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A Soldier's Daily Ration - Canada 1812
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Author:  pud [ Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:38 am ]
Post subject:  A Soldier's Daily Ration - Canada 1812

Source: General Order - Quebec, 19 March, 1812.

"1 pound of flour
9 1/7 ounces of pork
3/7 pint of pease
1 1/7 ounce of rice
6/7 ounce butter
In lieu of the butter, 1 3/7 ounce pork"

Source: General Order - Halifax, 7 August, 1811.

"... many Corps are in the habit of baking their own bread."

Perhaps this is why the Québec General Order shows an issue of flour as opposed to actual bread.

Source: A Media Plan for Military Animation. William Henry. Toronto, Ontario, 1977. pp.14-15.

"The British Commissariat was remarkably efficient, all factors being considered. Although there were a few occasions during the war when some of the more distant posts, such as Detroit, experienced some shortages, there were never instances of men starving to death.

The conditions which caused literally thousands of men to live in a perpetual state of hunger and hundreds to die of starvation in some European Armies, simply did not exist in the British Army. In spite of this, complaints against the Commissariat were made with incredible regularity.

The Soldiers were in the habit of supplementing their diet whenever possible.

The men were allowed to use their weapons for hunting, provided they supplied their own powder and shot. Fishing was also common practice, and probably more popular than hunting, since expensive powder was not required. Byfield's account relates his adventures while on a fishing party and archaeological evidence from Fort George shows that fish formed a major portion of the diet. (MRS#116) It also seems logical to expect that fresh fruits and vegetables were purchased locally or picked in the wild state.

Alcoholic beverages were in common, and usually excessive use. Rum was issued by the Army, but this practice was considered to be an act of grace and not a right of the soldier. (G.O. Chambly, 23 Nov., 1812) It could be, and often was, stopped at any time as a form of punishment. The many references in various memoirs indicate that carrying wine or spirits in the canteen was considered a perfectly normal practice. The Soldier was never punished for drinking alcohol but rather for being intoxicated, especially when on duty.

Due to the isolated nature of the posts in Upper Canada, drunkenness amongst the man was an incessant problem. Men who had been confined to barracks would appear on parade drunk and Sentinels would permit liquor to be smuggled into the Garrisons."

This, of course, will lead to a discussion regarding the various punishments in the army of the day.

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