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[18]

In none of these campaigns were the cavalry operations conspicuous for originality or importance as auxiliary to the main forces engaged.

Meanwhile, the literature of the American war — official and personal — began to be studied, and its campaigns were made subjects for text-books and monographs by British authors, which found ready publishers. Nevertheless, the American cavalry method has not gained ground abroad without a struggle. On the one hand, the failure of cavalry in recent European wars to achieve success has been made use of by one class of critics, who hold that “the cavalry has had its day” ; that “the improved rifle has made cavalry charges impracticable” ; that it has degenerated into mere mounted infantry, and that its value as an arm of service has been greatly impaired.

On the other hand it is held by the principal cavalry leaders who have seen service in the field — Field-Marshal Lord Roberts, Generals French, Hamilton, and Baden-Powell (of Boer War fame), De Negrier and Langlois of France, and Von Bernhardi of Germany, and others, (1) that while the method of using modern cavalry has changed, the arm itself is more important in war than ever; (2) that its scope is broadened; (3) that its duties require a higher order of intelligence and training of its personnel — officers and men, and (4), above all, that it is quite possible to turn out a modern horse-soldier, armed with saber and rifle, who will be equally efficient, mounted or dismounted.

Still the battle of the pens goes merrily on — the champions of the arme blanche or of the rifle alone, on the one side, and the defenders of the combination of those weapons on the other. The next great war will demonstrate, beyond peradventure, the practical value of “the American idea,” as it is sometimes called.

A glance at the conditions affecting the use of mounted troops in this country prior to our Civil War may be instructive;

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