Washington, October 29, 1861
To: Generals Cai and Kurtz
John, Andrew -
Apparently General Scott never clearly explained raiding cavalry doctrine.
If cavalry is operating as raiders, they are not expected to occupy territory. That function is for infantry. Therefore, cavalry time-on-target should be limited to the least possible to accomplish their objective. They need to time their arrival at a target to minimize enemy opportunities to fight them. They need to keep moving beyond their target, so that they can evade enemy garrisons and counter-attacks. If the movement beyond the target is back towards our lines and supplies, so much the better. Therefore, orders to cavalry raiders are expected to extend beyond the next two weeks.
This may mean that exploring different routes or that adjusting waypoints along the entire route is needed so that a target that is not at the limit of cavalry range reaches that limit, because the cavalry did not take the shortest route. Often waypoints can be adjusted to move through multiple targets. That is not my job. My job is explaining the concept. Performing it is your job. Learn to do it well.
If cavalry can hit an objective at the limit of their range, that is much better than hitting one nearby. It makes time-on-target easier to adjust, and keeps the enemy off balance. Moving to a point halfway to an objective or near the starting point tells the enemy what the next possible objective is, makes the cavalry easier to intercept at the stopping point, and makes time-on-target harder to adjust when we do hit the objective, because it is not at the limit of their range anymore. In reviewing our first three months of operations, I noticed a disturbing habit amongst cavalry commanders to stop just short of a target for scouting purposes. This practice will not be tolerated. It uses up supplies and opportunities, while possibly letting the enemy know the objective and absolutely ruining time-on-target. If careful attention is paid to time-on-target principles and evasion, it is also completely unnecessary.
In short, look for targets near the limit of your range, explore movement options, hit them, and keep moving.
Enough cavalry are being provided to you for widespread strategic damage along enemy rail and supply lines. They will be used for that purpose. If they are not used for that purpose, there will be consequences, beyond the direct military consequences.
It has been stated previously: "No unit in enemy territory is excused from the duty of destroying rail lines without prior permission." That still applies.
Towns are considered targets for resupply. Since they possibly have garrisons, they should be moved through. (See time-on-target). The intent of raiding cavalry is not to fight enemy garrisons, except in special cases, which will be decided through discussion. If establishing a resupply point is important, the cavalry regiment is in good shape, and the enemy garrison is known to be militia, an assault may be ordered, if I am notified and given the opportunity to discuss before the order is issued.
Professor Runyan has written an excellent treatise on strategy. If you haven't read it, find a copy and read it. If you have read it, re-read it, paying particular attention to concepts #6 & #1. Unfortunately, Prof. Runyan did not extend his treatise to include railroads or supply, or the effects of not being able to use railroads. Perhaps not so unfortunate, because I can assure you that the enemy has read his work. Apply those concepts to overall cavalry strategy and railroads, keeping in mind that cavalry does not hold territory. The effects of strategic levels of cavalry raids are to slow enemy movent, limit their movement options, and decrease supplies and reinforcements.
Cavalry's major advantages are in mobility and surprise. They are not in combat power. Combat power is for infantry and artillery. Combining cavalry regiments should be saved for two purposes. They can be used to hit enemy garrisons that defend critical points that are at the limit of the cavalry's range. They can be used to defend against enemy cavalry forces on the offensive. Either situation should be discussed with myself, before combining regiments.
Raiders should only be ordered to attack or assault as they move through possibly ungarrisoned enemy towns. They may be ordered to attack or assault in other special situations with prior discussion. They may occasionally be ordered to defend if facing single enemy cavalry regiments.
If raiders encounter unguarded enemy artillery, supplies, support units, or HQ units, then an attack should be ordered, with prior notification, so that strategic and time-on-target issues can be discussed.
Divisions can use one or two cavalry regiments for fighting and scouting. Wherever possible, those regiments need to come from cavalry that is included in brigades. Individual cavalry regiments have unique abilities which are too valuable for their widespread use in divisions.
Picking rail targets:
[font="Courier New"]-----[/font] unraided
[font="Courier New"]X---X[/font] poorly raided
[font="Courier New"]XX---[/font] poorly raided
[font="Courier New"]-XX--[/font] poorly raided
[font="Courier New"]X--X-[/font] better raided
[font="Courier New"]X-X--[/font] better raided
[font="Courier New"]-X-X-[/font] well raided
[font="Courier New"]X-X-X[/font] well raided
[font="Courier New"]XXXXX[/font] completely raided
If that diagram is not self-explanatory, ask. The concept is to limit the number of adjacent unraided stretches of enemy railroad. Either of the well-raided conditions have the same effect on enemy movement and supplies as completely raided, because trains cannot move more than 20 miles.
Of course, rail junctions make better targets than through rail.
Rail targets near large enemy forces should be primary targets, but careful attention should be paid to time-on-target priciples, because of increased danger.
