During the Siege of Vicksburg, the citizens of Vicksburg had to use a lot of substitutes for everyday foods and products because the Yankees were stopping their supplies from reaching them AND the general store had to charge more money for each product, too. In my middle grade historical fiction novel Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, Anna, James, and Sara have to put up with many substitutes when the actual products are running low. So what kind of substitutes will you find in my novel? Each one of these below were actually used in 1863 by the people of Vicksburg:
- INK: Ink was expensive and/or not available. Instead, people would use berry juice as ink. It was difficult to read and very light on the page.
- PAPER: The people who ran the newspaper were determined to get it out to the Vicksburg citizens, in spite of the fact there was a paper shortage. They actually printed the news on the back of wallpaper!
- TEA: Tea was a popular drink in Vicksburg in 1863–but it was hard to get. People used sassafras, and today, that can actually be considered dangerous–to drink sassafras tea.
- COFFEE: Coffee grinds–nope! But the citizens of Vicksburg were creative. They ground up acorns instead!
- FLOUR: Flour for bread was in short supply, so people started mashing up dried peas and using that in the place of flour. The bread was hard and often didn’t cook well.
- MEAT: When fresh meat was scarce, some citizens ate rats to stay alive and in control of Vicksburg!
These are just a few of the substitutes. Do you know of any others or remember anything else from the novel? If you are interested in Finding My Place: please see http://margodill.com/blog/buy-finding-my-place/.