Glossary & Links


battery. A unit of artillery made up of six cannons or guns and supporting men, horses and equipment.

bimbo. An alcoholic drink made with brandy, sugar and lemon.

box or “the box.” Refers to the large ammunition box that sits on the
limber carriage.

breastworks or works. An adhoc fortification made of readily available materials such as earth, logs, rocks or fence rails.

bull cook. The head cook’s assistant. Usually a former lumberjack that was unable to work in the woods because of age or permanent disability.

canister. Ammunition for a cannon containing 70 lead balls that spread out like a shotgun when fired. Very effective at close range against attacking infantry.

chamberstick. A round saucer-like base made of metal or wood with a fixture in the center to hold a single candle. Usually has a finger loop on the base for easy carrying.

Cookie. The head cook of a lumber camp.

cork pine. Nick name for White Pine because of its buoyancy.

gum blanket. A sheet of heavy fabric with a weather-proof-rubber-like coating that could either be worn as a poncho to repel rain or spread on the ground to keep out moisture.

gun. Cannon.

land looker (timber cruiser). A person who travels the forests in search of stands of white pine suitable for harvesting by lumber companies.

limber. A large wooden chest containing ammunition for the gun. Usually mounted on a two-wheel carriage and pulled by six horses. The gun is connected to the limber for transport.

limber up. Attaching the gun to the limber for transport.

lanyard. A five-or six-foot length of twine with a wooden handle on one end and a hook for attaching a friction primer on the other. Used to fire the gun.

lunette. Iron fixture on the end of the trail that attaches the gun to the limber.

miniballs. .58 caliber conical lead bullets fired from the standard infantry rifles of the Civil War. Very accurate at long range and devastating against men and horses.

Napoleon. Brass smooth bore cannon of the Civil War. Most effective using canister against infantry at close range.

Parrott Rifle. Iron cannon in common use during the Civil War. Very accurate up to two miles with maximum range of three miles. Shoots a variety of ammunition, including solid shot, exploding shells and canister.

peavey. A pointed lever with a hinged hook mounted on a wooden handle, used for handling logs

peel a Yankee. The practice of Confederate soldiers and civilians of striping the better equipped Union dead of their clothes and accoutrements after a battle.

pintle. A fixture on the back of the limber where the gun is attached for transport.

river hogs. The lumbermen who herd the logs down the river during the spring drive. Wearing spiked boots and armed with peaveys, they ride the logs and break up log jams.

road monkeys. The men who go into the woods ahead of the lumberjacks and build roads for the big logging sleds that transport the logs from the cutting area to the banking ground on the river.

roundabout. A short-waisted wool jacket with a single row of brass buttons worn by artillery and cavalry units of both sides during the War.

secesh. Short for secessionist. Common slang for Confederate soldiers and civilians.

service the piece.The artillery command to brush the vent and sponge the barrel of the gun in preparation for loading a round.

shell. Exploding ammunition used in Civil War cannons. A fused shell would travel down range and explode at a predetermined distance, sending out shrapnel in all directions.

shoepac pie. A vinegar-lemon pie named because it looked like the bottom of the rubber boots worn by some of the lumberjacks.

take the oath. Confederate deserters were allowed to return home if they pledged allegiance to the United States.

Tennessee quick step. Diarrhea.

vinegar pie. Using vinegar as a flavor base (substitute for citrus that was generally unavailable), they could make a custardy pie that was sweet and tangy.

volley fire. Infantry soldiers lined up shoulder to shoulder firing their rifles together on a single command.



Battery D First Michigan Light Artillery


National Civil War Artillery Association


Interlochen State Park


Hartwick Pines State Park


Northwest Michigan Draft Horse and Mule Association


Arbutus Press