1863 September 19: “Reserve Strength of the Free States”
This article was copied from the September 10, 1863, issue of the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel and reprinted in the September 19, 1863, issue of The Polk County Press.
The class of persons who are continually croaking about the North being unable to live without the South—who tell us that the South have always contributed more to the support of the Government, and the great commercial interests of the nation, will see by the following from the “Milwaukee Sentinel” that in the North alone, are the true elements of strength and prosperity :
“RESERVE STRENGTH OF THE FREE STATES.— A few figures lately obtained from the Department of Agriculture, tell a story which enemies of Free Government would do well to consider. Our total agricultural exports (exclusive to cotton) in 1860—when we were at peace—were $90,849,556, of which Southern ports exported $19,738,365. In 1861, with half a million of men in arms, and no Southern exports, they amounted to $137,056,405, and in 1862, with a million of men in the field (one-half of them from the rural districts) and no Southern exports, they reached the sum of $155,142,075. The amount of wheat and flour alone exported from loyal ports in the year ending September 1, 1863, exceeding that of the previous year by over seven millions of bushels. Estimating the force of our army (and its employees) in the field at one million of men, and the rations per diem to each man at 22 ounces of flour, it requires for its supply per year 12,800,000 bushels of wheat. Was there ever a country in the world one-half of which could feed such an army, largely made up from its agricultural population, and yet so wonderfully increase its exports of bread-stuffs ? And our food producing capacity is only one point in the reserved strength of the United States ; the manufacturing, mining, and internal navigation and railroad interests of the Free States have all prospered and expanded as never before.”