Photograph of Sutlers Row in Chattanooga, Tennessee. These businesses are located on Chestnut Street between 8th and 9th streets. Some of the businesses shown are: Scott, Keen, & Company; M. C. Graham, boots, shoes, hats and caps; and Dunlap &Bowdre, supply store; Etowah Restaurant and saloon and St. Episcopal Church on the far right.
Sutler: A person who accompanies troops in the field or in garrison and sells food, drink, and supplies. The articles of war prescribed that persons permitted to sutler shall supply the soldiers with good and
wholesome provisions or other articles at a reasonable price.
A sutler was considered a civilian by the government and officers were forbidden under penalty of court martial to involve themselves in the affairs of a sutler. They maintained a wagon on the march or stalls and booths on station with their regiment or post, The system was disliked by many officers, but if properly administered, seemed to function well. Some argued that goods supplied by the quartermaster would be cheaper, but history shows that the military has often been unable to economically and efficiently purchase and transport its needs.
The 208th paragraph of the Army War Department's regulation states: "No sutler shall sell to an enlisted man on credit to a sum exceeding one third of his monthly pay within the same month." The troops were usually paid before a change in station so that sutlers' accounts could be cleared.
Sutler Newspaper Ad
The Nashville Daily Union,
March 11, 1864
Several things to note in this photo: