various makeshifts were used on the horses' backs, and the troopers were even drilled bareback.
This probationary period was a wearisome one for the cavalry recruit.
A trooper must perforce learn much of what his comrade of the infantry knows, and in addition must be taught all that pertains to horses and horsemanship.
Those who had been fascinated by the glamour and dash of the cavalry life doubtless wished many times, during those laborious days, that they had the more frequent hours of recreation granted their neighbors of the infantry.
The reward of the Federal
cavalry came in those later days when, after painstaking and unremitting instruction covering many months and enlightening experiences in the field, they gained that confidence in themselves and their leaders, which resulted in the ultimate destruction of the opposing cavalry, and the decisive triumph of the Federal
But good cavalry cannot be made in a month, or even in a year.
The first year of the war saw the Confederate cavalry plainly superior in every way, and there were humiliating instances of the capture by the corps daelite
of the South
, of whole squadrons of Northern horsemen.
The second year of the tremendous struggle passed with much improvement in the Federal
cavalry, but with a still marked lack of confidence in itself.
It was not until the third year of its organization and training that the Union
cavalry really found itself, and was able to vindicate its reputation in the eyes of those who in the preceding period were wont to sneeringly remark that “no one ever sees a dead cavalryman!”
The drill regulations of the period, called tactics in those days, were the “‘41 Tactics” or “Poinsett
tactics,” authorized for dragoon regiments in the year 1841, by the Honorable J. R. Poinsett
, Secretary of War
These drill regulations were in the main a translation from the French
, and although occasional attempts were made to improve them, they continued in use by the Eastern
cavalry of the Union
armies throughout the