part of your kit is not only authentic but
also very useful. This would be a good item to add to your camp
To see a picture of a reproduction Hardtack Box, go to
Part I - Gathering Materials
A. You will need the following in 1/2' pinewood
4 - 20' by 7 ½ inch pieces
2 - 20' by 7 inch pieces
2 - 14' by 7 inch pieces
B. 120 inches of ¾' steel band
I get mine from the dumpster or trash area behind Home supply stores
or lumber yards. It's the steel lumber bands that they wrap the
lumber in. If you can find half inch bands all the better.
Occasionally you can find the half-inch. Half inch is better because
it will center the nails up in the half in stock.
C. 1 ½' steel nails with heads
D. Stencil for the top
Making a stencil is another entire course. If you want to purchase a
stencil from Civil War Uniforms to use on your Hardtack Box, contact
For the full report on How to Make Your Civil War Hardtack Crate,
subscribe to the Free Civil War Uniform News at
Coach McCoach has been creating patterns and making Civil War uniform
items for 29 years. His Civil War uniform designs have been seen in
the movies GETTYSBURG, ANDERSONVILLE and the Antietam Visitors
Center. For more information, contact coach@... or
2005 permission granted to reprint this article in print or on your
website so long as the contact information is included to