The Other Side, Part 14

Horses pulling in team

All of a sudden I and Animal Spirit Guide were on a dirt road looking up at a wagon team of four horses that were snorting and pulling back from me. Our sudden appearance had spooked them. However, the driver turned them to our right and headed them into a field to be parked with other covered wagons. This was a supply wagon train that was being massed in a field behind the battle line. Wagon upon wagon was coming up the dirt road and being directed into the field to be parked hub to hub in rows across the recently harvested soft dirt field.

We approached the driver of the team we had just appeared before. He was sitting on the driver’s bench, holding the horses’ reins with his arms on his knees. His ragged breath came with a high wheezing sound. He appeared dead tired. He sported at least a week’s growth of beard.

I asked him what their destination was. He indicated he really didn’t know. They had been following a part of Birney’s Boys out of Ohio. I asked what he was transporting, and he said ammunition in the form of musket cartridges.

I asked him what they would be doing next. He said the horses need to have a breather, which he was performing at the present time. If they get the order to unharness, feed and water the horses, then all the teamsters will be going to work pretty soon. He said there were two buckets in the wagon and some oats that the horses enjoyed.

He began to describe his team of horses. Bessie, the right rear horse, was his favorite. She always did a great job of pulling. The horse on the right front had a problem with his front foot and might be going lame. This teamster had already gone through two other full teams of animals. When a horse goes lame, they just pull over to the side of the road, unharness them and let them wander off. A replacement is brought from the herd that is following the wagon train, put in harness and the wagon rejoins the wagon train.

The teamster indicated a new horse usually takes a while to get used to working with the veteran horses, but usually they get in the flow of things.

This information was all very new to me.

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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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