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Ol'Hickory
07-05-2006, 11:58 AM
Hey

What kind of alcahol would have been drunk in camps? I know they had moonshine like oh'be joyful but any cider?

Bill_Cross
07-05-2006, 12:20 PM
What kind of alcahol would have been drunk in camps? I know they had moonshine like oh'be joyful but any cider?
Two points.

Not to be a killjoy, but booze at reenactments is a real problem, so I hope you don't mind my voicing some concerns and objections. We've all been around the drunken reveler(s) who feel no qualms about singing (often inappropriate or historically-inaccurate songs) or shouting after "lights out." There is also the problem of the inebriated and hung-over carry arms in the field. So I would discourage anyone who's thinking of bringing along hootch to an event to forbear and forswear. Take the Temperance Pledge! It's not only historical, it's safe.

As to what THEY drank, I'm sure they drank whatever they could get their hands on. But military discipline was such that drinking in camps was discouraged with some pretty nasty punishments. What they drank on furlough is another thread.

cblodg
07-05-2006, 12:22 PM
Hey

What kind of alcahol would have been drunk in camps? I know they had moonshine like oh'be joyful but any cider?

I think that you'd find there wasn't as much drinking amongst the men as many believe. These are men that had to get up early, march all day and into the night. Or drill and do fatigue duty.

If they found any alcohol, it would be just that, what ever they found.

I second what bill said. If you really want to learn about camp life, get a copy of Hardtack and Coffee.

Chris

Ol'Hickory
07-05-2006, 12:23 PM
Well, you'll be pleased to read that I dont drink..except some coffee/tea/water/cider..and guiness olny..OLNY on weekends

cblodg
07-05-2006, 12:26 PM
Well, you'll be pleased to read that I dont drink..except some coffee/tea/water/cider..and guiness olny..OLNY on weekends

Yeah, and that's when most of these events are held, on weekends.

Again, drinking was not, and IS NOT encouraged during a campaign.

Ol'Hickory
07-05-2006, 12:27 PM
Yeah, and that's when most of these events are held, on weekends.

Again, drinking was not, and IS NOT encouraged during a campaign.

Smashing.

I've drunk Guiness once (On my 18th) and i'm having 1 bottle of black thorn cider right now.

ElizabethClark
07-05-2006, 01:04 PM
Old Hickory, I think the answers you'll be looking for will be found in letters home from soldiers, and in the orders issued to soldiers against alcohol in camps.

And I'll ditto the concern over alcohol of any kind (authentic or not) at events. I'm not going up on a Temperence stump, but many venues are "dry" sites, and it behooves us to obey that restriction, lest we lose the privilege of using the sites in the future.

RJSamp
07-06-2006, 11:35 AM
Unfortunately for the Temperance League, when you read the diaries and books there is plenty of references to drinking......on campaign, during battle, in camp, etc.

Sutler's sold liquor....

Hundreads of Thousands of Wounded soldiers drank it (milk punch).....

The 21st Wisconsin drank a barrel of 'bourbon' (not a typo, and they were in KY) a few days before Perryville, while on campaign, and sang around campfires late at night. See NOE for the quote.

The twin 51st's charged across the stone bridge at Sharpsburg with the promise of a keg of whiskey AND the restoration of their liquor ration....which means they were systematically being issued a liquor ration.

Colonel Phillips was hit by a spent ball whilst charging up the hill at the Big Blue River, Westport MO, October 23, 1864 and his aide providentially pulled out a metal flask of peach brandy and proffered it to his commander.

I'll deliberately avoid mentioning the officer's who were drunk/cowardly under fire and usually dismissed rather quickly.

A 7th Wisconsin lad had his canteen filled up with milk punch on his way north to Gettysburg.

More than a few foraging expeditions/raids ended up with captured liquor.....of which some was drunk even if Jackson had the kegs smashed in....and even the fact that rivers of it were spilled/spoiled/denied simply proves that liquor was available.....at least to the non raiding side.

The human body can process roughly a drink an hour, depending on body mass, metabolism, and other foods being digested.....which means that moderated drinking should not pose a problem for 6AM or 8AM Reveille and 10AM Battle....2PM Battle. The VAST majority of reenactments are not 30 hour EBUFU events like Rich Mountain where you are 'on' stage for 1+ days. A farb fest like Manassas at CC or GettysRainedOut II doesn't require you to be 'on duty' 24/2 or 3 or 4....

Moderation being the key.....and I wouldn't suggest drinking where it's prohibited or where I was staying up all night on guard mount or if I was at a Campaign event.

Bill_Cross
07-06-2006, 12:32 PM
The human body can process roughly a drink an hour, depending on body mass, metabolism, and other foods being digested.....which means that moderated drinking should not pose a problem for 6AM or 8AM Reveille and 10AM Battle....2PM Battle.

I think the key word that hasn't made the rounds at many events is moderated, by which I presume you mean "moderate" (since many units seem unwilling or incapable of moderating their members' alcoholic intake).

And since too many seem incapable of moderating their own behavior or intake, I'm generally in favor of bans on alcohol at events where black powder is involved. I hope to keep all my body parts and both eyes, and flying objects from someone who's hung-over or slightly unsteady gives me the heeby-jeebies.

Volunteer
07-06-2006, 01:00 PM
I tend to agree with Bill.
Most events do have rules banning alcohol or intoxication, but this is like putting a ban on bad hats. How do we control this?

1) No vehicles in the camp areas...period. Make everyone pack their stuff in and we kill many birds with one stone. Wanna hump that cooler in? It'll be two miles. Then you will have to hump it out after being all dried out and hungover.

