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PDF Food in the Civil War Era: The South

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Thrust into the bleak reality of war, soldiers were forced to adjust to a new way of life—and eating—on the battlefield. In the early stages of the war, the Union soldiers of the North benefited from supervision by the United States Sanitary Commission. Even before the start of the war, volunteers in The Sanitary were trained to find and distribute food to soldiers stationed in the field. They were expected to be knowledgeable in determining which foods were available during each season, and how to preserve food items for transportation and storage. It was the responsibility of The Sanitary to schedule and maintain a constant supply of food to soldiers at war.

Civil War Food – What Union and Confederate Soldiers Ate

Fredericksburg, VA - Cooking tent of the U. Sanitary Commission Library of Congress. Considering there were nearly 2 million soldiers in the Union army, the Sanitary did not focus on flavor nor variety. It was a large enough task to provide the basics and keep their soldiers from starving. When food deliveries were interrupted by weather delays or other challenges, soldiers were forced to forage the countryside to supplement their meager diets.

Again we sat down beside the campfire for supper. It consisted of hard pilot-bread, raw pork and coffee. Boiled in an open kettle, and about the color of a brownstone front, it was nevertheless… the only warm thing we had. At the start of the war, James M.


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Sanderson, a member of the Sanitary, became concerned with reports of poor food quality and preparation. Sanderson, who was also a hotel operator in New York, believed that his experience would be of value to the Union. Morgan, Sanderson set out to visit soldiers in the field, in hopes of teaching them a few simple cooking techniques. For every man company, the skilled cook would be appointed two privates; one position would be permanent and the other would rotate among the men of the company. Sanderson had unknowingly proposed his idea at exactly the right time.

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Washington was faced with the likelihood of the war lasting years, rather than months. The government was actively looking for ways to increase soldier comfort. Though they did not follow his instructions specifically, Sanderson did receive a commission—he was named Captain in the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence from the War Department. Around this time, Sanderson wrote the first cookbook to be distributed to the military. Though his grammar was questionable, Sanderson did describe several techniques, such as suspending pots over a campfire, that made cooking slightly more convenient in the battlefield.

Typical fare during the Civil War was very basic. Union soldiers were fed pork or beef, usually salted and boiled to extend the shelf life, coffee, sugar, salt, vinegar, and sometimes dried fruits and vegetables if they were in season. Hard tack, a type of biscuit made from unleavened flour and water, was commonly used to stave off hunger on both sides. After baking, hard tack was dried to increase its shelf life. Soldiers in the field would carry rations in makeshift bags called haversacks. Made of canvas, the haversack folded around its contents, basically anything the soldiers would need to survive for a few days on their own, and was held together with buckling straps and completed with two shoulder straps.

An army is a big thing and it takes a great many eatables and not a few drinkables to carry it along. The flour and added vegetables allowed Union cooks to stretch small amounts of meat into a substantial, filling meal. While many wartime stews were made from salted preserved meat, this recipe appears to be written for fresh beef. Note that grammar and measurements have been clarified from the original source:.

Cut 2 pounds of beef roast into cubes 2 inches square and 1 inch thick, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put in frying pan with a little pork fat or lard. Put them over a fire until well browned but not fully cooked, and hen empty the pan into a kettle and add enough water to cover the meat.

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Add a handful of flour, two quartered onions, and four peeled and quartered potatoes. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar and serve. Other vegetables available, such as leeks, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and salsify, will make excellent additions. While the stew is simple, it stands the test of time.

The long and slow cooking produces exceptionally tender meat chunks. As you cook it, imagine stirring a kettle over an open flame in a Civil War army camp. Hungry soldiers would have looked forward to a hearty stew like this.

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Enjoy a hearty slow-cooked meal with this adaptation of an original beef stew fed to the Union army. Davis, William C. University of Nebraska Press. Herbst, Ron and Sharon Tyler Holzer, Harold and Symonds, Craig Murphy, Jim Sandpiper, Boston, MA.

If the Civil War Didn’t Kill You, the Food Might

One favorite soldier dish was salted pork fried with hardtack crumbled into the mixture. Soldiers called this "skillygallee" , and it was a common and easily prepared meal. Bake for one-half an hour at degrees. Remove from oven, cut dough into 3-inch squares, and punch four rows of holes, four holes per row into the dough. Turn dough over, return to the oven and bake another one-half hour. Turn oven off and leave the door closed.

