Soldiers profanity North and South

Harman Farm

Private
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Location
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
How would a Marine from the US with any number of regional dialects and a Japanese with their own dialects even know they were hurling obsenities at each other in the thick of fighting? Seriously - who would even be paying attention? To me, it would just be word salad from a language I didn't even understand. Not saying it wasn't done, but how would you even know?
Good question. Perhaps grenades provided adequate punctuation. 💥💥🎇🎇
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
How would a Marine from the US with any number of regional dialects and a Japanese with their own dialects even know they were hurling obsenities at each other in the thick of fighting? Seriously - who would even be paying attention? To me, it would just be word salad from a language I didn't even understand. Not saying it wasn't done, but how would you even know?
You totally misjudged/misunderstood everything I posted, and tried to apply to being fluent in another language. They learned each others obscenities and culture disparages, and the Americans and Japanese both liked baseball. When the Japanese were hiding in the bush they would scream, F#&* Babe Ruth. The Marines would hurl insults back, like calling them Japs and nips amongst swear words. Quite common. They learned the each other's ethnic slurs and obscenities', which was a form of communication. Same thing in Korea, Vietnam. Nobody was in a firefight 24/7, so there were times when an enemy was dug in(hiding) and the army who was sweeping the area what hurl insults, and vice versa. Very few soldiers were fluent in the enemy's language but they knew some disparaging remarks and obscenities' that both sides used.
 

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
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Feb 5, 2017
Well, @lurid, I learned something new. Thank you. I didn’t know that. I’m too analytical I guess! I just think I couldn’t be bothered so I’m guessing this is a male fighting thing. I wouldn’t waste my energy unless it was to say something and find where someone was hiding.

I worked in the corporate world for many, many years. Then I worked in the blue collar world of trucking for 9 years. I’ve heard every sort of a variation of the F word there is, and I’ve heard truckers call each other all sorts of fantastically horrible names in affection OR not. When it is a NOT and I’m sure soldiers were the same - they could go on and on and on with each other - hating each other, and I use to wonder why they would waste so much of their energy doing that. Female drivers, of which I was one, and still retain a commercial license though I don’t drive anymore, just. don’t. bother. - for the most part. The occasional one that does is seen as an outlier.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Well, @lurid, I learned something new. Thank you. I didn’t know that. I’m too analytical I guess! I just think I couldn’t be bothered so I’m guessing this is a male fighting thing. I wouldn’t waste my energy unless it was to say something and find where someone was hiding.

I worked in the corporate world for many, many years. Then I worked in the blue collar world of trucking for 9 years. I’ve heard every sort of a variation of the F word there is, and I’ve heard truckers call each other all sorts of fantastically horrible names in affection OR not. When it is a NOT and I’m sure soldiers were the same - they could go on and on and on with each other - hating each other, and I use to wonder why they would waste so much of their energy doing that. Female drivers, of which I was one, and still retain a commercial license though I don’t drive anymore, just. don’t. bother. - for the most part. The occasional one that does is seen as an outlier.

I think it is more Psychological warfare than anything, to get in your enemy's head. I wish I could post what my unit used to do to mess with the enemy, which was before my time during Vietnam. But I would venture to say that the F-bomb was thrown towards the enemy during the Civil War more than we realize. IMO.
 

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
* OFFICIAL *
CWT PRESENTER
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
I think it is more Psychological warfare than anything, to get in your enemy's head. I wish I could post what my unit used to do to mess with the enemy, which was before my time during Vietnam. But I would venture to say that the F-bomb was thrown towards the enemy during the Civil War more than we realize. IMO.
I will say here and now, the female is more deadly of the species. We don’t bother with getting into the head of the enemy - we just kill! We have any number of things we can do without mentioning A THING to an enemy. Not that I participated even once, but I saw it in corporate over 25+ years of that AND in trucking!
 

