Rations of the Company of Select Marksmen
Douglas R. Cubbison
As the Company of Select Marksmen prepared for their annual Trek this year, there was considerable discussion regarding issued (King’s) compared to foraged rations. Marksmen were instructed to equip themselves with four pounds of issued rations, but precisely what this ration should be composed of rapidly became a topic of conversation. This brief article is intended to resolve some of the questions generated by these discussions.
At first glance, it might appear that this is a simple question. There are a number of period military manuals that clearly articulate the standard British Army ration. Williamson’s 1782 Treatise on Military Finance stated:
The complete ration in every specie is, of flour or bread 1 1/2 lb. [;] beef 1 lb. [;] or pork 1/2 lb. [;] pease [peas] 1/4 pint [;] butter or cheese 1 oz. [;] rice 1 oz. But when the small species are not issued, 1 1/2 lb. of bread or flour, and 1 1/2 lb. of beef, or 10 oz. of pork make a complete ration: when nothing but flour or bread can be distributed, 1 lb. of flour or bread is a ration, as are also 3 lb. of beef, 2 lb. of cheese, or 1 1/2 lb. of rice. Only one ration is issued for each effective officer and soldier, for which they pay 2 1/2 d. [pence]. On board of transports, the ration is two-thirds of a seaman’s allowance, for which, each officer and soldier pays 3d. per diem. Exclusive of the ration, the officers and soldiers are commonly supplied, in North America, with three pints of spruce beer each per diem, gratis.1
Thomas Sullivan, a Private with the 49th Foot, confirmed that these rations were the standard in garrison. Stationed in Boston early in the war, Sullivan reported:
Of the Provision the Troops Received in Boston. The Provisions were Issued out of the King’s Stores, as follows. The Bakers always received 7 Pounds of Flour, for every man in the Regiment or Company, for whom they baked: Out of the 7 lb. of Flour the Baker gave two loaves, weighing 4 1/2 lb. each, which were served twice a week to the troops. Once a week we received 4 lb. of Pork or 7 lb. of Beef; 6 ounces of Butter; 3 pints of Pease or Oatmeal; and 1/2 lb. of Rice per man. Every Woman had 1/2 a man’s share, and every Child 1/4 Rations.2
An additional ration item, not always issued but sometimes provided to the soldiers as an anti-scorbutic supplement, was sauerkraut (essentially, sliced cabbage which was salted and allowed to ferment). During the occupation of Boston in 1775 and 1776 each soldier in the British Army was issued 1/2 pound of sauerkraut per week. Later on in the war soldiers assigned to Rhode Island were issued with two pounds per week. Several tons of sauerkraut was shipped to the Army in Boston from Cork, Ireland in the fall of 1775.3
As regards bread, the British Army regularly constructed ovens as it proceeded, and bread was routinely baked from the flour ration. During the Forbes Campaign in 1758 in Western Pennsylvania, eighteen bake ovens were constructed at Fort Bedford.4 On the night of August 10th, 1758 “Through the negligence of the bakers, who were baking biscuit, twelve of our ovens were burned last night.” The ovens were promptly rebuilt, specifying this time that: “All the Hatchet men, Masons and those who Understand building Ovens; are to rebuild the Ovens directly of green wood.”5 They were also constructed at several points along the route of advance, and at the Loyalhanna Encampment (later Fort Ligonier). The French army constructed bake ovens at Forts Niagara, St. Frederick (Crown Point) and Carillon (Ticonderoga). When these forts were occupied by the British Army during the Seven Years War, the British promptly began using the same ovens. When the British constructed Fort Stanwix on the Mohawk River in 1758, they included a large baking oven within the fortification’s interior.6 A British orderly book from the Saratoga Campaign specified: “September 27, 1777. Camp at Freemans Farm. Each British Regt. to send a Baker to Mr. Commissary Clark to assist Baking for the Army.”7 The British Army issued each soldier a six-pound loaf of bread every four days, for which he paid five-pence. The Army paid the baker (normally a contractor) the difference between this five-pence and the actual cost of the bread. By 1765 the actual price of a six-pound loaf of bread was seven-pence, so this was a good bargain for the soldier.8
An important consideration is that the British Army did not maintain control of the countryside, and accordingly could not depend upon the North American colonies to provide rations for the Army. General Howe’s Commissary General noted in March 1776, “There is no dependence for supplies for the Army from this Continent.”9 Accordingly, all rations for the army, with the exception of the occasional foraged supplies, had to be brought from England. This had a significant, and detrimental, effect upon the quality of rations. These rations had to be purchased by the Department of the Treasury from contractors predominantly in Ireland, who in turn purchased the food directly from the farmers. The rations were then consolidated in the port of Cork, Ireland from which they were shipped to North America. The rations frequently had to wait for transports, obtained initially by the Treasury, but later by the Navy Department. Delays in loading, then further delays in trans-Atlantic shipment, and still further delays in being unloaded and transported to the soldiers, meant that the rations were often spoiled in whole or in part upon arrival.10 For example, the Department of Treasury specified that the flour be “of the first Quality, made from wholly Kiln dried Wheat.” However, the rations rarely achieved such standards, and molded or rotten flour was most frequently delivered to the soldiers. Modern foodstuffs that the Company of Select Marksmen issue would have been considered to be first rate rations of premium quality. This is extremely fortunate, since I’m not sure that our modern digestive systems could tolerate historic food. For example, during the Forbes Campaign of 1758, some rations that had been left over from the Braddock Campaign of 1755 were issued to the soldiers.11 The culinary qualities of three-year-old pickled beef and butter can only be imagined, or perhaps shuddered at. But the British soldier ate it, or did without.
During the 1776 Northern Theater Campaign, specific orders were issued that validated the rations that Burgoyne’s Army would enjoy during this and the subsequent year’s campaign:
The Stoppages from the Army exceeding 2 1/2 pence per day to cease from the 24th of May and that usual Stoppages of 2 1/2 pence per day to remain in force from that time…The Provisions for the Army are to be delivered as follows. A Compleat Ration for one Man for one day, in every Species Flour or Brad one pound & a half, Beef one pound or Pork half a pound[,] Pease one Quarter of a Pint, Butter one Ounce [,] Rice one Ounce Wherever such provisions can be procured for the Army.12
This sounds relatively straightforward, but the ration as issued to soldiers on campaign or in garrison varied greatly.
When stationed at a permanent garrison, the soldiers could take seasonal advantage of the installation’s garden. Nearly every post had a garrison garden, and gardens are well documented to have existed at Fort Bedford, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Fort William Henry. During the Forbes Campaign of 1758, almost immediately after the construction of Fort Bedford, the English began planting a garden. One of the regimental chaplains, the Reverend Barton noted, “A large Piece of Ground sow’d with Turnip Seed & harrow’d in this Day.”13 The English Commander Colonel Henry Bouquet also requested that additional garden seeds be sent to him to plant a full garrison garden.14 During the Siege of Boston in 1775 the British government shipped the British Army turnip, carrot and cabbage seeds for gardens in the city, “A good quantity of the small Salled [salad] Seed will be sent out, as it will grow, on being sown almost anywhere on a little earth and may be raised by the Soldiers on a little Space by each Mess, in sufficient quantities for their refreshment and use.”15 The French established Fort La Présentation, at modern Ogdensburg, in 1749 and shortly initiated agricultural activities. The French Officer Louis Antoine de Bougainville observed in July 1756 that:
The Abbé Piquet, able missionary…obtained a twelve-arpent concession above La Galette. Five years ago he built a fort of squared posts, flanked by four strong bastions, palisaded without and with a water-filled ditch. Beside the fort is the village of a hundred fires, each that of an Iroquois chief, all warriors…. They have made a clearing, have cows, horses, pigs and hens. They plant Indian corn and last year sold six hundred minots [bushels, roughly] of it.16
When the British occupied Fort La Présentation in the summer of 1760 they renamed it Fort Oswegatchie, and certainly would have inherited and continued these agricultural endeavors. This is significant to the Company of Select Marksmen because Captain Alexander Fraser would end the American Revolution as Commander at Oswegatchie. On June 24, 1760, Captain Samuel Jenks, a Massachusetts Provincial officer then stationed at Fort Crown Point, recorded in his diary, “I had the care of a 100 men to work in the King’s Garden, which is the finest garden I ever saw in my life, having at least 10 acres inclosed & mostly sowed and improved.”17
Regrettably, the only modern fort that interprets a garrison garden is the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, which maintains the King’s Gardens. Although dating to slightly after the American Revolution period, Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts maintains one of the best early 19th century living history agricultural programs in the nation, to include a considerable heritage breed livestock herd, and an active heirloom vegetable program. Members of the Company of Select Marksmen should schedule visits to these interpretive centers to gain an appreciation of 18th century agricultural activities, and obtain a comprehension of what types of plants were grown in an 18th century garden, and would have been seasonably available to the army.
