caring for wounded horses


Nov 28, 2006
Frankfort, IL
I am writing a children's historical fiction book and am looking for information on how a musket ball wound would have been treated for a horse. The horse was a real horse (one of Sherman's) and survived, but I'd like some details. Thanks.


Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Feb 20, 2005
South of the North 40
Vetrinary medice was in some ways more advanced than human. But by far the most common treatment for a wounded horse was a quick shot from a pistol. A good look at period vetrinary medicine is to take a look at the US Army regs all the up to 1939. There are instructions on how to provide proper field medicine as well as when to put a horse down.

I've seen an original Cav manual of WW1 vintage. That might be an avenue of reseerch worth pursuing.


Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Feb 20, 2005
Near Kankakee
A ball in a major muscle with nothing important broken was not considered worth more than a rest. Serious injuries, if the rider survived, were more often solved with another ball in the head. Now. If it were Sherman's horse, there may well have been extra care, but then, as now, the primary concern was the suffering of the animal. It took a real butthead to let an animal linger and suffer. We now have the wherewithal to save a severely injured beast. Unless its stud fee goes into 6 digits, it's not worth putting the animal through it. It doesn't understand that you're trying to prolong its life, it's only aware of its suffering.


Southern Gentleman, Lest We Forget, 2011
Honored Fallen Comrade
Feb 20, 2005
johan_steele said:
But by far the most common treatment for a wounded horse was a quick shot from a pistol.

I'm afraid Shane is right on target with this one. My great great grandfather James Patterson Cockerham was a farrier with the 10th TN US Cav. In his brief writings he spoke often of shoeing horses and doing the company's blacksmithing, but never of care for the wounded. The armies were on the move and often giving up territory to the opposition or just leaving the animals behind.

Vet bills were not an option. In Nashville, the concentration of medical efforts seemed to be on syphillis, not horses.


Feb 20, 2005
Having grown up in the country, I've seen a lot of wounds/injuries to horses that I thought were horrible, but the owners shrugged, slapped on some Bag Balm, and put the horse to pasture for awhile. So probably a "flesh wound" caused by a musket ball would be washed, anointed with some kind of ointment (to keep off flies as well as to encourage healing) and the horse given a rest. Horse would come through fine, only sporting a scar.

I have heard old-timers say that horses don't feel pain, and as long as they are standing, there is hope for recovery.

Horses were an investment even for the Army, and would be salvaged if possible. Slightly wounded horses not fit for duty would be taken to remount stations and nursed back to health. Those still not fit for duty would be sold to the public... a horse not healthy enough for the army might serve to pull a wagon or a light plow.

A few years ago I attended the Society of Civil War Surgeons conference, and heard a lecture on CW veterinary medicine. The speaker only touched on wounds and concentrated more on the diseases. So I know about glanders and founder and roars more than horsey wounds!


PS Rae, I'm a writer, too, working on a CW novel. It's been slow going but I think I finally have a handle on it. Not yet ready for market!


2nd Lieutenant
Jun 18, 2005
The Death Rate for Horses/Mules

After a battle there was hardly enough surgeons to take care of the human wounded, to even think of caring for the horses, in any systematic way.
Over a million horses/mules died in the Civil War, due to wounds, malnutrition, disease and overwork.
Considering all the horses, the Army of Northern Virginia took to Pennsylvania and Gettysburg, the supplement of PA horses, the losses for the Confederates was staggering.
General Lee wrote to Jefferson Davis, just three weeks after Gettysburg, "...we are in great need of horseshoes having been unable to procure none on our expedition, and our constant motion prevented their manufacture from iron that fell into our possession, more than half the cavalry is dismounted, and the artillery horses and wagon teams have suffered equally.


Retired User
Jan 23, 2010
State of Jefferson
Sherman's wounded horse was probably Sam, although he had some others shot from under him. Sam was unusually calm in battle and would usually start grazing. One day he got a ball straight through his neck - never missed a bite! He came through just fine.


Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Dec 31, 2009
Smack dab in the heart of Texas
In the old days, no bag balm. Bacon grease was my dad's antidote.....and my granddad's. You'd sew up any really bad cuts (like my mare who ran into a barbed wire fence and had half her chest hanging open) with horsehair (mom did that--she had neat stitches) and then doctor it liberally several times a day with bacon grease. And hope.

I have heard of injured or ill horses being left at local farms and then being found perfectly healthy later on after rest and care. Seems logical. Horses tend to either die or not.

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 9 [S# 9]
APRIL 13-SEPTEMBER 20, 1862.— Expedition from Southern California, through Arizona, to Northwestern Texas and New Mexico.
No. 1. -- Reports of Brig. Gen. James H. Carleton, U.S. Army, commanding expedition.

Fort Craig, N. Mex., September 9, 1862.
Commanding District of Arizona, Mesilla, Ariz.:
COLONEL: Captain Archer, commissary of subsistence at this post, informs me that he sent $5,000 subsistence funds to Lieutenant Baldwin at the time the Confederate prisoners went below a few days since. This must be transferred to your depot commissary or be disbursed under your direction. He informs me that he can send, on your estimate (dated September 1, 1862), for $19,986.66, $10.000 in drafts on the assistant treasurer in New York. The remainder Will be sent to you as soon as Captain Garrison gives him further authority to make additional drafts. I have placed in his hands your estimates for stores, for expenditures, veterinary tools, and horse medicines, carpenter's tools, stationery, miscellaneous tools, and for blank forms, and asked him to fill them as far as he can and send them on to me, to be completed at other depots when Veck
comes up. The articles from Fort Craig will be sent down on the train which came up with me.
* * * * * * * * * *
Your arrangement about sending Swilling as an expressman is a good one, and I have given Colonel Steen a memorandum of it, and will endeavor to have the time so fixed for other expressmen that there will be no delay in the transmittal of letters up and down the river.
Please give Azbon C. Marcy, who took the oath of allegiance to Colonel Eyre, a free pass to California.

I inclose herewith a list of the quartermaster's property on hand at this post. I have asked Captain Archer to send one also of the subsistence stores, which will embrace many things received to-day.
* * * * * * * * * *
Whatever you want to make your command efficient you shall have. Only bear in mind not to get a thing you do not need. I wish to accumulate but little of public stores below the Jornada.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
Huntsville, August 16, 1862.
Capt. W. J. PALMER,
Anderson Cavalry, Philadelphia, Pa.:
Employ veterinary surgeon cheap as possible. Application to Secretary of War to raise regiment of two or more battalions. Would the terms of his approval justify three, battalions; and, if so, could the third be raised? If yes you can come on with the two and leave recruiting parties to make up the third. Lose no time; we want you. Horses will be with Dickerson, quartermaster, Cincinnati. See Captain Benton in ordnance office, Washington, about carbines and horse equipments. Edson, in Louisville, will have sabers and pistols. Let me know if you succeed with Captain Benton.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
No. 6.--Reports of Brig. Gen. Henry W. Benham, U.S. Army, commanding Engineer Brigade.
Near Falmouth, Va., April 29, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of this date, giving an extract from the orders of the commanding general, which stated that I was charged with placing the bridges, two at each crossing, to be laid complete before 3.30 a.m. of the 29th, directing me to state why those orders were not complied with. To show how completely every effort on my part was made to accomplish this, and through what causes it failed, as far as known, a statement somewhat in detail may be necessary, though it is summed up in a few words at the close of this letter.
Some fifteen to twenty minutes after I had noticed that the day was dawning, I saw the first boat crossing and the firing commenced, and in a few minutes the boats returned, and were in large numbers, as I saw, at the bank on our side without any one being near or ready to refill them, as some of my oarsmen came up to me to report. I then exerted myself to the utmost to rally the men near me, and with success, to go down the bank and fill the boats again, during which exertions my horse was shot under me, but, descending the bank with him, I about this time met General Brooks, telling him what I had done as to the ordering of his men, which he appeared to fully approve, as I then requested him to order my men also if he found it necessary, and at this time, in leaning over to shake hands with General Brooks, my wounded horse staggered so that I could not retain my seat in the saddle, and I slipped to the ground, and immediately after, finding my horse disabled, I sent him away by my brigade veterinary surgeon, and ordered another to be sent down to me.

