Life of a Soldier
The Civil War began on April 12,1861 when Confederate warships bombarded Union soldiers in Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
Many of the confederate soldiers were in their early 20's. Since the Confederacy didn't have much money the soldiers usually had to wear unfitted clothes. Those lucky enough to have a fitting pair of shoes would often nail horseshoes to them to prevent the soles from wearing down.The Rebel soldier carried a flint-lock rifle or a musket, also known as Confederate Springfields. They often found themselves cut off from their suppliers both by railroad and by sea. This caused large shortages of food and ammunition. Many soldiers would fall ill from fatigue and starvation.
The Union soldier was typically a man in his early 20's. He was usually a farmer who had either enlisted to fight a war which he thought wouldn’t last more than a few months, or was drafted.Union soldiers’ uniforms were dark blue and made of thick wool.Union soldiers carried a heavy knapsack, a blanket, and a small protective cover called a “dog tent”. Union soldiers not only had better uniforms, they also had better weapons, British made Enfield rifles were used and they were the most accurate weapons on the battlefield. They also kept a pretty steady supply of food.
Union Soldiers: Most of their meals consisted of meat, flour, cornmeal, and hardtack.
Confederate Soldiers: Most of their meals consisted of cornmeal, meat, and dried peas
*Hardtack-a very hard flat cracker, that was often eaten by soldiers during the Civil War. Usually infested by weevils, larva, and grubs. If kept dry, these crackers can and will last easily over 50 years.
Most women and children had to endure long periods of time without their husband/father. Many loved ones were lost over the course of the war causing many hardships on families. Sometimes women would even pose as men and fight in the war.
Approximately 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War.
The Union victory at Gettysburg was the major turning point in winning the war. Then when Union forces captured Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, Lincoln and Union commanders began to make plans for finishing the war.