Biscuit: The Common Soldier's Staple.

by Captain Johann Ewald, Field Jäger Corps. Edited by Mark Tully

"At dusk we arrived at Fort Lee, in and around which the army camped in great disorder. At Neighborhood there was a huge magazine of forage, flour, and biscuit. A number of cannon and a part of the ammunition were captured, where some fifty men who had straggled fell into our hands. (p 18, Nov. 19, 1776)".

"Hurriedly the army was issued three days' rations of biscuit and brandy ... (p 50, Jan 3, 1777)."

"... at four o'clock on the morning of the 24th [August, 1777], returning about six o'clock with the the following order: "the troops are to prepare immediately for disembarkation. They will be supplied by the ships with rum, biscuit, and cooked salt pork for five days (p 74)."

"For our bread, which had followed after the army, consisted of of biscuit that was filled with worms, and quite often we had to make a ration of one pound last for three days. (p 92, 31st September 1777)."

"We had to manage with dry biscuit most of the time for three weeks (p 138, 5 July, 1778)."

The footnote to this entry reads: "Lieutenant von Krafft states, "On the march we got salt and freash meat, biscuit and rum, nothing more" (Journal of Lieutenant John Charles Philip von Kraft, 1776-1784, Collections of the New York Historical Society for the year 1882, Vol. XII [New York, 1882], p. 49).

Everyone should have a batch of biscuit on hand for demonstration purposes if nothing else. Look for a period-correct recipe in next month's issue!

SOURCE: Diary of the American War, A Hessian Journal, Captain Johann Ewald, Field jäger corps, Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1979