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“Marching on its Stomach” Diet and Messing of the Army in Upper Canada in 1812
by Robert Henderson

 

             Despite the abundance of literature on the logistics of supplying troops in British North American garrisons during the War of 1812,[1] little has been written on the soldier's diet and the role of his mess in organizing food preparation and consumption.[2]  This article will focus on these areas and explore the furniture and utensils required to prepare and serve food in barracks.  Since published material on the supply of provisions prior to the war is scarce, some information will also be provided on this subject, with particular emphasis placed on the Niagara frontier garrisons.

                                                           Messing Arrangements

            Each company of soldiers was divided into messes which allowed men to pool their rations and rotate as cooks.  Messes were established in the British Army to ensure that the soldier did not starve himself or squander his meal money away on gambling or drink.[3]  This purpose is illustrated in an account by a soldier of the 94th Regiment in 1809:

            We arrived in Aberdeen, after a march of ten days, where we had better barracks, and cheaper provisions than in Dunbar; but the barracks being too small, a number of our men were billeted in the town, and not being in the mess when pay-day came, it was a common thing for many of them to spend what they had to support them in drink; and some of them were so infatuated as to sell even their allowance of bread for the same purpose.  They were then obliged (to use their own phraseology) to "Box Harry," until the next pay-day; and some of them carried this to such a length, that it was found necessary to bring them into barracks, to prevent them from starving themselves.[4]

The size of each mess varied considerably: some regiments envisioned the ideal mess size to be between ten and eighteen men,[5] while others practised messing as an entire company.[6]  When not in the field, the 85th Regiment ordered its companies to establish messes by barrack rooms.[7]  Messing by rooms was also practised in the Embodied Militia stationed in Fredericton in 1813.[8]  It is likely regiments on the Niagara frontier also favoured this form of messing at the opening of the war, especially with the establishment of soldiers' kitchens at the principal garrison, Fort George.  The development of new barracks in the 1790s and 1800s included kitchens or cooking places for each company.  These new additions were best served by messing in great numbers, without exceeding a company in size.[9]  When in the field or rented accommodations, the size of the soldiers mess was reduced.  For example, In the case of the 100th Regiment each mess had fourteen or fifteen members.[10]

            Married soldiers were usually permitted to pool their rations with their families, apart from the company messes.  If, however, a wife could not provide for herself and her children and was "found to encroach on the man's subsistence", the soldier was placed in a mess and the woman turned away.[11]  As a preventative measure, the army issued a half ration of food to each woman and a quarter ration to each child.[12]  These rations were limited to twelve women and their children per company stationed on foreign service.[13]  It was expected that the rations would be topped up by the family through provisions purchased privately.

             In the case of unmarried soldiers, each mess had a head or president.  He was a corporal, chosen man or older soldier, and his responsibility was to ensure that the men sat down to dinner dressed as soldiers and that each was in possession of a fork, knife, spoon, and plate.[14]  It should be noted that sergeants usually messed separately from the other men, complete with their own president, mess regulations, and perhaps a servant.  Regardless of rank, each soldier contributed six to six and a half pence a week to the mess to cover expenses such as messing utensils not provided by the Barracks Master.[15]

             To track the expenses and charges against each soldier a company weekly mess book was kept.[16]  This book contained: an account of the expenditure of that part of the soldiers' pay, which is appropriated to messing.  On the left hand, or debit side, the sums expended in vegetables, washing, etc. are to be regularly entered, and the quantities, price, etc. of all articles, are always to be detailed.  On the right hand, or credit side, the names of the non-commissioned officers, trumpeters, drummers, and private men, are to be entered,- the number of days each man is messed, and the amount of expenses of his messing at the fixed rate per day.[17  An original mess book for the 74th Regiment has survived and is in the National Archives of Canada.[18]  Entries into this book were the responsibility of the pay sergeant and were regularly inspected by the Regiment's quartermaster.[19]

            Regulations and official military opinion yield only a partial picture of messing arrangements and food preparation.  Though valid, they lack the human element influencing the accomplishment of duties.  One officer's description of a group of soldiers preparing food around a fire during the Peninsular War provides further insight:

fry...one [soldier] making dough boys (flour and water mixed) swearing all the time at one for not producing a ing pan, at another for getting in his light; another giving a young soldier a thump for crossing between him and the fire while he plastered his blistered feet.  The poor creature is turning round to beg his pardon, when he treads upon another, who threatens to upset him if he does not sit down.  A woman who is undressing by his side (perhaps the wife of one of the party) raises her shrill voice and blasts him for not being quick.  An old soldier sits smoking his pipe and frying the mutton or skimming the pot, while a dirty fist seizes the mutton, and another equally so lays hold of it and it is torn asunder by a knife with edge and back alike.  The whole is shortly devoured and they lie down to sleep in their blankets.[20]

 Similar conflicts would have arisen in garrison kitchens, especially with each family preparing their meals along side the mess cooks.  One soldier in garrison expressed dislike of one woman on strength, "who used to make a great disturbance about the fire in the cooking way."[21]  Conflicts in the kitchen continued throughout the first half of the 19th century.  The constant quarrelling amongst married people in the soldiers' kitchen instigated barracks reforms in the 1850s establishing separate cooking places for each family.[22]

