“Poor Caroline” the Old Army Mule

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
oldmule - Edited.png
[from the G.A.R. weekly, The National Tribune, December 23, 1886]​

At a Grand Army Campfire at Savannah, Tenn., some time ago, one of the most honored guests was “Caroline,” an old U. S. Army mule. She was decked with flags, one of which bore the inscription “Here’s Yer Mule,” and was ridden at the head of the procession, to the speakers’ stand, by the oldest soldier present, where the following, contributed by Comrade R. K. Baird, Co. H, 2d Ohio Cav., was sung, to the tune of “Maryland, my Maryland, amidst great applause.​

"Poor Caroline"

O hail, all hail to the army mule,
Caroline, old Caroline;
She went through racket calm and cool,
Caroline, old Caroline;
Her coat is rough, and her gait is slow
To what it was twenty years ago,
And she bears the marks of many a blow,
Caroline, poor Caroline.
She served her country wet and dry,
Caroline, poor Caroline,
‘Til she got “I.C.” branded on her thigh,
Caroline, poor Caroline;
Then the A.Q.M. her rations stopped,
And from the rolls her name was dropped,
And from pillar to post she has limped and hopped,
Caroline, poor Caroline.
Could you but talk, what a tale you could tell,
Caroline, poor Caroline,
Of the murderous work of shot and shell,
Caroline, poor Caroline;
But alas, old friend, you can only bray,
And call for your rations of oats and hay,
Which you ought to have three times a day,
Caroline, poor Caroline.
I fear, old friend, your rations are out,
Caroline, poor Caroline,
And if you don’t look sharp you will go up the spout,
Caroline, poor Caroline;
For you know full well the hardiest of steeds
Can’t live exclusively on island weeds,
You must mix something stronger with your feeds,
Caroline, poor Caroline.
Then hail, all hail to the army mule,
Caroline, poor Caroline,
And let us apply the golden rule
To Caroline, poor Caroline;
Long may she live, long may she wave,
And when she dies, fill an honored grave,
Of one that helped the union to save,
Caroline, poor Caroline.