previous next


Most of the animals used by the Union cavalry were purchased by contract from dealers for a stated sum per head. Many of the mounts were not thoroughly broken, while not a few were absolutely unbroken. But no horse was so wild and unmanageable that some trooper could not be found, more than willing to undertake the animal's training. In fact, many cavalrymen took particular pride in having broken the horses which they rode in campaigns.

At the beginning of the war, when horses were being received from the West in car-load lots and shipped to the new regiments, some effort was made to organize troops of the same color — blacks, grays, bays, and sorrels — and to maintain this harmonious coloring from the remounts received from time to time. But after the regiments were fairly initiated into real campaigning and the losses in horseflesh became serious, all thought of coloring troops and regiments was abandoned, and the one idea was to secure serviceable mounts and remounts of any color, size, or description.

It is related of one cavalry colonel, whose regiment had been in several engagements and who had lost more than half his horses, that he appealed most eloquently to the quartermaster, for a supply of remounts. “Colonel,” said the quartermaster in reply, “I'll tell you frankly that we haven't five pounds of horse for each man to be mounted.” “That won't help much,” retorted the colonel, testily; “we were thinking of riding the brutes, not of eating them.”

The continual complaints as to the quality of the horses furnished, the tardiness with which remounts were supplied, and the inadequacy of conveniences for recuperating broken-down horses in the field, led to the establishment, in the year 1863, of the Cavalry Bureau, with General George Stoneman as its first chief, followed soon after by General Kenner Garrard. But it was under General James Harrison Wilson that the Cavalry Bureau reached its greatest efficiency.

This war bureau was charged with the organization and

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.

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.
James Harrison Wilson (1)
George Stoneman (1)
Kenner Garrard (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: