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Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
This is probably the reasoning they had at the time, but in fact (as demonstrated later by actual combat) the sabre was still the superior weapon for mounted action and in fact was able to defeat not only dismounted enemy dragoons but all-up entrenched infantry on occasion.
It's not the ideal weapon for all circumstances, not by any means, but it's the best weapon for some common circumstances.

I don't think of a saber as a great weapon in the CW era. Any kind of ranged weapon is going to outdo the usefulness of a melee one. Like in Three Month in the Southern States, Fremantle mentions that Confederate officers spoke of the shotgun as the best weapon for mounted use, I'd have to concur. In a close cavalry fight one shot will take out more than one enemy soldier, and you had two.

Plus I seem to remember reading in several books that George Washington spoke of the blunderbuss, a shotgun-type weapon itself as a grand cavalry arm. In the American scheme of things cavalry wise, sabers have never been popular, neither have big epic European-style cavalry tactics, we've always done our own thing which is why North & South hearing of their actual use is memorable day.

Also its kind of out there to speak of cavalry in the CW era able to defeat everything up to entrenched infantry. As a general rule, cavalry on both sides tended to avoid clashes with infantry, only doing so when they had the close support of their own infantry. Cavalry and their sabers were pretty much obsolete in the Napoleonic sense, and to do anything like in Napoleon's day would have been a guarenteed slaughter because of the advances in weapons, and they knew it.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I don't think of a saber as a great weapon in the CW era. Any kind of ranged weapon is going to outdo the usefulness of a melee one. Like in Three Month in the Southern States, Fremantle mentions that Confederate officers spoke of the shotgun as the best weapon for mounted use, I'd have to concur. In a close cavalry fight one shot will take out more than one enemy soldier, and you had two.

Plus I seem to remember reading in several books that George Washington spoke of the blunderbuss, a shotgun-type weapon itself as a grand cavalry arm. In the American scheme of things cavalry wise, sabers have never been popular, neither have big epic European-style cavalry tactics, we've always done our own thing which is why North & South hearing of their actual use is memorable day.

Also its kind of out there to speak of cavalry in the CW era able to defeat everything up to entrenched infantry. As a general rule, cavalry on both sides tended to avoid clashes with infantry, only doing so when they had the close support of their own infantry. Cavalry and their sabers were pretty much obsolete in the Napoleonic sense, and to do anything like in Napoleon's day would have been a guarenteed slaughter because of the advances in weapons, and they knew it.
See, this is the thing. What you're doing is to apply reason from first principles, and you're coming to conclusions which make sense based on your assumptions, but we have first-hand data to reflect that the results you've come to are incorrect and that therefore either some of your reasoning is incorrect or some of your assumptions are incorrect.

The first thing to consider is why saber cavalry would be obsolete compared to Napoleon's day, because as-used in the Civil War the rifle musket was no more capable than a smoothbore musket (in fact, there is no statistically significant difference in battle performance between Civil War regiments armed with muskets and those armed with rifles). This is a matter of the training of the men, and this speaks to the issue - the reason why cavalry formations don't perform well in the Civil War is partly an issue of training.

Of course, many soldiers in the Civil War followed the same sort of reasoning you're describing, and in many cases this manifested in that they didn't even try to fight with the sabre because it would be "obviously useless". But some did, and it often worked - one example being Five Forks, which sees a successful sabre charge against entrenched infantry, while another is 3rd Winchester. The fact this comes towards the end of the war indicates it's not a matter of the tactic being obsolete - and, indeed, in the Franco-Prussian War a Prussian cavalry charge by a brigade of 800 men sees a little under 50% casualties and disrupts a French corps for more than an hour (it takes the commitment of French cavalry to restore the situation).

People were much quicker to assume the sabre charge was dead than was actually warranted by the results on the battlefield; even in WW1 a mounted charge had its place, though by that point the rise of the machine gun had finally started to create the situation where it was no longer viable as a few men with a machine gun could wreck a charge.


The thing that has to be realized is that a sabre charge against a mounted enemy doesn't mean a mounted melee - a "close cavalry fight" - because in those sorts of fights weapons like the revolver or the shotgun (I suppose*) can be more successful. It means a boot-to-boot shock charge, which breaks into or through the enemy before a melee can develop; this is a dichotomy which existed as far back as the 17th century and Gustavus Adolphus' Gallop cavalry, and it still applied in the Civil War.



