The Great Raid
—July 5, 1863 —
Providing food for soldiers was the business of the Commissary of Subsistence, an army department. The Union Army used this building, then owned by Christopher Beeler, as a commissary during the Civil War. All or part of the foodstuffs for the Union garrison in Lebanon were distributed from this building.
Union soldiers were issued a daily ration of ¾-pound of pork or bacon, 1¼ pounds of fresh or salt beef, and 18 ounces of flour. Soldiers also received potatoes, peas, beans or rice, coffee or tea, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, candles, and soap. On campaigns or marches corn meal and hard bread were issued.
According to the Official Records
, Col. Charles Hanson ordered all of the ordinance and commissary supplies destroyed when Gen. John Hunt Morgan attacked Lebanon on July 5, 1863. Whether the order was carried out or not, Morgan did capture military supplies in Lebanon. Morgan also threatened to burn the town if Hanson did not surrender. By the time Hanson complied numerous buildings were on fire, including Christopher Beeler 's house, which was attached to the rear of the commissary building.
After the Civil War a grocery store occupied this building. It later housed a liquor store owned by J. H. Kearns. In the 1930s Willie A. Deep purchased the building and opened the Sunnyside Saloon, which
remained in operation until the 1980s.
Burning of Town
By the time Col. Hanson surrendered, the roof of the depot and other numerous buildings wer on fire, including the houses of Ben Spalding, J.C. Maxwell, L.H. Noble, J.S. Noble, Christopher Beeler and Mrs. Abell.
The Commissary building in Lebanon was where rations were stored. As shown in this photograph of a commissary building in Virginia, barrels of grain and other supplies were kept here for distribution to the soldiers.
Union soldiers drew their rations at the Commissary. Here, the soldiers' rations were weighed and distributed.