previous next


The number of horses killed in battle was, after all, but a small fraction of those destroyed by exhaustion, starvation, and disease during the Civil War. When Lee's army marched into Pennsylvania he had issued stringent orders against plundering. The orders were almost implicitly obeyed except when it came to the question of horses. The quartermasters, especially of artillery battalions, could seldom report their commands completely equipped. The Confederacy had no great cavalry depots like Giesboro, or those at St. Louis or Greenville in Louisiana. When a mount was exhausted he had to be replaced. Some of the farmers actually concealed their horses in their own houses, but a horseless trooper was a veritable sleuth in running down a horse, whether concealed in the parlor or in the attic. The Confederates offered to pay for the horses, but in Confederate currency. The owners occasionally accepted it on the principle that it was “better than nothing.” The animals thus impressed in Pennsylvania were for the most part great, clumsy, flabby Percherons and Conestogas, which required more than twice the feed of the compact, hard-muscled little Virginia horses. It was pitiable to see these great brutes suffer when they were compelled to dash off at full gallop with a field-piece after pasturing on dry broom-sedge and eating a quarter of a feed of weevil-infested corn.

Horses killed in battle: a serious loss

A cavalry horse picketed at the evening bivouac


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)
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.
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: