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[130] it must be preceded by a pot of coffee; if a halt was ordered in mid-forenoon or afternoon, the same dish was inevitable, with hardtack accompaniment usually. It was coffee at meals and between meals; and men going on guard or coming off guard drank it at all hours of the night, and to-day the old soldiers who can stand it are the hardest coffee-drinkers in the community, through the schooling which they received in the service.

At a certain period in the war, speculators bought up all the coffee there was in the market, with a view of compelling the government to pay them a very high price for the army supply; but on learning of their action the agents of the United States in England were ordered to purchase several ship-loads then anchored in the English Channel. The purchase was effected, and the coffee “corner” tumbled in ruins.

At one time, when the government had advertised for bids to furnish the armies with a certain amount of coffee, one Sawyer, a member of a prominent New York importing firm, met the government official having the matter in charge — I think it was General Joseph H. Eaton--on the street, and anxiously asked him if it was too late to enter another bid, saying that he had been figuring the matter over carefully, and found that he could make a bid so much a pound lower than his first proposal. General Eaton replied that while the bids had all been opened, yet they had not been made public, and the successful bidder had not been notified, so that no injustice could accrue to any one on that account; he would therefore assume the responsibility of taking his new bid. Having done so, the General informed Sawyer that he was the lowest bidder, and that the government would take not only the amount asked for but all his firm had at its disposal at the same rate. But when General Eaton informed him that his first bid was also lower than any other offered, Sawyer's rage at Eaton and disgust at his own undue ambition to bid a second time can be imagined.

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