Professor James Allen
April 28, 2013
Pigs, Dogs, Cats, Horses, and Rats Help Win the Civil War
Before the Civil War
According to Patricia B. Mitchell in “Cooking for the Cause” (2013), the abundance of beef, horses, dogs, cats, and rats was a factor in the Union victory in the Civil War. The development and expansion of the railroads in the mid-19th century allowed the meat processing industry to centralize around transportation hubs like Chicago & Milwaukee. The Civil War intensified pork production as firms strove to meet the needs of the war effort. Beef packing also increased dramatically during the war, but dwindled after it ended, as cities like Kansas City that were closer to the centers of cattle farmers began to dominate production. As plants grew, the operations became more mechanized & specialized. The introduction of the refrigerated rail car in 1869 dramatically bolstered the industry, allowing it to become a year-round industry and to expand internationally (Dictionary of Wisconsin History, 2013). The North had a greater advantage than the South in that their commissary system was already established at the outbreak of the war, while the Confederacy struggled for many years to obtain food and then get it to its armies. By the end of the war, many soldiers in the Confederate army were on the verge of starvation. During the Civil War
There were plenty of other Civil War food options on a soldier’s menu (The American Civil War, 2013). The salt pork that was given to the soldiers during the war was a stinky kind of blue extra-salty meat, with hair, skin, dirt, and other debris on it. It was, however, their main supply of protein. Salt beef was basically all of the very worst parts of a cow, including organs, necks, and shanks. But the basic meat was pork. When in enemy territory, the soldiers frequently helped themselves to chickens, fruits,...