Harms88

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Location
North of the Wall & South of the Canucks
You totally misjudged/misunderstood everything I posted, and tried to apply to being fluent in another language. They learned each others obscenities and culture disparages, and the Americans and Japanese both liked baseball. When the Japanese were hiding in the bush they would scream, F#&* Babe Ruth. The Marines would hurl insults back, like calling them Japs and nips amongst swear words. Quite common. They learned the each other's ethnic slurs and obscenities', which was a form of communication. Same thing in Korea, Vietnam. Nobody was in a firefight 24/7, so there were times when an enemy was dug in(hiding) and the army who was sweeping the area what hurl insults, and vice versa. Very few soldiers were fluent in the enemy's language but they knew some disparaging remarks and obscenities' that both sides used.

Then you had the Charley Chaplain plot, where Japanese wanted to assassinate the actor during a visit to Japan because they thought his assassination would start a war because of the insult to America. The likelihood that it would have was nill and zero, but it illustrates that when it comes to trying to pick a fight, people do their darndest to find an insult that sticks in the others craw.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I will say here and now, the female is more deadly of the species. We don’t bother with getting into the head of the enemy - we just kill! We have any number of things we can do without mentioning A THING to an enemy. Not that I participated even once, but I saw it in corporate over 25+ years of that AND in trucking!

HA HA, I believe it. Good day to you, madam.
 

Si Klegg

Corporal
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Location
Bedford UK
You totally misjudged/misunderstood everything I posted, and tried to apply to being fluent in another language. They learned each others obscenities and culture disparages, and the Americans and Japanese both liked baseball. When the Japanese were hiding in the bush they would scream, F#&* Babe Ruth. The Marines would hurl insults back, like calling them Japs and nips amongst swear words. Quite common. They learned the each other's ethnic slurs and obscenities', which was a form of communication. Same thing in Korea, Vietnam. Nobody was in a firefight 24/7, so there were times when an enemy was dug in(hiding) and the army who was sweeping the area what hurl insults, and vice versa. Very few soldiers were fluent in the enemy's language but they knew some disparaging remarks and obscenities' that both sides used.
Donkey's years ago, back in the '70s, I worked for six months as a Sheet Metal apprentice in Hamburg, full-on immersion trying to learn German quickly. There was only one fellow in the whole factory could speak English, my Instructor. One day I was working on the sheet roller and I heard shouted above the din, 'F*** off, Tommy!''

I turned around and some old boy was standing there grinning his head off. Turned out he'd been a POW in Yorkshire in WWII and that was the only English he knew :thumbsup:
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
How would a Marine from the US with any number of regional dialects and a Japanese with their own dialects even know they were hurling obsenities at each other in the thick of fighting? Seriously - who would even be paying attention? To me, it would just be word salad from a language I didn't even understand. Not saying it wasn't done, but how would you even know?
A variation on this that I've heard (my Dad fought in the Pacific) was that the Japanese took what they thought was American profanity and tried to use it, "inartfully". Only a Japanese educated in English would have actually understood the terms/their meanings, and not many in that generation were. My favorite anecdote is the story of a Marine in one of the island campaigns. He reported that he and his comrades were yelling "Hirohito is a [ ]." So finally one Japanese soldier stood up and yelled back "Roosevelt is a [ ]." When his CO asked if he killed the enemy, the Marine looked puzzled and answered - "why would I shoot a fellow Republican?"
 
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Chris Leech

Private
Joined
Feb 19, 2014
Location
Kent, United Kingdom.
4-letter old fashioned curse words. No. Insults? Yes. You could get in a fist fight back then by calling a man a ¨puppy¨ or a ¨d*mned puppy¨ to boot.
(Not a Civil War story, but one that was passed to me by my uncle, my Dad´s older brother. He was an AFS ambulance driver in WW2 and served with the British. When he was in Italy, he saw a Tommy standing on the hood of a jeep that was sunk so deep in the mud that the hood was level with the ground. Tommy Atkins assessment of the situation was ¨The f**kin´ f**ker´s f**ked.¨ My uncle was astounded that the same word could be used successively and simultaneously as an adjective, noun and verb - in order. The English should win an award for swearing.)
As an ex British Squaddie l can confirm that this would still be the case... Every other word is a profanity of some such, aimed towards practically anything and anybody at anytime ....
 

Harms88

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Location
North of the Wall & South of the Canucks
As an ex British Squaddie l can confirm that this would still be the case... Every other word is a profanity of some such, aimed towards practically anything and anybody at anytime ....

