A New Year Brings New Promise
During the course of the Civil War, many soldiers had to endure harsh winters far from home. It was especially trying for southern soldiers who weren’t accustomed to deep snow and frigid temperatures. Many were in tatters and had no shoes, so they wrapped rags around their feet to stay warm.
Four winters brought further hardships for soldiers on both sides, as well as civilians in the South, who increasingly suffered due to economic instability. By 1864, a barrel of flour in Mobile, Alabama soared to over $300, and coffee, a luxury to southerners by this time, cost between $30 and $70 a pound.
Nevertheless, soldiers on both sides held strong convictions about fighting for the causes they believed in. An example of this is expressed in the following letter, written by Sullivan Balou to his wife on July 14, 1861:
“… If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of their Revolution. And I am willing – perfectly willing – to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this government, and to pay that debt …