Monday, September 2, 2013

Diary of Alexander G. Downing: Monday, November 10, 1862

We have plenty of water at this camp, but are on short rations, having nothing but “gruel” and sweet potatoes to eat. What the boys call gruel is made from flour and corn meal. The quartermaster issued some flour and meal today, each man drawing his portion and cooking it to suit his taste. The usual method of preparing it is to make a dough and then bake it in the hot ashes or in the frying pan. Some of the new regiments from the North are equipped with shelter tents, each man carrying his part of the tent on his knapsack. The boys have nicknamed the new tents "dog tents." 1

1 Our boys were inclined to ridicule the idea of a man having to carry his tent on his back, and gave them the nickname “dog tent.”  But at that very time some of the boys would have been glad for a chance to carry as good tents, for when we were out on the march our tents had to be left in camp or else put in storage, and we would have to bivouac without any protection. — A. G. D.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 81-2

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