* it's not as if the shotgun was invented since the Napoleonic wars; if the shotgun was better in mounted combat than the sabre and this invalidated the sabre charge, all Napoleonic cavalry would carry shotguns.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
It shouldn't. As a general rule, the Confederates viewed saber fighting as barbaric. Early in the war--and this still qualifies as early--they would often call out "Put up your sabers and fight like gentlemen," meaning with pistols in mounted combat such as that at Kelly's Ford.

Didn't the Confederates have a shortage of sabers, whether they wanted them or not, or was that only in the western theater?

Still its unusual to hear of a successful saber attack, or one performed.

Five Forks and Third Winchester have been mentioned in this thread subsequent to your post.

Did Sheridan's counterattack at Cedar Creek also involve saber charges by his cavalry?

Custer's counterattack at East Cavalry Field ("Come on you Wolverines!") involved sabers and I recall one of the Confederate generals was badly wounded in the melee, though he later recovered.

There was a failed charge by Union cavalry at the end of Gaines Mill trying to cover the Union collapse after Hood's breakthrough. Plus Farnsworth's disastrous charge at Gettysburg.

I think it's not so much that saber charges were out of the ordinary as they have been overshadowed by cavalry acting as mounted infantry. Buford at Gettysburg. Chickamauga. Cold Harbor. Forrest's entire career. (Sorry to use the F-word, Eric.)

Also, the classic cavalry charge of heavy cavalry stampeding and routing an enemy never really happened in the war. Most saber charges were against other cavalry. Probably Wilson at Nashville came closest, shattering Hood's crumbling army? Maybe Five Forks counts as well?

There was certainly some fear of it early in the war, especially the phantom Black Horse Cavalry at First Bull Run.

Like in Three Month in the Southern States, Fremantle mentions that Confederate officers spoke of the shotgun as the best weapon for mounted use, I'd have to concur. In a close cavalry fight one shot will take out more than one enemy soldier, and you had two.

Shotguns weren't necessarily double barreled.

Shotguns also require two hands. A revolver has six shots and doesn't require both hands.
 

Cavalier

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
@Joshism Would not Minty at Shelbyville and Sheridan's cavalry at 3rd Winchester be examples of cavalry routing an enemy? Both instances being examples of cavalry against infantry also. Just a thought.

John
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
@Joshism Would not Minty at Shelbyville and Sheridan's cavalry at 3rd Winchester be examples of cavalry routing an enemy? Both instances being examples of cavalry against infantry also. Just a thought.

John

Yes, but....

Shelbyville was cavalry vs. cavalry....

I just published a book on the Tullahoma Campaign that includes Shelbyville. The Confederate infantry was gone. Only two of Wheeler's cavalry divisions were in Shelbyville by the time Minty and his boys arrived.
 

Cavalier

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
@Eric Wittenberg At Shelbyville were the Confederate Cavalry fighting dismounted? Somehow I got the idea Minty was against infantry there, (not the brightest bubble light on the Christmas tree here, as you can see). Thanks for the correction though.

Hopefully Santa will come across with that Tullahoma book. Minty is right at the top of my "guys I want of find out more about" list.

John
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
@Eric Wittenberg At Shelbyville were the Confederate Cavalry fighting dismounted? Somehow I got the idea Minty was against infantry there, (not the brightest bubble light on the Christmas tree here, as you can see). Thanks for the correction though.

Hopefully Santa will come across with that Tullahoma book. Minty is right at the top of my "guys I want of find out more about" list.

John
Sure, John--no problem.

Bragg's army had already retreated from Shelbyville--where it had spent the winter and was Bragg's headquarters--to Tullahoma largely as a result of Wilder seizing Hoover's Gap, meaning that Bragg was outflanked. Wheeler's troopers were left behind as a rear guard to protect the retreating Confederate wagon trains. There were very extensive earthworks around Shelbyville, and Wheeler did not have sufficient manpower to man them as they were intended, which is one of the reasons why Minty got the bulge on them.

With five regiments--Minty had an extra regiment, the First Middle Tennessee Cavalry, that day--Minty shattered two divisions of Confederate cavalry and sent them flying with two of most remarkable mounted charges of the entire war. The Battle of Shelbyville is a very interesting battle to study as a result. Wheeler was nearly captured--he had to leap into the Duck River to escape.

