Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Book Report: Everyday Life During the Civil War

When I write about the lives of the family who came before us, I do my best to dug up the hidden facts of their lives. But, to make them come alive again, I try to paint those dry facts with the colors of the world as it was when and where they lived. Therefore, I am often looking for books to teach me more about the past. Most every family was changed, in some way by the Civil War. This book teaches us about that time.

Everyday Life During the Civil War:
A Guide for Writers, Students and Historians

 Written by Michael J. Varhola
Published: Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 1999

Table of Contents:
1 North and South: One Nation, Two Peoples
2 Wages, Currency, Clothing and Dry Goods
3 Life in City, Town and Country
4 Food and Diet
5 Fun and Games: How People Entertained Themselves
6 The Civil War Viewed from the Home Front
7 Brothers at War: Billy Yank, Johnny Reb
8 Slang and Idiom
9 Technology
10 Arms, Equipment and Uniforms

The chapters in the book are divided into North and South. For example, what food was available during the war in each part of our country; what clothing was worn or what uniforms did the soldiers wear. 

I like to read about the everyday things that would have been a big part of the lives of the people in our families. For example, the families in the south were all affected by the food shortages and the increasing prices for the food they could purchase. Here are some examples from this book:

Food prices in 1861:
Bacon              12.5 cents per pound
Butter              20 cents per pound
Coffee              35 cents per pound
Flour:              $6 per barrel
Potatoes          75 cents per bushel

Food prices in 1865:
Bacon              $11 to $13 per pound
Beef                 $8 per pound
Butter              $15 to $20 per pound
Cornmeal         $400 per bushel
Flour                $325 to $1,000 per barrel

The book also includes a Civil War Timeline, Recommended Books, Bibliography, Resources for further research and Songs & Poetry.

If you want a clear picture of how life was lived at the time of the Civil War pick up this book and read.


At the top of this blog, click on My Library for many more books that I have found useful for genealogical & historical research.

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