Legacy of Conflict: 40 Disturbing Facts About the American Civil War – Part 2

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1Okra, The Coffee Substitute

Okra, The Coffee Substitute

During the American Civil War, coffee became so scarce and expensive in the South that okra seeds were used as a replacement. Apparently, its taste is almost identical to coffee.

2. During the Battle of the Crater in the American Civil War, the United States Colored Troops were ordered to flank the crater from the left and right to take the position. Their general however got drunk and plans were changed. White soldiers instead ended up charging right into the crater, resulting in unnecessary deaths.

3. During the Civil war, the basement of the Capitol building was converted into a bakery to feed the troops. There were about 20 ovens that produced 1000 loaves a day. Each ration included two slices of freshly baked bread, some meat, and coffee or soup.

4. The American Civil War not only killed nearly 1 million soldiers, but it also had many addicted to morphine. Coca-Cola was introduced to try to help them overcome their addiction.

5. The largest surrender of the American Civil War wasn't Appomattox, but Bennett Place, NC where Union General Sherman misunderstood his orders and Confederate General Johnston simply disobeyed his.

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6Medal of Honor Blunder

Medal of Honor Blunder

During the Civil War, an entire regiment of 864 men was accidentally awarded the Medal of Honor as a result of a typographical error.

7. During the American Civil War, Union Col. Benjamin Grierson led a Union cavalry raid which rode over 600 miles through Confederate territory destroying railroads, freeing slaves, and inflicting 10 times the casualties they received.

8. During the American Civil War, the Catholic Pope almost gave the Confederacy diplomatic recognition. US government was so upset that it did not send an ambassador to the Vatican until 1984.

9. During the American Civil War, maple syrup was advertised as a socially responsible alternative to slave-produced cane sugar.

10. During the American Civil War, it was common for soldiers on opposing sides to have musical duels the night before a battle.

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11Christmas On The Rappahannock

Christmas On The Rappahannock

During the American Civil War, soldiers patrolling the Rappahannock River engaged in a Christmas truce once. On that day in 1862, greetings were shouted back and forth, and supplies were exchanged via toy boats. Northern coffee, sugar, and pork was exchanged for Southern corn, tobacco, and persimmons.

12. During the American Civil War, the Union troops came up with their own version of Dixieland called Union Dixie telling the story of how they felt about their southern counterparts.

13. During the American Civil War, generals would deliberately expose themselves to enemy fire to show off their courage and to lead by example. Union general Kearny rode right next to confederate lines, saying "The Rebel bullet that can kill me has not yet been molded." Shortly after he was shot and killed.

14. During the American Civil War, the Confederates actually had a militia unit that was almost entirely made up of free persons of color called the 1st Louisiana Native Guard. The militia unit was the first of any in North America to employ African-American officers, even predating the Union.

15. During the US Civil War, General Sherman implemented the scorched earth policy by having his men pile all deed books in front of the courthouse and burn them. His logic was that consequently the big plantations would not be able to prove land ownership.

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16Quaker Gun

Quaker Gun

During the American Civil War, both sides employed logs that were carved, painted, and mounted to look like cannons at a distance. This gave the impression that a fort or strong point was better armed than it actually was. They were called "Quaker Cannons" and repeatedly proved effective.

17. During the American Civil War, when a Confederate ship was harbored in Australia for repairs, around 18 Confederates soldiers deserted to Australia and 42 Australians joined as stowaways, effectively becoming Confederates until the end of the Civil War.

18. During the American Civil War, the siege and defeat of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi (May 18 – July 4, 1863) was so bloody and demoralizing, that the Fourth of July was not celebrated in Vicksburg for the next 44 years.

19. During the US Civil War, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard employed a servant to daily wax his mustache, and summoned his own cow from New Orleans, claiming that his delicate stomach could abide no other milk.

20. There were a few "sponsored" units in the American Civil War. The Chicago Board of Trade Independent Light Artillery, one such unit, was formed in August 1862, and swiftly followed later that month by the competing Chicago Mercantile Independent Light Battery Artillery.

21Stock Market Crash In India

Stock Market Crash In India

American Civil War led to the first stock market crash in India (British India). In the preceding years, speculation about the results of the American civil war had led to irrational increases in stocks of new Indian companies.

22. USS Red Rover was a 650-ton Confederate States of America steamer that the United States Navy captured. After refitting the vessel, the Union used it as a hospital ship during the American Civil War. It became U.S. Navy’s first hospital ship.

23. During the American Civil War, the Union regularly cracked the Confederacy's coded messages because the Confederacy relied on a limited number of key phrases for encrypting their messages, one of which was "Complete Victory."

24. American Civil War Union soldiers were issued 36 pounds of coffee a year and the word "coffee" appeared more in journal entries than "war," "bullet," "cannon," "slavery," "mother" or "Lincoln."

25. The Battle of Picacho Pass was the westernmost battle of the American Civil War. It occurred near Tucson, Arizona while it was still a part of the New Mexico Territory. This was 50 years before Arizona’s statehood.

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