for starting or halting the trains, or for regulating the camp duties as in artillery and cavalry.
It seems strange that so commendable a proposition was not thought of at the time.
In 1863, while the army was lying at Belle Plain
after the memorable Mud March, large numbers of colored refugees came into camp.
Every day saw some old cart or antiquated wagon, the relic of better days in the Old Dominion, unloading its freight of contrabands, who had thus made their entrance into the lines of Uncle Sam and Freedom.
As a large number of these vehicles had accumulated near his headquarters, General Wadsworth
, then commanding the first division of the First Corps, conceived the novel idea of forming a supply train of them, using as draft steers, to be selected from the corps cattle herd, and broken for that purpose.
His plan, more in detail, was to load the carts at
the base of supplies with what rations they would safely carry, despatch them to the troops wherever they might be, issue the rations, slaughter the oxen for fresh beef, and use the wagons for fuel to cook it. A very practical scheme, at first view, surely.
A detail of mechanics was made to