Union General Wesley Merritt's Assistant Adjutant J. Spreadbury issues orders from Staunton, Virginia, concerning care for the horses during a March, 1865, cavalry expedition in the Shenandoah Valley.
March 2, 1865.
The main object at this time is to preserve the horses of the command. Every exertion must be made to do this. Division commanders are reminded that it is impossible, under the circumstances, to issue elaborate orders to cover all exigencies. Officers must use their best judgment and energies in conducting the movement of the column. Every exertion must be made to procure forage for our horses. This matter is paramount to every other. Officers will take unusual care to prevent men from abusing their horses by galloping and trotting them when unnecessary. Cmdg. officers who conduct the march of a column will move slowly, accommodating the march to the character of the roads. The strength of the horses of the command, as well as that of the animals of the supply train, in which all have an interest, must be husbanded. It is thought that all officers and men feel and will take a proper interest in these matters.
By command Brevet Maj.-Gen. Merritt:
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
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 793, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.