                                                        Diet and Food Preparation

             Every morning at nine o'Clock[23] the men were served breakfast consisting of bread, along with milk, soup,[24] tea, or saloop, and occasionally butter.[25]  Some supplemented their breakfast rations with privately-purchased food such as cheese or pork.[26]  In the afternoon, between twelve-thirty and one o'clock, the soldiers would then sit down to dinner.[27]  Before the sitting, the tables were draped with cloths and set with plates, knives, forks, and spoons; only then would the meal be served.  Once seated, the men were expected to rise from their meals only when the officer of the day entered the room to receive a mess report from the orderly sergeant.[28]  One regiment described dinner as consisting of "soup well thickened with meal, flour, or rice, and with the meat there must be a sufficiency of vegetables."[29]  However, the standard daily ration established in British North America changed continually.  By the time of the War of 1812 each soldier was being supplied with:

 

1 lb. of flour

1 lb. of fresh beef or 9 1/7 oz. of pork

1 3/7 oz. of pork or 6/7 oz. of butter

1 lb. of flour
 

3/7 pint of pease

1 1/7 oz. of rice[30]

If hospitalized, the soldier received a pint of milk porridge or rice gruel for breakfast; meat, potatoes, and bread for dinner; and a pint of broth from the meat for supper.[31]  In case of fever, animal food was not allowed.  Instead a "spoon diet" was provided which is described as tea for breakfast, "a quarter pound of bread made into panado or pudding with as much milk or sago" for dinner, and tea for supper.[32]  For soldiers eating with their families apart from their comrades, they typically enjoyed a breakfast of milk and bread; a dinner of meat, vegetables, salt, and bread; and a supper of milk and potatoes or broth, and bread.[33]  Supper was not allotted for the unmarried soldiers.

            While the preferred types of meat by military officials were beef and mutton,[34] mutton does not appear to have been issued to the soldiers in Upper Canada.  Instead it was likely purchased privately by the troops[35]  and kept for special dinners held by the men on occasions such as Christmas, royal family member birthdays, and battle anniversaries.  One soldier noted that having too many celebrations, as ordered by the regiment's commander, usually left the members of the mess continually in debt.[36]

            On the other hand, beef was in continuous fresh supply for the troops in Upper Canada.  At the garrison of Fort George, fresh beef of "ox or heifer"[37] was supplied "in quarter" pieces[38] from the locality.[39]  This was the result of a decision made by London in 1802 which stated that: "the facility of supplying the king's troops serving in his Majesty's American colonies and possessions with fresh beef and other articles of necessity upon the spot, at a much cheaper rate than salt provisions can be sent from hence..."[40]  The preceding year, a prospective beef supplier named Robert Hamilton, presented the following to the commissary officer at Fort George:

Our country has now a considerable quantity of beef to spare.  Several of the most respectable farmers, who have been consulted say they could engage to deliver weekly or twice a week during the warm weather a sufficient quantity of fresh good merchantable beef for the supply of the garrison of Fort George.[41]

While the commissary officer supported this proposal, he did not think "any absolute dependence should be placed on this supply."[42]  The Commissary Department took various measures to provide each garrison with 100 days supply of salted Irish beef.[43]  These provisions seemingly remained in storage until the opening of the war.[44]  By 1803, the commissary's scepticism on Canadian supply sources seemed to lessen.  General Hunter, commander of the forces in the Canadas, received a letter from Richard Cartwright in Kingston describing the impact of army supply contracts on Upper Canada's beef economy:

...the country abounds in cattle and the measure adopted by your excellency of supplying the garrisons for part of the year with fresh beef will further encourage the breeding of them, and the liberal price received for the small quantity sent to Lower Canada the last year, if continued for the present season, will make people here in future go largely into the business of barrelling of beef.  This detail though it shows that this important manufacture is still in its infancy, shows also that it is progressive by increasing and we may reasonably conclude that it will continue to do so, if not checked either by unfavourable seasons, which destroying the crops of grain or hay will deprive the farmer of the means of feeding his swine or cattle...[45]

 Cartwright suggested Upper Canada could eventually become the sole source of beef and other food stuffs to troops not only in the Canadas but in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and, ultimately the West Indies.[46]  Unfortunately, after 1803, a series of poor harvests in the Canadas occurred, reducing Upper Canada's food surpluses and the producers' ambitions.[47]  During the War of 1812, salted provisions, flour, and peas for the troops in the Atlantic provinces were once again being supplied from the Canadas.[48]   The West Indies market remained elusive.

            One factor Cartwright did not consider when estimating the reliability of the province's beef production was war.  When the United States declared war in 1812, all able-bodied Canadians were drawn from the fields and into the ranks of the militia.  Regulars were also drawn from other parts of British North America into the threatened upper province.  The result was a substantial increase in the size of the garrisons being supplied and a coinciding decrease in farm production.  By 1813, Upper Canada could no longer keep up with the army's demand for beef.  Military officials turned to the United States to secure supplies which served two purposes: not only would needed supplies be obtained, but drawing food from the United States also reduced the enemy's resources along the border.[49]  This was accomplished with success as thousands of heads of cattle were being driven into Canada from New York and Vermont.  One American citizen along the St. Lawrence noted in 1814: "It is incredible what quantities of cattle and sheep are driven into Canada.  We can hardly get anything for love or money.  The day before yesterday upwards to 100 Oxen went up through Prescott [Upper Canada] and yesterday above 200."[50]  Both American smugglers and increased supplies from Britain sustained the soldiers' beef supply to the end of the war.

            In addition to beef, records show the soldiers were consuming vast quantities of salted pork produced in the Canadas.  A domestic supply of pork had the same effect as in the case of beef, that is the reduction in imports of barrelled pork from Great Britain.  The following is a listing of expenses estimated by Cartwright for making one barrel of pork:

 

"to make a barrel of 208 lbs. those who

have paid minute attention to the subject

say it will require at least 216 lbs. as

bought from the farmer, which at 3 d per lb. is......................................................... £2 14s 0d

Cask and cooperage............................................................................................................ 6s 9d

Cutting up and packing....................................................................................................... 1s 3d

Salt and Saltpetre................................................................................................................. 8s 6d

Warehouse rent, attendance, and labour

for weighing etc..................................................................................................................... 1s 0d

The pork being bought in November, six months

must elapse before it can be sent to market.

