Piece of Hardtack With Original Paper Wrapper, Issued By The United States Army During the Civil War.

Hardtack is a biscuit (or cracker) made from flour, water and salt. It was a staple of the Civil War soldier’s diet because it was inexpensive and, when properly stored, lasted for years. Hardtack, while nutritious, could be exceedingly hard and usually had to be soaked before it could be eaten. The wrapper reads “Army / Cracker / or / Hardtack 1864 / John W. Weiser / Ohio Infy”. It was given to Levi Longfellow, Principal Musician of the 6th Minnesota Regiment, Company B, by John W. Weiser, Ohio Infantry, at the close of the Civil War.

Watch the Collections Department’s podcast about hardtack to learn more.-Curator Matt Anderson shows a very old piece of food from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection: an original piece of hardtack from the Civil War. It’s one of the more bizarre items in the collection, and an edible that was made to last.