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Home arrow Historical arrow Technology arrow Transport arrow Ox Cart

Ox Cart Print E-mail

An ancient but reliable means of transport which played an important role in the Peninsular. 


Ox cart at Quinta da Povoa
A Lines Survivor!

Lumbering ox carts - called "chiars" by the locals, because of the sound their ungreased wooden axles made - were extremely practical and the normal mode of transport  of any any sizeable load.

Their importance may be illustrated in the attention paid to transport by the British commander:

.. on landing at Mondego bay in August 1808, the supply-conscious Wellesley began to gather transport and to train his inexperienced commissariat. The troops were to march carrying four days' supply of bread, with another three day's worth on some 130 mules. 307 carts were to carry ten days' bread, five days' meat and ten days' spirits in order to form a depot after seventy miles.
Sir Arthur had  asked the Bishop of Porto for "... 150 horses for the remount of the 20th dragoons, of which corps there are nearly that number of men dismounted. I also requested him to supply the troops with 500 mules, of a description which could be applied either to draft or carriage, which I propose to apply to the carriage of the musket ammunition and entrenching tools, (there being with the army no ammunition, tumbril, or intrenching tool carts,)..."

Later in the campaign, Wellington could not besiege Ciudad Rodrigo without a heavy batteringtrain of artillery. It was sent from Lisbon harbour to Oporto and then went up the Douro as far as Lamego. Thence 'nearly 400 pairs of draught bullocks and about 900 country carts were to be collected . . . '


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