Hardtack and Coffee: or, the Unwritten Story of Army Life


While vacationing in the White Mountains, the author was induced by a rapt audience of boys—too young to have experienced the Civil War—to recount his adventures in the Army of the Potomac; these evening gatherings "led to the preparation of these sketches...an important contribution of warp to the majestic woof which comprises the history of the Great Civil War..." While most texts treat the war's battles, campaigns, and generals, this book attempts to comprehensively record army life of the common soldier in detail, "to permanently record information which the history of no other war has preserved with equal accuracy and completeness." Topics covered include: enlisting and raw recruits, life in tents and log huts, rations, offences and punishments, drills, foraging, inventions and devices of war, the army mule, hospitals and ambulances, army road and bridge builders, signal flags and torches, and much more. Charles W. Reed, the illustrator, did sketches in the field during this stint with the Army of the Potomac; over 200 of his drawings are included in this work.

John D. Billings

(1887, 1990), 2011, 5½x8½, paper, 428 pp. 

ISBN: 9781556133725