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bob 125th nysvi
07-26-2007, 12:22 PM
I was at a local event this past weekend and because we had a small unit and the dismounted cavalry was a small unit we were brigaded togther to make a reasonably sized skirmish unit. (Skip the line infantry boys, get skirmish duty if you can, it's where all the fun is.)

While both groups knew their stuff we of course do things differently formation wise (even though I thought we worked well together).

But on the way home (after we had had group discussions over the weekend) I had to agree with the cavalry boys in that they were not being used in a realistic manner. They were being used as high firepower infantry.

Admittedly it's hard to think of 5 guys as a troop but then 120 guys don't make a regiment either.

So shouldn't it be incumbent on those officers who want to command the whole shebang to be knowledgeable in not only infantry tactics but in the proper use of cavalry?

Maybe a few of our ranking officers can weight in on if they beleive they are knowledgeable and if not why it isn't important.

Thank you for your input.

tompritchett
07-26-2007, 01:58 PM
But on the way home (after we had had group discussions over the weekend) I had to agree with the cavalry boys in that they were not being used in a realistic manner. They were being used as high firepower infantry.

The whole problem is that when cavalry fought dismounted they were indeed being used as a highly mobile infantry force.

Dave Myrick
07-26-2007, 04:51 PM
Actually Tom, a dismounted cavalrymen is is NOT any more mobile than anyone else.

Bob, line officers in one branch of service often have no clue as to tactics and use of the other branches. This is nothing new, and is quite historically accurate as well. A look at the federal cavalry during the war reveals this fact. When cavalry officers had to report as subordinates infantry officers, the cavalry was horribly misused, abused and wasted. Not until late in the war when they were allowed to think and operate completely on their own were they able to come into their own.

The problem we have today in reenacting is more complicated because we have to deal with cavalrymen wih a dismounted only impression and have to figure out a way to keep those folks happy as well as the mounted folks.
Thats what it all boils down to, is keeping all of the participants happy so they continue to come back to event after event. How to do it, is to involve a cav guy in the planning process from the beginning, and to have a guy in field in command that can keep things in the proper perspective for all involved parties.

Its much easier said than done, trust me.

Dave Myrick
Grumpy Horse Soldier

tompritchett
07-26-2007, 08:07 PM
Actually Tom, a dismounted cavalrymen is is NOT any more mobile than anyone else.

My highly mobile comment comes from the fact that cavalry can be moved quickly from one portion of the battlefield to another while mounted and then dismount to fight as infantry in skirmish lines. Their ability to redeploy quickly is much greater than plain infantry - an advantage that generals such as Forrest, Buford, and Winder used used quite effectively during different parts of the war.


The problem we have today in reenacting is more complicated because we have to deal with cavalrymen wih a dismounted only impression and have to figure out a way to keep those folks happy as well as the mounted folks.
Thats what it all boils down to, is keeping all of the participants happy so they continue to come back to event after event. How to do it, is to involve a cav guy in the planning process from the beginning, and to have a guy in field in command that can keep things in the proper perspective for all involved parties.

On this we agree.

Rob Weaver
07-27-2007, 06:40 AM
Cavalry dismounted are high powered infantry. They can turn out a rate of fire twice that of an infantry formation, from less revealing positions without being entrenched. This is hard to see when reenacting because it takes about the same amount of time to load a breechloader as a muzzleloader if you leave out the ramming steps. So cavalry in the defensive is a very potent force. On the offensive, this firepower is also felt. Late in the war, cavalry attacking dismounted with repeating weapons took fortified positions. Selma, I believe?
Part of what you were seeing has to do with one of the idiosynchrasies of reenacting that I call the "scale battlefield." Fields are rarely big enough to really deploy troops and move them around, and sometimes have no truly significant terrain. Our numbers often don't justify having branches working together, but there they are. So we scale the whole action, like a wargame. An infantry battalion throws out a cavalry skirmish line, to advance on and engage an enemy battalion probably 150 yards away. (Why do you need skirmishers? They're right there!) We then trade massed volleys until one side or the other falls back to the line of 6-8 guns which mark the limit of retreat. There should be at least a brigade to justify that many guns, and where are their battery supports? So, the whole thing is more like a scale demonstration of tactics, or a combined arms drill, than a recreation of a historical event. (Please don't look for any agenda in this post; I like every kind of event from marches to powder-burners as long as I'm safe.) It's been helpful to me to view the entire action as "telescoped" or "scaled" to fit smaller numbers on smaller fields.

