HEADQUARTERS FIRST LOUISIANA CAVALRY,
New Orleans, La., February --, 1863.
Lieutenant Col. RICHARD B. IRWIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Gulf:
SIR: I beg most respectfully to call the attention of the commander-in-chief of the department to the great scarcity of cavalry horses in this army. With every facility afforded by Col. S. B. Holabird, chief quartermaster, I have not been able to procure more than 200 serviceable cavalry horse since the 1st of January. The rural districts are entirely void of good horses. within the precincts of this city it is deemed an impossibility to forcibly take any more horses without interfering with foreign property or the daily routine of a large city, except by seizing animals of too great a value for military purposes, and owned by citizens who have taken the oath oh allegiance. Hack or car horses, as a rule, from their having been long driven on the hard pavements, are entirely unfit for cavalry. Since procuring the 129 horses mentioned in accompanying extract of report to Colonel Holabird, the parishes of La Fourche and Assumption have been again visited at my request by Lieutenant Perkins, of the Massachusetts cavalry, and every available horse, to the number of 60, forwarded to this city. Of this 60,5 only were deemed serviceable. My command of 500 men are at present fairly mounted, but without a spare horse in the department for the companies that are now being raised to fill the regiment, as also for several companies that are now being raised to fill the regiment, as also for several companies of Texas cavalry. No horses can be procured unless imported from the North. I would beg to suggest that, in addition to the regular monthly return, a further report be required from commanders of cavalry regiments and companies, viz:
1st. A descriptive list of all horses, with their size, age, weight, &c.; also name and weight of rider to whom assigned.
2nd. That a monthly return be made stating the condition of each hors, the distance over which ridden during the month, the state of the roads, the quantity and quality of forage used, and, if disabled, the causes.
Such a report I deem would be the means of checking many abuses in volunteer cavalry, more especially with independent or detached companies, and make both officers and men emulous of appearing favorable on a report on which each individual would by comparison be judged, and that a copy of such report be sent monthly to the inspector-general of the department and division and to the commander of the regiment.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, Commanding First Louisiana Cavalry.
NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 16, 1863.
Col. S. B. HOLABIRD,
Chief Quartermaster, Department of the Gulf:
SIR: Herewith you will please find duplicates of the receipts to me from Lieutenant Col. A. N. Shipley, assistant quartermaster, for 129 horses and 1 mule, which I have taken for cavalry purposes within our lines, in accordance with your order of December 31, 1862.
Accompanying also are the names of parties to whom receipts have been given by myself, and for me by Captain Luther Goodrich, provost-marshal at Thibodeaux, and Sergeant [William H.] Clemence, of his guard.