The US Cavalry
 

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The Lessons Of The American Civil War and European Cavalry Tactics

                                                    

Union Cavalry at Gettysburg, July 1st 1863(Civil War Times Illustrated)

Introduction

Visitors to this site will have noticed that I have made constant use of, � The Art of War� by William McElwee, who had been Head of Modern Subjects Department at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. It was during his sojourn at Sandhurst that he met my old friend and mentor, the late Brigadier Peter Young. It was he who advised me to read McElwee�s book, as he thought it gave an excellent account of the way in which the lessons of the American Civil War, particularly in regard to the use of cavalry, had been either totally ignored or disregarded by most European General Staff�s who, up until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, considered that mass squadrons of mounted men could still be used in the old style on the modern battlefield.

Having now re-read McElwee�s book, and with the benefit of studies in the American Civil War during my time as a student with the American Military University, I have written this article in the hope that others will take the time not only to read McElwee�s work, but also study the tactics employed by American cavalry commanders, as well as those carried out by General Gourko during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, who certainly noted the changes that took place in America, and the later cavalry operations that took place during the Polish-Russian War of 1919-1920. I have drawn heavily on the available sources, and also made comparisons with the tactics and performance of American cavalry leaders during the Civil War, both in terms of their contribution to cavalry tactics, and their ability to combine the technology of the day with the changing styles of warfare.

 

 

Copyright � 2004  Graham Morris. 
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