The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: December 5

WILLIAMSBURG, December 5, 1777.
The Honourable Continental Congress having directed a Magazine of Provisions to be laid up in this State for the Continental Army, I hereby give Notice that I will allow 40s. per Ct. Virginia Currency for Pork, 4s. per Bushel for Pease or Beans, and 10 s. per Barrel for Indian Corn, ready Money, until a necessary Quantity is obtained. It will be most convenient to receive the Grain on York, Rappahannock, and Potowmack Rivers. The Pork may be delivered at Suffolk, Smithfield, Petersburg, Richmond, -Hanover Town, Fredericksburg or Alexandria. These Prices will not be exceeded, and therefore I hope all those who are disposed to accept them will give immediate Notice thereof to Mr. James Hunter, Jun. Assistant Comissary Purchaser, at Fredericksburg, or to me in Williamsburg. I would say a Word to Forestallers and Engrossers, but I flatter myself that after the Abhorrence denounced against them by our Honourable Assembly now seting, that none will be found hardy enough to engage again in that inniquitous Business; indeed I have hopes that the Honour of my Countrymen, and their attachments to the noble Cause we are contending for, will at this critical Period excite a Hatred against every Idea that may tend to interrupt the present pleasing Prospect of Success, by throwing Difficulties in the Way of supplying the Army. I shall want a number of Pork Barrels at the above mentioned Places, for which I will allow a Dollar for each, and to engage with proper Persons to make Pork and Bacon. WILLIAM AYLETT, D.C.G.P.

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) December 5, 1777

About this entry:

The Congress designated the uniform ration for a soldier to be one pound of beef or 12 ounces of pork and one pound of bread or flour per day. They were also to have three pints of beans or pease and a half pint of indian meal per week. The difficulties lay in persuading the farmers to sell for the government price and then getting the food to the army. One official estimated that 55 wagons could carry about 500 barrels of pork a week to the troops in Pennsylvania. With the British offering more money for supplies and patrolling the coast, the Commissary General had a huge task to carry out.

Sources: Risch, p 190, 218. Carp, p55-

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