Friday, June 13, 2014

"It requires indefatigable care..."

Civil War histories often focus on the more "glamorous" combat related aspects of campaigning and don’t often dwell on the more mundane tasks. Sometimes, though, a glimpse of those less dramatic, but important duties comes through in a soldier’s account, a regimental history, or in a modern history. If a historian was willing to take it on, I suspect an interesting account could be written about the wagon trains that made their way to and from Fort Scott, Kansas, and the Union troops that protected those vital supplies.

While reading through W. S. Burke’s Military History Of Kansas Regiments During The War For The Suppression Of The Great Rebellion (1870), I spotted the following passage from the sketch about the 9th Kansas Cavalry:

“Col. [Edward] Lynde, with his regiment, in February, 1863, was ordered to Fort Scott as a convoy to an immense supply train, accompanying which were a number of refugee wagons. It is no idle responsibility to safely conduct a train several miles in length through a hostile and dangerous country. It requires indefatigable care, energy and watchfulness. Of the many hundred thousand dollars’ worth of army stores and provisions which have been entrusted to the protection of this regiment, not one dollar’s worth has been captured or wrenched from it by guerrilla band or rebel force” (p. 275). 

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