Dave Myrick
07-27-2007, 06:02 PM
Why does everyone ASSUME that dimounted cavalrymen only functioned in skirmish formations? This simply is not the case in all circumstances.

Now why on earth would an infantry battalion put out a skirmish line of dismounted cavalrymen? It would be better tactically to send a platoon from the battalion out as skirmishers to engage the enemy and use the cavalry to look for an exposed flank or to exploit a weakend line or to support a withdrawl. That is how cavalry would have worked with infantry.

Dave Myrick

killerreb
07-27-2007, 06:20 PM
I agree with Mr. Myrick, simply put, Infantry would skirmish for infantry hence the drill in the manuals. i believe we use dismounted cav incorrectly (as infantry skirmishers) far to often, mostly due to the weapons they use (carbines/pistols etc) more than any other reason..but dont take me wrong as saying that this never happened, this is just how i perceive it.

Steve Hutton

Rob Weaver
07-27-2007, 07:06 PM
That's exactly the point I want to make. An infantry formation would send out it's own skirmishers. I know that; we both know that. But on the "scale battlefield" where every unit wants its turn to play, it doesn't always work out that way.

killerreb
07-27-2007, 08:31 PM
i agree with you whole heartedly on this as well sir, a solid point. :D

steve hutton

tompritchett
07-27-2007, 09:01 PM
Now why on earth would an infantry battalion put out a skirmish line of dismounted cavalrymen? It would be better tactically to send a platoon from the battalion out as skirmishers to engage the enemy and use the cavalry to look for an exposed flank or to exploit a weakend line or to support a withdrawl. That is how cavalry would have worked with infantry.

In this we agree. Question, would dismounted cavalry be used as flank security?

killerreb
07-27-2007, 09:18 PM
I am no tactician and have always run under the assumption that cav was primarily used to scout & harrass the enemy. Infantry would put out their own "flankers" while on march, i believed that cav. only became "dismounted" when the enemy were engaged, but once again i could well be wrong (god knows it happens frequently)..but this leads me to a question i have always had. i thought the difference between cavalry & dragoons was the theory that cav fought while mounted & dragoons dismounted? or did i get it backwards...

Steve Hutton
(who only knows infantry...a little)

Dave Myrick
07-28-2007, 09:58 AM
No a dismounted force would not be used as flank security, not typically. The problem we are dealing with here is that we have a group within the hobby attempting an impression with very limited historical context. It was rare that a dismounted force engaged in combat without their horses nearby. Remember a dismounted trooper is not the same as an infantryman. He is encumbered by his saber and hence his movements are limited. While he has a weapon with a greater rate of fire, it is less accurate at range due to the shorter barrel. Also, the higher rate of fire possible portends to a quicker expenditure of ammunition. The revolver that everyone likes to see used was nothing more than a extremely close ranged weapon.
Yes they could fight dismounted and they did, not only as skirmishers but in lines of battle just as their infantry brothers. However it was a context related event. Think of 9th NY at Gettysburg or 1st DC at Bermuda Hundred. The real advantage of cavalry is is mobility. Patrolling and scouting looking for weakness is but one way to support an infantry line. The cavalry would not have been in line alongside the infantry. The historical context for dismounted men in line fighting is very limited and would be scenario dependent. The supposition that the men's horses are over behind XXX and out of sight as the basis for the dismounted force may be fine. I don't want to get into that discussion yet again, but if dismounted cavalry is going to be done, then it has to be done correctly. If not is nothing more than someone's imagination run wild. Cavalry operates by a different manual than infantry and it doesn't matter if they are mounted or not. The "scale" battlefield concept does not justify the misuse of cavalry or artillery either for that matter.

