put the wagons in order, a requisition was drawn for yokes, and Captain Ford
of a Wisconsin regiment, who had had experience in such work, was detailed to break in the steers to yoke and draft.
The captain spent all winter and the following spring in perfecting the “Bull
train,” as it was called.
The first serious set-back the plan received resulted from feeding the steers with unsoaked hard bread, causing several of them to swell up and die; but the general was not yet ready to give up the idea, and so continued the organization.
battle came when all the trains remained in camp.
But the day of trial was near.
When the army started on the Gettysburg campaign
, Captain Ford
put his train in rear of the corps wagon-train, and started, with the inevitable result.
The mules and horses walked right away from the oxen, in spite of the goading and lashing and yelling of their drivers.
By nightfall they were doomed to be two or three miles behind the main train — an easy prey for Mosby
's guerilla band.
At last the labor of keeping it up and the anxiety for its safety were so intense that before the Potomac
was reached the animals were returned to the herd, the supplies were transferred or issued, the wagons were burned, and the pet scheme of General Wadsworth
was abandoned as impracticable.
Quite nearly akin to this Bull Train was the train organized by Grant
after the battle of Port Gibson
His army was east of the Mississippi
, his ammunition train was west of it. Wagon transportation for ammunition must be had. Provisions could be taken from the country.
He says: “I directed, therefore, immediately on landing, that all the vehicles and draft animals, whether horses, mules, or oxen, in the vicinity should be collected and loaded to their capacity with ammunition.
Quite a train was collected during the 30th, and a motley train it was. In it could be found fine carriages, loaded nearly to the top with boxes of cartridges ”