Mule Team "Charge" on July 2

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
By now everyone should be familiar with the mule train charge on July 1:

However, there was another "charge" on the afternoon of July 2, involving just one wagon team pulled by six mules. Ammunition was getting very low in Battery B, 1st New Jersey, which was posted north of the Wheatfield Road, and east of the Peach Orchard (which extended north of said road). Orderly Sergeant Galbraith was sent back to find John Cronk, whose mule team was loaded with extra ammunition. "About 6 o'clock Cronk came up on a dead run. Under orders, we were ready to jump into his wagon and unload the boxes of ammunition. How he sung oaths to those mules to keep them quiet under that fire, where a hundred shells were exploding ever minute, and the crackle of his whip was like a sharp skirmish fire! He was a hero."

An enemy shot in just the right spot would have blasted Cronk, his mules, and several other men into oblivion. Fortunately for Battery B, Cronk delivered his ammunition without incident. Unfortunately for the left wing of Kershaw's brigade, it enabled Battery B to continue firing for another half hour, which sent many a poor South Carolinian into eternity. The battery withdrew, not for lack of ammunition, but under pressure from Barksdale's advance, which took place a few minutes later. Following close behind the Mississippians, one of Alexander's guns unlimbered near the Wentz house, in time to fire a round of canister at Battery B as it was moving off. Six horses were killed on one caisson and four on another caisson. As a result, one caisson and one caisson body had to be left on the field.

From: History of Battery B, First New Jersey Artillery, by Michael Hanifen (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican-Times, Printers, 1905), pp. 74, 77.