Friday, May 4, 2012


In the center of the Union advance, Buell's corps finds nothing but more trouble as they try to move south.  Their contact with the enemy seems to be limited to rebuilding the roads and bridges he has destroyed.  The rebels' strategy for buying time seems to be quite effective as this report indicates.

May 4, 1862.
General HALLECK:

The reconnaissances toward Farmington found the bridge over Chambers Creek destroyed about 5 miles this side of Farmington. Road very bad through the creek bottom, requiring to be corduroyed. Enemy's pickets at Chambers Creek. They were on the same creek on the Corinth road yesterday. The reconnaissance on that road to-day has not yet returned.


The men of the Seventeenth are fighting this battle with axes, not guns.  To "corduroy" the road, trees are felled and their trunks laid down at right angles to the direction of the road to form a ribbed roadbed.  This was often done in boggy areas when the normal road became impassable.  It was necessarily bumpy and dangerous to men and horses because the unsecured logs were continually shifting underfoot.The trimming and maneuvering of these trunks must have been backbreaking work and it was done without gloves.  The men typically wrapped rags around their hands to protect their blisters.

*Reports courtesy of my Favorite Link, Ohio State's eHistory

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