Best Defense

Sherman (II) recalls a Civil War battle fought over some fields of blackberries

Sherman mentions in an aside in his memoirs that there was once combat between skirmishers from the federal government and the rebels over fruit. "I have known the skirmish-line, without orders, to fight a respectable battle for the possession of some old fields that were full of blackberries." This was not just a matter of ...

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Wikimedia

Sherman mentions in an aside in his memoirs that there was once combat between skirmishers from the federal government and the rebels over fruit. "I have known the skirmish-line, without orders, to fight a respectable battle for the possession of some old fields that were full of blackberries."

This was not just a matter of good taste. Blackberries were useful in warding off scurvy, and so particularly valuable when other antidotes, such as lime juice, pickles, and sauerkraut, were unavailable.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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