of the convoy.
Of course, it was no balm to his wound to have the passing column of soldiers keep up a running fire of banter.
But there was no redress or relief to be had until his muleship got ready to move, which was generally after every ounce of his burden had been stripped off and placed on terra firma.
When the army was lying in line of battle in such close proximity to the enemy that the ammunition wagons could not safely approach it, two boxes were taken and strapped on a mule, one on each side, “to keep his balance true,” and thus the troops were supplied when needed.
At the terrible battle of Spottsylvania
, May 12, 1864, a steady line of pack-mules, loaded with ammunition, filed up the open ravine, opposite the captured salient, for nearly twenty hours, in that way supplying our forces, who were so hotly engaged there.
Rations were furnished in the same manner under similar circumstances.
But now and then a mule would lie down under his burden, and refuse to budge.
i. p. 106): “I am not aware of ever having used a profane expletive in my life, but I would have the charity to excuse those who may have done so if they were in charge of a train of Mexican
pack-mules at the time,” alluding to an experience in the Mexican War
I believe I have stated that the mule much preferred to do military duty in the safe rear; but if there was anything which the war proved with the utmost clearness to both Yanks
and Rebs, it was that there was surely no safe rear.
This being so, the vivacious mule did not always have a plain and peaceful pilgrimage as a member of the wagontrain.
I vividly recall the enjoyment of my company, during Lee
's final retreat, whenever our guns were unlimbered, as they were again and again, to be trained on the columns of retreating wagon-trains.
The explosion of a shell or two over or among them would drive the long-ears