Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weapon's for the New Trooper

Today at Brandy Station: June 1, 1863

Today we have another letter from Jacob Kent Langhorne -- this one to his father.

A portion of it: "...I had my mare valued at 650$. My arms have not cost me a cent. One of the men gave me a rifle captured at Chancellorsville and I drew a pair of pistols from ordnance wagon which I will return as soon as I can capture one. I bought a sabre for 3$, the best one I have seen..."

There are a few interesting items in this letter. The mare is valued at $650. Inflation has begun to take hold in the south. At the start of the war, good horses were sold (if you didn't already have one) for between $200 - $400. By the end of the war, horses would be valued at over $1000. Now Kent didn't buy his horse, it was appraised, but you can see the effects the war was having on the economy.

His weapons. Kent received a captured rifle from a trooper, his pistols were a temporary issue and he purchased the sabre for $3. In June 1863, the Confederacy is having difficulty supplying arms to its' forces. New recruits are receiving battlefield plunder, loaned weapons until he can they can capture their own and have to pay for sabres.

The impact of the blockade, and the inability of the southern industry to produce war material is effects a new recruit. He discusses it with his father as if it is routine. Unfortunately, it is.

The letter as well as a wealth of other terrific material can be found on the University of Virgina's Valley of the Shadow website.

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