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"To neglect the care of food supplies is to expose one's 
self to being defeated without fighting." — Vegetius, "De Re 
Multari," Book III., Chapter XXV. 




• <* t 

4 » • 

Modern Army in the Field. 


,»^ e 


Commissary General; United States Army. 



Commissary U. S. A., 
Assistant to the Commissary General. 


F&AVKLi* Hudson Publishing Co. 

Kansas City, Mo. 

• » 


Upon my suggestion, Captain Frank A. Cook, of the Sub- 
sistence Department, undertook a revision of "The Provis- 
ioning of the Modern Army in the Field." 

It was his idea, in the revision, that by additions to the text 
and rearrangement of the subject-matter he could bring the 
volume up to date and make it adaptable for use as a book of 
reference, or a military text-book for schools, there being no 
American work which included a summarization of the varied 
and extensive literature on- the subject. It is thought he has 
done the work well, and deserves full credit for the care, in- 
telligence, and thoroughness which the revision indicates. 

Henry G. Sharpe, 
Commissary General, U. S. Army. 





In an age of such great activities as the present, and when 

I? so many books are being published, there should be some 

justification for adding to the number. 

The fact that in this country practically no books have 
been published on this important subject would seem to in- 
dicate that the public and the service are both indifferent to 
the matter, except spasmodically when attention is drawn to 
it by reports of suffering. Periods of peace afford no oppor- 
tunities for practical experience, and indifference to a subject 
indicates lack of familiarity, and this because the incentive to 
study and preparation has not been made imperative. This 
study, when pursued, must include all wars in all countries, and 
especially in our own. 

The principal object of this small treatise is to give some 
idea of the difficulties of provisioning troops in the field, and 
also with the sincere hope that upon a fuller appreciation of 

If these difficulties a greater number of thoughtful men may be 

induced to devise measures to overcome them, and at the same 

J time ameliorate, if they cannot prevent, the suffering and 

1 horrors of war. 



The principles underlying the feeding of fighting armies 
have been absorbed by the writer during two years of duty in 
the Office of the Commissary General of the Army. During 
this period the facilities of a splendid library, presented to the 
Office by General Sharpe, and the privilege of free intercourse 
and discussion with him on the subject, have afforded the 
writer exceptional opportunity for acquiring some correct 
knowledge of the particular branch of the military service in 
which the Office is interested. 

Frank A. Cook, 
Captain, Commissary, U. 5. Army, 
Assistant to the Commissary General. 
Washington, D. C, 

May 26, 1908. 




Introduction, . 

Mobilization and Concentration, 

Plan of Operations, 

Base of Operations and of Supply, . 

Plans for Subsistence, 

Character of Subsistence Supplies, 

Initial Supply at the Base, 

Emergency Rations, 

Reserves of Ovens and Cooking Apparatus, 

Lines of Communication, 

Rations Carried by an Army, 

Renewal of Supplies, . 

Number of Wagons Required, 

Depots on the Lines of Communication, 

Railroads and Automobiles, 

Utilizing the Local Resources, 

Statistical Data, .... 

Methods of Obtaining Supplies Locally, 

Purchases — Contributions, 

Requisitions — Billeting, 

Foraging, . 

Duties of Subsistence Officers, 

The Meat Supply, .... 

Fresh Bread, .... 

Accountability — Paper Work, . 



















With the exception of Thiers, historians have devoted but 
little attention to the question of subsistence of armies in cam- 
paign; and it is difficult to find of record more than bare state- 
ments to the effect that an army has suffered from lack of food 
or that the special means for obtaining it had provided an 
ample supply. Explanation as to why the food supplies failed 
to reach the troops, or the details of the manner in which they 
were successfully collected, are lacking. 

Military writers on the continent of Europe, have, how- 
ever, long recognized the importance of the subject. The work 
of Bau*yet,* published in 1817, followed a few years later by 
the extensive treatises of Odier and Vauchelle, were practically 
the beginnings of what has become a vast literature on the 
subject of subsistence of armies in the field. The French have 
always been the leaders in this line of literature, yet, in spite 
of this interest in the subject and the attention they had de- 
voted to it, their defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 
and 1 87 1 may be attributed in no small degree to the complete 
failure of their supply service. 

This fact may be discouraging to the student of questions 
of supply; it did not discourage the French. Realizing their 
deficiencies, they made a determined effort to correct them, 
and, to aid them in the improvement of their system, they 
caused to be translated into French every military work of 
value published in foreign countries. From the best of their 
own and foreign writings on the subject of supply they have 
succeeded in evolving a system the equal, if not the superior, 
of any among the armies of Europe. So impressed by its per- 

*"De la Constitution de 1' Administration Militaire en France/' 


• > 

io The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

fection was Sir Charles DilkE, after witnessing the maneuvers 
of the French Army in 1891, that he wrote, in the Fortnightly 
Review for November of that year, an article on "The French 
Armies," in which he stated: "Germany has this year lost 
that uncontested supremacy in Europe which she enjoyed for 
twenty years." 

The maneuvers of 1891 were held in a designated portion 
of the country, the arrangements being made in advance with 
great elaborateness. While the system of subsisting the troops 
. in the field in those maneuvers was a great success, the officers 
of the French Intendance realized that in war they would not 
have the opportunity to make such elaborate preparations be- 
forehand for the subsistence of troops in any particular region, 
and in the maneuvers of 1903 a new and greater problem was 
given the French supply officers to solve. The place of the 
maneuvers was not made known until just before the date set 
for the concentration of the troops, which consisted of two 
army corps, and then the Intendance was obliged to subsist 
those army corps from the resources of the country in which 
they operated. It was done in an entirely successful manner. 
With practice like this prior to the Franco-Prussian War, in 
connection with the theories of supply with which the French 
were already familiar, it is doubtful if they would have suffered 
the humiliating defeat which still rankles in the hearts of the 
French people. 

The English have written comparatively little on the sub- 
ject of subsistence of armies in the field, but that they are alive 
to the importance of it is clearly shown by the complete success 
of their supply system in the South African War. This success 
may be attributed largely to the organization in the British 
Army in 1888 of an Army Service Corps. "A Digest and 
Analysis of Evidence taken by the Roy^l Commission on the 
War in South Africa" states, page no: "There are only two 
branches of the immense administration concerned in the work 
of taking the troops to the seat of war and of maintaining them 
. there which came in for unqualified commendation, both as to 

• * • 


The Provisioning of the Modern Army. n 

the adequacy of their supplies and the capacity with which 
they were administered. One was the transport by sea, the 
other the supply of food on land . ' ' Page 249 : " The transport 
by sea to South Africa from the United Kingdom and the Col- 
onies of a force much larger than any which had ever crossed 
the seas before in the service of this or any other country affords 
a remarkable illustration not only of the greatness of British 
maritime resources, but also of what can be done when careful 
forethought and preparation is applied to the object of utilizing 
rapidly in war instruments which are in peace solely engaged 
in the purpose of civil life. If the same forethought had been 
applied throughout, there would have been little criticism to 
make with regard to the South African War." Page 228: 
"The evidence shows that both in method of distribution and 
in quality the supply of food was one of the most successful 
features in the South African War. Lord Kitchener said 
(1901) : ' I consider that the soldier was better fed than in any 
previous campaign. Complaints were few and far between, 
and the majority were of a trivial nature, which speaks well for 
the sufficiency of the ration and the general quality of the food 
supplied.' Lord MethuEn said (14,312) : ' I never recollect the 
food supply and so on being better, or so good as it was in this 
campaign, from the beginning to the end. I have not one word 
to say against it.' Evidence to the same effect was given by 
numerous witnesses." 

Nothing could better illustrate the importance or the re- 
sult of careful study in time of peace of the art of subsisting 
armies in war than the contrast afforded by England's success 
in South Africa and her miserable failure in the Crimea half 
a century before. 

Sir Charles DilkE, writing in the United Service Magazine 
(London) for April, 1890, said: "The last considerable war in 
which we were engaged was that fought out in the neighbor- 
hood of Sevastopol. It was a war which called less than usual 
for special cleverness on the part of those responsible for in- 
telligence and for movements. There were no great marches, 

12 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

no skillful maneuvers in the open field at long distances from 
the base. Our most advanced posts in the Crimea were never a 
full day's march from the sea, and it would have seemed to be 
a simple task to provide for the army in the field. Yet the 
whole of our plan utterly broke down. The horses of the cav- 
alry and artillery were destroyed by doing common transport 
work, for which they should never have been used; and the 
army of the richest nation in the world, commanding the seas, 
starved almost within sight of its own ships for want of proper 
arrangement as to food — rotted for lack of sanitary provision — 
and, from the absence of that care which is the business of a 
general staff, became a wreck of itself. Before and since, the 
character and endurance of officers and men kept the fragments 
together, and whatever pride we now take in remembering the 
struggles of the campaign is a pride in the endurance of the 
race when suffering the most unmerited and unnecessary hard- 
ships from want of brain direction. Carelessness at home in 
time of peace had to be atoned for by magnificent courage and 
dogged determination on the part of the soldier, at the cost of 
many lives. The miserable inquiry as to the conduct of the 
Crimean War brought into the national mind in a dim way the 
necessity for some sort of staff training, and caused the estab- 
lishment of a Staff College, which has, on the whole, done 
much good." 

The Civil War in the United States was fought from 1861 
to 1865 with a larger number of troops engaged than had ever 
before been in the field. We find the following remarks made 
by Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War, in his annual report 
for 1865, in speaking of the Subsistence Department and of 
the manner in which the troops were subsisted in the field: 
"During the war this branch of the Service never failed. It 
answers to the demand and is ever ready to meet the national 

President Lincoln, during a visit to Richmond early in 
1865, is reported to have said to an officer of the Subsistence 
Department: "Your Department we scarcely hear of. It is 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 13 

like a well-regulated stomach : works so smoothly that we are 
not conscious of having it." 

General De Chanal, of the French Army, who visited the 
United States in 1864, being sent by the French Government 
to observe the operations in the Civil War, says, in his book 
entitled "The American Army in the War of Secession," page 
200, in speaking of the Subsistence Department: "It would 
be difficult for a commissariat service to work more smoothly 
and certainly than does that of the American Army, especially 
as that army is unable to live upon the country and must 
carry all its supplies." 

Baratikr, writing on the same subject, says: "If, from 
the military point of view, we cannot always admire the con- 
duct of operations, we are nevertheless struck with the vigor 
and breadth of the views which directed the organization and 
maintenance of numerous armies, always supplied with im- 
mense means of action; we are likewise forced to praise the 
persistence displayed in the use of certain methods, especially 
pertaining to the matter of supplies."* 

The voluminous reports published by the Government in 
what are known as the "Rebellion Records" contain nearly 
all the military correspondence on file in the War Department 
concerning the Civil War in the United States; and it is a sig- 
nificant fact that hardly any reference is made to the operations 
of the Subsistence Department. 

The vast mass of literature that has been published rela- 
tive to this war since its close has been concerned mostly with 
descriptions of battles, and, with the exception of General 
Sherman, no American military writers have made any ex- 
tended reference to the workings of the Subsistence Depart- 
ment during that war; nor has any systematic treatise on the 
provisioning of armies in the field ever been published in the 

*A. Baratier, Sous-Intendant Militaire, "l/Art de Ravitailler les 
Grandes Armies," p. 47. Cf. "Puissance Militaire des Etats-Unis d* 
Amerique d'apres la Guerre de la Secession, 1861-1865," rjar F. P. Vigo- 
Roussillon, Ancien Eleve de l'Ecole Polytechnique, etc., Paris, J. Dumaine, 
1866, p. 65. 

14 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

United States, except one elementary book on "The Art of 
Subsisting Armies in War," published in 1893, an( * the book 
of which this is a revision. The explanation of this would 
seem to be that the operations of the Subsistence Department 
during the Civil War were conducted so smoothly, as pointed 
out by President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton, that the im- 
portance of the matter has been entirely overlooked. 

Following the Civil War frequent operations on the plains 
against hostile Indians led to erroneous notions as to the ease 
of subsisting armies. American officers in those operations 
obtained most excellent training in the duties of a cavalry 
screen oi an advance, guard of a modern army, but nothing 
more. Such officers, when drawing lessons from their personal 
experiences, may be disposed to think that all wars can be 
made somewhat after the fashion in which the operations were 
conducted against the Indians, when very small bodies of 
troops, ' rarely numbering over a few hundred, had to be sup- 
plied; and when of necessity, as the operations took place in a 
country devoid of provisions, all supplies had to be taken with 
the command. This fact must account for the impossible or- 
ders relating to transportation and rations published during 
the American War with Spain and their dissimilarity to those 
published at the close of the Civil War after the armies had 
been for four years in the field. The lack of Civil War litera- 
ture, or other American literature relating to subsistence, and 
the erroneous lessons drawn from the personal experiences of 
officers on the plains, combined to produce practically a failure 
of the supply departments of the American Army in the War 
with Spain, which failure, had the war been of greater mag- 
nitude, might have resulted in a national disaster. After the 
formation of a General Staff and the establishment of a War 
College, the subject of supplies in war began to receive in the 
United States the consideration it demands. 

Many of the famous captains of the past have recorded in 
their writings the great importance which they consider should 
be given to the subject of the subsistence of troops in the field . 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 15 

Frederick the Great even made the assertion that the art of 
conquering is lost without the art of subsistence. In his 
"Memoirs and Instructions" he often goes into considerable 
detail, showing the care that should be exercised by a com- 
mander to insure the subsistence of his troops in the field. 
He has likewise incorporated this same subject in his poem on 
"The Art of War." 

During the Peninsular War the Duke of Wellington was 
necessarily so much occupied with the question of food and 
supply that he humorously used to say that he did not know 
that he was much of a general, but that he prided himself up- 
on being a first-class commissariat officer. (Maurice, "War," 

P- 25.) 

Military writers on the continent of Europe have pointed 

out that the failure of provisions is the greatest deprivation 

that can occur to an army; that it destroys discipline when it 

is most necessary, and that it can ruin the very best army in 

a short time. This is clearly shown in "Memoirs of Baron de 

Marbot," page 439. During the campaign in Portugal, a 

French sergeant, wearied of the misery in which the army was 

living through lack of provisions, persuaded about a hundred 

men to desert and become marauders. The sergeant gained 

the expressive, if contemptuous, name of "Marshal Stockpot," 

and his band became so bold and impudent that the French 

commanders were compelled to detach a force to storm their 

stronghold and exterminate them. 

A few quotations from great commanders and famous 

military writers will serve to close this Introduction, which is 

written in an attempt to impress upon the reader the importance 

of the subject that is treated by this book : 

"The art of conquering is lost without the art of subsistence." — 
Frederick the Great. 

"The art of subsisting a body of men in the field is among the most 
difficult." — Jomini. Quoted by Lewal in "Etudes de Guerre" p. 4. 

"It is frequently a more difficult task than to direct certain opera- 
tions." — General Foy, in "Etudes de Guerre," p: 4. 


1 6 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

"Famine is more cruel than steel, and starvation has ruined more 
armies than have battles." — Montecuculi, in "Etudes de Guerre* 1 p. 5. 

"The misfortune of lacking food and forage is the greatest that can 
befall an army, for it destroys discipline at a time when it is most nec- 
essary, and it may in a short time ruin an army." — Guvion Saint-Cyr, in 
"Etudes de Guerre! 1 p. 6. 

"A commander-in-chief expends, in our day, more thought in assuring 
subsistence to his troops than for any other purpose, and his best-laid 
plans are constantly being opposed and their effect lost through the lack 
of timely issues." — Martnont, "Esprit des Institutions Militaires, 11 Chapter 
V. f p. 105. 

"Without regular issues of supplies nothing is possible. Their im- 
portance equals and even surpasses that of the plans of battle themselves. 
Before marching comes existence, and this requires food. Before fighting, 
supplies must be provided. After the battle the wounded require our care. 
The renewal of subsistence constitutes one of the gravest preoccupations 
of the military commander. It is a vital and decisive question, which he 
must not for a moment neglect, for success depends upon its observance." 
— Lewal, "Etudes de Guerre 11 p. 5. 

"The difficulty of finding food for an army is one of the greatest 
difficulties of war. How is it that the most distinguished generals, who 
have seen their combinations fail in consequence of it, have not found its 
solution?" — Martnont, "Esprit des Institutions Militaires. 11 

"In an army the commander is either all or nothing; unless he can 
control the auxiliary services, he will certainly be controlled by them. 
He must be either master or servant. There can be no other alternative." 
— Lewal, "Etudes de Guerre 11 p. 18. 

"Nothing, in fact, that may contribute to the success of operations 
can be considered as beneath the rank or genius of the commanders." — 
Thiers, "Consulat, 11 liv. 4. 

"Mobility and power of action in an army depend upon a proper 
balance between its numerical strength and the available resources of the 
seat of war. Beyond a certain number, the strength of the army is but a 
load that crushes it. The want of food and forage strikes at discipline 
and hampers military operations. It must in a brief period weaken an 
army, particularly when it is engaged in making a long retreat." — "Mi- 
moires Militaires du Lieutenant-Gfneral Comte Roguet, 11 Tome IV. , />. 641. 

"Men brought together in large numbers have wants; the talent to 
satisfy those with order, ejconomy, and intelligence forms the science of 
administration." — "Esprit des Institutions Militaires 11 by Marichal Mar- 
mont, Chapter IV., p. 122. 

"Companion and sister of tactics, administration often anticipates 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 17 

and always aids, but never hinders it." — Odier, "Cours d? Etudes sur V Ad- 
ministration Militaire" Vol. IV. , p. 298. 

"The great strategical movements of armies have depended always 
upon their means of obtaining food and warlike supplies." — Colonel Mau- 
rice, "War," p. 13. 

"An army is a city flung down suddenly in the country, each day 
moving, each day requiring fresh alterations in the arrangement by which 
food is conveyed from the producer to the consumer. Yet this portion of 
the Art of War — one of the most important, if not the most important — re- 
ceives but scant notice. 'War is the art of being the strongest at any 
given place/ and that portion of the Art of War that keeps the greatest 
number of bayonets in the ranks is surely not to be despised." — Home, 
"Precis of Modern Tactics/ 7 p. 186. 

"An army must be fed, and many people rarely consider the mag- 
nitude of the operation. The action of an 'army in the field, its marches 
and its battles, the lists of killed and wounded, are what chiefly strike the 
eye of the looker-on; when a man is killed or wounded, or even when he 
is taken prisoner, his loss is chronicled; but the man is just as much lost 
if he dies or is invalided from want of food or medical aid. We read of 
so many guns and standards captured; but who notices the losses from j 

privations and hardships? Yet the losses'from the latter causes far out- 
weigh those from the former." — Home, "Prfcis of Modern Tactics" p. 186. 

"The feeding of an army is a matter of the most vital importance, 
and demands the earliest attention of £the general entrusted with the 
campaign." — General Sherman, "Memoirs" Vol. //., p. 389. 



IN WAR. — 

Mobilization and Concentration. 

Before an army takes the field two distinct operations have 
to be effected — namely, the mobilization and the concentra- 
tion. Mobilization is the act of putting troops in a state of 
readiness for active service in war. Concentration is the act of 
bringing together the mobilized troops at threatened points or 
at convenient points for taking the offensive. 

The important advantages of assuming the initiative in a 
campaign have been so often illustrated in history that most 
of the great nations of the earth now have definite detailed 
plans for the mobilization of their armies. 

"In 1859 it took thirty-seven days for France to collect 
on the River Po a force of 104,000 men, with 12,000 more in 
Italy. In 1866 the Prussian armies (220,000 in number) were 
placed on the frontiers of Saxony and Silesia in a fortnight; 
and in 1870 Germany was able to mobilize her forces in nine 
days, and to send in eight days more, to the French frontier, 
an army of 400,000 soldiers and 1,200 guns."* 

"The system of mobilization of the German Army, the 
most complete there is, is no new operation; it dates from the 
3d of April, 1809, and ever since then, when any change has 
been effected in the organization, a corresponding modification 
in the mobilization has been introduced. Notwithstanding 
that in 1870 some corps had completed their mobilization in 
seven days, and were able to commence moving toward the 
frontier on the eighth day, the German Staff is striving to re- 

*Voyi*E, "A Military Dictionary," third edition, p. 260. 


The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 19 

duce this interval of time, small indeed as it is, by one or two 

The construction of elevated roads in Berlin necessitated 
a complete change in the German plan of mobilization so as 
to gain a few hours in the execution of that operation. 

Proper plans for mobilization include the storage at con- 
venient points of a reserve of supplies and necessary arrange- 
ments for increasing the personnel of the supply departments, 
in order that the greater demands of the mobilized army may 
be promptly met. The methods of subsistence during the pre- 
paratory period of mobilization and concentration will not 
differ materially from those used in time of peace, but such 
changes as may be necessary in the application of those meth- 
ods to meet the new conditions should be elaborately planned 
as a part of the scheme of mobilization. It is only when the 
period of active operations has been entered upon that the 
serious problems of subsistence begin. 


Plan of Operations. 

As stated by Von der Goi/rz (" The Conduct of War," page 
97), "A complete plan for enterprises in the field is impossible, 
because we have to reckon with the independent will of the 
opponent.' ' It is, however, highly important that definite 
ideas be formed as to the object of a campaign, a fixed purpose, 
to the consummation of which the energies of the commander 
must be persistently directed. It is stated that Napoleon I. 
has made the assertion that he never had a plan, yet we see 
that all his undertakings were directed from the beginning at 
some large and definite object. A plan of operations can state 
what we desire to do and, with the means available, hope to 
accomplish, but the separate movements and enterprises to be 
undertaken to accomplish the object cannot be arranged in 
advance. The farthest range of a detailed plan can generally 

♦FursB, "Mobilization and Embarkation of an Army Corps," p. 2. 
See also Bronsard von Schellendorf, "The Duties of the General Staff," 
Vol. II., p. 109. 

20 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

not extend beyond the concentration. Thereafter much must 
depend upon the result of the first serious encounter with the 
enemy. But always the great general purpose must be kept 
in mind. 

Base of Operations and of Supply. 

Consideration of a general plan of operations involves the 
selection of a base. Colonel Macdougal, in his "Theory of 
War," explains that the base of operations is "the point, line, 
or district from which an army starts and from which all its 
reinforcements and supplies proceed when it is committed in a 
campaign. It may be a single town; it may be a frontier line 
of any length, or a line of sea-coast, if the army possesses the 
command of the sea; or it may be a district or a county, having 
breadth as well as length. Whatever be its nature, it must be 
such that the army retreating upon it, in case of disaster, shall, 
on reaching it, find succor and safety." 

Jomini, in his "Precis de l'Art de la Guerre/ ' published in 
1839, says: "The base of operations is most generally that of 
supply, — though not necessarily so, at least as far as food is 
concerned, — as, for instance, a French army upon the Elbe 
might be subsisted from Westphalia or Franconia, but its real 
base would certainly be upon the Rhine." However, at the 
beginning of a campaign it is difficult to conceive of conditions 
which would result in the establishment of one base from which 
the army is to proceed and another base from which supplies 
are to be forwarded to it. 

Assuming, then, that the bases of operations and supply 
are coincident, it is evident that the base must be selected not 
only with reference to the military operations that are to pro- 
ceed therefrom, but also so that it, as well as the army beyond 
it, can be sustained by all the resources of the country. 

Plans for Subsistence. 

The general plan of operation and the base having been 
decided upon, it becomes the duty of the Subsistence Depart- 

The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 21 

ment to sketch out a plan of the measures which will have to 
be taken to insure the regular provisioning of the army. It 
must be shown how subsistence affairs are to be administered, 
the personnel required, the amount and character of the stores 
to be accumulated at the base, and the preparations that must 
be set going to furnish them and to renew the supply. Beyond 
the base, the plan of supply, like the plan of operations, cannot 
be arranged in detail. Much will depend upon the course of 
events and upon the resources of the theater of war. We 
should in peace tabulate and keep up to date the resources of 
all countries that are likely to become theaters of war, but it is 
wrong in principle to place any reliance, in the preliminary ar- 
rangements, upon our tabulated data. If, upon penetrating 
the enemy's country, it is found that its resources can be 
utilized, then the flow of supplies from the rear can be stopped; 
but the supplies must nevertheless be at the base, lest the 
resources upon which we have counted fail. 

During the preparatory period, then, supplies must be ac- 
cumulated and stored at various depots at the base, the amount 
to be stored depending upon the strength of the command and 
being independent of the probable resources in the theater of 
operations. This is practically all that can be done by the 
supply departments prior to the opening of a campaign, except 
that in time of peace, whether or not war is in sight, elaborate 
plans should be perfected for the organization of the service at 
the base and along the lines of communications, statistical 
data should be collected, and general regulations should be 
promulgated and mastered relative to the utilization of the 
local resources. 

Character of Subsistence Supplies. 

A ration is the daily allowance of food for one man. The 
subsistence supplies to be stored at the base will consist largely 
of the articles composing the national ration. The composition 
of the ration is governed by the national dietary, and varies in 
most countries according to the nature of the service to be per- 

22 The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 

formed. It is a principle of dietetics that the greater the 
amount of muscular exertion the more nutritive must be the 
food consumed. So that the soldier in war should, theoreti- 
cally, have a better ration than when in garrison; but with 
large modern armies this principle has to be ignored, for the 
problem of the subsistence of such armies is practically a trans- 
portation problem only. The larger the ration the greater the 
amount of transportation required, and the greater the trans- 
portation the less the mobility and consequently the efficiency 
of the troops, for rapidity of movement is one of the essentials 
of success in war. Accordingly, we find that nations hava 
adopted as the ration for campaigns one consisting of the most 
essential components of the peace ration, selected with refer- 
ence to their portability, keeping qualities, and nutritive value. 
The less essential components are omitted entirely, and the 
quantities of the components used are reduced to the minimum 
consistent with affording a fair amount of nourishment. While 
the campaign ration is the one intended to be issued habitually 
in active service, it is recognized that opportunities will not be 
infrequent for increasing the issue to the full peace ration or 
even to a greater extent by means of supplies procured in the 
theater of operations or by shipments from the rear when the 
army is stationary. 

There should, then, be stored at the base not only a liberal 
supply of campaign rations, but also an assortment of other 
stores ready for shipment forward to the fighting army when- 
ever opportunity occurs, and for issue to the sick and at sta- 
tions occupied by inactive forces. Upon the chief commissary 
at the base devolves the important duty of making a wise se- 
lection of these extra stores $nd an approximate estimate of 
the amounts required. Their issue to the fighting forces during 
any lull in the operations when transportation is available 
should be made with liberality, without strict adherence to the 
letter of the law. The commissary officer who hesitates to as- 
sume responsibility will surely be a failure. 

The Provisioning of tiie Modern Army. 23 

Initial Supply at the Base. 

The amount of supplies to be stored at the base will depend 
upon the number of troops and camp-followers to be supplied, 
but it would be an inexcusable lack of foresight to limit the 
amount by the actual requirements as computed. The com- 
plete uncertainty of war forbids it. The possible necessity for 
the prompt sending forward of heavy reinforcements before 
supplies can be collected for them, the loss of a supply train, 
the deterioration of stores, the capture, perhaps, of thousands 
of prisoners who must be fed, and other contingencies impossible 
to foresee, render it imperative that the depots at the base be 
stocked with a most liberal reserve of stores. 

Von der Goltz, in "The Nation in Arms," page 373, says: 

"He who, according to directions, calculates the needs of 
an army in the field in pounds and provides for it according to 
the most careful dispositions, certainly will scarcely ever run 
the risk of a portion of the supplies he has furnished being 
spoiled. But the army will suffer by this arrangement. Two 
and three times as much as an army needs'must be supplied, 
if it is to be kept from want; double and treble in respect to 
the good quality of the provisions, double and treble of the 
quantity.' ' 

And in the same book, page 374, Clausewitz is quoted as 

"The strength to endure privation is one of the noblest 
virtues in a soldier, * * * but this privation must be 
merely temporary, caused by the force of circumstances, and 
not the result of * * * a parsimonious abstract calcula- 
tion of absolute necessity.' ' 

From May 1 until August 12, 1864, the daily average 
number of rations forwarded from Chattanooga to Sherman's 
Army, which numbered 105,000 effective men and 30,000 civil 
employees, was 412,000 rations — more than three rations for 
every man that left Chattanooga on that campaign. (Sy- 
monds, "The Report of a Commissary of Subsistence/ ' pages 
130 and 158.) 

24 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

Emergency Rations. 

An emergency ration, as its name implies, is a ration in- 
tended to be used only on emergent occasions. It is a reserve 
ration, carried habitually by the soldier, who is not permitted 
to open it except by order of an officer or in extremity. The 
emergency ration has been referred to as "a substitute for 
nothing." Its greatest usefulness is on the firing-line, when, 
separated from their supplies, and with their regular rations 
consumed, the troops can, by using it, prolong the battle for 
twenty-four to thirty-six hours. The principal requirements of 
such a ration are that it be light in weight, of small volume, 
put up in a package of suitable shape for carrying in the haver- 
sack, capable of being eaten without any preparation requiring 
the use of fire, and readily procurable in large quantities in 
time of war; and it must provide sufficient nourishment to 
maintain the strength and vigor of a man for one day. 

It is the duty of commanding officers to see that every 
man Has an emergency ration when starting on a campaign. 
The Subsistence Department must store and maintain a reserve 
of these rations at the base and push forward a supply of them 
to depots within reach of the troops, with a view to the prompt 
issue of another ration when one has been consumed. 

Reserves of Ovens and Cooking Apparatus. 

Field bakeries are provided for in most of the large armies 
of the world, and for such armies it is important that a reserve 
Supply of ovens and apparatus pertaining thereto be stored at 
the base, available for replacing those worn out or lost in the 

Likewise a reserve of apparatus for cooking should be 
stored at the base, although individual cooking must generally 
be resorted to during the progress of a campaign. However, 
at the base, at depots along the line of communications, at 
hospitals, at permanent stations occupied by portions of the 
field army, and even at the front during inactive periods, such 

The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 25 

cooking apparatus comes in play. Cooking by organizations 
permits the employment of trained cooks and the preparation 
of more elaborate and palatable meals than is possible when 
each man cooks for himself. Moreover, it conduces to the con- 
tentment of the men and gives them more time for rest. Cook- 
ing by organizations rather than by individuals has always 
been the rule in the United States Army, but the reverse is true 
in most European armies. This probably accounts for the 
present enthusiasm of the German Army over their recently 
adopted rolling kitchen. 

On account of the necessity of reducing the transportation 
of modern armies to the minimum, it will seldom be practicable 
or wise to carry cooking apparatus, even rolling kitchens, along 
with an army as a part of its authorized impedimenta. But a 
supply of cooking outfits should nevertheless be stored at the 
base, ready for shipment from there to such portions of the 
army as can use them. 

Lines of Communication. 

The supplies carried by armies are renewed either from 
the country invaded or by shipments from the base. The latter 
is the principal source of supply, and a commander is com- 
pelled, therefore, to maintain, at all periods of the operations, 
an uninterrupted connection with it. This connection is nec- 
essary, not only to enable him to draw his reinforcements and 
supplies therefrom, but also that he may return to it from the 
army everything which is likely to impair its mobility. The 
routes by which this connection is kept up, be they rail, water, 
or road, are termed the " lines of communications."* 

*Cf. Clarke, " Lectures on Staff Duties." p. 52. 

Wolseley, "The Soldier's Pocket-book for Field Service," fifth edition, 
p. 150. 

Pierron, "Strategic et Grande Tactique," Tome I., p. 323; also see 
"Ordinance of the King of Prussia," dated July 20, 1872, given in the 
same volume, p. 333. 

Von Schellendorff, "The Duties of the General Staff," Vol. II., p. 
237, et seq. 

Von der Goltz, "The Nation in Arms," p. 377. 

26 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

Along the lines of communication there will alway s be 
two streams flowing in opposite directions: one of supplies and 
reinforcements from the base to the army; the other of the 
sick, the wounded, prisoners, captured arms, trophies, un- 
serviceable supplies, etc., from the army to the rear. To feed 
and provide transport and accommodations for the detachments 
of men and animals passing along the line, without interfering 
with the transit of supplies to the army, is no easy matter. 

The multifarious requirements cannot evidently be looked 
after by the commanding general of the troops in the field, but 
must be committed to the charge of an experienced officer, 
subordinate to the commanding general, with a sufficient staff 
of officers and clerks to assist him. This officer is usually des- 
ignated as the "general of communications." His charge ex- 
tends from the base of operations to the most advanced depot 
of supplies, inclusive. 

The functions of the subsistence officer on his staff are to 
keep the base depots stocked with food, to furnish it to troops 
or others entitled to it moving or stationed along the line of 
communication, and to push it forward to within reach of the 
army in the field. His duties, it is seen, can be stated in a 
simple manner, but the performance of them requires adminis- 
trative ability of a high order. 

Baratier, "1/Art de Ravitailler les Grandes Armies/ ' p. 156, et seq- 

Goodrich, "Report of the British Naval and Military Operations in 
Egypt in 1882," p. 208. 

Home, "Precis of Modern Tactics" pp. 193 and 194. 

Furse, "The Organization and Administration of the Lines of Com- 
munications in War/ the entire book. 

"Etudes sur le Service des Etapes, d'apres les Renseignments Per- 
sonnels Recueillis pendant la Guerre de 1870-187 1," par un officier de 
1' Inspection G£n£rale Bavaroise des Etapes. 

Napoleon to his brother Joseph (Kaiserslautern, September 24, 
1808) : "According to the laws of war, every general who loses his line of 
communication deserves death. By 'line of communication ' I understand 
that line on which are the hospitals and hospital supplies, munitions of 
war, food supplies; where the army may be reorganized and regain, after 
two days' rest, its morale, which it may have lost through an unforeseen 
accident." — Pierrot, "Stratigie et Grand Tactique" Vol I., p. 20. 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 27 

Rations Carried by an Army. 

An army starting from the base takes along with it several 
days' supplies of rations, the number depending somewhat 
upon the nature of the service to be performed. Most nations 
fix the minimum number of rations to be carried by their arm- 
ies, and allot to various units the necessary number of wagons 
or other transportation required to carry this minimum number, 
relying upon the theater of operations to furnish additional 
transportation if circumstances render it necessary to carry 
more rations. 

The rations with which an army starts from its base are 

1. On the man or horse; 

2. In wagons or other transportation attached to 

small units; 

3. In wagons following each division, far to the rear. 

It is apparent that soldiers themselves should habitually 
carry at least the current day's rations; they should be to this 
extent independent of transportation, so that in the event of 
an unexpected encounter or a day's continuous march there 
need be no delay caused by the necessity of bringing up wagons 
and making issues. This principle is universally recognized, 
though the number of rations prescribed in various armies to 
be carried by the soldier varies. Another important considera- 
tion is the reduction of transportation effected by the soldiers 
carrying rations themselves. Consider two opposing armies of 
1,000,000 men each, one of which requires the men to carry two 
days' rations, while the other seeks to relieve them of this 
burden and provides wagon transportation for all of its rations. 
The latter will require no less than 2,500 more wagons drawn by. 
10,000 mules. The problem of transportation for immense 
armies is a serious one, and nothing can be neglected that will 
reduce the amount required. 

When combat is probable, the rations in the wagons at- 

28 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

tached to the units should be emptied into the men's haver- 
sacks and be refilled from the trains far in rear before the army 
proceeds to the encounter, for it is a serious thing to expose a 
supply train to capture by the enemy or to bring it up to the 
vicinity of troops in action. Their movements would be ham- 
pered, and great confusion would result in the event of a reverse 
and necessary retreat. 

The wagons following in the immediate rear of different 
small units are variously designated and will here be referred 
to as "troop trains,' ' suggesting their proximity to the troops. 
Those following far in rear of the divisions will be called the 
1 ' supply columns. " 

Renewal of Supplies. 

The continuity of the supply is habitually assured by the 
following method of procedure, which, of course, must be 
varied by circumstances: At the close of each day rations are 
issued from the troop trains to the men to replace those con- 
sumed during the day. The emptied wagons renew their sup- 
plies locally, or return half a day's march to the rear to meet 
a section of the supply train with rations, or await the arrival 
of the section, according to circumstances. If the rations are 
obtained from the section of the supply train, the emptied 
wagons of that section renew their supplies locally or return to 
the rear to refill. Because of the vast amount of transporta- 
tion required for a modern army to carry even its minimum of 
supplies, it is now generally admitted by the best authorities 
that operations cannot, as a rule, be safely or successfully con- 
ducted at a greater distance than two days' march from the 
source of supply — that is, the supply trains should never be 
required to move more than a two-days' march away from the 
troops to renew their supplies. Also, since the wagons of the 
troop trains should be with their units, always available to 
participate in a movement, however unexpected, they should 
never be separated from the troops by more than half a day's 

The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 29 

Number of Wagons Required. 

The number of wagons required to supply an army from 
the rear increases rapidly as the distance from the source of 
supply increases. The ComtE de Paris has furnished a re- 
markable calculation on this subject; he has shown that an 
army of 100,000 men with 16,000 animals, to move ten days* 
march from its base, would require 10,975 wagons of 2,000 
pounds capacity each, drawn by 65,850 mules. He points out 
the impossibility of dealing with this number of wagons, and 
states that even if the distances be kept, the train would cover 
no less than 108 miles, which would be more than the whole 
length of the ten days' march.* 

A calculation by a different method to show the number 
of wagons required by an infantry division consisting of 21,178 
men and 7,785 animals, moving five days' march from its base 
and operating there, appears in the May- June (1909) number 
of the Journal of the Military Service Institution, in an article 
entitled, "Subsisting Our Field Army in Case of War with a 
First-Class Power.' 1 The conclusion reached is that the train 
must consist of 654 four-mule wagons, each of 2,500 pounds 
capacity, f 

Depots on the Lines of Communication. 

If the army has advanced more than a two-days' march 
from the base, requisitioned wagons must be sent forward from 
there to within two days' march of the troops with a day's 
supply for the emptied section of the supply train. On ac- 
count of the difficulty that will generally be experienced in 
supplementing the regular supply-wagons of an army by the 
necessary number of local wagons to carry forward each day a 
day's supply, it will ordinarily be found necessary to halt the 
army after it has proceeded two days' march from the base, or 

*See Home's " Precis of Modem Tactics," pages 187 and 188. 
fSee Appendix. 

30 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

at most three, until a depot of supplies can be established 
farther to the front. 

Accordingly, we shall find, after an army has proceeded a 
distance from the base, a series of depots established along the 
lines of communications, about two days' march apart, the 
one farthest to the front being known as the "advance depot," 
and those between that and the base depots as "intermedi- 
ate depots/ ' The advance depot should be within two days' 
march of the army. 

Railroads and Automobiles. 

