hundred and twenty regiments of cavalry mounted while such a system is tolerated.
Cavalry cannot be supported if it is to be kept at constant hard work and the horses are not groomed and cared for by the men, and they will not be unless the officers personally attend to this duty. With great deference to your experience, would not the less costly mode of defending your communications from the rebel cavalry be to give them some occupation in protecting their own? One thousand cavalry behind an army will give full occupation to 10,000 in pursuit. Every cavalry expedition of any force on either side, so far as my memory serves, has been, in a great degree, successful. Our armies have been ridden round time and again; our trains captured, bridges burned, communications cut, and we never succeed in destroying or capturing the force which does the damage, and never will except by fortunate accident. Our raids have been less numerous, but, when made, always successful in doing injury and in escaping without serious loss. The country can be covered by small posts, well placed, well fortified, capable of holding out indefinitely against cavalry and infantry, and against field artillery until relieved.
The main body of the cavalry should, it seems to me, be thrown upon the rear of the enemy, to live upon the country, cut his communications, and harass the country generally; take every horse seen, good or bad; shoot all those that cannot follow, and thus put the rebels to straits while mounting your own men.
There can be no great bodies of troops at any interior points, and 1,500 cavalry and mounted infantry could, it seems to me, force their way as far south as Jackson, and cut all the telegraphs and railroads from near that point to Milledgeville, not attacking the large towns, running from every large body of troops, but living on the plantations, destroying all military stores and railroads and common road bridges, and sickening the people of a war which made their homes unsafe-playing on land the Alabama's game on the sea.
We have at this moment Wheeling and Pittsburgh in a panic from 1,500 cavalry and guerrillas who left Woodstock a week ago, and have appeared in or near the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, causing the destructions of nine bridges on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, one of which cost $800,000. General Schenck, who commands the Middle Department and over 40,000 soldiers, is not likely to catch them. The last reports are that they are returning safely into Virginia.
You have 11,000 or 12,000 mounted men, and say that if you had 10,000 more you could have taken the forage and stock which the rebels have taken under your nose, and that if you had had 20,000 more you could have cut off their subsistence from Middle Tennessee and commanded it yourself. See what forces you ask for. You have 12,000; you should have had 22,000 or 32,000 mounted men. Haid it been possible to furnish so many men with horses, it would have been necessary to furnish more horses still to transport forage for these, and the difficulty of feeding would have been greater and greater. I doubt the wisdom of building up such masses, which crumble under their own weight. Our armies, it appears to me, are encamped too much in mass. How Napoleon divided his troops during every period of inaction, bringing them together only the day before or the night before a battle, and scattering them for subsistence the moment his blow was delivered! Look at the Army of the Potomac-a solid, inactive mass of men and animals for the last five months. How it has taxed the country to supply it! It has drawn nothing from the country it occupies, except wood.