Missed this in 2017- great thread, thank you! This makes me feel a LOT better about how horses were treated. There's a war era ad, from after Geisboro was built outside of Washington- makes you cringe. It's also pretty funny. Government contractor came up with the idea that IF you gave him 500 bucks YOU could haul all the dead horses there away! It must have been a big problem if there was THAT many dead ones. Can't find there were any takers. Dead animals could be worth a few dollars but probably not enough to make it worthwhile hauling them to the knacker's yard.
Read somewhere that in general people in the South were far more ' horsey ' than the North at the time of the war. Several reasons and it could have created more attention to them as animals, not just utilitarian. These horse infirmaries are both ' South ', interesting!
Thanks for bringing this back; I too had missed it the first time. We read so much about horses being destroyed or discarded; IIRC more of them died in the war than humans. The rationale seems to have been that sick or injured horses couldn't be saved, so it's great to see that some could with proper care.
In its first year of operation (1863-4) a total of 47,954 horses were received at the Union's Western Cavalry Depot in St. Louis. Of those, 33,714 had been issued for service as of November 1, 1864. The remainder, judged unserviceable, were mostly sold off, although almost 2,000 died of disease or were “killed on account of glanders.”
The Depot also had a Horse Hospital, which treated “sick, lame, and wounded horses,” and returned them to service. “Horses that can be recuperated and returned to the field are preferred to new and inexperienced ones. No previous drilling or training is needed to fit the animals for duty.”
Glanders hasn't been around since the 1940's, thankfully? What I hadn't known is there's a connection to biological warfare, crazy stuff! Besides being wounded, it's the 2nd highest reason on the list a horse was out of commission- and 404 had distemper!
Both are infectious, guessing ' depots ' were not helpful when it came to disease.
Not a good image, you can still see where a huge number of horses were in just one paddock at Geisboro. Just one infected horse would have been a disaster.