Obviously, we cover Minty's action in great detail in the Tullahoma book. My 2018 book, Holding the Line on the River of Death: Union Mounted Forces at Chickamauga, September 18, 1863, is in large part about Minty and his Saber Brigade if you haven't read it.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Also, the classic cavalry charge of heavy cavalry stampeding and routing an enemy never really happened in the war. Most saber charges were against other cavalry. Probably Wilson at Nashville came closest, shattering Hood's crumbling army? Maybe Five Forks counts as well?

From what I can recall off hand both battles the cavalry was pretty closely supported by infantry.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Shotguns weren't necessarily double barreled.

Shotguns also require two hands. A revolver has six shots and doesn't require both hands.

No there were single barreled shotguns, but due to the heavy importation of low-cost very affordable double-barreled shotguns from Europe, (mostly Belgium), double-barreled shotguns were more common than single barreled ones. Even today when shopping for antique, muzzle-loading double barrels you'll find half a dozen or more for every one single-barrel. Double-barrels were the mainstay of most rural households, and very common in the South.

As for how to fire them? Thanks to modern smokeless shotguns there is this mentality of them kicking like mules, but in the CW-era with blackpowder, which generates a LOT less pressure, shotgun recoil was fairly mild. You could fire one on horseback one handed a lot easier than you could the infantry rifles and rifle-muskets common in Confederate Cavalry ranks.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
At the time of the Civil War, warfare was rapidly changing due to changes in technology on both land and sea. The military journals of the time were filled with fervent arguments over what that meant in terms of tactics and operations. On the seas, it was about steam-powered ships, armor and the new, more-powerful guns available. On the land, it was about the impact of firepower on the field of battle and in siege warfare/coastal defense.

Cavalry was no different. Von Moltke was writing about the lessons he saw about the superiority of firepower vs. shock after the 1859 war in Italy. After the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, von Moltke was warning his generals about the impact of firepower on cavalry tactics. European military journals of the day were filled with articles promoting one or the other -- and the arguments continued right up into World War I.

During this period, the world's leading authority on Cavalry became Lt. Colonel George T. Dennison III of Canada (from a family called "the Fighting Dennisons" for their long history of military service to Britain and Canada). Dennison won the 1874 prize given by the Russian Grand Duke Nicholas for the best work on Cavalry. His History of Cavalry (more fully, A history of cavalry from the earliest times, with lessons for the future London, 1877) was still regarded as the definitive work in the field as World War I approached. His 1868 Modern Cavalry: Its Organization, Armament, and Employment in War reflects his views after interviewing many Confederate officers about their experience in the Civil War.

One good reference for any discussion on the controversy about the issue would be Jay Luvaas' The Military Legacy of the Civil War: The European Inheritance (See article). There is excellent discussion there of the British/French/Prussian/Russian differences on the topic. Example: after the American Civil War, Russian Cossack units were becoming more formally organized and trained. In the 1877 Balkan war with Turkey, Cossacks were trained to fight dismounted with rifle and bayonet; each Cossack regiment now had a sapper unit attached for demolition of things that would not burn, and deep-penetration cavalry raids were employed (possibly winning the war for the Russians). OTOH, the Prussians fought bitterly to keep La Arme Blanche paramount (to the extreme of claiming there was no time to train for dismounted action). The British split down the middle over it.

 
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Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
At the time of the Civil War, warfare was rapidly changing due to changes in technology on both land and sea. The military journals of the time were filled with fervent arguments over what that meant in terms of tactics and operations. On the seas, it was about steam-powered ships, armor and the new, more-powerful guns available. On the land, it was about the impact of firepower on the field of battle and in siege warfare/coastal defense.

Cavalry was no different. Von Moltke was writing about the lessons he saw about the superiority of firepower vs. shock after the 1859 war in Italy. After the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, von Moltke was warning his generals about the impact of firepower on cavalry tactics. European military journals of the day were filled with articles promoting one or the other -- and the arguments continued right up into World War I.

During this period, the world's leading authority on Cavalry became Lt. Colonel George T. Dennison of Canada III (from a family called "the Fighting Dennisons" for their long history of military service to Britain and Canada). Dennison won the 1874 prize given by the Russian Grand Duke Nicholas for the best work on Cavalry. His History of Cavalry (more fully, A history of cavalry from the earliest times, with lessons for the future London, 1877) was still regarded as the definitive work in the field as World War I approached. His 1868 Modern Cavalry: Its Organization, Armament, and Employment in War reflects his views after interviewing many Confederate officers about their experience in the Civil War.

