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In Their Own Words

January 18, 1863

Soldier Wrote of Poor Food and Living Conditions

A Georgia Civil War soldier, writing to his mother from Mississippi, related the poor quality of food he received, and primitive living conditions.

“…it is getting so I can’t enjoy myself in camps well without something to eat. I will tell you what is so. The beef we draw now is as poor as you ever saw. And when we boil it, it ain’t got no more grease on it than a piece of wood. You don’t have any idea how poor it is. And we don’t draw no flour. Now we draw meal, and it is as coarse as if it was chopped for cows to eat. … And it has been so wet we haven’t drilled none in a long time. We haven’t got no tents yet, but the mess that I am in dug a hole in a hillside and covered it with boards, and it is better than a tent and just warm enough. It snowed here the other day, and the biggest flakes fell I ever saw in my life.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 219.