Category Archives: Authenticity

Period paint recipe for poncho or ground cloth

Period Recipe: This recipe is an approximation, since the original recipe specified “litharge,” or lead monoxide (PbO) which is extremely poisonous.

Bright Idea: Leave out the lampblack, and you have a recipe for a nice civilian waterproof cloth.

I strongly recommend this recipe because it is about as authentic as you can get without putting life and limb in danger.


  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Mineral spirits paint thinner (or turpentine)
  • Lampblack (comes in tubes or dry powder)
  • Japan dryer
  • Corn starch


  1. Make a sizing by boiling about a quart of water and adding cornstarch mixed in cold water until the mixture becomes a little syrupy.
  2. Paint the cloth with the cornstarch sizing and let dry.
  3. Mix one part of boiled linseed oil with one part of mineral spirits. Add lamp black until the paint is a very opaque black. Add one oz. (2 tbsp) of Japan dryer per pint.
  4. With a brush, paint the cloth with the blackened linseed oil and let dry. This can take several days.
  5. Mix one part of boiled linseed oil with two parts of mineral spirits. Add one oz. of Japan dryer per pint.
  6. With a brush, paint the cloth with the clear linseed oil mixture and let it dry. This can also take several days. Two coats of this mixture should give the results you want. (You can omit the cornstarch sizing if you want, but the oil-based paint will pretty much soak the cloth.)

For best results let the cloth cure for 2 weeks hanging outdoors.

Conquering a Peace – 9th KY shenanigans

IV Conquering a Peace from History of the Orhpan Brigade – Edwin Thompson

The Fourth Regiment having been organized sometime before the Sixth and Ninth and very carefully drilled felt themselves veterans when the latter were still raw and rallied the awkward squad as they called them unmercifully At Burnsville however the Ninth found an opportunity to pay them back in one species of their own coin aud they made such use of it as to force the veterans who also called themselves Buckner’s Pets to sue for a treaty of amity

The tents of the two regiments were pitched on the same slope and in such close proximity that it was not deemed necessary to keep two separate camp guards so they agreed to dispense with that part of the detail at least which would be required to watch the two lines near the point of contact and to have a guard proportioned to the strength of each regiment detailed for duty around the two commands

They now became better acquainted and things went on swimmingly till one morning when a certain valuable cooking utensil was missed from the Ninth A careful reconnoisance developed the fact that it had found its way to the Fourth and a plan of retaliation was at once instituted

The night which followed was dark and favorable to the enterprise After tattoo and when the men of the offending regiment were fully committed to their slumbers a party of the Ninth stole quietly among their tents and bore off every cooking vessel upon which they could lay their hands The astonishment of the veterans next morning knew no bounds when they found that instead of a single piece of camp furniture’s being gone there were more indications that they had been visited by Ali Baba’s forty thieves

But the true state of case was soon discovered and there was a large meeting of plenipotentiaries from the respective regiments who entered into a solemn league and covenant providing that no matter what might be practiced upon outsiders the strictest forbearance was to be observed toward each other There was then a restoration of the property but the Fourth had a late breakfast that morning From that time a warm friendship sprang up between these two regiments and the treaty was never broken Buckner’s Pets very naturally concluded that men who with so little training could avenge their wrongs so promptly were worthy of esteem and confidence

Southern Bread Pudding

FLASHBACK: 2004 Monitor Article originally published in 2004

Great to use left over biscuits for
this one….

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 4 cups biscuit crumbs
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • Nutmeg to taste

Mix milk, eggs and vanilla together in a saucepan. Place over heat until hot but not boiling.

Line baking dish with biscuit crumbs mixed with melted butter.

Pour mixture over biscuit crumbs.

Sprinkle with nutmeg. Place baking dish in a pan of hot water in a moderate 350 F. oven and bake fore 45 minutes. You’ll never throw away another biscuit.

In order to cook these over a fire you will have to be sure that you have a Dutch oven. You will place a pan inside the Dutch oven to cook the Bread Pudding. Sit pan on a trivet inside the Dutch oven and cover with lid.

