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Civil War Camp Life (talking Points)

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Civil War Army Rations

According to army regulations for camp rations, a Union soldier was entitled to receive daily:

12 oz of pork or bacon or 1 lb. of fresh or salt beef;

1 lb. of soft bread or flour

1 lb. of hard bread, or 1 lb. of cornmeal.

Per every 100 rations there was issued;

1 peck of beans or peas;

10 lb. of rice or hominy;

10 lb. of green coffee,

8 lb. of roasted and ground coffee, or 1 lb. 8 oz of tea;

15 lb. of sugar;

1 lb. 4 oz of candles,

4 lb. of soap;

1 qt of molasses.

The marching ration consisted of

1 lb. of hard bread,

3/4 lb. of salt pork or 1 1/4 lb. of fresh meat,

plus the sugar, coffee, and salt.

Coffee was the main staple of the Civil War soldier, usually drinking 3-4 QUARTS a day.

The ration lacked variety but in general the complaints about starvation by the older soldiers was largely exaggerated.

Confederate rations were largely the same, although because of logistical problems they were forced to reduce them.

What the Army didn't give you, you got from a Sutler. There usually was a Sutler attached to the armies, and from them you could buy things like tobacco, candy, tinned meats, shoelaces, patent medicines, fried pies, and newspapers, albeit

at an inflated rate, and usually not the highest quality of goods.


The typical Civil War army camp was a place where the day would usually (when they weren't in battle) began at 5am, and after sleeping in an overcrowded tent with 20 or so other soldiers you got to get up and drill, usually 5 times a day for about 2 hours each drill. Between the drills the men would perform the necessary work needed to keep the camp running, like dug latrine trenches, cleaned the camp, gathered wood for cooking and looked for sources of fresh water. With the exception of the endless drilling , the men encamped there would become bored easily on their off time.

On their off time the men would try to amuse themselves, and would read, write letters to their loved ones,

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