Most personal pictures I've ever seen from Afghanistan and Iraq veterans have at least one if not more people flipping off the camera. We would say it's not nice, but the way they explained it to me, "It's just the soldierly way of saying hello." Even personal videos that get uploaded on youtube and such have no qualms about vulgarity. It's just the culture.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Most personal pictures I've ever seen from Afghanistan and Iraq veterans have at least one if not more people flipping off the camera. We would say it's not nice, but the way they explained it to me, "It's just the soldierly way of saying hello." Even personal videos that get uploaded on youtube and such have no qualms about vulgarity. It's just the culture.

I read in Stephen Sears "Gettysburg" that the Confederate troops on the Virginia side of the Potomac responded to the Union troops with "strange gyrations of their fingers" when they cut the ropes of the pontoon bridge at Williamsport during the retreat from Gettysburg. I'm thinking that this wasn't gang sign. 😜😜😜
The Royal Navy of the late 18th/early 19th centuries had some practitioners of the craft, as did seamen generally, and that carried over to ours. I've always questioned the supposed term Bull Nelson used to Jefferson C. Davis in September 1862 before Davis shot him dead. Supposedly Bull called him a "damned puppy". From what I've read, Bull, who served at length in the USN before the war, could call on profanity when needed. I'd wager a small chunk of change that he may have used something slightly "saltier". In fact, origins of the term "salty language" are tied to the RN, if I recall correctly.
 

Harman Farm

Private
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Location
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Well, @lurid, I learned something new. Thank you. I didn’t know that. I’m too analytical I guess! I just think I couldn’t be bothered so I’m guessing this is a male fighting thing. I wouldn’t waste my energy unless it was to say something and find where someone was hiding.

I worked in the corporate world for many, many years. Then I worked in the blue collar world of trucking for 9 years. I’ve heard every sort of a variation of the F word there is, and I’ve heard truckers call each other all sorts of fantastically horrible names in affection OR not. When it is a NOT and I’m sure soldiers were the same - they could go on and on and on with each other - hating each other, and I use to wonder why they would waste so much of their energy doing that. Female drivers, of which I was one, and still retain a commercial license though I don’t drive anymore, just. don’t. bother. - for the most part. The occasional one that does is seen as an outlier.
Careful NH Gal....he is a troll
 

Zack

Corporal
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
Not definitive but a starting place -

One overarching statement is that Civil War soldiers probably didn't partake in the kind of oaths that one might associated with - say - Shakespeare. Generally speaking, cursing had moved past oaths by the 19th Century and towards more specific curse words. That's a good rule of thumb, though obviously there are exceptions.

"D***" and all of its derivatives were the most commonly used swears. It was much more intense at the time given the religious connotations. It was often seen in the form "God d***ed" or just "d***ed." Also could be "god d*** you/it to hell." "D***dest" and "D***ation" were also used. It was pretty much the go-to curse word of this era.

"F***" was generally speaking used to mean intercourse. It was not really used as an intensifier or as an insult until around the First World War. Humorously, during the First World War it was said that if an officer shouted, "Grab your f***ing rifle and get the f*** over here" there was nothing to worry about, but if they said, "grab your rifle and get over here" you were probably about to be overrun.

"Sh*t" was in use to mean excrement and the act of defecating and it seems also to have been used as an expression of anger or frustration (but I'm not positive about that). "Pinch of sh*t" was also used as an expression, as in, "your opinion ain't worth a pinch of sh*t."

"Tarnation" also could be used in place of "D**nation" as a gentler version. In SI KLEGG his pard Shorty says at one point "Stockin's be blowed!" when asked if he would hang his stockings for Christmas.

"Bas***d" did not come up nearly as often as I thought it would. In fact, it seems to have not come up at all. Perhaps it was still too closely tied to "being born out of wedlock" to be just a general insult.

Instead of saying, "kiss my a**" as we would say today I saw far more instances of "suck my a**" which I got quite the kick out of. Also instances of "a**" alone being used as an insult.

Where Civil War soldiers really had fun was with variations of "son of a...." and prostitution. While the common "son of a b***" was used I found they more often would say "son of a wh*re."
I think my favorite use of that pops up in the novel Play for a Kingdom which does an excellent job accurately recreating Civil War speech in my opinion. One character says to another one, "Get buggered, ye wh*rehouse pimp," which is an absolutely correct period swear.

