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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 29, Part 2 (Bristoe, Mine Run)

(Coal Knob) leading to Lewisburg, indicating a move on that place.

It is probably a demonstration to prevent me from detaching any of my troops to interfere with General Kelley.

I am my way to Lewisburg now.

August 13, 1863.

General R. E. Lee,

Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: On day before yesterday, when visiting the artillery battalion of the Second Corps, near Liberty Mills, I met with an intelligent citizen of Albemarle County, a near connection of Mr. William C. Rivers, who stated some facts respecting horses which it seems to me to be proper to submit to yourself:

First, he related several instances that had fallen under his own immediate observation, of worn and reduced army horses injuriously neglected through the carelessness or incompetency of the agents or official having them in charge. One case he particulary dwelt upon in which 50 feeble horses were temporarily pastured on his farm, and in a few days 10 of the number perished. Had the same number of horses belonged to a careful and sensible farmer, he belived that one would have died. the difficulty was want of salt and proper care of, and supplying each animal with the food, water, &c., needed, within reach.

Another case he described was where diseased horses were permitted freely to circulate among a large collection, with the certainty of spreading contagion, suffering, and loss. He declined mentioning the names of parties, believing the evils rather attributable to the system pursued with our decretiped horses than to the special culpableness of particular individuals.

Some plan which should bring into requistion the strong and ceasless motive of interest toward restroing these horses seems at once suggested by these facts.

Instead of waiting to collect large numbers of broken-down horses at certain points, turning them over to certain officers who have inadequate means of watering, feeding, &c., and who depend on employes withous special knowledge of or interest on the subject-a plan under which so many horses die-might not farmers in suitable districts, not too far off, be induced to take such horses in small numbers as they fail, use them as theu become strong, and returnthem or keep them, as the case may be, for suitable payments at the proper time.

This gentleman assured me that not less than 300 good artillery horses might be very soon gotten in Albemarle County alone without any serious detriment to the farming interests, if the right course was pursued. Such course he belived would not be the sending out of quartermasters, or their agents, unacquainted with the people or country, and with no deep interest in the great object, but the employment of an esteemed, judicious, and reliable citizen, with authority to secure the right kind of horses, either by paying suitable prices or exchanging worn and feeble horses for fresh ones, with proper boot. The prices would range near $600, he thought, and if parties would not sell, impressement as granted by law might be used. The name of a suitable citizen was mentioned, but one has

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 29, Part 2 (Bristoe, Mine Run)
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