Life In The South During The Civil War

The Civil War was a war in the United States fought from 1861 to 1865 between the north and south. The north was fighting to outlaw slavery and the south was fighting to keep it. Although conditions were bad the north generally had better conditions during this war. Many people suffered because of the Civil war and not just soldiers fighting. “The Civil War caused difficulties for the people at home as well as the soldiers. Although the North endured hardships as well, Southerners suffered especially because most of the fighting took place on Southern soil.

Children in the north helped to support the union troops by sending things like letters and care-packages. Some schools even held fundraising events to support them. Northern children raised over $16,000 to help the union just by selling pictures of Abraham Lincoln. Children even sold things like cakes, pies, jams, embroidered towels, and other homemade things. All together the north raised $4. 3 million for the union troops. In the south children helped to support by having things like fairs and music concerts.

They sold things like handmade mittens and socks, embroidery, cakes, and jellies. During the war some things did stay the same for both sides, children continued to go to school but what teachers taught the students however changed a little bit. The teachers started having lessons on patriotism to the north or south. Before the civil war most school textbooks were printed from the north but the south started to print their own, pushing kids to develop patriotism for the south.

As the war went on public support weakened on both sides. Both sides started to have a shortage of soldiers willing to fight in the war. To fix this problem congress made a draft law. This law said that all healthy men between the ages of twenty to forty-five to serve in the war if they were needed. People who refused to be in the war could buy their way out by either paying the government $300 or hiring someone to serve in their place which was hard to do. This angered many people.

In the south when they drafted soldiers any man who owned 20 or more slaves didn’t have to serve in the war. When they ran out of people to draft, the Confederacy (south) desperately decided to recruit slaves. But before they even had a chance to fight, the war already ended. Instead of just men working in factories, women and children also started working part time to take place of their brothers/sons/husbands/fathers fighting in the civil war. Many women took roles that they normally wouldn’t have, like nursing.

Often if they had room in their houses, women would open up their homes to nurse wounded soldiers. Nurses like Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, Sally Tompkins, and Phoebe Pember were big contributions to this. Women nurses did so well that it became a career for them after the war ended. Civilian life in the North wasn’t nearly as hard as in the South. The south suffered a lot for the war. They gave up many things they could no longer afford. “The Union blockades in 1863 caused food and supply shortages in the South.

Southerners invented substitutes for coffee, tea, and other foods, which they normally imported from Europe. At the beginning of the war, many women in Richmond were able to wear clothing made from silk and lace, but later when supplies became less plentiful due to the blockades, they wore simpler dresses made of wool or gingham, or whatever material could be found. In the South, the production of food became very important to the economy. There was a very big inflation. Prices were extremely high in Richmond, where a pound of butter cost twelve dollars.

Many plantations switched from growing cotton to raising grain and livestock. In some states, cotton production was limited. ” In both north and south, civillians contrubuted alot during this long, hard war and gave up many things. “Soldier life was not pleasant on either side during the Civil War. Union troops were well fed but the food was not that much better than what the Confederates were eating.

The old saying that an army marches on it’s stomach is very true. The soldiers had a very poor food situation all throughout the war. The union’s main type of food was hardtack crackers made with flour, salt, and water. It was cheap to make, easy to transport, last a long time but tasted terrible and could even take out a tooth. “Some of the nicknames soldiers had for hardtack were teeth-dullers, sheet-iron crackers, flour tile, ship’s biscuit and hard bread. They also called it worm castles because there were often weevils and maggots in the crackers.

To eat the crackers soldiers had to break it up or soften it by soaking it in their coffee or heating it up with grease. As far as meat for soilders, they had pork or beef, usually salted or boiled to make it last longer. In very extreme desperation sometimes even rats were consumed “Of course, generals and other officers had the luxury of a cook, but the vast majority of soldiers gathered in small groups each evening to prepare their food.

They called these groups “messes” and referred to others in the group as “messmates”. ” Messmates took turns cooking the food. Food was usually cooked over a campfire or a cast iron skillet. In Union camps civillian merchants sold things like canned fruit, sugar, tobacco, or coffee. The confederacy did not have this so they relied on local farmers to give them treats like fruit. Things started to get violent when the lack of food continued. Food riots started to happen in the south.

Now technically there really weren’t any food shortages in the south. In fact there was an abundance of food in the south. The problem was it just wasn’t getting to anybody. With the Federals blocking supply routes and the railroad system in shambles it was very difficult to get a piece of corn from a farm to a city. ” They started getting so bad that in Richmond, Virginia 1863 a mob of women and children raided a retail district of clothing and food. It started getting even more serious when the mob started stealing jewelry and robbing banks.

The mayor of Richmond, Joseph C. Mayo had to show up and threaten the mob by saying he would open fire on them but his threat didn’t work. It wasn’t until Jefferson Davis arrived and had to plead with the crowd to stop stealing and just go home. Eventually they did. Children drafted in the civil war had a lot of jobs and responsibilities. Most of them were very young. The Union army included several dozen boys who were not even 11 years old and hundreds of others who were under 14 years old.

The confederates had even more young people. But the youngest members rarely served in battle. Instead they were “armed” as musicians, bearing drums, fifes, and bugles. (Children In The Civil War Meg Chorlian-editor) Children could also serve as soldiers, spies, and musicians. They volunteered as nurses or took over the family farm or business. When their fathers or older brothers were gone to serve in the war they were left to protect and take care of their families, homes, and farms. The boys also took on jobs like sorting mail, building roads, or digging trenches. Children In The Civil War Meg Chorlian-editor.

Most children were excited to be apart of an army life. They saw it as an adventure and way more fun than going to school or working in the farm all day. The children were not allowed to enlist without their parents permission if they were under 18 yet they did it anyway. A few kids even enlisted under a fake name so it would be harder for their parents to find them. (Children In The Civil War Meg Chorlian-editor page 4) Although the children were enlisted under musicians when they first joined many of them knew nothing about music.

Because they had to play so much from summoning the soldiers with their drums to meals and drills they learned very quickly and some even turned into pretty decent musicians. “Every part of the army’s daily routine had it’s own musical call. ” “The boys usually grew weary of playing the same music again and again. The troops did not like it either. ” “During their time off, the boys swam, sang, and played cards. Their drums even came in handy for fun.

Boys sketched checkerboards on the drumheads or used them as writing tables. ” Most drums could be unscrewed so they could carry things inside like cards, food, or even a small dog. (Children In The Civil War Meg Chorlian-editor page 5) Most people were affected by the civil war whether they fought in battle or they were just a normal civilian. It changed they way a lot of people lived and acted. Life was hard as the war carried on. People in America made a lot of sacrifices to make our country what it is today.