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"Were ACW ambulances pulled by mules as well as horses?" Topic

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War In 15MM28 Apr 2012 7:22 a.m. PST

I assume that ambulances in the Civil War were regularly pulled by teams of horses. Were they pulled by teams of mules as well? Thanks. Richard

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 7:54 a.m. PST

Never say never in regards to that period. the armies were so large and casualties were also large amongst the animals.

It is possible that on some occasion, for some reason an ambulance was pulled by a mule (or team of mules). However, it wouldn't be something the ambulance train officer wanted and would be corrected at the soonest opportunity.

War In 15MM28 Apr 2012 8:09 a.m. PST

TKindred, thank you. I thought that might be the case. Richard

Ron W DuBray28 Apr 2012 10:15 a.m. PST

Pulled by any thing they could get their hands on even walking wounded or healthy men if a team was killed .

bracken Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 11:10 a.m. PST

I thought in the later years when horses where in short supply mules were used more often than not! I could be wrong but I'm sure I've either read it or seen it somewhere.

the Gorb28 Apr 2012 12:15 p.m. PST

"On April 24, 1862 the First Kansas Battery Light Artillery of the Kansas Volunteers was formed at Fort Leavenworth for the War of the Rebellion. The Battery manned six ten-pound parrott rifled guns of three-inch caliber; six caissons; a portable forge; a, battery wagon for carpentry and harness work; a water wagon containing several water barrels; twelve Army wagons; six mule teams each; six wagons for commissary stores, camp and garrison equipment; and six were loaded with ammunition. Also, one mule team pair pulled an ambulance wagon."

Regards, the Gorb

War In 15MM28 Apr 2012 1:19 p.m. PST

Great! Thanks you much. The door is obviously open. Richard

d effinger28 Apr 2012 6:06 p.m. PST

Horses were supposed to pull ambulances because they were… more 'obedient' than mules. So in a perfect world you would WANT horses for the sake of the men inside the ambulance.


"Who ever saw a dead cavalryman?"

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 7:22 p.m. PST

As noted, when push came to shove you used what you had – at one point, there was a Confederate battery in the West pulled by oxen

EJNashIII30 Apr 2012 8:38 a.m. PST

Similar to d effinger, I remember reading that mules were not desired in forward areas because they were generally smarter than a horse. The mule would see the carnage of battle and refuse to have any part of the nonsense. You can get your fool rear killed, not me.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2021 3:42 p.m. PST

"Every Man His Own Horse Doctor"


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