Moultonborough Historical Society

  Civil War Tidbits 

By: Phil and Sandra Barnes

The Civil War had long-range effects in all parts of our country, but did you know ?

Recognizing that letters between soldiers and their families were important to morale, in 1863 the Uniform Postage Act established that mail would travel at the same postage rate within this country, no matter how many miles separated the sender and the recipient. In those years, a letter cost $.02 and a post card $.01.

Also at that time, Congress inaugurated free home delivery of mail in about 50 cities in the northern states. If families were to receive death notices or other distressing news, at least it would be within the privacy of their homes. However, the mail to smaller communities continued to be distributed at postal service windows.

 For years Servicemen and women have made sarcastic remarks about the tastiness of field rations. This was also true during the Civil War when the Union troops often received a hard tact cracker about 3" square and " thick. So hard (and perhaps stale) they were soon nicknamed "sheet iron" crackers or "teeth dullers". Many were stamped BC, which stood for Brigade Commissary - the troops joked that BC stood for the years when the crackers were produced!

If the soldiers deemed them inedible, they found that bugs were not so picky, and the crackers thus became known as "worm castles".