Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The "Box of Delicacies"

I asked someone about building a box for an event and they want exact measurements. This is what started my search. I'm not finding exact measurements for boxes...yet. Boxes sent from home did not follow army regulations. It is interesting to learn what was sent and how it was packaged. 
I recently made some pine apple preserves filling a glass tumbler with some. Per directions I covered the surface of the preserves with two circles of tissue paper (coffee filter as it is food safe).  Then covered the glass with a tissue cover tied on and brushed with brandy which I set aside to dry. I can see something like this placed into a box by a well meaning person to be sent to a soldier in camp or hospital.  

Soldiers’ letters, from camp, battlefield and prison, edited by Lydia Minturn Post, 1865
Pg. 158
Letter LXIV.
The “Box of Delicacies.”
Frederick City, Md., Sept. 18, 1862
            The “box” has come to hand at last! The lemons were so decayed that you could scarcely tell what they were. The can of raspberry smelt like a bottle of ammonia, and had leaked out a little. It was good luck that the cover did not drip off and spoil every thing. The little crackers were all musty, but the cake was still nice, and the sugar, but probably the tea is infected. You cannot send tea with other articles, unless put in air-tight packages. That which you sent before was clove tea when I got it. The raisins are nice and very palatable. I have not tried the “corn-starch,” but the jelly was nearly eaten at the first opening. The ginger wine was terrible stuff—regular Thompsonian medicine ! I had a man attacked with colic just as I opened it, and I administered a dose of it with beneficial effect.
            I had got tired of coca. It is too heavy for hot weather; but now the mornings are getting cool, I can make good use of two boxes.
            One box had some bologna sausages soaked in Balm of Gilead, which was in a thin bottle next to them. They were not improved!....

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