C 1. A slang name for $100, because “C,” the Roman numeral for 100, was once printed on $100 bills. The term has evolved into today’s “C-note.” The name “century” was sometimes also used during the war. 2. The letter branded on soldiers guilty of cowardice, usually on their foreheads, cheeks, or hands. The branding was done with hot irons or, for some lucky men, indelible ink.
cab The engineer’s area in a locomotive. The name was first used two years before the war began.
cabbage-head An insulting nickname for a stupid person. This meaning was created near the end of the war, having previously only been a humorous name for a person’s head.
“Cabinet Car” The ironic name given to a dilapidated boxcar used by the Confederate cabinet in Greensboro, North Carolina, as they retreated from Richmond at the war’s end. They conducted their dwindling business in the leaky boxcar and also slept there, foraging for flour, eggs, and coffee.
caboodle (or boodle) A slang name for all of something or a great number or amount of it. This was often heard in the expressions, “the whole caboodle” or “the whole boodle.” By the 1920s, this had become “the whole kit and caboodle.”
caboose The last car on a freight train. The first recorded use in this way occurred in the war’s first year. The word had previously been used, and still is in Britain, for a kitchen in a ship, its original meaning in Dutch.
“Cad” The nickname for Sylvanus Cadwallader, a war correspondent for the Chicago Times and then the New York Herald. He became the favorite of Union General Ulysses S.Grant, both being quiet men who enjoyed the other’s company. (The general was once described as “a man who could be silent in several languages.”) Grant, who distrusted most reporters, issued Cadwallader with unlimited passes and gave orders to quartermasters to furnish him with horses and servants on demand. Cad was ultimately empowered to take possession of ships for any trip he required. For his part, the journalist was a key figure in keeping the general’s heavy drinking out of the press.
cadence step The regular in-step marching of soldiers. See also route step.