On the night of October 28, 1863, when Gen. Geary’s division of the Twelfth corps repulsed the attacking forces of Longstreet at Wauhatchie, Tenn., a number of mules, affrighted by the noise of battle, dashed into the ranks of Hampton’s Legion, causing much dismay among the rebels, and compelling many of them to fall back, under a supposed charge of cavalry.

Capt. Thomas H. Elliott, of Gen. Geary’s staff, gives the following rendition of the incident, which he gleaned from an interior contemporary. Its authorship is not known:


Half a mile, half a mile,
Half a mile onward,
Right towards the Georgia troops,
Broke the two hundred.
“Forward, the Mule Brigade,”
“Charge for the Rebs!” they neighed;
Straight for the Georgia troops
Broke the two hundred.

“Forward, the Mule Brigade!”
Was there a mule dismayed?
Not when the long ears felt
All their ropes sundered;
Theirs not to make reply;
Theirs not to reason why;
Theirs but to make them fly.
On! to the Georgia troops,
Broke the two hundred.

Mules to the right of them,
Mules to the left of them,
Mules behind them,
Pawed, brayed, and thundered.
Breaking their own confines,
Breaking through Longstreet’s lines,
Into the Georgia troops
Stormed the two hundred.

Wild all their eyes did glare,
Whisked all their tails in air,
Scattering the chivalry there,
While all the world wondered.
Not a mule back bestraddled,
Yet how they all skedaddled!
Fled every Georgian.
Unsabred, unsaddled,
Scattered and sundered.
How they were routed there
By the two hundred!

Mules to the right of them,
Mules to the left of them,
Mules behind them
Pawed, brayed, and thundered;
Followed by hoof and head,
Full many a hero fled,
Fain in the last ditch dead,
Back from an “ass’s jaw,”
All that was left of them,
Left by the two hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O! the wild charge they made;
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Mule Brigade,
Long-eared two hundred.

Originally posted 2009-05-05 01:21:40.

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