Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: Hardtack Better than Generals

Secretary of War Stanton told the President the following story, which greatly amused the latter, as he was especially fond of a joke at the expense of some high military or civil dignitary.

Stanton had little or no sense of humor.

When Secretary Stanton was making a trip up the Broad River in North Carolina, in a tugboat, a Federal picket yelled out, “What have you got on board of that tug?”

The severe and dignified answer was, “The Secretary of War and Major-General Foster.”

Instantly the picket roared back, “We’ve got Major-Generals enough up here. Why don’t you bring us up some hardtack?”