The US Civil War makes all of America’s recent drama and heated tempers look like chump change. Within the span of a frenzied four years, Americans went at each other hammer and tongs, and left up to a million corpses behind by the time the dust settled. If that figures is prorated to current 2021 population figures, it would be the equivalent of nine million or ten million dead Americans. Following are thirty lesser known things about those years.
30. Hunger: The World’s Best Seasoning and Appetizer
Hunger is probably the world’s best seasoning and appetizer. Nothing does a better job than the pangs of an empty stomach to transform even the most unpalatable foods into the equivalent of mouthwatering savory dishes fit for royal feasts and banquets. That phenomenon is often demonstrated in wartime. Marauding armies, raiders, the diversion of labor to military pursuits, sieges and blockades, all combine to wreak havoc on the supply and distribution networks that normally keep people – soldiers and civilians alike – fed.
When that happens, people in and out of uniform often have to shift for themselves and improvise to find sufficient edible foodstuffs to replace the then-unappreciated, but now fondly recalled, plenty of peacetime. That happened in the US Civil War, especially in the South. During those terrible years, the devastation of war, the shortage of farm labor after agricultural workers ended up in the military, and the mushrooming of blockades and barricades, kept provisions away from the eager hands – and mouths – of consumers. As seen below, people had to get creative with their food.