Broken down horses

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
There may be reasons revealed in these posts, why the southern states were turning towards mules in place of horses, for work animals. But of course, mules won't fight. They won't charge oncoming fire.
Most states displayed a marked decrease in the number of horses, even after 5 years of recovery. Large congregations of horses in places not set up to keep working urban horses healthy, were at risk.
 

Peace Society

Corporal
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Location
Ark Mo line
There are numerous illustrations of soldiers preparing to shoot cows in the forehead. So, it must have happened.
Mr. Billings (Hardtack and Coffee) says that was the means of harvesting the beef for the regiment's meals. The shooter would aim for the curl of hair in the center of the face. When the herd got down to just a few, the cattle understood what was to happen and would not face the shooter. But he was usually skilled enough to at last get in the shot.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
There may be reasons revealed in these posts, why the southern states were turning towards mules in place of horses, for work animals. But of course, mules won't fight. They won't charge oncoming fire.
Most states displayed a marked decrease in the number of horses, even after 5 years of recovery. Large congregations of horses in places not set up to keep working urban horses healthy, were at risk.
There is a historical reason for the use of mules in the South. A horse is more efficient in regards to the amount of fodder to work ratio. You will note that Amish work horses, not mules.

Slaves deliberately destroyed tools & implements. A hoe shipped from Cincinnati going north weighed 1/3 less than one shipped to a Southern buyer, for example. Slaves abused draft animals in the same way. Slaves would deliberately kill horses, mules were tougher & survived the habitual abuse they meted out. Horses require careful handling, e.g., a horse will eat itself to death while a mule will not.

The downside to the Southern reliance on mules was that they don't reproduce. Every equine that reached the age of 5 necessary for military service was the issue of a stallion that stood to a mare before 1859. In Southern territory, the cohort of new births from 1854-59 that were the wartime supply of horses & mules was very small. The traditional importation of mules from Missouri, Kentucky & Tennessee was cut off. So, not only was the South using up the existing equines in great numbers because of the war, the availability of replacements was cut off. That was why the number of remounts & draft animals in the South decreased exponentially as the war went on. By the same token, the animals that normally would have gone to the Southern market were available to the Union army.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Slaves deliberately destroyed tools & implements. A hoe shipped from Cincinnati going north weighed 1/3 less than one shipped to a Southern buyer, for example. Slaves abused draft animals in the same way. Slaves would deliberately kill horses, mules were tougher & survived the habitual abuse they meted out. Horses require careful handling, e.g., a horse will eat itself to death while a mule will not.

I never knew this - can you back this up? How would an overseer or owner even allow the abuse to the animals? Surely going through x number of horses or mules a year, one would get suspicious.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I never knew this - can you back this up? How would an overseer or owner even allow the abuse to the animals? Surely going through x number of horses or mules a year, one would get suspicious.
I have a stack of books 3 feet tall on plantation life & slave-holding. I don’t have a citation at my fingertips, but the way slaves abused tools & animals is a common theme.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
There is a historical reason for the use of mules in the South. A horse is more efficient in regards to the amount of fodder to work ratio. You will note that Amish work horses, not mules.

Slaves deliberately destroyed tools & implements. A hoe shipped from Cincinnati going north weighed 1/3 less than one shipped to a Southern buyer, for example. Slaves abused draft animals in the same way. Slaves would deliberately kill horses, mules were tougher & survived the habitual abuse they meted out. Horses require careful handling, e.g., a horse will eat itself to death while a mule will not.

The downside to the Southern reliance on mules was that they don't reproduce. Every equine that reached the age of 5 necessary for military service was the issue of a stallion that stood to a mare before 1859. In Southern territory, the cohort of new births from 1854-59 that were the wartime supply of horses & mules was very small. The traditional importation of mules from Missouri, Kentucky & Tennessee was cut off. So, not only was the South using up the existing equines in great numbers because of the war, the availability of replacements was cut off. That was why the number of remounts & draft animals in the South decreased exponentially as the war went on. By the same token, the animals that normally would have gone to the Southern market were available to the Union army.
Agreed. The distribution of farm horses and working urban horses as estimated in the 1860 census strongly favored Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri as the horse and mule supplying regions. As the proceeded past January 1864, about 32 months, the Confederacy could not maintain its military animals. And being cutoff from Texas also hurt the Confederates in the west. It also made fighting in Texas pointless. If the Comanches could maintain a semi-nomadic lifestyle, the pro-Confederate forces could fight an endless guerilla war, if they had outside support from France.
Horses and mules, as well as oats, were produced outside the cotton belt, because it did not make sense to use the land for something other than cotton.
 

wausaubob

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Location
Denver, CO
Its strange that Grant let the artillery and cavalry horses and mules go at Appomattox. But I suppose he figured that without 1-1 human attention most of them were going to die anyway.
 

EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Location
Gettysburg, PA
There is a historical reason for the use of mules in the South. A horse is more efficient in regards to the amount of fodder to work ratio. You will note that Amish work horses, not mules.

Slaves deliberately destroyed tools & implements. A hoe shipped from Cincinnati going north weighed 1/3 less than one shipped to a Southern buyer, for example. Slaves abused draft animals in the same way. Slaves would deliberately kill horses, mules were tougher & survived the habitual abuse they meted out. Horses require careful handling, e.g., a horse will eat itself to death while a mule will not.

