A soldier’s life


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What was life like for the Civil War Soldier? What were the challenges they faced and the sacrifices they made?

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A soldier’s life

  1. 1. A Soldier’s Life<br />What Life Was Like for the Civil War Soldier in Camp and Battlefield<br />
  2. 2. Enlisting --The Men Came From Factories and Farms, North & South , and into Uniform<br />Hard Tack and Coffee, Billings 1887<br />
  3. 3. They were old and young, but mostly young… Interpreting a Graph<br />Why do you think the Civil War is sometimes called the “Boys’ War?”<br />How many Union Soldiers were under 16?<br />How many soldiers were between 16 and 23?<br />How Many were over 23?<br />Do you think most soldiers in the Confederate army would have been older or younger? Why?<br />*Source: Everyday Life: The Civil War, Walter A. Hazen<br />
  4. 4. The Average SoldierThe average Yank or Reb was white, native-born, farmer, protestant, single, between 18 and 29. He stood about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 143 pounds. Most soldiers were between the ages of 18 and 39 with an average age of 25.<br />
  5. 5. Why They Fought<br />
  6. 6. Journey of a Slave from the Plantation to the Battlefield<br />/<br />African Americans fought bravely in the Civil War.Approximately 180,000 African Americans comprising 163 units served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and many more African Americans served in the Union Navy. Both free African-Americans and runaway slaves joined the fight.<br />Source: Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.05453/<br />
  7. 7. What Soldiers Got Paid <br />Soldiers were supposed to be paid every two months in the field, but they were fortunate if they got their pay at four-month intervals (in the Union Army) and authentic instances are recorded where they went six and eight months. Payment in the Confederate Army was even slower and less regular. <br />Source: "The Civil War Dictionary" by Mark M. Boatner & The National Park Service<br />
  8. 8. Blue and Grey? Or Was it Butternut?<br />Because of southern shortages caused by the blockade grey wool was hard to come by. Officers wore it, but private Confederate soldiers often wore home spun clothing dyed a grey brown or butternut. Southerners were called Johnnie Rebs , Greybacks, or Butternuts , Northerners were called Yankees, of course, or Blue bellies.<br />
  9. 9. The Things They Carried<br />These were the typical possessions of a soldier in camp or field. He was expected to do for himself the simple tasks that a wife or mother would have done for him at home. How many items can you name?<br />
  10. 10. Winter Housing – A Connecticut Soldier Writes Home in the Winter of 1863<br />The top says: Loudon Valley Dec 9 Pioneers Hotel 20 Regt Con Vol Virginia<br />“This is the drawing of our log Cabbin looks natural all think made of logs & covered with flyes or canvas don’t leak much the dark place in the middle is rubber blankets the canvas is not large enough we don’t have enny windows light comes through the canvas…..”<br />
  11. 11. What’s for Dinner? Usually not much. Food was mentioned often in letters home….<br />Food, or lack of it was always a concern.<br />
  12. 12. What are we having for dinner tonight? <br />The dangers of “fast food”. If you wanted fast food in the Civil War you had to chase it and catch it, kill it and cook it. What soldiers ate could get them very, very sick. <br />Illustration from: Hard Tack & Coffee, Billings<br />Hard Tack by Winslow Homer<br />
  13. 13. The News<br />Soldiers received news from multiple sources. Rumors were rampant and often magnified as soldiers wrote those rumors home. Newspapers were a great trade item, being passed across enemies picket lines and traded back and forth. Soldiers were always eager for news North or South. In the days before modern communication, mews had to be spoken or written. <br />
  14. 14. Everyone wrote letters if they could. During the Civil War letter writing was the only method of personal communication available . Soldiers wanted mail from home and read and cherished every letter. Friends and family at home waited eagerly for letters from loved ones in the army. Families at home treasured every letter and dreaded every casualty list. <br />
  15. 15. Traveling photographers traveled to camps and battlefields. Soldiers wanted their pictures taken to send home, and wanted pictures from home to keep their loved ones close during their service. In the Civil War photojournalism is born. <br />
  16. 16. Private Smith, 20th Connecticut Volunteers, had his picture taken on February 16, 1863 in the field by a traveling photographer and sent it home to his wife in a letter. The picture cost one dollar.<br />
  17. 17. Life and Death in Camp<br />Disease and Hygiene . Everyone and everything smelled during the Civil War. Visitors to camps were told that it was not a stink they smelled it was a Patriotic Odor!<br />Where are the latrines (bathrooms)? Many times there weren’t any.<br />Diarrhea was the greatest killer of Americans until after 1900 and it killed more soldiers during the Civil War than any other disease. Hence the saying: “It takes good guts to be a good soldier…..” or a live one!<br />Of the 620,000 soldiers who died in the war, over 400,000 died of sickness and disease. <br />
  18. 18. Weapons technology – The Rifled Musket killed more soldiers and created wounds that were difficult to treat<br />
  19. 19. Civil War Surgery: Desperate Measures for Desperate Wounds…..<br />
  20. 20. When a battle took place, every available structure, house, and barn, sheltered yards and fields, could become a hospital…..<br />The Bushong House at New Market Battlefield– a recreated surgery in the house in the top two pictures is similar to countless operating theaters created in countless structures and fields throughout the war. <br />
  21. 21. Thousands of women volunteered in hospitals to nurse the wounded and sick. Conditions could be dangerous or deadly to the health of those women volunteers. You had to be very brave to go into the hospitals to volunteer. <br />"You have given your boys to die for their country. Now you can give your girls to nurse them."(Nurse Mary Stinebaugh in a letter to her father in 1863) <br />
  22. 22. Home Sweet Home<br />Every American Soldier, North and South, dreamed of returning home safe and whole to their families. Every family North and South longed for the day they would see their loved one’s again. Home Sweet Home was the most popular song of the Civil War. Thoughts of home and family were never far from anyone’s mind during the four long years of this cruel war. <br />
  23. 23. 50,000 survivors returned home to their families as amputees. <br />
  24. 24. About 2.75 million soldiers fought in the Civil War.Two million for the North and 750,000 for the South. Over 620,000 men died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. <br />
  25. 25. All Were Americans <br />