The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

ter head drawings by Nick Eggenhofer and selective photography
further enhance the value of this volume for all readers.
DAN FERGUSON
The Story of the U. S. Cavalry. By Major General John K. Herr
and Edward S. Wallace. New York (Little, Brown and
Company), 1954. PP- 275. $6.00.
Shortly after our entrance into World War II a decision was
reached by the War Department to discontinue the use of horse
cavalry as an outmoded arm of our ground forces. About the
same time, the office of Chief of Cavalry was abolished. Thus
there passed into discard the most colorful branch of our Army
after more than one hundred and sixty years of service to the
nation. This was a sad day to many old horse cavalrymen, and a
number of them are unable to accept that decision as sound and
final. Among them is the principal author of this book, Major-
General John K. Herr, who in collaboration with Edward S.
Wallace, a trained historian, presents this somewhat brief but
comprehensive story of his beloved branch. In its moderate length
there is hardly room for more than a chronological enumeration
of the battles, great and small, in which cavalry played a role,
but it is considerably enlivened with interesting old sketches of
battles and photographs of leaders. Cavalry has contributed more
than its share of highly individualistic and eccentric leaders, and
the frequent sidelights thrown on these personalities further en-
liven the narrative.
Prior to the Civil War there was little appreciation among our
military leaders, from Washington on down through Taylor and
Scott, of the capabilities and proper role for the mounted soldier.
There were minor exploits on battlefields like Cowpens, the
Thames in the War of 1812, at Buena Vista and before Mexico
City in 1846, but the few cavalry units raised were more often
relegated to guard and fatigue duty, or left with nothing to do.
Cavalry did not come into its own, with well organized large units
under capable leaders and employed as cavalry should be em-
ployed, until the Civil War. Then it was to write some glorious
pages in our military history under amazing leaders like Phil
Sheridan, Wesley Merritt, Ranald Mackenzie, George Armstrong

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/. Accessed October 22, 2014.