the Fifth Cavalry, was ordered by General Burnside to revise the inspection. His vigorous and rigorous inspection has checked deliveries and in time, if sustained, will have the effect of raising the quality of the stock to the standard of the specifications.
The large number of horses you have sent back to Louisville to be recruited, over 9,000, shows that you have had more horses than your troops have been able to take care of. You say that there has been great mortality, for want of long forage, which could not be furnished for want of transportation. Were there then so many animals in the department that they could not transports their own food? When our army reaches this limit, what is the remedy? Is not every additional horse another subject for starvation? Or is the deficiency of transportation on the part of the railroad? Could it not transport enough food and forage to the depot of the army? How do the rebels, without water transportation, in a country destitute in a great measure of hay-producing grasses, support the immense mounted force which you report? Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor reports 11,478 cavalry and 3,339 artillery horses on hand on 31st March, say 12,000 mounted men. You say the mounted rebels outnumber you five to one, and this I do not take to be a careless expression, for I find it repeatedly use in your dispatches to the General-in-Chief and to myself. Have they 60,000 mounted men? How do they find food for them? How can long forage-corn-stalks, the only long forage of the South-be conveyed in bulk to this immense force? I cannot but think you are mistaken in your estimate, and that their activity, the result of the same necessity which keeps the buffalo traveling, makes them appear in various places, and thus causes their numbers to be exaggerated. A herd of buffalo resting for four months on a prairie in one place would starve. They must travel to feed, and so with the rebel cavalry.
You report to General Halleck that you have received, since December 1,[1862,] 18,450 horses and 14,057 animals; nearly 7,000 animals per month. Is not this a large supply? Except in the first out-break of war and enlargement of armies, has anything like it ever been done before? The animals cost, by the time they reached you, nearly #4,000,000. You had on hand March 23, 19,164 horses and 23,859 mules-43,023 animals in all; or, if I am rightly informed by General Halleck as to your strength, about one horse or mule to every two men in your army. You have broken down and sent off as unserviceable, in addition to these, over 9,000 horses, and report that one-fourth or one-third of the horses on hand are worn out. Now, all this, it seems to me, shows that the horses are not properly treated. They are either overworked, or underfed, or neglected and abused. The evil cannot be the quality of the horses, for if the horses are young they should be worked only in proportion to their strength. I have known a regiment here rendered useless by a long march returning to camp, a march of 60 miles in twenty-four hours, no enemy being in pursuit, and the only object to be gained being to get back to camp. The same regiment, after recovering from the effects of this march, was ordered on another expedition. Marched some 20 miles in the afternoon, and in the next thirty hours marched, it is asserted by its officers, 90 miles; rested a day or two, and returned home by a march of 50 miles in twenty-four hours. This expedition picked up a dozen stragglers, but saw no enemy in force; had no engagement. A few nights afterward it was desired to put it in motion again. The regiment, a new one, 1,100 strong, lately raised and fresh mounted, reported that for another march it could mount 350 men. Such marches destroy the horses, and no Government can keep one