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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

February 23, 1862

Letter Bemoaned Use of Corn to Make Whiskey

A soldier from Fannin County wrote the governor; he was concerned that the corn in the county was not going to feed soldiers, but to make whiskey - and he was not pleased with the effects said whiskey had on the local population.

“By and with the advice and wishes of my friends and fellow-soldiers, I this evening drop you a few lines to let you know the condition and situation of our county. There is, I think, about fifteen or twenty stills in this small county and they are buying all or nearly all of the corn and rye in this whole country of the state, and many of the soldiers are deeply impressed with the idea of all the bread they bought up and they themselves had to go to the service of their country. This they would and are willing to [do], but the idea of leaving their wives and children to the mercy of a drunken set of men and extortioners is almost heart-rending. They have read the price of corn to $1.00 and some higher up in this northern country. Many speculators are going to and fro over the country and buying all they can for the purpose of speculating. The horrible idea of the drunkard insulting the poor wife and children at ever corner of the street is very hard to take. Some of our best citizens have recommended the volunteers to go and by the strong arm burst the stills. If there is not something done, I am fully convinced that many of the soldiers’ wives and families of the soldiers will suffer for bread to eat, also for something to wear, as the price of shirting and thread has advanced so sharply. The people is in danger of suffering for bread and clothing, too.” Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 155.