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قراءة كتاب Continental Monthly , Vol. 6, No. 1, July, 1864 Devoted to Literature and National Policy.

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‏اللغة: English
Continental Monthly , Vol. 6,  No. 1, July, 1864
Devoted to Literature and National Policy.

Continental Monthly , Vol. 6, No. 1, July, 1864 Devoted to Literature and National Policy.

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 3

to move upon only one road—across White Oak Swamp—which happened fortunately to be wide enough for three wagons to go abreast. There were perhaps twenty-five hundred vehicles, which would make a continuous line of some forty or fifty miles. While the slow and toilsome course of this cumbrous column was proceeding, the troops were obliged to remain in the rear and fight the battles of Savage Station and White Oak Swamp for its protection. A similar situation of trains occurred last fall when General Meade retired from the Rappahannock, but fortunately the country presented several practicable routes. It is on a retreat, particularly, that the difficulty of moving trains is experienced, and thousands of lives and much valuable material have been lost by the neglect of commanding officers to place them sufficiently far in the rear during a battle, so as to permit the troops to fall back when necessary, without interruption.

A march being ordered, supplies according to the capacity of the trains, are directed to be carried. The present capacity of the trams of the Army of the Potomac is ten days' subsistence and forage, and sixty rounds of small-arm ammunition—the men carrying in addition a number of days' rations, and a number of rounds, upon their persons. When the wagons reach camp each evening, such supplies as have been expended are replenished from them. As a general rule the baggage wagons camp every night with the troops, but the exigencies are sometimes such that officers are compelled to deny themselves for one or even two weeks the luxury of a change of clothing—the wagons not reaching camp, perhaps, till after midnight, and the troops resuming their march an hour or two afterward. Those who indulge in satires upon the wearers of shoulder straps would be likely to form a more correct judgment of an officer's position and its attendant hardships, could they see him at the close of a fortnight's campaign. Like the soldier, he can rely on nothing for food or clothing except what is carried by himself, unless he maintains a servant, and the latter will find a few blankets, a coffee pot, some crackers, meat, sugar, coffee, etc., for his own and his employer's consumption, a sufficient burden.

Let us see how the supplies of the quartermaster's department are distributed.

At stated periods, if circumstances permit—usually at the first of each month—the regimental quartermasters, after consultation with the company officers, forward through their superiors to the chief quartermasters of corps, statements of the articles required by the men. These are consolidated and presented to the chief quartermaster of the army, who orders them from Washington, and issues them from the army depot—the whole operation requiring about a week. The number of different kinds of articles thus drawn monthly is about five hundred; the quantity of each kind depends on the number of men to be supplied, and the nature of the service performed since the previous issue. If there has been much marching, there will be a great demand for shoes; if a battle, large quantities of all kinds of articles to replace those lost on the battle field will be required.

An infantry soldier is allowed the following principal articles of clothing during a three years' term of service:

  1st Year. 2d Year. 3d Year.
Cap, 1 1 1
Coat, 2 1 2
Trowsers, 3 2 3
Flannel shirt, 3 3 3
Drawers, 3 2 2
Shoes, 4 4 4
Stockings, 4 4 4
Overcoat, 1 0 0
Blanket, 1 0 1
Indiarubber blanket, 1 1 1

The prices of these are stated each year in a circular from the department, and, as the soldier draws them, his captain charges him with the prices on the company books. The paymaster deducts from his pay any excess which he may have drawn, or allows him if he has drawn less than he is entitled to. The clothing is much cheaper than articles of the same quality at home. Thus, according to the present prices, a coat costs $7.30; overcoat, $7.50; trowsers, $2.70; flannel shirt, $1.53; stockings, 32 cents; shoes, $2.05.

The commissary department provides exclusively the subsistence of the troops. Each soldier is entitled to the following daily ration:

Twelve ounces of pork or bacon, or one pound four ounces of fresh beef.

One pound six ounces of soft bread or flour, or one pound of hard bread, or one pound four ounces of corn meal.

To every one hundred men, fifteen pounds of beans or peas, and ten pounds of rice or hominy.

To every one hundred men, ten pounds of green coffee, or eight pounds of roasted, or one pound and eight ounces of tea.

To every one hundred men, fifteen pounds of sugar, four quarts of vinegar, one pound four ounces of candles, four pounds of soap, three pounds twelve ounces of salt, four ounces of pepper, thirty pounds of potatoes, when practicable, and one quart of molasses.

Fresh onions, beets, carrots, and turnips, when on hand, can be issued in place of beans, peas, rice, or hominy, if the men desire.

They can also take in place of any part of the ration an amount equal in value of dried apples, dried peaches, pickles, etc., when on hand.

A whiskey ration of a gill per day per man can be issued on the order of the commander, in cases of extra hardship. It is, however, rarely issued, on account of the difficulty of finding room for its transportation in any considerable quantities. Moreover, whiskey, in the army, is subject to extraordinary and mysterious leakages, and an issue can scarcely be made with such care that some drunkenness will not ensue. When lying in camp, sutlers and others sell to the soldiers contrary to law, so that old topers usually find methods of gratifying their appetites—sometimes sacrificing a large proportion of their pay to the villains who pander to them. The utmost vigilance of the officers fails to detect the methods by which liquor is introduced into the army. When a cask is broached in any secluded place, the intelligence seems communicated by a pervading electrical current, and the men are seized with a universal desire to leave camp for the purpose of washing, or getting wood, or taking a walk, or other praise-worthy purposes.

The total weight of a ration is something over two pounds, but in marching, some articles are omitted, and but a small quantity of salt meat is carried—fresh beef being supplied from the herds of cattle driven with the army. A bullock will afford about four hundred and fifty rations, so that an army of one hundred thousand men needs over two hundred cattle daily for its supply.

In camp the men can refrain from drawing portions of their