American Civil War Armies (2). Union Troops by Katcher Ph., Volstad R.

By Katcher Ph., Volstad R.

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T h e tactic was described by H e x h a m as placing 'Battaillions o f H o r s e interlaced, and placed betwixt the intervals, and distances o f the F o o t e , as the ground and necessity may require. ' As with the infantry, Dutch cavalry were armed and equipped on the usual Western European model, as pistol-armed heavy Reiters with lighter m o u n t e d arquebusiers for support. T h e m o u n t e d infantry role o f a r q u e b u s i e r s w a s assumed in the early 1 7 t h century by dragoons - essentially mounted infantry armed with short-barrelled muskets.

T h e selection of one or the other depended upon circumstance; they were 'both sufficient strong, but the difference which may happen, is to be judged according to the situation and disposition of the ground, and occasions to fight'. It was believed that the 'square of men would be best, as in open field, without advantage of hedge, ditch, water, marsh or wood, or whether the enemie is strong in horse, to charge on every side: the which the just square of men, in everie part is found to be equally strong, and apt every way to receive the charge'.

T h e allocation of the other captains' companies to the different battalions varied, but the overall principle was to spread the m o r e senior - and thus probably more experienced - officers between both battalions rather than concentrating them in one or the other. T h e actual process of forming a battalion out o f several c o m p a n i e s was straightforward, and would be carried out by the regiment's s e r g e a n t - m a j o r or, if m o r e than one regiment was to f o r m a single battalion, by the sergeantm a j o r appointed by the officer c o m m a n d i n g the b a t t a l i o n .

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