One good reference for any discussion on the controversy about the issue would be Jay Luvaas' The Military Legacy of the Civil War: The European Inheritance (See article). There is excellent discussion there of the British/French/Prussian/Russian differences on the topic. Example: after the American Civil War, Russian Cossack units were becoming more formally organized and trained. Vt the 1877 Balkan war with Turkey, Cossacks were trained to fight dismounted with rifle and bayonet; each Cossack regiment now had a sapper unit attached for demolition of things that would not burn, and deep-penetration cavalry raids were employed (possibly winning the war for the Russians). OTOH, the Prussians fought bitterly to keep La Arme Blanche paramount (to the extreme of claiming there was no time to train for dismounted action). The British split down the middle over it.


Great post.

I did a series of blog posts on how changes in technology drove the evolution of cavalry tactics in the Civil War that can be found here, if it's of interest:








 
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Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
I look forward to reading these.

Have you considered writing a single volume history of cavalry in the ACW?

I have, Josh. And I came to the conclusion that it was impossible to do it justice in a single volume. IMHO, it would take four full volumes, and at nearly 60 years old, I don't think that I have enough left in the tank to tackle such a gargantuan project.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
General comments on the state of the Cavalry arm in the period from the Crimean War (1853-56) through the Turkish-Russian War in the Balkans (1877-78) by a noted nineteenth century military historian, G. F. R. Henderson:

As time went on and armies became larger , and skill at arms , as a national characteristic , rarer , drill , discipline , maneuvers in mass , and a high degree of mobility came to out weigh all other considerations ; and when the necessity of arming the nations brought about short service , the training of the individual , in any other branch of his business than that of riding boot to boot and of rendering instant obedience to the word or signal of his superior , fell more and more into abeyance . Shock tactics filled the entire bill , and the cavalry of Europe , admirably trained to maneuver and to attack , whether by the squadron of 150 sabres or the division of 3,000 or 4,000 , was practically unfitted for any other duty . The climax of incompetency may be said to have been reached during that cycle of European warfare which began with the Crimea and ended with the Russo Turkish conflict of 1877–78. The old spirit of dash and daring under fire was still conspicuous . Discipline and mobility were never higher. The regiments maneuvered with admirable precision at the highest speed , and never had great masses of horsemen been more easily controlled. And yet , in the whole history of war, it may be doubted whether the record of the cavalry was ever more meagre . It is true that in the course of the campaign of 1870–71 the German cavalry learned some thing of scouting , and that , owing to the utter supineness of the enemy , it obtained a large amount of valuable information . But its failures in this respect , especially at the outset , were very many ; and it is not too much to say that , so far as peace training is concerned , it was little , if at all , superior to the cavalry of any other European Power . Moreover , when called upon to act dismounted , and to meet the enemy with fire instead of with la arme blanche, it proved absolutely useless. The carbine was a popgun; the troopers knew nothing whatever of fighting on foot; their movements were impeded by their equipment; and a few francs-tireurs, armed with the chassepot, were enough to paralyse a whole brigade. As time went on and armies became larger, and skill at arms, as a national characteristic, rarer, drill, discipline, maneuvers in mass, and a high degree of mobility came to out weigh all other considerations; and when the necessity of arming the nations brought about short service, the training of the individual, in any other branch of his business than that of riding boot to boot and of rendering instant obedience to the word or signal of his superior, fell more and more into abeyance. Shock tactics filled the entire bill, and the cavalry of Europe, admirably trained to maneuver and to attack, whether by the squadron of 150 sabres or the division of 3,000 or 4,000, was practically unfitted for any other duty. The climax of incompetency may be said to have been reached during that cycle of European war.​
Had the successes gained by shock-tactics been very numerous, it might possibly be argued that the sacrifice of efficiency in detached and dismounted duties, as well as the training of the individual, was fully justified . But what are the facts? The successes gained by shock-tactics, where anything larger than a regiment was engaged, are confined to the following :​
  1. The victory of the British Heavy Brigade at Balaklava .
  2. The charges of some twenty squadrons at Custozza , maneuvering by brigades , which checked and partially routed three divisions of most indifferent infantry .
  3. The charges of the Austrian cavalry at Königgrätz , which drove back the Prussian horse and enabled Benedek's defeated troops to get away in safety .
  4. The charge of six squadrons at Mars-la-Tour , which went through a French army corps , largely composed of recruits .
  5. The defeat of 2,500 French horsemen , also at Mars-la Tour , by about the same number of Germans .
  6. The charge of the 11th and 17th German Hussars , near Vionville , against retreating infantry .
  7. The charge of the German brigade at Loigny-Poupry , when a small brigade charged down on the flank of a large body of half-trained French infantry , and put them out of action for about three-quarters of an hour .
From The Science of War, A Collection of Essays and Lectures, 1891-1903.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
There is a huge amount wrong with this section. I did consider writing a rebuttal, but it ended up being a general piece of research on the development of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.

However:

McClellan was biased against volunteer cavalry, and believed in late 1861 that “for all present duty of cavalry in the upper Potomac volunteers will suffice as they will have nothing to do but carry messages & act as videttes.” A week later, McClellan requested that no more volunteer cavalry regiments be raised throughout the North, since their role was unclear, and questions remained about the army’s ability to mount and arm the new recruits.

You state much the same in your "Union Cavalry Come of Age", and both times you're badly misquoting what actually happened.

The letter in question was written on 16th September. On the 15th September Banks had written a very impudent letter to Seward, and Seward had simply forwarded it to McClellan. McClellan explained clearly that he took the 4 companies of regulars from Banks and placed them in the cavalry reserve (i.e. Palmer's Cavalry Brigade), and that Banks didn't need them. A fuller quote would be:

"As to the regular Cavalry - I have directed that all of it be concentrated in one mass that the numbers in each company may be increased & that I may have a reliable & efficient body on which to depending on in battle. For all present duty of Cavalry in the upper Potomac[,] volunteers may suffice as they will have nothing to do but carry messages & act as videttes. Arms will be sent for them as soon as it is obtained. ... I think General that you forget that the present duty of your division is simply to support the division of Genl Stone in opposing any attempt of the enemy to cross the River & that if such an attempt bids fair to succeed I am ready to move up with my large reinforcements & assume command myself."

To be clear, McClellan was doing the exact opposite of what he is accused of; he was concentrating most of the cavalry he had (which was very little) into one body. Banks was left with Cole's Cavalry battalion of 4 coys, and part of the Van Alen Cavalry (later 3rd NY Cavalry). McClellan's instructions to Banks are perfectly reasonable; Banks doesn't need to have those 4 regular coys, as all the cavalry had to do at the time was watch the Potomac river.

Later in this article you approve of McClellan's actions centralising the cavalry into one body.

The "week later" was actually about two months later. On 7th November, with six unhorsed "cavalry" regiments arriving from New York and no horses to mount them all, McClellan requests no more cavalry regiments be accepted. With 5 fully unhorsed "cavalry" regiments to deal with, McClellan orders them to duty in the fortifications as infantry. If the cavalry can't be mounted, then it isn't really cavalry is it?

On the Peninsula, McClellan parsed out his volunteer cavalry regiments to specific infantry brigades, primarily using the horsemen as messengers and orderlies. This was a poor use for an expensive arm of the service like cavalry.

This isn't the least bit true is it?

We know what McClellan's proposed organisation was; each corps got a squadron for escort duty (exactly the scaling as under the 1863 Cavalry Corps) and the 4 Corps slated to move on Richmond each got a brigade of 2-3 regiments. The Cavalry Reserve remained organised as a division.

Of course, when McClellan advanced on Yorktown he had only the equivalent of 4 regiments landed. The 3rd Pennsylvania, 5th US, 6th US and the 1st&2nd US. The 3rd Pennsylvania and 5th US were attached as scouts/screens for the two columns and the 6th US were in reserve, with the 1st&2nd US ordered to catch up. McClellan's own escort hadn't even disembarked.

After the storm of the 6th-10th abated, the 6th Pennsylvania, 8th Pennsylvania, 3rd Bn, 6th NY and McClellan's escort cavalry disembark. Of all the mounted cavalry on the Peninsula, only the 3rd Bn, 6th NY and the 3rd Pa Cav were not part of the Cavalry Reserve. The poor 3rd Pa Cav had to perform the entire duty of escorts etc. for the whole army until the 6th NY battalion joined in the middle of the month, whereupon that battalion assumed responsibility as the escorts to the 2nd and 4th Corps. The 3rd Pa Cav in fact camped with the Cavalry Reserve, and only provided a detachment to the 3rd Corps. Aside from these three squadrons, and small detachments to GHQ and the Provost, the entire Cavalry was concentrated in one body ready to pursue.

