HDQRS. THIRTEENTH VIRGINIA ARTILLERY BATTALION,
March 11, 1865.
Major W. C. SCOTT,
Quartermaster, Third Corps Artillery:
MAJOR: It is just to myself and the officers of this command that I should make the following statement in regard to the horses of this battalion:
The battalion was during the whole of last winter campaigning with Lieutenant-General Longstreet in East Tennessee, marching continually in snow, mud, and rain in a mountainous country between Knoxville and Bristol. The horses of the Huger battalion, in the same army corps, nearly all died or became unserviceable, and he was refitted on his rejoining this army. In June last these three batteries were brought to Richmond in the hot weather and in close canal-boats, in consequence of which they became diseased, and many have died or been condemned. When I took command, in August, I had the horses inspected by the inspector of the First Corps of Artillery, and they were pronounced a "bad lot;" subsequent inspections by Captains Winthrop and Dandridge, of General Pendleton's staff, pronounced the horses improving-that is, the healthy ones. Many have died of farcy or glanders; many now on hand have been with the batteries since their organization in 1862. Captain Dickenson lost a number of horses in a fight near Dublin early in the spring. He was refitted from the two other batteries, and received the worst of the horses. This will account for the small number of good horses he has now on hand. The command was not refitted with good horses either before or after reaching Richmond.
There is another thing I could like to call your attention to-in is this: These horses are from the mountains of Southwestern Virginia and East Tennessee;have been accustomed to pure mountain water and grass; for a long time last summer they would not drink the water of the river nor the streams near the camp. It is generally conceded, I believe, that horses from that section will not thrive in this. They have received the best attention, generally full rations of hay and corn,and the drivers known their business; are groomed twice a day and watered regularly. It is really discouraging to have such stock. It appears to me better policy to turn these horses and those sent to Lynchburg to recruit over to farmers in the Southwest; let them range about in the fields, get grass and good water, and next season many will be good for service again. As they are in Lynchburg, in open sheds, with no more feed then they get here and not as good attention, I can't see how they will get in better condition. I propose sending the horses we now consider unserviceable for you to look at on Monday morning, say to reach your quarters before 10 o'clock. I would like your opinion of them, that our standard of unserviceable horses may hereafter agree.
Pardon me for troubling you with such a long communication, but I feel that the subject warrants the infliction. Herewith I send a full horse report since I assumed command.
I am, major, very respectfully, &c.,
W. M. OWEN,