Saturday, July 18, 2009

Horse-holders (2)

The question arose: How far from the front were the horses of the dismounted men ordinarily “held”? Interesting that, since Dur Écu has rarely found mention of horse-holders in the historic record, much less particulars of their craft.

It would seem, from the manuals that 100 yards was the prescribed distance. For example, McClellan in Regulations and Instructions (1862), wrote:

“The horses will be habitually kept at about one hundred yards in rear of their riders, though they should be nearer when they can find shelter from fire which will admit of it. Fifty yards will be far enough when the enemy does not use fire-arms.”

I have seen these distances prescribed in other contemporary manuals. There is no reason to believe that they did not obtain in earlier periods.

McClellan also noted that the horse-holders were to remain mounted throughout.

If the horse-holders and the led horses were too far from the firing line, disaster could ensue if the enemy got between the line of dismounted men and their mounts.

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