Re: This deserves a new thread Single rank Vs Double Rank Formations
Actually Tod, that's quote about a single regiment comes from a great book with a great quote in it: The preponderance of Western Federal Volunteer Cavalry drilled and manuevered to Cooke's. "The Story of a Cavalry Regiment" by William Forse Scott. Putnam's Son's New York (The Nickerbocker Press), 1893. It would behoove us to read this book first before offering opinion's without factual basis. Basically you've got the Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, most of the IL cavalry regiment's studying and fighting under Cooke's single ranks tactics both dismounted and mounted because it was "simple, and effective". Certainly Minty, his 4th US Cavalry Regiment, and his Brigade used Poinsett's tactics.....and used a double rank formation in over 100 documented saber charges during the ACW. Western Theatre.
You also have dozens of charges in 'column' with pistols, shotguns, and 'rifles' barking.....this would be in a By 4's To the Right formation....marching by the Right Flank (what most would call a column of 4's, including the writers of the time). That's what you get with narrow trails/fords/roads/fence lined lanes.
The great charge at Marais des Cygnes October 25, 1864 where Benteen's Brigade (actually Winslow but he had been wounded at Byram's Ford october 23 1864.) broke Marmaduke's and Fagan's line was made from single rank formation....of a column of Regiment's. 10th Mo, 4th Iowa, 3rd Iowa, and a mixed MO/IN mix. Cooke's tactics, 1100 mounted troopers, and a wild scramble across open prairie (that means 3-4 foot high sedge, grasses, tufts, et al). Column broke line (as rare as that occurs throughout history).
Some write that over 2500 horsed troopers charged in that battle, but Phillip's Brigade (who had taken over for a disgraced Brown at Byram's Ford) charged much later, after the Confederates had been routed. They too were in single rank formation, stacked in a column of regiments.
It must be stated that Winslow's Brigade (and other's) received their Spencer Carbines in the winter of 1863-1864. The quote from the same book is that they gave up their much hated heavy Dragoon style saber for the much lighter and easier to handle light cavalry saber. They also turned in their revolvers, the quick firing Spencer Carbine's doubling as both rifle and revolver. The weight saved by not carrying the revolver and 24 cartridges/balls was used to carry more rounds/tubes of carbine ammunition.
Take that you pistolero's and multi cylinder carrying reenactors.
So what happened when Wilson/Upton had them switch to Poinsett's in the winter of 1864-5 you ask? Well that specific subject receives a few pages in the book, it would be great for the hobby if you read up on it. Recall that the 4 Michigan Cavalry Brigades made the conversion a year earlier out east. They had used Cooke's single rank tactics in numerous saber/pistol fights and dismounted Sharps RIFLE actions, including at Brandy Station and "Go you Wolverines" at Rummel's Farm July 3rd 1863 Gettysburg. So the Michigan troopers were undoing old habits under the direction of young West Pointer's....and learned Poinsett's winter of 1864. (See Kyd's book, another must read for you Tod). So what happen's in May 1864 at Trevillian's Station on the first day when the 5th Michigan Cavalry Regiment captures the wagons and is immediately surrounded???? Yep, under duress they form a single rank oval facing outward, a circle the wagons what do we do next formation. Cooke's. And they make a desperate charge and escape, although losing nearly 200 troopers. old habits die hard.
And what of the other's that learned Poinsett's? Again from "the Story of a Cavalry Regiment"
1. Most of the fighting in the West was DISMOUNTED single ranks same as before learned in Cooke's (and Cooke's "doesn't" have any dismounted tactics in it yet over 50,000 troopers learned how to fight dismounted in a single rank....hmmm, Tod).
2. They had a few mounted charges in March/April 1865....some from road column.....a few in double ranks.
3. For the most part:They dismounted and fought with their Spencer's.....assaulted light field fortifications dismounted....Cavalry overcoming entrenched infantry and artillery.....
4. heck the war was practically over March - May 1865 which is when they could have employed the new double rank tactics.. They had fought since 1862 in single ranks: 1862, 1863, 1864. Three years and hundreds of cavalry fights and great Raid's using Cooke's tactics....mounted and dismounted.
5. Interesting that the double ranked tactic's are referred to as SCOTT's cavalry tactics.....both before going into combat in 1862, and when the relearned it March 1865. You see the 4th Iowa had initially trained in 2 rank evolutions at Camp Hardan when they weren't even a cavalry outfit.....and had neither horses nor equipment's. Then learned Cooke's on horseback, and then relearned two ranks in March 1865.
so there' your answers and your research projects Tod:
Western Cavalry fought largely in single ranked formations, mounted and dismounted. They fought in columns (as in going down a road) more than double ranked line....even after they had been taught the double ranked evolutions so as to allow for more effectiveness and efficiency in the woods and ravines out East. The single regiment cited above was in a Brigade, Division, and Corps that went through the same organizational changes and used the same tactics...and relearned the tactics and weaponry at about the same time. so it isn't ONE regiment Federal .....it's nearly 50 (including other Western Federal Volunteer Cavalry like the 4 Wisconsin regiments) that fought in single rank formations both mounted and dismounted.
and please stop poopooing the efforts of the 5 Eastern Cavalry units that used Cooke's Tactics from May 1862 to March 1864. Those Wolverines put a world of hurt on many an FFV trooper....using Cooke's Tactics.
Neither of us were there. Crack open a book and let me know where someone who was there, in combat, as an officer, is not authentic, doesn't know what he's writing about, didn't use Cooke's, and couldn't have been using Cooke's single rank dismounted.
Enough of the opinions. Factual evidence only please.
Last edited by RJSamp; 08-19-2007 at 12:01 PM.
Reason: speling and some antics
(Mr. Robert James Samp, Junior)
Bugle, Bugle, Bugle