Author Topic: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era  (Read 3364 times)

Offline Bristow Kid

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I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« on: March 08, 2006, 06:58:50 pm »
As part of the backround for my persona.  I was going to use some backround as a freighter during the Civil War.  Were they actual military personel or were they civilian contractors.  I am too hefty to be a soldier so figured I could be a frieghter or Quarter MAster.  Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks

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Offline Forty Rod

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2006, 08:22:31 pm »
Both armies used a lot of contractors to haul general freight, as well as militay types.  The further from the fighting, the more civilians.

If they were hauling specific goods for a battalion or regiment on campaign, they were more likely using military teamsters.
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Offline Bristow Kid

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2006, 05:42:58 am »
Thanks Forty Much appreciated
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Offline Mustang Gregg

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2006, 05:45:49 am »
Great question, Bristow!
I hope St George sees this. 
He is a wealth of military history.

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Offline Books OToole

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2006, 09:58:08 am »
Bristow;

Check out Five Years a Dragoon, by Percival Lowe.  Lowe was a dragoon from 1849-1854.  After that he was a contract freighter for the army, including during the Civil War.  It is a very good and readable book.

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Offline Trailrider

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2006, 04:12:21 pm »
Your might also consider the post-CW period.  The Army Quartermaster Dept. hired both contract freighters and also individual specialists, including scouts and interpreters, teamsters, packers, who were in the field with the troops.  There were also carpenters and bricklayers, etc., but they seldom ventured afield. Forsyth's Scouts, who participated in the Beecher Island fight were QM Dept. civilian employees.

As employees, they were often issued guns and ammo, and probably could scrounge stuff from the Acting Assistant Q.M., usually one of the lieutenants assigned to the post.

So your lattitude would be wide.  Hope this helps...
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Offline St. George

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2006, 05:32:44 pm »
An interesting choice of Impression - and a fairly easy one to document and outfit, as well.

Here's a thumbnail sketch of the Civil War and the guys who were 'In the Rear with the Gear'.

The number of citizens necessarily employed in the different Departments of an Army is immense - and the various Quartermasters, Commissaries,  Provost-Marshals,  Provost-Judges, and Chiefs of Police, if not themselves civilians, must have capable clerks who are.

Then - there are Wagonmasters, Agents, Teamsters, Scouts, and even Spies, all of whom come under the supervision and pay of the Quartermaster.

In one Army of the Union alone - there are about 3,000 wagons, most of which are six-mule teams.

One wagon allocated per Regiment, 10 to the Brigade, and in the Batteries - one to each gun.

In addition to these 'regular' Trains, there are also several extras.

In the Order of March, 100 wagons extend over a mile of road; and if all the wagons in this Army were formed in one line, they would extend 30 miles.
The number of ambulances is about 600.

The horses and mules number about 50,000 head.

The Quartermaster's Department of the Army employs in the neighborhood of 3,000 men as mechanics and laborers who are engaged in shoeing horses, repairing wagons, making and repairing harness, and in divers other ways.

Probably an equal number are similarly employed at other places.

As you can see - many diverse opportunities are available to enhance your Impression.

Good Luck.

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Offline Bristow Kid

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2006, 05:45:06 pm »
Thanks for all the help everyone.  I really appreciate it. 
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Offline Frenchie

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2006, 01:29:30 am »
Kid:

Get a copy of 'Dances With Wolves'. Make a close observation of Timmons and his rig. Get all of it. Voila! You're set.  :D
Yours, &c.,

Guy 'Frenchie' LaFrance
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Offline Bristow Kid

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2006, 09:42:56 pm »
Frenchie,

I am researching this for backround material for my stagedriver persona.  Its for the originals class in NCOWS.  So it all has to be documentable and authentic.  But thanks for the info.  And damn he was a slob not sure I wanna look like that.  LOL
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Offline Frenchie

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2006, 10:17:09 pm »
Kid, yeah, I figured that's what you had in mind. I was just kidding about getting the whole rig, you'd be buying a new house and losing the missus if you're married  :D

I should have mentioned that I knew a fellow who studied that sort of thing, knew a lot about coaches and horses, wagons and mules of the period, could tell you details about the wagon trains that followed the Army of the Potomac, just a fountain of information. Unfortunately he passed away not long ago, but when "Dances With Wolves" came out he studied Timmons' rig and said it looked very good, he couldn't point out anything that was unforgiveably wrong. We always thought it was a shame that there weren't enough horses, mules, wagons, etc. to make living history and reenactment events more authentic.

So anyway, I think you've hit on a great idea for a persona - you get to use, er... colorful language, chew on stogies, and never clean your boots (no point to it). I love it!
Yours, &c.,

Guy 'Frenchie' LaFrance
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Offline Ozark Iron John

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2006, 10:09:06 am »

A Union Army wagon train entering Petersburg.
Courtesy, National Archives.

I'd point you at Gen. U.S. Grant's Army.  His trains were famous.  In Mississippi he cut himself loose from both rail and water resupply and carried everything with him.  I read somewhere's his wagon trains were over 10 miles long and constantly moving.  I think it was some type of an inovation in war making strategy.  Nobodied ever purposfully cut themselves loose from their supply line before and it caused a controversy.

I think your boy would've done good to be apart of Grant's Vicksburg Expidition in the spring of 1863.  He might even have gotten overrun by Missouri Rebels at Champion Hill and met up with his cousin or someone he know'd from back home.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2006, 10:20:42 am by Ozark Iron John »

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Offline Bristow Kid

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Re: I have a question on freightiing during the Civil War Era
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2006, 07:08:38 pm »
Thanks for the help and pictures y'all much appreciated.
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