Add to this the number captured from the enemy and taken from citizens.
There are now on hand about 17,000 cavalry horses, which have been turned in and picked up, making about 18,078 horses which have been killed in action, been captured, or have died, or been sold at auction.
To the 17,000 unserviceable horses must be added the number unserviceable now on hand in the Army of the Potomac, which it is impossible to get at.
At the commencement of the withdrawal of the Army of the Potomac from Culpeper Court-House, all the stables were full of horses, serviceable and unserviceable.
Of the number then on hand, 800 have bene issued to the Third Maryland Regiment; 500 to the Twentieth New York; 550 to General Foster; 560 to General Kelley; 100 to Colonel Lowell, and 4. 084 to the Army of the Potomac, besides several smaller issues, leaving on hand about 2,000 fit for issue. There are also on the way here about 1,000 more.
The whole number issued to the Army of the Potomac during October is 7,036.
It would seem from the inclosed papers that the inefficiency of the Cavalry Corps complained of is due to these causes:
1. Disease of the foot and tongue, both of which yield readily to the remedies used in the hospital at the Cavalry Depot. Great care has been taken sending forward horses to the army, not to allow any horse to leave the depot afflicted with either of these diseases, as each horse is inspected when he leaves the stables and before he is sent off.
2. The severe duties which the horses have to perform. The remedy for this is within the control of the commanding general of the army with which the cavalry is serving.
3. The great want of forage, without which horses cannot be expected to last long, or be able to perform much service of any kind. The remedy for this is either to furnish more forage, or to keep the cavalry force where it can procure forage if it is [not] furnished.
As to the complaint made by General Kilpatrick, in regard to the demoralization of men and officers by sending them into Washington, and the idea that they "neglect their horses and lose their equipments, knowing in either case that they will be sent in to refit," I agree with him, through General Ingalls and some other officers think such is not the case.
I inclose herewith a copy of a letter* upon the subject to General Ingalls, suggesting that the horses be sent by rail, or that a party be organized of experienced men to take them to the army.
There are two hundred and twenty-three regiments of cavalry in the service, and thirty-six of them are in the Army of the Potomac.
At the rate horses are used up in that army it would require 435,000 per year to keep the cavalry in the army up, and them, according to the inclosed papers, it would be inefficient.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General of Volunteers, Chief of Cavalry.
*See p. 402.