By mid-1864, the State of Virginia had been overrun for several years by armies and crops confiscated, devastated or burned by the enemy, and civilians especially suffered greatly. Daniel Sutherland writes in Seasons of War (1995) of enemy troops reverting “to their old habits of living off the civilian population, still justified, by [Northern General John] Pope’s orders. If the new wave of brigandage has been less extensive than the first orgy, that is only because less remains to be stolen or vandalized.”
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
Self-Sacrifice at the Front
“One noteworthy example of the self-sacrifice of our soldiers is remembered with especial pride.
On June 15 and 17, 1864, the women and children of Richmond had been suffering for food, and the Thirtieth Virginia [Regiment] sent them one day’s rations of flour, pork, bacon and veal, not from their abundance, but by going without the day’s ration themselves.
“Yet,” said a journal of that time, “despatches from General Lee show that nearly every regiment in his army has re-enlisted for the war.”
On April 30th, when we were threatened on every side, and encompassed so perfectly that we could only hope for a miracle to overcome our foes, Mr. Davis’s health declined from loss of sleep so that he forgot to eat, and I resumed the practice of carrying him something at one-o’clock.”
(Jefferson Davis, Varina Howell Davis, Belford Company, 1890, Vol. II, excerpt, page 496)