The following insights into the difficulties of maintaining healthy mounts during long-running campaigns come from a letter written by Captain Charles Adams of the First Massachusetts Cavalry.
Potomac Creek, May 12, 1863
It is by no means a pleasant thought to reflect how little people at home know of the non-fighting details of the waste and suffering of war. We were in the field four weeks, and only once did I see the enemy, even at a distance. You read of Stoneman's and Grierson's cavalry raids, and of the dashing celerity of their movements and their long, rapid marches. Do you know how cavalry moves? It never goes out of walk, and four miles an hour is very rapid marching "killing to horses" as we always describe it. To cover forty miles is nearly fifteen hours march.
The suffering is trifling for the men and they are always well in the field in spite of wet and cold and heat, loss of sleep and sleeping on the ground. In the field we have no sickness; when we get into camp it begins to appear at once. But with the horses it is otherwise and you have no idea of their sufferings.
An officer of cavalry needs to be more horse-doctor than soldier, and no one who has not tried it can realize the discouragement to Company commanders in these long and continuous marches. You are a slave to your horses, you work like a dog yourself, and you exact the most extreme care from your Sergeants, and you see diseases creeping on you day by day and your horses breaking down under your eyes, and you have two resources, one to send them to the reserve camps at the rear and so strip yourself of your command, and the other to force them on until they drop and then run for luck that you will be able to steal horses to remount your men, and keep up the strength of your command. The last course is the one I adopt.
I do my best for my horses and am sorry for them; but all war is cruel and it is my business to bring every man I can into the presence of the enemy, and so make war short. So I have but one rule, a horse must go until he can't be spurred any further, and then the rider must get another horse as soon as he can seize on one. To estimate the wear and tear on horseflesh you must bear in mind that, in the service in this country, a cavalry horse when loaded carries an average of 225 lbs. on his back. His saddle, when packed without a rider in it, weighs no less than fifty pounds.
The horse is, in active campaign, saddled on an average about fifteen hours out of the twenty four. His feed is nominally ten pounds of grain a day and, in reality, he averages about eight pounds. He has no hay and only such other feed as he can pick up during halts [Horses are supposed to have 12 pounds of hay a day. Pgr]. The usual water he drinks is brook water, so muddy by the passage of the column as to be of the color of chocolate. Of course, sore backs are our greatest trouble. Backs soon get feverish under the saddle and the first day's march swells them; after that, day by day the trouble grows. No care can stop it.
Every night after a march, no matter how late it may be, or tired or hungry I am, if permission is given to unsaddle, I examine all the horses' backs myself and see that everything is done for them that can be done, and yet with every care the marching of the last four weeks disabled ten of my horses, and put ten more on the high road to disability, and this out of sixty -- one horse in three. Imagine a horse with his withers swollen to three times the natural size, and with a volcanic, running sore pouring matter down each side, and you have a case with which every cavalry officer is daily called upon to deal, and you imagine a horse which has still to be ridden until he lays down in sheer suffering under the saddle. Then we seize the first horse we come to and put the dismounted man on his back.
The air of Virginia is literally burdened today with the stench of dead horses, federal and confederate. You pass them on every road and find them in every field, while from their carrions you can follow the march of every army that moves.
On this last raid, dying horses lined the road on which Stoneman's divisions had passed, and we marched over a road made pestilent by the dead horses of the vanished rebels. Poor brutes! How it would astonish and terrify you and all others at home with your sleek, well-fed animals, to see the weak, gaunt, rough animals, with each rib visible and hipbones starting through the flesh, on which these "dashing cavalry raids" were executed. It would knock romance out of you.
So much for my cares as a horsemaster, and they are the cares of all. For, I can safely assure you, my horses are not the worst in the regiment, and I am reputed no unsuccessful chief groom. I put 70 horses in the field on the 13th of April, and not many other Captains in the service did as much.
tripax wrote:I agree. One way the game is very different from real life is that 7 days before Richmond in the game would never be followed by a retreat since it is so easy in the game to maintain ones supply lines and to survive with cut supply lines and weak generals. I support such a mod - moving supply through dis-loyal regions even with high military control is too easy.
As I was reading the Count of Paris's description of Civil War logistical considerations, I was reminded about how incredibly inefficient wagon transportation was, simply because the draft animals ate so much of the cargo. For those of you who think supply is hard in ACWII, the reality was much worse.
The standard Civil War supply wagon could carry about 1 ton (2,000 pounds) and was drawn by a team of 6 mules. The daily ration of a solider came in at around 3 pounds.... but the daily ration of an animal (horse or mule) was a staggering 23-25 pounds! (12 pound of hay and 10 pounds of grain). If the animals couldn't be fed from a depot stockpile, their food had to transported. For the 6 mule team, that comes in at about 150 pounds a day.
The problem gets exponentially large very fast very quickly. A 14 day expedition from a supply base would require more than 2,000 pounds of feed just for the wagon animals! (This is why, contrary to popular belief, it was the Infantry that won the American West, because they could carry 5 days of rations on their backs and go 12 miles a day, while the cavalry horses were hobbled by incredible feed and forage needs.)
In modern terms, those wagons got terrible grain mileage, and therefore the importance of a supply based anchored on a rail road, major river, or both so that steam could deliver unlimited quantities of supplies. If the army stayed within 1/2 days wagon ride of the supply base, the wagon animals could eat at the depots, and all of their wagon space could be used for supply transit. For each day wagon ride from the depot, the wagons had to carry 2 days forage for the wagon animals. (1 day out one day back).
Our good Count gave the example of the logistical needs of an army operating at a distance of 2 days march from its supply base (about 25 miles or 40ish KM...pretty modest for a field army) as follows.
500 men = 4 supply wagons
1000 men = 8 supply wagons
100,000 men = 800 supply wagons
add 16,000 cavalry and artillery horses = 800 supply wagons (to feed those animals)
that gives about 1,600 wagons to carry the food for the combatants.... wagons drawn by 9,600 mules that need to be fed
+ 360 wagons for those 9,600 mules, drawn by 2,460 mules so...
+92 new wagons for the 2,460 mules... which need more mules...
(tiring ain't it? )
Cut to the chase, an army of 100,000 men + 16,000 horses needs a little over 2,000 wagons drawn by 12,000 mules. That doesn't include the wagons necessary to distribute the supplies to the division depots, brigades, and regiments. Throw them in, and the wagons necessary for supplying a 100,000 man army every day at 40 km from its base, comes to about 4,000 wagons, 3,000 of which are in constant motion on roads leading back to the base. That's just 2 days away from a base!
That means an army on the move has to plan to shift its base of supplies every 2-3 days. That means repairing rail lines as you move and shifting the base along the line, moving along the river and shifting steam boat landing sites as you advance, or making a point A to point B trek from one rail-head/port to another.
The nice thing about shifting the supply base, is that the supply wagons don't have to make a dead-head, or empty, return trip, so the range of the army is temporarily extended. 4,000 wagons can keep an army in daily supply a two days from its base, or keep it supplied for 4 days as it transits from one base to another. Range can be further extended by moving stuff out of the wagons and onto the backs of the men... think the infantry carrying 5 days worth of cooked rations in their knapsacks means that they have freed up that much extra space in the wagons.
McClellan wanted enough rolling stock to supply an army of 130,000 men and 20,000 horses on full rations. Using Van Vliet‟s estimates, the men required 390,000 pounds of food each day and the animals consumed 520,000 pounds of forage daily. Boxcars had a capacity of 20,000 pounds [ten times that of a supply wagon], or 1,285 cubic feet. A minimum of 19.5 boxcar loads of subsistence and 26 boxcar loads of forage, 45.5 boxcar loads per day in total, had to be delivered to the army from the depot. These numbers may be slightly high, at least for the soldier‟s rations. Tables in Annex B of this book show that between 8,000 and 10,000 complete rations could be loaded onto a boxcar by exceeding the car‟s weight capacity. The transportation requirement for subsistence could have been reduced to between 13 and 16¼ boxcars per day if they were loaded as specified in the tables. Annex A of this paper gives the forage ration for 1,000 horses as 26,000 pounds and 1,739.5 cubic feet. Twenty thousand horses required 26 boxcars per day by weight or 27 boxcars per day when measured by volume. Figured either way, between 39 and 43 boxcars per day should have fulfilled McClellan‟s requirement. D.C.McCallum, a superintendent of the U.S. Military Railroad (U.S.M.R.R.) reported that six locomotives and eighty rail cars were destroyed when the railway was abandoned on June 28, 1862.”
