Cooking - Post Gardens
One of the ways in which soldiers supplemented their diet was through vegetables grown in post gardens. (They also supplemented their diets through hunting and by purchasing items at the sutler store). At Fort Scott, there were gardens for each company, gardens in the officers' backyards, as well as a hospital garden and cornfields to the south of the hospital.
The basic purpose of maintaining gardens and farms was not only to supplement the ration, but in some cases to provide portions of the ration. Some army posts not only raised vegetables, but animals also such as cows and chickens. There is no evidence of anything but the gardens indicated above at Fort Scott.
While the gardens served a useful purpose, many soldiers complained that tilling the soil and raising animals was not the reason that they had joined the army.
For more information on gardens read pgs. 168 and 171 of The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898 by Edward M. Coffman, copyright 1988 by Oxford University Press, Inc..
Did You Know?
During their free time, the officers enjoyed hunting. Captain Swords wrote "everybody here is hunting mad, hunting and dogs constitute their thoughts by day and dreams by night" Of another officer, Swords said that "wolf chasing and duck hunting" were the only things that reconciled him to the place