allowed by the government more than met the needs of the troops, who at that time obtained much of their living from outside sources (to be spoken of hereafter), it was allowed, as they innocently supposed, to be sold for the benefit of the Company Fund
, already referred to. Some organizations drew, on requisition, ovens, semi-cylindrical in form, which were properly set in stone, and in these regimental cooks or bakers baked bread for the regiment.
But all of this was in the tentative period of the war.
An Army oven.|
As rapidly as the needs of the troops pressed home to the government, they were met with such despatch and efficiency as circumstances would permit.
For a time, in 1861, the vaults under the broad terrace on the western front of the Capitol
were converted into bakeries, where sixteen thousand loaves of bread were baked daily.
The chimneys from the ovens pierced the terrace where now the freestone pavement joins the grassy slope, and for months smoke poured out of these in dense black volumes.
The greater part of the loaves supplied to the Army of the Potomac up to the summer of 1864 were baked in Washington
, and at Fort Monroe, Virginia
The ovens at the latter place had a capacity of thirty thousand loaves a day. But even with all these sources worked to their uttermost, brigade commissaries were obliged to set up ovens near their respective depots, to eke out enough bread to fill orders.
These were erected on the sheltered side of a hill or woods, then enclosed in a stockade, and the whole covered with old canvas.
When the army reached the vicinity of Petersburg
, the supply of fresh loaves became a matter of greater difficulty