During the march of the army up the Peninsula
in 1862, the fighting force advanced by brigades, each of which was followed by its long columns of transportation.
But this plan was very unsatisfactory, for thereby the army was extended along forest paths over an immense extent of country, and great delays and difficulties ensued in keeping the column closed up; for such was the nature of the roads that after the first few wagons had passed over them they were rendered impassable in places for those behind.
At least a quarter of each regiment was occupied in escorting its wagons, piled up with ammunition, provisions, tents, etc.; and long after the head of the column had settled in bivouac could be heard the loud shouting of the teamsters to their jaded and mire-bedraggled brutes, the clatter of wagon and artillery wheels, the lowing of the driven herds, the rattling of sabres, canteens, and other equipments, as the men strode along in the darkness, anxious to reach the spot selected for their uncertain quantity of rest.
At times in this campaign it was necessary for the wagontrains to be massed and move together, but, for some reason, no order of march was issued, so that the most dire confusion ensued.
A struggle for the lead would naturally set in, each division wanting it and fighting for it. Profanity, threats, and the flourishing of revolvers were sure to be prominent in the settling of the question, but the train which could run over the highest stumps and pull through the deepest mud-holes was likely to come out ahead.
The verdancy which remained after the first fall of the Union
army at Bull Run
was to be utterly overshadowed by the baptism of woe which was to follow in the Peninsular Campaign
; and on arriving at Harrison's Landing
, on the James
issued the following order, which paved the way for better things:--