New troops are arriving all the time, and there are something like forty thousand men in the barracks at present. This camp has the appearance of being nearer the seat of war. It is a novel experience for us country boys to see so many men all armed for war, some on guard duty, others leaving for the front, while still others are arriving. The commissary work of the camp is thoroughly organized. Each company has a detail of cooks which serves a week at a time and then is relieved by another shift. The cooks go to the quartermaster and get the rations for five days at a time. The food is cooked in kettles hung in a row in the rear of the barracks, and is served on long stationary tables, each accommodating a full company. Our rations are about the same as at Camp McClellan, except that we have our first taste of “hard-tack” instead of bread.
Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 19