A senior Brunswick officer, Colonel Van Specht, made several observations of rations available in Canada in the winter 1776-1777.18 He stated that his men purchased food, apparently as supplement to rations, from a Militia Colonel who was supplying beef to the army at Montreal:
Colonel Tonnancour of the militia, who is at the same time a Jewish Merchant and has enriched himself at the expense of the poor habitants, supplied us with meat and bread and also acted as Colonel at times….
He goes on to say:
Oct. 4th …All the vegetables one finds in Canada are European, yet many vegetables and their numerous varieties are missing. One finds cabbage, potatoes (they are generally called patates here) turnips, kohlrabi, cucumbers, carrots, celery and beans. Melons grow entirely in the open air and turn out well—proof that it is warmer here than in our country.
And later notes:
May 12th 1777 …Moreover, our soldiers always received fresh supplies, namely ½ pound of good beef or mutton [i.e. fresh killed] and 1 ½ pound of white flour, until the end of March. Although the former has stopped and instead, salt meat and peas are being delivered from the army’s magazines, many a soldier still has the opportunity to exchange these at his host’s for other items; also, for the past few weeks, he has also had the opportunity to catch many a good fish.
In many respects the soldier is now living better than his host, but it is unbelievable how these habitants know how to help themselves. Entire households are living on the tapped sap of the maple tree…. …Many a habitant has refined 300-400 pounds of sugar… At the end of November, when the true frost sets in, they kill their fat oxen, their sheep, pigs, chickens, Indian hens [bitterns], geese, etc, and leave them in the care of nature’s cold…
Certainly in Canada, local food was available to the men, of course for a price. Two contemporary military treatises recommend that the leaders of each mess be marched to the local market day together and invited to buy local produce to improve the quality of their rations.19 While this system would not have been feasible south of the Richelieu River valley once upon campaign, it is worth noting that Von Specht suggests that his men were allowed to make purchases at a regularly established Army Market where contractors brought their goods to be sold direct to the soldier, under the army’s supervision. Again, this suggests that when portraying a “garrison” impression that we could utilize any type of food that would have been grown or available in Canada.
When on campaign, rations were adjusted regularly in response to a continuously changing supply situation. Throughout the Forbes Campaign of 1758 in Western Pennsylvania, General John Forbes routinely altered the issued ration. Forbes established the following ration as his army’s standard:
- Eight Pounds of Beef or Five Pounds of Pork per week;
- Seven Pounds of Flour [or previously cooked biscuit] per week;
- One Pint Rice in lieu of one pound more flour per week.20
Forbes later noted on July 14th, “As the troops are now mostly supplyed with fresh Beef, they are to receive it at the rate of seven pounds per week. And if they gett pork, they are only to have four pounds of pork.”21 Forbes augmented these rations with a supply of bacon and pre-baked biscuits. Forbes ordered that “Six or Seven Waggon Loads of Bacon” be purchased, presumably about 12,000 pounds worth.22 Although this appears to be a large quantity, since bacon was considered to be pork for ration purposes this was only enough meat for the full army of 6,000 men for four days at half a pound per man per day. Forbes probably ordered this bacon as a reserve ration for a forced march or emergency, as it could be consumed without having to be cooked. Draper Woods, Deputy Commissary, had discussed with Forbes as early as May:
As Biscuit will be wanted on the march for the use of ranging or scouting partys it would be necessary that the Contractors Agents shou’d order Biscuit to be baked for the above purpose at Lancaster York Town Carlisle &c and by so doing great expence will be saved to the Crown in regard to Carriage of the same, all of which I leave to your Excellency’s wise consideration.23
Since the Company of Select Marksmen existed only in 1776 and 1777, during the Valcour Island and Saratoga Campaigns, surviving Orderly Books from these campaigns were perused for mentions of rations. In addition to discussing the quantity of foods issued, these Orderly Books also make note of what type of rations were being issued (e.g. fresh beef or salt meat), and offers a few hints regarding the preparation of food once issued.
