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"Hard Tack Come Again No More"

Discussion in 'The Ladies Tea' started by donna, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    This is a song from the Civil War written by many soldiers. It is a parody of Stephen Foster's song, "Hard Times Come Again No More". The song was first called "Hard Crackers, Come Again No More". It is a sarcastic complaint about the quality of the provisions provided by military contractors. As I mentioned the authors of the verses of the song are unknown. However, there is indication that the first version is attributed to Josiah Fowler of the First Iowa Infantry dating about June, 1861.

    The Lyrics of the song are:

    "Let us close our game of poker, take our tin cups in our hand
    As we all stand by the cook's tent door
    As dried mummies of hard crackers are handed to each man.
    O, hard tack, come again no more!

    Chorus:

    'Tis the song, the sigh of the hungry:
    "Hard tack, hard tack, come again no more."
    Many days you have lingered upon our stomachs sore.
    O, hard tack, come again no more!

    'Tis a hungry, thirsty soldier who wears his life away
    In torn clothes-his better days are o'er.
    And he's sighing now for whiskey in a voice as dry as hay,
    "O, hard tack, come again no more!"
    Sing Chorus again.

    'Tis the wail that is heard in camp both night and day,
    'Tis the murmur that's mingled with each snore.
    'Tis the sighing of the soul for spring chickens far away.
    "O, hard tack, come again no more!"
    Sing chorus again.

    But to all these cries and murmurs, there comes a sudden hush
    As frail forms are fainting by the door.
    For they feed us now on horse feed that the cooks call mush!
    O. hard tack, come again once more!

    Final chorus:

    'Tis the dying wail of the starving:
    "O, hard tack, hard tack, come again once more!"
    You were old and wormy, but we pass your failings o'er.
    O, hard tack, come again once more!

    The soldiers got worse food than the hard tack and thus wished for its return. These were such hard times for soldiers.


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  3. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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  4. gold lotus 99

    gold lotus 99 Cadet

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    This is priceless, Donna... thanks for another wonderful post!
     
  5. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Borderruffian Thanks so much for posting the song. It is great.
     
  6. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Since there is new thread on Hardtack, thought bring up this thread.
     
  7. CivilWarNurse

    CivilWarNurse Private

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    Poor soldiers! (And sailors. And gold miners on ships and wagon trains traveling to California. They had to eat hardtack too.)

    Some of the hardtack issued by the Union and the Confederacy was left over from the Mexican-American War.

    Excuse me while I go give thanks for the total absence of hardtack in my diet.
     
  8. zumbawithcindy

    zumbawithcindy Private

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    I heard tell that when the soldiers would try to soften up their 'tack in their coffee, the weavils wold jump out into the coffee and when they saw the brew they jumped into, climbed back on their hard tack raft!! :smile:
     
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  9. zumbawithcindy

    zumbawithcindy Private

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    .... Not too many recipes out there for hardtack :smile:
     
  10. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Major Forum Host

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    Don't really need one as far as I know. Flour, a little salt, and (almost no) water, and bake till inedible. :laugh:
     
  11. zumbawithcindy

    zumbawithcindy Private

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    Well the weavils need a home too!! :mstickle:
     
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  12. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Major Forum Host

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    I tried my darnedest to make hardtack, but I just could not get the water down to the point where it was really hardtack. The amount of flour in relation to the amount of water is just ridiculous. It can basically be thought of as "solidified flour," really.
     
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  13. CivilWarNurse

    CivilWarNurse Private

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    Solidified flour...

    I tried flour mixed with a little water when I was six. The dried-up feeling wouldn't leave my mouth for minutes.
     
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  14. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Didn't the men used to tap hardtack on something else hard before they ate it, knock the bugs out of it? So... iew.
     
  15. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Major Forum Host

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    Yeah... there's a funny sequence about that in one of the Hornblower books (Commodore Hornblower). They're on a state visit to Russia, and the Czar comes aboard incognito. Since he's supposedly not the Czar, Hornblower directs everyone to act naturally... at dinner, one of the junior officers starts to rap his biscuit on the table; stops when he realizes what he's doing; recommences when he remembers he's supposed to be acting naturally... one of the Russian attendants tries it and exclaims at the sight of the weevils knocked out of it. (The Czar avoids the ship's biscuit.)
     
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  16. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    I'll bet that would be where I got that bit of information- Dad lived, ate and breathed Hornblower. He'd wear one set out, buy another. I'm still finding tattered Hornblower paperbacks in his things, little hard coming across those. He used to keep one or another in his car, would pick it up and just start reading anywhere, waiting outside a school for one of his daughters. Boy, when Masterpiece Theater picked up the series, the entire world stopped to watch that. Probably where I got my introduction to books like ' The Master Mariner ', used to swipe items from his library to read under the covers after we were supposed to be in bed.

    I spoiled the poor bartender's story, in the UK, asked why we Yanks thought the tankards had glass bottoms- heck, heard about that from Dad since I was 5. :smile:
     
  17. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    We have post on favorite songs of Civil war. This is one of mine. Just thought bring it up again.
     
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  18. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    The original Song, "Hard Times Come Again No More" is by Stephen Collins Foster and was written in 1854. It was a very popular song with soldiers during the Civil war. It has been recorded by many over the years. The first audio recording was a wax cylinder done by the Edison Company in 1905. I have an old Stephen Foster songbook for piano which includes this song. One of my favorites to play.

    Lyrics:

    "Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
    While we all sup sorrow with the poor,
    There's a song that will linger forever in our ears,
    Oh hard times come again no more.
    Chorus:
    Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
    Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
    Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
    Oh hard times come again no more."
     
  19. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Super song, Donna- I think my mother has that book somewhere, too! Loved Stephen Foster songs when I was a little girl, remember singing them so loudly and off-key the teacher would wince? So much fun. That was before the classes were divided into ' Can sing well ' and ' Please do not ' , must have sounded hysterical but nobody cared- it was just fun.
     
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  20. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Stephen Foster always important here in Ky. He wrote the state song "My Old Kentucky Home". It is a beautiful home in Bardstown, Ky. He visited there. They were relatives of his. Each year during summer they have the Stephen Foster Story at the outdoor theatres on the State Site where the home is. It is a wonderful musical. I saw it years ago with my parents. If any of you in Bardstown during time it on, it worth seeing.
     
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  21. Carronade

    Carronade Sergeant Major

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    Since someone mentioned Hornblower, another anecdote is from Hornblower and the Hotspur, when he and other captains are dining on the flagship of his old mentor, Sir Edward Pellew. Dinner includes a nice plump chicken, and someone asks Sir Edward how he keeps chickens so healthy on shipboard. Pellew reminds the company that hardtack comes in fifty-pound sacks, thirteen of which are opened every day. Before opening, he has the sacks shaken to induce the weevils to leave their homes, then after the sacks are emptied of bread, the well-fed weevils are fed to the chickens. Hornblower was just about to help himself to chicken, but decided to try another dish.
     
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