Woodstove Chili

FLASHBACK: 2004 Monitor Article originally published in 2004

From the Cast Iron Pot
Old Fashion Woodstove Recipes

  • 1lb pinto beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 lb, ground beef
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz, can tomato paste
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain off in the morning, saving 1 cup of the liquid. Place ingredients in your heavy Dutch oven and cover.

Cook over a low fire (300 degrees F.) 8 – 10 hours.
Serve over hot rice. Top with grated cheese and diced onions.

Piggin’ Out in Dixie, A Real
Southern Cookbook

Thoughts, etc # 16

The minstrel shows of the 18th and 19th centuries were a very popular form of entertainment in the young United States. This entertainment form is now considered totally “politically incorrect”, and much of the music is being equated with the connotations given to the Stars and Bars on the flag of Georgia. There were no black performers, just white performers in black-face, and many derogatory names and epithets derived from this music form. The music was usually of a light nature and portrayed a Southern pastoral setting. The music ranged from the walk around tune of Daniel D. Emmet’s Dixie’s Land, to the songs of Stephen Foster.

Many songs have the same tune or variants of the same tune, such as The Virginia Reel, Turkey in the Straw, Ole Zip Coon, and Jump Jim Crow. The tune started on the minstrel circuit as Natchez Under the Hill, a fiddle tune. This tune is derived from the ballad My Grandmother Lived on Yonder Little Green, which in turn derived from a much older Irish ballad, The Old Rose Tree.

The words for Ole Zip Coon were added to the tune in about 1835 and became popular during Andrew Jackson’s presidency. It remained popular through the Civil War, and many different words and versions were put to this tune both then and now.


O, Ole Zip Coon was a larned Skoler,
Ole Zip Coon was a larned skolar,
Ole Zip Coon was a larned skolar
Plays possum up a gum tree and cooney in the hollar.

Possum up a gum tree cooney up a stump,
Possum up a gum tree cooney up a stump,
Possum up a gum tree cooney up a stump,
Den ober double trouble when the coon did jump.

O ist Sukey blue skin, she in lub with me,
I went de odder after noon to take a dish ob tea,
What do you tink now, Sukey hab for supper,
Why chicken foot an possum heel widout any butter.


I went down to Sandy Hollar de odder after noon,
And de first man I chanced to meet was ole Zip Coon;
Ole Zip Coon is a natty skolar,
For he play upon the banjo, “Cooney in de holler.”


My ole missus she am mad at me,
Kase I wouldn,t go wid her into Tennessee.
Massa build a barn an put in it de fodder,
Twas dis ting or dat ting or one ting or odder.


I pose you heard ob de battle New Orleans
Whar ole Genral Jackson gib de British beans.
Dere de Yankee boys do de job so slick,
For dey cotch ole Packenham an rowed him up de crick.


I hab many tings to tork about, but don’t know what come first,
So here de toast to ole Zip Coon before he gin to rust.
May he hab pretty girls, like de King ob ole,
To sing dis song so many times ‘fore he turn to mole.


The Kentucky Battle Song

In the year of ’61,
We left our native land.
For we could not bend our spirits
To a tyrant’s stern command.
And we rallied to our Buckner
While our hearts were sad and sore,
To offer our blood for freedom
As our fathers did before.

And we’ll march, march, march
To the music of the drum
We were driven forth in exile
From our old Kentucky home.

When first the Southern flag unfurled
Its folds upon the air,
Its stars had hardly gathered,
‘Til Kentucky’s sons were there.
And they swore a solemn oath,
And they sternly gathered round.
They would only live as free men
In the dark and bloody ground.
(repeat chorus)

With Buckner as our leader,
And Morgan in the van,
We will plant the flag of freedom
In our fair and happy land.
We will drive the tyrant’s minions
To the Ohio’s rolling flood,
And we’ll dye her waves with crimson
With coward Yankee blood.
(repeat chorus)

