By Timothy Koenig “For sugar the government often got sand; for coffee, rye; for leather, something no better than brown paper; for sound horses and mules, spavined beasts and dying donkeys; and for serviceable muskets and pistols, the experimental failures of sanguine inventors, or the refuse of shops and foreign armories.” So wrote Harper’s Monthly journalist Robert Tomes in July 1864. What Tomes was describing was far from uncommon during the American Civil War, a war that many have pu

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