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The Mighty Mule


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#1 BNK OFFLINE  

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Posted February 18, 2016 - 08:52 PM

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.          


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#2 Eric ONLINE  

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Posted February 18, 2016 - 09:08 PM

Wow, a lot of great info on a often overlooked animal. Just a tidbit of information to add since you seem so interested, we still use mules in the service but now they have four wheels and help ferry soldiers in areas where a heavy I.E.D presence is expected.
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#3 BNK OFFLINE  

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Posted February 18, 2016 - 09:13 PM

First 4 wheel Mule I seen was when I was in the Army. A very handy piece in the motor pool or wherever duty calls! I have a 4 wheel Mule to this day...by Kawasaki.


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#4 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted February 18, 2016 - 09:50 PM

I'm convinced that mules are infinitely smarter than horses and for that reason they won't do anything that is harmful to their self. Thus, they are considered to be stubborn.


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#5 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted February 19, 2016 - 09:09 AM

I'm convinced that mules are infinitely smarter than horses and for that reason they won't do anything that is harmful to their self. Thus, they are considered to be stubborn.

Problem is, there are times when they consider doing ANYTHING harmful to themselves.


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#6 BNK OFFLINE  

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Posted February 19, 2016 - 10:29 AM

Recent Years;

 

In the early 1980's Ed Cesar, a former master sergeant in the US Army made his way to Sumner County, Tennessee (my home County) to make a large purchase of pack Mules. Cesar, who owned the company American Export Group, met with Hub Reese Jr, who was part of the largest Mule - Trading families in Tennessee. 1,200 Mules were bought from Reese. I remember seeing these Mules when traveling to work on US 31E back in the day. We all wondered why soo many Mules in their lots?

The Mules were sent in 10 shipments to Islamabad, Pakistan and Peshawar. They were then delivered to the Mujahideen forces who were involved with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Mules were used to transport anti-aircraft missiles along narrow mountain trails which ultimately proved effective against the Soviet Air Force. Makes me wonder if any of the offspring animals were/are used against our Forces today?

The Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center northwest of Bridgeport, CA is training their troops to use Mules on combat missions in Afghanistan and other high altitude regions. The US Army stated in their manual "Special Forces Use of Pack Animals", that the Mules were very highly regarded because of their stamina, agility and intelligence. 

 

Reese Bros Mule Trading Co is still in the business today and they operate the largest Mule trading auction ring in North America right in the middle of my small town. The building used to be the Fleetwood Mobile Home factory. My father-inlaw used his Mule named Jim for nearly 20 yrs on the farm plowing (cultivating) tobacco and in the log woods snaking logs. Floyd (father-inlaw) was a "chain saw'n, log skid'n, tree climb'n, limb dodge'n, truck drivin', rough ol loggin man. I will always miss him~ 

 

Every year my little town has a Mule Day Parade. Every year Columbia, TN has their Mule Day event that lasts for 6 days!

 

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#7 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted February 19, 2016 - 10:45 AM

My cousin and his brother-in-law are active in raising and training mules. Mostly pack mules that they lease to hunting guides in the rockies. He posted a picture on facebook yesterday of him and his grandkids riding in a wagon  with his team.


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#8 BNK OFFLINE  

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Posted February 19, 2016 - 10:53 AM

My cousin and his brother-in-law are active in raising and training mules. Mostly pack mules that they lease to hunting guides in the rockies. He posted a picture on facebook yesterday of him and his grandkids riding in a wagon  with his team.

I'd like to see that! A team with all of it's tack and pulling a wagon...beautiful!



#9 L.Fure OFFLINE  

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Posted February 19, 2016 - 12:44 PM

 Makes me wonder if any of the offspring animals were/are used against our Forces today?

Highly unlikely. Being a hybrid between a horse and donkey, or a mammoth jack, they can not reproduce. But I do wonder if there are still any left that were originally shipped to those areas.

 

A few raccoon hunters in our area used mules on their hunts. Whenever they came to a fence they would lay a blanket over the wire, and the mule would jump over it with no problem.
     


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#10 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted February 19, 2016 - 01:27 PM

There are a lot of folks now who use light mules for trail riding. I read one story of a man who was riding with a bunch of horsemen. He came to a stream and the mule abruptly stopped. No matter what he would not cross a seemingly fine shallow creek. After riding up the water a ways, the mule crossed. Stopping to watch the place the mule didn't like, he saw a bunch of the horsemen came galloping up . . .   and got stuck in quick sand.


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#11 Marty'70 ONLINE  

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Posted February 19, 2016 - 05:31 PM

Awesome info BNK. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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#12 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted February 20, 2016 - 02:51 PM

I have often thought of breeding my miniature horse mares to the neighbour's mini donkey ----- mini mules are cute as can be, and like most creatures, if  raised right are sweet and willing  companions. Then common sense takes over and I realise that of course I would never sell them and I need two more mouths to feed like I need a hole in the head.


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