No U.S. history textbook mentions Robert Allen, George H. Crosman, John H. Dickerson, Thomas Swords, or Stewart Van Vliet. Yet in certain respects they were five of the most important government officials in the nineteenth-century United States. Each was a high-ranking officer in the Quartermaster's Department, a bureau of the U.S. army entrusted with military procurement. During the Civil War, the supply depots in which they worked—in Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, and St. Louis—were indispensable adjuncts to the Union war effort. The magnitude of the procurement project was unprecedented: in four years, these five officers alone paid contractors and civilian employees $350 million. This sum amounted to nearly one-third of the total of over $1 billion that the Quartermaster's Department as a whole spent to equip the Union army. No other single project, in either government or business, involved the expenditure of such an enormous sum. In an age in which few Americans made $2 a day, $350 million was equivalent to the total wartime income of one hundred thousand households. Adjusted for inflation, this was roughly equal to the entire federal budget during the administration of President James Buchanan (1857–61).