The Minute Book
Sunday, 1 May 2016

Active Militia; Cavalry (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Active Militia; Cavalry (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

Cavalry.—The horse moves 400 yards at a walk, in about 3.9 minutes; at a trot in about 2 minutes; at a gallop in 1.4 minutes. His stride in walking is about 0.917 yards; at a trot 1.23 yards; at a gallop 3.52 yards. He occupies in the ranks 3 feet; in file 9 feet; in marching 12 feet. The heavy dragoon horse actually carries 270 pounds; if provided with one day's rations, 296 pounds, The light cavalry horse carries from 250 to 260 pounds, rations included. A cavalry horse should weigh about 1,000 pounds; height about 15.3 hands; girth round chest 80 inches. A day's rations for a horse is 10 pounds oats, 12 pounds hay, and 8 pounds straw in stable; 8 pounds oats, 18 pounds hay, 6 pounds straw, in billets; 32 pounds hay where no oats or bran are given; 9 pounds of oats are equal to 14 pounds bran. He will drink about 7 gallons of water daily. A horse should not be watered too early in the morning in cold weather. Horses' backs should be examined closely on saddling and unsaddling the least flinching should be taken notice of, and hot fomentations applied constantly. Kicks and contusions should be treated by hot fomentations, poultices, and cold water. A dose of physic may be necessary, depending on extent of tumefaction and pain. Sprains should be fomented; a dose of physic given, and cold water bandages applied. Cough and cold: soft diet, a fever ball with a little nitre; stimulate or blister the throat, if sore. If bleeding is necessary, rub the neck on the near side close to the throat, until the vein rises; to keep it full, tie a string round the neck, just below the middle; strike the fleam into the vein smartly, with a short stick. If the blood does not flow freely, the blow being properly struck, it may be made do so by holding the head well up, and causing the horse to move its jaws. After a march, first take off the bridles, tie up horses by headstall chains; loosen girths, turn up crupper and stirrups; sponge nostrils and eyes, and rub the head with a dry wisp; pick and wash feet, and give hay; wipe bit and stirrups. After the men have had their meal, saddles are taken off and the horses cleaned, watered, fed, and bedded. Upon the vigour with which grooming is performed, greatly depends the condition of the horse, when exposed to fatigue or exposure to the weather. Hand rubbing the legs and ears, not only till they are dry, but until the blood circulates freely, should be particularly observed.

In forming for attack upon infantry, a regiment of cavalry should be divided into three bodies— distinguished as "First Line," "Support," and "Reserve" — with intervals of 400 yards between each. The "First Line" should not be more than one-third of the force. They generally advance the first 400 yards at a walk, approaching to a gentle trot the next 400 yards at a round trot and the last 200 yards at a gallop —the time consumed being about seven minutes and three seconds.

The "Support" and "Reserve" follow the advance at the same pace as the "First Line," checking the pace when the "First Line" commences to charge, but prepared to follow up the success, or protect the reforming of the First Line. The "First Line," if unsuccessful, should rally behind the "Reserve," instead of falling back on the "Support," and thus destroying the steadiness and order of its attack.

When cavalry act in support of artillery, they are formed up 400 yards in rear. When cavalry and artillery act together against infantry, the cavalry harass and manoeuvre on the flanks, in order to induce the enemy to form square, in which formation they would suffer most from artillery fire. In a cavalry attack, guns come into action on one side of the cavalry they support; in order to have a clear front, and to cover a retreat more effectually.

In advanced guards, and piquet duty, the same general rules apply to cavalry as to infantry; it being borne in mind that they can communicate more quickly than infantry, and consequently need not be so near the main body.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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