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Pictures Of Some Of Our Most Celebrated Army Mules

I have had photographs taken of some of our mules. A number of these
animals performed extraordinary service in connection with the Army of
the Potomac and the Western Army. One of them, a remarkable animal, made
the great circuit of Sherman's campaign, and has an historical interest.
I propose to give you these illustrations according to their numbers.

No.1, then, is a very remarkable six-mule team. It was fitted out at
Berryville, Maryland, early in the spring of 1861, under the directions
of Captain Sawtelle, A. Q. M. They are all small, compact mules, and I
had them photographed in order to show them together. The leaders and
swing, or, as some call them, the middle leaders, have been worked
steadily together in the same team since December 31, 1861. They have
also been driven by the same driver, a colored man, of the name of
Edward Wesley Williams. He was with Captain Sawtelle until the 1st of
March, 1862; was then transferred, with his team, to the City of
Washington, and placed under a wagon-master of the name of Horn, who
belonged to Harrisburg, Pa. Wesley took good care of his team, and was
kept at constant work with it in Washington, until May 14, 1862. He was
then transferred, with his team, to a train that was ordered to join
General McClellan at Fort Monroe. He then followed the fortunes of the
Army of the Potomac up the Peninsula; was at the siege of Yorktown, the
battle of Williamsburg, and in the swamps of the Chickahominy. He was
also in the seven days' battles, and brought up at Harrison's Landing
with the Army of the Potomac. He then drove his team back to Fort
Monroe, where they were shipped, with the animals of the Army of the
Potomac, for Washington. He was set to work as soon as he reached a
landing, and participated in hauling ammunition at the second battle of
Bull Run. He then followed the army to Antietam, and from that
battle-field to Fredericksburg, where he hauled ammunition during the
terrible disaster under General Burnside. The team then belonged to a
train of which John Dorny was wagon-master. When General Hooker took
command of the army this team followed him through the Chancellorville
and Chantilly fights. It also followed the Army of the Potomac until
General Grant took command, when the train it belonged to was sent to
City Point. This brings us up to 1864. It was with the army in front of
Petersburg, and, during that winter, the saddle mule was killed by the
enemy's shot while the team was going for a load of wood. In short, they
were worked every day until Richmond was taken. In June, 1865, they were
transferred back to the City of Washington. It is now August, 1866, and
they are still working in the train, and make one of the very best teams
we have. I refer now to the leaders and swing mules, as they are the
only four that are together, and that followed the Army of the Potomac
through all its campaigns. There is not a mule of the four that is over
fourteen and a half hands high, and not one that weighs over nine
hundred pounds. This team, I ought to add here, has frequently been
without a bite of hay or grain for four or five days, and nothing to eat
but what they could pick up along the road. And there are instances when
they have been twenty-four hours without a sup of water. The experienced
eye will see that they have round, compact bodies, and stand well on
their feet.

No. 2 is the leader of the team, and for light work on the prairies,
packing, or any similar work, is a model mule. Indeed, she cannot be
surpassed. Her bone and muscle is full, and she is not inclined to run
to flesh.

No. 3 is the off-leader of the same team. She is a good eater, tough,
hardy, and a good worker,--in every way a first-class mule. I would
advise persons purchasing mules to notice her form. She is a little
sprung in the knees; but this has in no way interfered with her working.
This was occasioned by allowing the heels on her fore-feet to grow out
too much. During, and for some time after, the second battle of Bull
Run, the train to which she belonged was kept at very hard work. The
shoes that were on her at that time, to use the driver's own language,
were put on to stay. Indeed, he informed me that they were on so long,
that he concluded they had grown to the feet. And in this case, as in
many others, for want of a little knowledge of the peculiarities of a
mule's feet, and the injury that results from over-growth, the animal
had to suffer, and was permanently injured.

No. 4 is the off-swing, or middle-leader mule. She is perfectly sound,
of good height, a good eater, and a great worker. She is also well
adapted for packing, and a tolerably good rider. Her ears and eyes are
of the very finest kind, and her whole head indicates intelligence. Her
front parts are perfection itself. She is also remarkably kind.

No. 5 is the near swing mule, or middle leader. She is what is called a
mouse-color, and is the fattest mule in the team. She underwent the
entire campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, and is to-day without a
blemish, and capable of doing as much work as any mule in the pack. Her
powers of endurance, as well as her ability to withstand starvation and
abuse, are beyond description. I have had mules of her build with me in
trains, in the Western Territories, that endured hardship and starvation
to an extent almost incredible; and yet they were remarkably kind when
well treated, and would follow me like dogs, and, indeed, try to show me
how much they could endure without flinching.

No. 6 is an off-wheel mule, of ordinary quality. I had to take the
spotted mules from the wheels of this team, as they were not equal to
the work required of them, and got very sore in front.

No. 7 is a spotted, or, as the. Mexicans call them, a calico mule. He
and his mate were sent to the Army of the Potomac about the time General
Grant took command of it. They were worked as wheel mules in the team
until 1866, when this one, like nearly all spotted animals, showed his
weak parts by letting up in his fore-feet, which became contracted to
such an extent that the surgeon had to cut them nearly off. We were
compelled to let him go barefoot until they grew out. This is one of the
spotted mules I have referred to before. You never can rely on them.

