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 Post subject: Civil War Slang
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 9:29 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:59 am
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Location: Balgonie, Saskatchewan, Canada
Acknowledge the Corn - to admit the truth, to confess a lie
All in Three Years – something just went wrong
Apple Lady – Hard cider
Arkansas Toothpick / Toad Sticker / Pig Sticker - a long knife / a bayonet
Artillery – camp kettles
Bark Juice, Red Eye, O Be Joyful, Bust Head, Pop Skull – cheap liquor
Baited for Widow – well dressed
Barrel Shirt –thief
Beehive - knapsack
Bragg's Body Guard - lice
Big Bugs - big wigs, important people
Blue Mass - men on sick call; named after a blue pill.
Bummer – malingerer, someone who lags behind to forage or steal
Bummer's Cap - regulation army cap could be filled when gathering food
Butternut – Union term for soldier of the Confederacy (faded uniforms)
Camp Canard - tall tale circulating around camp as gossip
Cashier - dismiss from the army dishonorably
Chicken Guts - gold braid used to denote officer ranks
Chin Music - conversation
Company Q - the sick list
Contraband - escaped slaves who sought refuge behind Union lines
Coosh – hard tack soaked in water and fried in bacon grease
Copperhead - Northern person with Southern sympathies
Corncracker – poor Southerner
Cracker Line - supply line for troops on the move
Dog Robber – camp cook
Dog Collar - cravat issued with uniforms, usually discarded
Fighting Under The Black Flag – Killing lice
Fire and Fall Back – vomit
Flank the Sentinel, Run the Guard - desert
Forty Dead Men - a cartridge box, which held forty rounds
French Leave - to go absent without leave
Fresh Fish, Paleface - new recruits
Give the Vermin Parole – throw out lice infected clothes
Go Boil Your Shirt - take a hike, get lost
Gobble Talk – Union soldiers refer to Southern twang
Go South – turn in US commission & join Confederates
Grab a Root - eat a meal, especially a potato
Grape - gossip
Grape Vine – telegraph wire
Grey Backs - lice, also derogatory term for Confederate soldiers
Hardtack, Lincoln Pie, Sheet Iron - bread crackers issued by the army
Hornets – bullets whizzing past
Horse Collar – blanket roll
Hospital Rat - someone who fakes illness to get out of duty
Hot Shot – cannon balls heated in a furnace – fired at wooden boats
Housewife - sewing kit
Irish Shanty – out house
I.W. – in the war
Jayhawked – obtained without permission
Jeff Davis’ Pets – Confederate western troops’ name for A.N.V.
John Barleycorn - beer
Jonah - someone who brings bad luck
Knock into a Cocked Hat - to knock someone senseless
Lead Mine – casualty with multiple wounds
Light Out - leave in haste
Lucifers – matches
Manure Spreader – infantry term for cavalry
Mule - meat, especially if of dubious quality
Muster Out –killed in action
Not By a Jug Full - not by any means, no way
Not Born in the Woods to be Scared by an Owl – experienced
Nullification – Federal laws null in Southern States
On His Own Hook - without orders
Opening the Ball - starting the battle
Pay Tribute to Neptune – sea sick
Pigeon Roost – sentry on a stockade
Pie Eater - country boy, a rustic
Play Old Soldier - pretend sickness to avoid combat
Pumpkin Rinds - gold lieutenant's bars
Quartermaster Hunter - shot or shell that goes long over the lines and into the rear.
Red Badge of Courage - Wounded
Row - a fight
Salt Horse - salted meat
Sardine Box - cap box
Sawbones - surgeon
Secesh - derogatory term for Southerners: secessionists
See The Elephant - experience combat or other worldly events
Shakes - malaria
Shanks Mare - on foot
Shebang – A pup tent
Shot in the Neck, Wall Papered - drunk
Spondulix, Shin Plasters – money
Shoddy - an inferior weave of wool used to make uniforms early in the war
Sing Out - call out, yell
Skedaddle - run away
Skunk, Greenhorn - officer
Slouch Hat - a wide-brimmed felt hat
Somebody's Darling - comment when observing a dead soldier
Sound on the Goose – well to do Southerner
Sunday Soldiers / Parlor Soldiers - unsuitable soldiers
Sutler – camp vendors
Tennessee Quick Step - diarrhea
Toe the Mark - follow orders
Traps - equipment, belongings
Up the Spout – cannons ready to fire
Vidette - a sentry on horseback
Web Feet – cavalry term for infantry
Who Wouldn’t Be a Soldier – who cares?
White Glove Boys – what Western Union soldiers called Eastern Union soldiers
Yankee Brains – Confederate term for horse manure
Zu Zu - Zouaves, soldiers with colorful uniforms

<salute!>

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 Post subject: Re: Civil War Slang
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:11 pm 
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I prefer the high and inside type of "chin music"!


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 Post subject: Re: Civil War Slang
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:07 am
Posts: 1686
Location: Oz
Skedaddle - also can be classed as activity that Yanks only particpate in :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Civil War Slang
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2002 5:51 pm
Posts: 771
Location: USA
Great list Mark, it's neat how some of the meanings have remained but others are completely lost.
Couldn't help but add my two cents regarding the description of a shebang, while I suppose any kind of shelter may have come to be called a shebang, as the word was used in the 1800's it was a shelter made from a framework of upright poles or tree trunks with a horizontal framework of poles which support tree branches or more usually pine boughs. It was used to create shade in the hot sun and some protection from the damp at night. I've also seen them used by Native Americans out west also.
Did a bit of surfing the word origins and the earliest written use is from Walt Whitman's Specimen Days, from Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, 1862:

"Besides the hospitals, I also go occasionally on long tours through the camps, talking with the men, &c. Sometimes at night among the groups around the fires, in their shebang enclosures of bushes."

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Also the Arkansas Toothpick isn't just a big knife but a particular design, unlike a bowie which has a distinct shape to the top and bottom the toothpick is symmetrical and often has both edges sharpened along the whole length of the blade.

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 Post subject: Re: Civil War Slang
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:07 am
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Location: Oz
In NZ we use the word shebang to mean the whole lot e.g. "He sold the whole shebang" or "take the whole shebang and sod off"

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Georgia State Volunteers Brigade
Patrick R. Cleburne's Division
Hardee's Corp
(1/1/1)
Confederate Army of the Tennessee

CSA

(also CoS for the CSA AoT)


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