This chapter examines the basic necessity to eat as a crucial part of the larger struggle to survive wartime emancipation. Obtaining food and staving off hunger were not easily accomplished in a war and in a Union military sphere in which the army controlled the food supply. The chapter explores the issuance of army food rations, looking at the size, quality, and frequency of the rations for refugees, as well as the army’s effort to make sure that rations were only a temporary form of relief. Inadequate rations, coupled with a determination to feed themselves without the federal government’s intervention, then led refugees to forage and plant gardens and search for other ways of obtaining food on their own.
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