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and ordained for the use of our army, does
both, and does worse than that. The cavalry
soldier who depends upon his balance, cannot
give his whole force without reservation to a
blow, cannot take his whole body out against
the enemy when he rides into battle. Part
of his attention, and dexterity, and physical
strength, have to be diverted to the business
of maintaining his artificial seat; sitting
naturally, he would be as comfortable as
though he had under him an easy chair, and
at the same time would carry about, not
only the whole of his own energy unimpaired,
but also the whole energy of the horse, which
would be but the lower part of him; for
English riders when on horseback, are

Ridiculously cumbered, and compelled to
ride in the worst way, how are our cavalry
soldiers armed? The arming of Infantry has
been improved, and the artillery service has
become very much more formidable than it
used to be; but our men of war on horseback
carry swords which, but for their weight,
might as well have been supplied from a
stall at the Pantheon. We see the effect of
this in the behaviour of two classes of our
Anglo-Indian soldiers; one set of Indians
are allowed to fight with their own weapons,
and to sit their horses after their own
reasonable way; it is a very irregular
proceeding, and they are called Irregulars.
They are as brave as Britons, and acquit
themselves like heroes in the day of battle.
The brothers of these men become Indian
Regulars, wear regulation stocks, tight
regulation clothes, are perched on a regulation
saddle, and provided with a regulation
sword. The swords they rarely use. "At
Rumnugger," says Captain Thackwell, " it
would have been difficult to point out half-a-
dozen men who had made use of their
swords. On approaching the enemy, they
have immediate recourse to their pistols, the
loading and firing of which form their sole
occupation." Captain Nolan quotes a few
practical remarks on this subject from a
letter published in the Delhi Gazette, whereof
the writer protests that "There is scarcely a
more pitiable spectacle in the world than a
native trooper mounted on an English
(military) saddle, tightened by his dress to the
stiffness of a mummy, half-suffocated with a
leather collar, and a regulation sword in his
hand, which must always be blunted by the
steel scabbard in which it is incased. This
poor fellow, who has the utmost difficulty in
sticking to his saddle and preserving his
stirrups, whose body and arms are rendered
useless by a tight dragoon dress, and whose
sword would scarcely cut a turnip in two,
is ordered to charge the enemy; and, if he fails
to do what few men in the world would do
in his place, courts of inquiry are held,
regiments are disbanded, and their cowardice
is commented upon in terms of astonishment
and bitterest reproach. This is truly
ridiculous; the system, and not the man is to be

Now, although an English soldier trained
to make the best of this preposterous equipment
fears no enemy, English blood congests
behind a ligature as much as Indian blood:
and English limbs with fair play given to
them, are of more use than the same limbs
unduly cumbered and restrained.

In the Sikh war, arms, heads, hands, and
legs of British soldiers were lopped off by the
enemy on all sides, while English swordsmen
laboured often in vain even to draw blood.
Yet the Sikhs, as it was found, used chiefly
our own cast-off dragoon blades, fitted into
new handles, sharpened until they had a razor
edge, and worn in wooden scabbards from
which they were never drawn except in
action. In such scabbards they were not
blunted, and they were noiseless; they made
none of that incessant clanking which almost
drowns the trumpet or bugle, and quite the
word of command, in the ranks of our own
cavalry regiments; and which, unless the
men wrap hay about the steel, renders any
attempt at a surprise by cavalry perfectly
absurd. The wooden scabbards, it was found
upon inquiry, are even less brittle than steel

A squadron of the third dragoons charged
a band of Sikh horsemen under Major Unett.
The Sikhs let the squadron enter. A dragoon
of the front rank thrust with his sword point
at the nearest Sikh. The weapon broke into
the skin, but did not penetrate so far as to
do any serious mischief. The Sikh in return
struck the dragoon across the mouth and
took his head off. A Sikh at Chillianwallah
galloped up to the horse artillery, cut down
the two first men and attacked the third.
He, seeing that his comrades had been unable
to save their lives by the use of their blunt
swords, left his sword in the scabbard and
fought off the assailant with his riding whip
flogging away the Sikh's horse to keep the
fatal arm at a safe distance. So he saved

There can be no doubt that heavy riding-
whips would be more formidable weapons
in all warfare than the cavalry swords now
in use. It would not indeed be a bad reform
if battles were decided only by the thong,
and if victory remained literally with the
army that could beat the other off the field.

The execution done in battle now is
mainly done by fire-arms. Cavalry soldiers
in France, Germany, and England might as
well carry whips as regulation swords. At
the battle of Heilsberg, in eighteen hundred
and seven, a division of French cuirassiers
fought hand to hand with two regiments of
Prussian horse. What sort of hacking and
hewing they did one upon another may be
judged from the fact that one French officer
came out of the fray with fifty-two new
wounds, safe in life and limb; and that one
of the heroes of the fight was a Captain

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