The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944

TEXAS AND THE CONFEDERATE ARMY'S
MEAT PROBLEM
FRANK E. VANDIVER
The vital issues contingent upon supplying an army with
munitions of war were illustrated in the British Eighth Army's
pursuit of Rommel from El Alamein to Tunis. Food is one of
these munitions of war. To keep the "British Eighth" ad-
vancing, food as well as ammunition and gasoline had to reach
the front. Manifestly the Tunisian campaign was, if not the
greatest, one of the greatest miracles of supply in modern war.
It is not to be forgotten, however, that the armies of the south-
ern Confederacy were confronted with a problem of supply;
theirs was the harder to solve because ways had to be found of
getting food out of the steadily contracting areas of the Con-
federacy, while the African problem was that of transporting
subsistence across a desert. Importation of food being negligi-
ble, the Confederate Government was forced to rely on the out-
put of the southern farmer and cattleman.
To an army whose personnel was from a section of the
country which raised large numbers of hogs and beef, meat was
a vital part of the ration. It is obvious that a study of all the
problems concerning meat which weighed on the South would
require much more than the space available; therefore, the
present inquiry will be confined, for the most part, to beef. It
is further hoped that this article may shed some light on all
the problems facing the Confederate Commissariat after the
loss of the Mississippi.
The Commissary-General, L. B. Northrop, found that his
troubles began in the early part of the war as 500,000 pork
hogs were considered necessary to feed the southern armies for
a year. Northrop did not think that that number could be ob-
tained in the Confederacy.' While he had his troubles in pro-
curing meat, the fact remains that the basic ration on which the
southern soldier lived was corn and beef.2 In the early part of
'Ella Lonn, Salt as a Factor in the Confederacy (New York, 1933), 16.
2Bell I. Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb (New York, 1943), 97.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/. Accessed December 20, 2014.