The following transcription of Private Sanford’s diary reveals how important meals were to enlisted men. He frequently gives details of the food he and other soldiers ate at the post and when they were on duty away from the post. The excerpts include the years 1874, 1875, and 1876. The transcription contains spelling and punctuation as Sanford wrote it (Sar = Sergeant). Food entries are underlined.
Friday October 16th .
Clear and warm. Helped wash out the quarters and to shinye the stove. Stew for breakfast and vegetable soup for dinner. Dress parade at night. Fatigue call is 8:30 to 12 & 1 PM till 4.30 PM. Retreat at 5.00, Gather 8.30. G. qrs. 9.00. Cattle Guard detayl left tonight. Rodgers Co ordaly today. Wind NW.
Saturday October 17th.
Clear and hot. On QM fatigue policing and digging firm gravel walk to the library. General policing. Through werk at 3 PM. Bacin for breakfast and potatoes, cabbage and pork for dinner. McLoughlin Co Clerk. The male came in. Letters from Hartman and Oldis.
Sunday October 18th.
Clear and warm all day and night. On cattle-guard. Excused from inspection." 6 miles to the hurd towards Stevenson. 10 men and Sar Cummings, 300 head of cattle. Stood half the night. Warm night. Took out a days rations. Maloy out with me. McLoughlin made corporal. Reading the papers. Wind NW.
Monday October 19th.
Cloudy cold and windy. C Co started for Fort Rice with cattle and Corp Fox and Maloney and Ramey went to get to the quarters at 11 AM. Male went out. Sent letters to Ellen Hills, H. W. Stevens, Oldis, Burssig & Hartman. Cold night. Wind NE.
Tuesday October 20th.
Clear and hot. On QM fatigue. Werked in the gravel pit till noon then teamed dirt from the new laundress quarters, Reading the Fair Saxen by P. McCarthy. Pork and cabbage for dinner. McGowinn is detayled teamster in the corrill. The old guard on fatigue after dinner. Cold night and a good moon. Wind NW.
Wednes October 21st.
Clear and cool. On QM fatigue. To werk screening gravel all day. The WESTERN came down and all the discharged men went down on her. Sent Giles watch. Drill & Dress parade stopped. Hazen gone hunting up the Yellowstone. Kelly N gone with him. Wind NW.
Thirsday October 22nd.
Clear and warm. Kitchen police alone. Pork for breakfast and potatoes and cabbage for dinner. Pypher and Walters out of the kitchen and Eastman and McDermont in. Corp. McLoughlin in charge of the kitchen. Apples for supper. The SILVER LAKE came down and went down the river. Maj Moore came down last night. He is slightly wounded. Wind N.
Friday October 23rd.
Clear and warm. On QM fatigue. To werk leveling of the foundation of the gynnasum holl. Got through at 2 PM. Party at Morgans last night and a fight. Hazen and party got in. Tacking down the sawmill and fixing the icehouse. Wind NW.
Saturday October 24th.
Clear and warm. On guard No 2 of the 2nd releaf. No bisinus. Lay off all day and stood 4 hours at night on the quarters. Raned in the night. Crowell officer of the day. Holt E Co
Star of the guard. 9 men for guard. Male came in letters from Hamlin, Hie, Mary, Hartman, Barnes. Wind E.
Sunday October 25th.
Cloudy cold and rany. Came off guard in the morning. Pork in the morning. Beef, mashed potatoes and plumb duff for dinner. Wrote some letters and took a nap in the afternoon. Drilling in the evening. Wind NW.
Monday October 26th.
Clear and cold. On Cattle Guard with Palmer and Hurbert. 10 men and Sar Davis. Took out 1 days rations. Stood four hours post in the day and 4 in the night. Male went out sent letters to Lillie, Hamlin, E. H. Krinberg & P. J. B. C. Q. E. Cold night and a good morn. Down and got the teams took out wood and watter. 3 men on a releaf. Wind E.
Tuesday October 27th.
Cloudy and cold. Got in from Cattle Guard at noon and digging an ash pit in the afternoon. Nichols is detayled as teamster. To the library in the evening and changed my book. Cold night and windy. Got Fortunes of Chas. Martin. Wind NE.
Wednes October 28th.
Cloudy and cold. On QM fatigue. To werk for Sar Anderson teaming brush wood from slabtown [the laundress’ village] to the brush pile and to Kellys the taylors. Through at noon. Mending my pants and fixing a band. In the evening write a letter to Hartman. Rodgers detayled on Daly Duty. It raned in the evening. Wind NE.
Thirsday October 29th.
Snowed all day. On QM fatigue to werl; teaming wood to the companys and A. C. S. Made 8 loads and got through at noon. Made me a buckskin cap. Potatoes beef and corn for dinner. Cattle guard came in and no fatigue except us. Wind NW,
Friday October 30th.
On cattle guard but did not go out so put on sumer duty and helped Kinman dig the ash pit. The Paymaster came in with an escort of 8 men all assigned to our company. Snowy till noon then cleared up warm. Dry hash for breakfast. Vegetable soup for dinner. Cleaning up for muster. To the library. Finished Martins of Cro. Martin. Wind NW.
Saturday October 31st.
Clear and cool. Mustered at 10 AM. On QM Fatigue in the afternoon teaming dirt loads and got through at 2.30, 2 men to a load. Signed the payrools. Down to the restrant and got a good supper. Redd in the mill. Wind NW.
Sunday November 1st.
Clear and warm. Co Inspection at 9 AM by Liut Townsand. On no duty. Got payed in the forenoon 24.80 and settled with the boys. Over to the photograph galery in the afternoon and wrote some letters. Male got in at 3 PM. Got 2 papers and letters from Hamlin and Annie Hills. Wind NW.
