Civil War Food

Types of Foods Ate during the Civil War


In 1861 hardtack was invented. Hardtack was the Union soldiers’ main source of food because it was cheap to make, easy to transport, and lasted a long time. Today, we still have hardtack that was made during the Civil War! It was extremely hard because it was baked in northern factories and stored in warehouses before it was finally shipped to soldiers on the battlefields. It was so hard many soldiers broke their teeth trying to eat it! Some of the nicknames soldiers had for hardtack were teeth-dullers, sheet-iron crackers, flour tile, ship’s biscuit and hard bread. They also called it worm castles because there were often weevils and maggots in the crackers. To eat this hard bread, soldiers often broke it up with a rock or rifle butt and softened it by putting it in their coffee or heating it in grease. They had a favorite dish called Skillygallee, which was fried pork fat with crumbled hardtack.

Corn Bread

Cornbread can be traced back to when the European settlers came in contact with the Indians when they first arrived in America. Since the white settlers were dependent on the natural resources, they too, adopted the practice of making corn bread. A rush in popularity around Civil War time was inevitable as corn was plentiful and cheap. Corn bread and other meals made from corn were easy to. Most Confederate soldiers would eat corn bread since its easier to plant down south.