Sunday, February 20, 2011

Confederate Rations - MMMMMMM Rancid Pork Fat.

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

We've all heard of the Rebel tatterdemalions who subsisted on nothing but grass, dirt, and their own ear wax from 1861-65.

Of course that's not really true...rebs had a bit of a tougher time with rations but they did eat something.

Here is the regulation ration for a Confederate soldier as of January 28th, 1863 (pretty much copied from the US version:

3/4ths of a pound of pork or bacon, or one and a fourth pounds of fresh or salt beef. (Reduced to 1 pound of beef or 1/2 pound of pork in January 1863). 18 ounces of bread or flour, or 12 ounces of hard bread, or 20 ounces of corn meal.

Meh - not great but it could be worse....and if you believe all the Lost Cause types - it was. Sure there were plenty of shortages, especially during sieges and when supply lines got cut by Union armies. The food - when it was available - wasn't that great either...the pork often went rancid and there was plenty of times when there was more fat than it reduced the food to next to nothing.

But soldiers -  being a resourceful lot - would often live off of the land. Both armies "liberated" the available resources when they came upon them. So if you were a civilian in, let's say, northern Virginia in might want to look after your chickens. Just sayin'...




  1. Keith,

    A historian friend, and re-enactor [Union troop] Jack Parsons was telling me just a day or so ago that when he costumes-Up to speak to 5th and 6th graders about the Civil War he tells the kids of the diet of Civil War soldiers ... grub bugs and worms! ;D

    According to Jack he can't get away from the little kids at that point...they are as grossed out as they are fascinated! It is a sorrow-filled backdrop, but to bring history to life as a lot of creative historians are able to do is a noteworthy achievement. 'nice installment today. Thanks so much ~*~Emily

  2. In the same vein as your last comment, looking at civilian accounts from Georgia during the period of the March to the Sea, Confederate cavalry foraged more thoroughly than Federal troops did. Many of the letters and diaries that I've read specifically mention that Wheeler's men were far worse to deal with than Union troops.