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Abstract

Between 1808 and 1812 a Royal Navy fleet sailed the Baltic Sea pursuing objectives of crucial strategic importance. This article traces the efforts made to secure local food supplies to provide for the fleet and the ways in which officials overcame geographical and economic obstacles to do so. The fleet relied on private contractors being able to produce the necessary provisions, and on an efficient purchasing system. It also required diplomatic dexterity: between 1810 and 1812 Britain and Sweden were officially at war and yet the supply to the fleet continued. This article will also argue that the British consular service played a key role in managing these logistical arrangements. This was an institution growing in importance, a key player in ensuring the Navy navigated local impediments.