Immediately after the second crossing of the boats, or at about 6 a.m., the bridges of the Regulars, under Captain Reese, was commenced, being finished at 7 o'clock; the first bridge of the Fifteenth Regiment, under Major [Walter L.] Cassin, was begun after 6 o'clock and finished at about 7.15 o'clock; the third bridge, the boats of which I had brought down to use for crossing, intending to return them to its train, was ordered to be laid, and its equipage, sent down by General Newton's directions, given to------.

I can only say that everything that all my forethought could devise and my untiring vigilance could execute, without one particle of sleep for the forty-two hours previous to writing the first part of this letter, of which I was some fourteen hours in the saddle from the first, sixteen after I received the order, and with the aid of all my staff and, as far as I know, every officer and man attached to this brigade--all was done to secure an implicit compliance with the orders of the commanding general.

With the copy of the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes, the only one as yet received, I respectfully inclose a statement of my brigade veterinary surgeon* upon one matter referred to in this report.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, , Commanding.
General S. WILLIAMS,
Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008

RICHMOND, March 29, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. Army:
GENERAL: Having in obedience to instructions visited General Johnston's army for the purpose of inspecting its artillery, and contributing under conference with the general all that might lie in my power toward remedying any evils found existing and promoting its best efficiency, I have the honor to submit the following report of duty discharged, facts observed, and arrangements made:

Leaving Richmond on the morning of March 8, and traveling interruptedly, I reached Dalton on the morning of the 12th, and proceeded at once to report to General Johnston. Through his kind attention I was enabled immediately to enter upon the work of inspection, and examined that day the batteries grouped in reserve. The day following was devoted to a general review of the artillery serving with the two army corps. Special inspections were continued on subsequent days until every battery had been carefully examined as to its material, management, and condition. The performance of the artillery was also repeatedly witnessed in drills and reviews.
[extensive excerpt]
The only disease at present among the animals is "scratches" and a few cases of "scours," and some of the horses have vermin. For scratches, wash clean and apply soft soap and grease; also, bluestone, copperas, white-lead, poke-root, and red-oak bark have been used. For vermin a strong decoction of tobacco has proved efficacious, with sulphur given in the food. The horses the past winter have been severely affected with a severe and fatal distemper (now not prevalent) strongly resembling glanders. Various remedies were tried without success. The horses on exhibition of first symptoms were removed from the other horses, as the disease was very contagious. Steps have been taken to procure a veterinary surgeon, the want of whom is much felt. Failure of supplies were at times reported up to February 12 (time about the present organization); since then none have been reported. No officers are reported for neglecting stable-calls, watering, or grooming. No improper use of animals. A stringent order is in force in this regiment that Government horses are not to be used only on Government business.

Under this head I will mention that the construction forges which each battalion now have (one to each) are to be taken away. I consider them indispensable, as with them the battalion quartermaster is enabled to keep the transportation in repair, to shoe the mules, and to weld the tires when they break. It is impossible to get sufficient heat on the battery forges.

I need an inspector on my staff, and have recommended Sergt. George O. Jordon, of Turner's battery. He has been a sergeant in that (formerly Smith's) battery since the beginning of the war. He received a military education at Lexington, Va.; he is intelligent, temperate, vigilant, and brave, and I have noticed him on the field and in the camp, and think him deserving of promotion. His recommendation has been forwarded.
Respectfully submitted.
Major, Comdg. Art. Regt., Hardee's Corps, Army of Tenn.

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
February 17, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to you a brief statement of certain facts concerning our horse infirmary and horse supply department, ascertained in a visit I have just made to Lynchburg, the headquarters of that department, and through conference with Major Paxton, who has charge of that important branch of service.

