Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Big Change Near the Top

It was reported in the Boston Herald on April 2 and widely disseminated on April 4:

"It now announced, though not an official form, that General Sheridan has been assigned to the position of command of the Cavalry Corps. General Sheridan, we believe, belonged to the dragoons in the old service, but his reputation during the present war, which is a very distinguish one, has been gained as a Commander of the Division of Infantry in the Army of the Cumberland in the appointment will take the public by surprise.
The service in which most of our cavalry officers have gained what fame they have, has been in the class of expeditions called raids - a kind of operation which depends entirely on its character, whether it is of very high or absolute valueless or worse. They are apt to be effectual in nothing but destroying horses and a few such expeditions can easily use up the finest cavalry corps ever raised.
But though we appreciate that their full value well planned and vigorously executed raids, a general of cavalry should be something more than a mere raider. He should know how to bring into play this magnificent arm in the great part assigned to it on the day of battle. To lead a flying column for a hundred or two miles through an enemy's country, is one thing, and maybe a very good and valuable thing; but to maneuver cavalry on the field of battle in and bring out of it the great results it can achieve is another and much higher thing.
The Army of the Potomac has now a noble cavalry corps, and we hope its new commander will be able to develop its power, and make it the store traditions of this harm in a living reality."

Interesting commentary. It is undoubtedly a direct broadside against Judson Kilpatrick and his late raid into Richmond. Alfred Pleasonton is now gone, Kill-Cavalry will soon be reporting to a new commander.

With Sheridan, Grant has the man he wants in place, though he has never led a cavalry unit of any appreciable size. We know the final outcome, but an interesting choice, another outsider.

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