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Date:4/20/2014 2:35:38 AM
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Mules in the military: Pt. 1 From the time of the American revolution, mules have been useful, even invaluable, to the military. The United States used them estensively during the second Seminole War in the 1850s. Wagons could not be used in the swampy Florida terrain, so instead pack mules were used to transport men and supplies. Mules were also used in the Mexican War and in the Indian wars of the 1800s. The fact that were hardier than horses in harsh conditions, more surefooted in rough terrain, and could survive on less food and water made them more desirable than the horse. It also made them more expensive to purchace.
General George Crook, who had a 38 year career with the US Army, fighting in the Civil war and later in the indian wars, was known for his dependence on the mule to maneuver supplies and men for fighting Indians. Wagons were not as practical as a pack strings. Crook was very paticular about the care of the mules. He ordered that they be packed lighter than regulations called for. He often inspected the mules himself. He prefered small Mexican-bred mules to the large draft types. The Mexican mules had better confirmation, were more sure-footed, and held up better carring heavy loads. He in fact set a standard for civilian packers as his reputation spread. Crook also rode a mule, as did some of his staff. Crook's mule packers get credit for the tradition of shaving green mules' tails so they could be distinguished from the seasoned mules. Today many mule owners choose to shave their mules' tails, not because they are a "green" mule, because they like the way it looks. They shave from the very top of the tail, about 4 inches and leave the rest of the tail long. Betsy's tail was shaved when I got her. It has since grown out. Have a wonderful Friday...Joey & Betsy
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