Author Topic: Revolver firing in the Civil War  (Read 32822 times)

Offline Navy Shooter

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2012, 11:55:27 PM »
Hi,

Although I find nothing about standard dismounted cavalry using the horses as shields, this paper is a nice summary of 'Civil War' Cavalry tactics ...

http://www.cincinnaticwrt.org/data/ccwrt_history/talks_text/starr_cavalry_tactics.html

TTFN,

That paper is an excellent source, thanks for sharing it.  A couple of items I picked up were that cavalry weren't all trained from the same sources, or to the same standard.  And that early in the war, training was really poor, especially in the North.  So some soldiers probably had the revolver on left or right sides.  But some also apparently had them in their right boot, which was easier to draw from.  Didn't see that in any official manuals...

I'll be spending a fair amount of time digesting this.


Thanks again for sharing,
Ron
I don't smoke much, but when I do, I smoke an 1851 Navy...

Offline S. Quentin Quale, Esq.

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2012, 09:40:54 PM »
The paper is very interesting.  I've not been able to read the whole thing but, so far, no serious issues.

Regarding "laying a horse down" this was a commonly taught skill in the horse cavalry.  Here is a film clip from 1898 showing it done.  Note that the riders don't dismount first:



Here is a clip of a cavalry charge from a Ft. Myer training exercise in 1934.  It depicts both saber and pistol charges.  If you look carefully you can see the position for using the pistol while mounted and firing forward:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&list=PL50qKkJcNMgB_aylLI8DmrvpwBc4HS9Tf&feature=endscreen&v=HJodGw1Ybmo

There are two good commercial film cavalry charges that come to mind.  The first is in "They Came to Cordura" (set during the Punitive Expedition) and second, by far the best one ever filmed, is at the end of "The Lighthorsemen" (about the Australian Light Horse in Palestine during WWI).

SQQ

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2012, 12:55:04 AM »
There are two good commercial film cavalry charges that come to mind.  The first is in "They Came to Cordura" (set during the Punitive Expedition) and second, by far the best one ever filmed, is at the end of "The Lighthorsemen" (about the Australian Light Horse in Palestine during WWI)

Interestingly, the Australian Light Horse weren't cavalry .... they were mounted infantry.  Repeated attacks on the Turkish positions at Bersheeba had failed that day, and the ALH were sent in as a last ditch effort.  As they approached the Turkish artillery held their fire, fully expecting them to dismount to attack on foot as was standard for mounted infantry.  At the range they would normally do that, they broke into a gallop and charged, managing to get in under the Turkish guns, which couldn't depress sufficiently to keep them under artillery fire.  

Not being cavalry, they had no swords.  They kept their Lee-Enfield rifles slung, and drew their pattern 1907 bayonets to use in lieu of swords.

Photograph purported to be of the actual ALH charge at Bersheeba, but generally accepted as being a "re-enactment" done the next day -


Detail from the photograph -


Here is the depiction of the charge in the movie "The Lighthorsemen":
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline S. Quentin Quale, Esq.

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2012, 08:04:34 AM »
Good pictures, Jack!

In the second photo is one of those horses riderless?

"The Lighthorsemen" gets my top rating of GFF.  My lowest rating is SUX.  I've never developed a middle one.   :-\

SQQ

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2012, 02:49:38 PM »
In the second photo is one of those horses riderless?

Almost appears riderless, but I think the rider may be leaning forward on the far side of the horse's neck ..... 

Mind you, if they wanted any "re-enactment" photos to look authentic, they should have sent in some horses without riders, as there certainly were Australian casualties from Turkish fire.
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #25 on: Today at 03:20:07 PM »

Offline S. Quentin Quale, Esq.

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2012, 03:21:26 PM »
Almost appears riderless, but I think the rider may be leaning forward on the far side of the horse's neck ..... 

Mind you, if they wanted any "re-enactment" photos to look authentic, they should have sent in some horses without riders, as there certainly were Australian casualties from Turkish fire.

Looking at the photo again you could be right.  There is something that could be a foot visible on the off side and something else I can't identify near the nose.  Could it be a trooper who lost his seat at a real, embarrassing moment?!?!?!   ;)

Given the sensitivity of the time on casualties, I'd not think they would include riderless horses for "realism."  The casualty lists would be real enough.

