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 article sur les chevaux, les mules et les boeuf

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MessageSujet: article sur les chevaux, les mules et les boeuf    Jeu 21 Oct - 18:28

voici un artilcle interessant sur les chevaux dans l'artillerie, dans le dernier chapitre nous avons même la ration d'un cheval d'artillerie par jour.
phil ou kittie, vous pourriez le traduir s'il vous plais
voici les sources pour ceux qui sont interessés

The field artillery of the Civil War was designed to be mobile. When Union or Confederate troops marched across country, the guns moved with them. During battle, the guns were moved to assigned positions and then were switched from place to place, pulled back or sent forward as fortune demanded. The field batteries went galloping off to support an advance or repel an attack. When they withdrew, they contested the field as they went. Movement was everything. The guns could fulfill their essential function only when they could be moved where they were most needed.

At the time of the Civil War, such movement required draft animals–horses, mules or oxen. Mules were excellent at pulling heavy loads, but they were not used in pulling the guns and caissons of the field artillery. No animal liked to stand under fire. In the fury of battle, horses would shy and rear and flash their hooves; but mules carried their protests to the outer limits. When exposed to fire, mules would buck and kick and roll on the ground, entangling harnesses and becoming impossible to control.

An exception to the rule against using mules was their role in carrying small mountain howitzers. These guns were light enough to be broken down, with the component parts carried on the backs of pack animals. They had been developed for use in country that was mountainous and heavily wooded, with only trails or wretched roads. Strong, surefooted animals were needed, and mules were the obvious choice.

The danger of using mules in battle is vividly depicted in Confederate Brig. Gen. John D. Imboden's account of his seriocomic experience at the Battle of Port Republic in June 1862. In that engagement, Imboden, a colonel at the time, commanded a band of cavalry with a battery of mountain howitzers, carried on mules, in the army of Maj. Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson. At Port Republic, Jackson ordered Imboden to put his battery in a sheltered place and be ready, upon the enemy's withdrawal, to advance to a point where his guns would have a clear field of fire. Imboden took his men and the mules, carrying the guns and ammunition, into a shallow ravine about 100 yards behind Captain William Poague's Virginia battery, which was hotly engaged.

Within a few minutes, Union artillery shells were screaming across the ravine well above the sheltered men and mules. Imboden, in his account of the action, recalled: 'The mules became frantic. They kicked, plunged and squealed. It was impossible to quiet them, and it took three or four men to hold one mule from breaking away. Each mule had about three hundred pounds weight on him, so securely fastened that the load could not be dislodged by any of his capers. Several of them lay down and tried to wallow their loads off. The men held these down and that suggested the idea of throwing them all to the ground and holding them there. The ravine sheltered us so we were in no danger from the shot or shell which passed over us.'

The use of mules to carry mountain howitzers was a choice based on their fitness for the task, not due to any shortage of horses. The Manual for Mountain Artillery, adopted by the U.S. Army in 1851, stated that the mountain howitzer was 'generally transported by mules.' The superiority of mules in rough country outweighed their notorious contrariness under fire.

Plodding oxen obviously were not well suited for hauling field artillery, since rapid movement was often needed. Oxen were strong–their name is synonymous with strength and endurance–but they were too slow. Nevertheless, oxen were sometimes pressed into service during the Civil War.

In November 1863, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's force was detached from the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg, then besieging Chattanooga. Longstreet's troops moved north through eastern Tennessee to confront Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's Federal force at Knoxville. It was a long, harsh journey for the Confederate artillery. As the Southern army neared Knoxville, the Confederate caissons carrying ammunition for the field artillery were being pulled by oxen, a choice dictated by the scarcity of horses in the region.

All movement of field artillery was done with limbers. Guns, caissons, battery forges and wagons were all fastened to a limber. None, under ordinary circumstances, moved independently. A limber was an ammunition box mounted on an axle between two wheels, with a forward projecting pole, to which the team was hitched. Underneath and at the rear of the limber was a bent iron piece called the pintle. At the end of the gun trail or at the tip of a short pole on the caisson was an iron piece, pierced through, called the lunette. The gun trail was lifted and the hole in the lunette dropped over the pintle, making the piece and the limber a four-wheeled unit. The piece was joined to the limber at a pivot, giving the unit a short turning radius.

