Civil War culture in America–both North and South–was greatly distinct from life in the antebellum years. As the war dragged on, the soldier’s life was one of near-constant hardship and deprivation, from substandard clothing and equipment to barely edible and usually insufficient rations. Many of the soldiers tried to distract themselves by singing and playing instruments, and the resulting patriotic marches and sad ballads became a musical legacy of the conflict. Newspapers–many of which featured reports directly from the battlefield–were more widely distributed than ever before, shaping the public’s wartime experience to a greater extent than any previous conflict. Photography, another relatively new development, brought the horrific imagery of the war into the urban centers of the North. Finally, the Civil War had a tremendous economic impact, particularly in the South, where a northern blockade and the lack of a sound currency made it increasingly difficult to keep the Confederate economy afloat.