Markings on this Confederate ammunition box:96 Lbs~1000~Cart. Cal. 57-58ELONGATED BALLRichmond ArsenalAugt. 1864
Pretty much since I began this blog, I have harped on the necessity of keeping ammunition in combat packing.
Last night, I reached over during my insomniac reading period and pulled down Volume III of Douglas Southall Freeman's classic, Lee's Lieutenants. The volume fell open to this paragraph about the fighting around Culp's Hill at Gettysburg:
Despite this inequality of firepower, Confederate losses were light. Steuart had his men well in hand and he instructed them to keep under cover. When his ammunition ran low, one of his staff took three men from the ranks, walked more than a mile to the ordnance train and brought back two large boxes of cartridges to the foot of the hill.
(MBV: Likely two 1000 round crates of .58 caliber minie ball cartridges as pictured above each weighing 96 pounds. This was heavy enough to be sure yet this wasn't much per man when distributed along the firing line. However it was likely all the four men could carry between them -- too bad they didn't have some pack mules.)
There they dumped the cartridges into a blanket, slung the blanket on a sapling and mounted the hill with the sapling over their shoulders. (Page 142.)
Note that this improvisation is evidence that neither the staff nor the ordnance train officers thought ahead to supply the troops during the night the unit spent on the hill before dawn. Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance.