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Tom Elmore

Sergeant Major
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Thousands of head of cattle and sheep were collected (requisitioned from the citizens) by the Confederates throughout the Gettysburg campaign and sent south. However, some animals were retained to provide fresh beef and mutton "on the hoof" to the troops. Lt. Gen. Ewell reported that his command alone collected and sent back nearly 3,000 cattle from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The effort was continued right up until the battle. A member of the 49th Virginia recalled that on July 4, he marched with the wagon train containing the wounded, which was interspersed every half mile with a drove of cattle headed to the rear. Both sides practiced livestock confiscation. A Michigan cavalryman explained that "we have a regiment to drive the sheep and oxen that we picked up on the [southern] farms."

Cattle were a pricey commodity. Back in September 1861, Sergeant Adam C. Harness sold 53 head to the C.S. Government for $ 2,451.27, which works out to $46.25 per head. By mid-1863, the price may have doubled or tripled due to inflation.

Men were detailed from the ranks and assigned to the commissary department (typically of brigades) as butchers or to drive livestock, while distribution of the meat was handled by commissary personnel in individual regiments and even companies.

For instance, a cattle guard comprising 16 men from the 10th Maine Battalion (the Union headquarters guard) was assigned, just prior to the campaign, to drive 2oo beeves. Their herd followed behind the hospital supply train. Henry Blake of the 11th Massachusetts observed such a herd where the cattle bore "upon their horns and backs the knapsacks and muskets of the guard."

On July 3, a large herd belonging to the Union army had been driven to within a mile and a half or so of Little Round Top. Sergeant James A. Black, a company commissary in the 32nd Massachusetts, received word that rations of fresh beef were ready to be issued in that location. At other times butchering was done close to the front line. A soldier of the 136th New York recalled that on the night of 1 July, an ox was driven down to the road where the regiment was stationed, butchered on the spot, and the meat divided among the men.

Driving cattle or butchering was nearly always a safe occupation in the army, but that said, danger always lurked at the front. On July 4, a group of Confederate butchers were caught by surprise near Devil's Den, likely by the same Union probe that had encountered the 15th Georgia. Three of the butchers were killed, including one who had just struck and killed an ox, and two who were in the process of skinning two other animals. These cattle were either brought up to the front for the purpose of feeding the troops, or perhaps were cattle found in the vicinity that had belonged to local farmers.

Some identified personnel:

CSA
- James B. Croy, 7th Virginia, detailed to drive beef cattle.
- J. J. Chernault, 18th Virginia, detailed as brigade butcher.
- Pvt. Allen Avery, 11th Georgia, captured July 5 as part of a squad driving beef cattle.
- Pvt. Myer Weill, 16th Mississippi, detailed as brigade butcher.
- Pvt John P. Reynolds, 16th Mississippi, detailed as cow driver.
- Obediah Barron, 13th Mississippi, beef driver for the division.
- James M. Bozeman, 13th Mississippi, detailed to drive beef.
- Hardy M. Cottingham, 13th Mississippi, beef driver and butcher.
- Lewis L. Leibenfeld, 13th Mississippi, butcher.
- Pvt. J. M. Gwyn, 61st Georgia, butcher.
- Jacob Ruble, 5th Louisiana, regimental butcher.
- William Labarge, 6th Louisiana, regimental butcher.
- Patrick Lynch, 6th Louisiana, brigade butcher.
- R. C. Smith, 2nd Louisiana, brigade butcher.
- Pvt. Roberts, 31st Virginia, brigade butcher.
- Jesse W. Ayres, 8th Florida, butcher.
- Pvt. John M. Harvey, 5th Alabama, detailed as butcher.
- George W. Simons, 12th Virginia, detailed to collect cattle for the army.

USA
- John Stickney, 16th Maine, cattle guard.
- John Burnham, 16th Maine, cattle guard.
- William Moore, 16th Maine, cattle guard.
- Joseph Simpson, 16th Maine, cattle guard.
- Dennis Sullivan, 16th Maine, cattle guard.
- Francis Willens, 16th Maine, cattle guard.
- George Nicklas, 108th New York, detailed as brigade butcher; he was a butcher before the war.
- John R. Chase, 4th Maine, butcher.
- Pvt. Harrison T. Norton, 6th Maine, brigade butcher.
- Robert R. P. Potter, 6th Maine, brigade butcher.
- Cattle guard of the 10th Maine Battalion: Sgt. Joseph G. Brown (in charge), Cpl. Joseph Littlefield, Privates Wm S. Davis, William T. Dodge, Daniel Hanson, George W. Hatch, Emery A. Holman, Nathaniel Cash, Ezekiel H. Hanson, George H. Hoit, Storer S. Knight, Edward H. Sawyer, Amos Kelley, William T. Keyes, Joseph W. Small and Josiah H. Smith.
 

Bee

Captain
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
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Whenever I have started a conversation with someone about feeding the troops, they always shrug it off and say: they ate salt pork and hardtack, and leave it at that. As I have been going along in my reading, I find that indeed, feeding the troops was much more involved than just "Hardtack and salt pork". Last weekend, I read about Ewell collecting the cattle (you mentioned above) AND 5,000 barrels of flour in Chambersburg: Pfanz, Gettysburg The First Day, pg 16.

I had never considered that professionals were needed to process this cattle for consumption, too!
 
