The Veteranís Tongue


Slang is, for certain, one of the everlasting habits in the military and the U.S.

Army in the 1860ís was most definitely not an exception. So for your enjoyment

and hopefully some usage, here is a list of some terms a Civil War soldier may

have used in everyday life and their modern day equivalent.


Beats = Lay abouts

Been through the mill = done a lot

Big Bug = an officer, also known as skunks, shoulder straps and brass hats

Blowhard = a big shot

Blue Pill = bullet

Bubs = friends, a.k.a. pards, chums or messmates

Bug Juice = liquor, a.k.a. pop skull, nokemí stiff and O be joyful

Cheese Knife = officers sword

Company Q = fictitious unit where all cowards went

Damaged = drunk, a.k.a. tight, wallpapered, walking like a Virginia fence

Dough Face = easily influenced person

Hoof = to march

Jonah = klutz or worthless soldier

Lincoln Pie = hardtack

Logger Head = soldier from Pennsylvania

Played Out = worn out

Potato Digger = Irishman

Sawbones= surgeon

Sucker = a person from Illinois

Virginia quickstep = diarrhea

Webfoot = infantryman