Friday, July 11, 2014

Men who were Sutlers.

A sutler or victualer is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters. Sutlers sold wares from the back of a wagon or a temporary tent, traveling with an army or to remote military outposts.Sutler's wagons were associated with the military while chuck wagons served a similar purpose for civilian wagon trains and outposts.

These merchants often followed the armies of the American Revolution and the American Civil War to try to sell their merchandise to the soldiers. Generally, the sutlers built their stores within the limits of an army post or just off the defense line, and first needed to receive a license from the Commander prior to construction; they were, by extension, also subject to his regulations.

Sutlers, frequently the only local suppliers of non-military goods, often developed monopolies on simple commodities like tobacco, coffee, or sugar and rose to powerful stature. Since government-issued coinage was scarce during the Civil War, sutlers often conducted transactions using a particular type of Civil War token known as a sutler token.

Sutlers played a major role in the recreation of army men between 1865 and 1890. Sutlers' stores outside of military posts were usually also open to non-military travelers and offered gambling, drinking, and prostitution.

In modern use, sutler often describes businesses that provide period uniforms and supplies to reenactors, especially to American Civil War reenactors. These businesses often play the part of historical sutlers while selling modern-day goods at reenactments.

Authors note.  In my research I found that when a Sutler got a contract with a regiment he would have to enter his name on the regiment roster roll, and for the most part would be a civilian / Soldier.

This means that he would have to follow all military Law. If a Sutler was caught doing any crime  he could be court martial. If found guilty, he could loss his contract, and be forbidden to have any contracts with any other regiments in the United States Army.  

Some could say that their great-great-great grandfather was in the war but at less he didn't have to fight. One would think a Sutler would be safe job to have, and no danger to face.  That's not quite true, even though the Sutler tent or wagon was outside a post or miles behind a camp, these were some times over ran by the enemy.  Many Sutler were taken as prisoners and some were shot.

As for not fighting if one saw the enemy coming and shooting ever thing in their path would he run or fight?

Even though a Sutlers name is on the roster if injured by accident or in a fight he would not received a pension.

All the names listed here were all referred to as Sutlers, but keep in mind a Quarter Master was a type of Sutlers.  You may have to do a little research to find out if he was a civilian  or Military man.

Push to enlarge.
They are confined in the Libby prison at Richmond.

R. C. Eveleth, sutler, seventeenth Regiment New York Volunteers.
William Westawary, sutler, Fifth Regiment Michigan Volunteers.
R. E. Parker, sutler, Second Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers.
J. W. Laughlin, sutler's department, Second Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers.
W. Kern, sutler's department, Fifty-fifth Regiment New York Volunteers.
G. Mills and C. E. Gildersleve, sutler's clerks, Seventeenth Regiment New York Volunteers.
C. B. Mann, sutler's clerk, Eighteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.
Samuel May, sutler's clerk, Twentieth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.
William Phillips, sutler's clerk, Fifth Regiment Michigan Volunteers.
G. R. Salisbury and William O. Chapin, sutler's clerks, Fourth Regiment Vermont Volunteers.
L. G. Parkhurst and E. B. Fisher, sutler's clerks, Second Regiment Vermont Volunteers.



Numbers 23. In Camp, June 11, 1862.
 It has been satisfactorily shown that W. G. Semple, sutler of the second Kentucky Regiment, contrary, to law, arranged with Wagon-master S. Hudson for the transportation of sutler's goods in government wagons from Hamburg Landing to the camps of this army, in consideration for which the wagon-master was to receive $10 per load, which stores were discovered in the process of transportation. In another case the goods of a sutler were found in process of transportation in Government wagons, but without the knowledge of the wagon-master.  The captured stores in both cases are directed to be forfeited, and will be turned over to the medical director for use of the sick and wounded. In the first case the sutler and wagon-master will be forthwith dismissed from their places, the wagon-master forfeiting whatever pay, not exceeding &100, that may be due him; and in the second case the wagon-master, for neglecting his duty, will be discharged, and the teamsters will forfeit whatever pay, not exceeding &25 each, that may be due them.  It is also shown that Shultze and Stewart, sutlers of Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers, engaged Wagon-master Wayman to haul goods for them, agreeing to pay the wagon-master $25 a load, and that one load was hauled under this contract. Wagon-master Wayman will in consequence forfeit whatever pay may be due him, not exceeding $100, and be discharged from the service. Sutlers Shultze and Stewart not belonging to this command the disposition to be made of them is left to the general commanding the army to which the Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers belongs. By command of Major-General Buell: JAMES B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.