Monday November 2nd.
Clear and warm. Supernumary. [guard duty] Male went out sent letters to G. Stipson, G. P. Nash & Flora B. Renick, T. C. Case, C. Ross, J. Bride and H. N. G. Sims and W. Fisher, in the ash pit and set for some pictures. To the sutlers. Wind NW.
Tuesday November 3rd.
Clear and warm. On guard No 1 of the 3rd releaf. Deland Sar of the guard. Murdock officer of the day. 2 posts Oll No 2 in the storehouses. Warm night. Camball in the cattle carill on extra duty. Delop came in with the ambulance. Pot pye for dinner. Bacin for breakfast. 2 men on guard. Whitewashing the garrerson.
Wednesday November 4th.
Clear and cold. Came off guard in the morning. Made a pr of mittens. McLoughlin under arrest. Stud drunk. Malry Gibsin and Hanshut put in the mill for missing retreat. Wrote a letter to Annie Hills. Colder at night and signes of a storm. Wind NW.
Thursday November 5th.
Clear and warm. On QM Fatigue to werk for Sar Anderson hailing wood to the Co quarters of each Co and gathered up all the slop 7 bbls and got through at 12.30. Sleeping all the afternoon. Mound party came in. Fox, Maloney and Ramy left at Berthold sick. Hanshut and the rest released out of the mill. Got a bad cold. WindNW.
Friday November 6th.
Clear and cold. Kitchen Police with Quinn but he got in a fight with Mandry and on the sick report and excused. Hash for breakfast and soup for dinner. Raned a little in the night. Sick with a bad cold. Comenced to saw wood. Wind NW.
Saturday November 7th.
Clear and cool. On QM Fatigue. To werk at the wood saw. 8 men besides fhe D Co men to saw 25 cds but did not get it done. Sullivan and Glass sawing. McLoughlin tryed today. Sick today. Gin shop closed today.18 Gen policing. Rodgers releaved. Redd is fixing him a barber shop. Cold tonight. Wind NW.
Sunday November 8th.
Clear and cool. Room ordaly with Pills. Co Inspection by Liut Townsand. Kellett releaved me. Desmond as 2nd cook. Male came in letters from Belle, Leighton and Hamlin. Train snowed in between Bismarck and Moorhead.18 Wind NW.
Monday November 9th.
On QM Fatigue to werk for Sar Anderson teaming short wood to the officers and took up their slop. Werked all day. E Co got in and Ramy. To the post office. Apples for supper. Snowed last night and all day. 2 inches fell in all. Male went out Sent letters to Hamlin and Annie, Hills, Cotest. Male out tomorrow. Wind NW..
Thirday May 13th
Clear and hot. On fatigue to werk at the woodsaw all day. Shafer got his sentence today. 10 dollars and 30 days. Deegan is ordaly today. Eggs in the store at 40 cts a dozen. Apples 2.00 per dozen. Warm nights now. Minuch for his discharge. Wind NW.
- - -
Wednes May 19th.
Clear and cool. On Co. fatigue to werk in the Co. garden leveling off the ground. Kinman is detailed post gardener. We commenced to drill the bayonet exersize. Short in E Co. and Beler drummer in the band. The musquitoes are getting thick. Wind NW.
Thirsday May 20th.
Clear and very hot. On fatigue helping Cop Sullivan fix flour gardins all day. Issued misquito bars [nets]. Serenade by the band in the evening. Read Story Queen of harts by W. Collins. I just on now. 5 men to mount guard out of our Co. 1 to 3 morn. Wind NW.
- - -
[Sanford was assigned to an expedition leaving Fort Buford for several days (September 1 – 17, 1876)]
Tuesday September 5, 1876.
Cloudy and rany. On guard. 4 posts taken off in the mourning, so only had 45 minutes to stand today. The Josephine and Silver Lake got here and fetched us some vegetables, Cabbage, potatoes, Onions and carots. Cabbage and potatoes for dinner. The Josephine, Yellowstone, Carroll and Silver Lake. Simons and Murdock and Dennison working on them at 40 – 50 [dollars] per month. The Carroll and the Yellowstone left at night for Buford. Drew 3 pack mules. Clear and warm. W. N.
Wednesday September 6, 1876.
Clear and cool. The 4 cos. Of the 6th Reg of Infantry and the 7th Cavery started toward Buford with pack mules and 2 ambulances. 11 mules to a Co for us. We started and followed the Hawkins trale. Started at 8:30 and marched till 12:30 and made 12 miles and camped in the woods close to the river. Gen Terry and staff started on the boat and tyed up with us. Left behind the 17th and 22nd to guard the supplies. 2 posts on and 2 men from D. co. Felt sick all day from eating vegetables. Win N. W.
Thursday September 7, 1876.
Clear and Warm. . . . . got over my sickness. . . .
[on the expedition, the men ate a lot of fresh meat, but ran out of rations on Thursday September 14. On September 15, the expedition encountered the steamboat C. M Chambers which allowed them to draw rations. “Got vegatables.” He wrote.]
Tuesday September 19, 1876.
Raney in the forenoon and clear in the afternons. Muler and me detailed on day duty cutting weeds in the garden. All the rest of the men on .AM. fatigue. . .
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Museum Store: 8am - 5pm M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10am - 5pm.
State Archives: 8am - 4:30pm., M-F, except legal holidays, and 2nd Sat. of each month, 10am - 4:30 pm.
State Historical Society offices: 8am - 5pm M-F, except legal holidays.
phone: (701) 328-2666
fax: (701) 328-3710