Can't believe we don't have a thread to these beings that also served. Good place to start:
"After rescuing those white women from the Indians, my horse gave out and he not being able to carry me, I was like a great many more, having to join the 'foot cavalry.' I marched from the Canadian River into Fort Hays, Kansas, a great number of miles, leading my horse rather than have him shot, as he was a very good horse and in 1876 in the Custer Massacre probably saved my life. He was a very intelligent and valuable horse and I did my best to keep him during my full term of service.
"I have on many an occasion outside of this long march led him along and walked, and I never sat down to eat my lunch but what I divided part of it with that horse. It is a well known fact among cavalrymen that ahorse will eat most anything that a many will eat, and they are very fond of salt pork."
For the salt, I presume. I never trust a horse that relishes meat.
"When I was discharged from the service after serving my ten years, my horse was taken by Sergeant White who was promoted first sergeant of my company after I left and used for some time and finally taken by Major Joel H. Tilford of the 7th Cavalry and used for a number of years afterwards."
Post by benteeneast on Jul 18, 2018 7:02:38 GMT -5
I noted in one of the comments in yellow that a fast walk was probably 5 mph. Where would that have come from? Seems to me the cavalry walk is trained for at 5 mph and therefore a fast walk would be greater than 5 mph. My Tennessee Walker named Custer walks at 9 mph. I believe that Benteen rode a walking horse and moved out faster than the trained cavalry walk gait. Some confuse a gait with a rate of travel which can lead to errors. My horse Casey could trot at various speeds (6-12 mph) and a horse trying to keep up had to canter. I once bumped him 9 times and he never broke out of a trot but he did increase speed at the trot. He came from a ranch where trotting at speed was essential to getting the job done.
If a cavalry marches at 5 mph at the walk and takes a 10 minute break on the hour the overall speed is calculated 5/6 X 5 mph = 4.17 mph. The manuals used by engineers of the time used 3.3 mph as a planning rate of march. So why is it lower if the horses always walk at around 5 mph? It is the stop times or slowing for whatever reason the determines overall rate of travel.
I put several thousand miles horseback that were recorded by a GPS units and the overall average is 3.5 mph. Why would it be higher? Simple I didn't have to stop for other horses nor did I include times other than when I started out to do something and I knew where I was going. When looking at speeds at various times it would range form 0 to around 11 mph. I could not find one time that matched the 3.5 mph. There were lots at around 1-2 mph associated with terrain features and occasionally some above 5 mph. 4.5 - 5.5 seems to be the majority of the speeds.
Benteen in his scout was not riding with the companies. He was ahead of them and sometimes ahead of the recon team. His total distance traveled was most likely greater than the companies and less than the Gibson and his recon team.
Last Edit: Jul 25, 2018 3:10:02 GMT -5 by moderator
I noted in one of the comments in yellow that a fast walk was probably 5 mph. Where would that have come from? Seems to me the cavalry walk is trained for at 5 mph and therefore a fast walk would be greater than 5 mph. My Tennessee Walker named Custer walks at 9 mph. I believe that Benteen rode a walking horse and moved out faster than the trained cavalry walk gait. Some confuse a gait with a rate of travel which can lead to errors....
From Benteen himself (published in Winner's of the West book, pg. 191):
"I had a very fast walking horse, which I think can walk 5 miles an hour easily.... It was not necessary to give a command to trot, because the men would all be trotting to keep up with me."
Based on Benteen's comments above, it does not seem that the cavalry walk in 1876 was trained for 5 mph. It would be closer to 4 mph. Therefore, based on Benteen's own comments, it would seem clear that a fast walk for most cavalry horses would be less than 5 mph, as Benteen's "very fast walking horse" can "walk 5 miles an hour easily" causing the rest of his command "to trot ... to keep up ...."
"The more I see of movement here (Little Big Horn Battlefield), the more I have admiration for Custer, and I am satisfied his like will not be found very soon again.”
