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[366] him, the quartermaster reached his destination a few hours late, his chances were very good for being roundly sworn at by his superior officers for his delinquency.

During the progress of the train, it may be said, the quartermaster would ease his nervous and troubled spirit by swearing at careless or unfortunate mule-drivers, who, in turn, would make the air blue with profanity addressed to their mules, individually or collectively, so that the anxiety to get through was felt by all the moving forces in the train. A large number of these drivers were civilians early in the war, but owing to the lack of subordination which many of them showed, their places were largely supplied later by enlisted men, upon whom Uncle Sam had his grip, and who could not resign or “swear back” without penalty.

The place of the trains on an advance was in the rear of the army; on the retreat, in front, as a rule. If they were passing through a dangerous section of country, they were attended by a guard, sometimes of infantry, sometimes cavalry. The strength of the guard varied with the nature of the danger expected. Sometimes a regiment, sometimes a brigade or division, was detailed from a corps for the duty. The nature of Sherman's march was such that trains and troops went side by side, as already referred to. The colored division of the Ninth Corps served as trainguard for the transportation of the Army of the Potomac from the Rapidan to the James in 1864.

When ammunition was wanted by a battery or a regiment in the line of battle, a wagon was sent forward from the train to supply it, the train remaining at a safe distance in the rear. The nearness of the wagon's approach was governed somewhat by the nature of the ground. If there was cover to screen it from the enemy, like a hill or a piece of woods, it would come pretty near, but if exposed it would keep farther away. When it was possible to do so, supplies both of subsistence and ammunition were brought

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William T. Sherman (1)
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1864 AD (1)
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