Evidently the same difficulties of transportation will be ex- 
perienced in moving supplies from the base to the advance 
depot, thence to the army, as in moving them directly from the 
base to within reach of the supply trains of the army; and the 
best authorities have therefore come to the conclusion that the 
lines of communication of large modern armies must be rail- 
road lines, or occasionally navigable waterways, along which 
depots must be pushed as the army advances, and operations 
at any great distance from such lines of supplies will be im- 
practicable on account of the difficulty of providing supplies 
by any other means. 

The automobile may be developed into a most useful 
means of transportation for the supplies of an army, but au- 
tomobiles can never replace railroads, and it seems probable 
that as the art of war and the art of subsisting armies continue 
to progress a corps of trained railroad constructors and oper- 
ators must constitute an important part of the supply depart- 
ments of modern armies. 

"In a country with numerous lines of railway and vast 
quantities of rolling stock ready at hand there are immense 
possibilities of attack and defense, provided it possesses com- 
petent military force. Great bodies of men and material can 
be moved over extreme distances at very brief notice by a vig- 
orous government, directed by the necessary skill and ability." 
— Holabird, "Transportation of Troops and Supplies." 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 31 

"It is thus evident that railways have become the true 
military roads of an army and that their location in the future 
will have a determining influence on the plans of campaign 
adopted." — Michie, "American Military Roads and Bridges/* 

"All countries have not adopted modern improvements, 
and in many railways either do not exist or are too few in 
number; but even in the most advantageous case, where these 
improved means of transportation are plentiful, an .army re- 
quires also other means of transport on account of the constant 
shifting of direction of military operations, the destruction of 
railway lines by a retreating enemy, and the necessity to dis- 
tribute the stores which the railways only carry in bulk." — 
Furse, "Military Transport," p. 2. 

Utilizing the Local Resources. 

In the petty wars of a great nation, occurring as they often 
,may in a barbarous or barren country, dependence must be 
placed almost entirely upon supplies from the base; conse- 
quently such wars are often prolonged simply because the dif- 
ficulties of supply render rapid movements impossible, but the 
modern wars of two great nations will seldom, if ever, take 
place in regions devoid of resources, and that army which, re- 
lying upon its base for supplies, fails to make use of those re- 
sources will infallibly be beaten by the one that uses them. 
On the other hand, to place exclusive reliance upon what can 
be obtained in the theater of operations would ordinarily be 
fatal, for the supplies of no country are limitless, and two of 
our immense modern armies operating in zones of limited area 
would soon exhaust the country round about and must then 
of necessity draw supplies from the rear. Armies continually 
on .the move, tapping fresh supplies, might live on a productive 
country, but concentrate them for action and in a few days the 
available local supplies are exhausted. 

It is therefore necessary at all times, even in rich countries, 
to continue to push the advance depot along, regardless of the 
amount of supplies that the army is obtaining from the inhab- 
itants. The best plan of supply, then, is to live on the country 
if practicable, keeping, however, the advance depot stocked and 

32 The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 

conforming it to the movements of the army. French regula- 
tions, published in an order dated January n, 1893, state the 
principle as follows: 

"The country will be drawn upon as if nothing can be 
forwarded from the rear, but at the same time the trains and 
supplies will be organized at the rear as if nothing can be ob- 
tained from the country by the army." 

In practice, the local resources will furnish most of the 
supplies when an army is spread out or moving; but when 
concentrated or stationary, the supplies must come from the 

Statistical Data. 

In order to be able to take full advantage of the resources 
of a country, we should, in time of peace, make a careful study 
of the local wealth of such countries as may become theaters 
of war. Statistical tables should be prepared and kept up to 
date. As relating to subsistence, the data compiled should' 
show the principal productions of the country, the distribu- 
tion of the available resources, the importance of the last 
harvest, the kind and number of cattle and sheep in the country, 
the number, capacity, and location of flour-mills and bakeries, 
the means of transportation, railways, . steamboats, and or- 
dinary roads, the number of inhabitants, the character of the 
imports and exports. The necessity of considering the ex- 
ports from a country in connection with the resources is well 
illustrated by the invasion of Lombardy in 1859 by the French 
Army. As large quantities of wheat were grown in that 
country, it was thought the local resources would largely 
suffice to provide subsistence for the troops; but it was found 
that the wheat had been almost entirely exported, wheat bread 
not entering into the ordinary diet of the people, and in con- 
sequence the French Army suffered greatly from lack of food. 
To supplement the statistical tables of a country we should 
note the most convenient foreign markets in the vicinity of 
each country from which we might make shipments to better 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 33 

advantage than from the home country. It must be remem- 
bered, however, that food supplies intended for the army are 
contraband of war. 

The plan of campaign may often be influenced by consid- 
erations of the resources erf the country, for the line of opera- 
tions should, when practicable, lead through populous and fer- 
tile districts. The line of operations having been selected, 
supply officers moving along that line can often be materially 
assisted in making their requisitions, if supplied with detailed 
information regarding the resources. A knowledge of the re- 
sources will also effect shipments to the base. A hundred years 
ago Napoleon reprimanded his Chief of Staff, as follows: 

"I think it ridiculous to send flour from Metz and Nancy 
to Donauwerth ; by this means we shall end by getting nothing 
at all; the country will be overrun with transport, and enor- 
mous expense will be incurred. I will have none of these 
measures. It would have been far simpler, in so rich a country 
as Germany, to get what was wanted by purchase. In twenty- 
four hours you might have collected as much flour and wheat 
as you could have wished. I beg of you, Daru [the Commissary 
General], to make it clearly understood that it is my intention 
to bring nothing from France that can be procured in Ger- 
many.' ' — "The Line of Communications/ 9 Furse, p. 91. 

Prior to the Franco-Prussian War of 1 870-1 871, Germany 
seems to have been the only nation to have devoted any con- 
siderable attention to the important subject of statistics; and 
it may be assumed that during that war that nation made full 
use of her knowledge of the resources of France, for it is stated 
that one-third of her supplies of food and forage were obtained 
in that country. While no attention had been paid to this 
subject in the United States until the present decade, Sherman 
states, in his "Memoirs," that he had in his possession, prior to 
his starting on the expedition that made him famous, detailed 
information as to the resources of the various counties of 
Georgia. It is well to reflect upon this bare statement of his. 
The French are now fully alive to the importance of this sub- 
ject. Their statistical data relates to all matters affecting sup- 

34 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

plies and is systematically kept up to date and in great detail, 
and applied practically at her maneuvers. 

Methods of Obtaining Supplies Locai^y. 

Supplies may be procured locally in three ways: 
i. By purchase; 

2. By requisitions; 

3. By foraging. 

Purchases— Contributions. 

The first is the preferable method, for the main thing is to 
obtain the supplies. By offering highly remunerative prices, 
the cupidity of producers and dealers will cause them to bring 
forward all their reserves. Expense is of secondary considera- 
tion when the destiny of a nation is at stake. We can compel 
inhabitants to disgorge, but the proceeding is unpleasant; we 
incur the hostility of the people; delays will occur; and hidden 
stores may not be discovered. Moreover, if demands are made 
and the local authorities or the inhabitants refuse to comply 
with them, considerable embarrassment might result. We 
can, of course, arrest and punish the offenders ; we can destroy 
public property, and seize what supplies we need if we can 
find them ; but we can ordinarily get more supplies with less 
delay by the commercial transaction of peace-times — simple 
purchase. Cash payments facilitate the supply, and if available 
cash is not at hand, contributions of money with which to 
make purchases may be exacted from the local authorities. 
Demands for money will generally be found more satisfactory 
than requisitions for supplies in kind, for the collection is less 
difficult and the hostility of the inhabitants is not so apt to be 
incurred ; also they bear upon the people in proportion to their 
financial means. Contributions of money, moreover, are now 
recognized as one of the justifiable means of causing an enemy's 
country to feel more keenly the rigors of war, and may be 
levied on a town or community as a punishment. Contribu- 
tions are not refunded. 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army> 35 

Requisitions — Billeting. 

Requisitions are demands for necessary supplies or services 
made on the inhabitants, through their civil authorities. When 
money is demanded, requisitions are called "contributions." 
Requisitions differ from purchases in that the buyer fixes the 
price. They were first employed by Washington and so named 
by him in the War for Independence, and have since been uni- 
versally recognized as a legitimate and useful method of ob- 
taining supplies. Indeed, Home, in his "Pre*cis of Modern 
Tactics," page 182, says: "War cannot be maintained without 
requisitions on the people." And on the same page he quotes 
Clausewitz as saying : " Regular requisitions are undoubtedly 
the simplest and best method of feeding an army and are the 
only system that can serve as the basis of modern war." It is 
thought that Home and Clausewitz both intended to convey 
by these statements only the fact that subsistence from depots 
alone is impracticable in modern war; that supplies must be 
obtained also from the inhabitants. They appear to have used 
the word "requisitions" in a broad sense, overlooking the dis- 
tinction that should be made between purchases, requisitions, 
and foraging. 

Requisitions should be made on printed forms and, if 
practicable, in the language of the country; and if supplies are 
received on requisitions and not paid for upon delivery, a 
printed receipt should be given to the civil authority to whom 
the requisition is presented. 

Requisitions may be made for cooked meals, in which case 
the civil authorities may assign soldiers to the various house- 
holds in proportion to the numbers composing the families of 
the same. If the soldiers are also quartered in the same houses, 
they are then said to be "billeted" upon the inhabitants. In 
the enemy's country billeting upon the inhabitants may fre- 
quently be resorted to to advantage, especially by the inde- 
pendent cavalry, which, if dependent upon trains, would lose 
their mobility, and which must, to be efficient, live almost 

36 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

wholly upon the resources of the country. The advantages of 
billeting are that it gives the men a good opportunity to rest; 
they are provided with a varied meal; the food supplies of all 
kinds in the country are more completely utilized, and it is an 
economical method of supply. The disadvantages, are that it 
causes great dispersion and separation of the different units 
composing the army, and, except in thickly settled countries, 
obliges a command to spread out over too large a portion of 
the country to obtain subsistence. The men, moreover, live 
in the kitchen, and are apt to demand, either by force or in 
other ways, more supplies than they are entitled to. Further- 
more, many indignities are likely to be shown the female por- 
tion of the inhabitants of the country, as their natural pro- 
tectors are, in many instances, enrolled in the ranks of the 
enemy's army. In addition, this method may lead to oppres- 
sion on the part of the troops if they are not treated as liberally 
as they consider they should be, and it will provoke frequent 
disputes if more is demanded from the inhabitants than they 
should justly be expected to furnish. The dispersion of the 
troops prevents the officers enforcing strict compliance with 
orders, and is subversive of discipline. 

Requisitions may often be necessary in the home country 
in a defensive war, though straight purchases can generally be 
made and are greatly to be preferred. The same holds true in 
the country of an ally. To enforce requisitions in such a 
country is a delicate operation, requiring the exercise of tact, 
judgment, and diplomacy. The whole subject should be a 
matter of mutual understanding between the two governments. 
Even in an enemy's country, requisitions should never be im- 
posed in too arbitrary a manner. Before making any exactions, 
an estimate should be formed of all the resources which the in- 
habitants can be made to surrender without subjecting them 
to serious want. 

"These demands should be imposed and apportioned with 
judgment and moderation, taking into consideration the popu- 
lation, the geographical situation, the nature of the products, 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 37 

the richness of the country, and also, when possible, propor- 
tioning the extent of the demands to the grievances of the con- 
querors. To ravage a country, you reduce the inhabitants to 
misery, to despair, flight, and then you not only deprive your- 
self of their favorable cooperation, but, on the day of reverse, 
you will find these same men implacable and cruel enemies. ,, — 
Vauchelle, "Cours d f Administration Militaire" Vol. III., p. 9. 

Private property and the person of the peaceable inhab- 
itants who are citizens of the occupied territory should be re- 
spected, as war is waged against a state, and not against 

The same rule applies to neutrals who reside in the country, 
but this does not exempt them from the burden of the requisi- 
tions or contributions. The occupying army can hardly be ex- * 
pected to stop to inquire whether certain stores are owned by 
a citizen of the enemy's country or by a foreigner, a neutral, 
resident there; such neutral by residing in the enemy's country 
has received a certain amount of security and protection from 
its government, and should therefore bear his full share of the 
burden imposed upon it by the war. 

Some English subjects residing in France in 1 870-1 871 
maintained that they were exempt from the requisitions im- 
posed by the Germans. The English courts decided that they 
could not claim special protection for their property or exemp- 
tion from the military requisitions and contributions to which 
they would be subject together with the inhabitants of the 
place where they resided or where their properties were located. 
(Ferrand, "Des Requisitions Militaires," p. 27.) 

The method of subsistence at the front will always be de- 
termined by the commanding general, according to circum- 
stances. If local resources are to be utilized, it will ordinarily 
be found best to conduct negotiations through the civil au- 
thorities if they can be found, regardless of whether purchases 
or requisitions are to be made, and the best plan is to tell those 
authorities what the army requires, requesting them to inform 
the merchants of the requirements, that liberal cash payments 
will be made, and that the supplies should be at some desig- 

38 The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 

nated central place at a stated time, when the purchase will be 
consummated. In the event of a disposition on the part of 
the authorities not to cooperate with the army in the trans- 
action, then the formal requisition should be served upon them, 
and such force as may be necessary should be used to compel 
compliance with the demand. 


Foraging is the collection of supplies from the inhabitants 
by impressment, without the assistance of the local civil authori- 
ties. Foraging is resorted to when there is not time or oppor- 
tunity to address the civil authorities, or when they show a dis- 
position not to assist in the procuring of supplies by requisition 
or purchase, or when the inhabitants are distinctly hostile or 
obstructive — in short, when, in the opinion of the commanding 
general, this arbitrary method would be productive of better 
results than any other. Sherman states, in his "Memoirs/' 
Volume IL>, page 183, that his system of foraging was indis- 
pensable to his success in his march through Georgia; that the 
country was sparsely settled, with no magistrates or civil au- 
thorities who could respond to requisitions. And yet Sher- 
man's method, successful though it was and in line with the 
methods of the Confederacy and with the practice of nations 
up to that time, could not be applied in its entirety in a future 
war. Under Article 52, Hague Convention, July 29, 1899, re- 
specting laws and customs of war on land, supplies in kind 
procured from the inhabitants must be, as far as possible, paid 
for in ready money; if not, their receipt must be acknowledged. 
Sherman forbade the giving of receipts, although he authorized 
officers in charge of foraging expeditions, if they thought 
proper, to give written certificates of the facts. See Special 
Field Orders, No. 120, November 9, 1864, quoted in Sherman's 
"Memoirs," Volume II., page 176. 

In his "Memoirs," Volume II., page 182, Sherman de- 
scribed his method of foraging as follows: 

"Each brigade commander had authority to detail a com- 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 39 

pany of foragers, usually about fifty men, with one or two 
commissioned officers, selected for their boldness and enter- 
prise. This party would be dispatched before daylight with a 
full knowledge of the intended day's march and camp; would 
proceed on foot five or six miles from the route travelled by 
their brigade, and then visit every plantation and farm within 
range. They would easily procure a wagon or family carriage, 
load it with bacon, corn-meal, turkeys, chickens, ducks, and 
everything that could be used as food or forage, and then re- 
gain the main road, usually in advance of their train. When 
this came up, they would deliver to the brigade commissary 
the supplies thus gathered by the way." 

The difference between requisitioning and foraging is 
clearly indicated in the following extract from General Sher- 
man's letter of February 24, 1865, to General Wade Hampton: 

"Of course, you cannot question my right to 'forage on 
the country.' It is a war right, as old as history. The manner 
of exercising it varies with circumstances, and if the civil au- 
thorities will supply my requisitions, I will forbid all foraging. 
But I find no civil authorities who can respond to calls for 
forage and provisions, therefore must collect directly of the 
people." — "Supplemental Report of the Joint Committee in the 
Conduct of the War/' 1866, Vol. /., pp. 331 and 332. 

Duties of Subsistence Officers. 

To properly supply subsistence for an army in the field re- 
quires a thorough knowledge of the different methods that can 
be used and an ability to select the best methods to meet the 
conditions prevailing. Upon the chief commissary of an army 
devolves the important duty of keeping his commander in- 
formed of the state of subsistence supplies, and making per- 
tinent suggestions for the improvement of the service. His 
duties are wholly administrative. He should not be accounta- 
ble for funds or stores, but should devote his whole time to the 
large questions of supply, leaving the details to his subordin- 
ates. Under instructions of the commanding general, he di- 
rects when, in what manner, and to what extent the country 
invaded shall be exploited to collect supplies, designating the 

40 The Provisioning of the Modern Army, 

zones of supply for each division. His duties keep him with 
his commander, but he must exercise, by means of reports 
from subordinate commissaries and such inspections as he can 
make, such supervision over subsistence affairs as may be 
necessary to secure efficiency. 

The duties of the chief commissary of a division are like- 
wise largely administrative. He should have money accounta- 
bility and should be liberally supplied with cash, but should 
not be burdened with accountability for stores. He is re- 
sponsible for the continued supply of the number of days' ra- 
tions designated to be kept in trains and on the persons of the 
troops. He has immediate charge of the levying of subsistence 
supplies in the theater of operations, assigning to brigades 
their zones of supply, and transmitting to brigade commissaries 
the instructions of his commander concerning the collection of 
supplies and paying and accounting for them. He will or- 
dinarily make payments himself for supplies purchased or 
requisitioned in the enemy's country, but may, if circum- 
stances render it desirable, furnish necessary funds to brigade 
commissaries to enable them more readily, by payments of 
cash on delivery, to obtain needed supplies. In such case, if 
requisitions are to be made, he should generally furnish brigade 
commissaries with uniform schedules of prices. 

Supply trains of divisions are, so far as subsistence sup- 
plies are concerned, under the supervision and control of di- 
vision chief commissaries; but as these officers must of neces- 
sity be near their commanders in order to properly administer 
subsistence affairs, they should be allowed the necessary as- 
sistants for duty with the train. 

Cavalry operating far in advance of the army or independ- 
ently on the flanks will seldom be able to connect with the 
supply-trains of the army. Such supplies as they must take 
with them should be carried on pack-mules. A most active 
and intelligent commissary should be assigned to such cavalry 
with ample authority and cash to procure supplies. The com- 
missary with the advance cavalry will often be able not only 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 41 

to procure supplies for immediate use of the cavalry, but also 
to make requisitions for or purchases of larger quantities to be 
ready for the army upon its arrival. 

The Meat Supply. 

If beef cattle can be procured locally, full advantage should 
be taken of the opportunity; but to drive beef cattle on the 
hoof after an army, as the source of its meat supply, is an obso- 
lete, objectionable, and now unnecessary expedient. The ob- 
jections are many and are set forth in French, German, and 
Swiss official reports and by numerous celebrated military au- 
thorities in Europe. The " Dienstanweisung fur den Schlacht- 
ereibetrieb und den Vieh transport' 1 ("Regulations for the 
Slaughtering and Transport of Animals"), states that pigs, 
calves, and cattle, ready for killing, cannot undertake long 
marches, and that they can only be moved long distances over- 
land by means of box- wagons. The " Regulations" lay down 
the distance that oxen can march in a day as 20 kilometers 
on the average, provided that there are two rest-days in each 
week and that the animals are well fed and looked after. 
Oxen and pigs will therefore have to be left behind when troops 
are continually advancing, and cannot, as a rule, be used in 
such circumstances for supply purposes. Any attempts to 
make the animals march farther might easily lead to the out- 
break of all sorts of diseases. These animals have but little 
stamina; when they have to endure much physical exertion 
and are badly looked after and are insufficiently fed, they die 
and their carcasses poison the air. The conditions under which 
sheep can be forwarded are much more favorable. "The Reg- 
ulations for the Slaughtering and Transport of Animals" gauge 
their average marching powers at 30 kilometers per diem. Ac- 
cording to this, their rate of movement is approximately the 
same as that of the troops. Flocks of sheep could therefore be 
driven along and made use of for feeding purposes. 

