I grew up near what is now called Gap Cave (formerly Cudjo’s Cave) in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. (Sidenote: if you’re ever in that area, the National Park Rangers give a fantastic 2 hour guided tour). It was said that Gap Cave was used in Civil War times as a hospital. Caves being a natural choice when choosing shelter, these tips on how to construct a half-cave shelter come from “Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties” by D.C. Beard, 1914.
Mountain Scouting, A Hand-Book for Officers and Soldiers on the Frontiers” by Edward S. Farrow, U.S. Army 1881, has been a useful resource for me. The book mentions that Edward S. Farrow was an Assistant Instructor of Tactics at the U.S. Army Military Academy, and formerly Commanding Indian Scouts in the Department of the Columbia. Interestingly, it also seems to be self published. That’s the first time I’ve seen that in a book from this time period but my journey into this research is just starting. A section of the book is titled “Living Off the Country,” which is where I found these tips for catching and cooking fish. Hope you enjoy!
These tips on how to stay warm at night in a tent were taken from “The Complete American and Canadian Sportsman’s Encyclopedia of Valuable Instruction,” by “Buzzacott” – Revised edition, 1913. It was interesting that even in those times, the danger of forest fires was acknowledged and safety considerations pointed out, as in only having campfires in areas where it was safe to do so and wouldn’t risk starting a forest fire. Using iron pails seemed to be the norm. Another consideration, modern tents have floors or at least tarps put down underneath, so these methods would only work in tents with dirt floors. I’d be curious to know from anyone reading to the end if they’ve ever heard of anyone being “Moonstruck” besides Cher.
As promised, here are some more camp cooking recipes. I found recipes for Slumgullion and Snits and Knepp in “Camp Cookery” by Horace Kephart, 1910. On a sidenote, I thought it was interesting that this book was dedicated to “Mistress Bob – Who taught me some clever expedients of backwoods cookery that are lost arts wherever the old forest has been leveled.”
There was also an interesting foreward…
“The less a man carries in his pack, the more he must carry in his head. A camper cannot go by recipe alone. It is best for him to carry sound general principles in his head, and recipes in his pocket. The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more please one gets in his achievements.”
Read until the end of the story to find out how not to make your dough “sad.”
Due to the name alone, I had to take a look at this recipe for Slumgullion.
Without modern forms of communication, a system of signals would take on great importance. In ages past, there were common signals that were in use but with the passage of time they have been forgotten or have been sidelined. The subject of signaling in the wilderness has been referenced before on this blog but this detailed account of the use of signals was interesting. I found these in “The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore” by Ernest Thompson Seton, 1912. Growing up in Tennessee, I had heard of the signal used by Indians where tree branches were broken and turned to mark a path but the rest of the signals in this collection were new to me.
There is a time and place for making temporary camps. When the situation has changed quickly or you just took the moment to seize the day, these tips on sheltering may come in handy from “The Way of the Woods, A Manual for Sportsmen in Northeastern United States and Canada,” by Edward Breck, 1908.
For those of you that have access to a horse who doesn’t mind a few hairs being snipped (a mare won’t work) this tip on how to make a horse-hair fish line may come in handy. I found it in “Practical hints on camping.” By Howard Henderson. 1882
This recipe for Brunswick Stew comes from “Canoe and Camp Cookery: A Practical Cook Book for Canoeists, Corinthian Sailors and Outers” by “Seneca” 1885. It mentions that “This is a favorite Virginia dish, of which the compiler of this book has eaten, but which he has never cooked. The recipe here given is said by an old Virginian to be reliable.” I would imagine that chicken could be substituted for squirrel.
After reading this article about moccasins, I find myself wanting a pair. Fortunately, instructions are given on how to make your own in case there isn’t a mall around the corner. I can imagine any squaws that read this will be madder than a Wampus Cat in a rainstorm that the author thought they didn’t have “mechanical skill nor the appliances” to make good moccasins. This description is taken from “Camping and camp outfits. A manual of instruction for young and old sportsmen” by G.O. Shields, 1890.