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  1. #1
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    A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: How authentic is it for the Reenactor?


    By: Stephen Ratterman

    The practice of cigarette smoking gradually made its way from Latin Americato Spain and Portugal, then to Italy, the Levant (lands bordering the easternshore of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas), and across the Middle East toSouth Russia. The cigarette originally was composed of a hollow cane filled with coarsely ground tobacco and later as small tubes made ofcornhusks. Gradually, they were made with coarse paper (rice paper was notused until well after the Civil War).

    During the Crimean War (1853-1856), British soldiers were introduced tothe habit by Turkish and Russian soldiers. The British then helped introduce the cigarette to the rest of Western Europe during their travelback to England after the war. Soon the cigarette was commonly found inFrance but was smoked usually by the more daring and avant-garde woman.

    Eventually, cigarettes came to England but were not accepted or widespread untilafter the American Civil War. American visitors to Europe carried the cigarette home as anovelty or curiosity rather than a primary smoking device.

    The use and experimentation with cigarettes by ladies in this country in their attemptsto appear as "sophisticated" as their Parisian counterparts caused great concern -- somuch so that in 1854 etiquette books began to condemn cigarette smoking among proper,well-brought up young ladies. The use of cigarette smoking by men was almostnon-existent in that cigarette smoking was considered a "feminine habit." Also, theextremely high cost of cigarettes compared to the readily available cigar, pipe, and themost popular of all, chewing tobacco, further reduced cigarette smoking. Anotherrestricting factor in cigarette usage was that prior to the Civil War, the only readilyavailable cigarettes to the open U.S. market were handmade in a factory in Cuba. Afactory powered by stream was in use in Havana by 1853 but it wasn’t until 1870 thatcrude attempts were made to manufacture cigarettes by machines in the United States. Aslate as 1869 only 1,750,000 cigarettes were made in the States.

    In summary, cigarette smoking was known in this country, but only as a veryexpensive novelty and indulged in by a more daring and risqué woman who generallywould not be accepted by the better social circles. Or ,if used among those whoconsidered themselves properly reared, it was not a habit favored by men. REFERENCES:
    Smoking Antiques by Amoret and Christopher Scott, pub. by Shire Publications,LTD., Haverforvest, England 1981.The Might Leaf: Tobacco Through the Centuries by Jerome Brookes, pub. byLittle, Brown & Co., Boston, 1952.

    Edit. This article originally appeared on the Bully Boys website and is reprinted here with their permission. -PC
    Paul Calloway
    Proudest Member of the Tar Water Mess
    Proud Member of the GHTI
    Member, Civil War Preservation Trust
    Wayne #25, F&AM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    An add to this, only in Texas have I ever heard of cigarettes in any number during the Civil War, and those men who smoked them were considered... a bit light in loafers and harrased pretty thouroghly.
    Johan Steele aka Shane Christen C Co, 3rd MN VI
    SUVCW Camp 48
    American Legion Post 352
    http://civilwartalk.com

  3. #3
    nmilbury Guest

    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    On referencing the excellent articles on the lazyjacks website I found written by Mr O'Sullivan, Cigarette Smoking in the Confederate Army
    http://www.lazyjacks.org.uk/smoking.htm
    This seems to be in direct contradiction to what is stated here.
    These are primary sources by people who were there that state that they saw officers and men smoking their own rolled cigarettes. It was probably not that common when looking at the armies as a whole, but I would not call it incorrect if someone rolled their own period tabacco into a cigarette and smoked it at an event.
    Sincerely,
    Nathan Milbury

  4. #4
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    Centreville, VA
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    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    Nathan,

    I think it is important to take note a few points that may put those quotes in a bit of context. Correct?

    In the Lazy Jacks article, there are three written primary source accounts and one drawing making a total of four references to Confederates smoking.

    Of those four, three deal with Louisiana troops. (Redwood's quote from "Battles and Leaders," the Grisamore quote, and the sketch of the Louisana officer.)

    Of those three, two come from a single source, Allen C. Redwood. Redwood makes the aforementioned quote and drew the sketch, entitled "A Pelican" that also appears in "Battles and Leaders." Redwood's name can be made out in the lower right hand corner.

    Using only these sources, can a case be made for cigarette smoking in the Confederate army at large? I don't think so. Could a case be made for cigarette smoking by Louisiana soldiers? That is a stronger argument since Louisiana had very strong French influences and it would be arguably more likely for a Louisiana resident (particularly someone of an urban background) to take on a "French" habit like cigarette smoking.