June 16, 1777. Isle Aux Noix. “The 20th Regiment, in Garrison at this place were compensated for a scarcity of Fresh Provisions by the immense quantities of all kinds of Fish taken every where round the Island. …The Spruce Beer was also served to them & with success.”24
June 20, 1776. La Prairie [Canada]. “Bread for four Days will be delivered to the Troops this Evening and to-morrow morning to the 24th Inclusive- they will apply to Mr. Wier Commissary near the Church at La Prairie: Every Regiment may receive at the same time six Oxen from Biscerne, Captain of the Militia, which they will kill, and distribute to the Troops agreeable to the regulation of the Ration; exact Accounts to be kept of the fresh Meat received and delivered.”25
June 24, 1776. Montreal. “I desire that it may be ordered that the Messes of the Different Regiments may be obliged to make broth in which Bread, some fat & a Great Quantity of Wild herbs may be mixed among it…”26
August 7, 1776. Chamblee. “By Lieutenant General Burgoyne. General Orders. The Physicians to the Army having represented that the following change in the Ration will be very essential towards the Healths of the Men, that half a Pound be taken off the Beef Ration, and a Quarter of a Pound of Rice be added in its place, the Commissaries will begin to deliver it out accordingly.”27
November 28, 1776. [Montreal]. “General Orders. During this Winter Provisions are to be issued according to a Complete Ration of every Species as settled and ordered by the Commander in Chief at the opening of the Campaign, but as Rice is now Scarce, that article must be reserved for the Sick and the Hospitals, and instead of one Ounce of Rice must be delivered Two Ounces of Oatmeal, and the delivering must be also twice of Pork to Once of Beef. The time of delivery every Four days.”28
During the winter of 1776-1777, Hessian Artillery Captain George Pausch provided his Prince in Hesse-Hanau with a detailed description of the rations that his Artillery Company had issued them in Montreal:
Every week good provisions are issued in a sufficient amount. Throughout almost the entire winter the men have received fresh meat and a very good bread. Now however, except for the sick, they receive salted beef or pork, and a very good butter issued one pound per man per week. Almost every time they also receive peas and oatmeal, whenever salted meat is issued. For this uniquely good care the company has General Phillips to thank, who is concerned that portions are as good for them as for his own and the other Royal Artillery companies.29
June 11, 1777. Camp at River Bouquet. “Brigade Orders. Brigadier General Fraser has been pleased to Order a Gill of Rum per Man for the Corps.”30
June 15, 1777. Camp at River Bouquet. “Serjt Carral of the 20th Grenadiers and such Butchers of the Corp as he may want, to go up the River to Gallalands Farm in a Batteaux from the Grenadier Battalion this Afternoon to Slaughter in the coal [cool] of the Evening Bullocks sufficient to supply the Corps with two days provisions.”31
June 16, 1777. Camp at River Bouquet. “The Sutlers are not on any pretence to sell Rum or any other Spirits to the Men without a Written Order from a Commission’d Officer and never in less Quantity than a Quart [presumably such a quantity was relatively expensive, and would prevent a soldier from buying enough to get drunk at one time].32
“The Quarter Masters to be particularly attentive that provision is regularly sent to the Cartridge makers, of each Battalion, and when Spruce Beer is delivered out to the Men if possible to send them there share.”33
June 24, 1777. Camp at River Bouquet. “The Lieut. Genl. Has observed with Satisfaction, that some Corps have got the Art of making flour Cakes without Ovens which are equally wholesome and rellishing with the best bread- He recommends it strongly to the Commanding Officers to bring their Corps into this useful practice as it may frequently happen that the movements of the Army will be too quick to admit a possibility of constructing Ovens.”34
July 1, 1777. Camp at Three Mile Point [Lake Champlain near Ticonderoga]. “Evening Brigade Orders. Provisions to be delivered for two Days tomorrow morning to the whole Corps so as to be absolutely distributed among the Men by Eight O’clock at which time they will begin to Cook it as fast as possible.” 35
September 26, 1777. Camp at Freemans Farm. “The Lieutenant General Desires to Contribute Everything in his Power to the Comfort of the Wounded has Directed, half a Pound of Meat per Day to be added to their Present allowance of Meat.”36
September 27, 1777. Camp at Freemans Farm. “As there appears not to be Spruce Beer sufficient for the 4 Regts they will it day about going for it in the morning in the same Order as mentioned yesterday & as the 21st got none this day they & the 20th will begin this rule tomorrow.”37
October 3, 1777. [Camp at Freeman’s Farm]. “By Lieutenant General Burgoyne. General Orders. …the ration of Bread or Flour is for the present fixed at one Pound.”38
October 6, 1777. Camp at Freemans Farm. “In the Next Delivery of Provisions- two days Fresh meat will be Issued at the Rate of one Pound of Beef per Ration to Each man, the other two Days will be Salt Provision as usual. His Excellency the Lieu. Genl. is Pleased to make a Present of twelve Barrels of Rum to the troops to be Distributed as follows….”39
Although the Marksmen’s website authorizes the use of “foraged items” or Native traded foods such foodstuffs must be severely limited, and we have all been guilty of over-using foraged food in the past. First, commerce between Natives and the military was strongly discouraged. Clearly it went on, but if soldiers were receiving food from the natives they would not have been flagrantly displaying the fact, as such trade was not officially permitted.
