Bonnie Blue

“The Civil War was brutal. Brother fighting brother- over trade, commodities, and servitude. That’s all there is to it. People of color was never the issue with civil war- people of color joined in willingly to defend their Master’s land; why? Cause it was their land and their life as well. Anyway……..”

While it’s true that the Union soldiers were generally better fed than the Confederate soldiers were, neither side was eating steak and eggs, at least not with any kind of regularity. Because an army really does march on its stomach, food supplies going both directions were interrupted as often as possible.

Unfortunately, often this meant burning fields and slaughtering animals, leaving them to rot, as a regiment passed through an area, in order to keep the other side from eating. The casualties of those actions weren’t just soldiers – the families who depended upon those animals and crops to exist also starved.

Because food conditions became so brutal, especially in the South, both soldiers and families had to learn how to survive with very little food.

What was a man to do if he was on the march and had very little time to cook, and very few ingredients to do it with? What about the women and infirm left at home?

How did they live? The answer is: simply and with what little they had on hand. God provided to those who kept faith in God.

The one advantage that both sides had was that the country was still agricultural. People, at least in the part of the country where they were fighting, weren’t dependent upon outside sources for survival not like we are now with trade and GMO crops. Family or estate gardens were the norm rather than the exception and fruit trees and wild berries grew in abundance. However, with the climate changes from nature we’ve seen, the norm isn’t normal anymore.

With a norms in place soldiers just went to grab food from along the trail and it allowed families who may have lost most of everything else to have at least enough to survive. Remember, too, canning was a huge part of life back then, so if families managed to hide their food or were fortunate enough to remain off the marching trails, they had food stockpiled.

The marching soldiers weren’t quite so lucky, and it wasn’t always because food was scarce. There was also the fact that most of the men had no idea how to cook; they’d never had reason to learn because they had women or servants to do that.

The North had an advantage here at the start of the war because they had the United States Sanitary Commission watching out for them. They were a system of volunteers that were trained to find and distribute food to soldiers in the field. These guys were prepared for an lengthy war with their neighbors.

The Sanitary Commission knew about what was in season where, and how to preserve it and transport it. It was their sole job to keep the soldiers constantly fed. That doesn’t mean the food tasted good, though, and they didn’t always come through so the soldiers were left to their own devices. But hey! they tried.

On the other hand, the Confederacy was a ragtag team who came together as farmers, miners, plantation owners, and other working men who were fighting for what they believed in. They weren’t soldiers and didn’t have any sort of organized system in place. They ate on the run and were dependent on what they could catch, hunt, pick, or pilfer. Families along the way were often sympathetic to the cause and would offer what they could.

Either way, if you have an entire army of people who are great at shooting a rabbit but have no idea how to cook it, you can imagine food-borne illness was a serious issue.

The typical daily allotment for a Confederate soldier was twelve ounces of fat-back (cured pork) and a pound of cornmeal (also called Indian meal) or hardtack. In the beginning, sugar, beans and coffee were part of the allotment, but faded out as food supplies dwindled.

Union soldiers received salted pork or beef, coffee, sugar, vinegar, salt, and dried fruits and veggies when they were in season. There were also civilian merchants called sutlers that set up shop in camps and sold canned fruit, sugar, tobacco, and coffee.

Hardtack was a staple on both sides and often was the only thing that stood between a man and starvation, though it hardly qualified as food and had practically no nutritional value other than carbohydrates because it was only flour, salt and water. Both sides also carried a canvas bag with buckles called a haversack that held their food and anything else they needed to survive for a few days on their own.

Finally, Confederate soldiers would often trade tobacco to Union soldiers for coffee beans, though it was done in secret because, obviously, fraternization was frowned upon.

It’s critical to remember here these were brothers fighting brothers. Unlike other wars, these men were still countrymen, though their convictions had brought them to war. Sometimes, men managed to find uneasy peace long enough to help each other. We may yet need to do this again on U.S. soil.

By the end of the war, things were so bad there were food riots in many southern cities because food lines had been severed, personal food sources had been pillaged and/or destroyed, and people were starving. Even rats were fair game.

We need not forget the beginnings or results of a war or awkward incidents on U.S. soil. I’m not saying it could happen again; but what if it did? Would you and your family be ready?

Always Safe, Always Prepared

Credit: Frank M.

*WOW! Thanks a lot for this info Frank!

The 5Cs – Survival vs Bushcraft

Thanks to Survival Lilly for the video/info

Keep the flag flying! It’s Heritage, not hate.

