Foraging to supplement an army’s meager supplies was, as William Tecumseh Sherman reputedly once said, a “right as old as history.” While in the field or encamped during the winter when fresh vegetables were scarce, foraging was a practice employed by both the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
Both armies often took what they believed they needed from the local populace and frequently paid in IOUs which were never redeemed. Southerners in Union dominated regions especially despised Yankee foragers. Sometimes Confederates who captured Union foraging details executed the unfortunate Federals.
Such fortunately was not the case on Friday, January 22, 1864 for a Union foraging party which was captured, surrendering several wagons of goods, near Wilsonville, Tennessee. Other Union foragers would not be so lucky.