Join Date: November 2, 1998
And to go with those shoes...
TFL brings you hoisery, well, sorta.
SAVANNAH [GA] REPUBLICAN, October 19, 1863, p. 1, c. 4
A Substitute for Socks.
[Correspondent of the Register & Advertiser]
Marion Station, Oct. 7, 1863
In your issue of the 23d inst. I noticed a letter from a soldier on the subject of "covering for our soldiers." Many an appeal will, no doubt, soon be made to that effect, and I feel confident will be nobly responded to by the patriotic self-sacrificing ladies of the South.—Woolen socks will be needed; nevertheless, as there may be many a soldier who will be sadly deficient and unprovided in that respect, owing to the high price of wool, and to the growing scarcity of cotton, I thought it might not come amiss to call the attention of the soldiers to the following facts that came under my notice while travelling in Europe. During a winter's stay in France, I noticed that, as a general thing, the peasantry and soldiers wore no socks at all, but spread in the bottom of the boot or shoe a layer of soft beaten straw or hay, of sufficient thickness, without producing any pressure on the foot; the reason of this is obvious, since any pressure on the foot prevents the circulation of the blood, and consequently causes cold feet. The novelty of the system induced me to try the experiment, and I can, therefore, from experience, testify to its utility in point of comfort and economy; for while I used hay as a substitute, I never suffered from cold feet, nor had even occasion to grieve o'er
"Heel-worn, to [illegible] sock",
The greatest of all griefs, to bachelors of three score."
The advantage of the substitute I have suggested will appear plain, when its philosophy is considered, for what are generally the external causes that produce cold feet, beside the one above mentioned? Want of cleanliness, socks seldom or never washed. But allow even these to be clean, yet the moisture which arises from perspiration, and is absorbed by the socks being unable to evaporate, renders them damp, and necessarily produces cold feet; but all this is obviated by the simple substitute I have suggested. Moreover the hay so far from hurting the feet, by producing a gentle friction has a tendency to worm them, while any moisture arising, meeting with no absorbing surface, evaporates as rapidly as engendered, and thus the feet are kept dry and warm.
If necessity, the mother of invention, taught those trans-atlantic savages, perhaps centuries ago, the use of hay as a comfortable substitute for socks, let not our high toned soldiery, in this our pressing necessity, and in this enlightened country, consider it a retrograde step in civilization to "go and do likewise." I would advise them to give it at least a trial; and, if it is found to answer, let the wool be saved, be used in providing warm clothes for the "covering of our soldiers."
In view of the approaching winter, I have frequently mentioned these facts to the soldiers in the hospital, with the request to communicate them to their comrades, on returning to their respective comrades; but believing that my object will be more speedily accomplished by giving publicity to them through your columns, I determined to write to you, leaving it to your judgment to reject or insert this communication, if you think it proper.
With sentiments of the highest respect, I remain, gentlemen, yours, etc.
F. W. Damus,
Chaplain, P. A. C. S.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!