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February 19, 1863: Fresh Bread

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Diary Entry:
Dull day. heavy rain last night. our Brigade now Pickets below Falmouth. previous to last week we Picketed above the town.

Since Gen. Hooker took command of the Army of the Potomac, fresh bread four times a week, beef four times, and vegetables three times are issued to us. he makes it the duty of the Surgeons to report the number of times they are issued.

See the scanned diary page.

More Information:
After General Hooker took command of the Army of the Potomac in late-January 1863, he instituted a series of changes to improve the morale of troops. Changes included establishing an innovative intelligence system, instituting generous furloughs, making troops drill, and as Cyrus noted, improving rations, medical care, and living conditions of the soldiers. In General Order Number 9, issued on February 7, 1863, he ordered:

Flour or soft bread will be issued at the depots to commissaries for at least four issues to the troops. Fresh potatoes or onions, if practicable, for two issues per week. Desiccated mixed vegetables or potatoes for one issue per week.

Commanders of army corps, division, brigades and separate commands will require any commissary under their orders who fails to issue the above-named stores to the command to which he is attached, and as often as stated, to produce the written statement of the officer in charge of the dept from which he regularly draws his supplies to the effect that they were not on hand at the depot for issue to him, or otherwise to satisfactorily account for his failure.

by command of Major-General Hooker:
Jos. Dickinson,
Assistant Adjutant-General
General Orders, Headquartes Army of the Potomac


Sources: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation fo the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Vol XXV and “Intent of Major General Joseph Hooker during the Chancellorsville Campaign” by Major William M. Jurney.

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