Interest for that time on £3 10s 6d is.................................................................................. 2s 1d

 

TOTAL........... £3 13s 7d"[51]

 

However, many of the contractors used considerably less pork in each barrel than the previous list states.  In 1807, the Commissary weighed the numerous barrels of pork and flour being supplied by Upper Canadian contractors and found that the Army was being short-changed; the deficiencies were ordered to be rectified by the contractors.[52]  The Commissary required each barrel to be composed of "Prime Mess Pork" and hold 52 four-pound pieces.[53]  It appears from archaeological finds and earlier military contracts that there were no pig's heads or feet included in the barrels.[54]  If the pork was issued lean or spoiled, the soldiers reserved the right to reject it.[55]

            Meat was prepared in one of two ways: boiled and roasted, or baked.  Scottish soldiers tended to boil their meat, while the English preferred roasting.  One military official writing on the subject in the 1790s thought "roasted or baked meat will occasion thirst more than boiled food and broth; except the latter are very salty."[56]  By the beginning the War of 1812 boiling had taken over as the most common method of preparing meat.  One soldier of the 7th Regiment estimated that three-quarters of a pound of beef with the bone yielded a pint of broth to each man.[57]  Sometimes oatmeal and potatoes were included with the meat into soups or bouille, especially in Scottish garrisons.[58]   Other favoured vegetables in the soldier's diet included cabbage, peas, and beans, and each were prepared as the cook saw fit.[59]  Unfortunately, rotating cooks were usually inexperienced:

The fundamental rule, in the culinary art, consists in roasting quick, and boiling slow.  It does not appear to be known in the army: the soldier's pot always boils with fury; and his soups and stews are not such, as a good method of cooking might produce from the same materials.  Fuel is wasted, and the mess is not well prepared--neither so nutritious, nor so savoury as it might be.[60]

             Supplementing meat with fish was common practice for soldiers stationed in British North America.  Shadrach Byfield of the 41st Regiment recounts how he was injured on a fishing party in the winter of 1811-12 while stationed at Fort George:

I was employed in holding one end of the net, and with the violence of the wind and the waves I was pulled into the water from the ice on which I was standing, and came in contact with the boat, and was almost squeezed to death between the boat and the ice.  I was pulled into the boat and carried to the barracks very much bruised, but no bones were broken.[61]

Generally, fish consumption was frowned upon by the military: "fish is seldom a part of the men's diet... It ought not to be allowed above twice a week (if it can be prevented) as, unless used with much pepper, it will be apt to occasion fluxes...fish is inclined to rapid putrefaction, the worst species of camp dysentery has been known to accrue from this diet."[62]   When fish was fresh and firm, there was less concern.[63]  With fresh "white fish and black bass"[64] caught in great abundance from the Niagara River next to Fort George, concerns over fluxes and dysentery from a fish diet likely would not have existed at that garrison.  In 1801, rope was provided from Commissariat stores at Fort George for the soldiers to construct a fishing net.[65]  If fish could not be caught, some regiments like the 100th chose to purchase it from local markets.[66]

            Hunting seems to have been practised by the soldier adding grouse, pigeons, etc. to his diet.[67]  As well gardens for the soldiers were established at Forts George and Erie, allowing freshly grown supplements into the daily diet.[68]  Finally pears, apples, and berries were common fruits available to the soldier on the Niagara frontier.[69]

            Another requisite staple to the soldier's diet was bread.  By 1812, flour for the soldier's bread was being provided almost exclusively by Canadian farmers.  Indeed as early as 1793 bread made from Canadian flour was being examined by military officials: "Royal Artillery reports according to orders that the bread made from the Canada flour is better than what they have received for some time past and is good and wholesome."[70]  One officer of the 4th Regiment dared to proclaim that it was "better than any he has seen issued to the troops."[71]  At Fort George, the troops were not the only recipients of the fine flour of Upper Canada.  In 1808, mice damaged over 500 pounds of flour at that garrison alone.[72]  As with the supply of meat, the War of 1812 seriously hampered flour production and additional provisions had to be secured from the United States.  The general regulations established by the military called for the flour to: "... be made from good, sound, sweet, and dry English or Foreign wheat, without any mixture of middlings, or other adulteration whatsoever, but produced from the whole of the meal as it comes from the mill, after having been dressed through a twelve-shilling cloth..."[73]

            Typically the army had the flour baked into bread by contractors, but in Canada several regiments chose to have the mess cooks prepare their own instead.  In August 1811, orders were issued sanctioning this practice and allowing the savings to be devoted "solely to the comfort and convenience of the Non Commissioned Officers and Privates."[74]  When soldiers were sent from their mess on detached duties, some regiments had a regimental baker make bread or biscuits and send them to the men away from the regiment.[75]  As a result of the orders allowing the men to bake their own bread, damaged bake ovens at Fort George were recommended to be repaired as soon as possible so the men could benefit "both in the quality and quantity of [their] bread."[76]

                                           Material Culture of the Mess in Barracks

            The Barracks Department of the British Army had an approved list of items that were to be supplied to each barracks room in Great Britain.  For British North American garrisons the list of supplied items was substantially smaller.  North American barrack masters were required to supply only tables, forms or benches, and iron pots for messing purposes.  Provisioning of other mess utensils, identified for barracks in Great Britain, was left to the troops who were compensated by an annual mess allowance from the Barracks Department.  Because each corps acquired many of their mess utensils, the number and pattern of them would have varied somewhat from regiment to regiment.

