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Date:7/29/2014 8:02:36 PM
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Military mules pt. 2... In the Civil War the Union Army found mules indispensable in getting troops, weapons, and supplies from one place to another. The Army purchaced more than 1 million mules during the war. Part of the reason for buying that many mules was to keep them out of the hands of the enemy. The Union bought all mules, regardless of their suitability, from mule traders to prevent the Confederates from getting them. Mules were preferred over horses because they were less likely to contract diseases or suffer from the harsh conditions of war. An enormous amount of food had to be transported to support the mules, even though they could subsist on less feed than horses, so even more mules were needed to haul the food.
In contrast, Confrederate soldiers had to provide their own mules. And while the South had more mules than the North, they did not have mules to spare, since the mules were also needed on farms to raise food and commercial crops like cotton and tobacco. Without the mules the economy of the South could not survive. The Confederate army began the war with a superior cavalry but was not able to replenish the mules and horses lost in battle. Nor did they have the means to provide hay and grain to feed the animals, since the mules that would normally be used on the farm for harvesting had been commandeered into military service.
However at the end of the war the Northern army had a surplus of mules. General William T. Sherman is credited with promising the freed slaves "forty acres and a mule" an order that was effective for the first year following the end of the Civil war. Have a great day, Joey & Betsy
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