One hundred and fifty years ago, the general readership focus began to shift in Arkansas newspapers. While the past several months focus was on the civilian support for the organizing army in Arkansas, the demographic shifts to the common soldier. Topics of articles one hundred and fifty years ago include the likes of general advice to the soldiers.
In mid-October, 1861, and Arkansas newspaper related that, “with all of our love for those who are fighting our battles, with all our hopes and anticipations of success, against an enemy who would enslave us, we are furnishing our soldiers with a diet which has proven more destructive to their ranks than the sword of the enemy.” The article goes on to note that while the average Southern soldiers diet had consisted in the past of Indian cornbread and vegetables, the current diet of the same men in the army was of finely ground flour and meat, a diet which would prove most unhealthy and nutrient starved, cause illness and medical phenomenon including “tough and difficult digestion…dyspepsia and constipation.
Likewise noted in that same issue of the Arkansas True Democrat was listed various recipes for the soldiers to make use of on their campaigns far from home. One example is the recipe for tea: “dried dog-fennel leaves, three tablespoons, a small scrap of sole-leather and five drops of paregoric, boil fifteen minutes, and an excellent imitation of imperial green will be produced, for which flavor and effects upon the nervous system, far surpasses the original article.”