    You can make cases for many "modern" habits being indulged in by Civil War soldiers and civilians. However, I think it is very clear that cigarette smoking was not the norm and was, by all reliable accounts, a rarity.
    Last edited by Yellowhammer; 02-06-2004 at 03:58 PM.
    John Stillwagon

  5. #5
    nmilbury Guest

    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    John,
    I'm inclined to agree with you since as you stated, all but one deal with Louisiana troops from early 62 to late 64. Even with the non-Louisianian reference, Captain Chamberlayne says it is just common among his friends. Perhaps some of his friends were Louisianians? If it was more common I'm sure he would have made it a point to say so. So I guess for me (a Virginian), it's still pipe tobacco.
    Sincerely,
    Nathan Milbury

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Lafayette IN
    Posts
    1,286

    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    Greetings,

    For those of you interested in this topic, you might want to check out Vicki Bett's newspaper research site:

    http://www.uttyl.edu/vbetts/newspaper_intro.htm

    I recently did this using the term "cigarette" and found quite a few items. Among these are advertisements indicating bundles of "cigarettes" were available in the South even before the war. Something to consider is that the term "cigarette" may have been also loosely applied to "cigarros" or "cigarritos," which are, of course, something else entirely.

    Of further interest is this extract from a 29 October 1864 letter written by Federal Captain James Gillette:

    "I have stopped smoking so many cigars as they cost me $2.00 a day. I am taking to smoking tobacco. If you can send me one or two pounds of very mild Turkish tobacco (light yellow) by mail, please do so. Tobacco comes by mail safely. A few bundles, too, of cigarettes, dropped in the post occasionally would not come amiss."

    Gillette initally enlisted as a private in Company F, 71st New York and was captured at Bull Run. After being paroled, he became Adjutant of the 4th (later 3rd) Maryland (US) and eventually joined the staff of BG Jno. W. Geary in the Army of the Tennessee (US). The article is entitled, "Parcels from Home to a Soldier, 1861-1865" by Harrison K. Bird, Jr. and was published in the Spring 1962 "MC&H."

    Regards,

    Mark Jaeger

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Lockhart, Texas
    Posts
    96

    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    On a related note, here is an article by Vicki Betts which originally appeared in The Citizens' Companion, vol. 5, no. 3 (August-September 1993): 12-20.

    The “Social Dip”:
    Tobacco Use by Mid-19th Century Southern Women
    Tobacco Use by Mid-19th Century Southern Women

    Terre Schill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    274

    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    It is something to note that smoking corn husk cigarettes was, not to be overly general, not an uncommon occurrence in Texas during the antebellum years. Though I have not found any information about these men being harrassed or considered 'light in the loafers' as Mr. Steele states.
    Cody Mobley

    Texas Ground Hornets
    Texas State Troops

    [HOUSTON] TRI-WEEKLY TELEGRAPH, October 28, 1863,

    Wanted.

    All ladies in Houston and surrounding counties who have cloth on hand, which they can spare, are requested to donate it to the ladies of Crockett for the purpose of making petticoats for the Minute Men of this county, who have "backed out" of the service. We think the petticoat more suitable for them in these times.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2007
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    Atlanta, Georgia, United States
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    Question Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    "Afactory [sic] powered by stream was in use in Havana by 1853 but it wasn’t until 1870 thatcrude attempts were made to manufacture cigarettes by machines in the United States. Aslate as 1869 only 1,750,000 cigarettes were made in the States. "

    On the official "big tobacco" sponsored website:
    http://www.tobacco.org/resources/his...History19.html

    Yes, it's sponsored by big tobacco- if that might tell you anything, I don't know- it states the first American cigarette factory was in 1864, although it does not say where it was set-up precisely.

    Of particular note on the website above:

    1864: CIVIL WAR: The first federal cigarette excise tax is imposed to help pay for the Civil War.
    1864: BUSINESS: 1st American cigarette factory opens and produces almost 20 million cigarettes.


    Hmmmmm?

    Any thoughts on this? Any...?

    Anyone, Bueller...Bueller -Johnny Lloyd

    John "Johnny" Lloyd
    Moderator
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    "Without history, there can be no research standards.
    Without research standards, there can be no authenticity.
    Without the attempt at authenticity, all is just a fantasy.
    Fantasy is not history nor heritage, because it never really existed." -Me


    Proud descendant of...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Apple Grove, West Virginia
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    Re: A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: Stephen Ratterman

    Allen C. Redwood of the 55th Virginia Infantry fell in with the 6th Louisiana during the Second Manassas Campaign. After the countermarching action to reinforce Cutshaw's Battery on August 29th, Redwood makes a quick note of cigarettes on campaign:

    "The tedium of this last service my companions relieved by games of 'seven-up' with a greasy, well thumbed deck, and in smoking cigarettes, rolled with great dexterity, between the deals".
    1st Lieut. N.E. Miller
    Adjutant
    Wise's Legion


    I am a proud descendant of:

    CONFEDERATE:

