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Teddy Archive



The starving Virginians demand:
Let us eat Bread!

The civil war was not just about the battles between Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Courageous acts did not just occur on the battlefield of Gettysburg and Manassas. The stories of millions of normal folks trying to get by while the country fought a civil war are numerous and for the most part untold. Can you imagine what it would be like to be living in Richmond during the ten-month siege? The winter of 1863 was harsh on the soldiers living in the city, and even harder on the residents who had to support the soldiers. The supply situation got so bad during the siege that severe rations had to be enacted. Throughout the travail, wives and mothers tried their best to keep their children fed while supporting the tens of thousands of troops who needed provisions. The army was prepared to defend Richmond for a long time. They had enough stores of grain to feed themselves for many months if that is what it took. 


Teddy contemplates his road warrior physique.

Now to a mother watching her children become human skeletons while perfectly fine food was potentially available for them within the city limits it got to be too much to take. One mother named Mary Johnson took it upon herself to get the food that was available and feed it to Richmond's starving children and poor families. She led a crowd of 1000 people, mostly women, to the town center where some interesting stuff went down.

First, taverns and shops were broken into and food was distributed to waiting mothers. The riot grew as hungry city-dwellers joined in on a march on the food stores of the Confederate Army. The Confederate president Jefferson Davis came and spoke to the crowd, warning them that if they did not leave he would order his troops to fire on them. The crowd dissolved, but the unstable position of the south was further shaken by this raucous episode.


Please email me at: teddy@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Daphne - And the answer is "c) We are ignorant of our past"
Irene - was the Civil War really about freedom?
Nick - The bloodiest square mile in America
Stephanie - I'm nine but I can still fight!