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Provisioning the Troops: Fresh Beef Contracting in 1829 Saturday, 15 June 2024

Fresh Beef Supply Contract Notice (1829)

In June 1829, Lieutenant A. W. Thornton, Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, issued a detailed call for proposals to supply fresh beef to United States Army troops stationed at Cantonment Clinch and Pensacola. This call, preserved in the records of the Office of the Quartermaster General under Record Group 92, outlines the requirements and expectations for potential contractors.

The procurement of fresh beef was essential for sustaining troops during their deployments in and around Cantonment Clinch and Pensacola from July 1, 1829, to June 30, 1830. The contract required the delivery of beef on two designated days each week, or more frequently if necessary, to ensure adequate provision of rations. Lieutenant Thornton emphasized the necessity for high-quality beef, insisting that only the best available in the market would be accepted. Contractors were specifically instructed to adhere strictly to butchering standards, as rigorous inspections would be conducted to verify the quality of the meat.

Interested parties were invited to submit written proposals sealed and endorsed as "Proposals for furnishing Fresh Beef." These proposals were to be deposited at the Post Office in Pensacola by June 25, 1829. Each bid was required to specify a fixed rate per pound at which the contractor would supply the beef. Alongside the financial offer, contractors were obligated to provide unquestionable and substantial security to guarantee their commitment to fulfilling the contract terms faithfully.

Lieutenant A. W. Thornton's notice reflects the meticulous planning and stringent requirements involved in procuring essential supplies for the U.S. Army during the early 19th century. This document not only underscores the logistical challenges of military provisioning in remote locations but also highlights the administrative protocols aimed at ensuring the quality and reliability of food supplies to troops. Such records provide valuable insights into historical practices of military logistics and procurement strategies during the period.

For researchers and historians, these records held in the Consolidated Correspondence Files of the Quartermaster General offer a window into the operational dynamics and logistical complexities faced by military administrators in maintaining troop readiness and welfare during the early years of the United States Army's expansion and establishment of outposts.

Original article:

Fresh Beef Broadside

Record Group 92: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster GeneralSeries: Consolidated Correspondence Files


I will receive proposals, till the 25th day of June, inclusive, to furnish with


the Troops of the U. S. Army that are, or may be, stationed at or within the vicinity of Cantonment Clinch and Pensacola, from the first of July ensuing, until the 30th of June, 1830; inclusive.

The BEEF will be required to be delivered to the Troops on two days in each week, or oftener, as may be, (the days to be designated) in such quantity as may be requisite for their rations on each day. And I deem it necessary to apprize those who may offer to contract for this supply, that no beef, but the best that the Market can afford will be received, and particular attention must be paid to the butchering thereof.--A rigid inspection of it will be required.

Unquestionable and ample security will be required, for the faithful performance of the contract.

Persons offering to contract for this supply, will deposit in the Post Office at Pensacola, their proposals in writing, sealed and endorsed, "Proposals for furnishing Fresh Beef," stating in a single bid, the rate per pound, for which they will supply.


Lieut. A. C. S.

Pensacola, 11th June, 1829

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