Historical accounts have a way of exposing--and exploding--many popular prepper beliefs and myths

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GrizzlyetteAdams

Crap Creek Survivor, Female
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Historical accounts have a way of exposing--and exploding--many popular prepper beliefs and myths. This publication, in particular, impresses me partly because it is relatively recent and on my home soil in the USA. Civil War buffs, preppers, and survivalists will find this book useful and enlightening: Ersatz in the Confederacy by Mary Elizabeth Massey. It is an old book, published in 1952 by the University of South Carolina Press, but now and then a used copy shows up on Amazon.com. The author was an Associate Professor of History, Winthrop College and was a stickler for minute details about how people dealt with the appalling hardships and tribulation of the Civil War days.

Although the setting was in southern America, food was scarce. Even rats were becoming hard to find for food in some places. Common garden seeds were as rare as gold...there were serious salt shortages...

Here is an eye-opening excerpt to chew on:

"With meat practically nonexistent, fishing tackle scarce, and ammunition for hunting purposes hard to obtain, other substitutes had to be found. By the fall of 1864 things had come to such a pass that one (newspaper) editor suggested his readers resort to eating rats, frogs, fried snails, young crow, snakes, locusts, earthworms, cats and dogs... By this time many Confederates had already been eating these things. Rats had become an item in the diet of many. President Davis was quoted as saying that he saw no reason for not eating them, for he thought they would be "as good as squirrels." They were eaten in quantity by the besieged citizens of Vicksburg. On the eve of the capitulation of that city, a lady noted that rats were "hanging dressed in the market for sale...there is nothing else." They sometimes brought as much as $2.50 each. In Richmond, too, they found their way to the tables, while recipes for cooking them were circulated among the women."

Imagine that! Even squirrels were in scarce supply, along with everything else that could be hunted. It is hard to imagine that even rats became an expensive market item. $2.50 was a LOT of money for that time period. ONE RAT = ALMOST $40 in today's dollars!!!!

http://www.in2013dollars.com/1865-do...18?amount=2.50

Aside from that bit of info, the entire book opened my eyes, and I learned a lot of new tricks about how to deal with potential future deprivations.

I found tons of valuable and practical information packed in this 233-page book. The footnotes listed at the end of the book is so detailed that it even includes recipes and other rich notations.

I ought to make a Cliff's Notes type summary of this book. It's that good.


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Aerindel, DeanB, Sourdough and 6 others like this.

Comments

    1. elkhound Aug 1, 2019
      the part you wrote about seeds being rare as gold triggered a memory/story in my brain. seeds are so often over looked and not valued for what they are or what they can and could be by many. theres lots of old seed varieties that use to go by family sir names and were guarded and not shared as families wealth and well being hinged on them often. also including livestock.

      during the Siege of Leningrad the Pavlovsk Experimental Station fell into german hands.But not before scientist saved the day by hiding seed stocks.please read about these heroes.they are heroes to all humankind.

      another interesting story about seeds is the story about Stowells evergreen corn and how it was so guarded by this family and how it 'got away ' from this family and they didn't receive the due financial compensation they should have from the sell of it by a 'trusted friend' the friend did and by the time it was found out the seed had been propagated and expanded enough to offer it to public by a seed company.



      Pavlovsk Experimental Station

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlovsk_Experimental_Station


      Siege of Leningrad

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad
      GrizzlyetteAdams likes this.
    2. The Innkeeper Jul 29, 2019
      @Sonofliberty if they were getting the equivalent of $40 for a rat, I doubt there was much rabbit about, I know I surely wouldn’t be able to afford one
    3. CountryGuy Jul 28, 2019
      I love Townsend's videos and the great recipes they go thru and methods of how things were done back in the day here in the US. I was just watching a few of his vids for making a spruce beer and a ginger beer that I think I'm going to try. He's big into re-enactments and his store sells most of the equipment and clothing that you see in his vids and much more. I think some of the recipes books he references are also available as reprints. A while back he had Coalcracker on there showing how a frontier woodsman would set up his camp and cooking fire which had some great things I'd never thought of.
    4. GrizzlyetteAdams Jul 28, 2019
      By the way, you can sort the comments to appear in a normal thread-style (instead of seeing the newest posts first, which is confusing because the thread does not flow in a logical manner).

      Go to the very bottom of this page, see the link "Sort Comments" then select "Date: Ascending."

      Also, the forum software on the blogging side seems wonky lately, as in not posting your comments very quickly. As in, stuck on stupid and buffering, and buffering... This has resulted in more than a few "double posts" in efforts to make it "go."

      What works for me: I wait a few minutes then leave. When I return, I will see that my post has been posted.


      .
    5. GrizzlyetteAdams Jul 28, 2019
      To those who are not familiar with the Townsend & Sons that Elkhound mentioned, here is their highly educational Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/jastownsendandson

      There are many tutorials for 18th-century skills that are of practical value now and when the SHTF. They cover it all...from cooking (many delicious recipes) to making a birchbark canoe in 12 hours, and much more.


      .
    6. elkhound Jul 28, 2019
      this historical account along with many many others should make us want to mylar some food and bury at least a few buckets in the ground just in case.

      townsed and sons has many old books he reads from time to time on his youtube channel talking about the way it was back 'then'.
    7. Morgan101 Jul 22, 2019
      In 1862 when Vicksburg was under siege the population was about 5,000 people. Population in the U.S. was about 31 million. Today the population if Vicksburg is around 25,000; the population of the U.S. is 330 million. If the wildlife population was decimated then what do you think would happen now with a human population at least 10 times larger. What have we done to see that wildlife populations are even stable?
    8. Morgan101 Jul 22, 2019
      In 1862 when Vicksburg was under siege the population was about 5,000 people. Population in the U.S. was about 31 million. Today the population if Vicksburg is around 25,000; the population of the U.S. is 330 million. If the wildlife population was decimated then what do you think would happen now with a human population at least 10 times larger. What have we done to see that wildlife populations are even stable?
      TMT Tactical likes this.
    9. Old Geezer Jul 21, 2019
      Yum-yum, eat'em up, eat'em up, yum-yum, eat'em up!

