Scarce Original Civil War Sutler Check/Voucher Ohio Volunteer Militia (Lot #84)
For those not familiar, virtually every regiment in the Civil War had its own sutler or traveling store that followed the regiment throughout the war. Sutler's carried everything from ink and paper, socks and blankets, coffee and coffee pots.
Soldiers in the field could easily go months or even a year or two without having the ability to find an actual store to purchase goods. The only other way soldiers could get necessities (or luxuries) was to write home and ask family members to send them something. While the mail service was surprisingly decent, it still would be difficult to count on anything arriving for weeks or months, if ever, especially as army units seldom stayed in one place except during the winter.
The sutlers were a unique element of the Civil War and played an important role for the Union Army. Sutlers would not necessarily require payment in cash but would use a check/voucher system.
The soldier would simply sign for the amount of his purchase much like a charge account, and the sutler would submit the vouchers to the paymaster who would pay the sutler and deduct the amount from the soldier's pay. It was a pretty efficient system, especiallly when the vast majority of soldiers had no pocket money.
Amry regiments were typically "on hold" in winter quarters for months at a time. Each regiment built lodging and lived in semi-permanent locations during the winter. Sutlers were typically the only contact they had with the "real" world.
While vouchers such as these were not at all uncommon during the war, few examples survived due to the fragile nature of paper and the fact that such blanks were only in the hands of the sutlers and few were saved after the war.
Some sutlers used generic forms and many had imprinted documents such as these to ensure they were identified and that they received their payment. A historically interesting and rare Civil War document in excellent condition.