Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not enough food, too much food

Today at Brandy Station: November 21, 1863

It is usually the case. Soldiers go for days and not receive their rations. Other times, they have more then they can eat. How can a soldier have to much?

Think about it. The soldier carries just about everything on his person, including food. The food of course is carried in his haversack. Inside that bag the contents (hardtack, coffee, tobacco, salted pork, maybe a potato or an onion) gets bounced around, dropped, used as a pillow or whatever else that could (and does happen). I guess it is the original casserole, uncooked of course.

Why do I mention this. Consider the experience of a soldier in the 111th New York Infantry. A portion of a letter to his father is below:

"Our Brig. Genl., is carrying things with a high hand, last night he ordered, 5 Days rations dealt out, which with the 6 Days we have on hand, would have made 11 Days, what do you think of that, for a load. Lusk [his friend], refused to take the Rations, & went to [Dir] Genl Hays, who [raved] around considerable & said his men, should not carry such Loads. We are on short Rations all the time, as we draw Field Rations, while we are in Camp, which makes a difference."

General Alexander Hays is the Hays our man refers to, is his Brigadier Commander. It took a little bit of courage to approach Hays. But as we see, Hay's concurred and after raving, agreed with Lusk.

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