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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

February 03, 1864

Horse Infirmary Established in Laurens County

The Richmond Times Dispatch printed an item on a horse infirmary established in Laurens County, Georgia; it was set up to treat and care for diseased, wounded and disabled horses belonging to the Confederacy.

The horse infirmary in Georgia. [from our own Correspondence] Magnolia Hill. Johnson county, Ga., Jan. 25, 1864. Having ever felt a deep interest in that noble animal, the horse, and especially since the commencement of the war, you will pardon me if I ask at your hands space enough for the following account of a visit I have just made to the Infirmary established in Laurens county, inch is State, for the treatment and care of diseased wounded, and disabled animals belonging to the Government. The infirmary is located in Laurens county, near the line between that county and Johnson, on the lands of Dr. Thomas A. Parsons, and about twelve miles from Oconce Station, on the Central Railroad, and one mile from the Geones liver. The is healthy, the land rolling and productive, the water facilities excellent, and the pasturage very good in spring and summer. The Government rented 3,000 acres of land from Dr. P. last summer, and immediately began the work of stables lots, corn and fodder houses, and other necessary buildings. There is considerable on the tract, and over 200 acres of luxuriant Bermmla grass, both of which allord fine pasturage for the horse. Horses that have become diseased, or been worn down, or otherwise disabled in the public service, in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, are sent here for treatment. Large comfortable and shelters, and high dry lots, have been provided for them. If they are suffering from standers or any other contagions disease, as farcy or distemper, they are assigned to a hospital for the particular disorder, which is located at a safe distance from the other stables and lots. If they have been wounded or crippled, or have a bad case of , or screeches, each one is put in a comfortable stall to himself; and so if they have been disabled by hard usage they are placed in roomy at night, and turned out to graze and exercise during the day. Each animal is curried and daily his legs and feet washed, and his particular malady or hurt carefully attended to.–Indeed, all the disperses to which the horse is subject are here thoroughly treated by experienced and practical veterinary surgeons and farriers whose is highly commendable, and whose success has been remarkable. The establishment in systematically arranged and managed, and conversant with their duties are assigned in the care of the animals, under the superintending care and direction of the farriers. In some diseases as in glanders and larcy, gentle exercise is preserved, and the horses are led or ridden for short distances. The general opinion is that glanders is a fatal disease, but I am assured that over thirty cases of it have been cured at this establishment. Of the whole number of diseased and disafted animals thus fan sent to the infirmary, nearly eighty five per cent has been saved. Many of them, after being cured and recruited, have been returned to the army. Others are improving rapidly, and will soon be in a condition for service. The rule adopted by the commandant of the post is, not to send back any animal until it flas been thoroughly recruited and rendered fit for duty. Such as can never be made available for active service, especially mares, are advertised and sold at public out cry to farmers Some of the animals were received in the lowest condition, but under the close attention and skilful treatment given them, they are now doing remarkably well. A number of cases of taineness sent to the infirmary arose from non attention to the and feet. The commandant of the post is Capt. J. G. Meken, of Columbus, Ga., an officer of rate zeal and fidelity who has been disabled in the service. He is derived to his business and is one of the most energetic men I have met with in the public service. He has in his employed negroes and 8 white men. He is now preparing accommodations for 2,000 more horses which are expected to arrive soon, and will render it necessary to employ additional help. No white man is employed except disable soldiers and persons until for service by reason of age of other infirmity. The and veterinary surgeons attached to the are Messrs. W. P. Davis and J. Dashrow, both of whom are devoted in the horse and exceedingly skilful in the treatment of the diseases in which he is subject. In deed, all the employees at the post, white and him a zeal and earnestness that is truly in these days of shuffling and affected The horse receives more the same and attention as the sick or disabled soldier does at the hospital. How much better is this than the practice which has prevailed heretofore and which still prevails in many parts of the Confederacy. Previous to the establishment of this infirmary, horses worn out or disabled and the service were turned out to perish around the camps, or left, behind on the march; whilst all animals having the glanders, heretofore considered incurable, were taken out and shot. The places thus made vacant were filled by the impressing other of whom is known to have seized a fine station in this State and appropriated him to his own use. The impressed neutrals were taken to the army, where they were neglected, abused, and disabled, and where in their turn many of them finally perished. The drain thus kept up upon the stock of horses in the country has been enormous and the prevailing seeming to be that the supply was inexhaustible. It had been fortunate for the Confederacy if the authorities, both civil and military, and sooner appreciated the value of an able bodied man and a good horse. In a country like ours, bounded on one side by a cordon of States, and shut out on the other by a blockade which effectually prevents us from recruiting our wasted armies from other parts of the world, the worth of a capable soldier or horse is incalculable. But the authorities have at last taken a step in the right direction. them follow it up by establishing other infirmaries at points where, as at this, there is an abundant supply of corn and forage. There should a feast be one in the Trans-Mississippi Department another in Alabama, and another in North Carolina. Without the horse, we can neither grow provisions for the army, nor move its supplies, nor keep proper watch upon the enemy what further motive does a sagacious and patriotic Government require? Sallust.