“effective total” by the large number of men absent upon “horse details,” as they were called.
Toward the close of the war many were unable to remount themselves, and hundreds of such dismounted men were collected in a useless crowd, which was dubbed “Company Q.”
The second cause was the failure or inability of the government to supply good arms and accoutrements.
Our breech-loading guns were nearly all captured from the enemy, and the same may be said of the best of our saddles and bridles.
From these causes, which it was beyond the power of any cavalry commander to remedy, there was a steady decline in the numbers of the Confederate cavalry, and, as compared with the Federal
cavalry, a decline in efficiency.
But the men remained the same in courage and devotion, and to the very end the best blood in the land rode after Stuart
, and the Lees.
But while the superior efficiency of the Federal
horse is certainly to be acknowledged, a Confederate cavalryman may be pardoned in dissenting from some of the statements made by General D. McM. Gregg
, in his able article on “The Union cavalry in the Gettysburg campaign
In the first place, when stating the force of the cavalry under Stuart
's command in June, 1863, General Gregg
falls into the very common error of largely over-estimating his adversary.
He states that the Confederate cavalry numbered “about twelve thousand horsemen, divided into five brigades, with sixteen pieces of artillery.”
The brigade organization is stated correctly; our artillery consisted of five batteries of four guns each — in all twenty guns; but in estimating Stuart
's horsemen at the battle of Brandy Station
, June 9th, 1863, at twelve thousand, General Gregg
nearly doubles our effective strength.
As Assistant Adjutant General
of the Cavalry, it was within my province to know its strength.
Three grand reviews were held in Culpepper
— on the 22d of May, and on the 5th and 8th of June, 1863.
At the first of these reviews there were present only the three brigades of Hampton
, and the two Lees
memoranda, now in my possession, show about four thousand men, exclusive of pickets, in the saddle upon that day. Before the second review Stuart
was joined by Robertson
's North Carolina Brigade, and by W. E. Jones
' Virginia Brigade, and on the 31st of May, 1863, the “total effective” of the cavalry division was reported as nine thousand five hundred and thirty-six.
To rightly estimate the force with which Stuart
fought the battle of the 9th of June, 1863, there must be deducted from this number the men absent on special duty-“horse details” --the entire brigade of Robertson
, the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, and the Second South Carolina Cavalry.
It must also be stated that of Fitz