Coffee is a beloved drink to people worldwide, including U.S. soldiers since it was added to their rations in 1832. It was held in such high esteem by soldiers of the Civil War, that it has a prominent place in art and literature of the time. Although the current coffee ration that remains in the U.S. soldiers’ MRE is much easier to prepare, it is still a highly valued commodity.
- Coffee was one of the most cherished items in the ration. The effect on morale must have been considerable.
- Its stimulating effects were nonetheless treasured. “What a Godsend it seemed to us at times!” Billings wrote.
- When the Union blockade was in effect, the coffee trade in the South virtually dried up, forcing Southern soldiers and civilians to drink coffee substitutes that were weak approximations at best.
“Between half-rotten meat and iron-tough bread, the Union food ration was often a disappointment.”