This steady issue of paper money, with nothing to redeem it, led to its rapid decrease in value. In 1864 it took $40 in Confederate paper money to buy a yard of calico. A spool of thread cost $20; a ham, $150; a pound of sugar, $75; and a barrel of flour, $1200.
%475. Makeshifts.%—Thrown on their own resources, the Southern people became home manufacturers. The inner shuck of Indian corn was made into hats. Knitting became fashionable. Homespun clothing, dyed with the extract of black-walnut bark or wild indigo or swamp maple or elderberries, was worn by everybody. Barrels and boxes which had been used for packing salt fish and pork were soaked in water, which was evaporated for the sake of the salt thus extracted. Rye or wheat roasted and ground became a substitute for coffee, and dried raspberry leaves for tea.
Quite as desperate were the shifts to which the South was put for soldiers. At first every young man was eager to rush to the front. But as time passed, and the great armies of the North were formed, it became necessary to force men into the ranks, to “conscript” them; and in 1862 an act of the Confederate Congress made all males from eighteen to thirty-five subject to military duty. In September, 1862, all men from eighteen to forty-five, and later from sixteen to sixty, were subject to conscription. The slaves, of course, worked on the fortifications, drove teams, and cooked for the troops.
%476. Cost to the South%.—Thus drained of her able-bodied population, the South went rapidly to rack and ruin. Crops fell off, property fell into decay, business stopped, railroads were ruined because men could not be had to keep them in repair, and because no rails could be obtained. The loss inflicted by this general and widespread ruin can never be even estimated. Cotton, houses, property of every sort, was destroyed to prevent capture by the Union forces. On every battlefield incalculable damage was done to woods, villages, farmhouses, and crops. Bridges were burned; cities, such as Richmond, Atlanta, Columbia, Charleston, were well-nigh destroyed by fire; thousands of miles of railroad were torn up and ruined. The loss entailed by the emancipation of the slaves, supposing each negro worth $500, amounts to $2,000,000,000.
1. When the war opened, and the army and navy were called into the field, Congress proceeded to raise money by three methods: A. Increasing taxation. B. Issuing bonds. C. Issuing paper money.