This chapter focuses on the collapse of agriculture in the Western Confederacy as the Civil War drew to a close. As Union forces occupied more and more territory in 1864, farmers and planters could see that the end was near. Isolated Confederate forces and partisans still disrupted agriculture in some areas, but for most farmers and planters in the region the war had ended. As they turned their attention to cotton, sugar, and daily subsistence, they continued to adjust to a new system of free labor that had been instituted in 1863. The rest of this chapter discusses the improvement in the supply of agricultural commodities in the river towns from New Orleans north to Memphis where Federal soldiers controlled the river valley; the food shortages suffered by many Confederate towns in Louisiana and elsewhere; the question of agricultural labor after the war; and the increase in agricultural prices throughout the Confederacy.
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