Song From the Civil War Held Girl Spellbound

Great-uncle among Union soldiers to survive Andersonville, composes song about experience.
CAPPER's Staff
Good Old Days

Content Tools

Related Content

Curious Comfort

A paragraph or two on what different people consider comfort foods.

Free Is Always Good

Some of the varieties of free fruits available for the taking. All it takes is a little time, a litt...

Where The Warm Wind Blows

A special spot on my farm where the warm wind blows.

Hot Cross Buns

A family tradition making Hot Cross Buns.

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. 

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!