There never was a corps better organized than was the quartermaster‟s corps with the Army of the Potomac in 1864. With a wagon train that would have extended from the Rapidan to Richmond, stretched along in single file and separated as the teams necessarily would be when moving, we could still carry only about three days forage and about ten day to twelve days rations, besides a supply of ammunition. To overcome all difficulties, the chief quartermaster, General Rufus Ingalls, had marked on each wagon the corps badge with the division color and the number of the brigade. At a glance, the particular brigade to which any wagon belonged could be told. The wagons were also marked to note the contents: if ammunition, whether for artillery or infantry; if forage, whether grain or hay; if rations, whether bread, pork, beans, rice, sugar, coffee or whatever it might be. Empty wagons were never allowed to follow the army or stay in camp. As soon as a wagon was empty it would return to the base of supply for a load of precisely the same article that had been taken from it. Empty trains were obliged to leave the road free for loaded ones. Arriving near the army they would be parked in fields nearest to the brigades they belonged to. Issues, except of ammunition, were made at night in all cases. By this system the hauling of forage for the supply train was almost wholly dispensed with. They consumed theirs at the depot.”
General U. S. Grant
Hey Hanny1, I was just thinking about this thread, and here you gave it a bump. I'd suggest a little reading material on the subject that I happened upon. (Seems to be in draft form, but the specifics are pretty solid...plus lots of annexes). It expands in detail as to what I presented.
As for your points. I agree that in theory, the country could provide forage in great quantity, but to live off the land that stuff has to be collected and transported. That means dispersing men and horses to forage, which takes them away from more military tasks like marching, tending the picket line etc. An army on the move is moving all day, it doesn't have time to halt and forage. Your example with Bragg loosing his guns because his animals were away foraging is a perfect example of the dangers of trying to live off the land in the presence of the enemy. To be fully combat effective and capable of mobile operations, an army can't be dispersed foraging.
Concerning the 14 day limit, the number of troops is irrelevant.
The calculation is just based on the space needed in one wagon for its 6 mule team. 6 mules eating 25lbs of feed eat 150lbs per day. The wagon holds 2,000lbs. Divide 2,000 by 150 and you get 13.3 days. As in a supply wagon has only enough space to hold 14 days worth of food for the 6 mules pulling it. (And remember we are marching all day during that time, eating from our stores, in order not to be forced to waste time foraging).
There were only two times that Civil War armies cast themselves off from a base of supply.
Sherman's March to the Sea, which faced no opposition, and was conducted in an extremely dispersed way in order to maximize destruction,
And Grant's Vicksburg campaign. The key to Grant's success was speed. From when he departed the supply steamers at Grand Gulf to when he got in contact with supply steamers north of the City was around 16 days (May 3-4 to May 19).
There was a good reason that the armies stayed as close to steam transportation as possible, steam could carry so much more than horse.
