“Who ever saw a dead cavalryman?” Gettysburg

John Mosby



To me, it’s not at all complicated to distinguish an Infantry unit from a Cavalry unit in PBs.  There’s such a thing as carrying “minimalism” too far, to the point of “bland.”  I might order a Scotch without water, but water without Scotch is simply rehydration.

We are very fortunate to have such a talented and knowledgeable group of play testers in our design team.  We have great discussions.  I often wish they were public.  This is a small example.  Just 1 email picked out of hundreds of our banter back and forth.  I hope you find it as interesting as I do!


Sorry to differ, but saying Artillery in PBs is “not an abstraction” beggars reason.  The Artillery units in PBs don’t represent 1-2 guns—I know you know this, of course—but these units also don’t represent “usual concentrations” except in the sense of portraying sections of the battlefield where Artillery is particularly focused/targeted (and at this, Artillery Range, from the physical location of the Artillery unit to the targeted unit, is still an abstraction—those guns would be firing from other in-range locations, not just in a hub-to-hub line of cannon).


Troops were very accustomed to Artillery “falling silent and withdrawing.”  It happened all the time.  Batteries redeployed at the orders of the Division or Corps commander to which they were assigned; batteries withdrew when ammunition-depleted; batteries shifted location sometimes when particularly effective counterbattery fire (actually rare in the ACW; Federal batteries firing on Alexander’s concentration on Day Three were ordered to hold fire by Hancock in order to preserve rounds for the infantry attack he knew was coming) began to impact them adversely (usually in terms of a caisson exploding or an unsustainable number of horse losses in the battery).


Batteries might even just fold and fall back in the face of an attack (Infantry was very accustomed to orders to “Save the guns!”).  Such things did not disconcert any but very green troops.


Re ACW cavalry, most infantry never saw them engaged on a battlefield.  The bitter slogan “Who ever saw a dead cavalryman?” reflected not only infantry’s contempt for cavalry (especially in the Federal Army, at least up to Gettysburg) but the fact that ground-pounders rarely saw cavalry in action—they were more likely to be deployed to the infantry’s rear with orders to shoot any man who routed (there is a statue of a dismounted Federal cavalryman, kneeling with carbine at the ready, right behind the “High Water Mark” position at G’burg!  He was NOT there to personally help repulse Pickett’s Charge.)

John Buford


Reynold’s troops saw some casualty in Buford’s battle area, but understood that the troopers had bought them time to come up with tactics and with blood.  They were hardly shaken at the sight of a couple dozen troopers in their immediate front (despite the phrase “shattered brigades” in the text narrative at the end of the “Gettysburg” movie, Buford’s division had not been shattered, only wearied; they were withdrawn to Westminster to replenish ammunition, draw rations, re-shoe horses where needed and rest, and were very much involved in the pursuit after G-burg—read the account of Buford’s no-nonsense handling of a Southern spy captured between Westminster and the Potomac).

JEB Stuart

On the Southern side, Confederate infantry may have thought more highly of Jeb Stuart for the reputation he had built, but were singularly unimpressed with his Gettysburg Campaign wagon-train-raiding shenanigans.  But they were not shaken by his defeat by Custer on the East Cavalry Field, they didn’t even see it—it was out of sight and virtually out of the hearing even of the left-flank Confederate infantry.


The destruction of Pickett’s Division and failures of Pettigrew’s and Trimble’s infantry, coming after the “flat finish” of the second-day Confederate infantry attacks, are what really shook the ANV (and its commander) as never before.


This last not to undermine your statements vs friendly dragoons in the AWI, but out of genuine curiosity: where are some sources I could read re Infantry liking “having dragoons around” and the “infantry line” becoming unnerved at the dragoons’ absence? 


by Barry Kendall

Alfred Pleasonton

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