« PreviousContinue »
horses and worn out our equipments, and has accomplished nothing except keeping the enemy from gaining information of our positions and movements, which could have been done quite as well with less cavalry and more infantry. Our cavalry has been confined too much to details, and has not done enough in the way of independent expeditionary duty.
Question. At whose suggestion was the present organization of the cavalry in the army of the Potomac adopted ?
Answer. It has been a matter that has been talked over a great deal. I myself conversed with General Hooker upon that subject. I was absent, however, at the time the organization took place.
Question. When was that?
Answer. Since General Hooker has been placed in command. Just at the time he took command there came on a terrible snow storm, and I availed myself of the prospect of no immediate movement to take my first leave of absence since the army was organized I have not before had a moment's leave of absence.
Question. Who is in command of the cavalry corps of the army of the Potomac.
Answer. General Stoneman, I believe, now is in command of it. I have had no official notification to that effect, however. It is organized, I understand, in three divisions.
Question. You are in command of one of those divisions, I suppose ?
Answer. I have beard that I shall have command of one of them as soon as I rejoin the army.
Question. Who are to be the other division commanders?
Answer. I think General Pleasonton and General Gregg. There will be a better prospect for our cavalry in the spring, I think, than there ever yet has been. The enemy's cavalry are pretty much worn out and worn down. As both our cavalry and that of the enemy use cavalry equipments, they get pretty much worn out in two years. We have been supplied pretty regularly, while the enemy, 1 think, have not been. Enough has not been done to shelter our horses. I made propositions two or three times before the winter came on to get the condemned canvas in the Navy Department. I made out an estimate of the number of yards required, and proposed that my own men should put up the frames and put on the canvas. I understand that after canvas has been used a certain time in the navy it is condemned. Sometimes a portion of it is sold to merchantmen' who use it a year or two longer. But I have been informed that a great deal of it is laid up in storehouses, where it is left to rot. I estimated that 400,000 yards would afford a shelter for all the horses in my command, and the number of horses that have died from exposure this winter, and which would have been saved if they had been under shelter, would have paid for that much new canvas. We have no horse-covers, and the men have to use their horse blankets on cold nights to keep themselves warm. And the horses that have been bought have been very indifferent ones. I bought myself about 700 horses up in Pennsylvania-having got authority from the quartermaster general—for from $96 to $102, that were better horses than I ever got from the corral that had cost $120 each. I had no contract work about it, but sent my own officers to inspect them, and see to all that. Some of the horses that are sent to us are not over three years old, and canpot stand this exposure. We ought to have horses from six to ten years old, well built, and able to stand the hard work and exposure to which they are liable.
INDEX TO PART I.
Report of Committee.
122,621, 625, 661,707
-451, 452, 673
-131, 255, 260, 270
Meigs, General M. C.......