Recollections of Army Life with General Lee. 241
batter up in the skillet, or perhaps on a corner of a tent fly, season- ing it with a bit of dirty salt. Our meat was too scarce to fry out any for grease, hence salt and water were the only components of our bread. We did not even have soda. I have seen leached ashes tried as a substitnte; except as to color, it was a dismal failure. This form of bread we called short bread," presumably because it was short of every ingredient necessary for good bread. I have seen the dough wrapped around ramrods and toasted brown; also en- cased in wet shucks and baked in hot embers.
One campaign we inarched far ahead of the wagons, and at night as one of a detail was sent back to cook rations. Were we puzzled ? Not a bit. We went to work and made up a big batch of dough on a tent cloth; next we wrenched a wide plank from a neighboring fence, duly cleaned it, and then placed a dozen or so batches of kneaded dough upon the plank, and then gradually inclined the plank so as to catch the full heat of the coals, and there propped it to brown. When sufficiently browned, we turned the cakes over and repeated the process. Thus, by a little ingenuity, we had our bread baked by the time the wagons arrived with the camp utensils, and all we had to do was to boil the beef and distribute the rations.
The latter part of the war we had no hard tack, flour and meal being issued dry. This did well enough in camp, but on the march we frequently lost it by rain. When we had hard tack a form of bread baked very hard and dry, and issued as part of rations and later on stale light bread, we knew how to utilize them to the best advantage. We would break it into bits, put it into a cup of water, season with a pinch of salt and wee bit of meat, and then boil it "tender." The boiling increased the quantity of the mess, appa- rently, and when done we enjoyed this dish, the soldiers' friend, surnamed "cush." I lately saw some soldier lines dedicated to this dish, the author evidently having often made of it a substantial meal. With meal, good, bad or indifferent, we had our bane when the march came with three days' rations. In camp we made flapjacks or mush, and parched some of it for coffee. When cooked into pones, it readily mildewed and soured; besides, it was bulky and bothered one no little to carry along with other camp accoutrements. Even if soured, we, perforce, had to use it best we may, for it was "our all in all." In winter quarters of 1864-' 65 we had brigade bake ovens, and light bread was issued in lieu of flour. For awhile we enjoyed it, but as soon as it became stale we tired of it as a nui- sance, and preferred our one pound of flour. Three loaves of this