The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.

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ca. 1861-1865
MHM Collections

Hardtack, a flour and water biscuit, was a food staple for Civil War soldiers. In the Western armies it was referred to as “hardbread” or “hard crackers.” While it could be eaten plain, many men preferred to toast it over a fire, crumble it into soups, or crumble it and fry it with pork or bacon fat in a dish called skillygalee. Hardtack was nicknamed “worm castles,” as it was often infested with weevils, but it provided troops with a durable, long-lasting food stock.