Wednesday, July 27, 2016

America's "Doughboys"-- Part 3: A Mexican War Connection

The term "Doughboy" as applied to U.S. infantry first appears in military accounts during the Mexican War without any definite precedent that can be found.

One possibility is that it was a put-down by cavalrymen on foot soldiers because the brass buttons on their uniforms looked like flour dumplings or dough cakes called "doughboys," or because of the flour or pipe clay they used to polish their white belts.

Another possible reason was that U.S. infantry forces were constantly covered with chalky dust from marching through northern Mexico which gave them the appearance of unbaked dough.  Or, possibly the dust made them resemble the mud bricks used in the area called adobe which word somehow transformed into doughboy.

Also, American soldiers of the 1840s and 1850s cooked field rations into doughy flour-and-rice concoctions baked in the ashes of the camp fire.

Of course, as already mentioned, the reason it became a name for our servicemen in World War I was possibly the popularity of the million of doughnuts served by female Salvation Army members.


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