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Lubliner

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My questions here arise after following 'Period-Ten Recipes We Don't Have To Worry About Anymore' by @JPK Huson 1863, recently;
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/ten-recipes-we-dont-have-to-worry-about-anymore.161514/, and a second thread;
'Authentic-Chowing Down' by @Stiles/Akin; https://civilwartalk.com/threads/chowing-down.155510/#post-2002227.

@Yankee Brooke has worked in a butcher shop, so I call on his knowledge, though any others that have it, may answer. Also, @Tom Elmore says above,
"On July 3, a large herd belonging to the Union army had been driven to within a mile and a half or so of Little Round Top. Sergeant James A. Black, a company commissary in the 32nd Massachusetts, received word that rations of fresh beef were ready to be issued in that location. At other times butchering was done close to the front line. A soldier of the 136th New York recalled that on the night of 1 July, an ox was driven down to the road where the regiment was stationed, butchered on the spot, and the meat divided among the men."

How much preparation went into butchering 'beef on the hoof'; did they need a tree branch to hang it and drain blood, like with hogs?
What would be done with the remainder of the 'beef', such as heart, kidney stomach, intestines, etc.? I know some consider portions stated as being delicacies, but for instance, feeding a regiment would take an 'x' amount of beef, and the remainder would be attractive to flies and pestilence that breeds thereon. Did they burn what was left of the butchery in a waste pile?
Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

Yankee Brooke

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Just to point out, I'm a girl. lol

As far as the butchering goes, the meat would have been hung somewhere to drain the excess blood. It can be hard to see, but here is meat hanging in a tent, presumably to drain blood while it awaits being sliced and salted for rationing. It was usually served raw, that's why haversacks were lined with absorbing materials for the juices. It looks like they tried to fashion some irrigation system with those boards, or perhaps the boards just absorb it all.
Civil-War-Meat-Hanging-in-Tent.jpg


In addition to being raw, it was also often given to the poor soldier with traces of hair, skin, etc still on it, so they didn't clean the animal very well at all. Organs, less desirable cuts, etc were served. The soldiers would clean and cook it, if they had the time, which was likely not always the case during campaign season.

Usually soldiers were issued pork, but beef was given too if available. Lame horses and mules were butchered for meat as well.
 

Tom Elmore

Sergeant Major
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(Personal Reminiscences of Gettysburg, by Capt John D. S. Cook, 20th New York State Militia/80th New York) Early next morning [July 4] a squad of men of the commissary department drove a young heifer to our camp and butchered it on the ground ... Nothing left of the heifer (intestines being buried) except the hide.

I recall reading that some local citizens showed up to take the hides away after cattle were butchered for the soldiers.
 
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Bruce Vail

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Whenever I have started a conversation with someone about feeding the troops, they always shrug it off and say: they ate salt pork and hardtack, and leave it at that. As I have been going along in my reading, I find that indeed, feeding the troops was much more involved than just "Hardtack and salt pork". Last weekend, I read about Ewell collecting the cattle (you mentioned above) AND 5,000 barrels of flour in Chambersburg: Pfanz, Gettysburg The First Day, pg 16.

I had never considered that professionals were needed to process this cattle for consumption, too!
Yes, recently spent some time with the memoir Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade, by John O. Casler. He was in Ewell's corps in Penn. 1863 and writes about the concerted effort to gather up enemy livestock and other provisions to send back to Virginia. According to Casler, Lee's orders against pillaging were not followed to the letter.

Casler's book is a fun read, by the way, because he was an enlisted man with a flexible attitude about military rules and regulations, and a not-too-respectful analysis of his superior officers. He even provides a reasonable defense of the practice of robbing dead and wounded soldiers on the battlefield!
 
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Lubliner

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Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Just to point out, I'm a girl. lol

As far as the butchering goes, the meat would have been hung somewhere to drain the excess blood. It can be hard to see, but here is meat hanging in a tent, presumably to drain blood while it awaits being sliced and salted for rationing. It was usually served raw, that's why haversacks were lined with absorbing materials for the juices. It looks like they tried to fashion some irrigation system with those boards, or perhaps the boards just absorb it all.
View attachment 323164

In addition to being raw, it was also often given to the poor soldier with traces of hair, skin, etc still on it, so they didn't clean the animal very well at all. Organs, less desirable cuts, etc were served. The soldiers would clean and cook it, if they had the time, which was likely not always the case during campaign season.

Usually soldiers were issued pork, but beef was given too if available. Lame horses and mules were butchered for meat as well.
Please excuse my presumption, @Yankee Brooke.
As for the photo, to me it looks as if they may have dug a small pit under the boards. Blood is slippery, and the sanitation in such a hurried atmosphere would be scant. I believe the soldiers though with canteen water would and boiling, frying, etc. would receive what ever portion was handed them. Thanks too, @Tom Elmore. Your in depth review of the men responsible for the herdings brings a clearer picture into the overlooked aspect of delivery.
Lubliner.
 
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Yankee Brooke

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Please excuse my presumption, @Yankee Brooke.
As for the photo, to me it looks as if they may have dug a small pit under the boards. Blood is slippery, and the sanitation in such a hurried atmosphere would be scant. I believe the soldiers though with canteen water would and boiling, frying, etc. would receive what ever portion was handed them. Thanks too, @Tom Elmore. Your in depth review of the men responsible for the herdings brings a clearer picture into the overlooked aspect of delivery.
Lubliner.
Not a biggie at all. :smile:
That's what I see too. The boards are there simply to keep the men from falling in when going to retrieve the meat for slicing and rationing.
 
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