Cavalry raiders can carry supplies for 6 weeks in hostile territory, unless they capture supplies along the way. At week 4, they need to either capture a resupply point or be in a position to get to a safe resupply point. Not at week 6, at week 4. That means planning for resupply begins at week 2. If at week 6 they are within a few days of safe resupply, that is good enough.
Cavalry can often move further in boats than they can overland. This includes boats taken from the enemy while in enemy territory. They are often safer moving in boats. If they are being chased by the enemy, and have taken all the available boats, then they are not being chased by the enemy anymore. If they deliberately target areas that give them amphibious options, then they will have amphibious options if they need them. If they establish resupply points that give them multiple amphibious options, then the enemy has many more possible targets that need reinforcement.
If cavalry (or any other forces) in boats stop at a position that is not under direct observation by enemy troops, then they have effectively "dropped off the map" as far as the enemy is concerned. Their next movement will be made with surprise.
Time-on-target adjustments can often be made on the water, and it is safer to do it there than on land. It also causes less straggling.
The enemy cannot see through mountains. They particularly cannot see cavalry through mountains. Mountains slow advances and retreats, but they also slow enemy responses. As long as weather and supply levels are carefully watched, mountains are almost as good an environment for cavalry as riverbanks and coastal areas.
There is an additional way to detect enemy movement beyond direct observation. If enemy troops move through friendly territory in an aggressive manner, the local population will notice. Control of the area will change slightly. This can be found out through careful questioning of civilians. This applies to our cavalry moving through enemy territory as well. Since the purpose of cavalry is not to hold territory or engage the enemy directly, approach and retreat marches should be made in the least aggressive manner. This applies to both direct orders and orders concerning rules of engagement.
Long approach marches should be made so that stopping points are in loyal territory if possible. This reduces the risk of both direct and indirect detection.
Yes. Raiders are expected to use evasion at almost all times. It is critical to the time-on-target principle. If there is a special reason to not use it, that will be decided through discussion.
Offensive vs. defensive:
If our cavalry is behind enemy lines, and enemy cavalry is chasing them, then that enemy cavalry is not behind our lines. If enemy rail is well raided, then the enemy will have limited resupply, and is less likely to go on the offensive. They are also less able to reinforce or respond to our raids and offensives. If the enemy is spending money and supplies to repair rail, that is money and supplies they aren't spending for additional troops. If the enemy is unable to send supplies forward, then their front-line troops will have to move out of trenches to either attack or retreat, so that they can get supplies.
If cavalry takes enemy towns, those towns become our resupply points, garrisons will be sent forward to hold those towns. They are no longer enemy resupply points. We don't have to garrison as many targets, and can move our garrisons forward. Our cavalry can begin looking for additional targets, and the enemy has to reinforce additional targets.
If individual cavalry regiments spend time facing enemy infantry, then they aren't cavalry anymore. They are infantry with horses to take care of. Scouting and counter-raiding operations should be handled by brigades that include cavalry. If it becomes a habit for cavalry regiments to confront infantry formations, future cavalry reinforcements will be discontinued. They will be replaced with reinforcements to the other theater commander, or to amphibious forces in the case that both theater commanders have problems with the concept. This is in addition to those individual units being detached for amphibious duty. Horses cost money.
Enemy raiders will be destroyed prior to their return to enemy territory. They will be constantly harrassed and attacked by multiple converging units while in our territory. They will not be harassed to the point of encouraging them to leave our territory. They will be harassed to the point of destruction. Riverine forces will assist by cutting off possible lines of retreat.
I don't need to be looking after individual cavalry regiments and brigades. I have better uses for my time and health than constantly urging operations on reluctant commanders. If you aren't comfortable with this doctrine, get comfortable with it, and use it.
I won't argue with you about any of this like Scott did. I'm stating it once. Cavalry that are well rested or supplied will follow this doctrine aggressively, unless there is an upcoming strategic initiative, requiring another use for them. I will inform you in that case. I will continue to review orders for failure to follow this doctrine. I will not continually suggest new objectives for individual units.
We have lost quite a few opportunities this summer and fall through doctrinal arguments and commander prerogatives. That loss of opportunities means that I have to find new opportunities through amphibious operations this winter, where weather will not come into affect. Regiments that don't follow this doctrine will be ordered to Boston, New York, Atlantic City, or Dover. (Assuming they survive. If they don't survive another unit will be chosen from the rear echelon.) There should be no confusion about why they are there, or who will issue orders for them after that point. I will notify the theater commander of the cause, after the fact. There will be no prior notification other than this one, and no appeal for this process. The process will start with November orders. If you would like to volunteer units for amphibious operations, do by sending them to one of those points. We could really use them, we have a current total of 3 amphibious regiments.
If you have questions, ask them now. If you don't have questions, save this telegram as a reference. Re-read it before notifying me of your orders. Inform me of your ideas before issuing orders. Re-read it before issuing orders. Re-read it while issuing orders. Inform me of your orders before submitting orders. Re-read it before submitting orders. Questions are welcome and will be clarified. Problems or arguments will be addressed by "review T180 - (topic)".
[color="DimGray"] You deserve to be spanked[/color]