Coffee is a bit of a running joke at our firm. I decided long ago to purchase good coffee. Specifically, I order Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee for the office. Normally, we have about 3 pots going at any given time in the Richmond office. Accordingly, we joke that the productivity of the firm has dramatically increased since our jump in coffee expense.
This past weekend, I was visiting family in Wilmingon, North Carolina, and stayed at a hotel that provided free coffee. Unfortunately, it seemed to live up to the value of free. I guess I am also a bit spoiled by the Jamaican Blue work week coffee. I even commented that I was feeling a little sluggish. Then, I stumbled on an article that suggests that coffee may have played a role in the Union winning the Civil War.
From the New York Times opinion pages comes an article titled How Coffee Fueled the Civil War. In it, it discusses the diaries of soldiers who regularly wrote about their coffee. As the author notes, one battle victory was directly effected by coffee delivery. In September 1862, Union soldiers were lagging. Suddenly, a 19-year-old William McKinley appeared, under heavy gunfire, with vats of hot coffee.
One soldier noted that, “It was like putting a new regiment in the fight”. This was the same coffee bearer who ran for President some three decades later. Some suggest that his coffee heroism helped his election effort.
The article later cites that Union soldiers were individuallly issued 36 pounds of coffee per year. Meanwhile, the Union was successful in setting up blockades that kept coffee from getting to the Confederacy. One observer wrote that the loss of coffee, “afflicts the Confederates even more than the loss of spirits”.
While coffee may not have won the war… it may have influenced it. And so, I continue to order our many pounds of coffee for the office!
And now some unusual TV trivia for DID YOU KNOW. In the TV series The Addams Family, John Astin played the family patriarch character of Gomez. In one episode, he acknowledged being a lawyer who had never won a case. As part of his character, Astin would place lit cigars into his pocket. To accomodate this character trait, the prop department lined his suit pockets with asbestos.
And pic o’ day: