Helbling Family, Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)
As we discussed last Saturday in “Shopping Saturday: Abram Springsteen and His Civil War Drum, Part 1,” “Shopping Saturday” was any day of the week, and was actually ‘foraging.’ Our illustrious drummer boy, Abram Furman Springsteen wasn’t always looking for food- well, since he was a teenage boy, he probably WAS always looking for food, but he also took ‘foraging’ up a notch, like many other soldiers. Sometimes Abram took advantage of situations in order to make himself a little money and some additional friends, as well.
“Home Sweet Home” during the Civil War for our soldiers was missing a number of the comforts of home. Abram set out to rectify that. He recounted in his diary that after reaching Goldsboro, North Carolina, toward the end of the war,
“During our encampment there, I did considerable speculating. One morning I borrowed the Chaplain’s horse and started for a settlers tent situated about 2 miles from our camp at a R.R. [railroad] station.”
“Before reaching the place, I met a soldier with a box of cigars under his arm and inquired of him the distance to the settlers. He told me that the settler was no more, that the boys had made a raid on his shop and (?) had confiscated every thing in reach, at the same time holding up the box of cigars and saying this is what I got out of the concern. I asked him if he would sell them to me, he said yes for a 5 bill.”
(Company I, 63rd Indiana was in Goldsboro, NC from 21 March to 10 April 1865.)
Abram returned to camp and sold the cigars for double the price he had paid.
“On the following day, I bought an old pistol from a negro for two dollars and sold it to a soldier for $4.00.”
“Soon after this, I borrowed the Chaplain’s horse again and went out on a hunt for something good to eat…”
There’s that growing boy’s big appetite again.
“… at a place about 5 miles from our camp, I found a man who had six plugs of navy tobacco which I purchased at $5.00? a plug and which I soon sold out after arriving at camp at $7.50? a plug.”
(The question marks are in the transcription.)
Abram’s wheeler-dealer talents would be useful in later years to help out the troops, too. He worked in the War Department and was active in the G.A.R. Abrams worked tirelessly for veterans rights, including pensions and paid time off to the last big G.A.R. encampment.
Notes, Sources, and References:
- “Navy tobacco” was a twisted Burley leaf tobacco that could also be pressed into a compact plug and used in a pipe. It was small to carry and burned slowly, resulting in a long smoke- great for soldiers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_cut_tobacco
- Images from the Indiana Historical Society are low resolution for uses such as in blogs. Higher resolution images can be found on their website, with links to each image provided below.
- “Home Sweet Home” courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society. Description: In 1861 Edwin Forbes was hired as a staff artist by “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.” He covered the Army of the Potomac from 1862-1864, and was known for his ability to draw quickly. His primary interest was in recording the everyday activity of soldiers. “Home Sweet Home” plate 24, is from his publication Life Studies of the Great Army. http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/dc008/id/568/rec/1026
- “Shopping Saturday: Abram Springsteen and His Civil War Drum, Part 1,” heritageramblings.net/…/shopping-saturday-abram-springsteen-and-his-civil-war-drum-part-1
- “Trading for Coffee and Tobacco” by Edwin Forbes. Courtesy Indiana Historical Society. Description: In 1861 Edwin Forbes was hired as a staff artist by “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.” He covered the Army of the Potomac from 1862-1864, and was known for his ability to draw quickly. His primary interest was in recording the everyday activity of soldiers. “Trading for Coffee and Tobacco Between the Fortified Lines During a Truce” plate35, is from his publication “Life Studies of the Great Army.” http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/dc008/id/576/rec/2379
- United States Currency, 50 cent note during Civil War courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/civil-war/id/5265/rec/2414
- “Diary of Abram F. Springsteen” transcription, done by family members. Thank you for sharing!
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