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18448Re: Dining facilities

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  • hank9174
    Jun 9, 2003
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Hultquist" <jahultqu@a...>

      Jack, your excerpts are always interesting.

      Another item that impresses me is that in 186x, virtually all cooking
      and heating was done with wood. For armies on the march the wood was
      necessarily green and smoke terribly.

      In the early days of steamboating, woodcutting parties were put
      ashore every night to replenish fuel. Every night, they'd cut the
      next days supply of fuel. As wood along the riverbanks became thinner
      the costs of steamboating rose.

      Another anecdote is of the Boonslick salt works in central Missouri.
      The sons of Daniel boiled the flow from a saltwater spring to produce
      salt. The hard work was supplying the wood for the fire. They
      eventually went out of business from the fact that virtually every
      tree in the county had been cut and burned for the salt works and it
      was costing more for the gathering of the fuel than they could gain
      for a bushel of salt. The spring, remanants of the works and
      cauldrons are now a park.


      > From Harrison B. Talbert's
      > 1862 letters,
      > Third Indiana Battery
      > Otterville, Missouri, January 23, 1862
      > We also have to haul our wood about a mile and do our own cooking
      etc. I will tell you what we draw from the commissary daily, beef
      or bacon, hominy, beans, rice, soap, and 1 candle to a squad,
      vinegar, [and] salt. We have the priviliege of drawing flour or
      crackers [hardtack] which [ever] we please. We draw enough of this
      to make plenty for us to eat and as long as we get plenty of this
      I'll not grumble. I for got, we get plenty of sugar and coffee. Our
      squad has divided off into 3 messes, me George and 3 others is in our
      mess. Our cooking utensils, dishes, etc. consists of 2 camp kettles,
      1 frying pan, 1 tin bucket, 2 big sheet iron dishes, a tin plate a
      peice, and some sort of a smashed up tin cup a peice. Some have
      spoons, and some having no k[n]ives or forks. I have a fork, knife,
      and spoon altogether which I paid 1.50 for.
      > Jefferson City, Mo. May 2 ond / 62
      > You needent to bother about sending us any eatibles of any kind for
      it might cause us to founder ourselves [disabled by excessive eating]
      as we are not use to any such nick nacks. And since we have been
      here at Jeff City we have had plenty of bakers bread. We draw the
      flour and get the baker to bake it on the shears.
      > Jefferson City, Cole County, Mo. May 4th / 62
      > You may ask the question why I dident go to church or to see George
      [in the hospital]. The reason I dident is this, I have undertook to
      cook for the squad (about 20 men) and cooking and doing my duty keeps
      me busy nearly all the time. I dont get but little time to write in
      the day time I have to write of knights.
      > Jefferson City Cole County Mo, May the 24th 1862
      > I am going to express about twenty dollars home. You may look for
      it at the express office at Shelbyville about the last of next week
      (the first of June). The reason I dont send more is this, the boys
      hasent all paid me for cooking. [.....]. The reason I have delayed
      writing so long is this, since I have been cooking I have been kept
      so busy that I wrote just as few letters as I could handily make do,
      just answering all that I received.
      > Was cooking part of Harrison's official duties and or something he
      did for additional cash?
      > The way he wrote on May 4 and May 24, 1862 it sounds as if cooking
      was something in addition to his normal battery duties:
      > May 4 - "cooking and doing my duty keeps me busy nearly all the
      > May 24 - "the boys hasent all paid me for cooking"
      > This June 26 letter reads as if the cook was also responsible for
      putting up the shade over the tables.
      > Jefferson City, Mo June the 26th /62
      > And the wind blew nearly all our tents down, and all the shades
      that was over our tables and horses except the one that I put up, it
      stood the storm.
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