Setting of the Table

             Each table in the barracks had two benches, or forms, and was set for dinner with a tablecloth, plates, drinking vessels, forks, knives and spoons, serving dishes, a flesh fork and a ladle.

             The size and number of tables in barracks varied from garrison to garrison and from room to room.  If possible the tables were placed in the centre of each barracks room.[77]  Their most typical length was six feet with width varying between 2 1/2[78] and 3 1/2 feet.[79]  It is likely the narrower table was used at Fort George,[80] enabling eight soldiers to sit comfortably.  Each table was constructed from 3 inch square pine scantling and 2 inch pine planks.[81]  Each table had two forms for the men to sit on.  These were 6 feet in length, one foot in width and constructed out of two inch thick pine planks.[82]  For the 3 1/2 feet wide tables, three foot long forms were added at the table ends.[83]  The tables and benches were washed twice a week and well rubbed every day;[84] carving or cutting on them was forbidden.[85]

            A clean, coarse[86] linen tablecloth, integral part of the mess necessaries,[87] was spread on the table "agreeable to orders"[88] before dinner.[89]  While it was typical for the tablecloth to be large enough to touch the floor, a watercolour by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson of the interior of Chelsea Hospital in 1807 depicts pensioners dining on tablecloths with about one foot of linen hanging past the table's surface.[90]  It is probable that each cloth was marked with the company letter to distinguish ownership, especially for washing purposes.  When not in use, the tablecloths were stored with the extras[91] in the mess chest.[92]  In 1811 an interesting incident occurred concerning tablecloths which almost ended in the dismissal of the quartermaster of the Royal Newfoundland Fencibles.  The quartermaster was courtmartialed for the price of tablecloths and round towels charged to the men, along with other charges.  While tablecloths of superior quality and nearly the same size were being sold at 7s 10d each in the 8th Regiment and Canadian Fencibles, the Newfoundland Fencibles Quartermaster was charging his men 14 shillings.  The accused was found guilty and was reprimanded by the court.[93]  The documentation pertaining to this incident also reveals a slight difference in the tablecloths supplied to each regiment: the 8th Regiment is specially noted as having tablecloths made of diaper.[94]

            While the 1797 and 1807 Barracks Regulations for the Army called for each soldier to be supplied with a plate by the Barracks Department,[95] regulations established for Canada made no mention of their issue.[96]  Plates did not appear on any barracks utensil returns for the forts in Upper Canada.  Instead each the men were ordered to acquire their own plates.[97]  The 1806 mess plan for the 6th Regiment shows the soldiers to be in possession of tin plates.[98]  Whether all regiments possessed plates made of dipped tin is uncertain.  Each soldier possessed his own fork, knife, and spoon.  Historically, forks and knives were purchased in pairs either from the regiment's quartermaster or a local merchant.[99]  Archaeological findings suggests the pattern of cutlery varied from person to person and that there was no single regimental pattern.  Fiddle pattern pewter soup spoons were most commonly available to the soldier.

            Though not mandatory, it is likely each soldier brought to the table some type of privately-purchased drinking vessel.  Archaeological finds and period civilian examples show typical inexpensive cups or mugs possibly owned by the soldiers to be glass or tin tumblers, tin or earthenware mugs, and horn cups.  With liquor forbidden in barracks,[100] water was drank by the soldiers at dinner: "Water is the direct remedy...for quenching the thirst of man and beast...it is a wholesome beverage; it is the most common, the most convenient, consequently the best drink for soldiers."[101]  One army medical official suggested: "If water be muddy, the addition of a small quantity of alum makes it clear; if flat and mawkish, the addition of vinegar rectifies the imperfection, rendering it pleasant to the taste and wholesome to the habit."[102]  While many of the forts had a well, Fort George had no water source within its walls so that "the very great fatigue the want of water occasions its garrison particularly during the hot weather."[103]

            Though barracks regulations in England called for two meat dishes for every 12 men,[104] no meat dishes appear in the barracks schedule for British North America.[105]  To compensate, the 49th Regiment ordered their messes to be supplied with large dishes at a portion needed for a table of eight men.[106]  It is possible these dishes were made of earthenware and used for serving meals or as a salting tub for meat.[107]  The 49th Regiment required their messes to have flesh forks at a proportion of one for every two large dishes.[108]  A typical 15 inch, two prong iron flesh fork can be found in an 1801 manufacturer's sample book (Collection of the Essex Institute).[109]  The 49th Regiment also required their messes to have iron ladles in the same proportion as the flesh forks.[110]

Other Messing Utensils

            A meal for eight men[111] was prepared in a four gallon[112] (15.14 litre) iron pot, complete with bail and handle.[113]  Also referred to as boilers[114], such pots appear to have been of a "similar description"[115] but not from a fixed pattern, because the Barracks Department in Canada acquired iron pots from military stores in England, merchants in Quebec,[116] and foundries in Canada.[117]  The latter proved to be the cheapest source of supply.[118]  Given that the tables were covered with cloths, it is likely that these pots, blackened by the fire, would not have appeared on the table at dinner time.  The pot's contents were instead transferred to large dishes, and brought to the table.[119]

            According to Barracks Regulations one tin beer can was provided by the Barracks Master for every 12 men.[120]  However, North American regulations omitted this item along with a number of other mess utensils.  Shortcomings were expected to be made up by each regiment as they saw fit. The cost was reimbursed by the Department in the form of an annual allotment of utensil money[121] along with each soldier's mess contributions.