Leave the hardtack in the oven until cool. Remove and enjoy! Supplies Unbleached Flour Cookie Sheet. Mix ingredients into a stiff batter and form eight biscuit-sized "dodgers". Bake on a lightly greased sheet at degrees for twenty to twenty five minutes or until brown. Or, spoon the batter into hot cooking oil in a frying pan over a low flame. Remove the corn dodgers and let cool on a paper towel, spread with a little butter or molasses, and you have a real southern treat!

Food and Recipes of the Civil War Describes some of the foods eaten in the North and South before and after the Civil War and the impact of the war on what foods were available and how they were prepared. Includes recipes. A Woman of Honor: Dr. Walker and the Civil War A picture of Mary Walker that allows us to see the furrows in her brow as she continued to stubbornly stick to her values.

This book is eye-opening and brings to the forefront many women's rights issues that we may not even be aware of. Lodge Camp Dutch Oven The legs are for ease of use in campfires. Flanged lid to place coals on top of oven. Great for stews, chilli, roasts complete recipes for everything including old-fashioned bread. A must for reenactors villages. Some of the other items that soldiers received were salt pork, fresh or salted beef, coffee, sugar, salt, vinegar, dried fruit and dried vegetables.

If the meat was poorly preserved, the soldiers would refer to it as "salt horse". Sometimes they would receive fresh vegetables such as carrots, onions, turnips and potatoes. Confederate soldiers did not have as much variety in their rations as Union soldiers did. They usually received bacon and corn meal, tea, sugar or molasses, and fresh vegetables when they were available.

While Union soldiers had their "skillygallee", Confederates had their own version of a quick dish on the march. Bacon was cooked in a frying pan with some water and corn meal added to make a thick, brown gravy similar in consistency to oatmeal. The soldiers called it "coosh" and though it does not sound too appetizing, it was a filling meal and easy to fix. It's easy to set up and has an adjustable 26" chain so you've got control of the heat.

Holds up to 40 lbs. Like many of their white counterparts, they attributed theological significance to the war.

Flavors of the Civil War South

Kindle Available. A Taste For War : The Culinary History of the Blue and the Gray We know the uniforms they wore, the weapons they carried, and the battles they fought, but what did they eat and, of even greater curiosity, was it any good? Now, for the very first time, the food that fueled the armies of the North and the South and the soldiers' opinions of it--ranging from the sublime to just slime--is front and center in a biting, fascinating look at the Civil War as written by one of its most respected historians.

There's even a comprehensive "cookbook" of actual recipes included for those intrepid enough to try a taste of the Civil War.

Confederate Army DANDELION COFFEE - Civil War Era Recipe - Hard Times - food from times of scarcity

Civil War Cooking : The Union The authors look at the foods people ate during the Civil War and on pioneer farms and offer recipes for modern readers. Each title begins with rules for kitchen safety, a metric conversion table, and an illustrated list of cooking equipment. Color is a marvelous feature of the books: the covers, maps, and page borders. Full-color photos and reproductions appear on every page. Illustrated with wonderful period photographs, it intertwines history and food for a fascinating new look at the lives of Civil War soldiers and their families.

Traditional recipes, illustrated with full-color photographs and highlighted with historical anecdotes, include instructions for recreating treats sent in care packages to soldiers in the field, camp dishes, and special meals. Hear of her friendships with Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and other abolitionists. Loving Mr. In frank, haunting journal entries, Mary describes the pain she felt when Abraham left her at the altar, when her sons died, and when Abraham's political career seemed to be at an end.

Young readers will effortlessly learn the basics of Civil War history, while losing themselves in another gripping tale that has turned many a nonreader into a bookworm. Ages 5 to 8. A surprisingly detailed battle-by-battle account of America's deadliest conflict ensues, culminating in the restoration of the Union followed by the tragic assassination of President Lincoln.

Kindle Available The Civil War for Kids History explodes in this activity guide spanning the turmoil preceding secession, the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, the fierce battles on land and sea, and finally the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. Making butternut dye for a Rebel uniform, learning drills and signals with flags, decoding wigwag, baking hardtack, reenacting battles, and making a medicine kit bring this pivotal period in our nation's history to life.

So when the war ends and she's given her freedom, Patsy is naturally curious and afraid of what her future will hold. What I like about them is their layout, which is easy for readers to follow.


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  • Each page begins with a question, "Would you have seen a battle in the South?