Common Knowledge

Electronics. Freeze Drying. Material Sciences. Today’s modern-day technologies have made being prepared for short-term and long-term survival easier than ever. Unfortunately, electronics need a constant energy source, freeze dried food is not always on hand, and lightweight materials eventually wear out.

Note: In the event of and EMP (Electro-magnetic pulse) due to a localized nuke, and or a created pulse – your electronic phone, lap top, PC, etc will not work AT ALL. Alternate means of survival and communications are preferred.’

Though today’s sciences have made survival easier, it would behoove us all to keep in mind the survival skills learned and implemented by our forefathers.

A group of resilient individuals who were skilled at surviving the harsh elements with little rations and supplies were the men who fought during the American Civil War: both Union and Confederate.

During this time, a world run on electricity was left to the realm of science fiction. The men on the front lines during the various battles had not computers, GPS, or digital anything. It was an analog world. Even though this sounds archaic in today’s hi-tech world, the durability of a brass and clockwork world has extended to modern times; whereas, many electronics do not last longer than a few years.

Learning to use an analog compass could be one of the most important skills you could acquire.

Additionally, an analog watch would be another common tool that our forefathers carried. The most common style was of course a pocket watch, but a wristwatch works just fine. What is important is the fact the watch is a wind up and does not rely on batteries to operate. There are many wind up watches from the Civil War era that are still in use today. All you do is remember to wind it up every day and you are set.

Tools should not be the only focus when looking for survival tips from the past. Food is another important aspect of survival and again we can look to the rations of the Civil War soldier for ideas. The Confederates and the Federals had very similar diets in the beginning, which consisted primarily of salted pork and dry goods such as beans and rice.

Two main staples of a soldier’s diet were hardtack and desiccated potatoes. Hardtack is a type of hard, dry biscuit made from flour, salt, and water. The ingredients are mixed together and slowly baked until hard. The shelf life of these little briquettes was remarkable so long as they were kept dry.

It was even rumored the U.S. issued hardtack made during the Civil War to soldiers fighting in the Spanish American War.

Another food item soldiers were issued were desiccated potatoes. Once again, the starch laden food was relatively cheap to come by and seemed to have kept the men feeling full. Desiccated is simply another word for dehydrated for all intents and purposes. The potatoes were thinly sliced and dried until all the moisture was removed and the slices were no longer pliable. Like hardtack, desiccated potatoes have an incredible shelf life.

When it came time to eat both, they were commonly boiled in broth or in water with salt pork until the potatoes or the biscuit became tender.

It is common knowledge the most versatile modern-day material is the polyethylene tarp. These tarps can be used as a shelter, water collector, ground cover, or rain fly. Just has the polyethylene has a variety of uses so does its ancestor, the canvas tarp.

The canvas tarp can be used for everything a polyethylene tarp, plus a few extras. Canvas tarps are better suited than polyethylene to fashion replacement packs or totes to carry supplies.

Canvas tarps are also better for being turned into ponchos, jackets, and other clothing items. During the Civil War, it was common to draw field maps on canvas instead of paper because of its water resistance and durability.

There is no doubt modern technology has made survival and emergency preparedness much easier. However, this does not mean should not look to the past for tips and techniques for successful survival.

Always Safe, Always Prepared

Credit: Frank M.

*Thanks Frank!!

Top 10 Survival Tips

Basic Survival Skills (LINK)

Growing Good Corn

James Bender, in his book How to Talk Well (published in 1994 by McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc.) relates the story of a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

‘How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?’ the reporter asked.

‘Why sir,’ said the farmer, ‘didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.’

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.

So it is in other dimensions of our lives.

Those who choose to be at peace, must help their neighbors to be at peace.

Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches.

And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this . . . if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

BONUS VIDEO

Building A Primitive Shelter With Modern Tools (Part 1)

Thanks to Survival Lilly for this video. Good show Lilly!

 

Rocky Road Ice Cream

Rocky Road Ice Cream (Wiki-Link)

Think what you call your “good life” won’t end???

The Great Depression caused an economic collapse; however, many people did not starve during the Great Depression.

Perhaps a family chose to have a new pair of socks or shoes for their child in lieu of eating a big meal. Perhaps having a second portion was not necessary. Perhaps they were too proud to ask for help. Or perhaps they were a bit creative about their meal choices (eating only turnips instead of asking for help).

While times were tough, most people just made do with lesser quality foods, including selection of lower quality meats. Soups and stews made up most of the meals, because it could stretch the food budget. Casseroles stretched the budget, too. During the Great Depression, people changed their eating habits to help their budget.

