Cavalry!

Carronade

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Of course, the drawback- against the benefits of having mounted soldiers- was that the effective fighting force was reduced by one-fourth.
Yes, it does seem to be a loss to an effective fighting force.
It's a tradeoff, fighting power vs. mobility. Look at this way, suppose you need to hold a position in order to block the enemy's advance - would you rather have a thousand cavalry, only 750 of whom can fight, or a thousand infantry who can all fight but can't get there in time?
 

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J. Hanger

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I like to start with the basics, and build from there :smile:


I thought they may have charged infantry positions, but I do know they also dismounted to fight. It's interesting to know that there were men dedicated to taking the horses to the rear when this happened. That's something that only came to my attention more recently.
If one was to watch "Son of Morning Star", one would see "Horse Holders" in action during the Reno attack on the Native
American village at the Little Big Horn as well as in mini-series with Patrick Swayze in their depiction of the Appomattox surrender from North/South Trilogy. Both of these scenes were UNREHERSED and "reenacted" on the site without any training or preparation. As a mounted participant in both films, I remember there was little regard for the safety of the "cavalrymen" or their mounts (all provided by the participants), all of whom were re-enactors.

As an aside, there were medical ambulances and medevac helicopters on-site as well. During the Reno charge sequence, there were four re-enactors taken to the hospital by ambulance as well as two by medevac. The Hollywood producers and directors had chosen a site that included a prairie dog town!

J
 

J. Hanger

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51P2TP-2IDL._SX290_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


The author was JEB Stuart's father-in-law. It is available on Amazon here for those interested.
A difficult manual to read and understand, especially for the beginner. There are two easier manuals: Patton's Cavalry Tactics (late war interpretation of Cooke) and Gilhams Manual for Volunteers (published before the war, I remember correctly) for the State of Virginia volunteers. Both of these have been reprinted.

Interestingly, when preparing for the Wilson Raid into Alabama, etc., during the latter part of the war, sections from two different manuals were used simultaneously by Harry Wilson's command! For example, the cavalry command was so large, Wilson instructed that the old two-rank formation be used instead of the newer, and more prevalent, single rank formation, thereby shortening the length of the march order by approximately half.

J
 

Equestriangirl93

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51P2TP-2IDL._SX290_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


The author was JEB Stuart's father-in-law. It is available on Amazon here for those interested.
Cool! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to read it sometime. I've heard that Cooke is often considered the "Father of the Cavalry" and certainly was influential in teaching JEB Stuart; something he probably came to regret a few years later when they were fighting on opposite sides.
 

J. Hanger

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During the war, there were a myriad of manuals published. Here is a site produced by Silas Tackett that includes contemporary wartime manuals as well as 20th and 21st century interpretations:

http://www.zipcon.net/~silas/links.htm

As to wartime cavalry manuals (and pre-war), I believe that the Poinsett Tactics were just as prevalent in both the regular and volunteer forces as were Cooke's.

J
 

J. Hanger

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Cool! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to read it sometime. I've heard that Cooke is often considered the "Father of the Cavalry" and certainly was influential in teaching JEB Stuart; something he probably came to regret a few years later when they were fighting on opposite sides.

There is a thread on here regarding your assumption about the relationship between Cooke and Stuart.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/j-e-b-stuart-vs-his-father-in-law.8429/

This will provide some answers to questions to which you have alluded.

J
 

theoldman

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A difficult manual to read and understand, especially for the beginner. There are two easier manuals: Patton's Cavalry Tactics (late war interpretation of Cooke) and Gilhams Manual for Volunteers (published before the war, I remember correctly) for the State of Virginia volunteers. Both of these have been reprinted.

Interestingly, when preparing for the Wilson Raid into Alabama, etc., during the latter part of the war, sections from two different manuals were used simultaneously by Harry Wilson's command! For example, the cavalry command was so large, Wilson instructed that the old two-rank formation be used instead of the newer, and more prevalent, single rank formation, thereby shortening the length of the march order by approximately half.

J
I agree. Army manuals are not known to be works of literary genius. :nah disagree: My post was intended as a reference to anyone with further interest in Civil War cav tactics.
 

