Would You Buy A $30,000 Dead Horse From This Man? Giesboro's Hopeful Quarter Master

JPK Huson 1863

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wh knights jousting 1869 crop.jpg

We've used horses in warfare since someone figured out they'd be handy. Romanticized war horses gallop through world history. You didn't need a war- image is of a joust circa 1440. What you never see is the rest of the story. Keeping horses around is messy and expensive, keeping thousands? Ask Giesboro's Quarter Master, 1863.


Sorry, thread title is a stretch. More than one horse and he'll throw in the manure. So a deal. Hate to post this in ' Four Footed Friends ', you'll see why. Also why Tom Sawyer and this guy had a lot in common.

I'm sorry but this is hysterical. Giesboro Point housed the massive, sprawling cavalry depot built around 1863 on land purchased from the Young family. Depot replaced the horse-clearing house near the treasury building smack in the middle of Washington. Huge. 200,000 horses passed through Giesboro, bought, sold, sent to regiments or died. Have a feeling military authorities forgot to take into consideration what happens when a horse eats. Grew up under a mandate barn clothes were left on the back porch. No idea why, philistines in the family insisted the odor was objectionable. Times how many horses at Giesboro?
giesboro corral cropped.JPG

One of the corrals at Geisboro Point's ginormous ' horse depot '.

The other problem was, with so many horses, quite a few died from disease and probably age. Horse dealers were not known by their adherence to codes of honor- you just know quite a few extremely elderly equines changed hands. We've heard of those awful, post battle bonfires dealing with horses killed in battle. Burying a horse is arduous beyond belief, fires impossible so close to D.C.'s civilian population- what to do?

giesboro remove 1.JPG

Yes, the proverbial glue factory paid a certain amount. It wasn't a lot, said factories being aware an entire beast was tough to dispose of and beasts were literally everywhere. Wording is fall-down funny- " The party to whom the privilege is awarded ..... ". Tom Sawyer's fence. Quarter Master does Tom one better. You paid to clean up Geisboro.

Yes, all this could be yours for the low, low cost of 500 bucks, S and H all yours, too. If you could scrape together 500 dollars for the bond. It sounds like the privileges being paid for were separate- there was a manure bond and a dead horse bond- only $1,000 and it was yours. That's around $30,000 today. Acre of land was around 5 bucks, a posh new home in NYC was around $2500. If you bought a smaller house you'd be able to afford Geisboro's manure.

Come buy both but hurry up- could be gone tomorrow.
giesboro remove 2.JPG


Manure was a problem for the single family maintaining their transportation in the back yard, much less livery stables, much less Geisboro's hoard of busy digestive systems. Those who collected it were unlikely to have 30K laying around plus may have expected money to flow the other way. Manure wasn't exactly a commodity. Cannot find a record of how successful was this ad, may be a reason.

This stable yard, dwarfed by nearby Giesboro was smack in the middle of a neighborhood right across from the Capitol. Wonder who bought his manure?
sign stableyard2.jpg



horse ad.JPG
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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The stench must have been horrible!
OH goodness, can you imagine? We have some small idea based on accounts from Gettysburg, post battle. One account said you could smell the carnage from a mile away another that it was so horrendous it killed a few people. Can't imagine towns elsewhere fared much better post battle, can you?
 
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GS

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OH goodness, can you imagine? We have some small idea based on accounts from Gettysburg, post battle. One account said you could smell the carnage from a mile away another that it was so horrendous it killed a few people. Can't imagine towns elsewhere fared much better post battle, can you?
Of all the battles, Gettysburg surely saw the most carnage, man and beast, and thus the worst stench. Bless the poor souls of those were charged with burying corpses. Imagine the blow flies, the scavenger beasts and birds, the rampant disease following this battle. Beyond my comprehension, this horrid scene. i would want to flee to the mountains.
 