If you want to spend a few hours looking at some very interesting historical "newsreels" to to http://www.britishpathe.com/

SQQ

Offline PJ Hardtack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2012, 11:18:14 AM »
"Up the Light Horse!" Far and away one of the most exciting charges ever filmed. Next up would be from the more recently released "War Horse". Charging into a fixed position with entrenched machineguns and riflemen is brave to the point of being foolhardy - which is why we admire it so.

As for a re-enactment being filmed the next day, I doubt that the men and less likely the horses would have been up to that. The march had been gruelling for both and I believe that the charge was a calculated gamble. Had it failed, the Aussies would have been shooting a lot of horses they couldn't water.

Mounted Infantry made a lot of sense compared to strictly Cavalry. The Brits made good use of them in their Colonial wars and the tradition was carried on with the formation of the NWMP.
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Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2012, 12:07:02 PM »
Most of the Canadian-raised forces for the Anglo-Boer War were also Light Horsemen.  Afterwards there were many militia units that patterned themselves on the light horse concept.  Most of them felt the pull of becoming cavalry.  In WW I while Canada did field a cavalry brigade that searved mostly in Imperial formations, the light horse units, as such fell by the wayside. Instead Canada was a pioneer in armoured warfare by creating the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade as early as August 24, 1914, which modernized the concept of mobile firepower.  By the end of WW I Canadians were training on tanks, Three battalions of them, but but the war ended before they were deployed. (2d Canadian Tank Battalion included 226 Mounties among its trainees.)

Of course, the light horse units merely re-created the old idea of dragoons.  It made sense to employ light horse in the Middle East where most of the Aussies served. There is still a light horse association quite active downunder.

In Canada's current regular army two armoured regiments were once light horse;

Lord Strathcona's Horse (LdSH) This unit served in Buller's column under LCol Sam Steele. They were somewhere between light horse and cavalry.
The Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) went to S. Africa as the Canadian Mounted Rifles, then elected to becoming dragoons.

My son's Canadian militia unit was the South Alberta Light Horse (SALH) now roled as armoured reconaissance.
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Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2012, 12:44:43 PM »
(I fear we are diverting this thread widely from the original topic ..... but, what the heck, that's how discussions tend to go ....  ;) )

I write from Medicine Hat, Alberta, the home of the South Alberta Light Horse mentioned by Sir Charles .... which perpetuates one of Canada's earliest such units, an irregular provisional "cowboy mounted infantry" raised for Canada's 1885 North West Rebellion - namely, the original Rocky Mountain Rangers (no connection with the present-day militia infantry unit of the same name) after which our local CAS shooting club is proudly named.

Recognizing that the day of such highly mobile units had arrived, immediately following the short-lived Rebellion Canada established a "School of Mounted Infantry" component of its very small "full-time" Permanent Militia force, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  One of my favourite "period photographs" is this delightful (albeit just a wee bit silly) studio shot of an officer, sergeant, trooper and bugler of that newly-formed unit, kitted out in winter gear -
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2012, 01:32:39 PM »
Further to Sir Charles' post, I should perhaps add that the similar units raised by Canada for the Boer War were dubbed "Mounted Rifles" (rather than "Light Horse") .....

My current Grand Army of the Frontier "Era of Expansion" (and "Wild Bunch") uniform is based on that of the Canadian Mounted rifles sent to South Africa -

(..... this over-fed old fart might well be accused of being bigger - or weighing more - than a 'light horse' ....  ;) )

The above uniform is khaki drill (cotton) for hot weather wear, but I am currently researching period photos for the purpose of having a cold weather CMR khaki wool serge uniform made -


By simply switching my badging, these uniforms can do double duty for a South African Constabulary impression.  This force was organized at the request (and under the over-all command) of Colonel Robert Baden-Powell by NWMP Superintendent Sam Steele, who had taken leave of absence from the Mounted Police to command Strathcona's Horse in South Africa, and then remained to set up and lead the SAC.  Many men of the Canadian Mounted Rifles regiments re-enlisted in the SAC rather than returning to Canada right away.  The SAC was organized very much along the lines of the NWMP and its uniform was based on that worn by the Canadian Mounted Rifles, including the peaked stetson hat - much admired as practical and durable headgear by Bade-Powell, who also adopted it for the Boy Scouts he created .....
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #30 on: Today at 03:20:07 PM »

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2012, 02:02:56 PM »
By way of atonement for being largely responsible for the topic drift in this thread ....  ;)

Interestingly, this "Volunteer's Manual" published in 1861 contains an unofficial manual of arms by a Captain Johnson, U.S. Army, which directs that:  "The pistol should be worn on the left side, in front of the sabre-hook" .... which has always struck me as more practical (although admittedly rather unbalanced, weight-wise ....)



Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline PJ Hardtack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2012, 06:31:47 PM »
Damn it, Grant - write a book; a compilation of all the wonderful and detailed postings you've made over the years on this and other forums.
You're always a well spring of factual, documented material, a long established 'go to' source of detailed, historical minutiae.

And I'm looking forward to kicking your butt in any match where we can shoot together ..... ;>)  Loser buys dinner, even tho' I owe you one.
"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on.
I don't do these things to others and I require the same from them."  John Wayne

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2012, 07:21:51 PM »
As for a re-enactment being filmed the next day, I doubt that the men and less likely the horses would have been up to that. The march had been gruelling for both and I believe that the charge was a calculated gamble. Had it failed, the Aussies would have been shooting a lot of horses they couldn't water.

You are correct Todd!  (Of course ....    ;)  )

I don't know where I got that "next day" thing ..... turns out, when I check the facts, that these photographs purporting to depict the October 1917 charge were apparently taken during a "photo-op" re-staging in February of 1918!
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2012, 07:27:06 PM »
.... And I'm looking forward to kicking your butt in any match where we can shoot together ..... ;>)  Loser buys dinner, even tho' I owe you one.

Todd ..... Yeah, you do!  ;)

At any rate, when you kick my butt, i'll do my best to ensure that it is a tolerably well-dressed one!   ;D
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2012, 08:15:44 PM »
Todd ..... Yeah, you do!  ;)

At any rate, when you kick my butt, i'll do my best to ensure that it is a tolerably well-dressed one!   ;D

Including your "Oliver equipment" belt.  At least that is what I see in your photos of CMR troopers.
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THE SUBLYME & HOLY ORDER OF THE SOOT (SHOTS)
Those who are no longer ignorant of History may relive it,
without the Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
With apologies to George Santayana & W. S. Churchill

"As Mark Twain once put it, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2012, 08:52:18 PM »
Including your "Oliver equipment" belt.  At least that is what I see in your photos of CMR troopers.
Yes ..... that is what you see .... and also what you were seeing in the photo of me ( :)  ) though it was likely not apparent with the rifle concealing the buckle area ....


Here is the belt I made, set up for shooting with the 1911 -
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline PJ Hardtack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #36 on: November 29, 2012, 05:13:42 PM »
How would you guys rate the charge in "Lawrence of Arabia" to that of the "Light Horse"? There was an awful lot of similarity and I wonder if one didn't feed off t'other.

As for the Aussies riding under the Turkish guns, their Deutscher Offizier instructor hadn't expected to deal with such a charge or he would have had the gun crews elevate the trails of their guns for a point blank canister volley. Tactically, the audacity of the Aussies carried the day.

"L'audace, toujours l'audace" - Patton quoting Napoleon or one of his cavalry officers.
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I don't do these things to others and I require the same from them."  John Wayne

Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2012, 09:00:34 AM »
I attended the Sergeants Major Academy back in the early 90's and I was assigned to do a paper on the battle at Beersheba.  After the battle many of the Mauser Rifles picked up on the battlefield had their sights set at 300-400 yards.  The Light Horse moved so fast the Turks did not have time to lower their sights and consistantly shot over the the ALH.  The ALH had suprisingly few casualties considering all the factors of the battle.  The battle was almost pointless because the wells did not have a high enough flow to support the troops and horses. 
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Offline PJ Hardtack

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2012, 10:50:51 AM »
So I suppose that resulted in a lot of horses being shot. Pity.

A lesson must have been learned because WW II era howitzers and small field guns (American 105mm, British 25 Pounder, and their German equivalents) were capable of point blank anti-tank fire.
Even the massive German 88mm had this capability and was most effective in the anti-tank role.

As for the Turkish riflemen, putting their sights to 'battle sight' and aiming for the horses would have been effective, especially in volley fire.

Ain't it great being an armchair general and battle tactician?
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I don't do these things to others and I require the same from them."  John Wayne

Offline WaddWatsonEllis

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Re: Revolver firing in the Civil War
« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2012, 11:04:29 AM »
Hi,

Although this seems to be a mostly Brit/Canadian thread now, I thought I might add a few of my pictures from Veteran's Day ..



My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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