Tag 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

Message from Woodward

Submitted from Moses Townes

A message from Woodward, spending a nice relaxing vacation is Pennsylvania

“That’s it!”

“What’s it?”

“Don’t worry about it. You’re asking too many questions. I’m parking, be back in five.”

“Wait, what?”

“Don’t open the doors for anyone, no matter what. Be back soon.”

“Caleb, I don’t feel comfortable with you going up to that house.”
“Leave it alone, I’ll be fine.”

I go to the house and see the ‘hours of operation’. I notice that there is no aspect of this house that I’m older than, except for the sewer rats nesting underneath the stairs. I don’t know, just try the door. Shit, locked. From reading the signs I sensed fear upon realizing that my designer jeans will not be welcomed. I snap brief pictures of the important information and hurry across the parking lot/mine field to get to the museum, who’s curator has only one working eye and a limp from the Falklands War.

“Sir, is the sutler in?”

“Nay lady, he’s got a job in Merry-land. What daya need?”

“Um… French import knapsacks and Confederate canvas shoes, the wooden sole kind… Sir.”

“Wooden souls are the devil’s friend.”

“Excuse me?”

“Wooden souls fuel the devil’s fire”

As the old crooked-eyed man laughed and cackled I dashed out of the brick museum in genuine fear for my life. I arrived back to my car with a deeper understanding of the disdain one holds for “the farb”. I enter the driver’s seat, where my wife asks,

“Where have you been?”

“You’ve been gone forty-five minutes, where have you been?”

“Oh, uh, the bathroom, your mom’s cooking is lethal.”

As I conjured up my alibi, I knew the truth was too difficult to handle. She knew the legend of Mac and JW courtesy of a wedding no more than a year before, but I knew, damn sure of it, that she was not prepared for the mythos of a mystical purveyor of Civil War wares known as Spiros Marinos.

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