HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION,
Camp near Jones' Neck, Va., July 14, 1864.
Major R. S. DAVIS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina:
MAJOR: I have the honor to call the attention of the major-general commanding to the accompanying report of men and arms in this division. It will be observed that in addition to the great variety of arms and caliber that there is a great deficiency of the proper arms for cavalry. Repeated requisitions for carbines have been made, but have not been filled. The best carbines for cavalry are breech-loading repeaters, with metallic percussion cartridges. Of this kind Spencer's carbine is preferred, next the Henry rifle or carbine.
Sharps carbine is a favorite arm, but the ammunition in a few days' marching deteriorates so much as to be a serious objection, as ammunition trains can seldom be taken on cavalry expeditions, and therefore only a limited supply can be carried by the men. The same objection exists against all paper cartridges. The issue of Merrill's carbine, made in this command just before commencing the campaign, seems to have been a very defective arm in the manufacture. The Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry started on the 1st of May with 280 carbines; they are now reduced to 117, and this reduction is due almost entirely to defects in the arm itself. The officers report that many burst in the barrel, and other parts give way.
I propose to make such transfer of arms as will give the least variety of calibers in the same regiment; but in order to do this I should first like to know whether any carbines can be obtained to replace the infantry arms that were issued only for temporary use to the dismounted men in the intrenchments, and which it is proposed to turn in. It is also necessary to know what kinds and in what numbers carbines, if any, can be obtained; otherwise the difficulty of variety in caliber may still exist. It will prove the most economical in the end to arm cavalry with the best weapons for its peculiar service. Without a serviceable carbine cavalry is almost useless in the wooded country in which it is required to operate, where the enemy take up positions from which they can only be driven by dismounted men. I trust that something may be done to improve the equipment of this division.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
AUGUST V. KAUTZ,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Cavalry.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
In the Field, July 14, 1864-8.26 p.m.
The commanding general directs that you will state at once by telegraph why you cannot furnish at least 100 men daily for engineer fatigue and this fatigue to work all day.
Brigadier-General and Chief Engineer.