As I said before, the solution requires having knowledgeable cavalrymen involved in the event planning process from the beginning.

Steve, technically you are correct. A dragoon fought primarily dismounted and cavalrymen fought principally from his horses back. That was a pre-Civil War concept. With the development of weapons and tactics the mounted arm evolved until light cavalry, heavy cavalry and dragoon roles were performed by the cavalry.

Dave Myrick
Grumpy Horse Soldier

MStuart
07-28-2007, 10:12 AM
Probably more than anyone would ever like to read about cavalry units, north and south, fighting dismounted against cavalry and infantry can be found here:

http://www.cwreenactors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2572

From a past topic. Please remember, that thread covers little regarding mobile, mounted only cavalry actions. They mainly focus on the "dismounted" fighting done by cavalry. But, there is a bunch of them for those interested.

Mark

Rob Weaver
07-28-2007, 11:05 AM
if dismounted cavalry is going to be done, then it has to be done correctly.

I like the way you think! For a long time dismounted cavalry has been considered by some the "lowest form of life." I'd like to see it portrayed accurately and in context also - and I'm not even a cavalryman.

killerreb
07-28-2007, 11:47 AM
i agree with you on all fronts Mr Myrick, whether infantry, arty or cav. they should/must be used properly on the field...

steve hutton

Memphis
07-28-2007, 11:57 AM
For a long time dismounted cavalry has been considered by some the "lowest form of life."

The artillery pistol charge has to be close, if not the top dog in that category.

Sgt_Pepper
07-28-2007, 02:42 PM
The artillery pistol charge has to be close, if not the top dog in that category.

Mr. Johns, as I am unfamiliar with it, please describe the "artillery pistol charge". I suspect I may know it by another name, such as, "What do those [people] think they're doing?"

Memphis
07-28-2007, 04:14 PM
The artillerymen (and I use that term loosely) quit their pieces, draw their revolvers, ready their carbines, and sally forth the meet the foe. The questions of infantry support and a forelorn hope charge are nothing compared to the abandonment of the most powerful direct fire weapon in their possession. I was going to say something about the dismounted cavalry saber charge, but that branch gets picked on enough as it is.

If a man digs deep enough in the ORs, he will find evidence of both of these activities, but were they common enough to be represented as often as they are seen at *certain* events?

Rob Weaver
07-28-2007, 06:23 PM
I'm speechless, I really am. Might as well say to the enemy "Here, have a potent direct fire weapon. No, we insist."

RJSamp
07-28-2007, 06:40 PM
I'm speechless, I really am. Might as well say to the enemy "Here, have a potent direct fire weapon. No, we insist."

Step 1: the artillery piece is out of ammunition.

Step 2: realize that it is no longer potent.

Step 3: your infantry supports have failed you.

Anyway, artillery pistol charges, dismounted cavalry saber charges, and non marching campaigners that aren't willing to fire off 40 rounds in 20 minutes are the bane of the hobby.

Sgt_Pepper
07-28-2007, 07:58 PM
The artillerymen (and I use that term loosely) quit their pieces, draw their revolvers, ready their carbines, and sally forth the meet the foe.

I see, thank you. I was right to think I'd never seen such a thing; if I had, I'd certainly have remembered it. It surely would have moved me to wonder what they thought they were doing.

RJSamp
07-29-2007, 06:33 AM
Why does everyone ASSUME that dimounted cavalrymen only functioned in skirmish formations? This simply is not the case in all circumstances.

Now why on earth would an infantry battalion put out a skirmish line of dismounted cavalrymen? It would be better tactically to send a platoon from the battalion out as skirmishers to engage the enemy and use the cavalry to look for an exposed flank or to exploit a weakend line or to support a withdrawl. That is how cavalry would have worked with infantry.

