cavalry was divided into heavy and light units. The heavy
units, cuirassiers and carabiniers a cheval,
consisted of brawny men on massive horses. They wore metal
chest and back armor and metal helmets, both useful for fending
off blows as they overran lines of enemy infantry. Each carried
a pistol and a straight, heavy saber used for thrusting.
light cavalry, used mostly for flanking maneuvers, recognizance
and pursuit, wore no armor, and carried curved swords for
slashing. Units of dragoons, hussars, and chasseurs a cheval
each had elaborate uniforms and matching saddlehorses,
and adopted fanciful names like Hussars of Death and Revolutionary
regiments consisted of 1,200 to 1,800 men and horses. Massed
for the attack, they were an imposing sight. Moving towards
the enemys troops at a walk, they patiently waited for
the signal as shot and shell rained down on them.
yards from the enemy line, the order was given "Charge!"
With trumpets blaring, the men spurred their horses into a
dead run, yelling wildly, sabers flashing.