Liveblogging the Civil War False Claims Act: muskets costs and cavalry regiments

by Ben Vernia | February 2nd, 2012

From the New York Times, February 2, 1862:

The number of Springfield muskets contracted for under Mr. CAMERON is found to be about nine hundred thousand — which is a little short of the estimate of Mr. DAWES. The total cost of guns contracted for, which cannot in all probability be delivered during the present war, is thirty-nine millions of dollars. There is a cavalry regiment raised in Maine by Col. GODDARD, and now in Camp at Augusta. The regiment is full, about 1,200 strong, well mounted, in excellent discipline, and eager for service. But the War Department says to them, “We have no use for you — nothing for you to do;” and the talk is very strong for disbanding it. Meanwhile it is found that in other parts of the country skeleton cavalry regiments are maintained, and officers allowed to devote time to the task of recruiting and buying horses and accoutrements, out of which operations immense sums of money are drawn from the Government.

Unfortunately, the Times underestimated the length of the conflict when it wrote that 900,000 muskets “cannot in all probability be delivered during the present war.” The Springfield Armory was, in fact, overwhelmed with demand, and subcontracted with other firms. Ultimately, more than a million Springfield muskets were delivered.

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