previous next

[347] well managed, could not perform the duty required of a cavalryman. It took many horses for each man during the four years of the war. When the war commenced it was an easy matter to secure a horse, but the demand increased so rapidly and the number decreased at a so much greater ratio that at last it would cost five years pay in Confederate money to purchase a good cavalry horse. The Government only agreed to pay for horses killed in battle, and it would take weeks and sometimes months to get the money after all the papers had gone through the ‘tape of office in Richmond.’ Many a cavalryman mortgaged his property to supply himself with horses, and had to pay in greenbacks after the war what was expected of our Government. The Government was very short of transportation; it could not send the men and horses back to their homes when necessary to exchange their jaded ones for fresh horses; neither would it pay the extra expense he incurred to accomplish this object. Take this illustration: A member of a company, whose home was in Washington county, Southwestern Virginia, has his horse wounded near Martinsburg, or Shepherdstown, in Jefferson county. How long a time will it take that man to carry his jade back home and hunt up a fresh horse? To keep that animal in camp to consume the scanty rations doled out to the active horses reported for duty was poor management; but we had no men detailed at camp for that purpose, and yet a cavalryman without a horse during an active campaign was a mere ‘camp dog,’ and the good soldiers would not stay there. The only thing to be done was to start him as soon after the horse was unfit as the papers could be gotten ready, and if the horse was kept too long in camp it was just that much added to his difficulties in getting home, and when we were actively engaged in the field the difficulties of getting the papers promptly was a severe tax upon the Adjutants of regiments and the Assistant-Adjutants of brigades, &c., &c.

It kept on an average at least one-third of a regiment on the road to and from home to remount. One-third of a regiment would generally be sick and wounded. In a fight (dismounted) it took one-fourth of the men to hold the horses of the dismounted men, and when we were far from our camps or wagons, about one-eighth of the men would be detailed to secure food for the horses and rations for the men. You will thus perceive what duty those present had to perform, and what was expected of a cavalry regiment. In General Early's narrative he gives Wickham's brigade an honorable record and credits them for the work done.

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.
W. C. Wickham (1)
J. A. Early (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: