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During the Civil War, the term “coffee boiler” was derogatory slang for men who fled to the rear to make coffee whenever battle was imminent. (Today, we reserve the term for THAT GUY in the office, who bravely guards the break room whenever the auditors visit.) #NationalCoffeeDay
“They sneaked away from their regiments during battle, or while marching to battle, to rejoin them when on the march,” wrote Union private Frank Wilkeson. “They were always present when rations were issued. They were never present when cartridges were supplied.” #HowConvenient
Most of the coffee boilers were late-war substitutes and bounty-jumpers who collected their bonus for signing up -- and then deserted at the first chance. "To call a soldier of the Army of the Potomac a 'coffee-boiler' was an insult to be promptly resented," Wilkeson writes.
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Did you know? Noted secessionist and fiery orator Roger Atkinson Pryor was offered the chance to take the first Rebel shot on Fort Sumter, but he turned it down, saying: “I could not fire the first gun of the war.”
The next day, while visiting Sumter to negotiate the Federal surrender, a cocky Pryor saw a bottle on the table and took a swig. A Union surgeon approached him and said: “Sir, what you have drunk is poison. It was iodide of potassium and you are a dead man.” #Doh #1800sProblems
Pryor commenced to collapse on the spot, as one does after unwittingly drinking a bunch of GOSHDARN POISON, and for a second, the Union guys stood around and put their hands in their pockets and whistled nonchalantly and were like: “Well ... do we help the guy? Or …”
Read 6 tweets

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