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January 24, 2013

Letter from Charles Goddard of the 1st Minnesota to his mother about current events and life in camp, including a recipe for baked beans with hard tack – January 24, 1863

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 9:00 am

Camp Near Falmouth Va Jan 24th 1863
Dear Mother
We have been expecting to move for some time, but have finly concluded it is all gamon*. We have been having very bad weather, but when we compare it with the weather we had last winter in old Maryland, we can consider our selves lucky fellows. Hiram Brink recd a letter from [X].L. Brink and he says that they will not take the postage currency for postage stamps in Winona, now if this is the case Mr. Blanchard or whoever sells stamps is violating the law and more than that[,] if I know any thing about it[,] he is liable to be fined[.] I think if whoever sells postage stamps wont take postage currency that they are making a good thing off of the people of Winona or in other words is pocketing the specia he receives for his stamps and buyes them with postage currency. So you see it leaves him with his pockets full of specia which he can sell for $1.30 to $.40 for evry dollar of silver or gold he can rais. I think if this is the case up in Winona it is high time that some one would put a stop to it[.] I suppose I cannot send home and get stamps so you and I cannot enter in to a contract as I proposed in my other letter. Charley Ely received a letter from his Mother and Sister, it was dated the 13th of this month. He is highly delighted with his Sister’s writeing, and he thinks she is learning very fast[.] It was the first I knew about his GranMother being in Minnesota[.]
Eldridge Smith of our Co has been discharged on account of his deafness, he is a Brother to Andrew Smith and Dave, but a much better fellow than eather of them. We expect him up here befor long and if he goes to Winona I will try and send the china cup I have for Orren. Mother what do you think of Gov Seymour and Parker of New York and New Jersy[?] I do not think I am going to protect the homes of such black hearted traitors as these are. I can see they are traitors jest as plain as I can see this sheet of paper I am writeing on. If they put such men in for Gov’s I am going home. I don’t feel inclined to fight for such men. I am in for disloging any Officer who dose not give the Presidents proclamation his cordial support and give the President his cordial support to for I think Abriham is a good President[.]
How is Uncle John C getting along in the Country[?] I received a letter from Susan sometime after her marriage with Reuben Black but I could not answer it because I had no postage stamp. she says Uncle and Aunt wer well but that was some time ago. Reuben is in the rangers is he not[?] Mother you never say any thing about George Wilson Thomas Norton and John Norton[.] I some times think they are dead, but when I come to think of it they might be married[.] if John is there he is most likely gallanting some beautiful you damsel over to the Lake to take a skate. I wonder if the mill whistle disturbs [Tomy] as much as it yousto. I am inclined to think it dose for if the mill stops it will result in the bankruptcy of Laird Norton and Co. George Wilson is a lucky fellow for it would have been the last of his [nose] if he had come in the Army[.] there is no end of the pork we have to eat, eat pork and crackers (hard tack) or suck your pan and as I dont always feel inclined I generaly tak crackers and pork. If I ever get home I will show you how to fry crackers and smother beans[,] or more comonly called baked beans[,] I do not know but I guess that a receipt will do as well. Take as many beans as you want for a mess and par boil or partially boil them[,] then tak a spade and dig a hole large anough for the pot you are going to cook the beans in and build a fire in it, and get it as warm as you can, then take the pot of beans and put in a peice of meat in the center of the pot[,] then cover the pot over and put it in the hole covering the pot with the coals that ar in the hole and earth on top of them[,] and in twenty four hours you have a soldiers dish of baked beans. We bake a good many crackers that way, first pore water on them[,] put them in the bean hole and bake them. We heard here to day that Gen Burnside had been superceded by little McClellen. it would of been a very pleasant surprise, to me and Co “K”. Our Chaplain dose not preach much now on account of the weather. he is not much miss for we do not like him[.] his name is Conway[.] I like him as [a] soldier[,] but not as a preacher[.]
Tomorrow morning we go on picket. I expect a bad time. Mother I hav not been writeing because what I write is interesting but beacus I have nothing else to do and that is what makes me dislike Soldiering. some times we have so much to do that we nearly brake down with fatigue and other times we have almost nothing to do.

*Gammon is defined as “misleading or nonsensical talk; humbug” by the Free Dictionary: www.thefreedictionary.com/gammon

See complete letter: 1863-01-24_Smith_combined

Citation: January 24, 1863, Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother, Correspondence 1853-1862. Smith, Orrin Fruit and Family Papers, 1829-1932. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1434 box 1]

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