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Civil War Army Food

Civil War soldiers endured a lot of horrors: fighting fellow Americans, long waits for medical care, primitive living conditions, and the food. The food was awful, being limited to what a soldier could carry, and rations relied heavily on dry, insect-laden hardtack.

The boys in Union blue also got dried navy beans and, occasionally, a "treat" of sorts: dehydrated potatoes, fruit and other items the soldiers jokingly called "desecrated" vegetables (perhaps because their flavor violated the laws of nature?). At least the North had coffee — though it was a brew "you probably wouldn't recognize in New York," as 16-year-old Union soldier Charles Nott wrote home. "Boiled in an open kettle, and about the color of a brownstone front, it was nevertheless ... the only warm thing we had."

Confederate soldiers weren't so lucky: Union blockades kept coffee, flour and other goods from reaching the South. Those jonesing for a cup of joe had to make do with substitutes brewed from peanuts, chicory, rye, peas, dried apples — pretty much anything they could get their hands on.

In fact, the lengths Confederate soldiers had to go for food contributed to their defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg. Read more about Civil War rations at NPR. Link -via Holy Kaw!


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I imagine the 'desecrated' tag was simply a pun on 'dessicated', or dried. Not that the new tag probably isn't somewhat more applicable.
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