Archive for the ‘Civil War’ Category

The Library of Congress has recently been the recipient of a new collection of American Civil War portraits that they are putting online to share with the public.

This collection of approximately 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs was donated by collector Tom Liljenquist and highlights both Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War. Read the rest of this entry »

Hardtack (also known as pilot bread, ship’s biscuit, shipbiscuit, sea biscuit, sea bread or pejoratively as dog biscuits, tooth dullers, sheet ironor molar breakers.) The name hardtack has its origins from the British sailor slang for food, i.e. “tack”. And since the cracker is as hard as a rock, its name became hard tack (i.e. hard food.)

So what exactly is this cracker that is as hard as a rock?
Read the rest of this entry »

  • Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties.
  • This was a two to one battle with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia having approximately 45,00 troops to Union Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s 90,000 troops. Read the rest of this entry »

Slang has always been with us. There is civilian slang and military slang and they are often totally different words for the same things. Here is a collection of common slang terms used by soldiers in the civil war.

accoutrements- A soldier’s fighting equipments, made of leather.
a beat- A lazy soldier who dodges work.
bombproof- An underground shelter, used also to describe officers who never went to the front.
bones- Dice.
buck and gag- A form of punishment.
carriage- The wooden mount for artillery, also used to describe a lady’s shape.
dogrobber- The soldier of a group who cooks for everyone else.
dog tent- A small, two-man tent.
first rate- Feeling well and very happy.
forage- To search for food from nearby farms.
Fresh Fish- New recruits.
greenbacks- Money or script.
gum blanket- Rubber-coated cloth sheet used as a rain cover.
haversack- Cloth bag for carrying the rations & utensils.
homespun- A clothing item made of home-spun cloth.
housewife- A sewing kit.
horse sense- Smart or to use good sense.
Johnny- Union soldier’s term for a Confederate soldier.
Jonah- A soldier who always brought misfortune and bad luck with him.
paper collar man- Someone who has money or is financially well off.
picket- A guard or guard duty.
sacred soil- Virginia mud.
sawbones- The surgeon of the regiment.
seeing the elephant- A man’s first experience in combat.
shebang- A temporary shelter of poles & branches.
shirker- A soldier who would not do his duty on the battlefield.
smart like a fox- Slick and cunning.
tough as a knot- In good health.
top rail- The best place to be. Number One!
vittles- food or rations.
Yank- Confederate soldier’s term for a Union soldier.

One of the basic tenets of the civil war was to prevent the state secession. This video clip -just over one minute in length gives a nice, easy to understand explanation of this cornerstone of the civil war.

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