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Thread: Barefoot Soldiers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Richmond, VA

    Default Barefoot Soldiers

    This article was published in the section called The Civil War 150th on December 30th, 2013. The Richmond Times Dispatch prints a daily event or occurence that was written about in a newspaper or letter every day. The following was originally published "From the pages of the Daily Dispatch" on December 30th, 1863. Mods please feel free to move this or edit my reference to conform to standards if needed:

    Three Thousand Barefooted Soldiers
    We Place before our readers an interesting letter from "Personnel," the army correspondent of the Charleston Courier, who is now with Gen. Longstreet's command. His reference to the barefooted soldiers of the command cannot fail to elicit the sympathies of our people, and some effort should be speedily made to furnish these gallant soldiers with shoes. The letter is dated near Rogersville, East Tennessee, Longstreet's corps, December 11. We make the following extracts:

    To one point I wish to call the attention of our people at home. There are at this moment from three thousand to thirty-five hundred barefooted men in this army. Some of them are officers high in rank. ... The weather is so cold that the icicles around the water-falls are as thick as a man's body. In twenty minutes after sundown, liquid freezes solid. The surface of the ground is as hard as a rock, and at every step the frozen edges of earth cut into naked feet, until the path of the army may be almost said to have been tracked in blood. To remedy the evil, I have seen these men, accustomed as they were at home to every luxury, strip their coats and blankets from backs, and tie the rags around their feet, I have seen them take the fresh hide of cattle, reeking with the warm blood, and fashion therefrom rude moccasins to last them for the day's march; and I have seen them beg in piteous terms of passing horsemen for a brief respite to their painful walk, and where this has failed, offer five, ten, and twenty dollars for the privilege of riding a few miles.
    Mike Barnes
    44th VA / 25th OH

    Blanket Collector (hoarder)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Columbus, OH


    Barefoot due to extreme wear was not exclusive to Confederate troops. The winter campaigning in the western Virginia mountains early in the war had the same effect upon Union soldiers, with supply falling far short of demand for shoes.
    Bernard Biederman
    30th OVI
    Co. B

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Accounts from Union troops around Knoxville during and after Longstreet's 'siege' in fall of 1863 also mention a shortage of shoes.
    Scott Lawalin
    Pvt., 49th Indiana

    "You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; [then] beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." - General Sir James Napier


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