            Initially the beer can was for the issue of beer to the soldiers as the name implies.  The size of the ration was measured by the can.  It was essential that the pattern established by the Barracks Department was followed by the contactor or the soldiers' due ration would be affected.  Deviations from the established pattern did occur, as in 1796, at the garrison in Colchester, England:

Through some strange accident or misapprehension of the quantity of beer which every soldier is allowed, the tin cans contained less than the allotted quantity.  The garrison, consisting of several regiments, was for some time supplied in this manner.  A complaint was at last made to the visiting captain of one of the regiments, and by him inserted in his report.  The consequence was that an investigation took place, the utensils were measured, and the deficiency was established.[122]

Though the cans were replaced, no compensation was given to the soldiers.  In 1800, the supply of beer to the troops was discontinued, and was replaced with beer money.[123]  This did not result in the removal of the beer can as it continued to be used as a tin kettle to carry soup or tea to the barracks, guard, or men at work[124] for the rest of the 19th century.[125]   It is presumed that the size of the can would serve as a guide in measuring the soldier's mess portion, similar to its earlier function with the beer ration.

            Each company would have been in possession of a mess chest for storing utensils, plates, dishes, tablecloths and cooking frocks of each mess.[126]  Considered a general charge and property of the company, the cost of the chest was covered by each soldier's annual utensil allowance of 9 ½ pence[127] and the men's weekly mess contribution.  The mess chests for the Rifle Corps and 85th Regiment were divided into separate compartments for each mess.[128]  The chest was most likely painted Ordnance blue,[129] and marked with the letter of the company, the captain's name, and the regiment's number.[130]  It is also likely the chest was kept locked, with the key left in the possession of the company pay sergeant.

            The cooks in the company wore frocks when attending to their duties, "the purchase and washing of which are to be a charge upon the subsistence of the men."[131]  When not in use, the cooking frocks were also stored in the mess chest.[132]  The frock resembled a long, loose shirt made of linen, and was worn over the cook's fatigue clothing.[133]  One style of British frock had a neck opening that extended down the rear of the garment in the same way it opened at the front.[134]  This allowed the shirt to be rotated when one side became soiled, making it very practical for food preparation duties.  Based on illustrations and original examples, however, frocks in North America seem to have been made with a front opening only.  It is possible a mixture of the two styles were being used by the regiments in Canada.  Since the frocks belonged to the company, they were probably marked in ink with the company's letter and possibly the number or letter of the mess to further identify ownership.

                                                                    Conclusion

             This article has shown that while at times complex, the messing system protected the soldier from starvation and provided a communal mechanism to share in the demanding duties of food preparation.  The number and size of company messes varied to accommodate the facilities of each station, as did the diet of the troops.  While the Commissariat Department attempted to supply common staples such as beef, pork, peas, and flour, each locality provided different supplements to the soldier's diet.  In the end, not only did the soldier adopt a Canadian diet, but acquired utensils for food preparation from Canadian merchants and tradesmen.

 

                                                                   


[1]. Refer particularly to: Glen A. Steppler, "A Duty Troublesome Beyond Measure" Logistical Considerations in the Canadian War of 1812", (Master's thesis, McGill University, Montreal, 1974).

[2]. Diet, messing arrangements, and associated material culture for officers will not be discussed.  For information on these subjects see Donald Graves, "Fort George Historical Study", Manuscript Report No. 353, (Parks Canada, 1979); Dennis Carter-Edwards, "The 41st (the Welsh) Regiment, 1799-1815", (Parks Canada, 1986).

[3]. The British Military Library; or Journal: Comprehending a Complete Body of Military Knowledge; and Consisting of Original Communications; With Selections from the Most Approved and Respectable Foreign Military Publications. vol. 1. (London, 1799), pp. 423, 478.

[4]. Joseph Donaldson, Recollections of the Eventful Life of a Soldier. (Edinburgh, 1847), p. 46.

[5]. Regulations for the Rifle Corps, Formed at Blatchinton Barracks, Under the Command of Colonel Manningham, August 25th, 1800. (London, 1801), p. 49; Standing Orders and Regulations for the 85th Light Infantry. (London, 1813), p. 16; Standing Orders for the Seventy-First Highland and Glasgow Regiment of Light Infantry of the Line. (London, 1809), pp. 73-74.

[6]. One company of the 74th Regiment in 1815 had their company divided into two messes or messed as a company, National Archives of Canada (LAC), Manuscript Group (MG) 24, L 6, vol. 4, Weekly Mess Book of the 1st compy, 74th Regiment.

[7]. Standing Orders of the 85th Regiment...1813, p. 16.

[8]. LAC, Record Group (RG) 8 Series I, vol. 1203 1/2C, p. 258, Regimental Order, Fredericton, 2 February 1813.

[9]. The British Military Library; or Journal... 1799, pp. 423, 478.

[10]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 183, Example Mess Return for a Company in the 100th Regiment, 1806.

[11]. Standing Orders of His Majesty's Tenth Royal Veteran Battalion of which Lieutenant General Loather Pennington is Colonel. (Newport, 1807), pp. 11-12; Standing Orders of the Seventeenth Regiment of Light Dragoons. (Clonmel, 1804), p. 29.

[12]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 115, p. 263, Extract from the Instructions of the...Lords of the Treasury to... Assistant Commissary... in Newfoundland.

[13]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1168, p. 105, Circular Letter, Horse Guards, 5 November 1811.

[14]. Standing Orders of the 71st Regiment...1809, p. 71.

[15]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 179, Plan of Regimental Messing in His Majesty's 1st Battn 6th Regiment of Foot, serving in Canada under the Command of Major Thomas Carnie, Quebec, 20 May 1806; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan of Regimental Messing in His Majesty's 49th (or Herts) Regiment of Foot, Quebec, 26 May 1806.

