CAVALRY DRILL FOR 4TH CAVALRY AT FT. CONCHO, TEXAS
Fine content manuscript D.S., 5pp. legal folio, Fort Concho, Texas, Apr. 24, 1871, a retained copy of General Order #34 setting forth cavalry tactics to be: "...added to the tactics now in use...until tactics suited to the nature of the service are provided...". The carefully-penned orders indicate that on confronting the enemy, the command would be: "Action Front. Open Order march. Halt. Dismount.". The text continues, in small part: "...The first command is use of caution...The first set of fours move forward at a walk...both ranks open files to the right...rapidly but quietly pass between the horses of the flank...Each set of threes will fight together...Care will be taken to have in each set one carbine with the magazine always charged. If the column is charged the men will not run to their horses, but will defend the column by their fire...close together for fighting back to back. The pistol will only be used in hand to hand fighting, it is given to the soldier for his personal protection...". Similar orders are given in the event that a column is attacked from the rear, with the ranks split and the commander flanked by trumpeters to move his forces. Interestingly, great care is taken that horses are never to be alarmed and that retreat is to be made on foot. Also notable is the order: "No wounded or dead will be left on the field when possible to save them. They will if possible be held or tied in the horses...". A few clean marginal splits, else very good. Fort Concho, near present-day San Angelo, was established in 1867 to protect frontier settlements, patrol and map the vast West Texas region, and quell hostile threats in the area.