Southerners Used Food Substitutions During The Civil War
The Civil War Mess Kit

Food And The Civil War

Fresh beef, a staple of the soldier’s diet, wasn’t always available. Borden’s Condensed Milk and other canned foods were introduced during the Civil War.

Food During The War

As the war continued, Southerners began to feel the pinch of food shortages, especially in the cities, where residents did not produce their own food and had large concentrated populations. As the Union established more and more blockades, farmers were less able to transport food into the cities. 

Some popular dishes in the South included fried ham with red-eye gravy and biscuits, Hopping John (a stew made with bacon, peas or beans, and red pepper). Vegetables included tomatoes (Ruffled Yellow), lettuce (head, leaf, and romaine), beans (Great Northern Yellow Eye, Jacob’s Cattle) and snap beans, sweet corn (Black Aztec), cabbage, potato (Early Rose and Irish potatoes), cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and beets.

Men on the field often ate canned food, as storage was more difficult since soldiers would travel from camp to camp every day. Some of the labels are surprisingly familiar: Underwood Deviled Ham· Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce· Borden’s Condensed Milk· Van Camp’s Pork and Beans· McIlhenny Company’s Tabasco Sauce

Chronic food shortages and outright hunger crippled the South throughout the Civil War, breeding despair among civilians and soldiers alike.

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

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