Train Numbers

In our train there are a wagon-master, an assistant, two extras, to help in different places, or take the place of sick or injured, and twenty-six drivers—thirty in all. There are three hundred and twelve oxen, besides some spare ones, often broken down. There are twenty-six wagons, divided into two wings —the right and left. As the leading teams have advantages, these wings alternate in starting. . . .

“The men are portioned off in four messes of six or seven, the cooks not having to guard or herd at night, or at the noon halts. The men are divided in five guards, so their watches will vary from before to after midnight, as their turns come, though sometimes they stand all night. The last, though making the duty rarer, was a great hardship, when after a hard day’s work we went supperless to an all night’s guard, after driving the cattle into the river to drink. . . .

“The wagons are narrow tired, weigh eighteen hundred pounds, and carry fiftyfour hundred. They are covered with double sheets and provided with chain-locks.

“Our train, when in close order, was a half mile long, but it often reached from one to three miles.