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18384[civilwarwest] Re: Dining facilities

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  • Dave Gorski
    Jun 3, 2003
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      According to "Camp Morton 1861 - 1865,"
      by Winslow and Moore, in 1861, Union troops
      training at Camp Morton were authorized
      the following Army ration, per company:

      Pork 75 lbs
      or
      Beef 125 lbs

      Flour 112.66 lbs
      or
      Hard Bread 100 lbs

      Beans 8 lbs
      or
      Rice 10 lbs

      Coffee 6 lbs
      Sugar 12 lbs
      Vinegar 1 gal
      Candles 1.5 lbs
      Soap 4 lbs
      Salt 2 Qts

      The first Commissary General at Camp Morton, Isaiah
      Mansur, provided substantially greater quantity than
      the regulation, and added a ration of potatoes (100 lbs),
      Onions, dried fruit and pickles.

      Carolyn Mattern, in "Soldiers When They Go," describes
      the "dining facilities," at Camp Randall for Wisconsin
      volunteers, where the men were not issued the ration, but
      had it prepared for them by cooks.
      "For breakfast they were served bread, beef and coffee; for
      dinner beans, bread, meat and potatoes. Every other day they
      had soup in place of beans. Supper consisted of more coffee
      bread and beans. It was not unnatural that even the most
      patriotic of palates should tire of that diet. Nor would it seem
      that the quality was always the best." Mattern goes on to
      describe how tainted meat actually caused several near riots.

      In garrison at Nashville during the closing months of 1862
      and the first weeks of 1863 the Federal Troops were on very
      "short rations." Finally on January 18, 1863, a fleet of 30
      steamboats arrived with provisions. For weeks prior to that
      foraging parties combed the countryside. Cleaning it out of
      foodstuffs.

      At Chattanooga, the ration was so short that guards had to
      be put on the horses when they were fed, in order to keep men
      from stealing food from the horses. Pvt. George Kilpatrick of Co.
      A 42nd Indiana Infantry wrote to his sister, " I take this opportunity
      to write you to let you know that I am alive, but that is about all,
      for we get nothing to eat worth mentioning. I have got down so
      weak that I can't do my duty any more, and the horses and mules
      are dying off at the rate of two hundred a day. The rations I drew
      today were one cracker and a half, one half spoonful of coffee,
      and a little piece of meat for two days."

      After being wounded at Kennesaw Mountain, an officer of the
      11th Indiana Battery described "dining" in the 1st Brigade, 2nd
      Division, 4th Corps Field Hospital. "Each of us got a cup of coffee
      that night...In the morning the same diet was given with the addition
      of a hardtack, at noon a little soup and at evening a cup of coffee
      and a cracker. This was our diet as long as I remained there."

      During the Atlanta campaign an officer reported that meat
      was sent on to various commands "on the hoof," where it was
      slaughtered and distributed. Other food and supplies were held up
      due to the poor condition of the roads.

      My point being, that, IMO, evidence indicates that the quality and
      quantity of food was too variable to make any general statement about
      the quality of the food issued in garrison being better or worse than
      anywhere else.

      Regards, Dave Gorski
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