Food production changed too; Cri-co was a less expensive option to butter. O-car M-yer Wieners replaced more costly sausages. Ma-well House S-nka coffee was an option to whole bean coffees. He-nz Ketchup was used as the base for a simple tomato soup. Underw-od Deviled Ham substituted fresh lunch meat. C-rnation evaporated milk replaced fresh milk. Ground acorns became a substitute for coffee; or people added chicory to extend the coffee supplies. Honey, molasses and corn sweeteners replaced sugar as sugar was at a premium, and later rationed by World War II.

Meals during the great depression included; Grandmas Great Depression Cake (no eggs, no butter, no milk), creamed chipped beef on toast or waffles, creamed chicken on biscuits, as a variation of chipped beef, hash (potatoes and corned beef or sliced hot dogs), and Depression soup: this was simply 1/3 cup ketchup 2/3 cup boiling water, molasses and cornbread.

Foods that debuted during Great Depression include; B-squick, Good H-mor ice cream bars, Kr-ft macaroni and cheese, Krispy Kr-me doughnuts, K-ol-Aid, Toll Ho-se chocolate chips, R-tz Crackers and Sp-m.

Did you know Rocky Road ice cream was “invented” during the Great Depression?

It was indeed a “Rocky Road” ahead when the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929 and started the Great Depression. Poverty hit the masses for a decade, but hit its peak in 1933 when around 40% of the nation’s farms were on the auction block. Since that time, people have been preparing for the next Great Depression.

Always Safe, Always Prepared
Are you prepared?

Frank M.

Awesome info Frank; Thanks!

Setting Up Camp With Just 5 Dollar Store Survival Items

http://urbansurvivalsite.com/setting-up-camp-with-just-5-dollar-store-survival-items/  (LINK)

Tighten Things Up

During the Great Depression President Herbert Hoover declared, “Nobody is actually starving.”

It’s true sometimes people ate only turnips, others had only blackberries to eat, or apples, so they made pie, but people of the Great Depression did not starve as in underdeveloped countries. Generally, food was bountiful and people starved only for PRIDE or LACK OF CREATIVITY.

As survivalists, we must learn these important lessons. By ignoring the lessons from the past, we not only rob ourselves of the knowledge, we also dishonor those who fought so hard to survive it.

Even though food was ample, many people went hungry and as a result, began conserving and stockpiling food and money for times of uncertainty in the years following the Great Depression. Preppers today take comfort in stockpiling food, the way the people did just after the Great Depression, taking lessons from the past. Naturally, preppers create a deep larder of food.

This aspect of preparing for financial crisis is no different from other preparedness plans. The more food you have stored away today, the less dependent you will be during financial crisis when a loaf of bread could cost $100.  Not sure where to start? Develop your “magic grocery list” of the basics.

People of the Great Depression grew their own food. The exception being the dust bowl states (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and parts of Texas) where growing was impossible. During this time, there was approximately 100,000,000 acres of land barren, which forced farm families to flee, (they were mostly from Oklahoma).

While today big farms and machines work the fields, back in the day a farmer fed an average of eight families with his crops. People got by also got by with food grown in their own gardens and they canned foods for the Winter. While the economy collapsed, the food on the farms were for the most part unaffected. People supported themselves by growing root vegetables, such as onions, garlic, and potatoes.

Many people of the Great Depression kept chickens or rabbits to supplement food from their gardens. A lucky few had cows or goats. Desperate people of the Great Depression got more creative with animal proteins, even to the point of eating pigeons.

In many rural areas, hunting was a way to put meat on the table during the Great Depression. An important lesson; however, is that each shell from a man’s rifle had to account for game (or a family might go hungry)! Coming up with shells was indeed a problem. Proximity was another factor to consider as gas and cars were not affordable for the masses.

Always Safe, Always Prepared

Credit: Frank M.

Fix It!

*More Survival Ideas

For most people, purchasing enough food, water and supplies to get through a major disaster can be very difficult financially. The average person doesn’t have a lot of extra cash to put toward such a big investment. If you’re like most people, paying the bills and keeping a roof over your head is hard enough as it is.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help save a little money to put toward your prepping needs and we’ll discuss some of those things here. Every dollar you can save on household utilities, the grocery bill and so on can be put into your prepping.

Be a MacGyver and become a fix-it guru. Before sending that broken appliance to the garbage heap and replacing it with something new, try to fix it yourself. There are many web sites (www.fixya.com, http://www.instructables.com) that offer lots of how-to’s for fixing everything from your laser printer to your espresso machine. In addition, you can find service manuals for many products on line at the manufacturer’s web site.