General Sherman states, as a result of his experiences in 
the Civil War in the United States: "In my opinion, there is 

42 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

no better food for man than beef cattle driven on the hoof, 
issued liberally, with salt, bacon, and bread." Military stu* 
dents cannot afford to ignore any conclusions of General Sher- 
man's, but they must bear in mind that the Civil War was 
fought over forty years ago, during which period frozen meats 
and canned meats have made their appearance in the com- 
mercial world, and their preparation has been perfected to 
such an extent that in future wars they will surely be used to 
the exclusion of cattle on the hoof. 

Fresh Bread. 

The supply of fresh bread to troops in the field is an im- 
portant matter that has received full consideration by Eu- 
ropean armies, most of which have a field bakery column at- 
tached to their supply trains. The local resources will seldom 
be able to supply more than a limited quantity of bread to an 
occupying army, so that if soft bread is to be furnished, it must 
be obtained from large bakeries established at the base, or from 
bakeries accompanying the supply column. To ship bread 
from the base will soon become impracticable as the army ad- 
vances, and the bakery column thus becomes a necessary ad- 
junct of an army in campaign. Even with a bakery column, it 
will often be necessary to issue hard bread to the troops; but 
hard bread, on account of its indigestibility, will, if used as a 
steady diet, soon ruin the best of stomachs, so that advantage 
should be taken of every possible means of supplying fresh 
bread to troops in campaign. 

The bakeries are usually established in rear of the supply 
train, near the advance depot. They should never be located 
nor the column moved so far to the front as to interfere with 
the mobility of the army; this is in accordance with the prac- 
tice in European armies. Habitually, all the ovens of a fighting 
division work together, or if a division marches in several col- 
umns, the division bakery column should be similarly divided, 

Note. — See Appendix for a discussion of the disadvantages in the 
use of cattle on the hoof. 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 43 

and when organizations are detached for any purpose from 
their divisions, their share of bakery wagons should go with 

If provision is made for a field bakery column, the details 
of its operation can, in practice, be worked out by the sub- 
sistence officers in charge. Detailed regulations should not be 
adopted, for the reason that the conditions of service will so 
vary — depending upon the local supply of bread, flour, or 
wheat, the length of the line of communications, the means of 
transportation available, the rapidity of the movements of 
the troops, the propinquity of the enemy, and other considera- 
tions — that much must always depend upon the judgment of 
the commanding generals and their subsistence officers. 

Accountability — Paper Work. 

In time of peace a well-organized supply department has 
no occasion for rush, and the tendency of thoughtless officials 
is to prescribe a system of accounting so rigid and exacting as 
to impair the efficiency of the army if continued during war. 
To expect officers, when war comes, to burst suddenly all this 
red tape of accountability and assume the responsibility of 
prompt action, is not a logical sequence of such a system of 

The aim should be, then, during peace to develop a simple 
plan of accounting susceptible during war of still greater sim- 
plification, and officers should be trained by theoretical and 
practical study in adapting the peace system to the conditions 
apt to obtain in war. Armies are maintained for the double 
purpose of discouraging war and undertaking it, and as the 
maintenance of large armies in peace, as well as in war, is an 
expensive proposition, it is undoubtedly justifiable and nec- 
essary to keep careful watch of public funds and property; 
but in war the red tape must be freely cut, else the supply 
officers must neglect their main duty, which is to feed the 
troops, in order to devote their time to the preparation of 
elaborate accounts. 

44 The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 

England's regulations contemplate that accountability- 
shall cease at the advance depot, and the supply officers with 
the army are thus enabled to devote their time to their real 
business. Supplies proceeding from the advance depot are 
dropped as issued, and those collected locally and turned over 
to the troops or trains are reported to the advance depot for 
the necessary accounting. 


i. Expeditions Beyond the Sea, . • 46 

2. Embarkation and Disembarkation for War, . 52 

3. The Number of Wagons Required in Front of 

Advance Depot, . 59 

4. Disadvantages in the Use of Cattle on the Hoof, 80 

5. Bibliography, ..... 93 


"Expeditions beyond the seas. are all those enterprises in which large 
bodies of troops are conveyed in ships to a distant country, there to be 
landed to undertake military operations." — Furse, "Military Expeditions 
Beyond the Seas" Vol. /., p. 2. 

"An expedition across the sea differs from other military operations, 
inasmuch as an army does not step over a frontier or advance from a se- 
lected base of operations, but is thrown into a hostile country, and all the 
combatants, materials, and stores have to be conveyed thereto from a 
distance in ships. Operations of this nature demand very thorough 
preparations, for, unless everything which relates to the number of troops, 
to the amount and assortment of war materials and stores, and to the 
quantity of provisions is carefully calculated, there is a risk of finding the 
means inadequate for the accomplishment of the object we have in view." 
—Idem, p. 84. 

In former times skill in handling and directing considerable 
bodies of men was thought to be possessed only by those who 
were connected with the profession of arms, and the French 
philosopher Helvetius was then probably justified in asserting 
that "Discipline is the art of inspiring soldiers with more fear 
for their own officers than they have for the enemy/ ' In the 
commercial and manufacturing activities of modern times vast 
numbers of men are employed, and to direct them successfully 
a knowledge of how to handle, discipline, and control men is 
necessary. Modern business enterprises comprise every pos- 
sible sphere of human activity, from the manufacture of the 
most delicate tissue for an infant's wear to the construction of 
the most stupendous works of engineering and the most for- 
midable weapons of destruction. 

War also is a business — that of fighting — and requires the 
application of business methods and principles, just as any 
other business does. 

The supplies necessary for an expedition and the troops 
comprising the same may be represented by a large department 
store and its customers. A business man first constructs his 
store, next organizes his force of employees, procures and ar- 
ranges his stock, and then announces his readiness to receive 
customers. The business of conducting a military expedition 
beyond the sea can and should be executed in like manner. 


The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 47 

This discussion presumes that the command of the sea has been 
either temporarily or permanently gained by the Navy. It is 
not to be supposed that an expedition will be dispatched to 
make a landing at a place where the enemy has previously ar- 
ranged defenses and concentrated a force to prevent the 

The command of the sea being assured, if a landing cannot 
be effected at one point, it can be at some other, and therefore 
business methods can be closely followed. 

The preparation in peace for an expedition beyond the 
sea will include a profound study of the local resources of the 
country to be invaded, of the character of the harbors of same, 
the depth of water therein, whether adequate wharves are in 
existence or sufficient lighters are available, whether railroads 
run to the port, and the local means of transportation; and in 
particular this preparation should include compilation of full 
data of the size and number of vessels which can be utilized 
to transport the troops and stores, and the number of men, 
horses, wagons, guns, and stores that can be carried on each. 
The port of embarkation should be arranged beforehand, and 
an adequate depot with proper number of clerks and laborers 
established there. 

The Japano-Russian War shows that the preparation for 
war should turn to advantage all the ordinary devices of 
modern social and commercial life.* 

In all cases of expeditions beyond the sea there are four 
distinct phases — vfe., i°, the embarkation; 2 , the voyage; 3 , 
the disembarkation; and 4 , the subsequent operations. 

*M. C. Sullivan, writing in The Electrical Review (New York, July 1, 
1905), says: 

"One of the most remarkable events that has occurred in the world's 
history is the battle of Mukden — remarkable because it was the mightiest 
land battle ever fought, and startling because no victory was ever won by 
such scientific methods. Feats were accomplished by the Japanese never 
before contemplated in war, and which had been previously declared by 
military experts to be impossible. The success of the victorious forces 
was almost entirely due to the skillful use of what is to-day considered to 
be one of the most ordinary and commonplace among electrical instru- 
ments — the telephone. 

"From the sub-divisions of each portion of the army telephone lines 
were run to a portable switchboard, and from the various switchboards 
trunk-lines were run to headquarters several miles to the rear. Thus the 
parts of each portion of the army were made to correspond with the sub- 
scribers of a telephone sub-station in a large city, the headquarters being 
analogous to the central station, to which all of the subsidiary stations 
are connected by trunk-lines." 

48 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

A transport, in a military sense, is a vessel capable of con- 
veying a military unit fully equipped in all particulars and 
ready to take the field and engage in active campaign when 

To ship troops to invade a country in any other manner is 
as absurd as it would be to dispatch a naval fleet without guns 
or ammunition, with the expectation that these latter would be 
brought by other vessels and mounted on the war-ships when 
the enemy's fleet cleared for action. 

In the British Army the amount of tonnage required to 
embark each unit of an army corps is carefully computed and 
published for the guidance of officers. The estimate is given 
in Furse's "Military Expeditions," Volume I., pages 210 to 
215, inclusive. Such data should be computed and published 
for each of the military units of the country, the calculation 
being based upon the rule that each unit is to be embarked fully 
equipped with horses, wagons, etc., to take the field. Secrecy 
in such matters is only harmful and results in some officers not 
being informed fully of the duty required of them. On the 
other hand, it would be unwise to announce openly what vessels 
were available and the number of men, horses, wagons, and 
horse-boats each could carrv.* 

The vessels selected as transports are assembled at the 
port of embarkation and there equipped to receive the men, 
horses, and wagons. Facilities for providing suitable hot meals 
for the men while on the voyage must be provided. An athletic 
trainer will not permit his squad to get out of condition when 
travelling to participate in a contest, and the condition of men 
Who are to engage in a contest for the supremacy of their 
country should be as carefully guarded. Each vessel must be 
provided with supplies for the troops assigned thereon sufficient 
to last for at least ten days after landing, and with horse-boats 
and launches for landing the horses and stores. 

♦"In assigning the troops to the different transports, it is an ad- 
mitted principle that, if possible, each transport should carry a complete 
unit with its regimental transport and baggage, or, if this cannot be done, 
that, at any rate, the portion of the unit carried should be complete with 
baggage, ammunition, equipment, stores, and regimental transport, so 
that it may be ready to land and act without reference to the remainder 
of the regiment or battery." — Clarke, "Staff Duties, 11 p. 177; cf. Furse, 
"Military Expeditions, 11 Vol. I., p. 277; cf. Furse, "Mobilization and Em- 
barkation 11 p. 195; and Furse, "Military Transport, 11 p. 157. 

"Testimony shows that the vessels were not loaded systematically. 
A battery with its guns and horses would be placed on one vessel and its 

The Provisioning of tjie Modern Army. 49 

Materials, stores, and provisions, other than those em- 
barked with the troops, must be shipped in the order in which 
they will be needed at the point of debarkation. It is a gen- 
eral principle that those things which are required first on 
landing should be loaded last. 

The transports having been fitted and the stores shipped, 
the troops are brought to the port and each command placed 
aboard the transport to which it has previously been assigned. 

The British Admiralty has ascertained that the maximum 
force which could be moved by sea at one time, without seri- 
ously interfering with trade or injuriously affecting the question 
of food-supply for England, is one army corps, a cavalry di- 
vision, and the line of communication troops — in all 53,000 
men, 20,000 horses, and 2,600 vehicles. (RothwEll, "Convey- 
ance of Troops by Sea. ") 

" Taking the ships which happened to be available at a given date, 
and appropriating them by name to the troops of the 1st Army Corps, 
the cavalry division, and the line of communication troops, the transport 
authorities at the Admiralty obtained the following results: 134 ships, 
with a gross tonnage of 457,112 tons, would be required." — Clarke, "Staff 
Duties," p. 169. 

This represents the maximum effort which the greatest 
maritime power in the world is capable of making. Consider- 
ing the limited mercantile marine of other nations, the diffi- 
culties of transporting large armies across the sea will be 

ammunition on another. The Second, Seventh, and Seventeenth Regular 
Infantry were each divided up and portions in each case sent on three 
different vessels." — Report of the Commission to investigate the conduct of 
the War Department in the War of the United States with Spain, Vol. I., p. 

"The First and Third Squadrons of the Sixth United States Cavalry 
were assembled at San Francisco the latter part of June, 1900, with orders 
to sail on the Grant July 1st to Nagasaki, there to receive orders for the 
Philippines or for China. About 250 horses had been sent to Vancouver 
to go on a horse- boat from there; the remaining horses left San Francisco 
July 1st on two horse-boats." 

<<**** Twenty-five sets of the horse equipments of my troop 
had gone with that number of men to Vancouver with the horses of my 
troop and were to go on the horse-boat from there. When the order was 
received to place the remainder of my horse equipments -on one of the 
horse-boats sailing from San Francisco with the horses of the other troops, 
I endeavored to get it changed. * * * j? or SO me reason this change 
was not allowed, and I sailed with my horses on one boat with part of the 
horse equipments, the rest of the equipments on another, and seventy-five 
of my men on a third." — "Troop l M, y Sixth Cavalry, in the Chinese Relief 
Expedition of 1900," Journal U. S. Cavalry Association, July, 1904. 

50 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

Debarkations of a large force in a foreign country are of 
rare occurrence, and few officers study the complicated meas- 
ures connected with the undertaking. Of recent years the 
British Government has endeavored to give officers and men 
some practical experience in this matter during peace. In the 
British maneuvers of 1904, the fleet consisting of ten vessels, 
gross tonnage of about 71,000 tons, moved from Southampton 
and disembarked the troops at Clacton. Ten transports car- 
ried 559 officers, 11,139 men, 2,701 horses, 61 guns, 315 ve- 
hicles, 4 motors, 108 bicycles, and 54 horse-boats, and the ma- 
neuver demonstrated that this fighting force could, under fa- 
vorable conditions, be disembarked in 10 hours, and in 24 
hours sufficient transports could be landed to keep it in the 
field for about three days. In this movement the allowance 
was about 3 tons per man and a little over 1 1 tons per horse.* 

As it will be necessary to establish a depot at the sea-base, 
it is advisable to assign one or more vessels for the purpose of 
transporting the stores. On this vessel should be sent the 
officers who are to be in charge of the depots, together with 
their clerks and laborers, and necessary mechanics and ma- 
terials to construct landing-places and temporary depots. 
Agreements should be made with a competent railroad con- 
structor to build a narrow-gauge railway at the base, and a 
vessel should be assigned to transport his men and material. 
A narrow-gauge railway known as the Decauville Patent Port- 
able Railway is suitable for this purpose, f 

The vessels having been loaded and the necessary horse- 
boats, lighters, and steam launches provided to accompany 
each, the convoy sails, escorted by the navy. Upon arrival at 

♦The following is now accepted as the allowance of tonnage, based 
on most recent experiences in war, of which any data is now available. 

For voyages over seven days in duration and carrying three months' 
supplies for the command : 
Per man, 2f tons; 
Per horse, 8 tons. 
For voyages not over seven days and carrying one month's supplies: 
Per man, 2% tons; 
Per horse, 6} tons. 
The above, of course, is based upon the infallible rule that units 
must be embarked complete in all particulars, including transport, horses, 
etc., and fully equipped for active service. 

fThe advantages obtained by the use of such a railway are well de- 
scribed by A. Perot, Sous-Intendant Militaire de 2e classe, in his work en- 
titled "Emploi du Chemin de Fer a voie de Om. 60 pour le Ravitaillement 
des Troupes." 

The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 51 

place of debarkation, the officer appointed to command the 
base should land first, together with his staff and the guard as- 
signed to the base. Arrangements to provide suitable landing- 
places should be constructed, and when all is in readiness, the 
landing officer indicates what troops are to be lauded, and as 
they reach the shore each unit is at once marched to the place 
assigned for its bivouac, which must be removed from the base. 
No troops are permitted to loiter at the base and none allowed 
to enter the limits of same without authority. Before disem- 
barkation the troops are provided with field rations for several 
days and with one or more emergency rations. If several 
landing-places are available, the troops and stores can be dis- 
charged at the same time. Markers are established to indicate 
where each variety of stores is to be placed, and the stores are 
received and properly arranged by the clerks and laborers of 
each department. It is now known that practically the first 
articles unloaded by the Japanese at Chemulpo, in 1904, were 
small railway trucks, which were at once made use of in moving 
the stores from the landing-places. After the stores, troops, 
guns, horses, and wagons have been unloaded in this systematic 
manner, the command will be prepared to enter upon active 
campaign fully equipped with everything essential and with 
strong morale, induced by the knowledge that everything 
needed for their comfort and efficiency has been amply pro- 
vided and systematically arranged at the base. That the fore- 
going is not an ideal, but a perfectly feasible, manner of ef- 
fecting a debarkation is evidenced by the accomplishment 
of the Japanese at Chemulpo, in 1904, and represents an or- 
derly, systematic, and business-like manner of conducting war, 
made possible by elaborate preparation of all the detail s in 
time of peace. 




"(Compiled from 'The War with Spain/ by H. C. Lodge, and 'Main 
Features of the Spanish- American War/ by Rear- Admiral Pluddbrmann, 
Imperial German Navy.) 

"In the spring of 1898 it was determined that a force 
of 15,000 should be despatched from Tampa, urider General 
Shafter, to take part in the operations against Santiago. On 
the 7th of June orders were issued for an immediate embarka- 
tion, and, to use the words of an historian of the war, 'Then was 
displayed a scene of vast confusion. The railway tracks were 
blocked for miles with cars filled with supplies tightly shut up 
with red tape, at which men, unused to responsibility and to 
the need of quick action, gazed helplessly. The cars not only 
kept the supplies from the Army, but they stopped movement 
on the line, and hours were consumed where minutes should 
have sufficed in transporting troops from Tampa to the port. 
Once arrived, more confusion and widening of the area of chaos. 
No proper arrangement of transport — no allotment at all in 
some cases, and in others the same ship given to two or three 
regiments. Thereupon much scrambling, disorder, and com- 
plication, surmounted at last in some rough-and-ready fashion, 
and the troops were finally embarked.' — H. C. Lodge, 'The War 
with Spain. 1 

"On the 14th of June, after several false alarms of attack 
by Spanish torpedo-boats, the United States fleet got under 
way and crept towards its destination at about eight knots an 
hour — the limit of speed of many of the old steamers which had 
been chartered as. transports. On arrival at Daiquiri, which 

♦From a gold medal prize essay by Lieutenant-Colonel C. E. D. 
Tbi*FBr-SmollBTT, 3d Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment; published in the 
Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (London), April, 1905. 


The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 53 

had been selected as a landing-place, it was discovered that the 
transports were provided with one lighter only for the dis- 
embarkation of horses and guns, and no launches. The one 
available landing-stage was but partially floored, and there 
were no materials or tools available for its repair or for the 
construction of other stages. 