Dave Myrick

On the dismounted cavalry thread, a few dozen dismounted as skirmisher actions were cited. Can you provide a few examples of where dismounted cavalry was deployed in a different formation in combat? Not too many fights with cavalry manning the fort walls..... like infantry Shoulder to shoulder in two ranks? By 4's marching by the right flank as a tight formation? Ordre mixte? And when you find your 3 examples and we simply up the ante by providing another 100 examples of dismounted combat in a skirmish formation, then maybe you're thinking along non-PEC lines. Trevilian's 2nd day, the Regulars at Slyder Farm (July 3rd, 1863 Gettysburg) are two more examples. Don't ASSSUME that we haven't done our homework.

Don't you assume that we're not smart enough to leave our sabers on the led horses. Or that we all bought expensive knee high boots instead of simply using issued brogans. Our blankets and kit are on our saddle. And we can move quicker dismounted than leg infantry in battle line with their packs/bedrolls on. We can also fire quicker than infantry from more protected firing positions (breech loaders are wonderful). True enough we don't carry a ton of ammo around, even with extra cartridge boxes or a feed bag full of cartridges. Infantry, when confronted and desiring to push us doesn't have a lot of problems pushing us off the field (Brinkerhoff Ridge, Stonewall Brigade vs 10th NY Cavalry)....and we can't put that many carbines on the line (broken down horses means a deployed squadron might be 27-30 total carbines on the line, again Brinkerhoff Ridge is a good example).

This is more of a scale issue Dave. We can field 80 rifles, 4 guns, 20 - 30 dismounts, and 6 - 20 mounted on a field 200-300 yards wide and 3/4 of a mile long (Wauconda). We can't ride around the flanks 3+ miles because that would go through parking lots, spectator lines, private property, highways. We can't deploy cavalry from the cavalry regiment/brigade because we don't have 500+ cavalry horses operating in concert with, yet independent of the infantry. Heck, The infantry 'regiment' is an early war sized company.

So we send out the mounted first, and the dismounted catch up.....when the dismounts are firing off their rounds the mounted will dismount the #2-4's and support the line (or get on a flank at an enfilade).....led horses go back a few hundred yards....and we summon them back up by sounding To Horse. After they play for awhile then the infantry marches up, the cavalry goes to a flank, and eventually the script ends. If this kind of sounds like what happened on July 1st 1863 Gettysburg then you'd be correct. dismounted cavalry fought on the left flank of the I Corps as an extension of the infantry battle line. But you knew that. Furthermore, mounted regiments were used to threaten and harass infantry battle lines. LANE was worried about enfilade carbine fire, even if it only has an effective range of 200 yards.

We do use cavalry to run down routed infantry (not that that happened too often during the ACW) and 'capture' non supported batteries (prearranged). We use them to cover infantry advances AND retreats.. we use them to cover the Infantry flanks (pure Napoleonic tactics n'est-ce pas?). And we even have a little Brinkerhoff Ridge Infantry vs Cavalry dismounted skirmish line action.

What would you have the cavalry do? walk down 5 miles of roads (plural) scouting for the enemy ....investigating trails and nearby farm houses over hill and dale looking for hidden arms, food, horses, bushwhackers, and providing flank security for the advancing infantry? All good stuff, all done in the tactical, but not conducive for Spectators and the battlefield that's alloted. We don't have the men, horses, and space WITH sight lines for spectators to do more than illustrate Civil War tactics.....a sham battle.

And that's not so bad.

