While going through documents in Captain Robert Boyce‘s Consolidated Service Record (CSR) jacket, I came upon this receipt dated “Camp in the field Sept 23d 1862.”

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My transcription:

Rec’d of Capt C. McRae Selph aſs [asst] Quartermaster C.S.A. the following articles viz –
Sept 12th 1200# Twelve hundred pounds of corn.
” 13th 1170# Eleven hundred + Seventy pounds of corn.
” 14th 1120# Eleven hundred + Twenty ” of corn.

R. Boyce
Capt Lt Battery

Boyce commanded a six-gun battery of the Macbeth Light Artillery on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. The corn was likely forage for his horses. How many horses? A back of the envelope calculation, and I’m no expert …

Minimum 4 horses each for 12 limbers (6 guns, 6 caissons), forge wagon (total 52); Minimum 16 personal horses for Captain, 4 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 2 buglers, 1 guidon; (?) spare horses; total at least 70 horses.

The receipt jumped out because it is the first I’ve seen for forage delivered to a unit while on combat service in Maryland. All sorts of research questions follow, like:

– How many army wagons did it take to haul that grain to Boyce?
– How far did those wagons travel? From Winchester, maybe?
– How long would that much grain have lasted? Assuming about 12 pounds per horse/day (or twice that if no hay) and at least 70 horses, not long.
– How much grain or other forage would all the horses of the Army of Northern Virginia have required? Were they getting it in September 1862?
– Horses cannot long live on grain alone. Was there good pasturage in Maryland? Hay was probably too bulky to transport to the combat zone.

I’d be glad to hear from logistic experts on this.

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