"Every boat and launch, even from the ironclads block- 
ading Santiago Harbor, was requisitioned for the service, and 
by the splendid efforts of the American blue- jackets, greatly 
aided by a spell of exceptionally fine weather, the infantry were 
got on shore during the first day of the disembarkation; two 
men, however, being drowned. In the absence of lighters or 
flats, horses and mules had to swim to shore, being simply 
hoisted out of the transports and lowered into the ocean; 
moreover, as there were no ordinary boats available to guide 
them to land, some fifty animals swam out to sea in the con- 
fusion and were drowned. Under the circumstances, it is not 
remarkable that the disembarkation of horses, guns, and stores 
was not completed for many days. The number of animals 
was very limited, as, owing to the omission to fit up a sufficient 
number of vessels for their transport, most of the cavalry horses 
had to be left behind at Tampa. The landing of provisions was 
effected with such slowness that the troops from the outset 
had to be placed on reduced rations; and throughout the dis- 
embarkation there was great confusion on the landing-place, 
which was congested with the men and stores, as no officer 
had been detailed to assume control there, or to act as base 

"The disembarkation was practically unopposed, as the 
few Spaniards in the neighborhood of Daiquiri appear to have 
fled as soon as the American men-of-war opened fire. German 
authorities, however, are of the opinion that as the rocks 
reached close to the sea, and afforded many places screened 
from the fire of the war-ships, 300 determined men, although 
they might not have been able to frustrate the landing entirely, 
could certainly have inflicted very severe loss on the invaders. 
Great friction appears to have arisen between the military au- 
thorities and the officers of the transport steamers. 'The 
latter had only their own advantage and that of the ships' 
owners in view, and did not pay the least attention to the 
wishes and plans of the officers of the troops. The greater part 
of the time they kept at a distance of from three to twenty 
miles from the shore, * * * and if at times they did assist 

54 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

in unloading their cargoes, they would return to sea as fast as 
possible as soon as fire was opened ashore!' (Rear- Admiral 
Pluddermann.) Even when the landing had at last been com- 
pleted, the Army was wanting in mobility through the defi- 
ciency of land transport. 

"Bearing in mind that the force engaged had been sent 
forth by one of the most powerful and most enlightened nations 
in the world, and that the descent took place at the close of the 
nineteenth century, it would certainly appear that the landing 
at Daiquiri is a unique illustration of the fact that even the 
most splendid resources cannot compensate for the absence of 
a well-established -organization careiully prepared and tested 
in time of peace. 

"The miscalculations and errors, which resulted not from 
individual incapacity — for all accounts bear testimony to 
the zeal and enthusiasm of American sailors and soldiers — but 
from an entire lack of pre-existing and established system, 
would have brought disaster to the very gates of the great 
Republic if its forces had been pitted against an enterprising 
foe. The forces of the United States have been without the 
schooling of war for thirty four years; but it is not too much to 
say that the state of affairs depicted could not possibly have 
arisen if the theory and practice of the combined action of 
fleets and armies had been established before the encounter 
with Spain as a recognized branch of naval and military arts." 

^MV ^^^ '^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^1^ ^^^ 


"(Compiled from the official dispatches and from the letters of the 
newspaper war correspondents.) 

"One of the most detailed descriptions which has been 
published, on the authority of eye-witnesses of reliability, is 
that of the first disembarkation of the war, carried out at Chem- 
ulpo by a Japanese army consisting of 20,000 men, with 2,500 
horses, several batteries of field-guns, together with an enor- 
mous mass of stores, estimated at 100,000 tons. 

"On the night of the 8th February an advanced guard of 
2,500 infantry was disembarked at a small existing jetty. On 
the 13th February, the Russian war- vessels Variag and Korietz 
having been destroyed at Chemulpo by Admiral Uriu's squad- 
ron in the intervening time, two Japanese transports arrived, 
carrying no troops, but filled with supplies and having Army 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 55 

Medical Corps details and about 1,000 coolies for the land trans- 
port service. With the coolies came a carpenter corps of 100 
men, each carrying his box of tools, and also an equal number of 
Army blacksmiths. These were detailed to put up a blacksmith 
shop close to the head of the landing jetty, and some of the 
carpenters proceeded to lay a cleated wooden roadway up the 
rough stone landing, to facilitate the disembarkation of horses 
and artillery. 

"The Medical Corps of 300 hundred men came ashore in 
charge of the supplies for their own department : small trunks, 
weighing about 100 pounds each, containing necessaries for 
'first aid' to the wounded, etc. The coolies were engaged in 
landing a vast bulk of military material, and nothing seems to 
have been forgotten. The Army authorities appear to have 
trusted in no way to local supplies. The advanced transports 
also brought 4 steam launches, 100 flat-bottomed boats, and 6 
tank water-boats rigged with hand-pumps. During the next 
few days, under the direction of the Japanese military engineers, 
temporary landing-piers were erected, adjoining the permanent 
stone jetty. 

"Wooden floats, which had arrived in sections in the trans- 
ports, were put together, and cleated gangways were placed 
across and between them, forming a continuous floor with rail- 
ings from the channel to land. Korean junks were also to some 
extent utilized in a similar manner. Whilst these stages were 
in progress supplies were coming ashore continuously. Some of 
the difficulties attending the landing at Chemulpo can be appre- 
ciated when it is understood that the mean rise and fall of the 
tide is thirty feet, and that for a considerable portion of each 
twenty-four hours mud flats, in many cases miles in extent, lie 
on either side of the narrow channel available for lighters and 
launches. The currents run like a mill-race. (All that can be 
said in favor of Chemulpo Harbor is, that it was better as a 
landing-place than the neighboring coasts.) On the 16th Feb- 
ruary seven transports anchored in the harbor and immediately 
proceeded to land men and horses. The flat-bottomed boats 
were taken alongside, the horses raised in slings, and lowered 
into them, each boat carrying five animals and bearing a trans- 
port departmental flag, giving its number and the number of 
the landing-float to w hich it was to go. On arrival at the float, 
each horse-boat was brought up broadside on; the troopers, 
holding the horses' heads, leaped up onto the floats, and the 
horses made the three-feet or four-feet jump from the bottom 

56 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

of the boat to the floor of the temporary landing-stage without 
hesitation or accident. A correspondent counted twenty ani- 
mals landed in ten minutes, and one a minute would be a fair 
average, which was kept up for hours without cessation. Rice 
rnats were thrown down to deaden the noise. At the same 
time two streams of men, fully accoutred, were pouring over 
two other temporary landing-piers, and the disembarkation of 
supplies was steadily maintained at the permanent stone jetty. 
Men and horses were rapidly marched to the adjacent railway 
station, where long lines of cars were in readiness to take them 
to SeouL In spite of all difficulties, the whole force, together 
with an immense mass of stores, was thrown on shore in a 
space of barely a week without confusion or accident. At no 
time were the approaches to the landing-stages in the slightest 
degree congested, and all eye-witnesses affirm that men, horses, 
guns, and, above all, the immense bulk of 100,000 tons of bag- 
gage, were cleared away as if by magic. 

"I have dwelt somewhat at length on the foregoing, be- 
cause the details set forth give an almost ideal illustration of 
the perfection in the execution of naval-military operations 
which results on active service from methodical peace-training. 

" The descent was completed within a few days of the out- 
break of hostilities, and hence owed none of its success to the 
costly teaching of immediately preceding failures in the same 

" In the years preceding the struggle the Japanese had, as a 
part of their unostentatious preparations, carefully organized 
and practiced a thoroughly efficient system of disembarkation, 
and when the day of trial at last arrived, this difficult and com- 
plicated operation was carried out with the absolute precision 
which is usually associated with the carefully rehearsed pa- 
geants of the Military Tournament at Islington. 

"Everything was in its place, and every man knew what 
was required of him. 

"Ample appliances and labor were at hand for the con- 
struction of new stages and the repair of those in existence, and 
it was thus possible to mitigate confusion by appropriating 
special and separate landing-places for the disembarkation of 
men, horses, and stores, respectively. A sufficient supply of 
boats was also available; and although the resources of even 
Japanese ingenuity have not as yet apparently been able to 
hit upon any more expeditious method of getting horses out of 
transports than by slinging them, yet the precision and method 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 57 

which have prevailed have rendered it possible for this and the 

subsequent debarkations, which have been a feature of the war, 

to be effected with a speed and freedom from untoward events 

hitherto unsurpassed. * * * 


"It is possible that the prosperity which has attended the 
combined efforts of the fleets and armies of the Mikado may- 
blind the general public in this country to the careful prepara- 
tion and sustained effort to which the remarkable success 
achieved has been entirely due; and may lead to the impres- 
sion that operations which have been carried through with such 
apparent ease cannot be difficult in themselves, that time and 
money need not, therefore, be devoted to the peace-rehearsal 
of such feats by our own forces, and that in the future, as in the 
past, we should fall back in such matters on the antiquated, 
dangerous, and costly policy of trusting to luck when an emer- 
gency arises. Now, there is no point which has made itself 
more clearly apparent than this: that up to the outbreak of 
hostilities the diplomacy of Russia had been very much in ad- 
vance of her warlike preparations; whilst as regards Japan the 
state of affairs was exactly opposite, her rulers having been wise 
enough to let the work of preparation keep pace with the words 
of diplomacy. The whole campaign, therefore, has been a 
splendid example of the triumph in combined naval and mili- 
tary operations of method and peace organization over illim- 
itable resources. 

"But the lesson can be given in an even more concrete 
form than is afforded by the events of the present war standing 
by itself. If any man is inclined to doubt the correctness of 
the inferences drawn, let him carefully study the details of the 
Japanese disembarkation at Chemulpo, in February, 1904, and 
compare its features, one by one, with the similar operation 
which was carried through by the forces of the United States 
at Daiquiri, in June, 1898. The former episode was purposely 
selected for quotation in the first part of this essay, because it is 
an example of a descent executed with admirable precision, 
within a few days of the outbreak of hostilities, and conse- 
quently too, soon for it to have been possible for any lessons 
learned during the existing war to have been applied. The 
disembarkation at Chemulpo, therefore, was a product of peace- 
preparation, and of peace-preparation alone. 

"To fully realize the tremendous influence which national 
foresight may exercise as compared with numbers and wealth, 

58 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

it should be borne in mind that the forces employed at Daiquiri 
were engaged in executing the mandate of a great State, whose 
resources exceed those of Japan by many millions, alike in popu- 
lation and money. Yet, as we have seen, whilst the most es- 
sential appliances, such as horse-boats, were denied to the brave 
men of the United States forces at Daiquiri, at Chemulpo, in 
spite of the comparative slenderness of the national resources, 
every detail, down to signboards for the Japanese troop-boats 
and landing-stages, and rice mats for the horses' feet, were at 
hand and constantly available. The disposition of the British 
nation, like that of the Americans before 1898, and of the Rus- 
sians up to 1904, has ever erred on the side of procrastination, 
where expenditure and preparation for national safety are con- 
cerned, and as a result, in almost every campaign, from the 
expedition to Carthagena in 1741 down to the present day, 
British sailors and soldiers, when called upon to uphold the 
national honor, have been placed more or less at a disadvantage, 
owing to the lack of previous peace-preparation. Luck, sheer 
fighting power, the like unpreparedness of our opponents, have 
hitherto averted a catastrophe; but as years roll by the appli- 
ances for war become more complicated, and success is gradu- 
ally tending to depend rather on scientific and systematic train- 
ing than on personal courage. The immunity from disaster, 
therefore, which has hitherto attended our arms may, and 
probably will, fail us at a critical moment, if the object-lesson 
of Japanese foresight and Russian supineness be not taken to 


The present Field Service Regulations state that the num- 
ber of rations carried by a command will vary greatly, but that 
the following may be assumed as the minimum: 

i. On the man or horse, one emergency ration and 
one field ration; 

2. In the regimental trains, two field rations; 

3. In the supply columns, three field rations. 

As to forage, each cavalry horse is required to carry a 
small reserve of oats — about six pounds. Forage for artillery 
horses, for quick supply, is apparently not provided for. The 
regimental trains carry two days' oats, twelve pounds per day 
for horses and nine pounds for mules; and the supply columns 
three days' supply of oats. 

A proposed revision of the Field Service Regulations 
changes somewhat the above requirements and prescribes as 
the "normal" amounts to be carried: 

1. By each man, one emergency ration, and in addi- 

tion, when combat is probable or the troops are 
liable to be separated from their baggage trains, 
each man starts with two haversack rations; 

2. In the baggage trains, at least two field rations; 

3. In the supply train, three field rations. 

On each cavalry horse, about six pounds of grain, and 
on each artillery carriage a small quantity. On the baggage 
trains, grain for two days; and on the supply train, grain for 
three days. 

As a compromise, the following is proposed as the mini- 
mum to be carried in campaign by every division of the army: 

Rations. — By each man, one emergency ration and one 

♦Extract from an article entitled "Subsisting Our Field Army in 
Case of War with a First-Class Power," published in Journal of the Mili- 
tary Service Institution of the United States, May- June, 1909. 


6o The Provisioning of the Modern, Army. 

haversack ration; in the troop trains, two haversack rations; 
in the supply train, three haversack rations. Total, six haver- 
sack rations and one emergency ration. 

Forage. — By each animal or artillery carriage, one day's 
supply of oats (nine pounds per animal) ; in the troop trains, 
two days' supply; in the supply train, three days' supply. 
Total, six days' supply of oats. 

It is assumed that when the command is forced to use the 
emergency ration, the animals must subsist that day by grazing. 
Thus an army supplied as above can subsist seven days on the 
supplies accompanying it. 

It will be noted that it is proposed to substitute the new 
haversack ration for the field ration as the ration for campaigns. 
The desirability or necessity of the substitution will be demon- 
strated at the very outset of any campaign when one begins to 
figure on the amount of transportation required. The Field 
Service Regulations allot 81 wagons to the supply column of a 
division, prescribing that three days' field rations and three 
days' forage shall be carried therein. This number of wagons 
seems to have been adopted for no other reason than that the 
Germans have that number. It will be shown later that to 
carry even three haversack rations and three days' reduced 
supply of forage (nine pounds of oats per animal per day), 
more than twice that number of wagons will be necessary. As 
the field ration is half as heavy again as the haversack ration, 
it is estimated that 250 wagons instead of 81 would be required 
to a division if an attempt were made to carry along three days' 
field rations and three days' full allowance of grain. The num- 
ber of wagons required at the advance depot and along the line 
of communication would be correspondingly great, and there is 
no doubt that any army commander would see at once the ne- 
cessity of leaving behind such field luxuries as potatoes and 
onions, beans, jam, milk, etc., and settling down to the still 
difficult task of supplying even the practical haversack ration. 
It will be assumed, therefore, in the following discussion, that 
the haversack ration, and not the field, is to be carried by the 
men, by the troop trains, and by the supply train. 

Of course, when an army becomes stationary, it will often 
be practicable to supply it with more than the bare necessities, 
but it is folly to attempt habitually to do so. 

The proposed Field Service Regulations state that the men 
are required to carry rations (other than the emergency ration) 
only when necessary. As a matter of fact, it is always neces- 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 61 

sary for them to carry rations. Home, in his " Pr&as of Mod- 
ern Tactics," page 178, in describing a movement of the Crown 
Prince's army during the Franco-German War, says: 

"* * * When each column halted for the night at the places in- 
dicated in the orders, the head of the column did not halt there, with all 
the tail spread out along the road it had marched on, but each corps drew 
its tail up after it, and more or less formed a line of battle. Thus the 
roads were cleared, and it then became possible for the trains to advance 
with food. But it is manifest that if the soldier, having to march twelve to 
fifteen miles, and starting at 4 a. m., and probably not getting settled 
into his bivouac until 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon, had to wait for his 
food until the train arrived, he would be simply starved. Therefore, it 
follows that if troops are to be fed in the field, they must carry rations 
with them, and the rations consumed during the day must be replaced by 
the train during the night, so that the men shall move off the following 
day with the same number of rations as previously. Soldiers, if they are 
not to starve, must carry rations. No one who has considered this subject 
will question the truth of these words. * * *" 

It will be assumed, therefore, that each soldier carries a 
minimum of one emergency ration and one haversack ration. 

The trains accompanying the troops, following immedi- 
ately after various units, are designated by various names in 
foreign countries, and have had numerous designations in our 
own, as, for instance, regimental trains, baggage trains, field 
trains. As being more descriptive than any of these, the desig- 
nation " troop trains " is suggested and is used in this discussion. 

We will now proceed to determine b) 7 a series of diagrams 
just what can be accomplished in the way of supplying a divi- 
sion at different distances in front of the advance depot with 
food and forage, assuming that each man carries an emergency 
ration and a haversack ration, each horse or artillery carriage a 
day's supply of oats, each troop train two days' supply of 
haversack rations and oats, and the supply train three days' 

We will assume first that a division is moved one day's 
march, say fifteen miles, from the advance depot, and that it is 
to operate there. Chart I. illustrates the method of its supply. 
The upper horizontal line represents the advance depot, the 
lower line is a day's march away. On the first of the month the 
army advances. During the first day's march, or after its com- 
pletion, the men consume the one day's rations which they car- 
ried in their haversacks. The troop trains arrive later and 
issue a day's rations to the men for use the next day. Late at 
night one section of the supply column arrives and issues a 
day's rations to the troop trains. The other two sections of the 


The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

supply column remain at the depot. On the second the empty 
section returns to the advance depot and the second section 
starts from there, arriving in the evening and issuing its rations 
to replace those consumed during the day. This movement is 
continued from day to day. The troops will therefore have 
three days' haversack rations with them at the beginning of 
each day, and the emergency ration. Two sections of the 
supply train pass each other every day, one going loaded, the 

Chart T.- Sho*ir«j mtlffd ofiuffly cfaM<Wi/o» tyfoowm Th,,„ wttn cm dayi MorcA from Jfoemvt Jytrt 

other returning empty. The remaining section with a day's 
rations is at the advance depot. Every returning section has a 
day's rest before starting again, transportation is ample, and 
there is no difficulty in supplying the army. But transporta- 
tion should not be idle — that is, a day's work should be done 
every day. Forced marches are to be avoided, and continuous 
work without rest; but to rest thirty-six hours instead of twelve 
is inexcusable, unless it be to recuperate after a long spell of 
hard work. In the case under consideration, the three sections 
of the supply column should be made into two, and should 
carry full field rations to the troops, if practicable, instead of 
haversack rations, and should at least carry fresh bread and 
frozen beef if available. Advantage should be taken of the 
stationary position of the army to push forward supplies, in- 
cluding emergency rations, along the line of communications 
to the advance depot and to gather into that depot supplies 
procured from the country. The amount of supplies to be 
accumulated at the depot will depend entirely upon what are 
to be the future movements of the armv. The field bakeries 
should be established near the advance depot, turning out a 
day's supply of fresh bread to be forwarded to the troops each 
day. The troop trains can be utilized, if necessary, to assist 
the supply train, moving out each day, meeting the supply 
train half-way and returning the same day; but the troop trains 
should never move more than half a day's march away, lest an 
unexpected move of the army become necessary during their 











The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 65 

It is evident that no trouble will be experienced in supply- 
ing with its own wagons an army operating one day's march 
from the advance depot, provided the depot itself is continu- 
ously supplied. 

We will now consider a division operating two days' march 
from the advance depot. Plate II. illustrates the method of 
supply. Two days' rations are consumed during the march, 
therefore two sections of the supply column move out in rear 
of the army to re-supply the troop trains. The first section re- 
turns the second day and the second section the third day. At 
the beginning of the third day three days' rations are with the 
troops, and not counting the emergency ration. The supply is 
renewed the next two days by the arrival of the third sec- 
tion and the first section, the latter having returned to the 
depot and refilled, as shown on the chart. But on the fourth 
day no section is available to leave the depot, and consequently 
two days later no rations will arrive at the front and the supply 
is reduced t<J two days. Similarly, four days later (at the be- 
ginning of the tenth day) the number of rations is reduced to 
one, and on the fourteenth nothing but the emergency ration 
remains. Consuming that on the fourteenth, the situation is 
relieved by the arrival on each of the next three days of a sec- 
tion with a day's rations. But on the eighteenth no rations 
are forthcoming and the troops are without food. Similarly, 
every fourth day thereafter no rations are available. By living 
on three-fourths of a ration from the time of their arrival, the 
supply of three days' rations in the hands of the troops will not 
be reduced. It could be maintained also by requiring the 
supply sections to make forced marches, travelling twenty miles 
a day instead of fifteen, thus saving a day on the round trip. 