Another thing you can do is call the manufacturer’s customer service number. Often the company will guide you through troubleshooting steps or even send you free parts. I have found that this works especially well with plumbing issues.

Move fashion to the bottom of your priorities list. Choose function over fashion. This is difficult, I know. But think about the item you intend to purchase and how it is going to be used. A fancy, Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer may look great on your counter, but if you only cook the basics and bake only simple items, a $15 hand mixer may be all that you need. This same concept applies to lots of things: clothing, TVs, jewelry, you name it. Yes, this even applies to cars.

Do it yourself. Mow your own lawn, clean your own house, give yourself a manicure, wash your own dog. Now if you truly hate to do something, don’t do it if you can afford to hire it out. Or better yet, trade a chore you detest with a chore that someone else dislikes. You both get the job done without spending a dime.

Take advantage of freebies. Use public beaches, parks and trail systems for recreational activities. Use your public library. Go online and download geographically specific recreational guides and even preparedness manuals from your state and county web sites. None of these are technically free because your taxes have paid for them, but they are free in the sense you have no additional out of pocket costs.

Speaking of libraries, have you checked yours out lately? Most libraries now have a robust collection of eBooks, audio books, audio book players, music CDs, DVDs and more. If you don’t have a library with downloadable materials, there are many that will let you purchase an annual non-resident library card. You can do a web search or start here to find a library with a large collection of downloadable materials.

Get out of debt. This is obvious. Sure, you may have a mortgage payment and possibly a car payment. But credit card debt? I hope not, but, if you are saddled with credit card debt, come up with a one or two- year plan to pay them off then toss them in a drawer, never to see daylight again unless there is a dire emergency. The old mantra “use your credit card . . .it is the same as cash” simply does not work anymore. It never did.

Always Safe, Always Prepared

Credit: Frank M.

*Thanks Frank!

Future Provisions

*Survival knowledge

One of the main reasons for studying how people survive, whether economically or physically, is to find lessons we can apply to our own lives and circumstances. For many years, economists have been predicting an economic collapse here in America. If you are one of the 93+ million Americans who are out of work, your own personal economy has already collapsed.

Now it’s time to consider how you will earn money, whether you are currently out of work. In the days of the Great Depression, it was common for grocers and landlords to provide credit to their customers. Today? That would be a rare occurrence.

Our ancestors would be sad to see their children (us) toiling over these uncertain times. This was suppose to be a land of freedom and a new start. What happened?

From the Depression, there is an abundance of stories of neighbors and church families showing up at the door, laden with bags and boxes of food for a needy family(this act of kindness now is becoming illegal in many cities). When a desperate mom was asked by her child, “Mama, what’s for dinner tonight?”, the response was, “Whatever the neighbors decide to bring us!” I wish I could imagine that happening today, but our communities and families have become so fractured over the past few decades it would be a rare event.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Great Depression is the ingenuity of the Americans who lived through those tough times. Many continued to find ways to earn money, even when their own circumstances were dire.

To earn money, people made homemade fudge, pies and bread and sold them. Eggs could be sold for 25 cents a dozen. If a family lived near water, they could catch and sell fish, clams and crabs(this act too is becoming more and more strict). Some families grew, picked, and sold homegrown produce, and some even started lunch truck wagons (regulation of growers are also under attack).

You could also earn money selling newspapers on the corner(almost a thing of the past). Kids earned a little extra if they were promoted to “Corner Captain”, a sort of Great Depression multi-level marketing program where a kid brought in other kids to sell papers and earned a bit extra himself(no loitering now!). Odd jobs were also a popular way of making money, washing windows, loading coal, even sewing and altering clothes(days of money under the table are wearing thin).

In every case, it was a simple matter of looking around to see what people needed, what they wanted, what made them feel good about themselves and about life.

So, what skills do you have that might offer a service during a severe economic downturn? What knowledge do you have that would be helpful, even vital, to others? What products can you produce? What skills can you teach?

Ingenuity is something which can never be stolen by thieves, confiscated by a government, or lost to flood or fire. It is possible to survive during even a newer Great Depression and there is plenty to learn from those who lived through the last one.

Find a book, read, use the internet, take notes, watch videos from people who know, from those who’ve done it. Knowledge is a good thing if used to help others. And there are plenty out there who need help.

We are all in this (and will be in the future) together; let’s help one another keep going when the SHTF!

*Thanks in more part to :Frank M.