Author Topic: Cavalry question  (Read 1763 times)

Offline Dusty Tagalon

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Cavalry question
« on: March 04, 2018, 05:31:57 pm »
Preparing for a presentation on Cavalry in the civil war to school age children, collecting data specifically  on the Iowa cavalry units. One major concept/questioned is unanswered in my mind. Approached 2 IA reenactment cavalry groups, neither could answer this basic question. How much time in saddle vs walking? This is too much to ignore, input, thanks.
Brian

Offline Drydock

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 07:55:40 pm »
My "Cookes" regulations of 1862 does not mention this, but I  think for an unopposed cross country movement, its a 10 minute walk every hour.
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Offline S. Quentin Quale, Esq.

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2018, 08:36:19 pm »
The British had a very strict 40 min. mounted, 10 min. marching, and 10 min. rest schedule.  The U.S. didn't ever have that strict a rule but Drydock is likely pretty accurate.  If there was graze available it would be used. 

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Offline Trailrider

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 04:29:25 pm »
Sounds about right!  Walking probably saved wear and tear on the cavalry trooper's behind, as well!  There's an old military saying about class periods: "The mind cannot absorb what the rear end cannot endure!" Which is why they would have instructions for 50 minutes and off ten. ;)
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Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 05:20:16 pm »
I think the 7th Cav troops called Custer, "Old Iron Butt", because of the time they spent in the Saddle.
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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 10:20:05 am »
I think the 7th Cav troops called Custer, "Old Iron Butt", ....
Are you trying to be politically correct or just generous?  ;) ;D
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Offline Baltimore Ed

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 11:34:16 am »
Not a horse person but I've got a question for you cavalry experts. What was the criteria for army horses? Obviously a healthy animal but were there size, age, color, disposition or weight requirements? Just curious and maybe the op might be curious.
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Offline Buffalo Creek Law Dog

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 01:22:12 pm »
Not a horse person but I've got a question for you cavalry experts. What was the criteria for army horses? Obviously a healthy animal but were there size, age, color, disposition or weight requirements? Just curious and maybe the op might be curious.

When you see army officers in the movies going through the motions of buying army horses, they seem to only look at the horse's teeth. :)

When the Sioux came up to Canada after the Little Big Horn (LBH) fiasco,  Supt. James Walsh of the NWMPolice came across several horses in a corral belonging to a Metis.  Walsh, looking over the horses, noticed that one appeared to have some breeding compared to the other grade horses in the corral.  It was a grey gelding and when he whistled, it came over to him, he offered it a lump of sugar and it took it.  Walsh then noticed the 7th Cav markings and asked the Metis how he acquired this horse.  The Metis replied that be bought it from a Sioux.
  This would indicate that the U.S. Army didn't just take any old horse and, I'm sure that they looked at more than just the teeth as per Hollywood.  Supt. Walsh ended up buying the horse from the Metis.  He then worried about possibly owning stolen U.S. property and wrote to Gen Terry, who was in command of the Military Dept of Dakota at Ft Lincoln.  Walsh received a letter from Washington advising that the U.S. gov't had written off all the missing and dead horses from the LBH and that he could keep it.  He named the grey gelding, Custer.   Source: Sitting Bull's Boss by Ian Anderson ISBN 1-895811-63-5 published by Heritage House.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 01:46:47 pm by Buffalo Creek Law Dog »
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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 01:22:40 pm »
Yes, there were fairly strict size and conformation requirements.  It makes sense, as standard equipment had to fit.  I'll see if I can remember where I found those requirements.
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Offline cpt dan blodgett

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 07:12:28 pm »
On a sustained campaign the infantry could out walk horses as did not take as much time to feed or rest the men.  Much like the Indians could chase horses until they were exhausted and catch them over a period of many days
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Offline S. Quentin Quale, Esq.

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Re: Cavalry question
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 03:46:23 pm »
The actual answer in many cases depends on the time period you're talking about.  In some eras the procurement of horses was well done, in others it was not.  There were some geographical differences even in the same time period.  Eastern regiments were often reported as being better mounted than the Western regiments.  Some of this might have been prejudice, as the Army leadership liked the big "American" horse (probably a TB or TB-type) where the Western regiments often were mounted on more "coarse" animals that were, in fact, better suited to the frontier conditions.

You could also start quite a fist fight in the Officer's Mess over what type of horse WAS best suited to the American Cavalry.  The best answer was likely "where will I be operating?"  But in an organization given to "binary" thinking and remembering that it was the "bean counters" who often had the last say operational logic was not always foremost!!!  :)

As to color, there were color differences by company in at least some of the eras.  I ran across a reference from the Dragoon era but lost it.  I suspect you could spend some time on Google and get some decent answers.

During the final decades of the Horse Cavalry the Remount Service was established and did standardize the cavalry horse as a TB-type horse, 15-16 hands, 900-1100 pounds.  By the time the Phillips Officers Saddle was introduced in 1936 it was produced in only one tree size.  That's how consistent the Remount Service was in producing horses.  This initiative had a major impact on the U.S. horse market that can be felt today in some breeds and lines. 

While the TB-type was officially the preferred Cavalry horse some officers had other preferences.  Dr. Kellogg (of Cornflakes fame) had donated an Arabian breeding operation to the Army and many officers like this type of horse.  Col Frank Tompkins, author of Chasing Villa, as a major took two Arabian stallions into Mexico with him.  A Morgan breeding program had also been donated to the Army and many Artillery and Infantry officers liked them.  But these two breeds were very, very small in relation the TB-type horse that was the standard.  In the Remount Service more than 90% of the stallions (which numbered more than 100) were TB or TB-type and some were quite famous in their day.

SQQ