cavalry, even when finally mounted and equipped, was so misused and mishandled by those in control of military operations, that it was almost always at a disadvantage.
One of the first efforts of the War Department looking to the organization of Federal cavalry, is seen in the following circular letter, addressed by the Secretary of War
to the Governors
of the States:
Yet, in his report of preliminary operations in the first year of the war, General McClellan
Cavalry was absolutely refused, but the governors of the States complied with my request and organized a few companies, which were finally mustered into the United States service and proved very useful.
The armament of the volunteer cavalry regiments, organized with some show of interest after the battle of Bull Run
, was along the same general lines as that of the regular regiments.
Though suffering from a general deficiency in the number which could be purchased from private manufacturers — there being no reserve stock on hand — each trooper was armed with a saber and a revolver as soon as circumstances permitted.
At least two squadrons (four troops) in each regiment