During the American Civil War new and old battlefield tactics were utilized at engagements across the nation from Virginia to Arkansas. Napoleonic tactics that dated back to the early 19th century were adopted by both Union and Confederate armies, involving masses of ranked companies that clashed with deadly results. A standard function of the cavalry was to support the infantry with flanking maneuvers around the enemy or with full frontal assaults. These up front cavalry engagements with infantry lines would soon prove detrimental to the horsed units very early in the war. The Southern cavalry proved to be the more adaptive of the two sides. Having to adjust to superior Union numbers and the deprivation of supplies, Confederate cavalry evolved with war time necessity.
Because the Civil War was primarily fought in the Southern United States, Confederate cavalry was essential to armies that needed to defend a vast swath of territory. Were as the Union cavalry unites were spaced out across the nation on into the western territories, rebel cavalrymen were already in the region at stack. This allowed for quick unit formations early in the war even if southern cavalry had to bring their own horses. Confederate cavalry was equipped well as could be, with carbines being the prized weapons of riders. Pistols and shotguns were also utilized with great effect in skirmishes and raids. With improvements in weapons designs, like the rifling of barrels, cavalry could be picked off by infantry easier than in earlier decades and at greater distances. A man on a horse silhouetted against the sky or back drop was a clear target, resulting in high officer deaths on either side.
As unconventional gruella warfare became a staple of southern strategy in deterring Union forces headed south, the further one went West the more gruella warfare was used. Because of the distance from Richmond cavalry units in the Trans-Mississippi region helped make up for the lack of support from the Confederate capital. Raiding convoys moving to supply Union forces, cavalry killed two birds with one stone; by preventing supplies reaching northern hands the southern raiders replenished their own stores. On September 19, 1864 in the Indian Territories an Indian Brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. Stand Watie hooked up with Col. Richard Gano’s cavalry from Texas that then proceeded to attack and take 250 wagons of supplies bound for the Union Fort Gibson. This take alone was worth one and a half million dollars. Beyond raiding, scouting, honor guards, and picket duty were all tools in the cavalry’s toolbox.
Scouting was an essential operation that allowed for an army to locate an enemy force or to remain hidden from its prying eyes. Being fast and maneuverable a man and a horse could run circles around a foot soldier given the terrain was not to rough. When an area needed to be defended or taken before an opposing company could, cavalry could form picket lines very rapidly. A quick example of this would actually be from the Northern cavalry that held up General Robert E. Lee’s forces at the Battle of Gettysburg’s start.
As the war drove on and bodies were stacked high, Southern cavalry found itself facing over whelming Northern numbers. After the fall of Vicksburg on the 4th of July, 1863 rebel horsemen in the Trans-Mississippi region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and the Indian Territories found themselves alone cut off from the rest of the Confederacy. As the war went on in the Eastern theater, the southern leaders in the West turned to more gruella warfare to support the southern cause.
 Katcher, Philip. 1986. American Civil War Armies (I): Confederate Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry. London: Osprey Publishing Ltd. P.35
 Katcher, p. 37-40
 Miller, David.2001. The Illustrated Directory of Uniforms, Weapons, and Equipment of the Civil War. London: Published by Salamander Books
 Bailey, Anne; Sutherland, Daniel. Civil War Arkansas: Beyond the Battles and Leaders. University of Arkansas Press Fayetteville, 2000
 Steele, Phillip; Cottrell., Steve. 2000: Civil War in the Ozarks. Published by Pelican Publishing Company, Grena, Loisiana
 Foote, Shelby. 1986. The Civil War a Narrative vol.s. I-III. New York, published by A Division of Random House