No doubt, many acts of pillage, robbery, and violence were committed by these foragers, usually called “bummers”; for I have since heard of jewelry taken from women, and the plunder of articles that never reached the commissary; but these acts were exceptional and incidental.”
further states that his army started with about five thousand head of cattle and arrived at the sea with about ten thousand, and that the State of Georgia
must have lost by his operations fifteen thousand first-rate mules.
As to horses, he says that every one of the foraging party of fifty who set out daily on foot invariably returned mounted, accompanying the various wagon-loads of provisions and forage seized, and, as there were forty brigades, an approximation to the number of horses taken can be made.
But this travelling picnic of the Western
armies was unique.
There is nothing like it elsewhere in the history of the war. Certainly, the Army of the Potomac could not present anything to compare with it. As a matter of fact, there was no other movement in the war whose nature justified such a season of riotous living as this one.
But it illustrates in a wholesale
way the kind of business other armies did on a retail
There was no arm of the service that presented such favorable opportunities for foraging as did the cavalry, and none, I may add, which look so great an advantage of its opportunity.
In the first place, being the eyes and the ears of the army, and usually going in advance, cavalrymen skimmed the cream off the country when a general movement was making.
Then when it was settled down in camp they were the outposts and never let anything in the line of poultry, bee-hives, milk-houses, and apple-jack, not to enumerate other delicacies which outlying farm-houses afforded, escape the most rigid inspection.
Again, they were frequently engaged in raids through the country, from the nature of which they were compelled to live in large measure off southern products, seized as they went along;