18th Century Soldiers Rations

Soldier Rations (Time 0_00_39;06)American soldiers in the 18th century had several different types of rations.

There were per man per day food rations. This would include a meat component, usually consisting of a pound of beef, three-quarters of a pound of pork, or a pound of salt fish. Soldier Rations (Time 0_01_03;03)There would also be a bread component where they were supposed to get a pound loaf, but if that were not available they might get just flour or cornmeal instead.Soldier Rations (Time 0_00_56;15)

To round out the daily ration they were given a pint of milk and a quart of beer.Soldier Rations (Time 0_01_30;03)

There were per man per week rations. This would include things like peas, beans, rice, vinegar and other items that were not very popular with the soldiers.Soldier Rations (Time 0_01_56;05)

There were per company per week rations. This would include candles, soap, and other items that the men would need that were not food.Soldier Rations

Finally, whenever possible, the soldiers would supplement their diet with whatever items could be procured locally from villages, farmers or even the wilderness around them.Soldier Rations (Time 0_02_04;07)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUt1ZHs3wQ8]

Transcript of Video:

Soldiers in the 18th Century, whether they be American, British or French, all had very similar rations. Congress in 1775 established rations for the American soldiers and that ration stayed very similar for 150 years. Let’s take a look at what was included in that ration.

There were several different types of rations. There were per man per day food rations, that each man hoped he would get, there were rations per man per week, and then there were per company per week rations. So the daily ration would include a meat component, usually a pound of beef, or three quarters of a pound of pork, or possibly a pound of salt fish. So another part of the daily ration would be the bread part. Each man was supposed to get a pound loaf of bread per day and if bread wasn’t available then they would possibly be issued just flour, and if flour wasn’t available then they might even get a substitution of corn meal. And to round out this daily ration, they were given a pint of milk and a quart of beer. The per company per week ration included candles, soap, items that the men would need that weren’t food items. The per man per week rations were items that weren’t as popular or common; peas, it might also include beans, rice, or vinegar. Whenever possible, the soldiers would also supplement their diet with whatever items they could procure locally from a local village or from farmers or even from the wilderness around them. So in the following video series we’re going to take all these ration items and we’re going to prepare them in an 18th century fashion.

2 thoughts on “18th Century Soldiers Rations”

  1. No milk, no beer; on the list but really never issued.

    “`To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.’: Soldiers’ Food and Cooking in the War
    for Independence”
    “The manner of messing and living together”: Continental Army Mess Groups
    “Who shall have this?”: Food Distribution
    “A hard game …”: Continental Army Cooks
    “On with Kittle, to make some hasty Pudding …”: How a “Continental Devil” Broke His Fast
    1. The Army Ration and Cooking Methods.
    2. Eating Utensils.
    3. The Morning Meal.
    4. Other Likely Breakfast Fare.
    Addenda
    “The men were very industrious, in baking, all the forepart of the evening.”: Soldiers’ Ingenuity,
    Regimental Bakers, and the Issue of Raw Flour
    “The Commissary [is] desired … to furnish biscuit and salt provisions …”:
    Hard Bread in the War for Independence.
    “The victuals became putrid by sweat & heat …”: Some Peripheral Aspects of Feeding an Army
    1. The Ways Soldiers Carried Food
    2. The Burden of Rations, 1762-1783
    3. Carrying Drink and Procuring Water
    4. Equipment Shortages
    5. Spoilage of Issued Meats
    “We had our cooking utensils … to carry in our hands.”: Continental Army Cooking and Eating Gear,
    and Camp Kitchens, 1775-1782
    Endnotes:
    #50. Compendium of Ration Allotments, 1754-1782
    Continental Army rations (summary)
    British Army rations (summary)
    Caloric Requirements and Intake
    #73. Miscellaneous returns of cooking gear and eating utensils, 1778-1781
    (Appended) List of author’s articles on food in the armies of the American Revolution
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/129368664/To-the-hungry-soul-every-bitter-thing-is-sweet-Soldiers-Food-and-Cooking-in-the-War-for-Independence

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