Memphis
07-29-2007, 07:30 AM
Say, Pard, was that a dismounted fellow who mortally wounded the great cavalier JEB Stuart? :cool:

skamikaze
07-29-2007, 07:43 AM
Our unit was at a small local "circus" event up in PA somewhere. During the "battle," we flanked through the woods and came right up next to the Confederate guns. As the scenario called for a Federal victory, we assumed that our flank attack would expedite that. We came out of the brush and fired a crisp volley right into their flank and any idiot could see that had we been firing real bullets, there would have been 50% casualties. They simply looked at us for a minute as we reloaded, then formed a "battle line" and attacked us with double action revolvers (two per person) and Henry repeaters(!). And although we fired another crippling volley, they refused to take hits and charged at us yelling (no joke) "the South will rise!" I pointed out that the South had not yet fallen but they were not interested in reason. They were a dangerous group too and burned our captain's face by not elevating and pumping three Henry rounds at him. The confederates ended up winning the scenario although that is not how it was scripted. Needless to say, after having two of our members injured by other reenactors, we have not gone back to that event.

Dave Myrick
07-29-2007, 08:35 AM
On the dismounted cavalry thread, a few dozen dismounted as skirmisher actions were cited. Can you provide a few examples of where dismounted cavalry was deployed in a different formation in combat? Not too many fights with cavalry manning the fort walls..... like infantry Shoulder to shoulder in two ranks? By 4's marching by the right flank as a tight formation? Ordre mixte? And when you find your 3 examples and we simply up the ante by providing another 100 examples of dismounted combat in a skirmish formation, then maybe you're thinking along non-PEC lines. Trevilian's 2nd day, the Regulars at Slyder Farm (July 3rd, 1863 Gettysburg) are two more examples. Don't ASSSUME that we haven't done our homework.

Don't you assume that we're not smart enough to leave our sabers on the led horses. Or that we all bought expensive knee high boots instead of simply using issued brogans. Our blankets and kit are on our saddle. And we can move quicker dismounted than leg infantry in battle line with their packs/bedrolls on. We can also fire quicker than infantry from more protected firing positions (breech loaders are wonderful). True enough we don't carry a ton of ammo around, even with extra cartridge boxes or a feed bag full of cartridges. Infantry, when confronted and desiring to push us doesn't have a lot of problems pushing us off the field (Brinkerhoff Ridge, Stonewall Brigade vs 10th NY Cavalry)....and we can't put that many carbines on the line (broken down horses means a deployed squadron might be 27-30 total carbines on the line, again Brinkerhoff Ridge is a good example).

This is more of a scale issue Dave. We can field 80 rifles, 4 guns, 20 - 30 dismounts, and 6 - 20 mounted on a field 200-300 yards wide and 3/4 of a mile long (Wauconda). We can't ride around the flanks 3+ miles because that would go through parking lots, spectator lines, private property, highways. We can't deploy cavalry from the cavalry regiment/brigade because we don't have 500+ cavalry horses operating in concert with, yet independent of the infantry. Heck, The infantry 'regiment' is an early war sized company.

So we send out the mounted first, and the dismounted catch up.....when the dismounts are firing off their rounds the mounted will dismount the #2-4's and support the line (or get on a flank at an enfilade).....led horses go back a few hundred yards....and we summon them back up by sounding To Horse. After they play for awhile then the infantry marches up, the cavalry goes to a flank, and eventually the script ends. If this kind of sounds like what happened on July 1st 1863 Gettysburg then you'd be correct. dismounted cavalry fought on the left flank of the I Corps as an extension of the infantry battle line. But you knew that. Furthermore, mounted regiments were used to threaten and harass infantry battle lines. LANE was worried about enfilade carbine fire, even if it only has an effective range of 200 yards.

We do use cavalry to run down routed infantry (not that that happened too often during the ACW) and 'capture' non supported batteries (prearranged). We use them to cover infantry advances AND retreats.. we use them to cover the Infantry flanks (pure Napoleonic tactics n'est-ce pas?). And we even have a little Brinkerhoff Ridge Infantry vs Cavalry dismounted skirmish line action.

What would you have the cavalry do? walk down 5 miles of roads (plural) scouting for the enemy ....investigating trails and nearby farm houses over hill and dale looking for hidden arms, food, horses, bushwhackers, and providing flank security for the advancing infantry? All good stuff, all done in the tactical, but not conducive for Spectators and the battlefield that's alloted. We don't have the men, horses, and space WITH sight lines for spectators to do more than illustrate Civil War tactics.....a sham battle.

And that's not so bad.

Of course battle reenactments are done on a scale basis but that still does not preclude using the arms effectively and correctly. How does usung them incorrectly illustrate anything about tactics of the period? With that sort of attitude, nothing will change, the sham battle will still be a farce and historically inaccurate which illustrates only one thing to the spectators, that reenactors are nuts.

BTW RJ, cavalry doesnt march "by the flank" and when they dismount to fight on foot, the #4s hold the horses and lead them to the rear. 1's, 2's and 3's form the line, in TWO ranks and march off. Then they will fight as ordered, either in line or as skirmishers.

Dave Myrick
Grumpy Horse Soldier

Austin B.
07-29-2007, 01:17 PM
That was a bad event (I know i was one of the 2 injured in it)!

flattop32355
07-29-2007, 02:58 PM
They simply looked at us for a minute as we reloaded, then formed a "battle line" and attacked us with double action revolvers (two per person) and Henry repeaters(!)

Evidence of a Yahoo Alert:

1) They abandoned cannon, which (if they are going to be doofus anyway) could have been swung around and blasted you with cannister, much more effective than charging with pistols and Henry rifles. Which leads to....

2) Confederate artillery with Henry rifles? I'm gonna go out on a short limb, here, and wonder if this ever, ever happened.

It is truly a wonderful thing to find an artillery unit who, when discovering that they have been "had", will act in a reasonable way.

Robert A Mosher
07-29-2007, 03:17 PM
In this we agree. Question, would dismounted cavalry be used as flank security?

Tom -
I haven't looked specifically into this, but during my ongoing studies of warfare (16th-19th Centuries) by looking both at campaign and battle histories as well as period drill manuals, an army would use both mounted and foot units in flank security, advance and rear guard, and picket/vedette roles. One key difference is that the mounted units would be the outermost ring of security at army and perhaps even corps and divisional level, but as you get closer in each unit of infantry would have its own pickets out in each direction from which a threat might come. It would be wasteful of their mobility to use cavalry as flank security for a unit and make them walk in doing so - unless you really have a shortage of infantry.

Another way to answer your question would be to refer to the original Orders of Battle. Look at how each brigade, division, corps, and army is structured and organizes. At the brigade level, each force is wholly infantry or cavalry - there is no 'cross-attaching' - though sometimes you see artillery attached. At the division level, you still can have an all infantry or infantry with artillery brought together into one division. The inclusion of cavalry in a division of infantry did happen but it was not standardized and when done, it often reflected a mounted unit providing escort and security for the command level only. Later the cavalry tended to be concentrated within their own divisions so that their capabilities could be better used (with some detachments or whole units still doing escort/security duties for infantry commands).

What this suggests is that at the brigade level, the flank/advance/rear guards would be infantry. At the division level you would be more likely to see mounted units doing the same role for an essentially infantry foremation (in addition to their infantry pickets, etc).

Robert A. Mosher

Memphis
07-29-2007, 03:36 PM
Robert, instead of talking around it, why not take a moment to post Lil' Mac's orders to that effect? While some groups use that as their Bible for Grand Guard, others may not have seen it. Admittedly, such an activity is difficult to implement on a large scale.

Rob Weaver
07-29-2007, 07:24 PM
My understanding of artillery is that preservation of the piece itself is of paramount concern. If the gun is out of supply, you ride away. (Preventing this from happening prematurely was behind the one round in two minutes rule). If your battery horses are dead, then the piece is towed away with the tow ropes. Isn't there an AR Waud sketch of a gun being pulled away at Fair Oaks (maybe?) Haunting work of art, because the gun looks like it's being pulled out of a mist in the background. Given that preservation of the piece, and life itself, is so strong, I can't see drawing your sidearms (which are for self-defense) and moving to engage the enemy as a viable tactic. If the piece can't be removed, I think running away is the better option. We're all not Captain Miller, taking on a Tiger with a .45.