The downside to the Southern reliance on mules was that they don't reproduce. Every equine that reached the age of 5 necessary for military service was the issue of a stallion that stood to a mare before 1859. In Southern territory, the cohort of new births from 1854-59 that were the wartime supply of horses & mules was very small. The traditional importation of mules from Missouri, Kentucky & Tennessee was cut off. So, not only was the South using up the existing equines in great numbers because of the war, the availability of replacements was cut off. That was why the number of remounts & draft animals in the South decreased exponentially as the war went on. By the same token, the animals that normally would have gone to the Southern market were available to the Union army.
Alot of Amish working mammoth mules over in Lancaster County, PA and Cecil County, MD. Its does vary by region.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
A horse is more efficient in regards to the amount of fodder to work ratio. You will note that Amish work horses, not mules.


Hate to side track the thread but they use draft-cross mules around here too, in the field, like @EJ Zander said. It's awesome to watch, they harness those giants 6 across sometimes pulling machinery. They use pure drafties too, we just see a lot of the big mules, too.
 

Rhea Cole

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Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Its strange that Grant let the artillery and cavalry horses and mules go at Appomattox. But I suppose he figured that without 1-1 human attention most of them were going to die anyway.
Lee told Grant that many of his men personally owned the horses. Grant allowed any man who claimed a horse to take it with him. He said that they would need them to put in a crop. This was not in the formal surrender document, it was an exchange between Lee & Grant.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
I have a stack of books 3 feet tall on plantation life & slave-holding. I don’t have a citation at my fingertips, but the way slaves abused tools & animals is a common theme.


Yes, that particular claim in whatever those books might be sounds awfully suspect. It actually would have been flatly impossible for anyone, enslaved or no, to abuse horses with impunity and why would they? Think about it. Jobs on those farms required horses, without the horses it would be the person alone doing what- hauling, plowing, delivering, whatever. The consequences for damaging that property would have been dire, too- couldn't be risked. Same with the other claims, where enslaved damaged tools- boy would that make their jobs tougher. They'd have to do it regardless, they were sure not free to say ' I can't because this tool doesn't work '.

A better guess would be enslaved were blamed when an animal or piece of machinery had something wrong with it.
 

DaveBrt

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Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Horses and mules, as well as oats, were produced outside the cotton belt, because it did not make sense to use the land for something other than cotton.
I've seen hundreds of Confederate QM vouchers for corn, hay, straw and long fodder, but only half a dozen for oats. Supply of oats must have remained very low throughout the war.
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Its strange that Grant let the artillery and cavalry horses and mules go at Appomattox. But I suppose he figured that without 1-1 human attention most of them were going to die anyway.

Good observation. Although it was strictly speaking only the surrender of one army, Grant recognized the war was essentially over. The Union didn't need the animals or want to be responsible for their care, and it was no longer critical to deprive the Confederacy of them.
 

Frank Watson

Private
Joined
Oct 27, 2014
I've seen hundreds of Confederate QM vouchers for corn, hay, straw and long fodder, but only half a dozen for oats. Supply of oats must have remained very low throughout the war.

Checking the first four states I happened on in the 1860 Agricultural Census --

Louisiana produced 89,000 bushels of oats
Mississippi produced 220,000 bushels of oats

Maine produced 3,000,000 bushels of oats.
Minnesota produced 2,200,000 bushels of oats

Or, put another way, if you pull off I-20 into "Aunt Sue's Country Kitchen" order the grits, not the oatmeal.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
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Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I've seen hundreds of Confederate QM vouchers for corn, hay, straw and long fodder, but only half a dozen for oats. Supply of oats must have remained very low throughout the war.
The southern states got out of the production of oats between 1850 and 1860. That was a very sensible thing to do, if the country remained united. It was a significant disadvantage once the US retained Kentucky and re-occupied Tennessee.
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Checking the first four states I happened on in the 1860 Agricultural Census --

Louisiana produced 89,000 bushels of oats
Mississippi produced 220,000 bushels of oats

Maine produced 3,000,000 bushels of oats.
Minnesota produced 2,200,000 bushels of oats

Or, put another way, if you pull off I-20 into "Aunt Sue's Country Kitchen" order the grits, not the oatmeal.

Next obvious question, about how many days will a bushel of oats feed a horse or mule? I recall from another thread that oats (ideally) were about half their diet, also grass/hay etc.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Next obvious question, about how many days will a bushel of oats feed a horse or mule? I recall from another thread that oats (ideally) were about half their diet, also grass/hay etc.

Honestly, that depends on a couple of factors - how hard they are being worked, what other fodder they have, if they are easy keepers or not. Drafts are usually easy keepers which surprise most people. Think of them having diesel hearts. Arabian, Thoroughbreds and mixtures thereof have fast Kawasaki engines and use a lot more feed. Morgans and mixes thereof in the Federal Cavalry were preferred because they were extremely hardy, easy keepers, and didn't use a lot of feed. As to exact quarts of oats each day, I can't answer that.

This doesn't take into the equation, if these are run down, sick horses which would need more feed.
 
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