Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 1863 – “Bread Riots” by Women of Mobile

This day 150 years ago in Rebel Raiders’ History

-Dedicated to Civil War episodes, battles, people and ships that also appear in my game, GMT’s Rebel Raiders on the High Seas

September 4, 1863 –   “Bread Riots” by Women of Mobile


            Historical Event:   On this day in 1863 riots were reported in Mobile.  Severe shortages of food, medicine and even clothing sparked protests in many Southern cities that year.  Collectively known as the Southern Bread Riots, crowds of mostly women marched carrying banners demanding “Bread and Peace” and “Bread or Blood.”
  In Mobile, women carrying hatchets chopped down doors and broke into stores to steal food, medicine and clothing.  When the garrison commander, General Maury ordered the 17th Alabama to stop the rioters by force – the men mutinied.  They refused to fire upon the women, many of whom were their wives, sisters, sweethearts and mothers.   Maury then ordered the Mobile Cadets into action – a fancy militia company of older, wealthier men and their sons.  The Cadets strode forward mightily – and were put to rout by the women!  The city’s mayor and the provost marshal then went before the mob of hungry women and promised that if they would go home that the government would open military storehouses and meet their needs.

            Game Connection:    The gnawing attrition of a long war, exacerbated by the effects of the blockade on the Confederacy, along with the loss of territory and the severing of the Mississippi River lifeline to their western sources of gold and beef cattle are reflected in the Confederate Supply Phase die roll.  Each turn the Confederate player must roll one, and lose that number of Victory Points.  An additional die is rolled for each of Atlanta and Richmond that are lost, and an additional three dice are rolled if the Union has control of all three key cities on the Mississippi.
            Victory Points are essential to the South to purchase additional forces, cards and counterattacks – and to keep from losing the game.


            There are also cards that reflect the strain upon the civilian population caused by the blockade and other economic pressures, notably USN Card 40 Satin & Lace, No Guns, which reduce the value of cargo unloaded by Blockade Runners the turn it is played (reflecting that, as the card notes “Blockade Runners load up with luxury goods, not war material”) and USN Card 41 Plumb Wore Out…Southern Economy Falters, which add modifiers to the Supply die roll for ports and cities lost.    (Below are newspaper drawings of the bread riots in Richmond, which occurred in April 1863)



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