By Heather Cahill on March 15, 2018
“Them yellow dogs are just coffee coolers … it was their fault we rout from the battlefield.”
If you’re a Civil War reenactor or like to read about the Civil War era, you’ll know that this sentence meant that the cowardly soldiers who lagged behind the battle lines were responsible for the unorganized withdrawal (which usually results in the other side winning). Slang was frequently used among soldiers in the Civil War. Slang is usually restricted to a specific context or group of people. In this case, the context was the horrendous war and the group of people were the soldiers on each side. The common and repetitive experiences among this group allowed a type of informal language consisting of words and phrases to thrive.
That’s why most soldiers knew that if you were wallpapered because you had too much tar water, then it would be smart to take away your musket and hornets until you slept if off! Although recounting the slang is fun, it was a serious and costly war, in lives and breaking families apart. Understanding the slang is one way to learn more about the everyday experience of those who fought. Now it's your turn to decipher the slang of the Civil War. Get out some goobers to munch while you take this quiz. Start now!