, 6 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
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.
In fact, in his fantastic account “Recollections of a Private Soldier,” Wilkeson writes gleefully of one battle when the Rebel artillery ignored the regular troops (knowing they were out of ammo) and instead aimed at the coffee boilers, who had gathered 'round the supply wagons.
“It was a delightful scene,” Wilkeson says. “I hugged my knees and rocked to and fro and laughed until my fleshless ribs were sore. Shells swept above me … Shot howled past and cut large trees down, and they fell with a crash among the frying-pans and coffee pots.”
After watching coffee-boilers fall or “vanish” in the smoke, Wilkeson calls it “the most refreshing sight I had seen for weeks. Enormously pleased, I hugged my lean legs, and laughed and laughed again.”

(Remember: ACTUAL CivilWarHumor was waaaay darker.) #NationalCoffeeDay
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