Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Civil War Oddities #98

Union cavalrymen were usually provided with a government-owned horse, but an exception was found in the case of the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, whose men rode their own steeds.

Any enlisted man who brought his own mount was entitled to fifty cents a day in extra pay. Bu October 1861, virtually all units were offered animals owned by the government.

One year later, the federal government owned approximately 150,000 horse and 100,000 mules. During the first two years of fighting, Union cavalry units, which never had more than 62,000 men in the field, were supplied with about 240,000 horses. Before Lee surrendered, Federal funds had paid for an estimated 840,000 horses and at least 430,000 mules.

Confederate officers and mounted troopers were required to provide their own animals, for which they were reimbursed at the rate of forty cents per day. Its owner had to find a new one when a horse was killed, worn out, or lost; if that proved impossible, he was transferred to infantry service.