But, when these troops are called out, we have at no time been able to turn out more than 5,000 for actual duty. The other cavalry horses reported in Nashville, 975; total, 3,003. You will thus see that we have not the cavalry you suppose. We are using the most strenuous and unremitting efforts to increase in care of horses and the efficiency of this arm.
2nd. But I must call your attention to the fact that this small cavalry force, effectively not half that required for a permanent garrison of infantry equal to that of this army, has to furnish pickets, scouts, couriers for Fort Donelson, Clarksville, Nashville, Gallatin, Carthage, and the front of this army from Franklin to this place, 28 miles. You may thus form some idea of the labor imposed on our cavalry, and how our horses are worn out so rapidly.
3rd. As to the actual work of this arm, besides the routine labor, you will find it has had some expeditions or fight in mass nearly every week, and as yet without a single failure.
4th. As to expeditions, we have not a sufficiently strong cavalry force to drive that of the enemy to the wall, or to risk detachments for the enterprise of which you speak to the rear of the rebels. The one which I did send out under Colonel Streight, in spite of all my precautions, was captured by the superior cavalry force of the enemy detached from Granger's front at Franklin, where Van Dorn has still left about four to our one.
5th. As to forage, our want for long forage is owing to the impossibilities of getting transportation, either by water or rail. You must remember we are 220 miles from our base of supplies at Louisville.
You may rely on it, I am fully alive to all you have suggested, and ask for nothing which I am not fully satisfied will be an ample economy to the service. Had we a cavalry force equal to that of the enemy, we would have commanded all the forage of the country-commanded information of its inhabitants, upon whose fears we, instead of they, would thus be able to operate.
As to the comparative number of cavalry in our and other armies, I am sure you are mistaken as to Russia, at least, which has 80,000 regular cavalry, while all the outpost, picket, and courier duty is done by irregular cavalry. But even were it otherwise, I know what cavalry would do for us here, and am not mistaken in saying that this great army would gain more from 10,000 effective cavalry than from 20,000 infantry.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
May 10, 1863.
Major-General ROSECRANS, Murfreesborough:
The Richmond Examiner of the 7th instant contains a dispatch from General Bragg, dated at Tullahoma on the 5th, which states that Colonel Streight, with his whole force, 1,600 strong, were captured, with their rifles, horses, and side-arms, by General Forrest, near Rome, in Georgia, after five days' marching and fighting. The President desires to know whether you have any information on the subject, and whether Colonel Streight belongs to your command. Please answer immediately.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
21 R R-VOL XXIII, PT II