Preserved hardtack from U.S. Civil War, Wentworth Museum, Pensacola, Florida.
The caption of the hardtack picture reads:
Hardtack from Atlanta area, 1862. T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Collection
The standard Army ration of bread was issued as hardtack, which was supposed to have a longer shelf life than regular bread. The crackers were often so wormy that soldiers nicknamed them “wormcastles.”
It was made of flour, water, salt, and lard in northern factories and packed in wooden crates for shipping. The handy biscuits had a bland, but satisfactory taste when eaten fresh. However, most of it sat around for months before it was distributed to the soldiers, so it was hard, tasteless, and often infested with weevils. Soldiers called the hard little biscuits, tooth-dullers and dipped them in coffee or cooked them along with salt pork. Confederate soldiers made a similar meal by mixing cornmeal in with salt pork as it cooked.