This Day in Dayton, 19 August

The 72nd soon learned to supplement their sparse supplies by “foraging.” Eventually, when the army was in enemy territory, seizing food and firewood from civilians would be recognized as a legitimate war operation, preventing the enemy army from getting supplies, but in Kentucky in August 1862 it was out of bounds. Food and wood (and later food for the horses) were so scarce, however, that officers often looked the other way. One cold night the men explained that the fence rails they were burning for warmth were limbs from “abolition trees.” Since there was no other wood readily available, Capt. Pinkerton went along with the fiction (McGee, pp. 24–25).

Susan ClawsonComment