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[317]

When sleek horses were plentiful — Yorktown, 1862 Confederate winter quarters near Yorktown, Virginia, which had passed into Federal hands. When McClellan moved to the Peninsula in the spring of 1862 he had but few cavalry, but every officer was provided with a handsome charger on which he pranced gaily up and down the lines. “Little Mac” himself rode preferably at full speed. His appearance was the signal for an outburst of cheering. It was to be a picnic parade of the well-equipped army to the Confederate capital. It is presumable that the portly officer in the center of the picture had lost some weight, and the chargers some sleekness before they were through with Lee and Jackson. To such an extent had overwork and disease reduced the number of cavalry horses during McClellan's retreat from the Peninsula that when General Stuart made his raid into Pennsylvania, October 11th of the same year, only eight hundred Federal cavalry could be mounted to follow him. Under date of October 21st, McClellan wrote to General Halleck: “Exclusive of the cavalry force now engaged in picketing the river, I have not at present over one thousand horses for service. Without more cavalry horses our communications from the moment we march would be at the mercy of the large cavalry force of the enemy.”

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