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[285] used for food or forage, and would then regain the main road, generally in advance of their train. When this came up, they delivered the supplies thus gathered by the way. These foraging parties, waiting at the roadside for their wagons, often presented an amusing spectacle: mules, horses, cattle even, were packed with old saddles and loaded with hams, live fowl, or bags of grain and flour; while the men themselves were mounted on all sorts of beasts, and surrounded by swarms of negroes. The cattle and horses, of course, were taken from them, but the next day they started out on foot again, to repeat the experience of the day before.

The main columns also gathered much forage and food, and it was the duty of each division and brigade quartermaster to refill his wagons as fast as the contents were issued to the troops. The wagon trains always had the right to the road, but each wagon was required to keep closed up, so as to leave no gaps in the column; and if, for any purpose, a single wagon or a group dropped out of place, it had to wait for the rear. This was always dreaded, for every brigade commander wanted his train up as soon as possible after the men reached camp.1

1 ‘I have seen much skill and industry displayed by these quartermasters on the march, in trying to load their wagons with corn and fodder by the way without losing their place in column. They would, while marching, shift the loads of wagons so as to have six or ten of them empty. Then, riding well ahead, they would secure possession of certain stacks of fodder near the road, or cribs of corn, leave some men in charge, then open fences and a road back for a couple of miles, return to their trains, divert the empty wagons out of column and conduct them rapidly to their forage, load up, and regain their place in column without losing distance. On one occasion I remember to have seen ten or a dozen wagons thus loaded with corn from two or three full cribs, almost without halting. These cribs were built of logs, and roofed. The train guard, by a lever, had raised the whole side of the crib a foot or two. The wagons drove close alongside, and the men in the cribs, lying on their backs, kicked out a wagon load of corn in the time I have taken to describe it.’—Sherman's Memoirs, vol. II.

In all my descriptions of the famous march, I have made free use of General Sherman's reports and dispatches, as well as of his ‘Memoirs,’ not scrupling even to avail myself of his eloquent language to enliven and adorn my narrative.

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Millen Sherman (2)
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