The capacity of a healthy horse to pull a load was affected by a number of factors. Chief among these was the nature of the surface over which the load was being hauled. A single horse could pull 3,000 pounds 20 to 23 miles a day over a hard-paved road. The weight dropped to 1,900 pounds over a macadamized road, and went down to 1,100 pounds over rough ground. The pulling ability was further reduced by one-half if a horse carried a rider on its back. Finally, as the number of horses in a team increased, the pulling capacity of each horse was further reduced. A horse in a team of six had only seven-ninths the pulling capacity it would have had in a team of two. The goal was that each horse's share of the load should be no more than 700 pounds. This was less than what a healthy horse, even carrying a rider and hitched into a team of six, could pull, but it furnished a safety factor that allowed for fatigue and losses.

John Gibbon finished the war as a major general in the Union Army. Before the war, he had served as an instructor at West Point and had written a textbook called The Artillerist's Manual that was used by cadets at the academy. In his textbook, Gibbon described what was desired in an artillery horse: 'The horse for artillery service should be from fifteen to sixteen hands high….should stand erect on his legs, be strongly built, but free in his movements; his shoulders should be large enough to give support to the collar but not too heavy; his body full, but not too long; the sides well rounded; the limbs solid with rather strong shanks, and the feet in good condition. To these qualities he should unite, as much as possible, the qualities of the saddle horse; should trot and gallop easily, have even gaits and not be skittish.'

Gibbon carefully described what was wanted, but horses with these qualities were not always available. Horses became scarce and stayed in short supply in areas of continuing conflict. Both North and South soon began to take horses that belonged to enemy sympathizers. This was often done not out of necessity but simply to deprive the enemy of horses.

In April 1862, Union Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs was called upon to furnish a great number of horses for the Federal Army to use on the Virginia Peninsula. Meigs wrote to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, telling him that there were horses for the taking from Southern sympathizers in the Shenandoah Valley and seeking authority to seize the animals. The authority was promptly given, with the stipulation that no horse needed for agricultural work was to be taken, even from an enemy sympathizer. In his request Meigs pointed out, 'A horse for military service is as much a military supply as a barrel of gunpowder or a shotgun or rifle.'

At the start of the war, the Northern states held approximately 3.4 million horses, while there were 1.7 million in the Confederate states. The border states of Missouri and Kentucky had an additional 800,000 horses. In addition, there were 100,000 mules in the North, 800,000 in the seceding states and 200,000 in Kentucky and Missouri. The disparity in the distribution of the mule population somewhat evened out the number of draft animals available for all purposes. The South furnished–involuntarily–many horses to the North. Most of the fighting was done on Southern soil, and the local horses were easily seized by Northern troops. While Confederates had opportunities to take Northern horses during Robert E. Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania and upon the occasional raids into Northern territory, the number taken was small compared to the thousands commandeered by Union troops, who occupied large areas of the South for several years.

In May 1863, the Federal brigade of Colonel John T. Wilder swept the country east and north of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Northern troops had been in the area for months, yet in five days the brigade took another 196 horses from the people of the region, despite attempts to hide the horses in woods, ravines and caves. One horse was found tied to a bedpost in a lady's back parlor.

Proper and adequate care of artillery horses was essential. If they were weakened by neglect, they could not long survive the rigors of active campaigning. Good commanders were aware of this and issued orders aimed at improving the animals' care.

On October 1, 1862, shortly after the Antietam campaign, Robert E. Lee issued Order No. 115, addressing the care to be given to all horses of the army and fixing responsibility upon specific officers for the care of the horses in the artillery reserve. Those guilty of neglect of battery horses were to be punished. No artillery horses were to be ridden except by designated artillerymen. The chief of artillery was empowered to arrest and bring to trial any man using a horse other than in battery service.

Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, while still a divisional commander, issued a similar order to the artillery officers attached to his division. After outlining the many tasks to be performed when a battery came to a halt during a march, Sherman directed that 'every opportunity at a halt during a march should be taken advantage of to cut grass, wheat, or oats and extraordinary care be taken of the horses upon which everything depends.'

Feeding, of course, was a critical part of the horses' care. The daily ration prescribed for an artillery horse was 14 pounds of hay and 12 pounds of grain, usually oats, corn or barley. The amount of grain and hay needed by any particular battery depended on the number of horses that battery had at the time. It varied almost from day to day, but it was always enormous. The horses of the battery had to be fed each day, whether the battery moved or not. During the Civil War, an artillery battery might sit in the same place for weeks at a time, and yet consume thousands of pounds of hay and grain each day.

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