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Crimean texts

McNeill/Tulloch Commission of Enquiry

This presentation is based on transcripts by Megan Stevens, and includes the page numbers of the original publication in order to maintain the validity of page references. It is arranged in the following sections:-

Evidence, page 5

SECOND DAY, - Saturday, March 17.

WILLIAM CHARLES FORREST, Major 4th Dragoon Guards,

Have been constantly with the Regiment since it landed at Varna.

The men generally would prefer 1 pound of salt pork to 1¼ pound of such fresh beef as they are now receiving; the beef being very indifferent - the salt pork good; but the Surgeon is of opinion, that the substitution of salt for fresh meat would be injurious to their health. Besides the rations of meat and biscuit, the mean have had about 2 ounces daily of rice, with onions and potatoes; the supplies of these articles have been irregular, the quantity of potatoes has not averaged more than ½ a-pound per man daily. Peas have also been issued: but the men have found great difficulty in cooking them properly, partly because they were not split peas, and partly because they had not the proper utensils.

Whilst in stationary camp it would be an advantage to the men, that the alternations should be issued in the evening for the succeeding day; they would then have opportunities of soaking the beef.

Evidence, page 6

The men would prefer rations of tea as a change from the coffee which they have had so long.

Upon the whole, the troops have been tolerably well supplied with fuel.

The first issue of fresh meat in the month of December was on the 25th, and between that day and the 31st, there were two other issues. In January fresh meat was supplied to the regiment seven times, and to the hospital twenty times. Between 1st and 17th March, to the regiment six times, to the Hospital eleven times. Since the regiment has been in the Crimea neither the men on duty nor the sick have received rations of any other bread than biscuit.

The men are in the habit of buying soft bread of the hawkers at 1s. 6 d. and 2s. a loaf of 1½ pound weight: this applies both to the men on duty and in hospital.

p. 58.

The supply of grain since the regiment came to the Crimea has on the whole, perhaps, been sufficient in quantity; but the issues have been irregular; so that on some days the horses had not more than about 3 pounds each of grain; the deficiency has, however, on some occasions been made up, but not on all. There have been many occasions on which no rations of hay were issued, and, more frequently the quantity has been deficient - no excess of barley considered by him to be an equivalent for the ration of hay. The Quartermaster will furnish a return of the issues for January, February, and March. During a portion of the time, from the 15th December to the 14th January, an excess of barley was issued as an equivalent for hay; the equivalent for the day's ration of hay was fixed by the Commissariat at 3 pounds of barley.

The troop horses of the regiment were got under cover during the month of February.

Upon several occasions when the nosebags of the horses were worn out, notwithstanding repeated applications to Quartermaster-General's-Department they were not renewed for a considerable length of time during which the horses had to eat their grain off the ground: this caused great waste of grain and was injurious to the health of the horses from the quantity of earth eaten with the grain.

Has nothing further to state in regard to the subject of inquiry.

MAJOR BENSON, 17th Lancers.

Joined the regiment, then at Kadekoi, 14th January.

The men would prefer such fresh meat as they are now getting to salt meat for several days per week. The Medical Officer of the regiment is of opinion, that it is important as regards the health of the men, that they should have a more abundant supply of fresh meat, and considers it essential to the success of his practice in the hospital; he is also very desirous of having more vegetables. The vegetables issued have been potatoes and onions; but on several occasions none at all - never more on an average than ½ a pound, on the days they had them, per man. The issue of these vegetables commenced about the middle of January.

The supply of grain has on the whole been sufficient. The horses have been covered in since the 13th January. Stables were prepared for them by Lord Lucan.

The nosebags should be of a larger size, and made of horsehair. With these exceptions, concurs generally with the evidence given by Major Forrest, 4th Dragoon Guards. There was a delay in getting the materials for putting up the huts, but at present the men are all hutted; but not the officers.

Has nothing further to state in regard to the subject of inquiry.

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