First. I was sorry to find that disease exists quite extensively at the several groups of stables from Lynchburg to the North Carolina line. Cases of the disease I saw in several stages, some just proving fatal, some mildly in progress, some almost recovered from. The judgment of Major Paxton and attendants is: that horses in good condition when attacked generally recover without much reduction, while those that take the disease when feeble often die. Of the 3,000 in stable, 600 or 700 have died. Great care seems taken to guard against the spreading of the disorder, and good hope may be entertained of checking it. But I think the very best veterinary skill in the country ought to be secured as soon as possible, to guard against a great mischief in this important interest.

Second. The system pursued by Major Paxton in parceling, protecting, foraging, and improving his animals seems very good. He has really accomplished wonders in a limited time, and will, I hope, successfully deal with the many difficulties inherent in such a charge, and greatly aggravated by the circumstances of our position.

Third. In the operation of securing new horses he is also, I think, acting with energy and judgment. He has no doubt of being able tolerably early in the spring to furnish us all the artillery horses we may then need, and keep up a reasonable supply. But the just apportionment of this drain of animals from the counties, and the procurement of them so as not to weaken agricultural force nor dissatisfy the people, requires great care and much time.

Fourth. The question when animals should be in readiness to be called for and used he might therefore well have such intimation upon as may be deemed prudent. He mentioned to me that Major Johnston had indicated 1,500 as likely to be needed by 1st March, but that with the disease existing he does not consider it possible to have so many fit for service this early. My own judgment is that we had better not draw out the artillery horses we shall need until the season approaches for active operations.

Fifth. The chief difficulty he apprehends is not as to a supply of the 1,000 or so of artillery horses we shall want, but respecting animals for transportation. He seems familiar with the statistics of mules in the different States, and considers it important to be authorized to have access with his experienced agents to Mississippi, &c. His brother, who is charged there with duties similar to his own here, has not, he believes, such experience of the difficulties involved as to enable him to obtain in time all that will be needed; and besides, while Virginia has been so greatly reduced in number of mules, great numbers have been run from Tennessee into portions of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, and it is alike just and wise that some of our needs be thence supplied. If you approve of this, a word from yourself to Major Cole in Richmond might be of value. My own views I will communicate to him immediately on these several points.
I have the honor to be, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery.

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
MAY 1-SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--The Atlanta (Georgia) Campaign.
No. 402.--Reports of Maj. William H. Jennings, Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Near Blake's Mill, Ga., September 13, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that the Seventh Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Cavalry started on the 30th day of April, with 919 horses fresh from the corral at Nashville, Tenn., and unused to military duty; the majority were young horses, not aged. Three hundred of the enlisted men were raw recruits. Some had never been on a horse before they entered the service, and were without drill. We traveled along the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad for forty-eight consecutive hours. The horses were without feed, and traveled forty-three miles, passing a depot from which forage was carted at least eight miles.

May 5, we marched twenty-three miles without feed. At Mound City received twenty-eight pounds corn for three days, to be carried upon the horses, in addition to five days' rations, and traveled thirty-three miles, crossing the Raccoon, Sand, and spur of Lookout Mountains. The young horses commenced to fag; a few were abandoned, and the hearty and strong horses were fatigued. The colonel (William B. Sipes, then commanding) instituted morning inspections, compelling every man to groom his horse and graze whenever an opportunity occurred.

From the 16th of May to the 19th the horses were without feed, except the leaves and short grass to be found on the hills around Adairsville, Ga. During this time we traveled thirty-five miles; the last five, from Kingston to the Free Bridge, was traveled at a gallop, causing the horses to give out by the dozens (as figures will prove). That night we received the first forage the horses had for three days. Out of seventy-two hours the horses were under saddle for sixty hours, and receiving all the attention the men were able to give. On the morning of May 22 the commanding officers of companies reported a loss of 76 horses, which had died of starvation and abandoned. Upon investigation the veterinary surgeon corroborated the statement, and pronounced forty-three more un-serviceable and unfit to travel. Up to this period the horses were groomed as regularly as circumstances would permit. Out of the forty-three horses left to recuperate fifteen were returned to the command August 5.

