Town's Young Men Answer Call of Father Abraham

Joining Union Army had to wait for one underage boy; when he did join, the rations were hardtack and salt pork.

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When the Civil War broke out, my uncle, together with some other boys and young men of his town, answered the call of "Father Abraham" to join the Union Army. But he was underage and his mother pulled him out, so he had to wait several years to join.

The rations were hardtack, which was almost too hard to eat, and a piece of salt pork, which each soldier had to cook himself. And though I'm not sure, there may have been coffee and beans, too.

Some of the men improved the rations by raiding the surrounding countryside at night for fresh meat. My uncle accompanied one of these men one night. He got a bad scare when he almost got caught, and he didn't try it again.

In his older years he could still remember and sing songs of Civil War days, like "Marching Through Georgia" and "Can She Make a Cherry Pie, Billy Boy?"

Paul Tulien
Topeka, Kansas


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.