Song From the Civil War Held Girl Spellbound

Great-uncle among Union soldiers to survive Andersonville, composes song about experience.

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One story from the Civil War held me spellbound as a child. My grandfather's oldest brother was among the Union soldiers from Illinois, and he was imprisoned at Andersonville Prison. He composed a song and sang it for us. It was a nice tune, and the words have stayed with me all these years.

The rations at Andersonville were supposed to be one pint of raw cornmeal three times daily, but the prisoners held out their hands to get it (not a pint by far), and they lapped it up uncooked.

So he wrote the song and sang it for us. The part I remember so vividly had to do with the cornmeal. Here it is.

What was our daily bill of fare

In this "cecess" saloon?

A pint of meal, ground cob and all

Each morning, night and noon.

Where thousands lay by night and day,

By far too weak to stand,

'Till death relieved their suffering

In Dixie's sunny land.

This "cecess" word may be wrong, but I think it meant secede, like the South did.

Mrs. H.M. Masiella
St. Louis, 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.