18384[civilwarwest] Re: Dining facilities
- Jun 3, 2003According 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
Beef 125 lbs
Flour 112.66 lbs
Hard Bread 100 lbs
Beans 8 lbs
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
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
Regards, Dave Gorski
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