The continuity of the supply when two days from the depot 
can, however, best be secured by utilizing the troop trains, as 
shown by Chart III. On the day of arrival at the station, one 
section of the supply column moves up to the troops and re- 
supplies the troop trains. On subsequent days the supply sec- 
tions are met by the troop wagons half a day's march from the 
station, thus saving a full day's march for the supply sections, 
as clearly shown on the chart, and providing for a continuous 
supply of rations. 

Thus at a distance of two days' march from the depot the 
question of supply with the prescribed number of wagons is 
comparatively simple. 

Consider now a division moving three days from the depot 


66 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

and operating there. Chart IV. shows the state of affairs. 
Supply sections arrive only on alternate days, and unless the 
troops are put on half rations, a continuous supply cannot be 
provided. It will be seen that on the ninth day the emergency 
ration must be used and on the eleventh day the troops will be 
without food. 

If the troop wagons are used, rations can be obtained only 
for one day more, as shown by Chart V. If the trains make 
forced marches, rations will be forthcoming for a few days 
longer, but the transportation will soon wear out and the con- 
tinuity of the supply cannot be assured. 

It may therefore be concluded that more than the usual 
transportation will be required if troops are to operate three 
days from the advance depot. In the absence of additional 
transportation, arrangements should be perfected, before the 
departure of the army, for transferring the advance depot and 
the bakery column one day farther to the front ; and the general 
principle may be stated that the advance depot should be within 
two days' march of the operating army, say within thirty miles. 

As the distance of an army from the depot increases, so does 
the difficulty of its supply. It may often be impracticable to 
push the advance depot forward to within thirty miles of the 
active army, and in such case it becomes necessary to figure on 
the number of wagons required to supply it. This, in itself, 
is a complicated problem. Off-hand, one would say: Take the 
number of pounds of rations and forage required by an army 
each day, divide that by 2,500, the capacity of one wagon, and 
we have the number of wagons required to leave the advance 
depot each day. But, in order to carry forage for the mules 
that draw these supplies and rations for the drivers, more 
wagons would be required, and again more for the mules and 
drivers of these extra wagons; moreover, the returning mules 
and drivers must be provided for en route, and as the wagons 
return they again become available to send forward; so that we 
shall find great complications in the calculations and difficulty 
in arriving at just the number of wagons it is necessary to have 
at the depot in order to supply the army continuously. 

The best way to solve all such problems is to begin at the 
end and work backwards. A complete solution of a transpor- 
tation problem is illustrated by Chart VI., which will now be 

Problem. — An infantry division is ordered to move 
seventy-five miles from the advance depot and to operate there. 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 71 

How many four-mule wagons must be available at the advance 
depot to carry rations and forage for the division en route and 
to continue the supply after arrival? How many wagons must 
start each day, and how shall they be loaded? 

Every night the supply train must issue a day's rations and 
forage to the troop trains to replace those issued by the latter 
earlier in the evening. Therefore, as the division is to march 
for five consecutive days, five days' rations and forage for the 
division must be carried by the supply train. Also forage and 
rations for the mules and drivers of the supply train. As each 
day's march is completed, the wagons that are emptied can re- 
turn the next day toward the advance depot to bring up more 
supplies. Forage and rations for consumption during the first 
day of the return trip of these emptied wagons must also be 
carried along. To provide against accident, a percentage of 
spare wagons should be added. It will be assumed that 10 per 
cent spare wagons accompany the column. Some of these 
spare wagons can be utilized to carry extras, but all of them 
cannot be filled ; otherwise when they were needed they would 
not be available. How best to utilize them, and what propor- 
tion of them should be loaded, will be explained later on. 

To get at the total number of wagons required to accom- 
pany the division as a supply column, we will start with the last 
day of the march and work backward to the first. On the last 
day there must be wagons enough to carry one day's supply for 
the division and one day's supply for their own mules and 
drivers, also a second day's supply for these mules and drivers 
for consumption during the first day of their return. 

The strength of an infantry division, exclusive of its sup- 
ply column, as recently given by the General Staff, is 21,178 
persons and 7.785 animals. A haversack ration weighs 3 
pounds gross. Multiplying this by 21,178, we get 63,534 
pounds as the weight of a day's rations for the division; and 
multiplying 7,785 by 9, we get 70,065 pounds as the weight of 
the forage; a total of 133,599 pounds required for use on the 
day of arrival, for which transport must be provided. 

The capacity of a four-mule wagon is 2,500 pounds; but 
not all of this is available during this last day's march for car- 
rying the supplies for the division. Each wagon must carry 72 
pounds of oats and 6 pounds of rations, two days' supply for its 
own mules and drivers. We must add 10 per cent to this for 
the requirements of mules and drivers of spare wagons travel- 
ing unloaded, which gives 85.8 pounds. Deducting this from 

72 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

2,500 pounds gives 2,414.2 pounds as the available carrying 
power of every wagon. Dividing one day's requirements of a 
division, 133,599 pounds, by 24,14.2 gives 55.34 wagons; add 
10 per cent and we have 60.87 or 61 wagons as the number 
needed, plus 10 per cent, for the last day of the march, to carry 
rations and forage for the division for one day and rations and 
forage for two days for the drivers and mules. 

We can verify this number of wagons before proceeding 

Each wagon must carry 78 pounds for its driver and mules; 
multiply this by 61 gives 4,758 pounds, the requirements of the 
wagons; add this to 133,599 pounds, the requirements of the 
division, and we get 138,357 pounds, the total weight to be 
carried; divide this by 2,500, a wagon load, gives 55.34 wagons 
needed to carry these supplies. Adding 10 per cent space gives 
60.87 or 61 wagons, as before. 

For convenience of reference we will divide the total 
amount to be carried this last day into rations and forage, and 
similarly for other loads as they are determined, and record the 
results, so that by reference to the chart we can see at a glance 
just how many haversack rations and how much forage are 
with the supply trains at the various stations and as they start 
from the advance depot. The 138,357 pounds is found to con- 
sist of 21,300 haversack rations (63,900 pounds) and 74,457 
pounds of forage. These numbers we record with the total, 
opposite Station IV. and under the proper date, and we also 
enter 61 on the diagonal lines as indicating the number of 
wagons carrying these supplies fiom Station IV. to V. and 
returning empty to Station IV. 

We can now ascertain the number of supply wagons re- 
quired to accompany the division from the third to the fourth 
station. Evidently we must add to the 138,357 pounds re- 
quired for the last day three separate amounts, viz.: another 
day's supply for the division, a day's supply for the wagons 
travelling from the third to the fourth station, and another 
day's supply for those wagons which are to return empty the 
next day from Station IV. It will greatly facilitate the com- 
putation if from the 138,357 pounds we deduct the requirements 
of the 61 wagons for the last day of the march and include these 
requirements in the present calculation; for then we must pro- 
vide exactly two days' supply for all the wagons moving from 
Station III. to IV., one day for the march from III. to IV., and 
a second day for those that proceed on as well as for those that 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 73 

return. The 61 wagons require for one day 61 X 39 pounds, 
equals 2,379 pounds, which, deducted from 138,357 pounds, 
leaves 135,978 pounds. We can now get at the requirements 
at Station III. by adding to 135,978 pounds a day's supply for 
the division and two days' supply for the wagons which are 
to leave Station III. 

Add to 135,978 pounds 133,599 pounds, a day's supply for 
the division, and we have 269,577 pounds; divide this by 
2,414.2, the available capacity of a wagon carrying two days' 
supply for its mules and drivers, and we get 11 1.66 wagons; 
adding 10 per cent gives 123 wagons required at Station III. 
Two days' supplies for these wagons amounts to 9,594 pounds, 
which, added to 269,577 pounds, gives 279,171 pounds to be 
carried by the 123 wagons. Of these wagons, 61 proceed and 
62 return. The total weight is divisible into 151,182 pounds of 
oats and 127,989 pounds of rations. The results are recorded 
on the chart. 

In making the above calculations it is desirable to keep 
the forage and rations separated, but the total amounts are re- 
ferred to above in order not to complicate the explanation 

In the same way the weight to be carried forward from 
Station II. and the number of wagons required can be com- 
puted. Deducting from 279,171 pounds the requirements of 
123 wagons for one day and adding a day's supply for the di- 
vision, we get 407,973 pounds. Dividing by 2,414.2 and ad- 
ding 10 per cent gives 186 wagons, the requirements at Station 
II. Multiply 186 by 72 to get the forage required by these 
wagons for two days, and by 6 to get the weight of the rations 
for the drivers, and add the sum of these to 407,973, and we 
have the total load at Station II., 422,481 pounds, of which 
230,211 pounds are oats and 192,270 pounds are rations. Of 
the 186 wagons, 63 return toward the depot the next day and 
123 go forward. 

Similarly the requirements at Station I. and at the advance 
depot are computed. The results are shown on the chart. It 
will be seen that if it is intended to move a division five days' 
march from the advance depot and to continue its supply at 
that'point from the. depot, the division should be followed by a 
supply train of 315 wagons (10 per cent more than the actual 
number required), carrying 321,420 pounds of rations (107,140 
haversack rations) and 395,325 pounds of oats. Moreover, at 
intervals of twenty-four hours, other trains carrying a day's 

74 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

supply for the division must start from the advance depot so 
that the amounts daily consumed by the division after their 
arrival shall be continually renewed. But before proceeding 
to find out the strength of these daily trains it will be well to 
verify the calculations up to the present time. 

The requirements of the division during the five days' 
march amount to 5 X 133,599 pounds, equals 667,995 pounds. 
Reference to the chart shows that a day's supply must be car- 
ried along for the following number of wagons: 315 -f 65 + 
250 + 64 + 186 + 63 -f 123 + 62 + 61 -f- 61 = 1,250. Each 
wagon requires 39 pounds of forage and rations per day. Mul- 
tiplying 1,250 by 39, we get 48,750 pounds, the requirements of 
the wagons; add this to 667,995 pounds, the requirements of 
the division during the march, and we get 716,745 pounds, as 
on the chart. . 

Again, the 315 wagons which leave the advance depot in- 
clude 10 per cent spare. Therefore 315 is no per cent of the 
number of loaded wagons; hence 286 wagons are loaded. Di- 
viding 716,745 by 2,500, a wagon load, we get 286 as the num- 
ber of wagons required to carry this load. Q. E. I). 

We are now ready to figure on the number of wagons and 
the load required to start from the advance depot on the second 
day in order to renew the supply at the front consumed by the 
division on the day following its arrival. As before, we begin 
at the end. The. number of wagons of this new column and the 
load required to go forward from Station IV. to V. are the same 
as before, 61 wagons carrying 138,357 pounds. The only ad- 
ditional wagons required from the third to the fourth station 
are those necessary to carry supplies for themselves during that 
stage and for such emptied wagons as must return the next day. 
Evidently the number of wagons that will be emptied will be 
Small, and for the present we will ignore that number in order 
to discover better the available capacity of a wagon under the 
present conditions. From Station III. to IV. each wagon must 
carry supplies for itself for one day — that is, 39 pounds; plus 
10 per cent, 42.9 pounds, which reduces the carrying capacity 
of a wagon to 2,500 minus 42.9, equals 2,457.1 pounds. Di- 
viding the requirements of the last day, 138,357 pounds, by 
2,457.1 and adding 10 per cent, we get 62 as the number of 
wagons required between the third and fourth stations. Of 
these, 61 go on and only 1 returns empty. This one returning 
empty must carry supplies for itself for one day, 39 pounds; 
but this small additional weight does not affect the number of 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 75 

wagons required, although the load of the 62 wagons must be 
increased by it. The 62 wagons consume 62 X 39 pounds of 
forage and rations, which, plus the 39 pounds for the return- 
ing wagon, equals 2,457 pounds; adding this to 138,357 gives 
140,814 pounds as the weight of supplies to be carried forward 
from Station III.; dividing this into forage and rations, the 
results obtained and the number of wagons going and return- 
ing are recorded on the chart. 

Starting now with 140,814 pounds as the initial weight to 
be carried forward from Station II., we can, by precisely the 
same method of calculation, arrive at the total load at Station 
II. and the number of wagons required. These are as recorded 
on the chart. Similarly, we work back to the advance depot, 
and find that 65 wagons must leave there on the second day, 
loaded as indicated. 

The computations in the case of the wagons leaving the ad- 
vance depot on the third day are somewhat complicated, due to 
the fact that returning wagons are met by this column, which 
must be supplied with one day's forage and rations for the next 
day of their return. But we shall find that approximately the 
same number of wagons arrive at and return from each of the 
stations, and by assuming that the numbers are exactly the 
same and making the necessary corrections afterwards, we shall 
have no difficulty. 

The requirements at Station IV. are the same as before, 
and from this point on they are provided for by the wagons 
returning from the front the day before. That is, 61 wagons 
arrive at Station IV. from the front each day and the same 
number are required to carry supplies forward the next day. 
All of the wagons that leave Station III. on the third day may 
therefore return the next day toward the depot. The available 
capacity of a wagon is therefore reduced by its own require- 
ments for two days, making it 2,414.2 pounds. Dividing the 
initial weight at Station III., 138,357 pounds, by 2,414.2, and 
adding 10 per cent, we get 64 wagons as the number required 
at Station III. All of these, after completing the day's march, 
return unloaded the next day. Two days' supplies for them 
amount to 378 pounds of rations and 4,536 pounds of forage, 
which, added to the initial weights, give 64,278 pounds of ra- 
tions and 78,993 pounds of forage, a total of 143,271 pounds, 
to be carried forward from Station III. The same require- 
ments for Station III. will be found to exist on succeeding days, 
and the chart for that day may therefore now be completed. 

76 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

Taking now 143,271 as the initial weight at Station II., 
dividing it by 2,414.2 and adding 10 per cent, we get 65 wagons 
required at that station. Of these, 63 go forward beyond Sta- 
tion III. the next day and 2 return; but 62 other returning 
wagons arrive at Station III. at the same time, so that the next 
day 64 wagons all together will return from Station III. and 
must be provided with a day's supplies. When we used 2,414.2 
as a divisor above, we assumed that all the wagons to be used 
would require two days' supplies. It now develops that while 
65 wagons go forward from Station II. only 64 return the next 
day — that is, in getting at the number of wagons we have over- 
estimated the requirements by the weight of the supplies re- 
quired by one wagon for one day; this is 39 pounds, which will 
not affect the number of wagons required. We must now add 
to the initial weight at Station II. the weight of the supplies 
required by 65 wagons for one day and 64 wagons for one day — 
that is, 129 X 39 pounds equals 5,031, which makes the total 
load at Station II. 148,302 pounds, of which 83,637 are forage 
and 64,665 are rations. Similarly, we work back to the advance 
depot and find that 70 wagons must leave there on the morning 
of the third day. As 65 wagons returned to the depot the 
evening before, only 5 additional wagons are required. 

The columns of wagons which must leave the advance 
depot on the fourth and subsequent dates can be calculated in 
exactly the same manner. On the tenth we find 70 wagons 
leaving the advance depot and the same number returning in 
the evening; and we also find that between any other two sta- 
tions on that day the number of returning wagons is the same as 
the number that leave. These numbers remain constant so long 
as conditions are the same. We have then 70 + 68 + 65 + 63 
+ 61 = 327 wagons leaving the respective stations loaded each 
day; and the same number returning, or a total of 654 wagons 
required to supply continuously a division 75 miles away; this 
number is, of course, exactly the same as the number that have 
left the advance depot up to and including the tenth day, minus 
those that have returned to it; and, in general, on any day we 
can find the number of wagons working along the line by ad- 
ding those that have left the advance depot and subtracting 
from the result those that have returned. Thus, during the 
fourth day 315 + 65 + 70 + 66 — 65 — 1 = 450 wagons are 
working along the line. On the tenth and afterwards the num- 
ber is constant, amounting, as already shown, to 654 wagons. 
By means of the completed chart, the necessary orders for the 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 77 

movements of the various trains can be prepared in detail. 
The calculations have been explained at perhaps too great a 
length, but the importance of a correct understanding of the 
method used should be appreciated, for by this method alone 
can the amount of transportation required for a particular pur- 
pose be obtained with accuracy. The method is adaptable to 
all classes of transportation problems, and however many com- 
plications may arise in their solution, they can always be pro- 
vided for if we bear in mind the point that we must always 
begin at the end and work backward. In the problem just 
solved it will be noted that no transport lies idle at any station,, 
and none except the 10 per cent spare go forward empty. 

It has been shown in the first part of this paper that a divi- 
sion cannot continuously supply itself from the advance depot 
with its own wagons if it is operating more than two days' 
march from that depot. In such case, the usual method is to 
send other wagons from the advance depot each day with a 
day's supply to within thirty miles of the troops, where they are 
met by sections of the regular supply train of the division. The 
same result may be accomplished as in the problem solved by 
increasing the supply train of the division by the necessary 
number of wagons. It can readily be seen that the number of 
wagons constituting the troop trains of a division may readily 
be fixed at such a definite number as may be necessary to carry 
two days' supply of oats and rations and such other impedi- 
menta as may be authorized; but the number of wagons needed 
for the supply train cannot be fixed, for it must necessarily vary 
greatly, depending upon many conditions, as, for instance, the 
resources of the country, the nature and length of the com- 
munications, the distance of the enemy, and so forth. We can r 
however, readily determine the minimum number of wagons 
required to carry three days' supply of oats and rations for a 
division. The requirement of a division for three days amounts 
to 3 X 133,599 equals 400,797 pounds; and the requirements of 
each wagon carrying these supplies to 3 X 39 equals 1 17 pounds; 
the capacity of a wagon is 2,500 pounds, which, less 117 pounds, 
equals 2,383 pounds available for the division. Dividing 
400,797 by 2,383 gives 168 wagons, to which 10 per cent should 
be added, making 184.8. As it is desirable to have the supply 
train divisible by 3, so that each section may carry a day's 
supply, it is submitted that 186 wagons should be the pre- 
scribed minimum allowance. Allowing 20 yards to a wagon, 
the supply train of a division, carrying only three days' rations 

78 The Provisioning of the Modem Army. * 

and forage, will, if marching in a single column, extend over a 
distance of 2 miles and 200 yards. Of the 186 wagons, 96 are 
for forage and 90 for rations: 

Referring again to Chart VI., it will be recalled that 654 
wagons were required, which is 468 more than the number con- 
stituting the supply train proper of the division. In practice 
it is improbable that this number of extra standard four-mule 
wagons would be available — in fact, the transport of an army 
in excess of the prescribed allowance will ordinarily and of 
necessity consist largely of a heterogeneous lot of vehicles 
requisitioned from the country. In such case, the wagons 
should be divided into classes of approximately the same carry- 
ing power, and calculations as to the requirements should be. 
made accordingly. By assigning the same class of wagons to 
the same stages of the journey, the calculations will not be un- 
duly complicated. By beginning the computation with the 
last stage of the journey each day, when none but the four-mule 
wagons are used, we can readily work back to the advance 
depot. Eventually we will have 122 of the 186 wagons consti- 
tuting the division supply train proper working back and forth 
over the last stage of the route and the rest between Stations 
IV. and V. — in other words, none of the regular wagons will be 
required to move more than two stations away from the troops. 

