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The Difference Between Independent And Divisional Cavalry

Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual

The main difficulty in seeing the distinction between Independent and

Divisional Cavalry consists in our forgetting that we have different

kinds of organizations in the army as well as we have anywhere else. Let

us clearly understand this:

(1) An Infantry Division is composed of nine regiments of infantry, two

of artillery, and one of cavalry.

(2) A Cavalry Division is composed of nine regim
nts of cavalry, one

regiment of horse artillery, and no infantry.

The cavalry attached to an Infantry Division is, in general, called

Divisional Cavalry. It operates at but comparatively short distances

from its division, its duties being of a somewhat local nature.

The Independent Cavalry, because it can move so rapidly, is sent far in

advance (thirty, forty, or even fifty or more miles) of the main army to

obtain general information, such as the approximate strength and

location of the enemy's forces. The Division Commander, since he is so

far away from the Commanding General of the army in rear, and since he

has broad general duties to perform, must of necessity have broad powers

and, in general, be permitted to act as the occasion demands. He is,

therefore, said to act independently, and his cavalry is called

Independent Cavalry.