Camp Life

Feather Quill and Ink Holder July, 10th 1864
"Speaking of handwriting; you may not recognize this as mine. For I am writing under the usual disadvantages of camp. I am lying under a shelter made of two yankee blankets pined together with wood pins & stretched over a pole placed in two forked stakes with the lower edges of the blanket looped over with stakes driven in the ground about two feet high. My bed is made of a few green leaves with another yankee blanket wired over them. I place my paper on the ground and lye on my "belly" while I write."
- Captain A.B. Mulligan, Co. B 5th South Carolina Cavalry


Shelter Half January 1st, 1864
"Cold, terrible cold; known all over the United States as the cold New Year's. We were provided with what were populary known as dog tents, which were a very good protection for summer campaigning, yet were not the best in the world for winter quarters. Some of the messes had built log huts with fireplaces, and were more comfortable, but most of the men did not care to go to the trouble, fearing that if they did we would move the next day." - Third Ohio Veteran, Volunteer Cavalry

Winter Huts - The Civil War Library and Museum, Philadelphia, PA "The forests around this country are stripped of their trees for houses and fire-wood. The walls of our houses are built of logs, and covered with shelter tents, with a nice cosy fire place at one end, made of brick or stone, with a mud and stick chimney. They are very comfortable houses, with plenty of blankets and a bed of long poles." - Daniel G. Crotty, Third Michigan Volunteer Infantry

Camp Life Demonstration "In no more time that it takes to tell the story, the little campfires, rapidly increasing to hundreds in number, would shoot up along the hills and plains, and as if by magic acres of territory would be luminous with them. Soon they would be surrounded by the soldiers, who made it an almost invariable rule to cook their coffee first, after which a large number, tired with the toils of the day, would make their supper of hardtack and coffee, and roll up in their blankets for the night." John D. Billings, 10th Massachusetts


Tin Cup "First he gathered a few small twigs and made a very small fire. On the fire he put a battered old tin cup. Into this he poured some coffee from his canteen. From some mysterious place in his clothes he drew forth sugar and dropped it into the cup. Next, from an old worn haversack, he took a chunk of raw bacon and a "pone" of corn bread. Then, drawing a large pocket knife, in a dexterous manner he sliced and ate his bread and meat, occasionally sipping his coffee." - Edward Stevens McCarthy, Captain First Company Richmond Howitzers

Camping in the Trenches "The first duty I was called upon to perform was to get my men under cover in their camp. The hill was about forty feet high, just in back of old Blanford church, and I selected a tolerably steep slope where by digging into the hill good shelter could be had from the shells constantly passing over our heads on their way to town. We soon had level benches cut into the hill for the men to pitch their flies on, and these were connected from one end to the other by a path made of the excavated material."
W.W. Blackford, Engineer C.S.A.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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