Let us consider now what use should be made of the 10 per 
cent spare wagons provided. If a wagon breaks down we must 
have a spare one in which to load its supplies; so that, although 
it is desirable to carry extra supplies, all the wagons must not 
be loaded. By placing the computed loads at the advance 
depot on the wagons provided and then loading half the re- 
maining wagons we can carry forward 5 per cent additional 
supplies. Of what they should consist will depend entirely 
upon the conditions. The most important extras to furnish 
troops are fresh beef or canned meats, fresh bread, some form 
of anti-scorbutics, preferably fresh vegetables, and tobacco. It 
may, however, be considered necessary to load the spare wagons 
with extra haversack rations and oats only. Unless the weather 
is suitable, it will be difficult to supply fresh beef or fresh vege- 
tables from the advance depot, even if they can be gotten that 
far to the front; and to attempt to supply fresh bread by 
wagons to troops seventy-five miles away is, of course, out of 
the question. To the American soldier tobacco is more of a 
necessity than a luxury, and every effort should be made to 
provide it for sale or as an extra issue. It would be well, then, 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 79 

if practicable, to send forward a supply of tobacco at intervals. 
But as to other extras, everything will depend upon conditions, 
principally upon the resources of the country, the ease of supply 
of the advance depot, and the climate. 

So far we have considered only the question of supply of 
an army from the advance depot when the army has moved a 
given distance from there and halted, and we have demon- 
strated a method by which the number of wagons needed to 
supply such an army can be calculated. Suppose now it is at- 
tempted to supply wholly from the rear an army that starts out 
with no intention of halting. Evidently it can subsist only for 
the number of days that the supplies carried with it will last, 
for there are no means of renewal. Starting out with say ten 
days' supplies, at the end of that time the army will be without 
food, ten days away from its point of supply. Then, if provis- 
ion has not been made to supply it at that distance from the 
depot, the army can remain halted, or march on, or struggle 
back ; but, whatever else happens, it will most likely starve, and 
it will certainly not be in condition to win any battle. The 
conclusion, then, is obvious, that an army dependent upon its 
base for supplies cannot start out on any expedition of indefinite 
length. Provision must be made in advance for keeping it 
supplied, and in order to make such provision the maximum 
distance it can go with the transportation available must be 
determined, and the whole transportation problem solved by 
the method that has been explained. Then if the army must 
proceed still further forward, the advance depot must first be 
pushed along to its vicinity, when it will be able to make 
another advance movement of fixed duration. Thus, slowly, 
the enemy's country can be penetrated and contact with him 
be eventually secured. 




As Shown by French, German, and Swiss Official 

Reports, and by Celebrated Military 

Writers in Europe. 

Colonel Feiss and Lieutenant-Colonel Good, of the Swiss 
Army, were attached to the German Army of occupation in 
France in 1871, and submitted a report to their Government 
on " The Organization and Operation of the Subsistence Service 
in the German Army during the War of 1870-1871," in which 
report it is stated : 

"In France, the German armies, during their forward movements, 
always found fresh meat sufficient for several days. This fact and that 
of the cattle plague, which had broken out in the herds brought from 
Russia, have impressed the most capable German intendants with the 
conviction that to drive cattle with the army is a great mistake. The 
cattle soon become mere skeletons; they catch and spread all contagious 
diseases; and finally it becomes necessary to kill them without their being 
available for the alimentation of the troops. It is for these reasons, 
gained from experience, that the German Intendence has, in the War of 
1 870-1 87 1, founded establishments to make meat preserves by different 
processes." — Pierron, "StraUgie et Grande Tactique," Vol. HI., p. 15. 

Captain Schaeffer, in his " History of the Franco-German 
War of 1870-1871," edited by the historical section of the 
Prussian Great General Staff, says : B^fSI* 

"But, at that time, the cattle plague broke out, which occasioned 
great difficulties for the subsistence service. The Chief Intendant of the 
Army was forced to adopt stringent methods in order to prevent this 
plague from spreading in the herds on the march. Orders were issued to 
slaughter all the cattle engaged in the direction of Landau-Nancy, to salt 
the meat known to be healthy, and to bury that which was contaminated. 
The introduction of cattle from Russia and from Austria-Hungary was 
prohibited; only the cattle from France, Belgium, and Holland could be 
drawn upon. Later, it was necessary to prohibit all importation. 

"Notwithstanding all these precautions, cases of the cattle plague 
occurred constantly, which rendered the supply of meat and the variety 


The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 81 

in the food-supply extremely difficult. Recourse was then made to salt 
meat and to canned meats, for which they had had the forethought to 
establish a factory at Mayence, as well as to mutton ; and it was possible 
to partly remedy the difficulties.' ' — Pierron, "Strattgie et Grande Tactique," 
Vol. III., p. 40. 

L , Intendant-G6n6ral Friant, 1874: 

"The Prussians are now providing supplies of canned meats, having 
recognized from experience in the War of 1870-187 1 the inconveniences oc- 
casioned by the herds of cattle, which are soon decimated by the cattle 
plague. There was presented to the Superior Commission of Subsistence 
at Paris, of which I am the President, some canned beef, of excellent qual- 
ity, good keeping properties, and very reasonable price. It can be eat- 
en cold or made into soup. What economy would be effected if finally 
it was decided to adopt it and to comply with the general desire for a war 
food! A steer of 600 kilograms gross weight yields 300 kilograms of un- 
cooked meat, and 300 kilograms of uncooked meat produce only 1 50 kilo- 
grams of edible meat. There would be no more loss from the frightful 
mortality among tne herds of animals, and tainted meat would no longer 
be issued, which caused, in my opinion, sickness among the men. What 
kind of food can be obtained from cattle constantly on the move and 
which are not sufficiently nourished and soon become mere skin and bones, 
as in the Crimea in 1854-55? At Besacon, when Bourbaki's army re- 
treated, in 1 87 1, we lost 1,200 head of cattle from the cattle plague. In 
the Crimea, how many did we lose? A kilogram of meat supplied from 
cattle on the hoof becomes very expensive. It cost, on account of the losses, 
more than 15 francs in the Crimea. Forage, a valuable article in an army, 
and still more so in fortified places, is necessary for cattle on the hoof, 
and frequently there is not enough for such purpose. ,, — Pierron, "StraMgie 
et Grande Tactique" Vol. HI., p. 62. 

A Prussian officer: 

"Assigned to the command of the fortress artillery of Sedan after 
the capitulation of that fortress (September, 1870), and returning from 
Coblentz to my station, I met on the road large convoys of cattle destined 
for our army and on the way to Metz. They had only a single ration of 
forage, and moreover they were on the road for four or five days because 
of the obstruction of the railways. 

"Arriving at Sedan, I ascertained from the commandant of the 
fortress that five thousand head of cattle, being forwarded from Bel- 
gium to the German Army around Paris, were to remain for some time 
in my care. In addition to the difficulty of corralling them, the difficulty 
of feeding them seemed insurmountable; this herd would have consumed 
in three days all the forage for the horses of the fortress. On my advice, 
they were placed on an island in the Meuse, which the animals could 
scarcely reach by means of a ford. In three days they had exhausted all 
the grass in the country, which became a slough. The water, because of a 
freshet in the river, threatened to submerge the island, and the situation 
seemed inextricable, when fortunately an order was received to slaughter 
the cattle, because of the cattle plague which had broken out in the herds 
of cattle of the army around Paris, and to forward to that army such of 
the dressed meat as was known to be healthy. 

"These instances show what insurmountable difficulties are oc- 

82 The Provisioning of the Modem Army. 

casioned by the transport of such a large number of cattle on the hoof, 
difficulties which will only augment as the effective strength of modern 
armies is increased. 

"To provide for the subsistence of armies in the field there is no 
longer any other practical method than the following : To have only such 
cattle on the hoof as can be provided from the local resources, and to 
exclude from the roads the live cattle. 

"This method of transporting cattle on the hoof is an evident an- 
achronism. It dates from the time when, lacking means for keeping dressed 
meat, one was compelled to transport live cattle. Now, to transport 
alive a steer of 500 kilograms, results in transporting at least 250 kilograms 
of bone, horns, hoofs, hide, and entrails. These parts undoubtedly have 
some value, but in the field they will have, notwithstanding the measures 
taken by the administration, little or no value. To these objections 
others are to be added, such as the transportation of the forage, the sub- 
sistence of the herders, and the difficulty of loading and unloading these 
heavy animals. 

"From all these considerations it follows at least that the cattle cannot 
be transported on the hoof; they should be slaughtered, cut up, and 
loaded on cars, boats, or wagons. The problem is not difficult to solve, 
since at the present time dressed meat is forwarded from South America 
to London and in a perfect state of preservation, notwithstanding a voyage 
of forty-five days. 

"As concerns the supply for fortresses, it should be composed chiefly 
of preserved meats. When one has seen the difficulties that a commandant 
of a fortress experiences to hold, feed, and keep in good condition a large 
herd, the ravages caused by the cattle plague, the shells from the enemy's 
artillery which set fire to the stables, one gains convincing proof that, 
even in a large fortress, protected by detached works, it is possible to keep 
alive cattle only during the beginning of the investment, and that preserves 
of meat should, in the future, always be used in constituting the supplies 
for a siege." — Pierron, "Stratigie et Grande Tactique," Vol. III., p. 67. 

" Advantages of Transporting Dressed Meats," by M. 

"Animals transported on foot or in cars suffer from lack of food 
and water, from the disturbance caused in their manner of life, from the 
uneasiness caused by fright and crowding in the cars. Thus they arrive, 
if not sick, at least in an unhealthy condition. 

"When slaughtered at the places of production, the animal is killed, 
on the other hand, in the best condition. The meat is healthy, nourishing, 
and the following advantages are obtained : the offal of the animal serves 
for manure; the hides supply the local industry; the transports are loaded 
only with edible meat. 

"To assure good keeping qualities to dressed meat, it is not necessary 
to resort to chemical ingredients; cold itself gives a satisfactory result, or, 
rather, the temperature of 32 F., without variation and in perfectly dry air. 
If the temperature is above 32 F., the meat does not keep; if it is below, it 
loses its flavor. With a temperature of 32 F., the result of the conserva- 
tion is such that at the end of a week the meat is entirely improved, and 
that it is possible to keep it in that way for two months and longer." — 
Pierron, " Stratigie et Grande Tactique," Vol. III., p. 304. 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 83 

Prussian General Von dbr Goltz, Inspector of the Line of 
Communications of the III. German Army in 1870-1871 : 

"In the month of September, 1870, the German Army received a 
decided check by the appearance of the cattle plague, which compelled it 
to discontinue all consignments of cattle from the mother country and to 
be satisfied with what was found in the country, outside the roads tra- 
versed by the troops or their trains, and to resort to mutton. The greatest 
efforts were made to localize the epidemic, but without success; for the 
root of the evil was the bad or insufficient nourishment, the lack of care, and 
the filth of the animals held in enormous herds; and very often the epidemic 
appeared rather as the typhus of hunger than as the cattle plague. On the 
road followed by the army it was not possible to find any longer sufficient 
resources to keep in good condition such large herds, because both friend 
and foe had exhausted them; on this account herds of about two thousand 
head of cattle perished in a few days. All that could be done was to 
separate the healthy cattle from those which were contaminated, to kill 
the first in order to use them as salt meat, and to bury the others. 

"The administration of the occupied territories exerted every effort 
to check the propagation of the epidemic, in order to protect the resources 
of the country, and it was successful to a considerable degree. 

"Later, it was decided to transport the cattle by rail instead of for- 
warding them by the roads, so as to avoid the localities infected with the 
cattle plague. But very soon the impossibility of feeding such large num- 
bers of cattle was made manifest, and the typhus of hunger again made its 
appearance. Finally, it was determined to send from the mother coun- 
try only bacon, salted or smoked meat, canned foods, and pea sausages, 
of which the manufacture of large numbers was undertaken." — Pierron, 
"Stratigie et Grande Tactique," Vol. III., p. 329. 

"Necessity for Canned Provisions" (Captain Heutsch, 
German Army, 1881) : 

"The effectiveness and mobility of an army depend particularly on 
the manner in which the soldier is nourished ; but this last point presents 
the greatest difficulties, because the armies of the present time are of im- 
mense size and move in a more concentrated order than formerly. To sup- 
ply such masses from the resources of a country is most frequently an im- 
possibility; and it is not possible to drive cattle herds after them without 
exposure to the danger of the cattle plague. 

"Effort has been made to remedy these inconveniences in two ways: 
by the introduction of preserves as one way, and for another by adopting^ 
various methods of freezing in order to transport the dressed meat without 
its spoiling." — Pierron, "StraUgie et Grande Tactique," Vol. III., p. 61. 

Sous-Intendant Dussutour, 1888: 

"The enormous herds of the River Plate, of Australia and of New 
Zealand, were generally used, until recent years, only for the hides and 
fat of the animals. The meat, in reality, was too abundant to be con- 
sumed there, and the methods of preservation too defective to practically 
permit exportation. But on account of the invention of English machines 
which produce cold, without employing any chemical substance, simply 

84 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

by the compression and quick expansion of air, it is possible to transport 

now to Europe the meat coming from the large cattle-raising countries. 

"The problem of keeping and transportation of large quantities of 

meat and supplies appears then successfully solved. The duration of the 

conservation, moreover, does not appear to be limited ; all the experiments 

made in that respect are entirely conclusive. 


"In wars of the future, the resources of the country occupied will be 
quickly exhausted by the immense modern armies; and, after a certain 
length of time, all or nearly all the supplies will be drawn from the ad- 
joining districts or from the interior. Under such conditions frozen meats 
offer the greatest advantages for supplies. They will be still more valuable 
for fortified places, if these have been provided with refrigerating ma- 
chines in time of peace, for the cattle could be slaughtered as soon as the 
investment is completed, and thus the difficulty of feeding them during 
the siege would be removed. ,, — Pierron, "Straltgie et Grande Tactique, 
Vol. ///., />. 79. 

"Etudes de Guerre, Tactique de Ravitaillements," parle 
G£n£ral Lewai*, 1889, Tome Second, Chapitre X., p. 47: 

"In order to supply the possible insufficiency of the fresh meat to be 

found in a country, resort was formerly made to cattle on the hoof, to 

herds marching in rear of the columns. When there was no other means 

of living, it was necessary to submit to all their inconveniences. Canned 

meat makes it possible to do away with them and will constitute a great 

advance in provisioning of armies. 


"Marshal Davoust wrote to the Chief of Staff on April 3, 1807: 
'The cattle plague prevails in our cantonments and has carried off a large 
number of horned cattle and swine. Prom a report made to General 
Friant, of the fifty-six animals which were in his herd, forty-nine died in 
twenty-four hours.' Marshal Davoust again wrote to the Emperor from 
Skierniewice, on September 21, 1807: 'The Intendant - g£n£ral has re- 
ported a quantity of beef on the hoof, which should be sufficient for six 
months' consumption; but the loss of a large number of animals on the 
road and the great loss in weight of those which arrive reduced the supply 
reported more than one-half; and this is under the supposition that the 
cattle plague does not attack our herds, but for the past month it has 
made the greatest ravages, and we are about to experience the greatest 

"Frequent mention has been made of the typhus, which so cruelly 
afflicted the garrison of Dresden and all of Germany in 181 3. The origin 
of it has been traced to the diseased cattle drawn from Hungary by the 
Austrian Army. 

"The Germans in 1870 saw the cattle plague break out in their herds 
at Sarrelouis, Courcelles, Ars, Jouy, etc. It was necessary to slaughter 
at one time a thousand head, to take the most severe sanitary measures, 
and the supply of fresh meat soon became nearly impossible. 

"Such instances should cause serious consideration for the future, 
when the dangers will increase with the numbers. From this may come 
the cattle plague, carbuncles, typhus, cholera, and these plagues may as- 
sume a very dangerous form in the enormous numbers of future armies. 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 85 

"Thus the animals passing from one corral to another, or following 
the columns, are continuously on the move, and marching injures them. 

"The same old stereotyped phrase is reproduced in all the courses of 
lectures on administration: 'Meat is a food which marches/ It indeed 
marches too much. 

"With large armies the fresh meat must necessarily be brought from 
a great distance in rear. The railroads will relieve the animals of a portion 
of the distance, but not of the fatigues of the journey. In the trains they 
will suffer greatly from hunger and thirst; they are crowded, frightened, 
constant prey to disease; accidents are numerous. 

"Immediately on disembarkation, the cattle are rapidly forwarded 
to the troops. They are driven at quick and unusual pace, and the roads 
break up their hoofs, which have become accustomed to the softer grounds 
of the fields and ranges. 

"A sustained pace is not natural for them. They need frequent and 
prolonged halts in order to graze and particularly to ruminate. Instead 
of this, the herders and the dogs urge them forward and harass them. 

"The cattle are driven all day and halt for a short time in corrals, 
rarely in pastures. Their nourishment, always insufficient, is often not 
supplied at all. The mortality in the herds on the march is frightful, and 
those that survive the hardships of the march are emaciated and scarcely 
more than skin and bones. The proportion of this thin, tough meat, 
nearly always diseased, to bones, tendons, and cartilage, falls to 50 or 60 
per cent and sometimes more. If this is not considered, the nutritive 
value of the ration is thus considerably reduced, and to raise it the expense 
would be greatly increased." 

"Marshal Davoust to the Emperor (Warsaw, November 12, 1807): 
' I have written to the Intendant and have advised him, instead of making 
consignments of cattle, to send here the value of these cattle. The loss 
the cattle undergo which are forwarded to us by the Intendant, either 
from lack of nourishment, or from epizooty, increases the price of those 
that arrive to the price of 40 sols per pound (instead of 7), and then this 
meat is thin and the very worst quality.' 

"These serious objections to cattle on the hoof are not the only ones. 
The herd marches much slower than the troops. If they follow the troops, 
they will not complete the day's march until an hour or two after the rear 
of the column; if they are started with the advance guard, they are over- 
taken in time by the column, they raise clouds of dust, are a great hin- 
drance, and give rise to disorder and confusion. Actuated by the necessity 
for water, food, and rest, and liable to be stampeded, the animals become 
separated, and then the tiresome work of rounding them up falls upon 
the men. 

"All these disadvantages, apparent in small columns, assume an in- 
finite strength in large ones; they become so potent that cattle on the hoof 
is a delusion in war of large masses. 

"The experience of the Germans, in their war relatively easy in so 
rich a country as France, has demonstrated to them the manifest evils 
of cattle on the hoof and has induced them to include in their supplies 
canned meats." 

Extract from work entitled "The Army Ration," by E. N. 

86 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

Horsford, late Rumford Professor in Harvard University, 
Cambridge, Mass., published in 1864, pages 19, 20, and 21 : 

" Fresh beef as a source of the marching ration has some advantages : 
it carries itself; the cattle can be driven, but this advantage is limited. 
Of what use are live cattle on such an expedition as Averilrs, to cut the 
Virginia & Tennessee Railroad ; or Kilpa trick's, in the rear of Lee's army, 
threatening Richmond? In a forced march the herd of cattle must be 
some distance in the rear, and the supply of fresh beef irregular. The 
best of cattle in Ohio, Indiana, or Illinois, after transportation in cars, 
with little water, food, or sleep, during several days and nights of con- 
tinuous travel, and after being driven about for two or three weeks, with 
scanty forage or none at all, furnish as a whole meager and inferior beef. 
To preserve the beef, the cattle are slaughtered — in summer, early in the 
morning — and the meat immediately boiled, if conveniences will permit, 
to prevent its becoming fly-blown. The juices extracted in the boiling 
are uniformly and necessarily lost. The edible meat is much of it lost in 
the difficulty and haste of detaching it from the bones; it has no provision 
against spontaneous decay; it is not always at command when most 
needed ; it is bulky, and yet the actual edible meat which the soldier de- 
rives from an ox slaughtered on the march is much less than is ordinarily 
supposed. The advantage of providing it on the hoof is correspondingly 

"In slaughtering,. the weight is diminished by loss of blood, the re- 
moval of the tongue, heart, and liver, the viscera and offal, and legs to the 
knee. This reduction, called 'shrinkage/ in good cattle fresh from the 
pasture amounts to at least one-third. An ox in fair condition, weighing 

1,500 pounds on the hoof, would lose by shrinkage 500 pounds. 


