Thursday, March 11, 2010

What did they eat in the American Civil War?

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Napoleon was the first to realize the military advantage of being able to scientifically control an army’s food supply. In 1795 he offered a huge cash prize to anyone who could find a way to improve the method of supplying food to the campaigning French army. Nicholas Appert patented a method of hermetically sealing food for future use. This was an important step forward in military logistics. In 1823, Thomas Kensett, an American invented the tin can. Appert’s sealing method and Kensett’s tin can gave the Union army a tremendous logistics advantage by the time of the American Civil War. Northern factories and food processing facilities canned milk, meats, oysters and vegetables by use by the troops. The Confederate army was at a disadvantage, with most of its canned goods coming either through the capture of Union supplies or via blockade runners.

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