Fort Vancouver Tapestry

40. Mules

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Sponsored by: Al and Eileen Ono in Honor of Sherry Mowatt
Long before the Army was here, long before Americans were here, Mexican mule packers with long mule-trains were spread throughout the Northwest Territory. Mules played a vital role in army operations. By 1867, pack trains of over two hundred mules regularly left Vancouver Barracks to supply operations throughout the west. Mule training reached its peak during World War I when over a million mules were used in the war effort. Muleskinners and quartermasters had their tongues firmly in cheek when they called the training “charm school.”

A trillium growing wild in the woods of the Northwest accompanies a Korean greeting in the top border, along with a still sturdy brick mule barn, which now houses the Western Federal Lands Highway Department.