The cavalry depot in the district of Columbia
This photograph of the cavalry depot at Giesboro is peaceful and orderly enough with the Stars and Stripes drooping lazily in the wind, but it does not betray the hectic activity “behind the scenes.”
Not long after the depot was established the entire Second United States Cavalry was sent there to be remounted, recruited, and refitted.
This operation took about a month, and they were ordered to rejoin the army in October, 1863.
Every company had a special color of horse at the outset, but this effect was speedily lost in the field, except for the grays.
“These were easily recruited,” said an old cavalryman, “because nobody wanted grays.
They were too conspicuous.
No, I don't mean that they attracted the enemy's fire, but a gray horse that lies down in muddy places is very apt to get dirty.
If you were coming in from a night of picket duty, would you rather take a rest, or spend your time getting your horse ready for inspection?
The dark-coated animals did not show the dirt so much.”