June 24, 1776. Montreal. “Any non-commissioned Officer or Soldier detected in trafficking with the Indians in Rum, or anything else is to be punished in the severest manner.”40
September 13, 1776. St. John’s. “There being reason to suspect that some of the Soldiers sell their Allowance of Rum to the Indians, it is ordered that all Rum, drawn for Soldiers in Camp, be mixed with Water, under the Inspection of an Officer before they receive it.”41
May 1, 1777. Montreal. “It is most strictly forbid for any person to sell or exchange Rum with the savages for Trinkets or anything else. Any Non Commissioned Officer found guilty of disobeying this order will be immediately broke, if a private severely punished and if a follower of the army not only punished but application will be made to his Excellency the Governor that he be bannished the province.”42
June 13, 1777. Camp at River Bouquet. “After Brigade Orders The Men are not to be allowed to cross the River to the Indian Encampment nor is any Soldier or others, on any pretence whatever to be suffered to sell Spirits or other Liquors to the Indians, or exchange Rum for Belts or other Sorts of Goods with them.”43
June 20, 1777. Camp at River Bouquet. “Evening Brigade Quarters. Notwithstanding the Brigade Orders of the 13th Inst. The Brigadier General is extremely mortified to find that Liquor has been Sold and distributed among the Savages so as to make them disorderly & Riotous in Camp. ‘Tis painful to him to repeat it once more that the Soldiers and Women are strictly prohibited selling or giving any kind of Spirits to the Indians should any woman be discovered vending Liquor to them she will be immediately brought to the head of the Battalion which she follows, Drummed out of Camp; and never more Suffered to appear in it. The Officers are relied on not to infringe this Order by giving the smallest Quantity of Rum or other Spirits to the Savages, or exchanging any kind of Liquor with them for their Trinckets &c.”44
July 2, 1777. Camp at Three Mile Point [Lake Champlain]. “Morning Brigade Orders. As much evil is like to Arise from the Intemperance and irregularity of Savages, it is positively Ordered that no Officer should give them Liquor, and that no soldiers, Soldiers Wife, Suttler or follower of the Army should presume to sell them any- Captains of Companys are immediately to see if there be any improper Quantity of Liquor in possession of the women of their respective Companys and if any such quantitys are found in Kegs or other Vessells they will give directions for breaking and Staving the same instantly. It is expected that the Captains will carefully see these Orders carried into Execution and that they will strike off the provision Returns all women who may be discovered harbouring such and have them sent back to Canada by the first opportunity.”45
Second, where soldiers were on authorized foraging expeditions, foodstuffs obtained were supposed to be provided to the Commissary and regularly issued out. Soldiers might have obtained some small quantities for themselves (such as ears of corn or a few potatoes), but they would not have flagrantly displayed such foods for fear of punishment, and would probably have consumed them at the first opportunity.