    Pvt. Benjamin F. Miller (2nd Great-Grandfather)
    52nd Virginia Infantry, Co. E
    1st Va. Cavalry
    1st Stuart’s Horse Artillery-1st Company

    Pvt. Joseph C. Miller (2nd Great-Grand Uncle)
    52nd Virginia Infantry, Co. E

    Pvt. Thomas A. Miller (2nd Great-Grand Uncle)
    55th Virginia Infantry, Co. H

    1st Sgt. William A. Miller (2nd Great-Grand Uncle)
    58th Virginia Infantry, Co. B

    Pvt. James A. Miller (2nd Great-Grand Uncle)
    27th Virginia Infantry, Co. F “STONEWALL BRIGADE”

    Pvt. James W. Slough (2nd Great-Grand Uncle)
    4th Virginia Infantry, Co. H “STONEWALL BRIGADE”

    Pvt. Joseph A. "Baxter" Slough (2nd Great-Grand Uncle)
    4th Virginia Infantry, Co. H “STONEWALL BRIGADE”

    Pvt. William C. Leech (2nd Great-Grand Uncle)
    10th Virginia Cavalry, Co. D

    1st Lieut. Joseph G.H. Miller (Grandson of 3rd Great-Grandfather’s Wife)
    10th Virginia Infantry, Co. I

    2nd Lieut. Hiram H. Miller (Grandson of 3rd Great-Grandfather’s Wife)
    10th Virginia Inf., Co. I

    Pvt. Silas Miller
    10th Virginia Inf., Co. E

    Pvt. Samuel P.H. Miller (Grandson of 3rd Great-Grandfather’s Wife)
    7th Virginia Cavalry, Co. I “Turner Ashby’s Cavalry”

    Pvt. Anderson Brammer
    30th Bttn. Virginia Sharpshooters, Co. A

    Pvt. George Brammer
    30th Bttn. Virginia Sharpshooters, Co. A

    1st Lieut. James Brammer
    23rd Bttn. Virginia Infantry, Co. B

    1st Sgt. William J. Brammer
    36th Virginia Infantry, Co. I

    Pvt. Richard Alexander Wood
    34th Bttn. Virginia Cavalry, Co. K

    Pvt. Stephen Groseclose
    8th Virginia Cavalry, Co. B

    Pvt. Joseph Groseclose
    8th Virginia Cavalry, Co. A

    Capt. William N. Harman
    8th Virginia Cavalry, Co. F

    Capt. William B. Hensley
    45th Battalion Virginia Infantry, Co. F

    Brig. Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm
    1st Kentucky Infantry
    "Orphan Brigade"


    UNION:

    Sgt. Robert Campbell Brammer
    5th West Virginia Infantry, Co. C

    Pvt. Samuel Brammer
    5th West Virginia Infantry, Co. C

    Pvt. Charles Lee Brammer
    173rd Ohio Infantry, Co. F

    Pvt. James O. Brammer
    173rd Ohio Infantry, Co. F

    Pvt. James K. Brammer
    7th Ohio Cavalry, Co. I
    • Atlanta Campaign
    • Franklin-Nashville Campaign


    Pvt. Rowland Brammer
    2nd West Virginia Infantry, Co. H
    5th West Virginia Cavalry, Co. H

    Pvt. William Brammer
    126th Ohio Infantry, Co. E
    • Libby Prison

    Cpl. David E. Brammer
    2nd Ohio Cavalry, Co. K
    • Libby Prison
    • Andersonville
    • Sultana

    Cpl. Andrew J. Brammer
    1st Ohio Heavy Artillery, Co. F

    Pvt. William McCartney
    1st Ohio Heavy Artillery, Co. G

    Pvt. George Brammer
    54th Ohio Infantry, Co. K
    • Atlanta Campaign
    • Sherman's March to the Sea
    • Carolinas' Campaign


    Pvt. Franklin E. Brammer
    1st Ohio Light Artillery, Battery L
    Gibbs Battery
    • Gettysburg


    Pvt. James Black
    8th Indiana Infantry, Co. K
    • Vicksburg Campaign
    • Red River Campaign
    • 1864 Valley Campaign


    Cpl. Amos Webb
    27th Ohio Infantry, Co. F
    • Atlanta Campaign
    • Sherman's March to the Sea
    • Carolinas' Campaign


    Pvt. Aden Webb
    5th West Virginia Cavalry, Co. H
    • Atlanta Campaign
    • Sherman's March to the Sea
    • Carolinas' Campaign


    Pvt. Granville Webb
    5th West Virginia Cavalry, Co. H
    • Atlanta Campaign
    • Sherman's March to the Sea
    • Carolinas' Campaign



    "Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts"
    -Marcus Tullius Cicero

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