Was there a shortage of horses and mules after the Civil War?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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So many horses and mules died during the Civil War that I wonder what farmers and others did about the lack of these animals. Even if extensive breeding occurred, it would take time for the colts to be old enough to use as work horses. Has anyone one seen how long it took for the horse and mule population reached pre War levels?
 

Belle Montgomery

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GREAT question!
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The story of the millions of horses (and mules) that were used in all branches of both armies during the Civil War. Thousands were lost due to incapacity and malnutrition and on the battlefields. Memoirs of soldiers are read, telling the stories of the horses they recalled and the incredible sacrifices of them.
 

John Hartwell

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Central Massachusetts
There was a big supply readily available to start rebuilding the population, usually at bargain prices. This was only the first of a long series of government sales, large and small, of "veteran" horses and mules:
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[Daily Chronicle (D.C.), 7 August 1865]​
All across the country, sales continued for 2 or 3 years.
 
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jackt62

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New York City
On the other hand, the tens of thousands of horses and mules that the armies required during the war were no longer needed for that purpose afterwards. So even though untold numbers of animals perished in the CW, there might still have been sufficient numbers of animals for farm purposes.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
There was a big supply readily available to start rebuilding the population, usually at bargain prices. This was only the first of a long series of government sales, large and small, of "veteran" horses and mules:
View attachment 363106View attachment 363107
[Daily Chronicle (D.C.), 7 August 1865]​
All across the country, sales continued for 2 or 3 years.
None of the locations listed above were in the former Confederate States where there was indeed a livestock shortage.

[After the war] "two-thirds of the region's [South's] livestock was gone. . .​
When there was a shortage of work stock, the few surviving animals were passed from neighbor to neighbor. But sometimes there was no work stock so the men hitched themselves to the plow.​

There was no money in the South.

In 1865 Woonsocket, Rhode Island had more national [banknotes in] circulation than did Mississippi, Arkansas, and North and South Carolina combined. . . Rhode Island had $77.16 for each inhabitant, Arkansas had $0.13.​
Source: David L. Cohn, The Life and Times of King Cotton, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956), 142, 146, 148
 
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John Hartwell

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None of the locations listed above were in the former Confederate States where there was indeed a livestock shortage.

[After the war] "two-thirds of the region's [South's] livestock was gone. . .​
When there was a shortage of work stock, the few surviving animals were passed from neighbor to neighbor. But sometimes there was no work stock so the men hitched themselves to the plow.​

There was no money in the South.

In 1865 Woonsocket, Rhode Island had more national [banknotes in] circulation than did Mississippi, Arkansas, and North and South Carolina combined. . . Rhode Island had $77.16 for each inhabitant, Arkansas had $0.13.​
Source: David L. Cohn, The Life and Times of King Cotton, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956), 142, 146, 148
That first sale was all in northern states, but,as time went by, others, usually smaller, were held in almost every state:
Natchez_Daily_Courier_1865-10-07_1.png
New_Orleans_Times_1865-10-07_3.png
The biggest southern sales seem to have been centered in New Orleans and Nashville.

The lack of cash, as you say, was a huge hurtle, and was a source of great hardship. It was a costly war to lose.

Natchez_Daily_Courier_1865-10-07_1.png
 

19thOhio

Corporal
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Oct 24, 2019
There was a big supply readily available to start rebuilding the population, usually at bargain prices. This was only the first of a long series of government sales, large and small, of "veteran" horses and mules:
View attachment 363106View attachment 363107
[Daily Chronicle (D.C.), 7 August 1865]​
All across the country, sales continued for 2 or 3 years.
Interesting. The Ohio sales were right in my backyard.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
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Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1870/wealth-industry/1870c-05.pdf?# The answer is complex. The south was moving away from horses towards mules even before the Civil War. The population of mules seems to have increased to 1.1M by 1870, but much of the increase was in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Overall the number of horses dropped between 1860 and 1870 in many states.
Also pork production began to have competition from beef.
Livestock populations in the deep south were severely decreased. Which was both caused by people leaving the old south for Texas, Oregon and new areas on the plains, and also a cause of people leaving the old south to make a new start where livestock prices were lower and there was a nearby railroad depot.
 
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