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|eeding the army was an enormous undertaking. Congress and the states had a difficult time raising funds to purchase enough supplies for the Continental Army. It was said that General Washington estimated that the army needed 100,000 barrels of flour and 20 million pounds of meat to feed 15,000 men for a year.
armers supplied the military with staples. Many local settlers owned small farms, and raised crops and livestock. Towns and cities provided a market for the settlers' cattle, hogs, and wheat. Hunting and fishing supplemented the diet. What the army could not supply, it often requisitioned by force.
oldiers unlike their civilian counterparts were issued food rations. Army food was usually provided in raw form. Staples consisted of flour, corn meal, or bread, and beef, pork, or fish. Sometimes beans or peas were provided. At Guilford Courthouse, the Virginia militia was supplied with bacon, beef, mutton, flour, corn, and corn meal.
oldiers cooked their own food in pots, kettles, Dutch ovens, grills, and broilers. Families often accompanied their men into the field. Women assisted with cooking, sewing, washing clothes, and tending the sick. Children carried firewood or water. Both British and American officers brought their own home necessities, such as tea strainers, that they used to ease the hardships of battle. Each man supplied his own utensils. These included a spoon, cup, fork, knife, and wood or metal plate. Strong spirits were usually provided.
uring his Southern Campaign, Nathanael Greene wrote, Without spirits the men cannot support the fatigues of a long campaign. In the Guilford area the citizens of North Carolina and Virginia supplied Greene's men with brandy and rum.