To quote from the document I linked to:
McClellan wanted enough rolling stock to supply an army of 130,000 men and 20,000 horses on full rations. Using Van Vliet?s estimates, the men required 390,000 pounds of food each day and the animals consumed 520,000 pounds of forage daily. Boxcars had a capacity of 20,000 pounds [ten times that of a supply wagon], or 1,285 cubic feet. A minimum of 19.5 boxcar loads of subsistence and 26 boxcar loads of forage, 45.5 boxcar loads per day in total, had to be delivered to the army from the depot. These numbers may be slightly high, at least for the soldier?s rations. Tables in Annex B of this book show that between 8,000 and 10,000 complete rations could be loaded onto a boxcar by exceeding the car?s weight capacity. The transportation requirement for subsistence could have been reduced to between 13 and 16¼ boxcars per day if they were loaded as specified in the tables. Annex A of this paper gives the forage ration for 1,000 horses as 26,000 pounds and 1,739.5 cubic feet. Twenty thousand horses required 26 boxcars per day by weight or 27 boxcars per day when measured by volume. Figured either way, between 39 and 43 boxcars per day should have fulfilled McClellan?s requirement. D.C.McCallum, a superintendent of the U.S. Military Railroad (U.S.M.R.R.) reported that six locomotives and eighty rail cars were destroyed when the railway was abandoned on June 28, 1862.” As for the management of supply wagons (and indeed we are talking about a gargantuan number of wagons here):
General U. S. Grant One of the main reasons Grant kept going around Lee's right was so that he could keep shifting supply bases along river landings so that he could minimize the time needed to wagon supplies from the depot to the front line
(And as for the west, I didn't mean to imply that infantry carried everything on their backs, rather that infantry could campaign longer in the field with a given set of supply wagons than a cavalry unit because their food requirements were so much less. Check out the Horsemeat March for a sense of how bad it could be.)
(And I'll stick with Grant as a source for a 14 day limit on how much an army could carry organically before being re-supplied. Grant at Vicksburg moved from one base of supply, Port Hudson, to another, landings North of Vicksburg in roughly 15 days. In the Overland Campaign, he most certainly did not "cast off from a base of supply."
Every time his army moved around Lee's right, he changed his base of supply. And one of the major reasons he kept moving to the right was that he could keep his supply lines shorter by shifting his base to various landings on Va's rivers, than if he had relied on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.)
In any event, it is quite simple in the current game for a force to stock up on supply wagons, dive into enemy territory, and run around for months before being forced to forage, which I hope even you could admit is a bit silly.
hanny1 wrote:His QM disagreed.
"From the commencement of the advance in early May 1864 until after the battle of Spotsylvania, the Army of the Patomic was connected to a base of operations at Belle Plain, Aquia Creek and Fredricksburg. After Spotsylvania, Grant moved his base to a new point at Port Royal, V.A. on the Rappahannock River, allowing him to maneuver east and south to the North Anna. A week later (On 28 May) he moved his base again to White House on the York River, allowing him to maneuver east and south to fight at Totopotomy Creek and eventually Cold Harbor. He left the White House base in mid-June and connected to a different base on the James River, facilitating a partial investment of Petersburg and Richmond. Grant understood the value of the base and the benefit of switching bases to enable maneuver. Historians latter called his operation the Overland Campaign, but in fact his overland movement was possible only because of his use of maritime lines of communication and shore side bases of operation (just as he had done in Mississippi.)
hanny1 wrote:As i already posted twice, its in your own second link. I went on to show you the maths of why that was so.
In game terms, they were out of supply after one turn, were forced to forage (and presumably couldn't make up all the difference, taking losing cohesion and taking hits) and got hammered by CSA forces.The Camden Expedition was perhaps the greatest Federal military disaster of the Civil War in Arkansas. Union forces suffered over 2,500 casualties [out of 8,500], lost hundreds of wagons and failed to take Shreveport or Texas.
