To cut to the chase, which of the skirmish tactics/manuals was most widely used by eastern CS Cavalry? Realizing this may be a loaded question, I'll confess that my research library probably isn't as large as some of yours. I have access to Poinsett's, and have copies of Cookes and Maury's (we even drilled and fought from Maury's at an event this year) but I can't seem to find any more information about which one was used save for the "two companies were dismounted as skirmishers" in most of my books. Does anyone have some solid info on which manual was used primarily in the east?
Post by Jerry Todd on Dec 22, 2004 13:56:22 GMT -5
The cavalry leadership on both sides cut their teeth on the 41 manual before the war.
Cooke's became available in 1861. It would have taken some time for it to get out to and gain a following in the South, so I would assume that as the ranks thinned and units became smaller the simpler single rank Cookes would have appeared more appropriate and gained in popularity.
So far as I know, in all the manuals, skirmishing is done in a single rank. The men move together except when firing in retreat when they "leap-frog."
The real and visual difference is in close-order formations. Poinsett's operates in 2 ranks while Cookes & Maury's use a single rank. Poinsett's does make provision for operating in a single rank.
For small formations (1-12) depending on available space - a single rank is much simpler and gives you the most coverage, while with large formations, relative to available space, Poinsetts fits better.
Personally, I think Poinsetts looks more formal and military while a single rank looks like guys riding in line abreast.
You have a good thread going regarding some first person accounts of Federal dismounted skirmishing. I've got some regimental histories and first person accounts of the war from the CS side, but I haven't found a great amount of descriptive accounts of skirmishing from that side.
Can anyone throw me a bone for a particular book or on-line resource where I might find some?
Speaking of Dismounted Skirmishing......Maury's Tactics, aka "The Boggy Depot Manual" calls for single line formations. This includes the dismounted skirmishing, but, for those unfamiliar with the manual, the dismounted skirmishing differs from the other manuals. Instead of a single line formation with the troopers 5 (or however many) paces apart, Maury's calls for troopers to deploy (in a single line) in "sets" of three troopers each. The three troopers stand and fire 3 feet from one another. The next "set" in line is 15 yards away from that set. If I've thoroughly confused everyone, I tried to do a little diagram, but the forum software here wouldn't let me. This is the best I can do:
Set #4 -15 yd - Set #3 -15 yd - Set #2 -15 yd - Set #1
Does anyone know if this particular method of skirmishing or manual was used with any regularity and by what unit/s and which theatre?
Last Edit: Feb 23, 2006 19:05:10 GMT -5 by mstuart
I know you requested Spec. Eastern but Forrest's men were misidentified by nearby battle watching generals at Chickamagua for being a regiment of infantry. I am not at all familiar with Maury if you get a chance write back tell where to get a copy.
- We had that confidence in him which I imagine the Old Guard had in Napoleon. -