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Friday, December 9, 2022

How coffee helped the Union army win the Civil War | Task and Purpose

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Coffee was not just the Union army soldiers’ favored cup but also the fuel that kept the army fighting for freedom.

In his autobiography Hardtack and Coffee, Civil War veteran John D. Billings, who served in the 10th Massachusetts Battery, discussed the significance of the coffee ration to the typical Union soldier. Elijah Palmer, the acting Quartermaster Museum curator and education specialist at the Fort Lee Army Museum Enterprise in Virginia, noted that the Army’s 1858 Quartermaster Manual made no mention of coffee and hardly mentioned rations, but the 1863 Quartermaster Guide outlined how coffee should be transported along with other freight and it included coffee in regular ration tables. According to Jon Grinspan, curator of political history at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Union soldiers received 36 pounds of coffee every year and would crush coffee beans with the butts of their rifles or the handles of their bayonets. Although certain carbines had built-in coffee grinders, they were not frequently used.

Source: https://taskandpurpose.com/history/civil-war-union-army-coffee/


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