Not only we consider President George Washington our founding father of our country but he could have been the founding father of agriculture as well...when we consider the Mule. In Mt Vernon his plantation had around 130 horses in 1785. In 1785 the King of Spain gave our first President a stud Jack as a gift. In 1786 the King sent another Jack and two Jennet's to Mt Vernon. A Mule is a hybrid cross between a male donkey and a female horse. Washington was very fond of horses, but became convinced that the Mule worked harder and required less feed. In 1799 there were more Mules than horses...58 Mules and 25 horses.
The Military's Vital Weapon;
Pack Mules have been very essential in moving cavalry, infantry and artillery units and became the symbol of the US Army. During the Black Hawk War (1832), Mexican War, Spanish - American War...but the Civil War was a time that the Mules were really depended on. The Union Army used about one million Mules. 75,000 Mules were used just for the forces at Chattanooga and Sherman's Atlantic Campaign. The South used half as many Mules - which the soldiers had to provide on their own. Mules were often taken from the Southern farmer's for military use, which made work on the farm that much more difficult.
Both World Wars found the Mule called once again into action but far less in WWII. In WWI the British Army purchased a large number of Mules from America, some came from the middle Tennessee area (I'll get to that later). UK Army found that the Mules had more stamina than horses and were able to endure the dreadful conditions on the front lines.
Asia found these animals to be of great service in their warfare. The Chinese Army used more than 20,000 Mules in their battles with Japan. Mules were used by China and North Korea during the Korean War since the mountainous terrain proved too difficult for the troops. In the spring of 1951, communists forces used pack Mules to transport their supplies for attacks on UN forces north of Seoul. They abandoned their Mules when they were forced back by the opposing armies and the US 1st Cavalry Division captured many of the animals. One Mule found happened to have a U.S. Army brand and it was later discovered that it had been originally sent to the Burma - India area during WWII. After six years it ended up back in the ownership of the US Army.