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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Burro Drawer: 1912

Burro Drawer: 1912

Washington, D.C., or vicinity ca. 1912. "U.S. Army burro and cart." (The caption on the negative sleeve actually says "U.S. Army goat and cart" but I will go out on a limb and say that the fellow on the left is no goat.) View full size.

 

Amazing Indeed!

You shouldn't fell too sorry for the burrito. That's how the burro keeps his strength up.

[Fun fact: "Burrito," the diminutive of "burro," means "little burro." - Dave]

Amazing!

It never ceases to amaze me how can such a small animal be strong enough to pull a cart, its contents, the man sitting on it, plus its harness. Someone mentioned they felt sorry for the soldier. I feel sorry for the burrito too.

It is a goat

This was a recently declassified, pre-Great War, covert operation to smuggle goats behind enemy lines by disguising them as donkeys. Taft was a clever man.

Furry donkey with a bad haircut

There's only one type of donkey that could look that ugly - the "Baudet du Poitou" from France. Today there only about 200 or so purebreds left, and at one time they were close to extinction, with only 44 known to exist. What one of these truly strange French beasts is doing working for the U.S. Army in 1912 is a real mystery. The Poitou was brought over to the US to crossbreed with other breeds of donkeys (maybe after a few beers, perhaps) to develop the American Mammoth donkey.

Be all that you can be!

The photo reminds me of a Bill Mauldin cartoon drawn during the invasion of Italy. His bone-tired soldiers Willie and Joe are working on a muddy hillside in a driving rain, building a log pathway to a latrine. One of them looks disgusted and the other says, "Quit your complaining! You're learning a trade!"

Little GTO

Maybe he got caught with the post commander's wife, daughter or son. Just thinking.

Leggings!

The soldier is wearing exactly the same kind of leggings we wore as navy recruits in 1962. Come to think of it - they look identical - thanks to recycling?

How does a guy get out of this chicken outfit?

....is what the look on his face seems to be saying. I'd be requesting a transfer too.

The Original Tote Goat

Those carts were originally called "tote goats." Easy to assemble, they were used worldwide. Burros were low maintenance and are still a common means of transportation in places like Africa and Mexico. The Tote Goat trail bikes got their name from these sure-footed ancestors.

Fort Myer

I'd guess Fort Myer in Virginia. The duplexes look like officers' quarters.

Who has it worse?

The donkey is looking semi-miserable, but has a long thick coat against the cold. But Mr. Donkey Cart driver had to have had sore legs/butt from sitting astride the edge of the cart like that. How on earth does one get assigned to this duty!?

Government Issue

That cart looks rather makeshift for the Army. I guess this was before huge defense contracts and $1000 toilet seats. The burro seems well equipped for winter temperatures.

Wagons ho, but kinda slow

This photo gives new meaning to the term army draft.

 
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