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Beyond the Battlefield


I've got war on my mind. For the past week, Nick and I have been visiting major battle sites of the Revolutionary War and it has gotten me thinking about what it would have been like to be a soldier back then.

What were their daily lives like? What did they do off the battlefield? What did they eat? When did they sleep? Where did they go to the bathroom? Who were these soldiers who fought for our nation's independence?

Nick and I went to Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina and I began to get the answers to some of these questions. The last big battle of the Revolutionary War was held at Guilford Courthouse before the British surrendered in Yorktown, Virginia.

All men between the ages of sixteen and sixty were forced into the army. Everyone received a uniform that included a pair of wool or linen overalls, socks, a vest, a hat and a coat.

Then soldiers received military training. In those days, the musket was the most widely used weapon. They were taught how to fire the musket and how to use a cannon. They were also trained in hand-to-hand combat. When ammunition ran out, these battles often turned to regular street fights!

The men lived six to a tent! Each tent was called "a mess" - and they were! The bathrooms were nothing but giant holes in the ground that the men had to dig themselves.

Daily chores included cooking, cleaning, fetching water, gathering wood, and searching for wild fruits, vegetables and nuts. In their spare time, men played cards and marbles and wrote letters to their loved ones back home.

Soldiers were supposed to get a pound of preserved meat, such as salted pork, and bread each day and a few pints of rice, beans, or peas once a week. But often this didn't happen. Nick and I read that soldiers went for days without any food. They got so hungry that they ate sticks and stones and even roasted their shoes for dinner.

Incredible, isn't it? Learning about this made me appreciate what they went through for our country.


Please email me at: stephanie@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Teddy - Blowing the British confidence to smithereens