The name derives from the British sailor slang for food, “tack.” During the American Civil War, 3-inch by 3-inch hardtack was shipped from Union and Confederate storehouses. Some of this hardtack had been stored from the 1846–1848 Mexican American War.
The most popular dish in both armies was actually quite similar. Northerner troops called it “skillygallee” and it was a mixture of crumbled hardtack and fried pork. The southern version of this dish combined cornmeal, fried bacon and water. The Confederate soldiers called it “coosh.
With insect infestation common in improperly stored provisions, soldiers would break up the hardtack and drop it into their morning coffee. This would not only soften the hardtack but the insects, mostly weevil larvae, would float to the top and the soldiers could skim off the insects and resume consumption. At Regimental Quartermaster, we promise to ship you your hardtack WITHOUT the weevils (weevils cost extra).