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"Ignorance and carelessness waste our horses" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2021 10:12 p.m. PST

"As I work on concluding a series of posts focused on the cavalry in the Second Manassas Campaign, I thought I would highlight two cavalry inspection reports. The first report, from mid-August, is from General Benjamin Roberts, Pope's Chief of Cavalry, and pertains to General George Bayard's brigade. I included part of the report, concerning Bayard's horses, in an earlier post. Today I include the entire report. Exactly one month after Roberts filed his report, Lt. Andrew Alexander inspected the horses in the three brigades from Pope's former Army of Virginia, including Bayard's. Alexander's report provides a nice comparison. All emphasis is from the original reports.

Benjamin Roberts, Chief of Cavalry to Col. Ed Schriver 8-16-62

I…enclose inspection reports of the brigade of Brig Gen Bayard's cavalry, consisting of the 1st Pennsylvania and 1st New Jersey Regiments…with remarks suggestive of the sad state of arms, clothing, horses, etc. The sore-backed horses are unconditioned for any service and should be sent to pasturage in the rear to recruit. The other horses low in flesh are for the present unserviceable & would only be in the way of efficient service, and Gen. Bayard would do well to send away for the time being some one hundred of the poorest of them. These regiments have been on very hard service the past six weeks in weather extremely hot, but I cannot doubt that the miserable condition of the horses is consequential on culpable neglect of duty by company officers. Company officers are also negligent of the condition of arms and ammunition, and for such negligence there is neither palliation or excuse…."
Full text here


14Bore12 Jun 2021 9:06 a.m. PST

Horses in all my military reading in the pre mechanical age got badly treated.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2021 3:21 p.m. PST



donlowry13 Jun 2021 8:32 a.m. PST

I've read somewhere that in the North farmboys who knew how much work it was to care for a horse opted for the infantry, so that Union cavalry regiments tended to fill up with city boys who knew nothing at all about horses.

Sounds plausible.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2021 3:05 p.m. PST



Zephyr114 Jun 2021 9:25 p.m. PST

I once read a book on the care of horses. After that, I wouldn't want to own one. It's a wonder they aren't extinct.
They eat the wrong grass, they die.
They get their hooves wet, they die.
They poop wrong, they die.
Maybe they are still around because they breed like rats… ;-)

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