If you had a choice, which would you give up? Food? Or coffee? This week, we will look at photography of the Civil War and the difficulties of producing photographs during war, especially with the wet-plate collodion process. To help better understand the conditions that photographers worked in, this week’s homework explores what Civil War soldiers ate and their dependence on coffee. The typical food ration for a Union soldier included small amounts of meat, coffee, and hardtack (what’s hardtack? Look here to find out.) The Union side half-jokingly believed coffee helped fuel their soldiers. Meanwhile, the Confederate South suffered vast food shortages due to strong Union blockades, and resorted to unique recipes (called receipts in the 19th century) to produce coffee substitutes. Read about cooking on the battlefront and the importance of coffee (the word ‘coffee’ appears more frequently than ‘rifle’ or ‘bullet’ in Civil War diaries).
Share what you think is most fascinating about a Civil War soldier’s diet AND post an image of a food item that you cannot live without. You can link to a photo on the web, or take a picture!
Read about what Union soldiers ate at PBS.org.
Read the NYT’s article “How Coffee Fueled the Civil War”
PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR POSTS BY THURSDAY OCTOBER 6, 2016 (CUNY is running a Monday schedule on a Thursday).