previous next

The battle of fleet Wood.

Major H. B. M'Clellan.
The services rendered by the cavalry of the armies contending upon the soil of Virginia, have not been fully appreciated by those who have as yet attempted the story of the war. During the last two years of the war no branch of the Army of the Potomac contributed so much to the overthrow of Lee's army as the cavalry, both that which operated in the Valley of Virginia and that which remained at Petersburg. But for the efficiency of this force, it is safe to say, that the war would have been indefinitely prolonged. From the time that the cavalry was concentrated into a corps under General Pleasonton, until the close of the war, a steady progress was made in discipline, esprit du corps, and numbers. Nothing was spared to render this arm complete. Breech-loading carbines of the most approved patterns were provided; horses and accoutrements were never wanting, and during the last year of the war Sheridan commanded as fine a body of troops as ever drew sabre.

On the other hand, two causes contributed steadily to diminish the numbers and efficiency of the Confederate cavalry. The government committed the fatal error of allowing the men to own their own horses, paying them a per diem for their use, and the muster valuation in cases where they were killed in action; but giving no compensation for horses lost by any of the other casualties of a campaign. If a man's horse were killed, disabled, or worn out in the service, he must return to his home to procure another; and the strength of the command was constantly reduced below its reported

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Virginia (Virginia, United States) (1)
Petersburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Alfred Pleasonton (1)
H. B. M'Clellan (1)
Fitz Lee (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: