Topic: Army Rations
US Army Ration 1830s
A Short History of the US Army Noncommissioned Officer, L.R. Arms
Daily rations during the 1830's included:—
- beef (1 ¼ lbs) or pork (¾ lbs);
- flour or bread (18 ounces);
- whiskey, rum, or other liquor (¼ pint);
- vinegar (4 quarts per 100 men);
- soap (4 lbs per 100 men);
- salt (two quarts per 100 men); and
- candles (1 ½ lbs per 100 men).
The liquor ration was eliminated in 1832 and replaced with four pounds of coffee and eight pounds of sugar per 100 men.
The lack of vegetables in the daily ration often proved disastrous at frontier posts. During the winter months scurvy struck posts and the only relief was to trade local Indians whiskey for vegetables. This trade, though illegal, saved more than one post from the ravages of scurvy. When coffee replaced whiskey, the Army had little to trade to attain the needed vegetables, as Indians would rarely trade vegetables for coffee. (For prevention of scurvy, beans were introduced into the daily ration in the 1840's.)
Post gardens provided another source of nutrition outside the daily rations. In an effort to lower the cost of sustaining an Army, gardens were used to grow vegetables. Enlisted men planted, hoed, and watered the gardens as fatigue duty. At other posts, in addition to gardens, herds of cattle were maintained. Many commanders and enlisted men disapproved of such duty, regarding it as unmilitary.
Considered by many to be more military, and assisting in supplementing the daily ration, hunting proved popular on the frontier. One commander went so far as to declare that the Army would save a great deal of money and train its troops if soldiers were organized into hunting parties, instead of spending endless hours on fatigue duty.