"A medical officer, whose duties called him to Chattanooga during the 
months preceding the battle of Lookout Mountain, has informed me that 
the cattle furnished to that post were so sick and exhausted from the effects 
of the transportation from Louisville, and so reduced and emaciated from 
having had absolutely nothing to eat on the railroad and after their ar- 
rival, for weeks in succession, that some of them reeled in walking, and, 
falling or lying down, were unable to rise. It is true that the bullocks 
that thus fell were not eaten, but they indicate the condition of those 
which had been subjected to the same suffering and deprivations and were 
actually used as food. What these cattle on the hoof cost the Government 
I know not, but probably not less than the cattle supplied to the Army 
of the Potomac, while their value for food must have been less and the 
cost of the ration of fresh beef correspondingly greater." 

Canned Mbat. — "The impossibility of driving cattle, the necessity 
for a food always ready, even without fire, in battle, on the march, in 
bivouac, and at the outposts, has compelled the adoption of canned meat 
and vegetables of commerce for the supply of troops in the field." — Lewal, 
''Etudes de Guerre" Tome II., p. 52. 

"Cours Professes & l'Ecole d' Administration Militaire de 
Vincennes, pendant TAnn£e 1891," Volume II., page 343: 

"Such a reserve — i. e. y of cattle herds — imposed upon the contractor 
entails a heavy charge against the Treasury, which pays the interest on 
the capital invested; it also deprives the cavalry of all the forage con- 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 87 

sumed on the spot by the cattle. These inconveniences have suggested 
the idea of utilizing for the supply of fresh meat for armies a very recent 
discovery which permits the transportation to great distances of dressed 
meats after having frozen them. In the field, 3 too serious obstacles are 
not encountered, this system is destined to render important services and to 
effect great economies. It is being investigated at present with the view 
of its application to the supply of fortresses; undoubtedly the same in- 
vestigation will be extended to the question of the supply of fresh meat 
in the field." 

General PiErron, in his work entitled "Stat^gie et Grande 
Tactique d'aprfes TExperience des Derniferes Guerres," Volume 
III., page 4, states: 

"As a campaign would not be entered into without a plan of opera- 
tions, it is likewise necessary to previously form the plan of supply to 
provide the subsistence for the soldier and for the horse in the zone of 

".The questions to be solved are the following: 


"8. Where should the large slaughter-houses be established?" and 
answers as follows: 

"8. The large slaughter-houses will forward to the army the meat 
cut up and preserved, either by the use of ice or by means of air or in- 
dustrial process. They will be located near the railway, in a locality 
abounding in forage and water, where the large enclosures will make 'it 
possible to keep the cattle in healthy condition. " — Id. t p. 6. 

"Although the supply of fresh meats for armies is a relatively easy 
matter on account of the great abundance of cattle in all portions of the 
country and of means of transportation, the danger from distempers 
subject the administration to the greatest inconveniences. 

"When toward the end of the month of August, 1870, the 1st Ger- 
man Army had united with the 2d in the investment of Metz, the cattle 
plague broke out in the herds assembled at Sarrelouis, Courcelles, Ars, 
and Jouy, and caused great ravages in a few days. The army could count 
neither on the local resources, since it was to remain in the same place for 
an indefinite period r nor upon those of th^ zones in the rear, for the cattle 
forwarded would have been rapidly contaminated and would have served 
only to increase the extent of the contagion. It was necessary to estab- 
lish at Mayence a field abattoir, from which the quarters of dressed meat 
previously washed, dried, and salted in order to assure the keeping quali- 
ties, then surrounded with straw, were forwarded directly to the troops 
by the railway. 

"Since that time an industry has been developed, which, under 
similar conditions, would be of great assistance to armies in the field. We 
now refer to the preservation of meats by cold and dry air. 

"You know that this is the*method adopted by breeders of La Plata/ 
of Australia, etc., who until recently could only utilize the fat and hides 
of their herds to import to Europe immense quantities of meat. In 
Prance also a cold-storage depot has been installed at Havre, and sends 
each week to Paris 2,000 carcasses of mutton and the same number of 
quarters of beef. The meat, after having been dried, is placed in a re- 
frigerating chamber with double walls, where a current of cold air, pro- 
duced by a refrigerating machine, maintains the necessary temperature. 

88 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

The frozen meat is transported by rail, in cars specially constructed, where, 
efore starting, the cold air necessary to keep the meat in good condition 
during the journey, is introduced. 

"The frozen meat needs no preparation before being used; it is suf- 
ficient to hang it in dry air for some time to bring it to the temperature 
of the surrounding air and permit it to regain all its natural qualities. In 
summer twelve hours are sufficient to obtain this result; in winter some 
hours longer are necessary." — Crttin, "Conferences sur V Administration 
Militaire" p. 420. 

"The Organization and Administration of the Lines of 
Communication in War," by Colonel George Arm and Furse, 
C. B., London, 1894, page 279 :> 


"Cattle can be driven in every direction the troops have to take; 
this is supposed to render the service of the meat ration more easy and 
manageable than any other. We must, nevertheless, take into account 
that the animals often follow the columns with difficulty, and that long 
marches of numerous herds of cattle, with the grazing often limited and of 
inferior quality, have the effect of lowering the condition of the animals 
and of abstracting from their flesh some of its nutritive qualities. As a 
rule, cattle should always be rested for some hours before being slaughtered. 

"Proper steps must be taken in time to provide against any failure 
in the supply of cattle for slaughter, for this, unfortunately, is one of the 
supplies which fails first. If the occupied territory cannot supply cattle 
in sufficient number, they must be obtained from foreign markets. The 
purchase of cattle, however, requires judgment, for we read in ancient 
history (A. D. 810) how the cattle plague destroyed all the cattle the Em- 
peror Charlemagne had collected for his army. Coming down to more 
recent times, Sir W. Power remarks: 'Epidemics almost invariably occur 
in countries where there is such unusual movement of cattle as is caused 
in war. In Roumania, Bulgaria, and Asia Minor, during the Crimean 
War, murrain amongst the sheep and cattle became almost universal, and 
it spread into the principalities before the war was ended. It is a well- 
established fact that the cattle purchased in Russia and Poland for the 
German Army in the War of 1870-187 1 brought the cattle plague into the 
Prussian Provinces. 


" Preserved Provisions. — When the supply of animals for slaughter 
is very uncertain, or when bad or insufficient forage or water prevent the 
cattle from following the troops, these will have to be fed on canned or 
salted meats. The soldier always prefers the more familiar forms of food, 
and the patent compounds and preserved provisions that replace them 
are not unnaturally unpopular with him. — Idem, p. 282. 


"Canned meat, salted beef or pork, demand a large increase in the 
transport, as only fresh meat carries itself. The long droves of live cattle 
are, however, a source of constant delay; in certain instances the enfeeble- 
ment of the animals performing long marches with insufficient time for 
grazing, and the conditions under which they are slaughtered and cut up, 
are greatly against their being used. In such cases, but for the precaution 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 89 

of keeping a large supply of preserved provisions handy, the soldier would 
have to go without meat. 

"The great progress made in late years in the preservation of food 
has been of signal advantage in the alimentation of troops in the field. 
Canned meats and biscuit pack well, keep for a long period, and are not 
subject to the same deterioration as fresh provisions; preserved provisions 
can be eaten at once, and, their weight being uniform, the distributions 
can be made with greater speed and less labor. The meat has no bone^ 
all is useful food. With respect to packing, every care should be taken 
to reduce the bulk on account of the saving it will effect in the transport. 

"Notwithstanding the many advantages claimed for preserved pro- 
visions, they should only be considered in the light of a reserve, to be used 
when necessity compels us to resort to these substitutes, for fresh bread 
and fresh meat are necessary to secure the health and strength of the 
soldier. Reasonable as it is to take into account the many difficulties 
which encompass the procuring of fresh eatables for the troops, to imagine 
that an unlimited use of preserved provisions can be made during a cam- 
paign is a fallacy to be judiciously guarded against. As nothing is con- 
sidered more conducive to the maintenance of health than a change of 
diet, every effort must be made to obtain at all times as large a supply of 
fresh provisions as possible. The stomach demands a change of diet; 
after many days of feeding on boiled meat, everyone knows what a relief 
it is to be able to partake of a bit of roast flesh. 

"With regard to a too prolonged use of preserved provisions, it 
should be observed that when the soldier is in comfortable quarters and 
has comparatively light work to perform, he is fed on bread, fresh meat, 
vegetables, and groceries; when, on the other hand, in the field, he has to 
undergo fatiguing marches — carrying a heavy weight — and is subject to 
every kind of exposure, necessity often compels us to feed him on hard 
biscuit and preserved meat. Thus, when his nourishment requires to be 
of the best is the very time when he ceases to partake of the most strength- 
ening food. 

"It is more economical to supply canned meat in small tins; when 
issued in six-pound tins, a great part of it is thrown away and wasted. 
It has been found that the meat in tins which have been exposed to a very 
hot sun has gone bad. 

"Canned meat is very devoid of fat; consequently after a short time 
it becomes distasteful. Some kinds being more salted than others, pref- 
erence should be given to the less salted sorts in operations conducted in 
countries where the water supply is known to be limited. Smoked meat 
retains all its nutritive constituents, and is therefore preferable to salt 
meat. The brine in the preparation of the latter abstracts many of the 
substances which are essential to the constitution of the flesh ; thus salted 
meat in process of salting becomes deficient of nutritive materials, and is 
injurious when it forms a principal and continuous article of diet." 

"Alimentation et Ravitaillement des Armees en Campagne, 

Cours d' Administration en temps de guerre et de manoeuvres 

professe* k TEcole SupeVieure de Guerre en 1896-1897/' par M. 

Peyroi<i<E, Sous-Intendant Militaire de ire classe, page 88: 

"At the end of August (1870) an epidemic broke out in the herds 
at Sarrelouis, Courcelles, Ars-sur-Moselle,- Puy-aux- Arches. It became 

90 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

necessary to slaughter the cattle and supply the army investing Metz only 
with smoked or salted meat. The troops becoming tired of it, there was 
an abattoir established at Mayence, from which was forwarded meat 
packed in straw, which had previously been cooked and rubbed with 
pepper and salt; but this bred dysentery." 

"Provisioning Armies in the Field," by Colonel George 

Armand Furse, C. B., London, 1899, page 292 : 


"Nothing will so conduce to the health and strength of the fighting 
man as fresh bread and fresh meat; this is incontestable; nevertheless, 
fresh provisions occupy a good deal of room and are easily spoilt. Say 
that the soldier has been furnished with a supply for three days, the whole 
of his haversack will be nearly filled, causing him inconvenience. The 
meat portion carried in a haversack with a number of other articles soon 
gets tainted and loathsome; it turns equally bad if carried in a mess-tin. 
At the commencement of a march, the soldier will possibly strive to keep 
the rations in good condition, but little by little he will become careless. 
If it becomes very hot, if dust gets at the haversack, the meat is spoilt; 
a great portion of it becomes unpalatable and is cast away. 

"Meat is often said to be the only part of the soldier's food which 
carries itself; in other words, herds of cattle follow the march of the 
troops. How badly fitted the animals must be for food after a march of 
from twelve to fifteen miles a day, smothered by dust, without proper 
pasture and water, can be left to imagination. Under these disadvant- 
ages the cattle cannot but lose condition, and cattle much out of condi- 
tion are liable to take and spread all manner of contagious diseases. Ani- 
mals obtained locally on requisition or by purchase will be in better 
condition for slaughter. 

"The rule with regard to live stock is that the vital energy of the 
animals which may have been to any extent impaired by excessive fatigue 
or from any other cause, should have fully recovered before they are 
slaughtered; then only the flesh can be considered of good quality. This 
condition is not fulfilled with cattle which have to conform to the move- 
ments of the troops. Their habits of life are totally changed : accustomed 
to wander leisurely on soft fields, on the march they tread on hard roads, 
urged at a pace to them extraordinary; they are pressed for many con- 
secutive hours; are harassed and kept in a feverish condition. The ani- 
mals will be saved much fatigue when transported part of the way by rail; 
nevertheless this will not spare them the hardships of the journey. They 
will be overcrowded, seriously frightened, and will suffer from exposure, 
hunger, and thirst. 

"To drive cattle on the hoof in rear of the combatants is, by many 

practical men, regarded as an error. As cattle march slower than the 

troops, they cause intervals in the length of the column; they are difficult 

to keep together on such roads as are not bound by fences, and come into 

camp long after the troops; there they are penned up, and seldom get an 

opportunity for picking up food in pasture-fields. Under these conditions 

the animals soon get reduced to skin and bone, and the nutritive value of 

the ration is very considerably lowered. Should the animals show signs 

of having contracted any contagious disease, they will have to be destroyed, 

without having rendered any service to the commissariat. 


The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 91 

"The need for driving cattle no longer exists, now that preserved meat 
of good quality and at a resonable price has become an article of commerce. 

"Preserved provisions of many kinds have now come to be of the 
greatest help to an army in the field. Both with regard to their transpor- 
tation and employment, they are very well adapted for use in a campaign. 
Preserved provisions rank as reserves; the principal conditions which these 
eatables should fulfil are: good nutritive qualities, small volume, lightness, 
good keeping qualities, and speediness in the preparation of the meals. 

"Provisions of this kind occupy less space and weigh less than fresh 
victuals; they enable the soldier to live for a certain number of days on 
what he carries in his valise, if the country he is in affords no other re- 
sources, or the army has outstripped its provision columns. When the 
local resources are insufficient to provide all that is needed, by adding 
preserved provisions to the little that is found the soldier can be ade- 
quately fed. The advantages of preserved meat and preserved vegetables 
have been so fully recognized that in most European States, with a view 
to their employment in war, establishments have been provided for their 

"What is much to be desired in many of the circumstances of a cam- 
paign is a description of eatables which can be easily transported and have 
beyond doubt good keeping qualities. A reserve ration, small in bulk, 
very nourishing, and easy to transport, which, when substituted for the 
ordinary provisions, should give an invigorating meal. Certain rapid and 
continuous movements cannot be executed without something of this sort. 

"When employing railways as lines of supplies, a very ordinary re- 
flection will show how a certain number of trucks will be able to carry far 
more rations of preserved meat than their equivalent in live cattle. In- 
deed, all the many experiences which have been made with substitutes 
for fresh meat have had, amongst other principal objects, a tangible re- 
duction in the matter of transport. In the field, however, it is held that 
their use should not be pushed too far, for a lengthy consumption of any 
single description of food tires and disgusts the stomach. Man, not sat- 
isfied with procuring food for his support, has endeavored to add to it 
some seasoning which will gratify his palate. In the Franco-German War 
the German soldiers very frequently complained that they were tired of 
the same nourishment; that there was no variety, no account taken of 
their taste. 

"Canned meat has several advantages. It can be carried by the 
soldier for any time without undergoing deterioration; it nourishes him 
well, for a pound of it really represents a pound of food ; it is more tender 
than freshly killed meat; it can be made into excellent soup or can be 
eaten cold. This last is a very valuable advantage when the soldier has 
not time to cook his meals on service, has no fuel, or is worn down by 
fatigue. He can then eat a piece of it cold with some bread or biscuit, 
and soon lie down to take his rest. Compare this with the use of fresh 
provisions when, to prepare a meal, water and fuel have to be fetched, 
the fires lighted, and some hours must naturally be allowed to elapse before 
the food is cooked and fit to eat. 

"But, invaluable an article as canned meat is for troops in the field, 
it is devoid of fat, and soldiers quickly tire of it. The point which should 
engage our attention is to study how it can be made the basis of a really 
palatable meal. The chief point in this direction is to assimilate the nour- 
ishment to what the soldier has been accustomed to in his home. With a 

« * 


92 The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 

little ingenuity, several ways will be found of cooking canned meat, and 
when mixed with certain ordinary essences and condiments — extracts of 
onions, celery, carrots, parsley, etc. — some way may be discovered that 
will deprive it of its somewhat insipid taste. Onions are invaluable; they 
impart an agreeable flavor to the soup. Rice, lentils, pearl barley, or oat- 
meal, added to it, would have that effect. These articles keep well." — 
Idem, pp. 294, 295. 

The Supply Service in the Field. Prom the Point of View 
of the Staff of the Higher Commands by Colonel v. Francois, 
Chief of the General Staff of the IVth (German) Army Corps. 
Part I., 1904, Page 27. 

The "Dienstanweisung fur den Schlachtereibetrieb und den Vieh trans- 
port" ("Regulations for the Slaughtering and Transport of Animals") 
states that pigs, calves, and cattle ready for killing cannot undertake long 
marches, and that they can only be moved long distances overland by 
means of box wagons. The regulations lay down the distance that oxen 
can march in a day as 20 kilometers on the average, provided that there 
are two rest days in each week and that the animals are well fed and 
looked after. Oxen and pigs will therefore have to be left behind when 
troops are continually advancing, and cannot, as a rule, be used in such 
circumstances for supply purposes. Any attempts to make the animals 
march further might easily lead to the outbreak of all sorts of diseases. 
These animals have but little stamina; when they have to endure much 
physical exertion and are badly looked after and insufficiently fed, they 
die and their carcases poison the air. The conditions under which sheep 
can be forwarded are much more favorable. "The Regulations for the 
Slaughtering and Transport of Animals" gauges their average marching 
powers at 30 kilometers per diem. According to this, th*ir rate of move- 
ment is approximately the same as that of the troops; flocks of sheep 
could therefore be driven along and made use of for feeding purposes. 

"Les Principes du Ravitaillement des Armies Modernes, 
Appliques a la Guerre Russo-Japonaise," par Y Intendant Mili- 
taire Jean Schrabok, du Comity Militaire Technique Austro- 

"In the particular part of Manchuria then occupied, no beef cattle 
are raised. The Chinaman eats no beef and makes no us e of dairy 
products. Cattle are used only as draft animals and they are not found 
in great numbers. In Mongolia, on the contrary, the raising of beef 
cattle is one of the principal industries; but Chinese neutrality interposed 
an obstacle to purchase of supplies in that province, and it became neces- 
sary to employ, for this purpose, persons who were on friendly terms 
with the Mongol princes. 

"There were, however, drawbacks to the plan of buying beeves at so 
great a distance. It required a large escort to drive and care for the ani- 
mals, and it was besides necessary to vaccinate the droves against splenic 
fever, in order that the men themselves might not contract the disease. 
This required the procuring and keeping on hand of sufficient quantity of 
the specific serum. Finally, the watering of any considerable number of 

The Provisioning of the Modern Army. 


animals presented great difficulties, particularly in winter. To all these 
complications was added the rapid increase of troops, which suddenly 
aggravated the conditions. 

"The approach of the cold season had likewise given rise to orders 
for frozen beef to be shipped from the rear, though this measure produced 
but a tardy effect. There were, besides, serious losses resulting from acci- 
dents on the railway.' 1 

From the "Revue du Service de V Intendance Militaire," Tome XX., 
p. 881. 

» • 


tir i 

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