the horses; the poor brutes would look over their shoulders, wondering what kind of burden they had to-day, would make a frantic effort to start the carriage, then subside into their tracks and stand motionless.
Now a dozen, now fifteen pairs would be attached to a caisson to move it over a particularly bad place, the succeeding carriage waiting until the way was clear; then the extra horses being taken off, the former team moving on, the same tactics would be tried with the succeeding piece or caisson; but the ruts had been cut deeper and the mud had oozed in, and the augmented team, in spite of whip and imprecation, fails to move the burden one jot. The horses seem to reason among themselves, and to conclude that it is impossible to move the carriage up the hill this day.
It needs a train of stubborn mules to force through the mire the heavy caisson; so the mules are attached, they are spurred on at the outset, taken quite by surprise before they have time to contemplate the situation, and they hurry along the carriage through the mud, up the hill and on for a way, when they are relieved and the horses are reattached.
In the meanwhile sections of artillery become separated on the road by long intervals.
The teams of a company are scattered, a wagon will be struggling here, and half a mile away one belonging to the same command will be in the same predicament.
Pontoon wagons were held fast, and at last only moved by half a hundred men pulling them out with the prolong-rope.
The sole consolation in this wretched condition of things was the reflection that the Confederates
, if they had discovered our plans, were equally unable to move through the all-hindering mud. After a day of such experience, horses detached from the artillery were ridden back to the quartermaster's wagons, and each driver, taking a bag of grain, conveyed it to his company, where it was distributed from point to point.
On the following day, by slow and painful effort, the scattered detachments were gathered in column, and the procession moved back to the winter quarters of the various commands.
Three months of genuine winter, with storm and sleet, precluded further field operations during the season.
was at his own request relieved of the command of the Army of the Potomac on the 26th of January, six days after we entered upon the ‘mud march.’