From May 26 to June 2 (seven days) the horses were without feed, and actually starved. One battalion (the Third) lost in action, trying to procure forage, 33 horses, and 101 were starved to death and compelled to be abandoned. A detail, commanded by Captain Garrett, traveled thirty miles, returning without forage. June 11 and 12, no forage. A detachment, commanded by Capt. Cyrus Newlin, traveled twenty-six miles, returning with one quart for a horse. From June 13 to 18 received half forage. From June 19 to 22 no forage, but stubble-field to graze in. June 20, lost in action 26 horses. From June 23 to July 17 received half rations. July 18 to 19, no forage. From July 27 to 30 foraged on the country for twenty miles around Stone Mountain. All was packed upon the withers of the horses, doing as much harm to the horses as the feed did good, causing sore backs.

From August 1 to August 15 the command was five miles away from the horses. Four horses were groomed by one man; consequently they were not as well taken care off as the rider would give them, and for forty-eight hours the stock was without feed. August 15 and 16, received one quart per head, and marched twenty-four miles over a country devastated by the army. August 17 and 18, received one pint of feed from Third Division. August 10, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24, traveled 120 miles, feeding but once, upon green corn. Half ration of forage was issued to September 9. September 9, 10, and 11, no feed and no grazing. The stock received no salt or hay during the campaign.

Lost in action August 20, 112 horses.

Started with 919
Captured 42
Total .... 961

Abandoned and died 230
Killed and captured 171
Total loss .... 401

Present in the field .... 560

The regiment traveled 902 miles, not including picket duty and company scouting.

The horses were without feed twenty-six days and scant feed twenty-seven days. For seven consecutive days the horses were without feed of any kind. The majority of the horses died and abandoned were literally starved. The seven days at Pumpkin Vine Church reduced the horses beyond recuperation.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, Comdg. Seventh Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry.
Capt. R. BURNS,
A. A. A. G., First Brigade, Second Cavalry Division.