Prisons of War.

Camp Douglas, had a sutler, store.
Camp Morton, had a sutler, store.
Johnson Island, had no sutler store.
Camp Chase, had a sutler, store..
Alton Penitentiary, had a sutler, store.
Fort McHenry, no Sutler,. store.
Being held as Prisoners of war.

Joseph Albert Doane, sutler, Sixteenth Connecticut Volunteers.
Edward C. Johnston, assistant sutler, Sixteenth Connecticut Volunteers.

A Sutler selling spirits.

I further, as a duty, must report the sutler, Jesse H. Crane, appointed by Government, as a duty, must report the sutler, Jesse H. Crane, appointed by Government, as selling whisky without stint, contrary to act of Congress, which says, "A sutler shall not see intoxicating spirits." He is also reported by many as selling revolvers to the Indians.

List of articles which sutlers may be permitted to sell to prisoners of war.
Respectfully submitted for the approval of the Secretary of War, and approved.

Tobacco, cigars, pipes, snuff, steel pens, paper, envelopes, lead pencils, pen knives,   postage stamps, buttons, take, thread, sewing cotton, pins and needles, handkerchiefs, suspenders, socks, underclothes, caps, shoes, towels, looking glasses, brushes, combs, clothes brooms, pocket knives, scissors. Groceries: Crushed sugar, syrup, family soap, butter, lard, smoked beef, beef tongues, bologna sausage, corn-meal, nutmegs, pepper, mustard, table salt, salt fish, crackers, cheese, pickles, sauces,

C. S. MILITARY PRISON, Richmond, January 23, 1863.
Captain W. S. WINDER, Assistant Adjutant-General.  SIR: I wish to report a matter which I should have mentioned before but for a press of other business. With the batch of prisoners sent off by flag of truce on the 11th instant a sutler named Marcus McNeil, from New York, went off under the name of Turner, a prisoner of war, the latter remaining in his (McN. s) place. I did not discover it until the prisoners had left and then it was made known by a deserter who moreover stated that McNeil had paid Turner a sum of money for so doing. Upon searching Turner the sum of $196 was found upon his person and he acknowledged that it had been paid to him for the purchase stated above. Will you please inform me what disposition shall be made of the money?
I am, sir, your obedient servant, THOMAS P. TURNER, Captain, Commanding.

Camp Chase?

Assistant quartermaster; N. B. Maple, post sutler.
Jenkins, B. H. . Feb. 5, 1862 Alexandria, Va. . Being a spy and with having recently been a sutler in rebel army. .

A court Case.

L. M. Simanoe; I live a mile and a half northeast of Brice's Cross-Roads, in Tishomingo County, Miss; I am clerk for the sutler of the One hundred and fourteenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers.

A Sutler dies fighting.

Mr. A. Alexander, a citizen of Memphis and sutler in by battery, was bravely fighting the rebels notwithstanding his age (over 50 years). He is reported to have been killed during the fight and afterward seen dead, still holding in his hand the musket he used so well. He leaves a destitute widow with two small children. He was a poor, but honest man.

Numbers 241. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William G. Le Duc, Chief Quartermaster, Eleventh Army Corps.

On the 29th of April, I caused to be arrested one Bensinger, a sutler (of the Eighty-second Ohio, I believe), for selling whisky in camp, and found him guilty, and fined him $100, and to be driven from the camp.


I have paid out of the above amount the following sums, viz: $500 was claimed by Lieutenant Plummer, acting assistant quartermaster, U.S. Army, as private funds, which I refunded him. Four hundred and eleven dollars paid Samuel J. Jones, sutler at Fort Fillmore, for corn delivered the quartermaster, U.S. Army, and not paid for by the United States.

Sutler of Twenty-sixth New Jersey Vols., Washington, D. C.

