Food rations provided for soldiers were very poor in the 18th century. Despite this, 6d (sixpence) was deducted from the soldier's pay of 8d (eightpence) for food.
Two meals a day were provided; one at
7.30 to 8.00 am and one at midday. The meals consisted
mainly of boiled beef and cabbage. The soldiers were allowed
1 1/2 lbs of bread and 3/4lb of meat including bone and
gristle. Until 1802 they were issued with 5 pints of weak
beer a day.
William Cobbett wrote that he had seen
young soldiers 'lay in their berths...actually crying
on account of hunger. The whole week's food was not a bit
too much for one day'.