Then cheer ye, Southern braves!
You still shall see the day
When Kentucky’s fairest daughters
Will cheer you on your way.
And then her proud old mothers
Will welcome one and all,
For united we stand,
Divided we fall.
(repeat chorus)

Mac’s Hardtack

FLASHBACK: 1998 Monitor Article originally published in 1998

Over the past three years, from time-to-time, I think everyone has had
a chance to sample what has become known as Mac’s hardtack. I’ve
never met anyone who has turned down my hospitality when offered a
piece. If you were at the Holly re-enactment this year, you were able
to take part in our rations distribution scenario during the candlelight
tour. All present truly enjoyed the hardtack. Make no mistake, credit
needs to be given in this article before we can move on to the recipe.
Three years ago I was given the basic recipe over the phone by Lee
Stroschine. Where he got it from, I don’t know. I found the exact
historical size of the hardtack in my Civil War Collector’s Encyclopedia
by Francis A. Lord. Dave Hunter, a metal model maker at my shop
and an NSSA target shooter made the cutter for me. After the first
couple of batches were made and eaten the last and final ingredient
was added by Jeff Mogle and his Grandma. Since then I haven’t
changed a thing. Baking it is now part of my pre-reenactment
preparation routine and is as important to me as rolling rounds.

Dry Ingredients Wet Ingredients
¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup of warm water
3 cups of flour 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons of Kraft Calumet Double Acting Baking Powder (Jeff & Grandma’s ingredient) 3 tablespoons of honey
  • Preheat oven to 425°-440° (ovens may vary)
  • Mix all dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl mix all wet
  • Combine the two and mix by hand with a fork until it is well
    Using your hands, work it into a ball. Place dough on a lightly
    floured counter top. (Note: If it’s too flaky, add a little more water.
    If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour).
  • Roll dough out to 3/8” thickness. Cut out 3 1/8” x 2 7/8”
  • Place on a lightly greased cook sheet.
  • Using a toothpick, poke four rows of four holes in each piece.
    (You need to put the holes in your hardtack pieces or you will endup
    with softball sized hardtack).
  • Bake for 8-14 minutes.They will rise about 1/8” and be slightly golden brown around the
    edges. Once they are baked, remove them and place them on a
    cooling rack. Allow to sit overnight and pack them in your haversack
    or your backpack. You will get at least 15-17 pieces per batch, which
    is more than enough for two men for a Civil War week-end.
    Good luck and enjoy.1st Cpl. Mac

The Bonnie Blue Flag

The Bonnie Blue Flag
1. We are the band of brothers, and native to the soil,
Fighting for our liberty, with treasure, blood and toil,
And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far,
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag, that bears a Single Star.

Hurrah! Hurrah! for Southern rights, Hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag, that bears a Single Star.

2. As long as the Union was faithful to her trust,
Like friends and brethren kind we were, and just;
But now, when Northern treachery attempts our rights to mar,
We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue flag that bears a Single Star.


3. First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand,
Then came Alabama and took her by the hand;
Next, quickly, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida,
All raised on high the bonnie Blue Flat that bears a Single Star.


4. Ye men of valor gather round the banner of the right,
Texas and fair Louisiana join us in the fight;
With Davis, our loved President, and Stephens, statesmen rare,
We’ll rally round the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a Single Star.


5. We look to old Kentucky; our sister Blue Grass State,
To stand for right and overwhelm, the foe poised at her gate,
She gave us old Jeff Davis; and many sons to bear,
The banner called the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a Single Star.


6. And here’s to brave Virginia, the Old Dominion State,
With the young Confederacy at length has linked her faith;
Impelled by her example, now other States prepare,
To hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a Single Star.


7. Then cheer, boys, cheer, raise a joyous shout,
for Arkansas and North Carolina now have both gone out;
And let another rousing cheer for Tennessee be given,
The Single Star of the Bonnie Blue Flag has grown to be eleven.


8. Then here’s to our Confederacy, strong we are and brave,
Like patriots of old we’ll fight, our heritage to save;
And rather than submit to shame, to die we would prefer,
So cheer for the Bonnie Blue Flat that bears a Single Star.