In regard to the enormous surplus of cavalry in the Western and South western armies, as compared with infantry, I would remark that it has resulted in a great measure from the repeated requisitions of Generals Rosecrans, Banks, and others for increase of mounted forces, and their mounting infantry as cavalry. They were repeatedly informed that so large cavalry force could not be supported, and experience has placed this question beyond a doubt. Moreover, no general can command and efficiently employ, in our broken and wooded country, a body of cavalry of more than 10,000 or 12,000 men. I regard to the Department of North Carolina, which is nearly destitute of cavalry, I would respectfully suggest that some regiment, or a brigade, be sent there from General Sheridan's command. The mounted infantry and militia in Kentucky and Tennessee have destroyed a vast number of horses, without rendering any effective service in the field. The same remark is partly applicable to the mounted militia in Missouri. The terms is partly applicable to the mounted militia in Missouri. The terms of service of many of these will soon expire. There was with General Thomas' army on the 1st of January about 19,000 mounted men, about 16,000 of which were near Eastport. A part of Knipe's division was then dismounted at Louisville. It has since been remounted and sent to General Canby. This will leave General Thomas about 15,000. General Wilson wants 10,000 additional remounts for the spring campaign. It is certain that so large a number of remounts cannot be supplied to that army, even if we make no further issue to other cavalry troops supplied from the West. Neither will it be possible, in my opinion, for such a cavalry force to be subsisted in any operations against Selma or Montgomery. Like all extravagant undertakings, its very magnitude will defeat it; the horses will starve, the equipments be lost, and the men left on foot along the road. Moreover, I learn from the Quartermaster-General that he is now some $180,000,000 in debt, and that unless more money is soon raised it will be very difficult to purchase supplies for the army. Under these circumstances I desire you instructions in regard to the number of cavalry to be fitted out for General Thomas' expedition, and whether horses shall be furnished to him in preference to all other commands in the West and Southwest, bearing in mind that it will not be possible to furnish horses, forage, and transportation to anything like the whole cavalry force in those departments and divisions. It is also proper to determine when the purchase of remounts shall be resumed for Sheridan and the Armies of the Potomac and the James. Considering that the Quartermaster's Department cannot now supply forage to the animals we have on hand, I would not advise purchases to be commenced before the middle of March, and I doubt whether navigation will be sufficiently opened by that time to enable us to bring forward horses and supplies. The railroads of the North cannot do this.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
CITY POINT, VA., February 13, 1865-12.30 p. m.
(Received 1 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
I wish every effort would be made to pay the army up to the 31st of December, 1864. There is much dissatisfaction felt by officers and men