[16]. LAC, MG 24, A 1, Brock Papers, 41st Regiment Order Book, Regimental Order, Quebec 4 August 1805.

[17]. Great Britain, Horse Guards, Adjutant General's Office, General Regulations and Orders for the Army, 12 August 1811, pp. 300-301.

[18]. LAC, MG 24, L 6, vol. 4, Weekly Mess Book of the 1st compy, 74th Regiment.  This book is wrapped with natural oznaburg linen,marked with black ink:

                                                      1st Compy

                                                   W. Mess Book

                                                            74

[19]. LAC, MG 24, A 1, Brock Papers, 41st Regiment Order Book, Regimental Order, Quebec, 4 August 1805.

[20]. Michael Glover, ed., A Gentleman Volunteer: The Letters of George Hennell for the Peninsular War, 1812-1813. (London, 1979), p. 93. Letter dated Camp on the banks of the river Aragon, 29 June 1813.

[21]. Joseph Donaldson, Recollections of the Eventual Life of a Soldier. (Edinburgh, 1847), p. 52.

[22]. Great Britain, House of Commons, Report from an Official Committee on Barrack Accommodation for the Army. (London, 1855), pp. 28, 83-84, 102, 107.

[23]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 223, p. 286, Code Established by General Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, Commander in Chief of His Majesty's forces in British North America, for the purpose of placing the daily duties, parades etc. of the several corps within his command, on one General system for their interior duty, to be invariably observed, by the Commanding Officers of Regiments, Corps and Detachments, Halifax, 1800.

[24]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 179, Plan of Regimental Messing in the 6th Regiment, Quebec, 20 May 1806; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan of Regimental Messing in the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 26 May 1806.

[25]. The British Military Library or Journal...1799, p. 479.

[26]. T.H. McGuffie, ed., Rank and File: The Common Soldier at Peace and War, 1642-1914. (London, 1964), p. 139.  An account from a regimental sergeant-major in Canada, late eighteenth century.

[27]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 179, Plan of Regimental Messing in the 6th Regiment, Quebec, 20 May 1806; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan of Regimental Messing in the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 26 May 1806.

[28]. Ibid.

[29]. Standing Orders of the 2nd Battalion of the 62nd, or Wiltshire Regiment. (Cork, 1813), p. 76.

[30]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 107, p. 56, Statement of the Different Kinds of Rations issued in Canada, 1802; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 107, p. 69, Treasury Chambers, London, 28 December 1802; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1168, p. 4, General Order, Quebec, 12 September 1811; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1168, p. 112, General Order, Quebec, 19 March 1812.

[31]. Instructions to Regimental Surgeons, for Regulating the Concerns of the Sick, and of the Hospital to Which is Prefixed His Majesty's Warrant for increasing the Advantages &c. of the Medical Officers of the Army. (London, 1808), Appendix No. 8.

[32]. Ibid.

[33]. The British Military Library or Journal...1799, p. 479.

[34]. Ibid., p. 478.

[35]. D. Balkwill & S. Cumbaa, "Salt Pork and Beef Again?  The Diet of French and British Soldiers at the Casemate, Bastion St. Louis, Quebec", Research Bulletin, No. 252. (Parks Canada, February 1987), pp. 12, 19.

[36]. Joseph Donaldson, Recollections of the Eventual Life of a Soldier. (Edinburgh, 1847), p. 351.

[37]. Great Britain, War Office, A Collection of Orders, Regulations, and Instructions, for the Army on Matters of Finance and Points of Discipline Immediately Connected Therewith. vol. 2, (London, 1 August 1815), p. 172, "Form of Contract for supplying Meat to His Majesty's Land Forces in Cantonments, Quarters, and Barracks".

[38]. Ibid.

[39]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 109, p. 154, John Gill to Military Secretary Green, York, 2 November 1805.

[40]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 108, p. 28, Sullivan to Addington, Downing Street, London, 26 May 1808.

[41]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 107, p. 154, Hamilton to Coffin, Queenston, 26 March 1801.

[42]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 107, p. 156, Coffin to Craigie, Fort George, 28 May 1801.

[43]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 108, p. 116, Craigie to McGill, Quebec, 16 May 1803.

[44]. Great Britain, House of Commons, The Eighteenth Report of the Commissioners of Military Enquiry; appted by Act of 45th GEO III Chap. 47th: Office of the Commissariat. (London, 20 March 1812) p. 97.

[45]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 108, p. 107, Remarks on the subject of salted provisions and peas in Upper and Lower Canada, Kingston, 4 May 1803.

[46]. Ibid.

[47]. Fernand Ouellet in his book Lower Canada, 1791-1840 debates there was  poor harvests resulting in an economic crisis between 1802 and 1812.  This is the based on the decline of wheat exports from Lower Canada.  This conclusion is challenged by G. Paquet and J.-P. Wallot in "The Agricultural Crisis in Lower Canada, 1802-1812; mise au point. A Response to T.J.A. Legoff," (Canadian Historical Review (1975), pp. 134-168) were they debate the wheat export decline was the result of decline in export markets.

[48]. Great Britain, House of Commons, The Eighteenth Report of the Commissioners of Military Enquiry; appted by Act of 45th GEO III Chap. 47th: Office of the Commissariat. (London, 20 March 1812), p. 97.

[49]. Michelle Guitard, The Militia of the Battle of the Chateauguay: A Social History. (Parks Canada, 1983), p. 38.

[50]. United States, St. Lawrence University, John Ross to David Parish, Ogdensburgh, 23 July 1813.  Quoted in Paul Fortier, "A line on a frontier for the defence of a wilderness: British and American relations on the upper St. Lawrence River during the American War of 1812", (unpublished paper, University of Toronto, August 1980).

