...There was a disturbing story about how they used sledge hammers to kill them instead of shooting them ...
I read somewhere that the real destroyer of horses was the artillery and the trains. A soldier's "personal" horse in the cavalry was better cared for than the horse that was just part of a heard -- one was a friend, the other was an animal.My girlfriend and I own a horse farm, and we provide rides to the public. At any given point in time we have between 40 and 60 horses. I can tell you that there is always some sort of issue - sickness, lameness, shoe issues, etc. I can only imagine what other issues may had occurred with cavalry horses during the ACW - training, forage, shoes, etc. "Broken Down" horses may, or may not, be able to mend, but that may take quite a while. There are some maladies that can't be corrected, and you have to put the horse down...
Am currently reading another account of Prices raid, it mentions part of the reason for shortage of mounts was a glanders outbreak in the months preceding.Those who have not looked into the matter have the idea that actual combat was the chief source of the destruction of horseflesh. But, as a matter of fact, that source is probably not to be credited with one-tenth of the full losses of the army in this respect. It is to be remembered that the exigencies of the service required much of the brutes in the line of hard pulling, exposure, and hunger, which conspired to use them up very rapidly; but the various diseases to which horses are subject largely swelled the death list.
John D Billings, 10 MA battery
Hardtack and Coffee, 1887
If the army was not near a river, watering the horses might require miles of riding and then result in brackish or muddy puddles.
George Peck, in his memoir, has an entertaining account of shooting glanders-infected* horses, and then managing to give away the ones that could recover with good care. *a contagious bacterial disease that created swelling on the jaws and discharge from the nostrils
Exactly. The USDA has called glanders an epidemic during the ACW. It is highly contagious and even more so when animals are stressed, poor diet and are in large numbers together. It can even be passed by shared harnesses.Am currently reading another account of Prices raid, it mentions part of the reason for shortage of mounts was a glanders outbreak in the months preceding.
That was somewhat traditional. My daughter was an archaeologist and found a Revolutionary War horse -- a French artillery pony in the Yorktown campaign, to be more precise -- which had died from a "blow to the head with a blunt instrument." Basically, a blow to the head is free.
During a memorable summer job, I worked in a packing house & witnessed thousands of cattle being slaughtered. The intention of the blow to the head in a slaughterhouse is to stun, not kill the animal. Back when, a hammer blow was the common procedure. The animal is then bled to remove the blood from the body. Modern practice involves using a pneumatic gun that rams a piston into the forehead of the animal. Pigs are stunned by electricity. I have never seen it used, but have seen a pistol like device that vets used to fire a piston. In my experience, modern vets use drugs.Isn't that a common way of killing cattle etc. in slaughterhouses?
Isn't that a common way of killing cattle etc. in slaughterhouses?
I'm a engineering consultant, not a farmer, but I had a meat company as a client and as I recall a pneumatic bolt or gunshot (for smaller places) is common. They have to be certified and have periodic audits on how they do it. A sledgehammer is against the law or regulations in most states. (Holiday In Express disclaimer: It was a 2-day project, so I may not know what I'm talking about.)