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Thread: How Long Did Hardtack Last?

  1. #1
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    Default How Long Did Hardtack Last?

    I'm curious to know how long hardtack could last in an edible state.

    I read an account once about soldiers in the Spanish-American War being issued hardtack that was left over from the Civil War. It's been too long since I read about that, and I don't remember the source, and I'm not sure if it was serious or a spoof.

    But I did read somewhere just yesterday that archaeologists have found baked unleavened bread that was thousands of years old. I don't recall reading that they ate any of it though.

    Murray
    "I am not a general, nor the son of a general, but having been right on the ground for four years, feel that I am entitled to an opinion." (William E. Bevens, First Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A.)

  2. #2
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    I thought I'd seen everything in Gettysburg until 3/4/07
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    Default

    As long as you can keep the "bugs" out of it.
    Grumpy Rain Jonah
    visit us:
    http://www.thecommonground.proboards.com/
    "This cowardly traitor state, secure from harm, as she thought, in her central position, with hellish haste dragged her Southern sisters into the caldron of secession. Little did she dream that the hated flag would again wave over her soil, but this bright morning a thousand Union banners are floating in the breeze.... W.T. Sherman

  3. #3
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    Default

    Define "edible"
    Tyler Gibson

    The Independent Rifles

  4. #4
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    Default Edible

    Quote Originally Posted by tater
    Define "edible"
    I guess I'm thinking of "edible" as being something that could be digested in a normal and healthy way.

    Murray
    "I am not a general, nor the son of a general, but having been right on the ground for four years, feel that I am entitled to an opinion." (William E. Bevens, First Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A.)

  5. #5

    Wink

    Hallo!

    In July I saw a piece of French Napoleonic "hardtack" from the Battle of Leipsig.

    IMHO, "edible" can be hard to nail down, as even larder beetle infested hard bread is "Edible," just not desireable (unless one needs the food value of the bugs as nutrition at the moment).
    The other factor would be dryness, as pretty much ANY damp and exposure to the atmosphere will allow mold and fungi to grow- some of which is harmless while others are toxic.

    The handful of surviving ACW hardtack crackers I have seen still appear "edible."

    Although unrelated, I have eaten 10 year old jerk. It was neither pretty or
    tasty, but it was edible.

    CHS
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default

    I can't say about hardtack itself but more that once I have had to eat C-rations that were probably around 25 years old. One of the tins always contained crackers that were very similar to hardtack. The crackers were definitely edible but some of the furnished spreads were a little questionable.
    Thomas H. Pritchett
    3rd Ark, Co. H
    http://www.campgeiger.org/

  7. #7

    Default

    Custer mentions in "My Life on the Plains" being issued 1861 hardtack in 1867. At that point, however, he mentions that the men wouldn't eat it. It would appear that 6 years was the upper end, at least for that body of men.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  8. #8
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    Default

    I thought I remember reading that Civil War hardtack was still being issued at the beginning of the Span Am war?

    WTH
    The hardcastlekillers Mess

  9. #9
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    Williamstown, NJ
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    Default

    Hardtack was placed in sealed barrels on steamship lifeboats and was stored for years.

    Andy Siganuk, chief mate, Schooner Yankee, Cape May, NJ

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