Liveblogging the Civil War False Claims Act: substandard bread plagues the Union Army

by Ben Vernia | December 3rd, 2012

On December 1, 1862, the New York Times reported on the growing investigation of fraud in Union Army contracts, and gave as an example the provision of bad bread:

FRAUDS IN THE COMMISSARY DEPARTMENT. The investigations into contract and other frauds on Government, have proceeded sufficiently far to reveal enormities in the commissariat equal to those elsewhere discovered. In connection with this matter the attention of the Government is being called to the alleged fact that the Government bakeries are being managed in the interests of private parties; and that the bread supplied to the different camps and hospitals is often made from injured flour, and is black in appearance, and sour in taste. This, too, while other parties freely offer an article of the first quality at the same price, but are prevented by the Commissioners, who insist on forcing their own manufacture upon the unwilling soldiers.

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