There was one other source from which soldiers — at least, some soldiers — replenished their larder, or added to its variety. The means employed to accomplish this end was known as Foraging, which is generally understood to mean a seeking after food, whether for man or beast, and appropriating to one's own use whatsoever is found in this line, wheresoever it is found in an enemy's country. It took the army some time to adopt this mode of increasing its stores. This arose from the fact that early in the war many of the prominent government and military officers thought that a display of force with consideration shown the enemy's property would win the South back to her allegiance to the Union; but that if, on the other hand, they devastated property and appropriated personal effects, it would only embitter the enemy, unite them more solidly, and greatly prolong the war; so that for many months after war began, Northern troops were prohibited from seizing fence-rails, poultry, swine, straw, or any similar merchandise in which
“Can we all forget the foraging the boys were prone to do,
As with problematic rations we were marching Dixie through;
And the dulcet screech of chanticleer or soothing squeal of swine,
When occurred the grateful halt or brief excursion from the line?