The Confederate and Yankee cavalry.
A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial
, writing about the causes which have made the Yankee
cavalry in the Valley
superior to the Confederate
"The superiority of our cavalry has been frequently and signally demonstrated in the latter years of the war, but never more so than during this campaign.
The causes of this superiority are not difficult to be found.
"Early in the war the rebels armed their cavalry with the sabre, but latterly its use has been almost wholly discontinued, and the navy revolver put in its stead.-- Our troops have never laid it aside; and in this they have an advantage.
Its moral effect is very great — far greater than any one can believe who has heard the terrible clanking of a grand cavalry charge and listened to the words of a veteran trooper as he describes a regiment swooping down like an avalanche on the enemy.
The appalling fanfaronade, and the clattering din of five thousand sabre-sheaths, and the glitter of as many keen blades in the air, has a terrifying effect, which it will not do to scout at when we remember how the rebels scared our regiments often in the beginning of the war with their mere yelling.
"Again, the rebel cavalry has become a mongrel of organization — half cavalry, half infantry — which performs well the functions of neither.
Instead of the light carbine used by our men, they carry the long, heavy Enfield
or Springfield rifle of the infantry.
They are more properly mounted infantry, using their horses only to transport them to the battle ground, but dismounting to fight.
Bearing two characters, they are at home and confident in neither one.
Their revolvers give them no superiority till they come to close quarters, and then they are overmatched by the quick and deadly sabre.
"The last, and by far the most efficient, cause of the superiority of our cavalry is found in the that most of the rebels ride their private horses.
Contrary to the received, popular opinion, this practice is a source, not of strength, but of weakness.
There is no more potent relaxer of discipline than to allow men to use their own horses instead of those furnished by the Government
It will insure a sleek, comely and graceful body of horses; but it will just as certainly produce a regiment of horse-jockeys and traders, whose main business is, not to fight, but to keep fine horses.
When the day of battle comes, the men seek not so much to beat the enemy as to save their horses.
The Government never receives any account of captured horses; they are all kept by the officers and hired to the men at such rates as are profitable.
In short, the result of the system is to secure splendid horses and horse fanciers, but very poor cavalrymen."