pattern, I think, which Sheridan
's troopers had cut out of the enemy's retreating trains.
The guns had apparently never been used since their arrival from England
The harnesses were of russet leather and equally new; but the battery was drawn by a sorry-looking lot of horses and mules, indiscriminately mingled.
My explanation for finding the mules thus tackled was that horses were scarce, and that it was not expected to use the guns at present, but simply to get them off safely; but that if it became necessary to use them they could do so with comparative safety to the mules as the guns were of very long range.
I should have pronounced these particular mules safe anywhere, even under a hot fire, if extreme emaciation had been a sure index of departed strength and nerve in this variety of brute.
But that is not mule at all. The next day, at Sailor's Creek
, my corps (Second), after a short, sharp contest, made a capture of thirteen flags, three guns, thirteen hundred prisoners, and over two hundred army wagons, with their mules.
And such mules!
the skinniest and boniest animals that I ever saw still retaining life, I sincerely believe.
For a full week they had been on the go, night and day, with rare and brief halts for rest or food.
Just before their capture they would seem to have gone down a long hill into a valley, a literal Valley of Humiliation as it proved, for there they were compelled to stay and surrender, either from inability to climb the opposite hill and get away, or else because there was not opportunity for them to do so before our forces came upon them.
And yet, in spite of the worn and wasted state of those teams, it is doubtful if their kicking capacity was materially reduced by it.
The question frequently raised among old soldiers is, What became of all the army mules?
There are thousands of these men who will take a solemn oath that they never saw a dead mule during the war. They can tell you of the carcasses of horses
which dotted the line of march, animals which had fallen out from exhaustion or disease, and left by