Category Logistics

Cumberland Valley Railroad

Here’s Scott Mingus talking about the Cumberland Valley Railroad in Central Pennsylvania during the Civil War. Scott always gives a good presentation. The video’s description says, “Scott Mingus, co-author of Targeted Tracks, talked about the importance of the Cumberland Valley Railroad during the Civil War. This was a one-track railroad running from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. […]

Gunpowder Manufacturing Between 1850-65

This is Major David Lambert, an instructor at the United States Military Academy, giving a lecture on gunpowder and its manufacture in the middle of the 19th Century, including the Civil War. The video’s description reads, “West Point history instructor Major David Lambert discussed how gunpowder was outsourced and manufactured in the mid-19th century. The […]

Civil War Logistics

I’ve previously been quoting from this book by Dr. Earl Hess in the Logistics series. He defines the parameters of his study in the Preface. “One can find many varied definitions of the word logistics, but this study adopts a simple and straightforward way of defining it. I focus on the transportation of men, material, […]

Lee’s Horse Supply

I posted a link to this article in 2014 [see here] At that time I didn’t include any excerpts, but this time I’m going to have a deeper discussion of what’s included. The article is from Charles W. Ramsdell and is titled, “General Robert E. Lee’s Horse Supply, 1862-1865.” It’s in Volume 35, No. 4, […]

Carrying the Load and Beef on the Hoof

This portion comes from Dr. Hess’s book, Civil War Logistics. Carrying the load refers to pack trains as well as to the soldiers themselves. The army had made use of mules for decades. They were aware of the mule’s capabilities as well as its problems. “A basic problem in managing pack mules was how to adjust […]

Coastal Shipping and Logistics

This information comes from Dr. Hess’s book, Civil War Logistics. Coastal shipping was very important to Union logistics. “The Federal government pressured the perimeter of Rebel territory by landing troops at key locations along the coast. From these enclaves Union forces threatened Confederate railroads, shut down blockade-running ports, and compelled the enemy to detach troops to […]

Wagons, Ho!

We’ve discussed strategic logistics up to now. This posting is about wagon trains that accompanied the troops at the tactical level. This portion comes from Dr. Hess’s book, Civil War Logistics. “Although rough to ride in because it had no suspension system of any kind, the wagon was well equipped. It contained a tool box, a […]

Railroads and Logistics

Much of the following is taken from Dr. Earl Hess’s book, Civil War Logistics. There have been more books on the use of railroads in the Civil War than most other forms of transportation. For example, there is Robert C. Black III, The Railroads of the Confederacy (UNC Press, 1952); John E. Clark, Jr., Railroads in the Civil […]

An Unsung Hero Helps Win the War

More from Dr. Earl J. Hess’s book, Civil War Logistics. One standard explanation for United States victory in the Civil War is that the United States had overwhelming resources. They did have a significant advantage in resources, but such advantage needs to be brought to bear in order to have an effect. The U.S. Quartermaster system […]

What Did Quartermasters Do?

This information comes from Dr. Earl Hess’s book, Civil War Logistics: A Study of Military Transportation. Most of us know a quartermaster was in charge of supplying the needs of the soldiers, but their job was even more complex. “Quartermasters were vested with the responsibility for procuring and managing military transportation in the Civil War. They […]