Being a solider during the Civil War was especially difficult. Soldiers had to worry about fighting in addition to getting food and performing daily chores. Below are some quick facts about a typical day for a solider during the civil war.
Wake up at dawn – Soldiers had to wake up at dawn every day. There was no sleeping in or being lazy for the young men at war. After they were woken up, they had to participate in drills and training. Southern men were at an advantage when it came to shooting because they were used to hunting.
Daily chores- Some of the daily chores included cooking food, making any necessary fixes to uniforms, cleaning weapons, and maintaining equipment. During the very beginning of the Civil War, the soldiers did not have official uniforms. This made things difficult during battle because you could not easily see which side someone was on. Later on in the war, the Union wore blue and the Confederates wore grey.
Free time was limited- When soldiers had some free time, they were likely to write letters to home or play some cards. Soldiers had limited free time because discipline was strict. If they made a mistake, they might have had to chop wood or stay up extra late on guard duty.
Pets weren’t that uncommon- Despite the fact that soldier’s weren’t ordered to have pets; a large number of people had dogs and cats when they went to war. General Lee supposedly had a pet chicken who would provide him with fresh eggs.
Food was limited- Unfortunately, the soldiers from the Civil War had to endure a limited food supply. It was common for them to eat crackers which were made out of a blend of flour, water, and salt. Food and other necessary goods were limited in the south because a large percentage of ports were blockaded. There was also approximately twice the amount of soldiers who were in the Union than the Confederate. The number of soldiers in the Union was approximately 2,100,000 and the population of the Confederate was approximately 1,064,000.
Contagious medical conditions and infections were common- Because the Civil War took place before scientists discovered infections, doctors would treat soldiers without washing their hands. Soldiers were also unaware of the importance of washing their hands and wounds. Over 60% of deaths from the Civil War were due to diseases. Because they didn’t have eye protection such as dark sunglasses, many often suffered eye infections that caused them to lose an eye.
They didn’t move a lot during the winter months- During the cold winter months, it was common for soldiers to stay in the same place for an extended period of time. Soldiers would spend hours building the camp to stay in during the fall. They didn’t have modern washers as they do today, so clothes stayed soiled and dirty.
Other quick facts about the civil war-
Nurses: Nurses played an important role during the Civil War. Clara Barton was a popular nurse who was referred to as the “Angel of Battlefields”. She is most famous for founding the American Red Cross.
There were low standards when it came to sanitation: Camps were disgusting and dirty because there were extremely low expectations when it came to sanitation. There had been few very advancements when it comes to medical science.
Things were extremely difficult for soldiers during the Civil War. A large percentage of soldiers were poor young men who didn’t have enough experience. The Civil War killed the most Americans out of any war that we have ever participated in.