Reports of Major William H. Jennings, Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry.
HDQRS. SEVENTH PENNSYLVANIA VETERAN VOL. CAV.,
Near Blake's Mill, Ga., September 13, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that the Seventh Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Cavalry started on the 30th day of April, with 919 horses fresh from the corral at Nashville, Tenn., and unused to military duty; the majority were young horses, not aged. Three hundred of the enlisted men were raw recruits. Some had never been on a horse before they entered the service, and were without drill. We traveled along the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad for forty-eight consecutive hours. The horses were without feed, and traveled forty-three miles, passing a depot from which forage was carted at least eight miles.
May 5, we marched twenty-three miles without feed. At Mound City received twenty-eight pounds corn for three days, to be carried upon the horses, in addition to five days' rations, and traveled thirty-three miles, crossing the Raccoon, Sand, and spur of Lookout Mountains. The young horses commenced to fag; a few were abandoned, and the hearty and strong horses were fatigued. The colonel (William B. Sipes, then commanding) instituted morning inspections, compelling every man to groom his horse and graze whenever an opportunity occurred.
From the 16th of May to the 19th the horses were without feed, except the leaves and short grass to be found on the hills around Adairsville, Ga. During this time we traveled thirty-five miles; the last five, from Kingston to the Free Bridge, was traveled at a gallop, causing the horses to give out by the dozens (as figures will prove). That night we received the first forage the horses had for three days. Out of seventy-two hours the horses were under saddle for sixty hours, and receiving all the attention the men were able to give. On the morning of May 22 the commanding officers of companies reported a loss of 76 horses, which had died of starvation and abandoned. Upon investigation the veterinary surgeon corroborated the statement, and pronounced forty-three more unserviceable and unfit to travel. Up to this period the horses were groomed as regularly as circumstances would permit. Out of the forty-three horses left to recuperate fifteen were returned of the command August 5.
From May 26 to June 2 (seven days) the horses were without feed, and actually starved. One battalion (the Third) lost in action, trying to procure forage, 33 horses, and 101 were starved to death and compelled to be abandoned. A detail, commanded by Captain Garrett, traveled thirty miles, returning without forage. June 11 and 12, no forage. A detachment, commanded by Captain Cyrus Newlin, traveled twenty-six miles, returning with one quart for a horse. From June 13 to 18 received half forage. From June 19 to 22 no forage, but stubble-field to graze in. June 20, lost in action 26 horses. From June 23 to July 17 received half rations. July 18 to 19, no forage. From July 27 to 30 foraged on the country for twenty miles around Stone Mountain. All was packed upon the withers of the horses, doing as much harm to the horses as the feed did good, causing sore backs.