Very Basic Equipment

Water was more important to the Civil War soldier than food and gunpowder. In summer, men were lost on marches because they suffered dehydration. Many of the first volunteers were given tin canteens, like this one, taken from U.S. government stockpiles.

Everyone's war

In the 1860s, some people were discouraged from joining the Union and Confederate armies due to old laws and traditions. Native Americans, for instance, were excluded from many volunteer regiments. In the Northeast, there was a great deal of prejudice against members of immigrant groups, and in many places they were also kept out of volunteer units. Men from all these minorities worked their way into the military in the same way: They formed their own volunteer regiments. Irishmen, Jews, Italians, and Germans enlisted in units made up of other patriotic immigrants. Native Americans fought in "Indian outfits" in both armies. The Benavides brothers from Texas raised a Confederate outfit made up of other Mexican Americans. The adventure of the Civil War also attracted professional soldiers from other countries, called foreign observers, who made themselves useful in battle. Some of them, such as Prussian army cavalry officer Heros Von Borke, who traveled with Robert E. Lee's Confederate army, actually went into combat.

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