and training to a veteran army, filled with confidence in itself and in its commanders, the cavalry of the West
had been equally unfortunate in its slow and discouraging development of fighting efficiency.
Under General Rosecrans
, as early as 1862, the cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland was organized into three brigades under General David S. Stanley
, but the mounted force actually at the disposal of its commander was but four thousand effective men. Although actively engaged, particularly in curbing the depredations of the Confederate cavalry under Forrest
, its operations were not especially important.
Nevertheless, at Stone's River
, at Knoxville
, at Chickamauga
, and at other important battles, the cavalry of the West
did desperate fighting and, considering its numbers, was not lacking in efficiency.
The cavalry which General Sherman
assembled for his Atlanta campaign
numbered about fifteen thousand sabers, organized into four divisions, and it participated with credit in all the celebrated movements and engagements of Sherman
's army between May and August, 1864.
Protecting the rear and preventing the destruction of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad by Wheeler
's enterprising cavalry, some Union cavalry under Rousseau
remained at Decatur
until by a rapid and circuitous march around Johnston
's Confederate army, in which he destroyed immense quantities of stores and damaged several railroads, Rousseau
After the fall of the latter city, a cavalry division of over five thousand men under Kilpatrick
, accompanied Sherman
on his famous march to the sea.
Up to this time the activities of the Union
cavalry in the Southwest
, while noted for boldness and celerity of movement, for endurance, and for accomplishment of results, though hampered by many drawbacks, were not yet distinguished by any of those great cavalry combats which marked the development of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.