Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Commissariat, the department of the army charged with providing food and supplies. Ancient and mediaeval armies usually lived on the country which they happened to be invading; when in their own country the various commanding officers were responsible for their due provisioning. Even so late as the beginning of the last century troops were often provided with supplies through contractors with whom their commanding officers made arrangements, or commissaries-general were appointed on special occasions. A separate commissariat department for the British army was not constituted till 1793. Since 1870 the department has been merged in the Department of Control (q.v.).