~ Gen. Nelson Miles, Commanding General of the Army ------
"With our cherished ones deliverance within our grasp we waited breathless two hours, for the order that never came."
Captain Thomas B. Weir, Oct. 22, 1876.
General of the Army (Medicine Man/Chief))
I've made my first read of Robert E. Doran's 'Horsemanship at Little Big Horn'. and find it to be a courageous work in both its concepts of the fighting and treatment of the principal cavalrry participants whom are damned all, in 'Faint Praise'. The are two camps of realistic assessment of Custer and his lieutenats who were actually Major and Captain - either 'grey' wash the whole thing into a cuddly bed-timer or go for the throat condemnation. It is difficult to honestly damn one without implicating the other pair.
It is a work for exerienced students which plays out a modern but not definitive timeline approach and omits or confabultes the process of his conclusions. Considerable detail relative to his deductions is not presented. This, book is a rollicking good read and thoroughly enjoyable but will certainly irk unto ire, those with battle pets. It is refreshing. link
So, at least two more reads of it for me, before a damning with faint praise. It really is a pleasurable read for those with an extensive knowledge and tantalising in use of unknown Walter M. Camp data.
This is not just another Custer Book. Authors in the past have concentrated on the prejudices of the human participants. This study of how the U.S. Army trained their men and horses grew out of a research project for a reenactment-riding group in Northern Utah It turned into a how raw recruits were turned into good horsemen and a deeper understanding of the magnificent world of horses. It also soon introduced the author to ownership of a horse and learning to ride like a cavalryman. This training and the deployment tactics that were developed by the Old Army helped to shape the Custer Fight.
Last Edit: Jul 21, 2018 7:33:01 GMT -5 by herosrest
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Post by benteeneast on Jul 24, 2018 9:23:19 GMT -5
Page 224 The Cavalry Horse and His Pack,
The walk during a march should be at 4 miles per hour ( I stand corrected) and the trot at not less than 6.5 miles per hour.
"it is the custom in the American cavalry service, under favorable conditions, that after the first halt, they will average a rate of 5 miles per hour (probably where I got that from) alternating the walk and trot as has been said".
Makes sense because some horses break into a trot when approaching 5 mph.
Post by benteeneast on Jul 28, 2018 8:57:43 GMT -5
The horse can trot for hours. Cowboys here on the Hashknife and C O have lots of land to ride on and the trot is the preferred gait. The cavalry has to maintain a formation which means that all the horses stay together so they change up gaits and take breaks. I believe the changes and breaks are a function of maintaining formation. In the cavalry they even dismount and walk. That would help to maintain the trooper as well as rest the horse.
The cavalry would start from a fort and have fat put on the horses for stored energy. They attempted to maintain it by the use of grain. When the fat reserve is all gone the horse has to eat for a longer period of time. Horses on ranches can be maintained better do to the access to better feeds. But those horses on open range with poor feed may be seen eating all day.
When we trapped bears in Southern Arizona behind Fort Grant we would grain our horses from gunny sack morales filled with oats.
Very interesting discussion on the endurance of horses. It reminds me of my days running marathons, when after depleting all of the glycogen in my system, the body begins burning fat as fuel, especially after the 20-21 mile mark. If one doesn't have enough fat in the system, then the runner "hits the wall". Proper training prevents that from happening.
But, I've learned much from reading about your experience with horses...very impressive..!
The horse can trot for hours... In the cavalry they even dismount and walk. That would help to maintain the trooper as well as rest the horse.
Thank you very much Benteeneast; I heard this use of walking dismounted several years ago by an old cavalry colonel that was in Africa (probably colonial cavalry) in the '30. That of old cavalry and horses was a very interesting and taking world and the colonel was full of episodes and stories about both. Unfortunately at the time I didn't take note from his accounts that were litterally a piece of history on the field.
If I don't disturb you with my curiosity I would ask how long a horse on normal terrain could resist at gallop. If I am not wrong only for a very short time, is it right?
Last Edit: Jul 29, 2018 3:55:13 GMT -5 by Miles D.