US Cavalry Sergeant
The regiments were the basic units of the United States Army and their strength was increased or reduced by Congress according to the requirements of the moment. In accordance with the General Orders of 4th May 1861 that established the organisation of a regiment, every cavalry regiment had a minimum of 998 members and a maximum of 1189 between officers and enlisted men,including the musicians. Every regiment consisted of four companies, each one commanded by a major. The Department of War in Washington, DC was responsible for deciding company destinations.
There were ten cavalry regiments:
The First Cavalry dates back to 2nd March 1833 and its name was confirmed on 3rd August 1861, having previously been called US Regiment of Dragoons and 1st Dragoon.
The Second Cavalry came into existence on 23rd May 1836 and its name was confirmed on 3rd August 1861, having previously been called Regiment of Riflemen and 2nd Dragoons.
The Third Cavalry was formed on 19th May 1846 and its name was confirmed on 3rd August 1861, and was formerly called Regiment of Mounted Riflemen.
The Fourth Cavalry, formerly part of the 1st Cavalry was formed on 3rd March 1855 and its name was confirmed on 3rd August 1861.
The Fifth Cavalry was previously part of the 2nd Cavalry. Its name was confirmed on 3rd August 1861.
The Sixth Cavalry, once part of the third Cavalry, was authorised on 5th May 1861 and had its name confirmed on 3rd August in the same year.
The Seventh, Eight, Ninth and Tenth Cavalry were all formed on 28th July 1866.
At the end of 1860 the US Cavalry was spread out over the western territories, and split up into small units to control the movements of the Indians. When the Southern Federation was formed, many officers discharged from serving the regular Cavalry and joined the rebels. The Union government did not think it necessary to strengthen the Cavalry because they considered that any possible war could be brought to a rapid end by the use of infantry supported by the artillery. In fact there were no requests for light cavalrymen in the enlistment campaigns . This resulted in the clear superiority of the Confederate Cavalry when Civil War broke out, both in number and ability. The rural and aristocratic South considered horsemanship as very important, and every gentleman was trained in equestrian art as a prerogative of nobility.
In 1861, when the Southern States decided to break away the United States Army was greatly strengthened and during the War years there was a contingent of about three million men. At the start of the War the main weapons were artillery and infantry, but immediately after the first defeats the Cavalry was strengthened. The figurine represents a Union Cavalry sergeant. The horse’s bridle has the double reins in use among the military, an a McClellan saddle, model 1859, typical of the US Cavalry. This type of saddle was repeatedly modified up to 1874.
Painting: The artist is invited to visit the website and use the colours shown in the photograph.
Sculptor: Gianni La Rocca
Painter: Francesco Sapienza
Historical research and translation: R.Carrabino