Sunday, October 21, 2018

18th century cooking

~ 18th Century Cooking ~

American Bicentennial Decal, 1776-1976

During the American Revolution (1775-1783), Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, The Council of Safety, and the General Assembly of Connecticut had to provision the army. Connecticut became known as the "Provision State." In April 1775, after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, Gov. Jonathan Trumbull's eldest son, Joseph Trumbull (1737-1778) was appointed Connecticut's Commissary-General,[1] responsible for provisioning the Connecticut troops.[2]

Joseph Trumbull went on to serve as the first Commissary-General of the Continental Army. On July 19, 1775, Congress, "Resolved, That Joseph Trumbull be commissary-general of stores and provisions for the army of the United Colonies."[3] He was appointed "Commissary-General with the rank of Colonel for the Continental army."[4]

Throughout the Public Records of both the Colony and State of Connecticut, and the Journal of the Council of Safety, there are numerous references, such as the following from May 1775.

"Resolved by this Assembly, That there be provided . . . . ; one thousand and ninety-eight iron pots that will contain about ten quarts each, unless a number of tin kettles are already provided, in which case the number of pots be reduced to the number that will remain after deducting said kettles: but if the number of pots cannot be procured, then the defect to be supplied with tin kettles; and one thousand and ninety-eight pails; two brass kettles that will contain from eight to twelve gallons for the use of each company; two thousand and five hundred wooden bowls in the whole; four frying-pans for the use of each company; six thousand quart runlets; . . ."[5]

"And it is further resolved by this Assembly, That the allowance of provisions for said troops be as follows, viz.: three-quarters of a pound of pork or one pound of beef, and also one pound of bread or flour with three pints of beer to each man per day: the beef to be fresh two days in the week; and also half a pint of rice or a pint of indian meal, and also six ounces butter, also three pints of pease or beans to each man per week; also one jill of rum to each man upon fatigue per day, and not at any other time; milk, molasses, candles, soap, vinegar, coffee, chocolate, sugar, tobacco, onions in their season, and vegetables, be provided for said troops at the discretion of the general and field officers."[6]

Tin and iron pots and kettles

Quart rundlet

I couldn't do a blog post on 18th century cooking without acknowledging blacksmith, Smith River Smith of New Hampshire. He not only introduced us to spit cooking, he also made our iron spit, etc. Without his knowledge and skill, both The New England Contingent, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the New England District NSSAR, and The Connecticut Line, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, would most likely do all its 18th century cooking in pots and kettles.

The following photos of 18th century cooking were taken during the past 24 years of Revolutionary War events throughout New England.

I am happy to report that the Connecticut SAR Living History/Color Guard Program is still going strong today! 


Fall Festival - Time Line Encampment
Willimantic, Connecticut, October 18-19, 2008

Nathan Hale Homestead, Coventry, Connecticut

Revolutionary War Encampment and Music Muster
July 1996-2001
The Birth of a Hero, Celebrating Nathan Hale's 250th Birthday
1 Day Revolutionary War Encampment
June 11, 2005

Quinnehtukqut Rendezvous/Encampment and Native American Festival
Haddam Meadows State Park, Haddam, Connecticut, August 1996 and August 1997

Revolutionary War Encampments/Reenactments
Black Rock Fort - Fort Nathan Hale, New Haven, Connecticut
225th Anniversary Reenactment of the British Invasion at Black Rock Fort (July 5, 1779)
June 26, 2004

Muster Field Farm Days - Revolutionary War Encampment
North Sutton, New Hampshire
August 1997-2006

The Fort at No. 4, Charlestown, New Hampshire

18th Century Weekend
July 20-21, 1996
Annual Training Weekend of the New England Contingent SAR
October 2000-2002
New England Children of the American Revolution Weekend
July 2001-2004
15th Annual Living History Association (LHA) International Time-Line Encampment
August 10-12, 2001
Stark's Muster - New England Contingent SAR Training Weekend
October 2003-2006
Stark's Muster - The Connecticut Line CTSSAR Training Weekend
October 2007, 2009, 2012-2013

225th Anniversary Commemoration of General John Stark's Mustering of the Troops at Fort No. 4
Revolutionary War Encampment, Fort No. 4, Charlestown, New Hampshire
August 10-11, 2002
225th Anniversary of the Battle of Bennington Reenactment/Encampment
(LHA) Living History Association, Scarecrow Farm, Bennington, Vermont
August 16-18, 2002

Sons of the American Revolution 225th Anniversary Ceremonies
Battle of Bennington
August 17, 2002
Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site, Walloomsac, New York

Sheldon's Horse, Second Continental Light Dragoon's
20th Anniversary Revolutionary War Encampment/Reenactment
Charlemont, Massachusetts, July 17-19, 1998

French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Encampment/Reenactment 
Fort Halifax and Fort Western, Winslow and Augusta, Maine
June 18-20, 2004

Historic Norwichtown Days, Norwichtown Green, Norwich, Connecticut
September 1996-2004
Norwich 350th Anniversary Encampment, Norwichtown Green, Norwich, Connecticut
June 2009 

CTSSAR  Captain Nathan Hale 250th Birthday Revolutionary War Encampment
Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, East Haddam, Connecticut
June 3-5, 2005

Grand Encampment of the Connecticut Line CTSSAR
Gov. Jonathan Trumbull House/Wadsworth Stable, Lebanon, Connecticut
2007-2009 and 2011

Washington/Rochambeau Revolutionary War Encampment
Lebanon Green, Lebanon, Connecticut
October 1-2, 2005

Governor Jonathan Trumbull 300th Birthday Revolutionary War Encampment
Lebanon Green, Lebanon, Connecticut
October 1-3, 2010

Historical Military Encampment
Town of Griswold Bicentennial, Griswold, Connecticut
July 25-26, 2015


1) The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, from October, 1772, to April, 1775, Inclusive., Charles J. Hoadly, Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1887, Page 430.
2) Ibid. Pages 417, 430. 
3) Journals of The American Congress: From 1774 to 1788., In Four Volumes, Volume 1: From September 5, 1774, to December 31, 1776, inclusive., Printed and Published by Way and Gideon, Washington, 1823, Page 120.
4) Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution, Adjutants-General, Hartford, 1889, Page 38.
5) The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, from May, 1775, to June, 1776, Inclusive, with the Journal of the Council of Safety from June 7, 1775, to October 2, 1776, and an Appendix containing some Council Proceedings, 1663-1710., Charles J. Hoadly, LL.D., Press of The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1890, Page 15.  
6) Ibid. Pages 15-16.

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