From the Publisher
Hailed as the unit that contributed more general officers to the Civil War than any other, the U.S. Second Cavalry served as a training ground for such esteemed soldiers as Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Edmund Kirby Smith, and John Bell Hood. Now, an acclaimed military historian presents the first history of this celebrated cavalry. Established in the 1850s specifically for frontier service, the Second Cavalry became a proving ground for men who demonstrated their bravery and skill fighting Indians in the Texas desert and the western plains. Jeff Davis's Own depicts how Robert E. Lee developed his leadership style, how the regiment's new kind of mounted service set the groundwork for later cavalry operations, and examines the brutal Comanche style of warfare, showing how American soldiers were able to rationalize killing women and children.
From Publishers Weekly
Created in 1855 by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, the 2nd United States Cavalry was led by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee and Maj. George H. Thomas. Arnold (Grant Wins the War) chronicles the birth and pre-Civil War service of this mounted regiment on the Texas frontier. When white settlers first moved into central Texas, the fierce Comanche warriors raided frontier settlements, stealing horses and cattle, killing men and carrying off women. After Texas became a state, the 2nd Cavalry was sent to guard the Texans and attack the hostiles. The result was a mixed bag of successes and failures as the cavalry companies grappled with the weather, civilians, hostile and friendly Indians, loneliness and isolation, and oftentimes lack of adequate supplies. Arnold writes of the unit's weapons and uniforms, its selection of horses, training at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, and its long march overland to the Texas frontier. The next five years were spent in frustrating combat and patrol against the Indians. There were occasional successes, such as Lt. John B. Hood's aggressive patrolling in 1857 and Earl Van Dorn's attack on a Comanche village at Crooked Creek in 1859. The regiment left Texas in 1861 and was redesignated the 5th U.S. Cavalry when the War Department reorganized the army's mounted units that year. Not since William Price's 1883 regimental history have the early years of this famous unit, which produced more general officers of Civil War fame than any other, received their due coverage. While this book will be a hard sell beyond its niche of regional war buffs, Arnold has produced an elegantly written narrative that will captivate anyone interested in this facet of American frontier history.