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[124] was a wholly new thing to us. We knew nothing of the vast amount of transportation necessary to supply a hundred thousand men with food,--especially on the bountiful scale upon which our troops are fed,--how dependent such a body is, in a country like Eastern Virginia, on its base of operations, and how it must keep up an uninterrupted connection with a navigable stream or a railway. We knew little or nothing of the obstacles presented to the advance of a great army by the nature of the country,--its woods, its swamps, its streams, and its mud. From some of the articles which appeared in the Northern papers, one would have thought that the writers supposed the soldiers had wings and could live without food. Their experience would have been enlarged, and their judgment corrected, had they been required to transport a single battery of siege-guns over the roads of Eastern Virginia in a rainy December, 1

1 “Again, the public treat the army as a man or a horse, to whom it is only necessary to say ‘go’ and motion follows. They fancy that a fight can be witnessed from a hill-top, as a boxing-match can be viewed from a third-story window. They forget that this army, say of sixty thousand men only, must eat at least one hundred thousand meals a day, and, if the army is to be kept in prime order, must sleep at least six hours out of the twenty-four. Where there are turnpike roads, artillery can get along very well. Where there are no turnpikes, and the weather is wet, the last carriage of a single company of artillery — the thirteenth--often mires where the first carriage — a gun, technically — has found no difficulty. What, then, must it be when two or three hundred pieces of artillery, each one accompanied by a caisson, or ammunition-wagon, and every six with a forge,--making six hundred and fifty carriages that go into a battle,--have to be carried, in wet weather, through a swampy country, like that, for example, on the Chickahominy? This is mere fighting-material; to which add two or three thousand wagons for feeding-purposes, and you begin to have an idea of what has to be moved when an army moves, to say nothing of the cattle by thousands that have to be driven along, and a horde of camp-followers of all kinds. I am not speaking now of a corps of ten or twenty thousand men who start on a foray with nothing but their shirts, pantaloons, and boots to carry, besides their arms, but of an army which, when a victory is gained, is prepared to retain what is won in an enemy's country,--just such an army as McClellan had in the Peninsula.” --From “Three Great Battles” (a pamphlet printed, but not published), by J. H. B. Latrobe, Esq.

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