Perryville in Cecil County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Perryville Mule School
Soon after the Civil War erupted in April 1861, Perryville became an important Union staging area. Adjacent to Fort Dare here, a riverside plantation was confiscated from Confederate sympathizers and immediately transformed into a special camp and school. The "recruits" marched down Broad Street but were forbidden from mingling with the curious citizenry, excluded from mess tents, and issued no uniforms, weapons or tents. They were mules, and they outnumbered men at the camp.
About 11,000 mules, 3,500 horses, 3,000 wagons, and 3,200 teamsters converged on Perryville for military training. The mules arrived unbroken and tended to stampede. They presented great challenges to those hired to train them and protested getting the U.S. brands on their shoulders. But by the time they left for war, they were harnessed four to a wagon in teams, obeyed commands, and hauled highly valuable military supplies. The mules' service was critically important to the Federal logistics and supply system, and the training academy at Perry Point took credit for the good behavior of the beasts. During the war, about 1.5 million
Once the government decided to close the training camp in 1862, a unique auction ensued. Offered for sale were 23 mules, 12 horses, 15 mares with foals, 50 cooking stoves, 15,000 grain sacks, 60,000 tire irons, 8,000 lbs. of iron, 175,000 board feet of lumber, 15 barracks, 271 neck halters, 200 lbs. of horseshoe nails, 112 stable forks, and 832 lanterns. Paper money, coins, and U.S. Treasury notes were accepted.
(lower left photo)
The U.S. Army confiscated the Stump family plantation at Perry Point to create the mule school. The Stumps, Confederate sympathizers, fled to Harford County. Photo ca. 1890s. - Courtesy of Historical Society of Cecil County
(upper right photo)
U.S. Army officers and soldiers encamped in a Cecil County Civil War camp.
(lower right photo)
The mule, offspring of a female horse and male donkey, is renowned for having a mind of its own. Imagine the small citizenry of the Town of Perryville, when 11,000 converged on them and marched through the streets on their way to school.
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • War, US CivilMaryland Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 39° 32.984′ N, 76° 3.195′ W. Marker is in Perryville, Maryland, in Cecil County. Marker is on Marion Tapp Parkway, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located inside Perryville Community Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Perryville MD 21903, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Susquehanna Manor (approx. 1.2 miles away); Revered Son (approx. 1.4 miles away); Count de Rochambeau’s Troops (approx. 1.4 miles away); Perryville (approx. 1.4 miles away); Rodgers Tavern (approx. 1.4 miles away); Old Post Road - Lower Susquehanna Ferry - Rodgers' Tavern (approx. 1.4 miles away); John O'Neill (approx. 1.8 miles away); British Landing (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Perryville.
Also see . . . Mule School Key Depot - Fredericksburg.com. (Submitted on February 26, 2017, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 25, 2017, by Pete Skillman of Port Deposit, Maryland. This page has been viewed 439 times since then and 15 times this year. Last updated on February 28, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 25, 2017, by Pete Skillman of Port Deposit, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.