Armies Forage for Food During the Civil War

Both the Union Army and Confederate Army foraged for food, including taking family's molasses in an unusual container.

Content Tools

My grandfather fought in the Civil War, leaving behind his wife and several small children. It is well-known how both the Union Army and the Confederate Army had to forage for food. One day a runner came to my grandmother's home saying word had come that an army was coming, taking any food they could find. My grandmother, with the help of the children, began taking all the food they could inside the house. A large wooden barrel filled with molasses was too heavy to be moved.

The army, of course, found the barrel, but it was too heavy and bulky to take along so they began looking for a container in which to take part of the molasses. The only thing available was an old stone crock, which Grandmother, having no slop jar, had used for the family so she would not have to take her children outside at night when they had to go to "the restroom." She had placed it outside to sun.

Being ignorant of its use, they filled the crock with molasses and went on their way. I can still picture my grandmother as she told the story and laughed until tears ran down her cheeks.

Rosell Kirk
Seneca, Missouri


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.