Life During Wartime. African Americans in the War Effects on the Economy Struggles of the Soldiers. African Americans Fight for Freedom.
African Americans in the War
Effects on the Economy
Struggles of the Soldiers
The Emancipation Proclamation led to a large scale enlistment of African Americans into the Union Army. Made up only 1% of the nations population, but they accounted for 10% of the Union Army by the end of the war.
Black soldiers faced discrimination and would serve in separate regiments commanded by white officers, and could not rise above the rank of captain.
Blacks were paid less then white soldiers and given no clothing allowance, but after much protest Congress equalized the pay in 1864.
African American soldiers also had a higher death rate due to the jobs they served as well as how the Confederates dealt with them when captured.
One incident at Ft. Pillow, Tennessee, in 1864 resulted in the massacre of 200 African American and some white POWs who begged for their lives.
Slaves in the South would sabotage plantations by breaking plows, neglecting livestock, and destroying fences. Slave resistance in the south weakened the plantation system greatly.
The Confederacy faced a food shortage due to 3 reasons:
The drain of manpower into the army
The Union occupation of food growing areas
The loss of slaves in the work fields.
Food prices skyrocketed—a family spent $6.65 a month in 1861 on food and by mid-1863 spent $68 a month if they could even find food to buy. This caused people to storm bakeries and riot for bread in 1863. Jefferson Davis dispersed the mob and ordered rice rations to be distributed.
The Union blockade of Southern ports created shortages of sugar, salt, coffee, nails, needles, and medicine. Some Confederates would smuggle cotton into the North in exchange for gold, food, and other goods.
Although cotton textiles faltered in the north, most other industries boomed. Woolen mills, steel foundries, coal mines, and many other industries supplied the soldiers.
Western farmers also bought many machines like the mechanical reapers since the draft had diminished the workforce.
The economic boom in the north had an adverse affect as well, that being the standard of living reduced. When workers would strike, owners would hire free blacks, women and boys, and immigrant labor to replace them.
Many of the industries had contracts with the government, but these businesses cheated the government by supplying food and equipment that was shoddy to gain the most profit.
Congress decided to help pay for the war by tapping the citizens wealth and in 1863 they collected the first income tax (specified % of income).
In army camps many of the basic necessities such as garbage disposal and latrines were not available. Many soldiers failed to meet basic hygiene standards and as a result lice, dysentery, and diarrhea were common.
The rations of the troops consisted of beans, bacon, and hardtack (hard bread). Southerners ate “cush,” a stew of small cubes of beef and crumbled cornbread mixed with bacon grease. Coffee was loved by both sides but Southerners had no supply of coffee so they had to use peanuts, dried apples, and corn to brew pots.
The federal government set up the United States Sanitary Commission whose job was to improve hygienic conditions of army camps and to recruit and train nurses.
Dorothea Dix became the first superintendent of women nurses and began recruitment. One nurse, Clara Barton, of the Union was considered the “angel of the battlefield” after her courage in Antietam.
War prisons did not have these sanitary conditions, and the worst prison was Andersonville, Ga, where 33,000 men were crammed into 26acres. 15% of Union prisoners and 12% of Confederate prisoners die in these camps.
Andersonville was one among many P.O.W. camps and the crowding was equivalent to having 1,250 people on Krebs field.