Glossary of Indian Wars Slang
Adam's Ale: Drinking water
Airtights: Canned food
Awkward Squad: A squad of inexperienced recruits led by a non-commissioned officer for the purpose of instruction.
Back of the Barracks: Location where disputes between enlisted men were resolved.
Bad Egg: A bully or hoodlum.
Barracks 13: The guardhouse.
Benzine Board: Between 1866-1872, officer review boards removed officers of questionable ability and oversaw promotions. The term is from the use of benzine as a cleaning solvent, as the boards were cleaning the Army of unfit officers.
The Bible: The U.S. Army Regulations book.
Boiled Shirt: A stiffly starched white dress shirt. Term applied to someone having a condescending attitude towards others.
Bombay Duck: Fried fish.
Bootlick: To cultivate favors from someone, generally a superior.
Brevet: An honorary rank awarded to an officer for exceptional service. Sarcastically, it was used to describe something less than optimal, such as mules pressed into service as mounts were called, "Brevet horses".
Buck: A male Indian.
Bugbear: A difficult situation.
Bug Juice: Cheap whiskey.
Bunkie: A soldiers best friend and dependable comrade. The term stems from the fact that soldiers had bunk mates until the early 1870's when the Army adopted single beds.
Butcher: The company barber.
Chinamen: Boiled rice.
Chow-mouth: One who eats more than his share.
Cincinnati Chicken: Salt pork.
Cits: Civilian clothing.
Coffee Cooler: A loafer or lazy trooper.
Consumption: A wasting disease, such as Tuberculosis.
Corned Willie: Corned beef.
Dandy: A fancy dresser or one who is always conscientious of his appearance.
Dead Beat: A loafer or otherwise worthless trooper.
Dive: Am establishment of dubious reputation.
Duff: Anything sweet; pie, candy cookies.
Dug up the Hatchet: When the Indians went on the warpath.
Embalmed Beef: Canned beef.
Face the Music: To stand and fight.
Femmes Du Monde: Prostitutes.
Fallen Dove: Prostitute
Flour Tile: Hardtack.
French Leave: Absent without leave.
Fresh Fish: New recruits.
Government Suit: The uniform.
Hog Ranch: A combination saloon, gambling den and house of prostitution.
Holy Joe: A chaplain or religious person.
I.C.: Inspected and Condemned.
Jawbone: To talk, converse.
Jonah: A trooper with exceptionally bad luck who passes it on to others.
Kit: The sum of a trooper's property. All he owns.
Midnight Requisitions: Theft under cover of darkness.
Mug: A persons face.
Nooning: Taking a lengthy rest in the middle of the day during a march
Nymph du Prairie: A prostitute.
Officer's Row: The row of officer's quarters.
On the Bum: Out of money and trying to borrow from others.
On the Chimes: A punishment where the trooper stand on the rim of a barrel.
On the Nail: Purchase on credit.
Over the Hill: Desertion.
Petrified Crackers: Hardtack.
Pitch Into: To engage in an activity or combat.
Prairie Coal: Buffalo chips used as fuel.
Regulation: The prescribed manner of doing something.
Row: A fight or loud commotion.
Sawbones: The surgeon.
Shavetail: An inexperienced officer.
Short-Timer: A trooper whose enlistment is soon to expire.
Sink: A privy
Skylark: Idle time spent talking and smoking.
Slum: A stew of meat, potatoes and whatever vegetables are available.
Snake-Bite Medicine: Whiskey.
Sport: A good natured individual.
Square: Honest, genuine.
Stars and Stripes: Beans and bacon.
Stuffing the Tenderfeet: Telling blood-curdling tales of Indian atrocities to recruits.
Tuscon Bed; Sleeping on the ground, without cover.
Up the Pole: Abstinence from drinking alcohol.
adapted from: General Miles Marching and Chowder Society "Glossary of Indian Wars Soldier Terms".
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