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[332]

In its cantonment at Brandy Station, during the winter of 1864, the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac was nearly ruined by increasing the ration of grain to make up a deficiency in hay. During the famous Stoneman raid (March and April, 1863) an entire cavalry division was without hay for twenty-one days, in a country where but little grazing was possible. During Sheridan's last raid, in 1865, nearly three-fourths of the lameness of his horses was due to an involuntary change of forage from oats to corn.

But much of the breaking-down of cavalry horses was merely inseparable from the hardships and privations which every great war carries in its train, and which the most experienced leaders cannot foresee or prevent.

In General Sheridan's march from Winchester to Petersburg, February 27th to March 27, 1865, each trooper carried on his horse, in addition to his regular equipment, five days rations in haversacks, seventy-five rounds of ammunition, and thirty pounds of forage. On General James H. Wilson's Selma expedition, each trooper carried, besides his ordinary kit, five days rations, twenty-four pounds of grain, one hundred rounds of ammunition, and two extra horseshoes.

A remarkable case, illustrating the conditions surrounding the war service of cavalry regiments, was that of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. In April, 1864, this regiment started on a march from Nashville, Tennessee, to Blake's Mill, Georgia. It had nine hundred and nineteen horses fresh from the Nashville remount depot, and among its enlisted men were three hundred recruits, some of whom had never been on a horse before.

In a little over four months, the regiment marched nine hundred and two miles, not including fatiguing picket duty and troop scouting. During this period, the horses were without regular supplies of forage for twenty-six days, on scanty forage for twenty-seven days, and for seven consecutive days were without food of any kind. In one period of seventy-two

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