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In Their Own Words

April 16, 1864

Civil War Soldier Had Biscuits and Earned Extra Money Sewing

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote his wife, mentioning his famous general and what is still today a southern dietary staple. He also talked of trying to earn some extra money sewing.

“…We drawed four days rations of old bacon yesterday which outranks Gen. Lee and three days rations of meal, one day’s ration of flour which is excellent and is quite a treat to us. Drew and I have had one good mess of biscuits, which tasted like Sunday morning at home when new wheat comes in. I love biscuits as well as ever and I reckon always will if I can get them. … The boys keep me busy sewing, and I cannot keep up. I reckon I shall have to put up a tailor’s shop when I get home. I found some old tent cloth the other day which makes excellent havresacks, and I make them and sell them at $2.00 a piece, but have to sell on credit. I have only made one yet. It is thick and hard sewing and rather slow making money but much better than doing nothing or trying to die with the blues and homesickness. Dissatisfaction is the worst complaint a soldier can have. …”

Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), p. 138.