Roots were used to dye threads and cloth: pine=garnet; pine and sweetgum=Confederate gray; hickory bark and alum=green; sumac berries and walnut hulls=brown.
Wine was made from scuppernongs, sewing needles from cedar and white oak, and tea from huckleberry, black raspberry, blackberry and holly.
Dogwood berries contained a substitute for quinine. Prickly pear leaves were boiled with tallow to make candles, and hides were tanned with an oak bark solution. In "Memories of Old Cahaba," a book by Anna Gayle Fry, who lived in Cahaba during the Civil War, she writes:
"We took advantage of every resource...We not only fed and clothed the people of our county, but aided and helped to feed the people of the entire South, civil as well as military; and we felt proud of our independence and fortitude, especially when we remembered how utterly unprepared we were when Alabama seceded and the war began and how little we knew of manufacturing anything, and the wonder of how we ever learned to do what we did."