The General-in-Chief, in a letter to me dated Washington, D. C., October 14, 1862, replies to this dispatch in the following language:
I have caused the matters complained of in hour telegrams of the 11th and 12th to be investigated.
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In regard to horses, you say that the present rate of supply is only 150 per week for the entire army here and in front of Washington. I find from the records that the issues for the last six weeks have been 8,754 making an average per week of 1,459.
One thousand and fifty is the number stated in the original dispatch, now in my possession; and as not only figures were used, but the number was written out in full, I can hardly see how it is possible for the telegraphic operator to have made a mistake in the transmission of the message.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
October 14, 1862 - 7 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief:
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With my small cavalry force it is impossible for me to watch the line of the Potomac properly or even make the reconnaissances that are necessary for our movements. This makes it necessary for me to weaken my line very much by extending the infantry to guard the innumerable fords. This will continue until the river rises, and it will be next to impossible to prevent the rebel cavalry raids. My cavalry force, as I urged this morning, should be largely and immediately increased, under any hypothesis, whether to guard the river or advance on the enemy, or both.
GEO. B. MCCLELLAN,
The following is an extract from the official report of Colonel Ingalls:
Immediately after the battle of Antietam, efforts were made to supply deficiencies in clothing and horses. Large requisitions were prepared and sent in. The artillery and cavalry required large numbers to cover losses sustained in battle, on the march, and by diseases. Both of these arms were deficient when they left Washington. A most violent and destructive disease made its appearance at this time, which put nearly 4,000 animals out of service. Horses reported perfectly well one day would be dead lame the next, and it was difficult to foresee, where it would end or what number would cover the loss. They were attacked in the hoof and tongue. No one seemed able to account for the appearance of this disease. Animals kept at rest would recover in time, but could not be worked. I made application to send West and purchase horses at once, but it was refused on the ground that the outstanding contracts provided for enough; but they were not delivered sufficiently fast nor in sufficient numbers until late in October and early in November. I was authorized to buy 2,500 late in October, but the delivery was not completed until in November, after we had reached Warrenton.
In a letter from General Meigs, written on the 14th of October and addressed to the General-in-Chief, it is stated:
There have been issued, therefore, to the Army of the Potomac since the battles in front of Washington, to replace losses, 9,254 horses.
What number of horses were sent to General Pope before his return to Washington I have no means of determining; but the following statement, made upon my order by the chief quartermaster with the army, and who had means for gaining accurate information, forces upon my mind the conclusion that the Quartermaster-General was in error:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Chief Quartermaster's Office, October 31, 1862.
Horses purchased since September 6, 1862, by Colonel Ingalls, chief quartermaster, and issued to the forces under the immediate command of Major General George B. McClellan