“The most important hand-to-hand contest” of the war on Fleetwood Hill: Shock action of cavalry at Brandy Station

In previous installments about cavalry tactics, we’ve looked at the use of the saber and revolver.  Observers such as Alonzo Gray specifically cited these weapons for use in “shock action”.  We might say that shock attacks, delivered with either the saber or, less often in Gray’s assessment, revolver, were the most important offensive component toContinue reading ““The most important hand-to-hand contest” of the war on Fleetwood Hill: Shock action of cavalry at Brandy Station”

Cavalry tactics: What of the lance? “Americans do not take kindly to the lance.”

Many years ago, when comparing the 19th century American cavalry experience with that of the European powers, a Anglophile friend remarked that, “Americans just didn’t seem to understand the usefulness of the lance.”   From the European perspective, the lance was frequently issued and employed.  The narratives of post-Napoleonic battles and campaigns include frequent mention ofContinue reading “Cavalry tactics: What of the lance? “Americans do not take kindly to the lance.””

More cold steel: “just so much he trusts to his sword, his morale will be raised”

Last week, I discussed the use of the cavalry’s melee weapons – the pistol and the saber.  (And I do apologize, as that post from last Monday was botched!  I’d not paid sufficient attention while editing, so have revised it with the correct quoted passages.) Writing almost fifty years after the Civil War and butContinue reading “More cold steel: “just so much he trusts to his sword, his morale will be raised””