Wit and War about Hard Tack

NH Civil War Gal

Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Feb 5, 2017
From “Sabres and Swords - First Rhode Island Cavalry”. September 1862

”One of our wagoners (H.B.), sometimes called “the baby” on account of his size and weight—which was among the hundreds—was a born wag, as well as a good soldier. Coming up on one occasion from the base of supplies with a load of bread, the quartermaster-sergeants crowded around him to obtain their quotas for their troops, each one solicitous to secure the newest boxes and freshest bread. By the way, these sergeants, wise in reading the latest and best brands, often joked with the wagoner about bread baked during the war of 1812, and during the Revolution, and hard-tack that came over in the Mayflower.

Fortunately, the wagoner had some boxes of a novel brand, bearing among other marks the capitals B.C. On these boxes the sergeants fixing their eyes, inquired eagerly after the freshness of their contents and the meaning of the letters. The wagoner answered: “Don’t you understand that brand? Can’t you read? You fools, don’t you know that B.C. stands for Before Christ.” This ended the question of the age of hard-tack!”