Dave Myrick
07-29-2007, 08:09 PM
Federal artillerists were ordered by mid war to turn in any side arms and a check of the returns from varous batteries reveals no more than a handful per battery. Who had them is a matter of supposition but the number roughly corresponds to one per gun crew. Hardly enough to charge an approaching enemy with.
When the ammunition runs low, as was mentioned the gun was limbered and withdrawn if that was not possible it was spiked and the crew withdrew as they now had nothing left to fight with.
I cant speak for the rebel artillerists as I am not as well versed in that side of things but I am quite certain they didnt charge with henry rifles or anything else for that matter.

Dave Myrick
Grumpy Horse Soldier

bob 125th nysvi
07-30-2007, 03:14 PM
The artillerymen (and I use that term loosely) quit their pieces, draw their revolvers, ready their carbines, and sally forth the meet the foe. The questions of infantry support and a forelorn hope charge are nothing compared to the abandonment of the most powerful direct fire weapon in their possession. I was going to say something about the dismounted cavalry saber charge, but that branch gets picked on enough as it is.

If a man digs deep enough in the ORs, he will find evidence of both of these activities, but were they common enough to be represented as often as they are seen at *certain* events?

It is up to the "battalion" commander of the unit the artillery is supporting to ensure proper infantry support.

When the Rebs advanced on the battery supporting us at the last event the battalion command ordered us to support the guns. We broke up and placed ourselves between the (staying behind the hub and out of the way) and on both flanks of the guns.

It really isn't hard to do if someone is paying attention.

killerreb
07-30-2007, 03:23 PM
"the infantry the ifantry, who would not love the infantry"
So armed with the knoweldge of right & wrong..why does this happen (misuse of people/tactics) & even more importantly, why cant we fix it?.
just a question really.....steve hutton

Dave Myrick
07-30-2007, 05:34 PM
Steve,
It can't be fixed until people decide they want it fixed.
In another thread Dave Towsen laid it out quite nicely. Basically you get what you "pay" for. If the events you go to don't do things the way you want to see them done, don't go back, find other alternatives. They are out there.


Dave Myrick
Grumpy Horse Soldier

Austin B.
07-31-2007, 03:15 PM
I think people just need to see when they're beat and accept it. If someone is on your flank and pouring volly after volly take hits, don't retaliate because you've been outdone.

cavgirl
08-12-2007, 01:41 PM
The problem we have today in reenacting is more complicated because we have to deal with cavalrymen wih a dismounted only impression and have to figure out a way to keep those folks happy as well as the mounted folks.
Thats what it all boils down to, is keeping all of the participants happy so they continue to come back to event after event. How to do it, is to involve a cav guy in the planning process from the beginning, and to have a guy in field in command that can keep things in the proper perspective for all involved parties.


I definitely have to agree with Dave Myrick's note about involving a cav guy in an event's planning process from the beginning, however, this leads me to a question I've had on my mind for a while... As a cav trooper, I've always had it "drilled" into my head that mounted cav does NOT engage the infantry in any way on the field, however, time and time again, we've been maneuvered into a position where we end up facing the infantry head on and approach them, on horseback, firing at them with all we have. Then, to make matters worse, with bodies strewn on the field, we'd be ordered to go, by file, all around the bodies picking our way through them like this was the real war and they were real dead bodies! It was pretty hairy, very dangerous, and it certainly caused a lot of friction between the infantry and cav folks. They'd be PO'd at us beyond words. Please tell me this is NOT the way to use a company of mounted cav. Believe me when I say I've had my share of riding under some of the poorest tacticians on the field which is why I'm concerned. I guess my point is that when involving a cav guy in the event planning, make sure that cav guy is VERY familiar with cav tactics and that the "safety factor" is paramount in his mind.
Sorry this is so long. ;)

Trooper Toni Dukeman

7thNJcoA
08-12-2007, 01:56 PM
to answer TOMS question earlier, during the battle of Fredricksburg the Conf Cav was place on the right flank as security and support with order to redeploy to any part of the battlefield at a moments notice. This is a good solid example of how the Cav was used during a large scale assult or defence! Most often Cav on bith sides were more for raiding week enemy positions and for probing and scouting missions.