Mr. W. L. McDonald, sutler of the Twenty-sixth New Jersey Volunteers, called on me this morning with a parole in which he was pledged to effect the exchange of S. J. Anderson, on parole in New York, for himself within thirty-five days or to return to Richmond. His parole is January 19 [1863]. As you have already made provision for the exchange of sutlers and their employees I told Mr. McDonald it was unnecessary that he should make a special exchange, and that he might consider himself exchanged unless he hears further from me. Mr. Anderson was arrested in August, 1861, by order of the Secretary of State and sent to Fort Lafayette from whence he was paroled.

SALISBURY, N. C., March 27, 1865.

. I went first to Mr. J. A. Bowen's (sutler) house, where Major Griswold was staying, and not finding Major Griswold that I went to the Asylum Prison and found him forming his command.

HEADQUARTERS, Camp Douglas, September 29, 1862.
Colonel W. HOFFMAN,  Commissary-General of Prisoners, Detroit, Mich.

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of 26th and 27th instant, also letter to W. W. Lester, post sutler, with your indorsement. I have sent all the prisoners of war here off to-day to Cairo and will be able to make you the returns you direct immediately. Thirty-nine prisoners were received from Corinth yesterday; some included in the batch sent away to-day. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JOSEPH H. TUCKER, Colonel Sixty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, Commanding Post.

Memoranda of Various Political Arrests-From Reports of Confederate Commissioners.

J. Allison Eyster. -He is a Pennsylvania and a resident of Chambersburg. He is a wealthy merchant, well known in Baltimore; addicted sometimes to intemperance. He voted for Lincoln, but declares that he was entirely opposed to the war. He acted as a sutler in some sort to Patterson's army, selling it a large amount of goods on account of which there is till due to him he says about $11,000, to collect which he says he followed that army into Virginia, where he was arrested at the instance of his connection, Jonas Chamberlin, of Frederick County, whose affidavit is herewith returned. Chamberlin says that Eyster came to his house very drunk, and came into Virginia in a drunken frolic under Patterson's pass. I see no reason to detain Eyster unless as a hostage for the safety of our people who are in the hands of the enemy.


SIR: I wish to procure an exchange for my brother, Hugh Watson. He was captured on the Fanny in Pamlico Sound, N. C., near four months ago. He was acting as sutler to the Twentieth Indiana Regiment Foot Volunteers. I simply want the release of a state (Confederate) prisoner on a parole to exchange himself for my brother, a prisoner of like position, if one can be found, or a non-combatant that you will release. Very respectfully, yours, W. S. WATSON.

B. H. Jenkins was arrested February 5, 1862, at Alexandria, Va., by an agent of the Government charged with being a spy and having recently been in the rebel army acting as sutler and contractor. By order of the Secretary of State dated February 5, 1862, Jenkins was placed in the custody of the provost - marshal of Washington. The report of L. C. Baker, a Government agent who examined the person and papers taken from Jenkins, shows that Jenkins ha with him at the time of his arrest passes issued by both civil and military officers of the rebel government; also order for cars to transport lumber. After his arrest Jenkins admitted that he voted for the ordinance of secession in Virginia, and voluntarily stated that he was interested in a sutlership in the Confederate army at Manassas Junction up to October last. The said B. H. Jenkins remained in custody at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington February 15, 1862, when in conformity with the order of the War Department of the preceding day he was transferred to the charge of that Department.

J. W. Reynolds and A. Ostrander, quarter master and sutler of the Seventy - ninth New York Regiment, were arrested at New York by U. S. Marshal Murray by order of General Porter November 12, 1861. Information of the arrest having been received by the Secretary of State he by order dated November 13, 1861, directed Marshal Murray to place them in Fort Lafayette. They were charged with stealing fourteen boxes of military clothing belonging to the United States. No further action in regard to them was taken by the Department of State.

J. C. CLARK, Captain, Fourth Artillery, Commanding Post.

The post sutler, Judge Carter, has contracted to furnish for the post, if needed, 3,000 bushels oats, 90 tons hay, 15 tons straw, and 1,000 cords wood, and states that he is willing to increase the amounts of the several articles to the requirements of the pot. Will you please reply early for the information of the sulter?

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