#33: Visit Historic Fort Snelling (Part 7)

(Is this turning into the longest blog post or what?  Hopefully you’re finding it interesting.  [If you’re still reading at this point, you probably are.])  🙂  Okay, continuing on…

After leaving the maltreatment and medical sections of the tour, I headed for the bakeshop.  But on my way there, I came across this fellow:


As I approached, he literally tipped his hat at me and called me “ma’am”.  I immediately liked him. I asked him what he was doing, and he replied, “Making coffee.”  Sure enough, I peered into his pot (above a real fire), and he was making authentic Civil War coffee.  It was thick, unfiltered, and likely very potent.  He commented that he hoped it would be done in time for the noon meal.  Currently it was 10 am.  Talk about needing to plan ahead…


After few more yards of walking,  I arrived at the Bakeshop:


Inside, another re-enactor was tending another fire:


(Look closely in the top left corner of the open stove, and you can see a hint of flame.)


On a table near the front of the bakeshop sat a day’s worth of rations for a soldier at the fort.


One serving of meat, one serving of beans, two servings of rice, and all of the “hardtack” a person could eat.

Not sure what “hardtack” is?  Here’s the recipe:


The baker commented that “hardtack” was usually many days (or weeks) stale; it was generally so hard that even after it sat in a cup of the wicked thick coffee for a good 30 minutes, it was often still too hard to chew (especially with the crappy teeth that adults had back in the 1860s).  The baker also noted that the US Government had official standards for when hardtack was considered “unfit” for consumption – which involved an allowable percentage of bugs and larvae in the product being served.  :{  The baker offered me a piece of (non-infested) hardtack – which I politely declined.  I had to get to the next stop on the tour, didn’t you know…

Truthfully, I did have to hustle to the next section of the tour, as a squad of re-enactors were getting ready to do a formation/drill.

First the bugle call:


Then the line-up and march:

02_formation 03_formation

After watching the soldier’s “performance”, my last stop on the tour was at the official fort museum, where I strolled past a dozen or so cases of various artifacts found at the site:

01_archaeology sign

Apparently some of the best places to find old treasures was near the outhouses.  Looks like people disposed of more than their bodily waste there:

02_archaeology finds in trash

Skimming past many of the artifacts at this exhibit, I found myself half-looking at the items under glass – my mind choosing to focus more on the in-person “artifacts” I had encountered,  the abundance of new information I had learned, and the overall experience I had completed.

During my two hours at the fort, I was completely engaged, entertained, and genuinely happy.  I was very glad that I attended this event – I think I enjoyed Fort Snelling a lot more because of the special focus and “exhibits” present on this day than I would have had I visited this site on a “normal” day. I was also incredibly impressed by the thoroughness that the event planning staff clearly applied to this special weekend.  (I would happily attend other special weekend events at this fort, even now that this item is officially “crossed off” my 101 list.)

Not only did (d0) I appreciate the planning that went into this event, but I also was (am) very grateful for the information that was shared.  As I reflected on what I learned, my gratitude extended to all of the people who came before me to bring our country (and our society) to where we are today.  All of the men and women, white and black and native american, who endured genuine hardships – events like literally freezing/starving to death, or enduring excruciating physical/mental/emotional pain, or suffering through slavery, or witnessing one’s homeland be stolen and destroyed by strangers… things I can’t begin to wrap my mind around.  And to all of the men and women of all sorts of races, creeds, and beliefs who came later and who tried to do better: who created better medicines, or recognized the humanity of all people, or who spoke up and stood up for individuals who were in lesser positions of influence or power… the depths of which I know I can’t begin to fully appreciate.  I felt my heart want to extend to them all.  So many people from so long ago, with such amazing stories to tell.  I’m grateful that today, I took a small amount of time to try and really listen to them.  To their past.  To their lives.  To their history.

01_putting up flag

02_flag (look closely)

Look closely. It’s not what you think.



About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in 101 in 1001, day zero project, postaday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #33: Visit Historic Fort Snelling (Part 7)

  1. Pingback: Beyond 101: Eat an MRE | Smile, kiddo.

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