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
Washington, July 31, 1861.
I. The following act of Congress is published for the information of the Army:
AN ACT to increase the present military establishment of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be added to the Regular Army as now authorized by law nine regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and one regiment of artillery; each regiment of infantry to consist of not less than two nor more than three battalions, as the exigencies of the public service may, in the opinion of the President of the United States, demand; each battalion to consist of eight companies; each company to consist of one captain, one first and one second lieutenant, one first sergeant, four sergeants, eight corporals, two musicians, and as many privates, not exceeding eighty-two, as the President of the United States may, according to the requirements of military service, direct. The regiment of cavalry hereby authorized shall consist of not more than three battalions of not more than two squadrons each; and each squadron shall consist of two companies, each company to be composed of one captain, one first and one second lieutenant, one first sergeant, one quartermaster-sergeant, four sergeants, eight corporals, two musicians, two
farriers, one saddler, one wagoner, and as many privates, not exceeding seventy-two, as the President of the United States may, according to the requirements of the military service, direct. The regiment of artillery hereby authorized shall consist of not more than twelve batteries; and each battery shall consist of one captain, one first and one second lieutenant, one first sergeant, one quartermaster-sergeant, four sergeants, eight corporals, two musicians, two artificers, one wagoner, and as many privates, not exceeding one hundred and twenty-two, as the President of the United States may, according to the requirements of the military service, direct. And there may be added to the aforesaid battery organization, at the discretion of the President, having due regard to the public necessities and means, one first and one second lieutenant, two sergeants, and four corporals.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the field and staff commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the regiments hereinbefore authorized shall be as follows: To each regiment of infantry, one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one regimental adjutant, one regimental quartermaster and commissary, one drum major, or leader of the band, and two principal musicians, and to each battalion of infantry, one major, one battalion adjutant, one battalion quartermaster and commissary, one sergeant-major, one quartermaster-sergeant, one commissary-sergeant, and one hospital steward; the regimental and battalion adjutants, and quartermasters, and commissaries, to be taken from the lieutenants of the regiments and battalions, respectively. To the regiment of cavalry, one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one regimental adjutant, one regimental quartermaster and commissary, and two chief buglers; and to each battalion of cavalry, one major, one battalion adjutant, one battalion quartermaster and commissary, one sergeant-major, one quartermaster-sergeant, one commissary-sergeant, one hospital steward, one saddler-sergeant, and one veterinary-sergeant; the regimental adjutant and the regimental and battalion quartermasters and commissaries to be taken from the lieutenants of the regiments and battalions, respectively. To the regiment of artillery, one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major to every four batteries, one adjutant, one regimental quartermaster and commissary,. to be taken from the lieutenants of the regiment, one sergeant-major, one quartermaster-sergeant, one commissary-sergeant, two principal musicians, and one hospital steward--and the bands of the regular regiments shall consist of not more than twenty-four musicians for each regiment of infantry and artillery, and sixteen musicians for each regiment of mounted troops.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That there shall be added to the Army of the United States the following general officers, namely: Four major-generals, with three aides-de-camp each, to be taken from captains or lieutenants of the Army, and six brigadier-generals, with two aides-de-camp each, to be taken from the lieutenants of the Army.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the officers and enlisted men raised in pursuance of the foregoing sections shall receive the same pay, emoluments, and allowances and be on the same footing in every respect with those of corresponding grades and corps now in the regular service. The regimental bands will be paid as follows: One-fourth of each the pay and allowances of sergeants of engineer soldiers; one-fourth, those of corporals of engineer soldiers; and one-half, those of engineer soldiers of the first class. The drum major or leader of the band, the pay and emoluments of a second lieutenant of infantry. The saddler-sergeants, veterinary-sergeants, company quartermaster-sergeants and drum majors will receive the pay and allowances of sergeants of cavalry. The battalion adjutant and battalion quartermasters and commissaries will receive the emoluments now provided by law for regimental adjutants.

[extensive excerpt- dealing with pay, mustering, etc.]

Approved July 29, 1861.
II. Officers of the old Army who have been appointed in the additional regiments above provided for--a list of whom has been published in General Orders, No. 33, current series, from this office---will report forthwith their acceptance of said appointments or be considered as having declined them.
By order:

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
Washington, D.C., November 28, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the usual annual report of the operations of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year ending on the 30th of June, 1861:
[extensive excerpt of graphs and tables]
2. For incidental expenses of the Army:
Postages $13,251.34
Expenses of courts-martial 9,232.18
Expresses and escorts 21,669.33
Burial expenses 1,519.22
Guides, interpreters, and spies 43,061.63
Clerks and agents 70,894.70
Wagon and forage masters 6,164.49
Laborers 99,829.36
Soldiers on constant labor 124,284.61
Hire of veterinary surgeons 168.50
Office furniture 4,317.17
Medicine for horses and other animals 2,493.39
Forges, blacksmiths' and shoeing tools 2,332.95
Horseshoe nails, iron and steel 20,006.47
Recovering stray horses 5,275.12
Apprehending deserters 9,094.91
Making a total of $433,595.37

3. Dragoon horses 157,124.75
4. Barracks and quarters:
For rent 125,211.92
For construction and repairs 351,595.01
Making a total of 476,806.93

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
May 12, 1864.
The subjoined standard supply table of horse medicines, with regulations for the government of the Veterinary Department of the Army, prepared by a board of officers convened by Special Orders, No. 137, current series, from this office, have been adopted and are published for the information and guidance of all concerned.
I. Standard supply table:

A 100 horses. C 500 horses.
B 200 horses. D 1,000 horses.

