Sunday, July 31, 2016

Correspondence: J.H. Wilson, Chief of Cavalry Bureau, USA, to E.M. Stanton, Secretary of War, 1864

Correspondence: James H. Wilson, Chief of the Cavalry Bureau, Washington, to Edwin M. Stanton, 4 April 1864.

On April 4, 1864, J.H. Wilson, Chief of the Cavalry Bureau [since Feb. 1864] writes to E.M. Stanton, Secretary of War, discussing details and assignments of the mounted cavalry of the Department of the Cumberland (28 regiments cavalry; 7 regiments mounted infantry). He directs that certain regiments of several brigades "be mounted and equipped and returned to duty before any more new regiments are supplied" (255).

Regiments to be equipped:


First Brigade:
(1) Second Michigan Cavalry
(2) Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry

Second Brigade:
(1) Second Indiana Cavalry
(2) Fourth Indiana Cavalry
(3) First Wisconsin Cavalry

Third Brigade:
(1) Seventh Kentucky Cavalry
(2) First Tennessee Cavalry


First Brigade:
(1) Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry
(2) Fourth Michigan Cavalry
(3) Fourth U.S. Cavalry
(4) Fifth Iowa Cavalry
(5) Third Indiana Cavalry

Second Brigade:
(1) First Ohio Cavalry
(2) Third Ohio Cavalry
(3) Fourth Ohio Cavalry
(4) Tenth Ohio Cavalry
(5) Second Kentucky Cavalry

Third Brigade:
(1) Seventeenth Indiana Mounted Infantry
(2) Seventy-Second Indiana Mounted Infantry
(3) Ninety-Second Illinois Mounted Infantry
(4) One Hundred and Twenty-Third Illinois Mounted Infantry
(5) Third Kentucky Cavalry
(6) Eighth Iowa Cavalry

"The Second Michigan, Ninth Pennsylvania, Second Indiana, and First Wisconsin have all signified their willingness to re-enlist if they can be furloughed, but at present they cannot be spared from duty" (256).

Knoxville and Strawberry Plains: "...the cavalry was almost entirely used up, the horses almost starved to death..." (256).
6,000 - 9,000 horses required.
Arms: Spencer or Sharps carbine.

Special note concerning poor organization of certain Tennessee regiments; new order will override plans of Governor [Andrew] Johnson [Military Gov. of Tenn., 1862-1865] who was in process of requesting that these inferior regiments be equipped. [Later in the doc., and explanation appears to be that new Tennessee units are forming, but will be untrained, inferior to veterans]. Regarding Tennessee cavalry:

"Regarding the efficiency of these Tennessee regiments there is but one opinion. With the exception of the First Tennessee, they are all worthless" (256).

(In March): Cavalry, Dept. of the Ohio, concentrated at Louisville, Kentucky.

Plans for direct communication between generals commanding the Cavalry Bureau is submitted (duties of officers, recuperation of horses, rations, surplus stores, arms, return of horses from citizens, discourage use of mounted infantry, etcetera). [See text].

Criticism of Colonel Wolford (under General Schofield).

Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 32, Pt. 3, Chp. 44 (Correspondence, Etc.--Union) [Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891], 255-258 [Wilson to Stanton: Washington, 4 April 1864].

Short URL:

Full Citation (general info, for series).

Subjects: Cavalry, Condition of Cavalry, Starvation, Army of the Cumberland, Organization of Army

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