It was while at Kansas City that we had our first introduction to what was officially known as pilot bread, but which was dubbed hard tack later on. Of all the hard tack we ever had, that was the hardest, except the very last we drew before our discharge. It had peculiarities we never found in so marked a degree in our later experience. First we found it to be both meat and bread, for it was infested with good, fat grubs, which however were not duly appreciated by the comrades. Than it had a peculiar stamp all its own, vis., B.C. One of the comrades was wondering one day what that stood for and he was answered by another comrade who said "Don't you know? Why, that stands for Before Christ, of course." As to its hardness, it would be hard to exaggerate. In form it was about four inches square and three-eighths of an inch thick, yet it was utterly impossible to bite through it. To attempt to break it with teeth and hands was extremely hazardous to the teeth. A comrade said one day that he was trying to eat one and when he bit on something soft, he looked to see what it was and found that it was a ten penny mail he had bit in two. It may be said, however that some of the comrades were so unkind as to doubt his statement.
How to reduce that hard tack to an edible condition was the absorbing question of the hour. We tried soaking it in our hot coffee, but that toughened it, like India rubber. Then we tried frying it in hot bacon fat, but that made it worse than the hot coffee did. Finally we found that to break it into cold or tepid water and let it stand a short time, and then fry it in bacon fat, we had a very palatable and eatable dish. The next conundrum was to find a name for such a dish. One day someone called it Lobscouch. Where he got the word we did not inquire and did not care. It seemed to fit the case so Lobscouch it was ever after, and it was our constant companion in tribulation until the end of the war.
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