Recently, I acquired a copy of Joan Cashin's War Stuff: The Struggle for Human and Environmental Resources in the American Civil War. (Cambridge, 2018). Overall, it is a good read, a short introduction to the environmental aspects of the war. I guess my biggest objection was the overemphasis on the surrender of the Lee's army. Lee's surrender did not bring about the end of the war. While Lee's capitulation had much symbolic meaning, the Army of Northern Virginia was trapped and disintegrating. Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee, three times the size of Lee's forces, was sitting on a wealth of supplies and had plenty of opportunities for escape. But, I digress. Cashin's tome has chapters on how the war affected people, timber, habitat, and the subject I'm most interested in at the present: sustenance.
In the chapter on sustenance, Cashin compares three period books to the letters and reminisces of soldiers and civilians, both Blue and Gray, regarding provisions. Those three tomes are The Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861, Henry Lee Scott's Military Dictionary, and the Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States. The latter was published in 1863. Scott's Military Dictionary was published in 1861 (I have an 1864 reprint of this book). Cashin uses Scott's to define terms found in the Articles of War, terms like foraging, allowances, supplies, and the responsibilities of the quartermaster's department. Scott's is a great help in increasing our understanding of the way people in 1861 perceived certain terms or roles. However, since Scott's was not published until 1861, how many copies of this work made it into the hands of Federal officers during the course of the war? Furthermore, did any of those volumes ever make it into Southern hands?
|New York Times April 1861|
The first reference I can find to Scott's Military Dictionary comes in April 1861, when the New York Times makes mention of the book in a list of military manuals being published by D. Van Nostrand. It simply lists the book as being "in press..." By June, Nostrand is advertising the book as being available in a few days. The Buffalo Commercial advertises it as available on July 18, at a cost of $5, while it is available for purchase at a book shop in Cleveland, Ohio, by the end of the month. (Cleveland Daily Leader July 21, 1861). Of course, it is not an issued manual, like The Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861. Scott's does not appear in any advertisements in Southern towns during the war, save Nashville and Port Royal (SC), after they have come under Union control.
Since Scott's Military Dictionary might not be a viable option for defining terms found in the Articles of War for Southern officers, were could they turn? Of course, there is the regular dictionary. Webster's Dictionary (1828) defines foraging as "Collecting provisions for horse and cattle, or wandering in search of food; ravaging; stripping." Allowance: "to restrain or limit to a certain quantity of provision or drink." Supply: "to fill up, as any deficiency happens; to furnish what is wanted."
A glance at a few advertisements in 1861 in Southern newspapers does not show any military dictionaries for sale. Beard's Book-Store, advertising in the The Yorkville Enquirer (SC) on January 3, 1861, had Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics; McMomb's Militia Tactics; Cavalry Tactics, LaSal's School of Guides; Infantry Camp Duty; and The Rifle, and How to use it. J. W. Randolph, bookseller, advertising in the Richmond Dispatch on July 15, 1861, had available Science of War; Cavalry Out Post Duty; Volunteer's Manual; Volunteer's Handbook; Hardee's Tactics; and Mahan's Out-Post Duty. No military dictionaries. There were other military dictionaries out there. Simes Military Dictionary (1776); Duane's A Military Dictionary (1810); Rose's Military Dictionary (1815); and possibly a few others. But just how many people would have had a military dictionary lying about at home on the mantel of the fireplace? Probably very few.Cashin targets Articles 52 and 54. Article 52 states that "Any officer or soldier who shall misbehave himself before the enemy... or who shall quit his post or colors to plunder and pillage... being duly convicted thereof, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a general court-martial." (493) Article 54: " All officers and soldiers are to behave themselves orderly in quarters and on their march; and whoever shall commit any waste or spoil, either in walks or trees, parks, warrens, fish-ponds, houses or gardens, corn-fields, inclosures of meadows, or shall maliciously destroy any property belonging to the inhabitants of the United States unless by order of the then command-in-chief of the armies of the said States, shall (besides such penalties as they are liable to by law) be punished according to the nature and degree of their offense, by the judgement of a regimental or general court martial." (493-494, The Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861.) Of course, when the Confederate States printed its own versions of the Articles of War beginning in 1861, these were translated verbatim, save for the substitution of "Confederate States" for "United States."
Cashin goes on to state that when the Confederate regulations were published in 1863, they were verbatim, except the "volume added the statement that the rebel army's 'wanton destruction' of private property was 'disgraceful' and on par with the enemy's behavior." (75) I wish Dr. Cashin had provided a better source for this, except Confederate Regulations pages 407-420. I cannot seem to find this phrase in my 1863 reprint. Also, one other little gripe: she writes on page 76: "They resurrected old ways of cooking, making molasses from maple trees as their grandmothers did." Um, we make maple syrup from maple trees. Molasses is made from sugar cane.
In War Stuff, Cashin subdivides the chapter into sections looking at the Food Environment; New Things to Eat; New Foodways, Especially Meat; Civilians and their Provender; General Pope's orders of 1862; Confederate Regulation; Impressment; and Hungry People. Overall, it is an interesting read.