--------------Quantities for three months.--------------
----For field service.---- ---For hospital service.---
Articles. A B C D A B C D

Aloes ounces 1 2 3 4 2 4 6 8
Alcohol gallons 1/4 1/2 1 1 3/4 1/2 1 2 3 1/2
Asafœtida pounds 1/4 1/2 3/4 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 2
Alum do 1 2 4 8 2 4 8 16
Blister liquid quarts 1/2 1 2 3 1 2 4 6
Bluestone pounds 1/2 3/4 1 2 1 1 1/2 2 4
Borax do 1 1 1/2 3 4 2 3 6 8
Calomel do 1/2 1/4 1/2 3/4 2/8 1/2 1 1 1/2
Castile soap do 10 15 20 30 20 30 40 60
Ground flaxseed do 8 10 15 20 16 20 30 40

A 100 horses. C 500 horses.
B 200 horses. D 1,000 horses.

-----------------Quantities for three months.----------------
------For field service.------- ---For hospital service.---
Articles. A B C D A B C D
Hartshorn gallons 1/4 1/2 3/4 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 2
Lunar caustic [ounces] 1/4 1/2 3/4 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 2
Laudanum quarts 1 1 1/2 2 4 2 3 4 8
Simple cerate pounds 2 1/2 5 5 10 5 10 10 20
Mercurial ointment do 1/2 1 1 1/2 2 1 2 3 4
Mustang liniment bottles 2 3 4 6 4 6 8 12
Olive oil gallons 1/2 1 2 3 1 2 4 6
Oil, linseed do 1/2 1 2 3 1 2 4 6
turpentine do 1/4 1/2 1 1 3/4 1/2 1 2 3 1/2
Powell's liniment bottles 2 3 4 6 4 6 8 12
Resin pounds 1/2 1 1 1/2 2 1 2 3 4
Salts do 2 3 4 6 4 6 8 12
Sulphur do 1/4 1/2 1 2 1/2 1 2 4
Saltpeter do 1 2 3 5 2 4 6 10
Sweet spirits niter quarts 1/2 1 2 3 1 2 4 6
Sugar lead pounds 1 2 4 5 2 4 8 10
Tar gallons 1/4 1/2 1 1 3/4 1/2 1 2 3 1/2
Tartar emetic pounds 1/4 1/2 3/4 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 2


Adhesive plaster yards 1 1 1/2 2 4 2 3 4 8
Muslin (coarse) do 10 12 15 20 20 24 30 40
Red flannel (coarse) do 2 3 4 6 4 6 8 12
Sponge pounds 3/4 1 1/2 3 4 1 1/2 3 6 8
Silk for ligature ounces 1/4 1/4 1/2 1 1/2 1/2 1 2


Abscess knife (2-blade) .... 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Ball forceps number 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Corkscrews do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Funnels do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Graduate glasses do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Mortar and pestles (iron) do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Needles dozen 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1 1 1 1
Probes number 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Rowling needles do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Scales and weights do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Springs [syringes] do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 4
Spring lancet do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Straight scissors do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Spatulas do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Trocar do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Tenaculum do 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2

II. Regulations for the Veterinary Department:
1. The standard of horse medicines for the army in the field and in hospitals is the supply table.
This table will not be deviated from except in extreme emergencies, and then only for hospital use, when the reasons must be clearly and satisfactorily stated.

2. Requisitions will be made quarterly and in duplicate, conforming strictly to the standard supply table.

3. Quartermasters will hold veterinary surgeons strictly responsible for the instruments issued to them, and in case of loss through carelessness or damage from neglect, the cost price of the instruments so lost or damaged will be charged to them.

4. Quartermasters responsible for medicines and dressings will take care that these articles are used for their legitimate purpose, and will hold the veterinary surgeons strictly accountable for their loss or damage through neglect, &c.
By order of the Secretary of War:
Assistant Adjutant-General.


Mar 2, 2012
opposing forces, including the formation dozens of cavalry regiments, requiring the services of thousands of horses. A War Department General Order in May 1861 provided for one "veterinary sergeant" for every Union cavalry regiment, but said nothing about the qualifications necessary for the post. Michelle points out that qualified veterinarians, applying to the army for positions as veterinary surgeons, were turned away because the regulation did not provide for them.