[51]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 108, p. 113, Account of the Expense of a Barrel of Pork, Kingston, 4 May 1803.

[52]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 112, pp. 70-74, McGill to Amherstburg, Fort George, and Fort Erie, York, 17 February 1807.

[53]. Quebec Gazette, 28 June 1804.  Reproduced in Claudette Lacelle, "The British Garrison in Quebec City as Described in Newspapers from 1764 to 1840", History and Archaeology No. 23, (Parks Canada, 1979), p. 65.

[54]. D. Balkwill and S. Cumbaa, "Salt Pork and Beef Again? The Diet of French and British Soldiers at the Casemate, Bastion St. Louis, Quebec", Research Bulletin. No. 252, (Parks Canada, February 1987), p. 11.

[55]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 109, p. 28, Craigie to Green, Quebec, 29 June 1804.

[56]. The British Military Library or Journal...1799, p. 478.

[57]. John Cooper, Rough Notes of Seven Campaigns. (London, 1869), p. 147.

[58]. The British Military Library or Journal...1799, p. 478.

[59]. Ibid.

[60]. Robert Jackson, A systematic view of the formation, discipline, and economy of armies. (London, 1804), p. 234.

[61]. John Gellner, ed., Recollections of the War of 1812: Three Eyewitnesses' Accounts. (Toronto, 1964), p. 4.

[62]. The British Military Library or Journal...1799, p. 478.

[63]. Ibid., p. 479.

[64]. George Heriot, Travels Through the Canadas. (London, 1807), p. 151.

[65]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1210, p. 172, Green to Grant, 27 October 1802.  Cited in Dennis Carter-Edwards, "The 41st (the Welsh) Regiment, 1799-1815", (Parks Canada, 1986).

[66]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 183, Example Mess Return for a Company of the 100th Regiment, 1806.

[67]. LAC, MG 19, A 39, Duncan Clark Papers, Order Book of the Incorporated Militia, 1813-14, p. 93, District Order, Prescott, 2 July 1813; p. 100, Garrison Order, Prescott, 17 July 1813.

[68]. Dennis Carter-Edwards, "The 41st (the Welsh) Regiment, 1799-1815" (Parks Canada, 1986).

[69].  While marching between Niagara and the Detroit frontier, one militiaman noted jumping a fence and filling his haversack with pears, LAC, MG 24, G 10, Diary of a Volunteer, York Militia.

[70]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 109, p. 44, Report on Canada flour, 1793.

[71]. Ibid.

[72]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 112, p. 179, Report of a Board of Survey, Fort George, 25 July 1808.

[73]. Great Britain, War Office, A Collection of Orders, Regulations, and Instructions, for the Army; on Matters of Finance and Points of Discipline Immediately Connected Therewith. vol. 2, (London, 1 August 1815), p. 195, "Form of Contract for supplying Bread to His Majesty's Land Forces in Cantonments, Quarters, and Barracks".

[74]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1168, p. 1f, General Order, Halifax, 9 August 1811.

[75]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 113, pp. 201-203, Sheaffe to Military Secretary, Three Rivers, 2 November 1810.

[76]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 911, pp. 50-51, Proctor to Evans, Fort George, 18 September 1811.  Quoted in Dennis Carter-Edwards, "The 41st (the Welsh) Regiment, 1799-1815", (Parks Canada, 1986).

[77]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1200, pp. 8-10, General Order, Headquarters, Halifax, 9 March 1800.

[78]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1203 1/2AA, p. 100, Requisition for material required for tables, forms, and benches for 360 men of the 4th Division, Fort George, 14 November 1812.

[79]. "Wanted for the use of the Barracks Department at this place... 100 Barracks Tables...", Kingston Gazette, 1 October 1814.

[80]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1203 1/2AA, p. 100, Requisition for material required for tables, forms, and benches for 360 men of the 4th Division, Fort George, 14 November 1812.

[81]. Ibid.

[82]. "Wanted for the use of the Barracks Department at this place...200 forms", Kingston Gazette, 1 October 1814.

[83]. Ibid.

[84]. Standing Orders of the 62nd Regiment...1813, p. 77.

[85]. Standing Orders of His Majesty's 29th or Worchestershire Regiment of Foot. (London, 1812), p. 61.

[86]. "Standing Orders for the 43rd Regiment, 1795", 43rd and 52nd Chronicle, 1895, p. 168.

[87]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1168, p. 68, General Order, Quebec, 19 December 1811.

[88]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 223, p. 286, Code Established by General Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, Commander in Chief of His Majesty's forces in British North America, for the purpose of placing the daily duties, parades etc. of the several corps within his command, on one General system for their interior duty, to be invariably observed, by the Commanding Officers of Regiments, Corps and Detachments, Halifax, 1800.

[89]. Standing Orders of the 12th Regiment of Foot. (London, January 1817), p. 35.

[90]. Fiona St. Aubyn, ed. Ackermann's Illustrated London. (London, 1985), p. 150.  A collection of watercolours by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson.

[91]. Each mess had two tablecloths, with a mess consisting of approximately twelve men, Standing Orders of the 71st Regiment...1809, p. 74; Regulations for the Rifle Corps...1801, p. 49; Standing Orders of the 12th Regiment...1817, p. 35; Standing Orders of the 85th Regiment...1813, p. 17.

[92]. Standing Orders of the 85th Regiment...1813, p. 17; Regulations for the Rifle Corps...1801, p. 49.

[93]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1168, p. 69-72, General Orders, Quebec, 19 December 1811.

