Friday, January 15, 2021
Eating and sleeping in the Capitol at the start of the Civil War, April 1861
In April and May 1861, Mass and NY regiments were put in the new Senate and House chambers, and in the Rotunda under the unfinished dome.
By May, 4,000 troops from various states were in the Capitol, and a brick mason with the "Bloody 6th" started building brick ovens in the basement. The bakers, and ovens, remained for a year and a half after the other soldiers left. More about the ovens on another post HERE
“When rations are to be served, the men pass in single file in the area along the series of arches, each with a tin plate and tin cup. At the first archway two slices of freshly baked bread are handed to each man; at the next arch his allowance of meat, and at the next his coffee or soup, as the case may be. It takes from two to three hours to serve the whole, and here, too, the men show less impatience than might be expected.”
Civil War blog posts HERE
Click on images to enlarge.
1 - "The Eighth Massachusetts Regiment in the rotunda of the Capitol, Washington." Harper's Weekly, May 25, 1861.
2 - "The New York Fire Zouaves Quartered in the House of Representatives at Washington, D.C." Harper's Weekly. May 25, 1861. House online collection
3 - The Senate Chamber, 1859. Library of Congress
4 - Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 20, 1862
5 - Bulfinch sketch c1825 "[United States Capitol grounds, Washington, D.C. Site plan, footprint, landscaping]" Library of Congress
©2021 Patricia Bixler Reber
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