I have marched 7 miles in one day and skirmished during the march. I was dead tired when we finally bedded down for the night. I considered myself in pretty good shape, but until you’ve tried marching as they did, it really doesn’t hit you how tough these men were.

The other thing that is amazing to me is the strength of the artillery animals. If you drove over some of the roads in northern Virginia with all the hills and small rivers that now  have bridges over them, you wonder how the horses, mules and draft animals managed. They were schooled in their jobs and they would pull until they died. There is a story told of an artillery horse that had been hit by a cannonball, which sheared its front leg off just below the knee. The horse’s harness had been cut to release it and it had been led away from the team. It had been left by itself, but it hobbled back to its place in the line as if nothing had happened.

Dedication to duty filtered down in both armies to even the animals.


About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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