[94]. Ibid.  "Diaper.  A kind of dimity; a linen fabric... woven with lines crossing to form diamonds with the spaces variously filled with lines, a dot, or a leaf.  The name is derived from the place of its first fame, Ypres in Flanders.  Twill weave." Florence M. Montgomery, Textiles in America, 1650-1870. (New York, 1984), p. 218.

[95]. Great Britain, House of Commons, The Second Report of the Commissioners of Military Inquiry: Establishment of the Barracks Office. (London, 1806), Barracks Regulations, 1797; PRO, WO 26/40, p. 500, Barracks Regulations, London, 5 December 1807.

[96]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1209, p. 46a, Regulations for Barracks, By His Excellency Robert Prescott, Quebec, 25 October 1800.

[97]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan of Regimental Messing in the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 23 May 1806.

[98]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 179, Plan of Regimental Messing in the 6th Regiment, Quebec, 20 May 1806.

[99]. United States National Archives, RG 98, no. 531, Account Book of the British 49th Regiment, G company, 1811-12; LAC, MG 23, K 1, vol. 16, Fraser Papers, Voltigeurs Day Book, 1814.

[100]. PRO, WO 3/17, p. 61, Memorandum, Horse Guards, 14 February 1797.

[101]. Robert Jackson, A systematic view...1804, p. 236.

[102]. Ibid.

[103]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 514, pp. 91-92, Procter to Green, 5 April 1807.  Quoted in Dennis Carter-Edwards, "The 41st (the Welsh) Regiment, 1799-1815" (Parks Canada, 1986).

[104]. Great Britain, Public Records Office (PRO), WO 26/40, p. 500, Regulations for Barracks, London, 5 December 1807.

[105]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1209, p. 46a, Regulations for Barracks. By His Excellency Robert Prescott, Quebec, 25 October 1800.

[106]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan for messing in the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 23 May 1806.

[107]. The 40th Regiment required each barrack room to have a earthen crock for salt meat, Standing Orders for the Fortieth Regiment. (Margate, 1800), p. 49.

[108]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan for messing in the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 23 May 1806.

[109]. Essex Institute, Sample Book, 672 2 S19, vol. 15, 1801.

[110]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan for messing in the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 23 May 1806.

[111]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1209, p. 46a, Regulations for Barracks. By His Excellency Robert Prescott, Quebec, 25 October 1800.

[112]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 111, p. 91, Certificate, Quebec, 21 March 1807.  The old English imperial gallon is equal to today's US gallon.

[113]. Ibid.; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 548, p. 50, Abstract of Proposals received from the following Persons for Furnishing Barrack Utensils for Government, Quebec, 15 February 1808.

[114]. PRO, WO 26/40, p. 499, Regulations for Barracks, London, 5 December 1807.

[115]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 111, p. 91, Certificate, Quebec, 21 March 1807.

[116]. Messrs. McCord & Black, Ibid.

[117]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 548, p. 50, Abstract of Proposals..., Quebec, 15 February 1808.

[118]. Monro & Bell were contracted to make the pots for 7s 9d.  Pots imported from England generally cost 10s 6d, Ibid.

[119]. LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Plan of Regimental Messing in the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 23 May 1806.

[120]. PRO, WO 26/40, p. 500, Regulations for Barracks, London, 5 December 1807.

[121]. LAC, MG 23, G II, 17, Prescott Papers, vol. 21, p. 232, Regulations for Barracks, Quebec, 25 December 1796.

[122]. Charles James, The Regimental Companion, Vol. 2, (London, 1802), p. 90.

[123]. A Collection of Orders, Regulations, and Instructions, for the Army; on Matters of Finance, and Points of Discipline Immediately Connected Therewith. (London, 1807), p. 66, Warrant granting an allowance in lieu of small beer to the troops... 17 March 1800.

[124].Trench-Gascoigne, F.R.T., ed., "Extracts from the Standing Orders of the Garrison of Gibraltar, 1803", Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 3, p. 183; LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 1213, p. 181, Mess Plan for the 49th Regiment, Quebec, 23 May 1806.

[125]. Some watercolours depicting the cans include: C.B. Newhouse, 1835, Newhouse's Military Incidents, "No. 2, The Dinner Round, Light Company, 19th Foot," Anne S.K. Brown Collection, Brown University, Providence, Rhodes Island; W. Belch, 5 July 1838, The Grand Military Feast in Honour of the Queen's Coronation, Woolwich, Anne S.K. Brown Collection, Brown University, Providence, Rhodes Island.

[126]. Messing utensils for the kitchen and table were not supplied by the Barracks Department.  Instead an annual allowance was given to each soldier to purchase the said items, LAC, MG 23, G II, 17, Prescott Papers, vol. 21, p. 232, Regulations for Barracks, Quebec, 25 December 1796.

[127]. Ibid.

[128]. Regulations for the Rifle Corps...1801, p. 49; Standing Orders for the 85th Regiment...1813, p. 17.

[129]. 43rd or Argyll and Bute Regiment of Militia Standing Orders. (Edinburgh, 1812), p. 22.

[130]. Standing Orders of the 29th Regiment...1812, p. 57.

[131]. LAC, MG 24, A 12, Dalhousie Papers, vol. 4, Standing Orders of the 26th or Cameron Regiment of Foot, Section III, 6.

[132]. Regulations for the Rifle Corps...1801, p. 49; Standing Orders for the 85th Regiment...1813, p. 49.

[133]. There are a number of illustration of civilians wearing frocks while working.  See William Pyne, Microcosm. (London, 1806), Market Pl. 1, Dairy Pl. 1 & 2, Shepherds Pl. 1; William Pyne, Pyne's British Costumes. (Ware, 1989), Pl. XXXIX, Water Cart.

[134]. Ibid.

 


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