EJ Zander

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Also the average horse produces 1.5- 2 gallons of urine per day.
Handling resident dead horses and manure was a massive issue faced by cities with out even taking in account having an equine depot in town adding to the burden.
London had a "Manure Crisis" in 1894. In New York you could make some extra money by hiring yourself out to shovel paths thru the stuff for residents kinda like snow.
Here is an article on NYC with some very interesting and at least one graphic pic for animal lovers. This issue was a major headache for city planners. NYC is estimated to have a resident horse population of 100,000.

https://99percentinvisible.org/article/cities-paved-dung-urban-design-great-horse-manure-crisis-1894/
 

O' Be Joyful

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Use-ta be: Zinn-zä-nätti o-HI-o The BIG city.
Being of the curious sort, I wondered where Giesboro Pt. would be found in today's Wash. D.C area. Its is now on grounds of Joint Base Bolling-Anacostia. Btw, I have intimate personal experience, in my farmboy youth, w/ pitchforks and the need for them where horses are concerned as well as :cow: :pig:. But, I don't even wish to contemplate tackling the chore this would have been . :help:

Snipped text and pictures below from civilwarwashingtondc1861-1865.blogspot which I have viewed before and is an excellent site. Bold is mine. :wink:

On the eve of the war, the 624 acre Giesboro (sometimes spelled Giesborough) tract was owned by George Washington Young, who had the dubious distinction of being the District's largest slaveowner. (In 1862, when the Federal Government instituted compensated emancipation in D.C., Young received $17,771.85 for the release of the men, women and children he held in servitude.) The Giesborough Manor plantation, whose primary product had been tobacco, dated back to the colonial period.
bollingafb1857mapsuperimposed.jpg
A section of an antebellum period map of Washington, DC superimposed on modern commercial imagery of Bolling Air Force Base shows what the terrain looked like at the start of the Civil War. The DIAC is marked by a black arrow. The area to the north, which by 1917 was filled in and eventually become NSF Anacostia, was part of the Anacostia River, then referred to as the Eastern Branch. The first military presence, albeit temporary, at Young's farm occurred in May 1861 when Colonel Ellsworth's New York Zouaves camped there before crossing the Potomac to occupy Alexandria.

With the end of the war, the Government began the process of decommissioning the Cavalry Depot. The country's small peacetime regular army had no need for thousands of mounts. Over 50,000 surplus horses, including many that had not been fit for military service, were sold at public auctions held at Giesboro. Dr. Samuel Mudd claimed that he attended one of these auctions, but did not purchase a horse as they were all in poor condition. These equestrian sales brought $1,251,722 into the Treasury. Other depot supplies were also sold off including thirteen frame building and $9,000 worth of manure.
Upon the army's return of his property in February1866, George Washington Young unsuccessfully tried to sell the tract. An ad placed in a local newspaper extolled its virtues and proximity to Washington:
"625 acres... with a front of mile and-a-half; the greater part bottom land, and acknowledged to be the finest soil for gardening in the vicinity of Washington. At present there are upon the place immense improvements erected by the Government which will afford great facilities for founding at once a town that would prove to Washington what Brooklyn is to New York."
Young died in 1867, but his estate received $2,640 by the government as compensation for any damages the estate may have suffered during the war, far less than he $41,488.75 that his widow had requested. In rejecting the request for greater compensation, a government official noted that the Youngs should be happy for all the improvements that Uncle Sam had made at no cost to them:
"The land has been greatly enriched by the thousands of animals kept upon it; miles of drainage pipes have been laid, thereby reclaiming fifty acres of swamp land to garden land, a large amount of new fencing has been constructed; valuable and costly wharfage built; the mansion house, barnes and outbuildings repaired and remodeled; new buildings erected and left upon the premises- all of which improvements made by the Quartermaster's Department of the Army of the United States inured to the benefit of the owner of the property without any immediate compensation being made on his part to the Government."
The balance of the blog post along w/ more pics can be found at the link above. As well as more very interesting entries.
 


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