To that point - "bugger" was not yet a "British curse" as we might think of it today. As it referred to homosexual behavior, the expression "get buggered" was in use by Americans.

"C***" was used to refer to male genitalia, although not nearly as much as Showtime would have us believe. "****" was also used to refer to urine and "pissing" to the act itself.

Many threats to "spread your guts across the parade ground" are also found in court martial records.

Surprisingly, "shut up" was in use as an expression at the time.

And, obviously though unfortunately, "n*****" was often used to refer to African-Americans. Comparing someone to a "n*******" could be a pretty harsh insult.

And this isn't even to begin to mention the dirty language associated with intercourse, or as the soldiers sometimes called it, "horizontal refreshments."

As a general rule, it is really hard to figure out precisely how soldiers spoke. Though efforts are made by some writers to recreate the vernacular of the soldiers, such as in SI KLEGG, it's an imprecise art. There are also noticeable racial overtones to writing in the vernacular, with African-American speech often rendered in the vernacular where other speech is not.

I suspect that many so-called "direct quotes" from figures that have come down as gospel were probably not articulated in quite the same way as they were written. Back when I used to journal I would try to remember conversations to write out and found that I often got the gist of the conversation but with much simplifying and condensing. I doubt anything has changed. Since there are no audio recordings from the war and only a few of veterans, it's a tricky art. Relying solely on what was written down can lead to 19th Century individuals seeming to speak in a much more stilted manner than they probably did in reality.

You also run into the annoying habit of people writing about cursing without specifying what precisely was said - just "he cursed and swore." This is part of a tendency to clean-up language in memoirs and what not. I've also noticed that soldiers will write that the army was full of men who drank and cursed, but not in MY regiment/company.

It was said Winfield Scott Hancock was one of the best swearers in the army.

A fun read:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/019049168X/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
 

Zack

Corporal
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
Some sample cursing from LIFE OF BILLY YANK:

Yank: Havent you Rebs got a new general - General Starvation?
Reb: Have you Yanks all got n***** wives yet?

Reb: Why the hell didnt you charge yesterday?
Yank: Go to hell, you Grayback S.O.B’s, you’re da**ed glad we didnt.

Yank: What is Confederate money worth?
Reb: What n****** command your brigade?
Yank: How much do you ask for your slaves?
Reb: Have the n****** improved the Yankee breed any?

“Went out a Skouting yesterday. We got To one House where there was Five Secessionest And they broke and Run and Arch . . . holoed out to Shoot the ornery Suns of Bit**es . . . [and we] all let go . . . at them. . . . Thay may Say what they please but god****it pa It is Fun.”

Rebel soldiers were sometimes referred to as "savages" which I imagine had a harsher connotation then because of its association with Native Americans.

“All i want to do now is to licke these Sons of B---chs across the river from us that is the height of my Ambition.”

"Jesus Christ" could be used as an expression of shock or disgust or whatever, as seen in this joke: The guard-house was located just inside the Fort entrance and a bridge spanned the moat to the entrance. Once, when Captain R was officer of the day, it was his duty to inspect the guard at least once after midnight. Hackett was at Post number one, near the gateway of the Fort. It was a dark, rainy night, when Hackett heard Capt. R. Approach, and called out, ‘Who comes there?’ Captain R. Being on one side of the bridge, stumbled and fell headlong into the moat; as he fell he exclaimed in a loud voice, ‘J---s Ch---t.’ Hackett faced about and called out promptly, ‘turn out the Apostles. J----s C---t is coming.’ Then the guard helped the Captain out of the moat.

“Alf sed he heard that you and hardy was a runing to gether all the time and he thought he wod gust quit having any thing mor to doo with you for he thought it was no mor yuse . . . i think you made a d*m good chouis to turn of as nise a feler as Alf dyer and let that orney thefin, drunkerd, d**ed card playing Sun of a b***h com to Sea you. the god d**ed theaf and lop yeard pigen tode helon, he is too orney for hel. . . . i will Shute him as shore as i Sea him.”

