Records Related to Augusta County Regiments

From: W. M. PENDLETON, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Artillery.
February 7, 1865.

As the end of the war neared, supply problems in the Confederacy became more and more critical. In this February, 1865, letter, Confederate General William Pendleton discusses a plan proposed by Colonel Michael Harman of Staunton to obtain good horses for the artillery. Harman and Pendleton wish to give civilians worn-out army horses in exchange for good horses. Pendleton also mentions Harman's farms and a stage line in Staunton.

Col. A. H. COLE:

February 7, 1865.


Col. Thomas H. Carter, the distinguished commander of Gen. Early's artillery in the Valley during all the latter part of the late campaign, was here a few days ago, and conversed with me fully in relation to horses in the Valley. He mentioned a suggestion of Col. Michael Harman, of Staunton, which he thought might be turned to good account, viz, that the worn-down horses of the Government might be turned over to citizens, and good horses impressed from the latter. Harman, besides having many horses on his farms, runs an extensive line of stages, and he expressed his willingness to share in the operation for the common good. Col. Carter thinks quite a number of good artillery horses would thus be gotten in Augusta, Rockbridge, and other counties, and as illustrating the supply and the bad policy of leaving them unused, he told me that Sheridan had taken out of Rockingham County alone some 1,700 horses, notwithstanding all the previous drain of the war.

I conversed with Gen. Lee on the subject, and he requested me to write to you as in charge of the horse business, and get you to do whatever might be practicable. Worn and feeble horses can, I think, be much better cared for by farmers, a few in one place, and as individual property, than by Government agents having charge of droves of them with no special interest in them, and horses however saved are now important to the country. It would even by better, I believe, to give the condemned horses to farmers and get good ones by impressment, than to consume so much of our scant stock of forage in the country in the public recruiting depots. The law provides, I think, for the sale of condemned animals, and this might furnish the authority for such arrangements in the premises as you deem best.

There are serious evils, some of them no doubt unavoidable, in the mode of getting to the rear condemned horses. They are accumulated in certain receptacles, until everything is ready for their removal. There little forage can be had and scarcely an attention can be given to particular animals, and the consequence is many die in those pens and the rest become more and more exhausted. I have again and again witnessed this.

The question of our horse supply is hardly second to that of supplying men for the army, or food for the men, and it is of great importance that all measures be adopted, both for keeping up the stock in the Confederacy, and for having strong teams in sufficient number for our artillery and transportation by the opening of our spring campaign. If you could visit Col. Harman in Staunton, you might derive from him valuable information on this whole subject, and if you cannot go I would suggest the propriety of communicating with him by letter.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Artillery.

Bibliographic Information : Letter Reproduced from The War of The Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 46, Serial No. 96, Pages 1208-1209, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.

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