from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Beef packed in barrels for use on board ship.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Some few people had saved their provisions by hiding them or by accident, but the bulk of the population must have suffered if some of the citizens who had managed to save some cotton had not sent a boat to Wilmington and bought provisions - hard-tack and mess-beef - from the Yankees who occupied that city.
When, many a year afterwards, the hard ground of a mountain bivouac, with its pitiful portion of pickled cork-tree yclept mess-beef, and that pyroligneous aquafortis they call corn-brandy have been my hard fare,