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Thursday, August 15, 2013

When you take away a cavalryman's horse, he ain't happy

In a previous post I talked about the 30th Arkansas Infantry, a Confederate unit. That name is a bit misleading because the regiment actually began life as cavalry.

There were chronic supply problems in the Trans-Mississippi Theater, however, and in June of 1863, Major General Hindman realized he didn't have enough fodder for all the horses under his command. In a letter dated June 19, 1863, he wrote, "The scarcity of supplies now caused great distress. Nearly two months must yet elapse before the new crop would ripen. To lessen the consumption of corn, I found it necessary to dismount four regiments of Texans and three of Arkansians. This produced much dissatisfaction, and there were many desertions in consequence."

One of those units was the 30th Arkansas, and the records show a spike of desertions at this time. Cavalry considered themselves superior to infantry, they fancied themselves knights riding into battle rather than commoners slogging through the mud. To lose one's horse was insulting, and many simply went home rather than be turned into infantry.


  1. I guess it would be like a knight losing his horse. He sat high and noble on its back one moment, and then was down at the same level as everyone else the next. Not good for the ego.

  2. I love the picture of the mules pulling that huge wagon. That looks like hard work. I don't blame the cavalrymen for leaving. I'd be pretty upset at the demotion, too.


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