gained will be lost, for want of mounted force to pursue. This has been stated and reiterated to the Department, but horses have not been obtained. No saving in prices paid by the contracting system can compensate for the losses we have thus sustained and are sustaining. Prices should be paid that will give us good horses, and that rapidly. Authority might wisely be given to our chief quartermaster to purchase at reasonable prices wherever he can obtain them. General Stanley is now waiting in Louisville with 1,200 dismounted cavalry to bring down horses. None there.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
MURFREESBOROUGH, April 24, 1863.
(Received 2.30 p.m.)
It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of promptly supplying this army with additional horses for mounted men. I have lost the control of the country between my infantry and that of the enemy, and all the forage and stock which they have consumed since I arrived here, for want of an adequate mounted force. The fruits of victory have been wrested from me through the same inexorable necessity. Money will hardly represent this loss. If there are nay horses in the country we ought to have them at once. General Stanley was sent to Louisville with 1,000 men to bring horses down. He inform me that horses are being sent from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Louisville to the west, and even to General Hooker. Prices are so low that they are sending horses to Saint Louis. Money is thrown away buying the kind of horses we have bought. Prices should be realized for better stock. Cheap horses for service absolutely necessary is the worst possible plan, and this is tenfold worse when service is military. The cost of feeding poor horses and bringing them here is as great as that for good ones. The difference between them is greater than can be represented.
What has been said of purchasing horses is still more applicable to purchase of mules. Those sent here were too cheap; pecuniary loss on them before they get into service has been more than would buy good mules.
W. S. ROSECRANS.
WASHINGTON, April 24, 1863-8.20 p.m.
Your dispatch received. If you can send to Louisville some trusty officer of cavalry, to aid in the inspection of horses and mules for your army, who will not be accessible to temptation, the quartermaster's department at Louisville will be glad of his aid. The quartermasters of experience are too heavily burdened to personally inspect all the stock. Its quality should be brought at once by rigid inspection to the printed specifications, which are sufficient, if enforced, to secure good horses. Hired inspectors too often yield to the temptation offered by contractors. Have ordered Colonel Swords to take post at Louisville, because I heard such serious complaints of the quality of horses and mules accepted. Captain [Charles N.] Goulding's mules are particularly ill reported. Have written to you about the charges against him, and have also directed Colonel Swords to investigate the matter. Captain W.