A typical foraging expedition was performed by the Company of Select Marksmen under Captain Alexander Fraser’s command in late October or early November 1776, during Carleton’s abortive advance upon Fort Ticonderoga. Loyalist John McAlpine, a resident of the Ticonderoga vicinity, knew where the Continental Army had driven beef cattle, and guided the Marksmen to these cows. Without engaging in any combat, the Marksmen gathered in 107 beeves, which were appreciated by the Army Commissary to supplement the salt rations that the Army was living on.46 Several other accounts of foraged rations on the Saratoga Campaign have been documented:
August 13, 1777. Fort Edward. “Whereas 2 Barrels of Madeira Wine 3 Barrels of Rum 1 Bag of Coffee 1 Tierce of Barley 2 Kegs of Butter and 2 Rolls of Tobacco have been Clandestinely put into the provisions Carts of the Army & very properly reported by the Wagon Master General the Said articles are to be received into the public Stores by the Commissary and to be issued according to future Orders.”47
August 27, 1777. Camp Jones House [Hudson River]. “After General Orders. Notwithstanding repeated Orders that have been given that no Vegitables Shall be taken out of the Inhabited Houses, much less out of those Where there is a Safe Guard, and as in Order to Prevent such Excesses, Detachments of a Non Commission’d officer and ten or twelve Men have been Ordered to be sent by the Different Regiments, Yett Complaints have been made that Parties of thirty and Forty men att a time have gone out of Camp, and taken away every kind of Greens which the Inhabitants had for the Sustenence of their Famillys…General Burgoyne having forbid the Troops taking anything from the Inhabitants….If a Party of Men be sent out to fetch Vegitables it must be first known Where the Empty Houses are, from Whence they are to be brought, and if such Houses are in fact Empty or Not, and Whosoever Commands such a Party, must Not Presume to take any Vegitables ‘till he is fully Informed of the later Circumstance…. All Persons Forraging Singly will be taken up and Punished as Morroders [marauders].”48
September 5, 1777. Camp Jones House [Hudson River]. “Information has been Received, that there are small Parties of the Rebels Lurking about in Order to Carry off any Single Soldiers, who may be in the Woods gathering Greens, and Yesterday three Men were taken off by one of these Scouting Parties near Fort Edward. It is therefore Expressly forbid that any Single Soldier go out of Camp under pain of being brought in Prisoner, and Punnished for Disobedience of Orders.”49
September 18, 1777. Camp at Swordstown [Sword’s House, north of Great Ravine on Hudson River]. To the great Reproach of Discipline & of the Common sense of the Soldiers who have been made prisoners, the service has sustained a loss within ten days that might have cost the lives of some hundreds of the Enemy upon it in Action. The Lieutenant General will no longer hear to lose men for the pitiful consideration of Potatoes for forrage. The life of a Soldier is the property of the King & since neither friendly admonition repeated injunctions nor Corporal punishments have effect…the first Soldier caught beyond the advanced Sentrys of the Army will be instantly hanged.”50
Clearly, although foraged rations were a strong lure; their collection was also attendant with great risks from both Americans and the British Army. Accordingly, foraged rations would only rarely have been obtained, and when available they were doubtless consumed clandestinely.
The one principal exception to this rule is that when the Company of Select Marksmen were acting as Rangers, that is they were performing scouts, patrols, or raids, or serving actively with the Indian Department, that they would have had increased access to foraged or Native American foodstuffs. Of course, if the Marksmen were simply performing a patrol or scout, or similar reconnaissance mission, they would not have had any opportunity to obtain foraged rations. But if performing a raid (such as the Otter Creek Raid launched by the Marksmen in early July 1777 on the east bank of Lake Champlain), they might have had an opportunity to plunder a settler’s home of whatever foodstuffs were available. But, since such food would have been obtained while the Marksmen were on a raid, it would have been consumed as rapidly as possible, as it could not have been carried on a fast moving exercise. If living with the Natives, the Marksmen would have eaten whatever Native foods were seasonally available. Such foods would only have been infrequently available to the Marksmen.
A third source of supply for rations, which unlike trade with the Natives or foraging was officially authorized, was the purchase of supplies from Sutlers, or private businessmen who had been given permission to accompany the army and sell supplies to officers and soldiers. During the Saratoga Campaign the Advanced Brigade Sutler was a Mr. White. A Board of Officers from the Brigade established prices for his articles early in the campaign:51
|Article|| Pounds |
|Madeira per Gallon||0||16||0|
|Claret [Wine] per Dozen||2||8||0|
|Spirits per Gallon||2||8||0|
|West Indian Rum per Gallon||0||10||0|
|[New England?] Rum per Gallon||0||8||0|
|Porter per Gallon||0||4||0|
|Hams per Pound||0||1||8|
|Cheese per Pound||0||1||8|
|Brown Sugar per Pound||0||1||8|
|Bohea Tea per Pound||0||1||6|
|Soap per Pound||0||1||4|
During the earlier Forbes Campaign of 1758, documented sutler prices were:
Soldiers could have purchased a range of objects from a sutler, but such purchases would have been decidedly limited or, more likely, a mess of soldiers would have joined together to purchase a specific article together, such as rum or tobacco. As my previous La Petit Guerre article “Eight Pence a Day” noted, a typical soldier, without earning any additional wages, would have expected to have a very modest two-pence and halfpence and farthing (2 3/4 pence) available as spending money at the end of a week’s labor.