No. 8 is the mate of No. 7. His bead, ears, and front shoulder indicate
him to be of Canadian stock. His neck and front shoulder, as you will
see, are faultless. But on looking closely at his eyes you will find
them to be sore, and running water continually. I have noticed that
nearly all animals in the army that are marked in this way have weak and
inflamed eyes. A farmer should never purchase them.

No. 9 is a swing mule that has undergone a great deal of hardship. She
is tolerably well formed but inclined to kick. She is also hard to keep
in good condition, and unless great care is taken with her she would
give out in the hind feet, where she now shows considerable fullness.
When a mule's neck lacks the ordinary thickness there must be some
direct cause for it, and you should set about finding out what it is.
Lack of food is sometimes the cause. But in my opinion creased neck very
frequently so affects the passages to and from the head, that the organs
that should work in depositing flesh, fat, or muscle become deranged,
and the neck becomes weak and in a disordered state. Purchasers would do
well to discard these creased-neck mules.

No. 10 is an animal of an entirely different character from No. 9. She
is remarkably gentle and tractable, of good form, and great endurance,
and will work in any way. She is fifteen hands and one inch high, weighs
ten hundred and fifty pounds, and is seven years old. This celebrated
animal went through all of General Sherman's campaigns, and is as sound
and active to-day as a four-year old.

No. 11 is one of those peculiar animals I have described elsewhere. He
is all bones and belly. His legs are long, and of little use as legs. He
is five years old, sixteen and a half hands high, and weighs thirteen
hundred and ninety pounds. One of his hind legs shows a thorough pin.
His hocks are all out of shape, and his legs are stuck into his hoofs on
nearly the same principle that you stick a post into the ground. The
reason why his pastern-joints show so straight is, that the heels on the
hind feet have been badly trimmed when shaving. They too have been
permitted to grow too long, and thus he is thrown into the position you
now see him. This mule belongs to a class that is raised to a
considerable extent, and prized very highly in Pennsylvania. In the army
they were of very little use except to devour forage.

No. 12 is what may be called a pack mule of the first class. He is seven
years old, fifteen and a half hands high, and weighs eleven hundred and
fifty-six pounds. This animal has endured almost incredible hardships.
He is made for it, as you will readily see. He is what is called a
portly mule, but is not inclined to run to belly unless over-fed and not
worked. He has a remarkably kind disposition, is healthy, and a good
feeder. This animal has but one evil to contend with. His off hind foot
has grown too long, and plainly shows how much too far back it throws
the pastern-joint. This is in a measure the effect of bad shoeing. It is
very rare to find a blacksmith who discovers this fact until it is too
late. Now there is nothing more easy than to ruin a mule by letting his
toes grow too long. Doctor L.H. Braley, chief veterinary surgeon of the
army, is now developing a plan for shoeing mules, which I consider the
very best that has been suggested. His treatment of the foot when well,
and how to keep it so; and how to treat the foot by shoeing when it
becomes injured, is the best that can be adopted.

No. 13 is a mule that has been worked in a two-mule train which has been
in my charge for about a year. She was previously worked in a six-mule
train, as the off-wheel mule. She is five years old, rising; size,
fifteen hands and three inches high, and weighs fourteen hundred and
twenty-two pounds. She was received into the Government service at
Wheeling, Virginia, and when shipped or transferred to this depot, with
four hundred others, was but two years old, rising three. She was
worked, at least a year or more, too young; and to this cause I
attribute certain injuries which I shall speak of hereafter. This mule,
with two hundred others, was transferred to the Army of the Potomac, and
went through its campaigns from 1864 up to the fall of Richmond. She is
an excellent worker, and her neck, head, and fore shoulders are as fine
as can be. Indeed, they are a perfect development of the horse. But her
hips or flank joints are very deficient. Owing to her being worked too
young, the muscles of the hind legs have given way, and they have become
crooked. This is done frequently by the animal being placed as a wheeler
when too young, and holding back under a heavy load. If you want to see
how quick you can ruin young mules, place them in the wheels.

No. 14 is the off-wheel mule of a six-mule team. I had this mule
photographed for the purpose of showing the effects of hitching animals
so short to the team that the swingle-tree will strike or rest on their
hocks. I referred to this great evil in another place. This mule is but
six years old, sixteen hands high, and weighs nearly sixteen hundred
pounds. Aside from the hocks, she is the best made and the best looking
mule in the park; and is also a remarkably good worker. You will notice,
however, that the caps of her hocks are so swollen and calloused by the
action of the swingle-tree as to make them permanently disfigured. The
position I have placed this mule in, as relates to the wagon wheel, is
the proper position to put all wild, green, contrary or stubborn mules
in when they are hard to bridle.

This is the severest use to which a lariat can be put on mule or horse.
The person using it, however, should be careful to see that it sets well
back to the shoulder of the animal. I refer now to the part of the loop
that is around the neck. The end of the lariat should always be held by
a man, and not made fast to any part of the wagon, so that if the animal
falls or throws himself, you can slack up the lariat and save him from
injury. Three applications of the buck will conquer them so thoroughly
that you will have little trouble afterwards. Be careful to keep the
lariat, in front, as high as the mule's breast; and see also that they
are pulled up close to the front wheel before pulling it through the
hind wheel.

Next: Diseases Common To The Mule And How They Should Be Treated

Previous: Ancient History Of The Mule

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