HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 5, 1863.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward for the information of the major-general commanding this army the accompanying reports, which have come to me from my command. *
Attention is respectfully called to the two prominent grounds of complaint mentioned; the very general unfitness of the horses furnished for cavalry service, and the want of forage for the animals after they get into the field, both of which conspire to keep a very large portion of this corps actually absent from the army, and many others, in addition, dismounted and unserviceable in the ranks.
The poor quality of the horses sent from Dismounted Camp, and the want of care in the manner of forwarding them to the army, prove, satisfactory to my mind, the absolute failure of that enterprise, and convince me that some other system must be adopted to keep the cavalry properly mounted and equipped.
I would therefore respectfully suggest that the entire business of fitting out the cavalry of this army be placed under the orders and control of the commanding general; that depots be established (within the actual limits of the army where practicable) where men who have lost horses or equipments can be rapidly re-equipped for the field instead of, as at present, lying sometimes for months together in a Dismounted Camp over which he has no control, where it is reputed there is no discipline or order, and which both officers and soldiers have learned to look to as a comfortable escape from the performance of duty in the field. Depots thus established could receive the attention of the corps commander in an equal degree with any other portion of his command, being under his immediate eye and for the advantage solely of his own troops, suitable officers could and would be selected for their charge, and any evils could and would be promptly checked. Under the present system, although horses of a generally poorer quality than ever before received are furnished the command, although a very large number of officers and men are absent at Dismounted Camp, without the limits of this army, who properly belong to it, and whose services could be usefully employed in the field, I have no power to apply the least remedy.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Cavalry Corps.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 6, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant-General, for the information of the General-in-Chief.
GEO. G. MEADE,
*Inclosures omitted, their substance being in this report and following indorsement.