As late as 1863, there were only six veterinarians in the Union army. Because of the continued decline in animal health, the War Department increased the rank given to veterinary sergeants to regimental sergeant-major, and changed the title of veterinary sergeant to "veterinary surgeon." The veterinary surgeon received $75 a month, but there were still no stipulated qualifications for the job.

In mid-1863, both forces began to centralize the collection and distribution of horses, resulting in some improvement in animal care. Michelle’s research revealed that Giesboro Point, in Washington D.C., was the largest Union depot, with 32 stables and 6,000 stalls. More important, it had a veterinary hospital that could hold 2,650 invalids.

As with the soldiers, the large concentration of animals in close proximity to each other provided a fertile ground for the spread of infectious disease, especially "glanders," a disease caused by the bacterium, Pseudomonas mallei, causing fever, a thick nasal discharge, and often death. Detection of the disease was complicated by a long incubation time. A seemingly healthy horse put into a corral at Giesboro could spread disease to hundreds of other horses. Michelle’s research reveals that just over 17,000 horses died at Giesboro. The highest overnight death toll occurred on January 13, 1865 when 188 horses were found dead the next morning.

The Confederate cavalry also established giant "horse infirmaries." With a smaller horse supply to draw from, the Confederacy had to emphasize the rehabilitation of disabled animals over simply purchasing new ones. Disabled animals entering the infirmary were examined closely, and the healthy animals distributed to experienced caretakers where pasture was available.

Diseased animals were assigned to hospitals particular to their disorder and were treated by practiced veterinary surgeons. A horse infirmary in Johnson County, Georgia, claimed to have cured 30 cases of glanders and to have healed 85% of the disabled and diseased animals that they took in. Still, the system did not work as well as planned because many animals were not sent to the infirmary until they were thoroughly exhausted, with no hope of recovery.

A most interesting aspect of Michelle’s paper is the description of pioneering research done at the Lynchburg, Virginia, infirmary. Drs. John Page and John Terrell conducted the first extensive clinical study of glanders in a group of nineteen horses. They recorded the full course of the disease in seven of the animals and then sacrificed and necropsied the remaining 12 horses. Noting characteristic "cheesy pus" lesions and infected lymph nodes, Page and Terrell were able to inoculate healthy horses with an isolated "virus" and reproduce the disease.

By the end of the war, the Union Quartermaster’s Department had spent more than $90,000 to hire civilian veterinarians, and each cavalry regiment had a veterinary surgeon, in name at least. Michelle notes that the lot of the military veterinarian improved greatly after the war. In 1866, when 4 new cavalry regiments were formed, each regiment was assigned a second "Senior veterinary surgeon" who earned $100 a month. A subsequent order required that all appointed veterinary surgeons must be graduates of "established and reputable veterinary school or colleges."

M E Wolf

Retired Moderator
Feb 9, 2008
Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating Specially To Operations In North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, And Pennsylvania, From August 4 To December 31, 1863.

November 4, 1863.
Maj. Gen. J. E. B. STUART,
Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: By inspection report of Hart's battery, it appears that there will be wanted, to mount the men now present for duty and for four guns and caissons, 62 horses. The wagons and forge must be supplied with mules, of which there are 19 with the battery, 1 having been condemned, and including 2 riding mules. As this company had no record of property, and no morning reports, it was impossible to ascertain how many horses it had, or what had become of them. All that could be learned was what the orderly sergeant remembered. I suppose some of the horses must have been sent back to the horse infirmary, and desire to know how many you can procure from there to supply the deficiency in this battery, as the quartermaster's department will not be able to furnish them all.

The condition of this battery is reported to be bad. I call your attention particularly to the necessity of having morning reports and a proper record, without which it is impossible to have proper responsibility in the command. The horses are said to be in worse condition, and to show more evidences of want of attention than those of the other batteries. The guns have not been washed off recently, nor the harness greased, and a chain is substituted for a pole yoke in one of the guns. The grounds about the guns and caissons are badly policed.

It is due to Captain Hart to say that he has but recently returned to the battery.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,