RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 416, pp. 22-24

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From the National Archives, RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 416, “Letters Sent, Medical Director’s Office, 1862-63.” pp. 22-24

213 Main St.
Richmond, Va Jany 8th, 1863

Surg. Thos. H. Williams,
Medical Director,


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the applications of Asst Surgeons Brook, Gen. Hospl No. 9 and Surgeon Hoyt, Gen. Hospl No. 13, for the detail of enlisted men in the army, for the purpose of assisting citizens engaged in baking of bread for these Hospls referred to me by Chief Surgeon Mason and which are herewith returned with endorsement.

Army Regulation, Par 45 183, provides that a post fund is to be raised at each post by a tax on the sutler [page break] of 10 cts a month for each Officer and soldier of the command, according to the average in each month, to be ascertained by the Council, and from the saving of the flour rations, ordinarily 33 per cent, by baking the soldiers bread at a Post Bakery ++++++ Par 187

The following are the objects of expenditures of the post fund, (1st) Expenses of the bake house, (2nd) &c ++++++++++ 14 Par 197, Army Regls. Note No. 6, as soldiers are expected to preserve, distribute and cook their own rations subsistence , the hire of Citizens for any of these duties is not allowed except in extreme cases. The expenses of baking are paid from the post fund, such as purchase of Hops, yeast, furniture as ???, clothes & c, and the hire of bakers. Ovens may be built or paid for by the subsistence department, but not bake houses. These as part of permanent quarters, are to be provided, rented or built by the Q. M. Department.

Flour is issued 1 lb, 2 oz to the ration, 2/3 lb hard bread, and 1 lb of bakers bread. A barrel weighing 196 lbs of Flour, in baking takes up water and increases in weight in proportion to its quality. Superfine, the best, makes better bread, more porous, more digestible and 25 lbs of bread to 1 bbll of 195 lbs. The meanest flour makes 240 lbs to 195 lbs. The Chimborazo Bakery costs about $70 per month, for hops, salt and potatoes, the furniture equipment cost $500. Its cost of erection was $2000 and it could be now built for nearly the same. It has 2 bakers at $40 per month, 2 Asst bakery boys @ $25 and 2 laborers. Surg. McCaw, when superfine flour was issued, commuted 1/3 of the flour ration, and now on account of the very inferior flour issued, commutes about 1/4, amounting for 3,500 patients and attendants to about 5 bblls per day.

By simple calculation in one barrel of flour superfine weighing nett pounds 196, and making 265 lbs of bread there are 174 2/9 rations of flour or 265 of bread or a gain of 91 7/9 rations, for the most inferior flour of the same weight, making 240 lbs. 240 bread rations, and a gain of 65.4 rations. Supposing only very inferior flour was used, were the baking of bread general, for every [page break] 1000 rations, there would be a saving in difference of bread rations, saving by baking of 270 rations for 15000 men, 4810 rations per day and for 30 days 144,300 rations. If superfine were used, 500 to 1000 or 50 per cent.

Gen Hospital No. 1 No. 4 Chimborazo, Winder and S. Carolina, have ovens and bake houses. I respectfully suggest that the saving of 37 per ct, to 50 per ct gross, in this article of subsistence, is an important item of economy and recommend that ovens be constructed by the subsistence department, and bakers engaged and managed by that department, so that the Government may have the benefit of this economy.

Very Respectfully
Your Obt Servt

Wm. A. Carrington
Surg. & Inspr of Hos.