      Raising rats:

      This video is short then repeats inumerable times


      Building a rat farm:


      "U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport have confirmed the seizure of 32 pounds of rat meat, taken from a passenger arriving in Chicago from the Ivory Coast late last month." article:
      https://www.foxnews.com/travel/officials-chicago-airport-seize-rat-meat-ohare

      In India, some religious groups feed rats:

      [​IMG]

      Is the child there to eat or be eaten?
    10. GrizzlyetteAdams Jul 20, 2019
      @CountryGuy :

      You asked, "As I recall quite a bit of the settings and items were about what happened in Vicksburg, MS wasn't it?"


      The book covers erstatz ways and means that were used in the entire area of the Confederacy. It included many interesting bits of information from just about every southern state in the USA.


      .
    11. CountryGuy Jul 20, 2019
      I read part of the book years ago but didn't finish it; I need to dig it up and read it completely this time around.

      As I recall quite a bit of the settings and items were about what happened in Vicksburg, MS wasn't it? After the siege and bombardments the entire place had been shelled and stripped bare for anything that could help take away hunger. Location isn't a guarantee that you'll be able to survive. Keep in mind that just because a climate is good and you generally have had good growing seasons or plentiful game and things "should" be good to survive it isn't always the case. After the months of battle, artillery barrages and the hunting pressure put on fish and game around many of those cities by the armies of both sides, how much was still there to try to kill? Much of the game had likely ran off when the shelling all started. I mean after Sherman rolled thru the south and burned and razed everything, poisoned wells, captured or killed the remaining horses or livestock how was anyone to survive. What would you do if your crops were still weeks from maturing and you were relying on them to feed you now and thru the coming months until you could plant again and then it's all burnt to the ground or ran over or mowed off?
    12. GrizzlyetteAdams Jul 20, 2019
      What surprised me: rats were in such demand to the point that they became highly valuable.

      Today, many of us think we can ride out SHTF with gardens, small game, and stocks of food. Yet, in the American south where the growing seasons are long, rainfall is abundant, nut trees and squirrels are everywhere (even in cities)...it was not enough.

      People in those days gardened, hunted, and fished a LOT more than they do now. It was a natural way of life for them to maintain a well-stocked pantry. Yet, in a short time, they were reduced to buying rats which became so limited in supply that they were obscenely expensive.

      That exploded a few long-held beliefs in my mind.


      .
    13. Old Geezer Jul 20, 2019
      Ratatouille
    14. CountryGuy Jul 20, 2019
      Yeah quail and rabbits could be a good money maker but would require safe guarding. Luckily both animals are quiet and don't draw attention.

      I don't recall on how old rabbits need to be (3-4 months?) but Courtnix quail can be ready to butcher in like 6 wks and the hens start laying eggs at about the same time and produce an egg a day. You can fit 4-5 birds into a simple homemade, hardware cloth cage that is about 2'x2'. So you can build a rack system and quietly have many birds in an attached garage or out in a shed. That allows a person to have multiple flocks going at a time, hatching out the next batch, culling the males regularly for meat each week and getting eggs. I'm told that its about 2-3 med to lrg quail egg to a single large chicken egg. Every few months you could cull your older layers to get a bit of a surplus meat supply and you would already have the replacement young hens producing.

      But then the question becomes who wants money? At some point maybe something like ammo, silver or gold but I could see in the more immediate months or years wanting things like canning jars, tools or other items of value that can be used. maybe something like (6) 1-qt canning jars for a bird. Once you could have excess jars and lids would allow you to can birds from larger culls to have a shelf stable product and something easier used by those without the knowledge, skill or time to clean and cook a raw quail. Just thought on function stacking.
    15. CountryGuy Jul 20, 2019
      Yeah quail and rabbits could be a good money maker but would require safe guarding. Luckily both animals are quiet and don't draw attention.

      I don't recall on how old rabbits need to be (3-4 months?) but Courtnix quail can be ready to butcher in like 6 wks and the hens start laying eggs at about the same time and produce an egg a day. You can fit 4-5 birds into a simple homemade, hardware cloth cage that is about 2'x2'. So you can build a rack system and quietly have many birds in an attached garage or out in a shed. That allows a person to have multiple flocks going at a time, hatching out the next batch, culling the males regularly for meat each week and getting eggs. I'm told that its about 2-3 med to lrg quail egg to a single large chicken egg. Every few months you could cull your older layers to get a bit of a surplus meat supply and you would already have the replacement young hens producing.

      But then the question becomes who wants money? At some point maybe something like ammo, silver or gold but I could see in the more immediate months or years wanting things like canning jars, tools or other items of value that can be used. maybe something like (6) 1-qt canning jars for a bird. Once you could have excess jars and lids would allow you to can birds from larger culls to have a shelf stable product and something easier used by those without the knowledge, skill or time to clean and cook a raw quail. Just thought on function stacking.
      TMT Tactical, Radar and The Innkeeper like this.
    16. Sonofliberty Jul 19, 2019
      $40 for a rat lol. WTSHTF, maybe I will start raising them. I wonder how much a rabbit was going for?