They also partook in folksy expressions -
"Short and sweet just like a roasted maggot"
"Between a sh*t and a sweat"
"Poorer than skim p**s"
"Who wouldn't be a soldier?" meant "who cares?"
"Here's your mule" was a 19th-Century version of "Kilroy was here"
Sweethearts were called a pigeon, pig, duck, biddy, jularky, or hoosey dooksy
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Not definitive but a starting place -

One overarching statement is that Civil War soldiers probably didn't partake in the kind of oaths that one might associated with - say - Shakespeare. Generally speaking, cursing had moved past oaths by the 19th Century and towards more specific curse words. That's a good rule of thumb, though obviously there are exceptions.

"D***" and all of its derivatives were the most commonly used swears. It was much more intense at the time given the religious connotations. It was often seen in the form "God d***ed" or just "d***ed." Also could be "god d*** you/it to hell." "D***dest" and "D***ation" were also used. It was pretty much the go-to curse word of this era.

"F***" was generally speaking used to mean intercourse. It was not really used as an intensifier or as an insult until around the First World War. Humorously, during the First World War it was said that if an officer shouted, "Grab your f***ing rifle and get the f*** over here" there was nothing to worry about, but if they said, "grab your rifle and get over here" you were probably about to be overrun.

"Sh*t" was in use to mean excrement and the act of defecating and it seems also to have been used as an expression of anger or frustration (but I'm not positive about that). "Pinch of sh*t" was also used as an expression, as in, "your opinion ain't worth a pinch of sh*t."

"Tarnation" also could be used in place of "D**nation" as a gentler version. In SI KLEGG his pard Shorty says at one point "Stockin's be blowed!" when asked if he would hang his stockings for Christmas.

"Bas***d" did not come up nearly as often as I thought it would. In fact, it seems to have not come up at all. Perhaps it was still too closely tied to "being born out of wedlock" to be just a general insult.

Instead of saying, "kiss my a**" as we would say today I saw far more instances of "suck my a**" which I got quite the kick out of. Also instances of "a**" alone being used as an insult.

Where Civil War soldiers really had fun was with variations of "son of a...." and prostitution. While the common "son of a b***" was used I found they more often would say "son of a wh*re."
I think my favorite use of that pops up in the novel Play for a Kingdom which does an excellent job accurately recreating Civil War speech in my opinion. One character says to another one, "Get buggered, ye wh*rehouse pimp," which is an absolutely correct period swear.

To that point - "bugger" was not yet a "British curse" as we might think of it today. As it referred to homosexual behavior, the expression "get buggered" was in use by Americans.

"C***" was used to refer to male genitalia, although not nearly as much as Showtime would have us believe. "****" was also used to refer to urine and "pissing" to the act itself.

Many threats to "spread your guts across the parade ground" are also found in court martial records.

Surprisingly, "shut up" was in use as an expression at the time.

And, obviously though unfortunately, "n*****" was often used to refer to African-Americans. Comparing someone to a "n*******" could be a pretty harsh insult.

And this isn't even to begin to mention the dirty language associated with intercourse, or as the soldiers sometimes called it, "horizontal refreshments."

As a general rule, it is really hard to figure out precisely how soldiers spoke. Though efforts are made by some writers to recreate the vernacular of the soldiers, such as in SI KLEGG, it's an imprecise art. There are also noticeable racial overtones to writing in the vernacular, with African-American speech often rendered in the vernacular where other speech is not.

I suspect that many so-called "direct quotes" from figures that have come down as gospel were probably not articulated in quite the same way as they were written. Back when I used to journal I would try to remember conversations to write out and found that I often got the gist of the conversation but with much simplifying and condensing. I doubt anything has changed. Since there are no audio recordings from the war and only a few of veterans, it's a tricky art. Relying solely on what was written down can lead to 19th Century individuals seeming to speak in a much more stilted manner than they probably did in reality.

You also run into the annoying habit of people writing about cursing without specifying what precisely was said - just "he cursed and swore." This is part of a tendency to clean-up language in memoirs and what not. I've also noticed that soldiers will write that the army was full of men who drank and cursed, but not in MY regiment/company.

It was said Winfield Scott Hancock was one of the best swearers in the army.

