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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Findley Smack and the 15,000 Pounds of Bacon.

I was doing a little Civil War research this afternoon and came across Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Mississippi in the Civil War by Bobby Roberts and Carl Moneyhon, which is a great resource. The photographs are mostly portraits, which feature the kind of insane facial hair that was apparently fashionable, like so:

The names of some of the soldiers, though, were most interesting. If you’re writing a novel and need some inspiration for your characters’ names--or a pen name for yourself--look no further. You may want to swipe one of these names:

Bird Calhoun Carradine
Alfonso Gooch
Adoniram Farmer
Winfield Featherton
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
Lorenzo Swagerty
Metellus Calvert
Mansfield Lovell
Carnot Posey
Halmer Swift
Rufus King Clayton
Eli Peel
Ellison Capers
Findley Smack

I think Findley Smack is my favorite, although I am intrigued by Edward Otho Cresap Ord. What a tongue twister!

I also found that when the Union troops advanced to Coldwater, Mississippi railroad depot, they surprised some Confederates, who lit the bridge over the railroad on fire and fled. Since the bridge was destroyed, the Union troops could not follow and therefore decided to burn all that was left behind. In Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson’s report on June 23, 1862, he writes, “Here, upon searching the depot, we found about 15,000 pounds of bacon, a quantity of lard and forage, which we rolled out, piled up, and set on fire, and saw totally consumed” (9-10).

I don’t know about you, but I can think of a better way to “totally consume” 15,000 pounds of bacon.

United States. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I—Volume XVII—In Two Parts. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1886.


  1. Wonder if there are any Smacks still running around?

    About the beard mention, my hubby wants to do the neck beard thing! Gawd awful I know, but we have seen some at local music events and he thinks they are cool. Please help me!

  2. Tell him it is antiquated and show him this photo as proof!

  3. Didn't work. He still thinks it's cool. There is no reasoning w/ him. :P


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