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".