Mules;the other war horse

Posted on April 1, 2018 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, history, riding, therapy.

A post from “civilwartalk.com” in honor of the indomitable war-mule:

army mule

On the evening of October 28, 1863, during the Chattanooga campaign, Confederate troops under the command of General James Longstreet attacked the Federal forces of General John W. Geary. General Joseph Hooker had left Geary’s troops to guard the road along which ran the “Cracker Line,” the round-about route by which Union troops were forced to supply occupied Chattanooga. Although the fighting was disorganized and confused, it raged until 4:00 the following morning and ended in Confederate failure to break the Cracker Line.One of the more enduring and amusing stories to emerge from the Battle of Wauhatchie concerns a purported “charge” by a herd of Union mules, who broke loose from their skinners and dashed headlong into Confederate lines. In his account of the engagement, which appears in Battles and Leaders, overall Union commander Ulysses S. Grant claimed that Southern troops under General Evander Law mistook the runaway mules for a cavalry charge and fell back in confusion.This poem, an obvious parody on Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous “Charge of the Light Brigade,” was probably composed shortly after the incident and gained widespread circulation.

Half a mile, half a mile, Half a mile onward, Right through the Georgia troops

Broke the two hundred.

“Forward the Mule Brigade! Charge for the Rebs,” they neighed. Straight for the Georgia troops, Broke the two hundred.

“Forward the Mule Brigade!” Was there a mule dismayed?

Not when their long ears felt All their ropes sundered.

Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to make Rebs fly.

On! to the Georgia troops, Broke the two hundred.

Mules to the right of them, Mules to the left of them, Mules behind them

Pawed, neighed, and thundered.  Breaking their own confines,

Breaking through Longstreet’s lines –  Into the Georgia troops,

Stormed the two hundred.

Wild all their eyes did glare, Whisked all their tails in air

Scattering the chivalry there, While all the world wondered.

Not a mule back bestraddled, Yet how they all skedaddled  —

Fled every Georgian, Unsabred, unsaddled, Scattered and sundered!

How they were routed there By the two hundred!

When can their glory fade? Oh, what a wild charge they made!                                                       All the world wondered.  Honor the charge they made!                                                      Honor the Mule Brigade, Long-eared two hundred!

Photograph, poem, courtesy of the Denver Public Library, Western Heritage Collection.

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