But I will now leave this — to me deeply interesting theme — and introduce
The Army sutler.|
This personage played a very important part as quartermaster extraordinary
to the soldiers.
He was not an enlisted man, only a civilian.
By Army Regulations sutlers could be appointed “at the rate of one for every regiment, corps, or separate detachment, by the commanding officer
of such regiment, corps, or detachment,” subject to the approval of higher authority.
These persons made a business of sutling, or supplying food and a various collection of other articles to the troops.
Each regiment was supplied with one of these traders, who pitched his hospital tent near camp, and displayed his wares in a manner most enticing to the needs of the soldier.
The sutler was of necessity both a dry-goods
dealer and a grocer, and kept, besides, such other articles as were likely to be called for in the service.
He made his chief reliance, however, a stock of goods that answered the demands of the stomach.
He had a line of canned goods which he sold mostly for use in officers' messes.
The canning of meats, fruits, and vegetables was