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[360] time came for actio they rode bravely into the thickest of the fight. At the reorganization of the army, in front of General McClellan's position at Yorktown, many officers whose ideas of military discipline were far in advance of the views held by their volunteer soldiers, and more in line with the regular army, were left out, and ‘more sociable and better fellows’ put in their places. In some instances this was unfortunate, and in others it was for the best. About this time the cavalry went through a weeding process. Many doctors were promoted to surgeons in the army, men of influence secured other positions, the commissary and quartermaster department had to be supplied with competent clerks, elderly men found it convenient to go home to raise supplies for the army, a few were taken sick and sent off on furloughs, which were renewed continually until a final discharge came. The gap thus made was quickly filled by recruits, often boys from sixteen to twenty years of age, who made splendid soldiers after a few months' experience. Some companies were recuperated by transfers from the infantry, who were influenced at first, no doubt, by the desire for an easier service, and the comforts of horseback, but in this they were sorely disappointed, for, through two years of the hardest warfare ever experienced by men, they had to fight as infantry all day, and then provide, as best they could, food for their horses at night, and then, early the next morning, feed and curry their horses and repeat the exercises of the previous day. Many of these men were poor, some of them very poor, and it was always a mystery how they kept mounted. Many a gallant fellow, whose horse had been wounded or worn out in the service—for these he could get no pay—impoverished himself and denied his family that he might stay with his command and not be transferred to other arms of the service, or enrolled in ‘Company Q.’ Many brave men whose horses were in the recruiting camps were forced to remain in the dismounted camp. A history of the cavalry would be incomplete without an appendix telling of the trials and mortifications and encounters of ‘Company Q.’ Never having marched or fought with this command, I am unable to do the subject justice, but there are men living who can tell us of their perilous foraging expeditions as well as their heroic defense of our wagon trains.

These drawbacks, and others which might be mentioned, greatly reduced the fighting numbers of this service. Thus, at Kelly's Ford, March 17th, 1863, Fitz Lee's brigade only mustered eight hundred men when it should never have been less than twenty-four

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McClellan (1)
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March 17th, 1863 AD (1)
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