The Missouri in the Civil War Message Board

3rd MSM Cavalry commanding officers
In Response To: Re: 3rd MSM Cavalry ()

Unfortunately, the material referred to is in regard to the new organization.

I learned early on that one good way of gaining insight into specific MSM organizations was too look at who was in command, and then find out who they were related to. Ironically, while two of the commanding officers (Woodson, Bartlett) of the new 3rd MSM were wired in directly to Washington D.C., the first commanding officer of the regiment (Smart) appears to have been one of the very few, initial c.o.’s, if not the only c.o., of any of the MSM regiments to have obtained his position solely through merit (I am speaking of the 1861-62 MSM era). During the Mexican War, Smart was one of two soldiers from the Second Dragoons to receive a presidential citation, this for his actions at the Battle of Buena Vista. After the war, Phillip St. George Cooke, “the father of the U.S. Cavalry,” was placed in command at Carlisle Barracks, which was the sole training depot for all new mounted U.S. recruits. You probably already know that Cooke’s book “Cavalry Tactics” was the be-all and end-all for both Union and Confederate mounted troops during the war. Anyway, at Carlisle Barracks Cooke brought Smart in as the senior non-com of one of his two training companies. One of the recruits under Smart once commented that “the non-commissioned officers were Mexican War veterans, and at Carlisle because of their supposed special fitness to discipline recruits.” This same recruit got into a scrape once and commented on having to report to Smart as a consequence. He also commented on the training routine--"Carbine and saber drill came in the forenoon, on foot, and mounted drill in the afternoon." Smart, in effect, was what we would now call a boot camp drill sergeant. During Smart’s tenure there, one magazine of the day stated of Carlisle Barracks, “this place will continue to send forth some of the best drilled cavaliers in the World.”

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