Today in History:

835 Series I Volume XXXI-I Serial 54 - Knoxville and Lookout Mountain Part I



October 24, 1863.

General DODGE,


Two gun-boats arrived at Eastport this morning. I telegraphed the fact to Hurlbut, but omitted doing so to you. I sent one of my staff with an escort to bring up Commodore Phelps. You have doubtless heard that Grant is to command the Armies of the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee united into one. He will devolve his present army on me, and I will want a most minute account of your troops for actual duty, arms, ammunition, &c.



Decherd, Tennessee, October 25, 1863.

Major-General REYNOLDS,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: The necessity of prompt and immediate measures being taken to secure for the cavalry command of this department a new supply of horses and horse equipments, for almost the entire command, is very great. General Crook telegraphed me to-day that out of his whole command, which includes Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry, he has only 1,000 effective men, and that were he ordered to leave his present encampment to-day he should be obliged to abandon at least 700 horses.

In the whole of the First Division of Cavalry there is only about 1,400 men effective, simply because we have no horses fit for service. The pursuit of Wheeler and Roddey ruined so many, the effective force of cavalry is thus sadly reduced.

The saddles issued to us simply murder horses; it is sure ruin to a horse to put one his back. It was not the hard marching that ruined our stock, but the worthless, murderous saddles, that dig holes into the backs the first day and break them down. New saddles are worse than old; the hides on them are green, and the first rain they are in pulls it all off. The trees are made of green wood and also helps; the iron holding the tree is too weak, and the saddle spreads and settles upon the horse's back, making it set in the worst possible shape, which no ingenuity on the part of the trooper, in folding his saddle-blanket, can obviate. Why the Government will purchase such horse equipments and why they will keep employed inspectors who pass such saddles and received them as fit for use, I cannot see. This blind, short-sighted manner of supplying us is ruining us much more effectually than the enemy could ever hope to do. They need only to keep us engaged in pursuing them and they would use us up as often as we could get refitted, if more attention is not paid by the ordnance department in the quality of equipments furnished us.

Many saddles that were drawn just before the pursuit of Wheeler began are now being condemned by the inspector, and have, the most of them ruined the horses they were put upon.

I write thus lengthy, feeling that the importance of the subject demands it. Something must be done to give us at least 3,000