Monday, August 19, 2013

August 18, 1863 (Thursday): Mounted Infantry, Mule

Washington City, August 18, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
     SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday, calling for report upon the practicability of furnishing 5,000 mules for the purpose of mounting infantry in General Rosecran's army, the mules to be of large size, suitable for such service, with an estimate of the probable expense and the time within which they can be furnished. Judging from the late propositions for sale of mules to the Department, I believe it to be practicable, and I estimate that 5,000 mules, suitable for the purpose required, to be not less than 14 1/2 hands in height, could be procured by contract, delivered at Louisville or other convenient point in Kentucky, at $125 each. The time required would probably be six weeks from the opening of the bids; the cost, about $625,000.
      I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     M. C. MEIGS, 


AUGUST 18, 1863.
     The Quartermaster-General is directed to purchase the mules within mentioned as speedily as practicable.

     Secretary of War.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Page 71.

At times during the western campaigns Rosecrans would mount infantry on mules.  Never to the extent of the requisition here, but often enough to be noted on a number of occasions throughout the war.  Even the famous Wilder's mounted infantry unit would include in its number some riding mules.  For expeditionary work they proved to be of admirable endurance and carrying capacity.

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