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 48,721 were sold, and 24,321 died. In addition to this number, over 12,000 artillery horses were handled at the depot. While the capacity of the St. Louis depot was thirty thousand animals, it was never completely filled — the serviceable remounts being promptly forwarded to regiments in the field, and the recuperating animals being held only long enough to render them serviceable or to determine whether they would not respond to further rest or veterinary treatment. The hospitals for the accommodation and treatment of disabled animals were probably the most complete of their kind existing at that time; but after it had been demonstrated that an animal could not be nursed back to the military service, it was a matter of economy to dispose of him to some enterprising bidder for the average price of thirty dollars per head. The depot system or caring for Government stock, receiving those newly purchased and recuperating those returning sick or disabled from the field, proved a measure of the greatest economy to the Federal Government, in addition to its marked effect on the military efficiency of the mounted service. The value of the animals returned to duty with regiments from the St. Louis depot alone, in excess of what the same animals would have been worth at public auction as condemned articles of sale, was in a single year nearly two hundred thousand dollars more than the entire operating expenses of the plant. When it is remembered that there were six large depots, all engaged in handling the mounts and remounts of the great Federal armies, and that the depots at Giesboro and St. Louis comprised but a part of this complex system of administration and supply, the tremendous responsibilities imposed upon the Cavalry Bureau of the Federal War Department may be appreciated and understood.
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