WJC

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It's a tradeoff, fighting power vs. mobility. Look at this way, suppose you need to hold a position in order to block the enemy's advance - would you rather have a thousand cavalry, only 750 of whom can fight, or a thousand infantry who can all fight but can't get there in time?
Thanks for your response.
Like just about everything in life. In this case, it is how Generals 'earn their pay'.
 

1NCCAV

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As to wartime cavalry manuals (and pre-war), I believe that the Poinsett Tactics were just as prevalent in both the regular and volunteer forces as were Cooke's.
The group in the video link I posted were using the Poinsett manual for their reenactments.
 

1NCCAV

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All the examples he provided are from the EAST Theater.
Someone should edit the wiki article to include the raids of Forrest, van Dorn, Wheeler and Chalmers.
And Morgan? I can't find any evidence that he was much of a cavalryman in the classic sense that Stuart was but he was certainly an effective mounted raider.....for a year or two, anyway.
 
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During the war, there were a myriad of manuals published. Here is a site produced by Silas Tackett that includes contemporary wartime manuals as well as 20th and 21st century interpretations:

http://www.zipcon.net/~silas/links.htm

As to wartime cavalry manuals (and pre-war), I believe that the Poinsett Tactics were just as prevalent in both the regular and volunteer forces as were Cooke's.

J
Thanks for that link. The list includes many gems like e.g. Heth´s pre-war booklet about target practice. By the way there are also other books linked down further as well as articles on various topics (and also a link here to CWTs Reenactors Forum).
 

AUG

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Cavalry were forces that fought principally on horseback, armed with carbines, pistols, and especially sabers. Only a small percentage of Civil War forces met this definition—primarily Union mounted forces in the Eastern Theater during the first half of the war. Confederate forces in the East generally carried neither carbines nor sabers. A few Confederate regiments in the Western Theatercarried shotguns, especially early in the war.
My understanding is that many Confederate cavalrymen in the East did continue to carry sabers and carbines, however cavalry weaponry could vary greatly depending on who, when and where.

More than a few Confederate cavalry regiments carried shotguns. A lot of Texas regiments went off to war with a mix of arms and many still continued to use shotguns in the Trans-Mississippi, even by mid to late war. By summer of 1863 the 12th Texas Cavalry serving west of the Mississippi was entirely furnished with sabers and two companies with rifles, the rest armed with the shotguns and pistols that they had been using up until then. On the other hand, many Texas cavalrymen serving under Tom Green were equipped with Enfield rifles by 1863-65 and primarily fought dismounted.
 

Cavalry Charger

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My understanding is that many Confederate cavalrymen in the East did continue to carry sabers and carbines, however cavalry weaponry could vary greatly depending on who, when and where.

More than a few Confederate cavalry regiments carried shotguns. A lot of Texas regiments went off to war with a mix of arms and many still continued to use shotguns in the Trans-Mississippi, even by mid to late war. By summer of 1863 the 12th Texas Cavalry serving west of the Mississippi was entirely furnished with sabers and two companies with rifles, the rest armed with the shotguns and pistols that they had been using up until then. On the other hand, many Texas cavalrymen serving under Tom Green were equipped with Enfield rifles by 1863-65 and primarily fought dismounted.
I was actually hoping someone would clarify this. Thanks @AUG351 .
 

AUG

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I was actually hoping someone would clarify this. Thanks @AUG351 .
Think there was an old thread here on Forrest's men primarily using rifles by mid war, can't find it again though. Many of his troopers were also initially equipped with shotguns but were later issued or captured rifles, short rifles and carbines, since a lot of the fighting they did was dismounted. However, revolvers were also carried so they could fight mounted when they had to.

The Eastern Theater tended to see more mounted fighting than the West, like at Brandy Station or East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg. I'm no expert on that topic, but I believe both sides continued to use sabers much more so than in the West and Trans-Miss., even if large scale mounted hand-to-hand clashes were still rather rare. It would be interesting to know the exact armament of a number of regiments under Stuart and Hampton in 1863-64 and compare them to those under Forrest and Wheeler, or a number of commands in the Trans-Miss.
 

W. Richardson

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