November 10, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Major-General Stoneman, Chief of Cavalry Bureau, for remarks.
By order of Major General H. W. Halleck:
J. C. KELTON,
OFFICE OF CAVALRY BUREAU,
Washington, D. C., November 12, 1863.
A perusal of the inclosed papers indicates the following:
1. The horses of the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, are in no small degree affected with diseases, and among them that of the feet and mouth. One remedy, and that used at the depot with success, is the chloride of antimony for sore feet, and a decoction of white-oak bark for the mouth; another is borax and alum, half and half, pulverized and mixed with sweet oil, and applied with a swab to the tongue, and still another is common salt (chloride of sodium) crisped on a hot shovel and applied to the feet and mouth. A good prevention is to give horses as much slat as they will eat.
2. The extraordinary amount of hard work the cavalry is called upon to perform incident either to the necessities of the case or to an improper use of that arm of the service.
3. the great deficiency of forage, particularly hay. In one instance a whole division (the Second, General Gregg's) has been twenty-one days without any hay. No horses, however good and bought at whatever price, can stand this kind of treatment in a region where but little, if any, grass can be procured.
4. A portion of the horses issued to the Army of the Potomac have been illy adapted to the cavalry service, being too young, unbroken, and unsound. Every effort is being made to remedy, and, as far as possible, to do away with this cause for complaint.
5. Horses which have become unserviceable and having been left behind in various movements of the army or having been sent into depot, have been reissued and send into the field. It was expected that this would cause complaint, but the Government has these horses on hand, and unless they are disposed of, they must be either kept and fed at great expense or must be reissued for further use. A large portion of these broken-down horses have been during the past summer in pasture, and have been recently collected together and put into stables and sheds, all of which are now full of them. They are divided into four classes, the fourth being considered it for service, and from this class the best are selected and again sent into the field. Each horse before he is turned over to be sent off is inspected to see if he is affected with any disease, such as sore feet, sore tongue, glanders, farcy, distemper, &c., and none are allowed to leave that are so affected. If, after they have been issued and before turned to the depot and others issued in their places, the object being to send the best there is and to make the most possible out of the 17,000 on hand on the last of October. But few of the horses purchased by the Cavalry Bureau have been sent to the Army of the Potomac, most of them having been sent to other armies and issued to new regiments, and, as far as known, have given very general satisfaction.