War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0396 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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any that could be made for procuring supplies. As a general thing the wagons were required to go but a short distance from the line of march to obtain supplies, there being sufficient near by.

Hogs, turkeys, geese, ducks, and chickens were killed and brought to the road by foraging parties sent out at the head of each column, and loaded into wagons as they came up. The captured beef-cattle and sheep were driven along in their proper places and killed as required. Sweet potatoes of the finest kind were fund in great abundance immediately on the road; also turnips, which were generally of a inferior quality.

The portable forge is almost entirely done away with in General Sherman's army. Nearly all the officers prefer carrying a small- sized bellows, using any ordinary box filled with dirt as a fine- box. The bellows is swing between two stakes, usually cut from the woods or taken from some fence, driven into the ground, with a piece nailed across the top to suspend the bellows handle. The box (usually abroad box) is placed at its proper height on four forks or stakes driven into the ground, with pieces laid from one to the other to set the box on. They transport simply the bellows, anvil, and tools, making use of any empty box or barrel for a fire-box. Nearly all the iron-work on the march from Atlanta to Savannah was done with forges of this description. Officers prefer this arrangement to the portable forge, because it does not get out of order and gives a better heat. Since writing this I have received a circular describing Captain John H. Cickerson's portable forge, which is, I presume, got up from this idea. In the absence of portable forges I would suggest the plan for a forge now used in General Sherman's army, which answer every purpose.

There is one little thing which has been practiced by experienced officers for many years, which would be a great economy in both wagon sheets and wagon bows if officers generally could be made to adopt it; that is, to put their side boards ten or twelve inches wide on all wagons. Wagons are loaded far above their sides; heavy articles are frequently put on top, and over rough roads jar against a bow, snapping it off, or coming between the bows, burst out the sheet. The side boards running the whole length of the wagon and pressing against all the bows prevents this difficulty, and also prevents the loading from coming against a wet sheet. A thin light board of this kind adds very little to the weight of the wagon, and is a great protection to wagon bows and sheets.

For campaigning I would much prefer a wagon made with standards to the bolster and over the hind axle, so that the body can be readily lifted off and removed from the running-gear; this will be a great economy in wagon-beds, as a great many of them are ruined on a march in hauling heavy timber for bridges, poles for corduroy, &c., to say nothing of the convenience of loading, particularly long timber, and making short turns in the woods to get the wagon into position to load. Another advantage is, that on a rainy day the wagon body can be set on the ground, and the loading kept in i as dry as if it were on its wheels.

In camps and, in fact, about garrisons, where wood is obtained from the forest, and where officers do not take the trouble to make wood-racks, a great many wagon-beds are crushed out and ruined by loading firewood on them. With standards wood could be cut long and loaded between them.

These are small things, but should the suggestions be followed I think they would prove a convenience and economy in the end.