command. If such information is in your possession as to warrant sending me to attack the enemy, I would much like to do so.
With sentiments of high respect, your obedient servant,
GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 26.
HDQRS. CAV. DIV., ARMY NORTHERN VA.,
July 30, 1863.
The major-general commanding has endeavored in vain, by oral injunctions, to correct the defects in the mode of fighting pursued by this division, but they have been so steadily on the increase that he is compelled to make their correction the subject of General Orders.
In preparing for action, skirmishers should always be quickly deployed, either mounted or dismounted, according to the nature of the ground; the cavalry column formed into distinct squadrons and regiments, with distinct intervals, which are indispensable; those squadrons in rear of the one engaged taking special care that any confusion which may occur in front shall not extend to them, and, above all, not permitting any retreat of those engaged to break their front, but remain firm and unbroken until ordered into action.
If a squadron engaged becomes broken, and compelled by overwhelming force to retire, its members will take care not to run through the ranks of those in the rear, but will move to the nearest rallying point without confusion, or precipitancy, or noise.
The column in advancing to the charge will move steadily up at a walk, taking the trot when about 200 yards from the enemy, the trot being slow and steady in front, each squadron keeping its formation distinct and well closed. The charge will be delivered against the enemy by squadrons, the gallop being taken when within 50 yards of the enemy's front, and the gait increased instead of diminished as the enemy is neared, so as to give the greatest possible force to the shock against the enemy's column, the rider sitting firmly in the saddle, with his saber wide awake for the thrust. Too much importance cannot be given to the shock of the charge, the furious impact of horse against horse, for in that will consist he success of the charge. The enemy once broken, must be followed vigorously, the officers taking care not to allow the pursuit to lag on account of the accumulation of prisoners and plunder. Plundering in battle is strictly prohibited. The habit taken from the enemy, which is becoming so prevalent, a habit counseled by fear, of charging as soon a within a quarter of a mile of the foe, up to the range of pistol shot, and there halting to deliver fire, is highly injudicious and entirely destructive of success. The pistol should never be used in a charge, excepting when the enemy is beyond an impassable barrier near at hand, or by a man unhorsed in combat, in which latter case especially it may be made a most effective weapon.
Whenever practicable, an attack should be made on either or both flanks simultaneously with the front attack, but the latter should not be too much weakened for this purpose. All troops are tender about their flanks; and oftentimes, when a real flank attack is impracticable, a mere feint or demonstration pushed boldly toward the flank and rear will strike dismay into the enemy's ranks. An attack of cavalry should be sudden, bold, and vigorous; to falter is to fail. The cavalry which arriver noiselessly but steadily near
the enemy, and then, with one loud yell, leaps upon him without a note of warn-