This chapter discusses the losses suffered by farmers and planters in the Western Confederacy because of the raging Civil War. Gentle rains and warm spring temperatures made farmers in the Western Confederacy optimistic and created great anticipation that the wheat crop would be bountiful. With the Federal army controlling a considerable amount of the most fertile land in the Western Confederacy, farmers would produce a “short crop” at best for civilians still in areas under Confederate control. Planters also would have increasing difficulty getting their slaves to work, which would further reduce agricultural production. Northerners who professed knowledge about agriculture in the Western Confederacy believed that farmers and planters in the region could not save the rebellion from starvation for another year. The rest of this chapter examines the declining availability of food despite the commitment by farmers and planters to raise corn; the government's impressment of cattle; Southern farmers struggle in the East; and how the free-market principles of capitalism worked in the West.
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