October 30, 1862, Mobile Register and Advertiser (Alabama)
An old and experienced citizen has called our attention to the subject of the use of cowhide moccasins as a substitute for shoes. He states that when he moved to the Mississippi, fifty-two years ago, no shoes were to be had for the negroes, and they made their own cut of this material, which answered the purpose as well as the more elaborately made article, and in some respects better. The process is simple: take a green cowhide, or one well soaked, with the hair on—which is to go next to the foot—”put the foot down firmly” upon it, and cut out the pattern desired; make the necessary holes along the edges, and lace it with a thong of the same material at the heel and up the instep. Let it dry upon the foot, and it accommodates itself perfectly to the shape of the latter, while it is sufficiently substantial for all kinds of traveling, and its elasticity is preserved by use. Socks should be put on when it is made, though it can be worn without, and such allowance made for shrinking as to avoid too tight a fit. The moccasin, it is scarcely necessary to observe, adapts itself to the shape of the foot, and the fit is perfect. It outwears leather, and is not hard, as some might suppose, but quite the reverse. If desired, it can be half soled with the same material. The hair lining gives the advantage of warmth, so that socks, when not to be had, can be better dispensed with when moccasins are used than if shoes were worn.
The gentleman to whom we are indebted for this suggestion says that he has mentioned the subject to soldiers, who are very much pleased with it, and say there is no reason why soldiers should go barefoot while so many hides are thrown away in camps.
We think the idea a valuable one, and would be glad that every newspaper in the Confederacy would lend its aid in giving it circulation.