Historic Gardening: Civil War Gardens

Gardens grow food or flowers. For this blog post – instead of getting into the agriculture of the crops and posies – I thought it might be more fun to share some stories about gardens during the Civil War.

First, though, let’s clarify a few things and then we’ll get to the stories. Most country homes had gardens. That garden would supply the food for a family and sometimes extra which could be preserved or sold in market. In the large cities, some large homes had little garden plots or formal gardens, but “farmers’ marketplaces” were common, and city slickers could buy their fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers from the country folk who brought their produce to the city.

Fresh fruits and vegetables prevent scurvy (and taste much better than hardtack and salt pork). Both armies – Union and Confederate – tried to find ways to get fresh produce from American gardens to the military camps or trenches…or the soldiers simply went foraging to steal from the local farmer’s garden. (More on that later in the article.)

Now – without further ado – here are a few wartime accounts in the garden setting: Continue reading

If Only In My Dreams…


It is a truth universally acknowledged that most people want to be home or with loved ones for the December holidays. Historically (and in the modern era), that isn’t always possible.

One Christmas song recorded in 1943 addressed that reality with touching nostalgia. It’s a sympathetic song without getting depressing or too melancholy. It comes from the World War II era (joining another hit song – “White Christmas”) in a treasury of historical songs from the mid-20th Century that are still played and enjoyed.

Today – as the second song in the 2016 series You’re Singing History – we present “I’ll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams).” Continue reading