Life in the North VS Life in South

By: Sanjana Jain

North (Union)

Life in the North for the Soliders

Most of the men who signed up to fight in the war didn't think about the hardships of being a soldier. They simply wanted to honor their country and have a little adventure. The North had a huge advantage over the South, so many thought the war would last only a few months. For one, the South depended on farming and slave labor, whereas the North relied on industry and factories and machines did all of the work.

The solider camps were hardly fit for humans to live in. As the war went on, there were fewer and fewer supplies (clothes, shoes, food, etc.). Most of the soldiers died from disease and dehydration rather than from bullets and cannon shells. The tents that the soldiers slept in were described as "pieces of cloth pitched up with sticks". It was far easier to enlist as a soldier than to get a release from the army, so by the time soldiers realized the difficulties of army life, it was to late to quit.


Most men in the Union (North) were fighting for their country. This means that they left their wives to do all their jobs. Women played key roles in the Civil War; they either took jobs as spies, nurses, cooks, undercover soldiers, and/or they thy worked in the factories as their husbands that their husbands used to do. All civilians in the North faced a scarcity of supplies. For example, they had to give up certain foods and teas that were grown in the South, and they sacrificed some resources, such as metals, to help the army. Daily life was far less comfortable. Even though most people who weren't soldiers in the war didn't perish, some did when there were local mob attacks.

South (The Confederacy)


In both the North and South soldier camps were rough. Both sides had to live through cold winters and scorching hot summers, but the South fared less well because it also lacked an efficient transportation system. Transportation was important because it helped move supplies to the camp. Most of the time the Southern soldiers drank weak coffee and ate hard tack (made from flour, water, and some salt), a staple because it lasted so long without going bad. By the end of the war most Confederates didn't have any uniforms or shoes, and very few had enough food.


The civilian life in the South differed immensely from the North. Most of the men on both sides were away fighting in the war, so it was the women who did all the work. Since the South had very few factories and many more farms, most women worked the land and looked after the slaves. The latter was often difficult because, after president US Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, many slaves tried to escape to the North in hopes of joining the Union army (to fight against the people who had enslaved them).