Re: Mounted Infantry
There's a 9th ILL book out (not Die Neuner that's about the 9th Ohio)....they went to MULES and Springfield rifles in 1863 (German unit). they fought dismounted shoulder to shoulder in two ranks. No sabers. Dropped the Fifers and Drummers and went to Bugle.
Originally Posted by Longbranch 1
Wilder's Brigade ("Blue Lightning") a good book on mounted infantry, they generally fought in looser/single rank formations due to firepower (no need for shoulder to shoulder double ranks). No Sabers. Dropped the Fifers and Drummers and went to Bugle.
I don't know of a book on the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry, they converted over from Infantry in 1863. This might be revealing in how they fought, trained, etc. to convert from Leg Infantry to mounted cavalry, and if they were in fact Mounted Rifles.... Dropped the Fifers and Drummers and went to Bugle.
Kyd's book on the Michigan Cavalry Brigade is excellent....5th and 6th MI Cavalry were armed with Repeating RIFLES, not carbines. They fought generally as skirmishers, single rank open order. At Trevellian's 2nd Day they assaulted across open country in tighter formations than skirmish order, but still single rank (they had converted from Cooke's single rank mounted to Poinsett's double rank mounted in Jan - March 1864). They still carried Pistols and Sabers (the 1st and 7th MI were the designated 'saber' regiments).
There's a couple of great quotes in Scott's book on the 4th Iowa Cavalry: "The Story of a Cavalry Regiment". When they were issued Spencer Repeaters they Returned their Pistol's and Retained their Sabers....the weight saved in the pistols/caps/cartridges was replaced with additional carbine ammo. When their regiment/brigade dismounted and fought on foot at Brice's Crossroads, they left their spurs and sabers ON the horses. They continued this practice at Big Blue River (Byram's Ford October 23rd, 1864). We know one officer for certain who changed from riding boots to 'slippers' for crossing the ford (Colonel Phillips who replaced Brown when Pleasonton relieved Brown from command due to inaction).
So In General.....if they were armed with single shot MUZZLE loaders, they fought in two ranks shoulder to shoulder.....else they fought in skirmish order, single rank, situation determined intervals.
Remember that massing troops was to maximize the down range killing ability/coverage....a wall of lead. The rapid fire of the repeaters/breach loaders mitigated the need to concentrate troops (who in turn could be killed easier as they were bunched up!). They could spread out, take cover, fire from prone position....and load without being as exposed as a muzzle loader forces you to be (arms extended even if lying on your back for example).
(Mr. Robert James Samp, Junior)
Bugle, Bugle, Bugle