- Jul 23, 2017
- Southwest Missouri
September 29th is National Coffee Day and during the month, I will be posting soldier accounts of their adventures of making and drinking coffee during the war. Since some of these accounts (as of today I have 16 to post in this thread) may not be what one would like to read when visiting the food forum, I am posting them in Soldiers Tales.
from 'Recollections of a Drummer Boy'
To make a fire was a comparatively easy matter, notwithstanding the rain; for some one or other always had matches, and there were plenty of rails at hand, and these were dry enough when split open with a hatchet or an axe. In a few moments the fence around the cornfield was carried off rail by rail, and everywhere was heard the sound of axes and hatchets, the premonitory symptoms of roaring campfires, which were soon everywhere blazing along the road. " Harry, " said Lieutenant Dougal, " I haven't any tin cup, and when you get your coffee cooked, I believe I'll share it with you; may I ?"
"Certainly, lieutenant. But where shall I get water to make the coffee with? It 's so dark, that nobody can see how the land lies so as to find a spring." Without telling the lieutenant what I did, I scooped up a tin cup full of water (whether clear or muddy I could not tell; it was too dark to see) out of a corn-furrow. I had the
less hesitation in doing so, because I found all the rest were doing the same, and I argued that if they could stand it, why I could too - and so could the lieutenant. Tired and wet and sleepy as I was, I could not help but be sensible of the strange, weird appearance the troops presented, as, coming out of the surrounding darkness, I faced the brilliant fires with groups of busy men about them.
There they sat, squatting about the fires, each man with his quart tin cup suspended on one end of his iron ramrod or on some convenient stick, and each eager and impatient to be the first to bring his cup to the boiling-point. Thrusting my cup in amongst the dozen others already smoking amid the crackling flames, I soon had the pleasure of seeing the foam rise to the surface, - a sure indication that my coffee was nearly done. When the lieutenant and I had finished drinking it, I called his attention to the half inch of mud in the bottom of the cup, and asked him how he liked coffee made out of water taken from a last year's corn-furrow?
"First rate," he replied, as he took out his tobacco pouch and pipe for a smoke, " first rate; gives it the real old Virginny ' flavor, you see."