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[145]

Confederate cavalry in the West.

Old cavalrymen find this photograph absorbing; it brings to life again the varied equipment of the Confederate cavalrymen in the West. The only uniformity is found with respect to carbines, which are carried by all except the officers. Three of the men in the center have pistols thrust in their belts, ready for a fight at close quarters. Some have belts crossed over their chests, some a single belt, still others none at all. One of the single belts acts as a carbine sling, the other as a canteen strap. Horse holders have fallen out with the chargers visible behind the line of men. The Western photographers, Armstead & Carter, were the artists enterprising enough to secure this photograph. The territory their travels covered in Mississippi and Tennessee changed hands so frequently that fortunately for posterity an opportunity at last did come to photograph a troop of the swift-traveling and little interviewed warriors that composed the Confederate cavalry. They did important service in the West. Under Forrest and Wheeler they helped Bragg to defeat Rosecrans at Chickamauga, and their swift raids were a constant menace to the Union supplies. This photograph was probably taken late in the war, as up to the third year the Confederate troopers could not boast equipments even so complete as shown in this photograph. In 1861 the Confederate cavalry had no Colt revolvers, no Chicopee sabers, and no carbines that were worth carrying. Their arms were of the homeliest type and of infinite variety. At the battle of Brandy Station, in 1863, every man was armed with at least one, and sometimes several, Army and Navy revolvers and excellent sabers. The civilian saddles had given place to McClellans, and that man was conspicuous who could not boast a complete outfit of saddle, bridle, blankets — woolen and rubber — and arms, all taken from the generous foe. The Confederate cavalry in the West failed to secure equally complete outfits, although they looked to the same source of supply.

A group of Confederate cavalry in the West

An officer


 

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