A fun read:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/019049168X/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
This is noteworthy. Well done!
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Not definitive but a starting place -

One overarching statement is that Civil War soldiers probably didn't partake in the kind of oaths that one might associated with - say - Shakespeare. Generally speaking, cursing had moved past oaths by the 19th Century and towards more specific curse words. That's a good rule of thumb, though obviously there are exceptions.

"D***" and all of its derivatives were the most commonly used swears. It was much more intense at the time given the religious connotations. It was often seen in the form "God d***ed" or just "d***ed." Also could be "god d*** you/it to hell." "D***dest" and "D***ation" were also used. It was pretty much the go-to curse word of this era.

"F***" was generally speaking used to mean intercourse. It was not really used as an intensifier or as an insult until around the First World War. Humorously, during the First World War it was said that if an officer shouted, "Grab your f***ing rifle and get the f*** over here" there was nothing to worry about, but if they said, "grab your rifle and get over here" you were probably about to be overrun.

"Sh*t" was in use to mean excrement and the act of defecating and it seems also to have been used as an expression of anger or frustration (but I'm not positive about that). "Pinch of sh*t" was also used as an expression, as in, "your opinion ain't worth a pinch of sh*t."

"Tarnation" also could be used in place of "D**nation" as a gentler version. In SI KLEGG his pard Shorty says at one point "Stockin's be blowed!" when asked if he would hang his stockings for Christmas.

"Bas***d" did not come up nearly as often as I thought it would. In fact, it seems to have not come up at all. Perhaps it was still too closely tied to "being born out of wedlock" to be just a general insult.

Instead of saying, "kiss my a**" as we would say today I saw far more instances of "suck my a**" which I got quite the kick out of. Also instances of "a**" alone being used as an insult.

Where Civil War soldiers really had fun was with variations of "son of a...." and prostitution. While the common "son of a b***" was used I found they more often would say "son of a wh*re."
I think my favorite use of that pops up in the novel Play for a Kingdom which does an excellent job accurately recreating Civil War speech in my opinion. One character says to another one, "Get buggered, ye wh*rehouse pimp," which is an absolutely correct period swear.

To that point - "bugger" was not yet a "British curse" as we might think of it today. As it referred to homosexual behavior, the expression "get buggered" was in use by Americans.

"C***" was used to refer to male genitalia, although not nearly as much as Showtime would have us believe. "****" was also used to refer to urine and "pissing" to the act itself.

Many threats to "spread your guts across the parade ground" are also found in court martial records.

Surprisingly, "shut up" was in use as an expression at the time.

And, obviously though unfortunately, "n*****" was often used to refer to African-Americans. Comparing someone to a "n*******" could be a pretty harsh insult.

And this isn't even to begin to mention the dirty language associated with intercourse, or as the soldiers sometimes called it, "horizontal refreshments."

As a general rule, it is really hard to figure out precisely how soldiers spoke. Though efforts are made by some writers to recreate the vernacular of the soldiers, such as in SI KLEGG, it's an imprecise art. There are also noticeable racial overtones to writing in the vernacular, with African-American speech often rendered in the vernacular where other speech is not.

I suspect that many so-called "direct quotes" from figures that have come down as gospel were probably not articulated in quite the same way as they were written. Back when I used to journal I would try to remember conversations to write out and found that I often got the gist of the conversation but with much simplifying and condensing. I doubt anything has changed. Since there are no audio recordings from the war and only a few of veterans, it's a tricky art. Relying solely on what was written down can lead to 19th Century individuals seeming to speak in a much more stilted manner than they probably did in reality.

You also run into the annoying habit of people writing about cursing without specifying what precisely was said - just "he cursed and swore." This is part of a tendency to clean-up language in memoirs and what not. I've also noticed that soldiers will write that the army was full of men who drank and cursed, but not in MY regiment/company.

It was said Winfield Scott Hancock was one of the best swearers in the army.

A fun read:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/019049168X/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
One small point - you may underestimate Shakespeare and how things were actually acted out/adlibbed at the Globe Theater (and the "French" in Henry V gives a slight hint). The crowd seated at the foot of the stage was not necessarily constrained by "oaths" . .
 
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