The 8th Illinois disembarked on the 1st May, and their Colonel reported to McClellan the next day. On the 4th, the whole of the available cavalry, that is the Cavalry Reserve and the 3rd Pennsylvania and 8th Illinois, took to the field in pursuit. The whole of the cavalry acted as a single unified force, less a few squadrons attached as escorts and the 1st NY Cav.

Advancing from Yorktown, the cavalry remained a unified body under Stoneman's command, scouting the advance and screening the main body whilst racing to link up with Franklin's (later Sumner's) river column, who had the 1st NY Cavalry with them (disembarked at Shipping Point 27th April, and reembarked to go upriver).

The cavalry continued to act as a single body. On 27th May almost the entire cavalry took to the field in two major bodies to attack Hanover Courthouse. Only the 3rd and 8th Pennsylvania (now acting as a brigade) were left to screen at Fair Oaks with the following with Porter's attack force:

Vanguard (Emory, a detachment of Stoneman's command)
5th US Cavalry
6th US Cavalry
6th Pennsylvania Cavalry
1st US Sharpshooters
Bty M, 2nd US Arty

Main Body (Stoneman)
8th Illinois Cavalry
1st New York Cavalry (minus squadron, attached to 5th Corps as the escort)
1st US Cavalry
98th Pennsylvania Infantry (attached)
2nd Rhode Island Infantry (attached)
Bty A, 2nd US Arty
Bty B&L, 2nd US Arty

This organisation persisted largely intact until the Seven Days (although a battalion of the 1st NY was detached to reserve). Stoneman's main body was at Hanover Court House, with the 8th Illinois Cavalry pushed forward on piquet. Averill's with 3 regiments watched the left flank of the army and patrolled in front of Richmond. A detachment of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry were at White House Landing. The 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry reached WHL just as the Seven Days started, and withdrew with Casey. Stoneman led a large detachment of his division (with Emory) to oppose Jackson, and withdrew back on White House Landing. Cooke commanded the residue.

Stoneman's command

Went on expedition to block Jackson and retired to White House Landing with Stoneman in personal command
wing, 5th US Cav
6th US Cav
2 sqns, 6th Pa Cav
17th NY Inf (attached)
18th Mass Inf (attached)
(Bty C&G, 3rd Arty) (camped south of Chickahominy and joined Stoneman)

On Piquet duty to the right of McCall's division
8th Illinois

At Hanover Courthouse under Cooke
1st US (2 sqns)
wing, 5th US
3 sqns, 6th Pa
Sqn, 4th Pa (joined on 26th)
(Bty A, 2nd Arty) (camped south of Chickahominy and joined Cooke )
(Bty B&L, 2nd Arty) (camped south of Chickahominy and joined Cooke)

South of the Chickahominy
1st NY - one sqn detached as 5th Corps HQ escort. Remaining 5 sqns screening at Fair Oaks. 2 sqns accompanied Slocum.
3rd Pa - whole regt
8th Pa - whole regt
2nd US & McClellan Dragoons - went south of the White Oak and protected the engineers who opened the crossings. Retired with the army
Bty M, 2nd Arty

After the Seven Days, the Cavalry Reserve was disbanded, and the cavalry organised into a division of two brigades; the first under Averill (later expanded to 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps) and the second under Gregg who was replaced by Pleasanton (later expanded to 1st Division, Cavalry Corps). The 6th Pennsylvania became a dedicated regiment of guides. Stoneman continued to command the division.
 
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Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
There is a huge amount wrong with this section. I did consider writing a rebuttal, but it ended up being a general piece of research on the development of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.

However:

[quote = "Eric J. Wittenberg"]
McClellan was biased against volunteer cavalry, and believed in late 1861 that “for all present duty of cavalry in the upper Potomac volunteers will suffice as they will have nothing to do but carry messages & act as videttes.” A week later, McClellan requested that no more volunteer cavalry regiments be raised throughout the North, since their role was unclear, and questions remained about the army’s ability to mount and arm the new recruits.

Whatever. You lack credibility with me. Sorry.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Out of interest, if 67th is incorrect on the distribution of cavalry on the Peninsula then what was the distribution, by regiment? Which cavalry regiments were attached to infantry brigades, for example?

Interestingly, reading the two available histories of the 1st New York Cavalry, I find that a detachment of that regiment acted as McClellan's escort during Gaines Mill. Hence they were able to report him being very active on the field "riding from point to point at the gallop" (ref).

As usual, the closer you look, the more the narrative falls apart.
 
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