his return 4,000 were reported lost or unserviceable. When Hood commenced his march against Nashville, General Thomas" immediate command had only about 5,000 effective cavalry, but between the 1st of October and 31st of December all horses purchased in the West were sent to his chief of cavalry, the issued amounting to 23,000, and including those sent to General Burbridge during the same period, 29,000 in three months to General Thomas" entire command.
As Generals Wilson and Burbridge have made requisitions since that period for 14,000 additional horses, it is presumed that about the same number were lost or disable during that period of three months. As soon as General Thomas determined to make no farther advance during the winter, and General Canby was directed to assume active operations in the field, orders were given to resume issues to his (Canby's) command in preference to all others. In General Canby's entire division there were about 30,000 effective cavalrymen, of which only about one-half were mounted. As, however, his cavalry force was so disproportionate to his infantry, his requisitions are for only 6,000 horses, which will soon be filled.
Major-General Dodge has made a requisition for 1,000 horses to be sent to Fort Leavenworth to remount some regiments to be sent against the Indians on the Overland Mail Route. Orders have been given to fill this as soon as General Canby receives his 6,000 horses. It is proper to remark that inspection reports for the end of December showed a cavalry forces in the Department of Kansas of 4,581 men present for duty, and 4,388 serviceable horses. Major-General Thomas has made a requisition for 3,000 cavalry horses, to be sent to General Stoneman in East Tennessee. This requisition will be filled next after those of Generals Dodge and Canby.
No issues of cavalry horses have been made to the Department of Arkansas for several months, and about one half of the cavalry there are entirely dismounted.
In regard to the enormous surplus of cavalry in the Western and Southwestern 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 a 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.
In regard to the Department of North Carolina which is nearly destitute of cavalry, I would respectfully suggest that some regiments or a brigade be sent there from Sheridan's command.
The mounted infantry and militia in Kentucky and Tennessee have destroyed a vast number of horses without rendering very efficient service in the field. The same remark 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, abut 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.