Not every Union soldier got the benefit of being buried in a coffin. In I Married A Soldier, a memoir of Army life in the Southwest during the 1850s-1870s, Lydia Spencer Lane explains that wood was so scarce that it was customary to forgo burying coffins. She was told in Santa Fe that bodies were carried to the church in one, but removed and rolled in old blankets before being consigned to the tomb. Thus, coffins could be used and reused indefinitely.
This was not acceptable to people who had been raised in the East, who did everything within their power to create coffins for their dead. Ms. Lane explains that, when there was not enough lumber at hand to make a coffin, old packing boxes and commissary boxes were brought into requisition. She recalled one officer who died at a post in Texas and was carried to his final resting place in a very rough coffin which had marked, in great black letters along the side, "200 lbs. bacon."