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[216]

The wagons with the right of way: the thirteenth New York cavalry drilling near Washington. The ammunition-train had the right of way over everything else in the army, short of actual guns and soldiers, when there was any possibility of a fight. The long, cumbrous lines of commissary wagons were forced to draw off into the fields to the right and left of the road, or scatter any way they could, to make way for the ammunition-train. Its wagons were always marked, and were supposed to be kept as near the troops as possible. Soldiers could go without food for a day or two if necessary; but it might spell defeat and capture to lack ammunition for an hour. This is a photograph of the ammunition wagons of the Third Cavalry Division commanded by General James H. Wilson. They are going into bivouac for the night. The wagons on the right are being formed in a semi-circle, and one of the escort has already dismounted. A led mule is attached to the wagon on the right, for even mule power is fallible, and if one dies in the traces he must be promptly replaced. The men with these trains often held the fate of armies in their hands.

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James Harrison Wilson (1)
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