Accordingly, the Company of Select Marksmen should be predominantly carrying British Army issued rations. Foraged rations, or those obtained by trade from the Natives, should be limited in use, and would not have been displayed in public, as their possession would have been illegal. Some few sutler purchased foodstuffs would be allowable, but again should be limited as the British soldier only had a few pence per week available for such purchases. And foraged or sutler purchased rations constituted only a tiny fraction of the overall rations issued to the British soldier. Accordingly, a revised ration checklist for the Marksmen website and future Marksmen events is proposed.
British Army Rations
It should be noted that oatmeal, rice, sauerkraut, and dried peas were issued in relatively small quantities. It would be correct for us to have only one meal a weekend or Trek with each of these foodstuffs. I was not able to find any references to corn meal or barley being regular or even intermittent ration items, so these foodstuffs should not commonly be used by the Marksmen.
Seasonally, and if portraying the Marksmen at an established garrison, we would have had vegetables fresh from the garrison garden. This would include potatoes, greens of various types, and turnips (which were apparently quite popular). In fact, any food grown or available in Canada could have been purchased, although it should be noted that this was limited based upon price, and availability of species.
Additionally, we could have sutler-purchased foods such as coffee, tea (if black, tea should be Bohea, Congou or Souchong; or Hyson green tea), brown sugar (actually an unrefined sugar such as Muscovado or Turbinado), white sugar (should be in a loaf or cone), tobacco, ham, chocolate (for information on historic chocolate see http://www.americanheritagechocolate.com). However, the use of sutler-issued food should be distinctly limited, as soldiers had constrained financial resources.
On rare instances when we are portraying the Marksmen on a raid, or when operating with the Natives, we would have foraged or Indian provided foodstuffs available.
This research article should shed some light on the food that the British Army would have been issued and cooked in the Northern Theater in 1776 and 1777. By following these guidelines, we will be able to enhance our impression by improving our rations material culture, and experiencing and interpreting the lives of those soldiers.
1. John Williamson. A Treatise on Military Finance, Containing the Pay, Subsistence, Deductions and Arrears of the Forces on the British and Irish Establishments, And All the Allowances in Camp, Garrison and Quarters, With An Enquiry into the Method of Clothing and Recruiting the Army, And An Extract from the Report of the Commissioners of Public Accounts Relating to the Office of the Pay Master General (London: T. Egerton, 1782. Microfilm copy at U.S. Military Academy Library, West Point, New York), 57-59.
2. Joseph Lee Boyle, editor. From Redcoat to Rebel: The Thomas Sullivan Journal (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1997), 23.
3. Bart Reynolds. “Sauerkraut” The Brigade Dispatch XXXII, no. 3 (Autumn 2002): 14; and Major John A. Tokar, “Logistics and the British Defeat in the Revolutionary War” Army Logistician Vol. 31, Issue 5 (September-October 1999), accessed on-line at http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/issues/SepOct99/MS409.htm on August 27, 2007.
4. S. K. Stevens, Donald H. Kent, and Autumn L. Leonard, editors. The Papers of Henry Bouquet (Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1951), II; 217.
5. The Papers of Henry Bouquet, II: 356, 675.
6. Lois M. Feister. Archaeological Excavations at the Oven Ruins in the French Fort at Crown Point State Historic Site, Essex County, New York (Peebles Island: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, December 1999), 4-6, 27, 28.
7. Justin Clement, Transcriber. Orderly Book, 47th Regiment of Foot, Ticonderoga to Saratoga (n.p., n.d.)., 80.
8. Captain Bennett Cuthbertson. A System for the Complete Interior Management and Economy of a Battalion of Infantry (London: 1779; reprint edition Sullivan Press, 2002), 22; Williamson, Treatise on Military Finance, 53; and Glenn A. Steppler. The Common Soldier in the Reign of George III, 1760-1793. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Oxford, 1984 (Transcript at The David Library of the American Revolution, Washington’s Crossing, Pennsylvania), 48.
