From the first shot fired at Fort Sumter until the end of the war four years later, food played a crucial role in specific battles, military campaigns and civilian life throughout the Civil War. Why did the South—the preeminent agricultural region of the nation in 1860—suffer from hunger during the Civil War? How did the North with its much larger urban population and smaller (proportionally) number of farmers feed its armies and civilians abundantly throughout the war and still export massive agricultural surpluses to Europe? What role did food play in the outcome of the Civil War? And how did American food change as a result of the Civil War?