2) Call the real police. If we find someone/unit is too drunk. Let the real cops handle it. I wonder how many underage fellows that they will nab?

Sure, they had booze in the War. They drank it whenever they got the chance. Boys being boys, they also got into a lot of other trouble as well. It just has very little place in our play world. And, hangovers at 19 don't leave one as incapacitated as at 35.

Scot Buffington

Bill_Cross
07-06-2006, 01:12 PM
Sure, they had booze in the War. They drank it whenever they got the chance. Boys being boys, they also got into a lot of other trouble as well.
And when they got into trouble, there were severe punishments, like bucking and gagging or being tied to a tree. When we "act up" in period ways, we ignore the fact that there are no period consequences.

I'm with Scott on this: call in the local gendarmarie and send a message that no drunkeness will be tolerated. If someone isn't going to attend because they can't have coolers full of beers, then perhaps we'd all be better off without them?

Ol'Hickory
07-06-2006, 01:22 PM
I have no intention of ever getting drunk and if I do then it'll be my stag-night.

Which I hope a certain someone shows up on the weekend..i think i'll ask her hehe (Have already said we'd like too but i havent actually asked..cant afford any ring yet but in time..when i have my job it'll be hard..this hobby shall be my wife haha)

I am no fun where drink is concerned yeah i'll have a pint or something but i prefer water, coffee, tea

tompritchett
07-06-2006, 04:18 PM
2) Call the real police. If we find someone/unit is too drunk. Let the real cops handle it. I wonder how many underage fellows that they will nab?

More importantly what would the real cops do with the adult reenactors in the unit that provided the environment that allowed and/or encouraged the under-age drinking and often provided the booze. One of these days, the real cops will become involved at an event and all h*ll will break loose, especially if someone becomes injuried. Here in PA, parents have gotten serious jail time in very similar situations.

John1862
07-08-2006, 08:04 AM
....we ignore the fact that there are no period consequences.

Very True. Sure, there was drinking, but was it tolerated in the slightest bit? Absolutely not. The period punishments alone should be enough to stop any notions of drinking. http://www.civilwarhome.com/civilwarpunishment.htm http://home.jam.rr.com/rjcourt52/cwprisons/graphics/pics/civil2.gif These may not look too bad, but try doing it for hours and hours on end. Occasionally they were made spectacles for society as well.

zouavecampaigner
07-11-2006, 11:20 PM
More importantly what would the real cops do with the adult reenactors in the unit that provided the environment that allowed and/or encouraged the under-age drinking and often provided the booze. One of these days, the real cops will become involved at an event and all h*ll will break loose, especially if someone becomes injuried. Here in PA, parents have gotten serious jail time in very similar situations.

Tom, I wholeheartedly agree. I know of many units that encourage underage drinking, some even take "PRIDE" in flaunting no-alcohol event regulations, as well as their renditions of the "Lord, Lord, Lord" song from the film, Glory.
I've even seen on a unit's website that they have a "tradition" of drinking whiskey or something like that before each battle, and each night, "Regulations be damned! We're the ___, and we'll do whatever the he!! we want!"

I'm a temperance man myself, and it just makes sense to me to not mix alcohol with guns, knives, swords, bayonets, black powder, horses, gopher holes, and overweight guys in wool on 100 degree days!

Regards,
Shaun Grenan

bill watson
07-12-2006, 08:32 AM
It would be interesting to have an event that specified period punishments for period infractions, like drinking in camp.

Everything I've seen indicates that the drinking was, except for the officers, on the sly. And even there, the officers faced consequences for being incapacitated by drink if not for the drinking itself.

Bill_Cross
07-12-2006, 10:36 AM
One thing we have not mentioned in this thread is that grain alcohol was considered a medicinal item, and was also a base ingredient in so-called "patent" medicines. One reads accounts of the boys getting into the surgeon's stock and getting drunk, and a dram of spirits was often administered for a variety of problems. If Tim Kindred or Noah Biggs are lurking, perhaps they would provide us with some elaboration on the topic?

This practice continued into our own day with Geritol, a home remedy that used to be a staple of network TV advertising, and was pitched to women (for increased energy) and the tea-totaling elderly. Of course it made its consumers feel better: its chief ingredient was alcohol!

hanktrent
07-12-2006, 11:28 AM
One thing we have not mentioned in this thread is that grain alcohol was considered a medicinal item, and was also a base ingredient in so-called "patent" medicines

There's really two things going on there. One, alcohol itself was considered a stimulant, and offered in its usual beverage form (brandy, whiskey, etc.). Naturally, it needed to be kept on hand in the medical department, and so was available there for raiding. Edited to add: plain alcohol, ranging upward toward 200 proof, was also kept on hand as an ingredient for mixing other medicines, so it would also be theoretically possible to get hold of it and dilute it down to drinking strength.

Two, alcohol as a chemical was practical for preserving and dissolving medicines that wouldn't dissolve as well in water or would spoil. The problem with drinking such things recreationally is that there was another active ingredient in there too, in quantities such that a spoonful or two would be effective. If the active ingredient also served as a recreational drug, like the opium in laudanum, it might make sense to drink enough to get a buzz from the alcohol and the opium, though you'd probably notice the effects of the opium first. Don't think many soldiers raided the doctor's stores to drink enough tincture of ipecac (an emetic) or tincture of rhubarb (a laxative) to get a buzz from the alcohol, at least not more than once. :)

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net