RJSamp
08-12-2007, 04:07 PM
This is a good solid example of how the Cav was used during a large scale assult or defence! Most often Cav on bith sides were more for raiding week enemy positions and for probing and scouting missions.

Don't know what you're trying to say here Drew.

Many examples of cavalry being used as mounted infantry during the American Civil War.....dismounting to fight including their use in large scale assault's and defense. Traditional Napoleonic tactics for cavalry usage included screening, recon, flankers, videttes...for a camp as well as a Corps on the move. Pretty tough to show the mounted scouting role to spectators....they'd be 5 to 10 miles down the road from the Infantry.

White Horse
08-12-2007, 06:58 PM
In the west I would say the Confederate Cavalry fought mostly as "Mounted Rifles" with the occasional saber charge thrown in.

Read Basil Dukes Description of how Morgan's cavalry drilled, and fought (http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=kyetexts;cc=kyetexts;xc=1;sid=3583d64689985a 62ec586544a6c570c8;q1=Civil%20War;q3=Kentucky;op2= and;op3=and;rgn=works;idno=b92-111-27909403;view=image;seq=9). Pages 172 to 176

These tactics eventually were codified by Wheeler in his own drill manual and he issued orders that it was to become the standard for the Army of Tennessee cavalry. Basically he took (Plagiarized word for word) Cooke's tactics and added Maury's Tactics to cover the dismounted portion of the fighting.

They could, and did engage infantry successfully on occasion as well as over run fortifications. And in Wheeler's masterful withdraw from Perryville, they held against overwhelming numbers for days.

As for the question of using dismounted cavalry at reenactments I have a couple thoughts.

First, every mounted cavalryman should be armed with a long arm. I insist my group get one as soon as possible after enlistment. we don't have 100% compliance, but it is close I would rather see them with a long arm than the third or fourth pistol.

Secondly, Anyone who commands a group of cavalry should know how to drill them on foot

Third, When I have "Horseless Cavalry" assigned to me at a reenactment, i hold them on the sideline until I dismount the Mounted Cavalry, then send them in to join their comrades on the firing line. It worked very well at Perryville last year.
When I have the luxury of mobile Artillery I attach the "Horseless Cavalry" to the gun(s). Solves two problems, what to do with the dismounted cavalry, and protection for the guns. It is how Duke describes how it was done by Morgan.

Now occasionally I run into the problem I had at Conner Prairie, the Federal cavalry carried no long arms, so we were reduced to the pistol/saber charge scenario.

killerreb
08-12-2007, 07:56 PM
in re-enacting i'm infantry, dont me get wrong i love horses, just cant ride fer s**t thats why i'm infantry. i know a few southern boys (& even a girl) who are cav. & i have to respect the ability they have to ride, shoot & all the while watch out fer us poor dead souls on the field. i have been stepped on while waiting the call of jubilee by a number of my brother foot soldiers but never once by a horse (but was cut down with saber by the 8th ill..nother story) i admire the cav. (sussex light dragoons!!) & have seen them charge on horseback against infantry, it must have been terrifying then. but do we not as re-enactors have a responsability to properly portray the tactics & battles?...we can all say,then dont go here or there but is'nt it "we" who still allow it dare i say fan the flame & then jump in them?

just a rant

steve hutton

WestTN_reb
08-12-2007, 10:06 PM
The artillery pistol charge has to be close, if not the top dog in that category.
I don't know, now. The rammer and sponge charge I saw at (insert event here) in 2002 tops the cake for me as to stupid stuff.