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1756 Mass Bay Colony Soldiers Rations

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Paul C. Daiute

Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 154
Location: Fort Western, On the Kennebec in Mayne 1740s-1760
Real Name: Paul C. Daiute

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:58 pm    Post subject: 1756 Mass Bay Colony Soldiers Rations Reply with quote

In 1756 Mass Bay Colony issued the following rations for her soldiers for a week: 6 lbs of salted or fresh pork; or 7 lbs of fresh or salted beef; 6 lbs of bread or the flour to make it; 1/2 lb of sugar; 2 oz, of ginger; a lb of flour; 1 pt of Indian meal; 4oz of butter; 1 pint of molasses; 7 gills, (jills), (4 oz= 1 gill)of rum; 3 1/2 pints of beans or pease; later when the British took over the commissary, rice was issued as an alternative to the beans and pease. These rations give historical bases for New Englanders to carry authentic foods and to cook a wide variety of meals with good caloric value for winter scouts. Here are some examples of the foods to be made. Pease porridge, (dogs body), pease and salt pork, ash cakes, ships biscuit, journey cakes, soups, switchel to drink, spiced rum to drink. ginger and molasses breads, baked beans and pork, just to name a few. Keep in mind that the full rations might not be issued and that substitutes could be made. The rations could also be augmented by soldier's gardens or by foods obtained from farmers, fishermen and the sutlers. My mess and I have carried these foods for years now and they have served us well. Look to Hanna Glass and other 18th century recipes for ways to cook the foods that I've listed above. Regards and good hunting to all, Paul--------- Loyalist Dave responded to this post and pointed out that I did not mention vinegar as part of the ration. It never was a part of the rations. So how did I make switchel? The vinegar could have been purchased from outside the system or the switchel would have been made with water, molasses, sugar, and the ginger. Dave also talked about the ships stuff or flour so I'm going to add some information about flour in England in the 18th and early 19th century. First ships's bread can be made from any grade of flour. The merchant ships had a variety of pilot's bread in which to stock their vessels. Dave noted the composition of ship's stuff to me and thus this discussion. In 18th and 19th century England, bread production was regulated by the government in terms of weight of loaves and type of flour and how the loaves were marked. The first grade of flour was Fine white and was the most expensive and had been bolted or sieved through a fine cloth. This flour was a pale cream color and was marked with a "W". The second grade was marked "SW" for standard wheaten, this was what we call whole meal and it is from this flour that the Navy had their biscuits made or soft bread when in port. The "SW" flour contained large pieces of grain in it. The last and cheapest was marked, "H" for houshold and this was made from seconds. Existing biscuits are noted to be of the "SW" quality and were made round and hexagon in shape. Each biscuit was pierced with multiple holes to help drive out the moisture when cooking and each had broad arrows to show the biscuits were property of the crown and the makers mark was on the biscuit as well. The ration was five biscuits or a pound per day per man. The information I furnished in this post can be found in: "Feeding Nelsons Navy", by Janet Macdonald, "Heart of Oak", by James P. McGuane, "Lobscouse & Spotted Dog", by Anne Grossman and Lisa Thomas, and Fred Anerson's, "A Peoples Army". Regards, Paul
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