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An Environmental History of the Civil War$
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Judkin Browning and Timothy Silver

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655383

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655383.001.0001

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Fall 1862–Summer 1863

(p.71) Three Food
An Environmental History of the Civil War

Judkin Browning

Timothy Silver

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the ways that the North and South provided food for their armies and civilians, and the difficulties they encountered. The South struggled mightily to provide enough food for its residents, while the North thoroughly succeeded, thanks to several innovations in harvesting, canning, and transporting food. Southern farmers proved unable to provide enough food because of fields ruined by the weather, Union occupation, or confiscation by both armies. Food riots broke out throughout the South as a result of the shortages, and the government tried to respond with various relief measures. The chapter discusses the role of food in the second battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and especially the devastating use of food (or its lack) as a weapon during the siege of Vicksburg. It discusses the effects of starvation faced by the soldiers and civilians in that besieged city in the summer of 1863.

Keywords:   Antietam, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, food riots, canning, starvation, confiscation, harvesting

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