Brigade commanders report the horses now in service in their brigades in very poor condition, the result of almost constant use and insufficiency of forage. No hay has been received in this division for more than two weeks, and for several days since leaving the Rapidan but a fractional portion of the allowance of that forage could be procured.
If required to accomplish a march of 150 miles in five days, 20 per cent. of the horses now in use in the division would be totally unfit for service.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. McM. GREGG,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
[Sub-inclosure Numbers 3.]
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
October 25, 1863.
Captain C. C. SUYDAM,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps:
In reply to communication dated headquarters Cavalry Corps, October 24, asking for a report of the strength and condition of my command, I have the honor to state that I have 2,100 men for duty.
My men are well armed, but the horses, many of them, not in good condition. Within the last three days I have been obliged to send into the Dismounted Camp 265 men and horses. The men had their arms and equipments and were in every way ready for duty, but their horses, having been affected with the hoof disease and swelled tongue, were totally unserviceable. This disease made its appearance for the first time in my command on the morning of the 20th, and I have now over 200 horses rendered unserviceable from its effects.
The division numbered on the 29th day of June last 3,500 men for duty. Since that time no opportunity has been offered to reorganize or refit. Every effort has been made to keep the division effective and correct irregularities, abuses, and to teach officers and men their duty, of which many of them are totally ignorant. I do not say even now that my division, as a division, is unfit for duty, but we do need rest and a short time for reorganization. Since the battle of James City the division has lost about 400 men killed, wounded, and missing.
Many accounted for as missing are known to be stragglers, and are now at the Dismounted Camp. The men of my command have learned to appreciate the easy life offered them at the Dismounted Camp, and take every opportunity to get there. They neglect their horses, lose their equipments, knowing in either case that they will be sent in to refit. These and various other causes have reduced my command to its present standard, but we are ready now as we ever have been for any duty we may be called upon to perform.
Brigadier General of Vols., Commanding Third Division.
26 R R - VOL XXIX, PT II