Civil War Grub: Feeding Billy Yank and Johnny Reb 

Presidential History Blog

“An army travels on its belly.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

First…Some Numbers and Perspectives

Sometimes it is difficult to comprehend plain-old numbers. 

Like …more than 1,000,000 Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War – and more than 600,000 Rebels. Jiggling it into a more comprehensible picture: New York City, with the largest population in the country, had about 1 million residents (according to the 1860 census).

Like …a division or a corps vastly outnumbered many of the local populations where fighting took place. With around 80,000 soldiers, the Army of Northern Virginia (CSA) easily dwarfed the 38,000 Richmond residents. And Richmond was the third largest city in the South! (Charleston had around 40,000 – and they both paled in comparison to New Orleans with nearly 170,000.)

Like …Gettysburg, a small crossroad town of 2400. The combined armies had 60 soldiers for every civilian.

Feeding the boys in blue and gray…

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