except as he constantly writes the whole campaign was planned to take supplies from the local population, it began on such a recce to establish if it could feed the intended advance, if not there was no advance. He goes on to list 15000 men, 585 wagons, which means the campaign had three times the wagons used by everyone other union army, hence it had 10 days in wagons, but the rest of the quote is being ignored, i.e. The army spent more time looking for food than it did fighting*'had it the same number of wagons as the regulations allowed, it would have had 3 days, and was still unable to supply itself from a base of supply. He gives the number of wagons, distance from base, number requiring supplies, so it's a simple maths question and the answer is there are not enough wagons to supply from base, and he had to separate to forage locally and was thus attacked by a superior force which he defeated. Infinite supply exists, each day the supplies go forward 20 miles by wagons, so 200 miles from infinite range supply, means 9 wagon trains outward bound, 9 wagon trains returning, a force of 9100 inf, 2500 cav requires, 9100@3=27300 +2500@20=50000 total food per day, 77300lbs, at 2250 lbs a wagon( qm reg give 4000 on tarmac roads in good weather no incline, down to 2000 in poor roads in bad weather with incline) means34 wagons to feed the end user. The delivery system of mules wagons, is 585@6@20=70200 lbs per day consumption. Totally day consumption, 147500lbs. Total available lift, 585@2250=13116250. Divide the days requirmenr by available lift and you get 9 days lift, i.e. There is enough forward lift to supply 9, yet operating at 9 points away, ( 9 out 9 back)means there is only half the number of wagons available. Half the supplies have to come from local forage. That's based on no ammunition carried at all, no artyillary with guns and horses, and not a single piece of equipment, like tents, cooking, medical, etc, and every wagon being used for food rations. He also writes only 300 wagons were in use to effect this supply net, used 4000 as the planning figure, yet also relates that wagons were limited to 2000 by the regs for poor roads in winter, so he vastly overestimates capacity and under estimates consumption, by not recognising the meaning of the data he uses, not a competent supply officer. He describes logistics, but fails to fully explain how it operated in practice, despite his many references to how the army foraged for the bulk of its requirements.pgr wrote:Ran into a nice little analysis done on the logistics of the Pea Ridge campaign. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA623051
Major Bailey does a good job of laying out the challenges and how they were overcome.
"Draft animals added to the logistical problem of an army. Animals had to eat too. More wagons and mules were needed to carry food just for the animals and wagons carrying food for soldiers. Half of an army’s food requirement was for animals. The further an army got from its supply base only compounded the problem. Armies that relied on muscle-powered logistics could only carry around ten days’ worth of supplies (a little less generous than my 15 days, but more or less one game turn)"(pg.22)
He also has a nice description of the depot system in use by the Federals:
"The Union Army relied on the depot system to supply the army. There are four main types of depots: general, base, advanced, and temporary. The general depots under the control of the supply bureaus of the War Department sent supplies to base depots, which in turn forwarded supplies to advanced depots then on to temporary depots if necessary. The main general depots were located in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Chicago, and New Orleans. Quartermasters had authorization to establish depots as required. During offensive operations, commanders established advance depots where the army drew supplies and did not have to return to a general depot for them. Armies tried to keep advanced depots within two days march. If needed, temporary depots were established as a distribution point for using units in the vicinity. These temporary depots received their supplies from the advanced depots and allowed armies to operate further away from their advanced depot."(Pg.21)
The rest of the work describes how Curtis and Sheridan planned and executed where to place advance depots connecting back to the base depot in Rolla, how the advance depots served as collection and processing centers, and how traffic was constantly flowing between the depots. The in-game depot and supply movement system does a good job representing this. The big difference is that in-game units can carry with them far more supplies before needing to be resupplied than their historical counterparts did.
er it's his official report, as the qm of grants army, explaining what happened logistically, the principly primary source for all future authors. Learn to comprehend what your reading rather than dismiss it because it does not conform to you pre conceived notion of what happened. From your last link, he shows the same problem, he writes the regs give 7 ration wagon per 1000 men per day. Wagon has 2250@7=15750, wagons mules consume 840 a day, men consume 3000 a day, total 3840, so his own figures show the force can carry only 4 days, while writing it can carry 10, since he is quoting Gabriel, who explains forage was the only way armies could operate, the rest of the 10 days requirement comes from local requisition, he is giving us 40% from supply, and 60% from forage every 10 days. That's the rest of the quote you chose to ignore, and the author makes clear on many instances it was local forage that allowed the campaign to function.pgr wrote:With respect to the good Captain, his description is more romantic than accurate. He did cut loose from the Orange and Alexandria...and established new supply lines as described in detail by every history of the campaign.
Users browsing this forum: youkali and 1 guest