9. Edward E. Curtis. “The Provisioning of the British Army in the Revolution” The Magazine of History with Notes and Queries XVIII (January-June 1914), 232.
10. For an excellent discourse of this refer to Edward E. Curtis, “The Provisioning of the British Army in the Revolution” The Magazine of History with Notes and Queries XVIII (January-June 1914), 232-241.
11. Forbes Headquarters Papers, “Letter, Draper S. Wood to St. Clair, dated Alexandria May 15, 1758.”
12. Justin Clement, Transcriber. the Orderly Book of the Royal Regiment of Artillery May 8, 1776 through June 29, 1777 (n.p., n.d.), 8.
13. Reverend Thomas Barton. Journal of an Expedition to the Ohio, Commanded by His Excellency Brigadier General Forbes, in the Year of our Lord 1758. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, August 13, 1758).
14. The Papers of Henry Bouquet, II: 187, 221.
15. Curtis, op. cit., 234.
16. Edward P. Hamilton, Editor. Adventures in the Wilderness, the American Journals of Louis Antoine de Bougainville, 1756-1760 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964; paperback edition 1990), 16-17.
17. “Samuel Jenks, His Journall of the Campaign in 1760” Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings (March 1890), 356.
18. Helga Doblin, Transcriber. The Specht Journal — A Military Journal of the Burgoyne Campaign (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1995).
19. Cuthbertson, op. cit., 19-23, and J.A. Phipps, System of Military Discipline for His Majesty's Army (London: J Millan, 1778)
20. The Papers of Henry Bouquet, II; 96, 683.
21. Ibid., 208.
22. Ibid., 227-228.
23. Forbes Headquarters Papers, “Letter from Draper Wood to Forbes, Dated Philadelphia May 6th, 1758.”
24. Brevet Brigadier General Horatio Rogers, U.S. Army Volunteers, Editor. Hadden’s Journal and Orderly Books: A Journal Kept in Canada and Upon Burgoyne’s Campaign in 1776 and 1777 by Lieutenant James M. Hadden, Royal Artillery (1884; reprint edition Boston: Gregg Press, 1972), 54.
25. Ibid., 191.
26. Orderly Book of the Royal Regiment of Artillery May 8, 1776 through June 29, 1777; 15.
27. Rogers, Editor. Hadden’s Journal and Orderly Books, 243; and the Orderly Book of the Royal Regiment of Artillery May 8, 1776 through June 29, 1777; 38.
28. Orderly Book of the Royal Regiment of Artillery May 8, 1776 through June 29, 1777, 77.
29. Bruce E, Burgoyne, Translator. George Pausch’s Journal and Reports of the Campaign in America (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2003), 46.
30. Justin Clement, Transcriber. Orderly Book of the 47th Regiment Grenadier Company (n.p., n.d.), 22.
31. Ibid., 40.
32. Ibid., 45.
33. Ibid., 46-47.
34. Ibid., 98-99.
35. Ibid., 96.
36. Orderly Book, 47th Regiment of Foot, 79-80.
37. Ibid., 81.
38. Rogers, Editor. Hadden’s Journal and Orderly Books, 325-326.
39. Orderly Book, 47th Regiment of Foot, 88.
40. Rogers, Editor. Hadden’s Journal and Orderly Books, 192.
41. Ibid., 280-281.
42. Orderly Book of the Royal Regiment of Artillery May 8, 1776 through June 29, 1777, 121.
43. Orderly Book of the 47th Regiment Grenadier Company, 30.
44. Ibid., 56-57.
45. Ibid., 97-98.
46. Thomas Rae, Editor. Adventures of John McAlpine (1780; revised edition Greenock, Scotland: The Black Pennell Press, 1985) , 11-15.
47. Orderly Book of the 47th Regiment Grenadier Company, 27-28. A Tierce was two thirds of a hogshead or 933 pounds.
48. Ibid., 42-43.
49. Orderly Book, 47th Regiment of Foot, 54.
50. Ibid., 72.
51. Orderly Book of the 47th Regiment Grenadier Company, 39, 44.
52. Barton J. Redmon and Carrie MacDougall. “Culinary Habits of the Redcoat on Campaign during the Seven Years War in North America.” Paper presented at Braddock Road Preservation Association’s French and Indian War Seminar, November 2, 2002.