noted, the information on this page comes from
15th, or King's Light Dragoon's (Hussars)
distinctive red shako of the 15th, surmounted by a white-over-red cock
feather plume. The yellow cap lines loop under the right arm and
affix to the outer row of buttons on the dolman, usually protected by
an oilskin cover on campaign. Made of pasteboard and leather,
and secured with brass chin-scales. Worn after the Corunna
campaign for foreign service, with the busby being retained for home
service. The red shako is remembered today through the red
peaked service cap worn by the Light Dragoons.
dolman is worn tight to the body, secured with 21 tin buttons and
heavily laced down its front: silver for Officers and Sergeants, white
for all other ranks. The fur-edged pelisse is worn either slung
over the left shoulder (historically to protect the bridle arm) in
full dress, or worn over, or instead of, the dolman on campaign.
A barrel sash is worn over the dolman and fastened with a wooden
whitened buff leather cartouche belt holds a black leather cartridge
pouch containing 28 charges held in a drilled wooden former. The
belt also has a spring clip to attach the carbine for skirmishing on
horseback. It is worn over the left shoulder. On campaign
it was supplemented by a wooden canteen, painted blue and stencilled
with regiment and troop numbers. This had a capacity of 3 pints,
and leaked! A canvas forage bag, holding rations and plunder,
sat underneath the canteen, over the right shoulder.
whitened buff leather sabre belt has two functions: to hold the sabre
and also the sabretache. The sabre is slung on two straps,
hanging low on the left-hand side, and, when dismounted, is hooked up
to the belt. The sabretache is a flat, black leather bag with a
stiffened front to act as a writing desk whilst mounted. It
contains paper and pencil. The sabre is the 1796 pattern Light
Cavalry Sabre, a superbly balanced, curved weapon, considered to be
the finest of its type. The members of E Troop would certainly
of grey wool cloth, with leather reinforcing, and a red stripe down
the outside leg seam. They have leather boot straps to keep them
pulled down over the boots when mounted. The overalls are worn
with ankle boots and plug-in ‘box’ spurs; for full dress they are
replaced by the white buckskin breeches and knee-length tasselled
are detailed the various orders of dress, as described in Standing
Orders for 1819 - 30, which are the earliest that we have yet
discovered. These are accompanied by notes of any differences we
now use, either because the equipment differed in our period, or
because the unit does not have access to some items. We can be
confident that these standing orders are close to what would have been
in use a few years earlier, as they were written by Lt. Col. Thackwell
to replace a set that had been lost.
The wear of summer dress is to commence on the 15th Apr., that of the
winter on 1st Nov. - it will be as follows:- Officers are to wear the
regn. Sabre on all parades and mounted duties, and on occasions of
dress the Mameluke hilted sword.
Officers and men to wear dress jackets & sash with the pelisse
slung, chaco cap & dress plume - the men wear best overalls &
the officers scarlet Cossacks with gold lace appointments. Full
dress saddlery complete. The leather behind the cap is on no
account to be turned down in wet weather.
(Differences; Shako or Busby will be worn as detailed. If it is
possible to turn out the whole party uniformly, Buckskin britches and
Hessian boots will be worn.)
Review Marching Order
The same, officers and men having the valise on.
Levée & Drawing Room
Full dress of the officers as above except that scarlet pantaloons
with long laced boots & Tassels & regn. Plated spurs are
to be worn. At balls the same except that scarlet Cossacks and
ankle boots are to be worn - no variation, winter or summer.
At dinner or evening parties - pelisse buttoned with scarlet Cossacks
- in summer jacket & sash & all dress appointments except
(Differences: officers will not use Cossacks and ankle boots, but
always pantaloons and Hessians. As, for our purposes, such
events are "all ranks", the men will wear buckskins and
Hessians on such occasions. For all ranks, at dinner the Dolman
may be worn unbuttoned, with an appropriate waistcoat, the sash then
being worn over the waistcoat, beneath the Dolman.)
Chaco covered with plume - men in full dress, best overalls to be
packed up for change at station - officers wear undress jacket &
pelisse, plain horse furniture & appointments with valise - sash
to be worn with undress jacket.
(Differences: As generally the men will have only one pair of
overalls, these will have to be worn.)
Light Marching Order
Pelisse buttoned - in summer jacket and sash - best overalls and plume
to be left in quarters - in this dress all parties turn out in sudden
emergency, to assist Civil Power etc. - all mounted escorts to be in
(Differences: Some ceremonial escorts will be in the Review Order.)
Field Day Order
Officers and men have pelisse buttoned, & jacket and sash in
summer, chaco cap and plume, shabraque left in quarters.
Field Exercise Order
Men wear stable jackets and forage caps - officers undress caps -
Cloaks, carbines, pistols, pouch belts, and head collars are carried
on all the above occasions.
(Differences: Carbines and pistols will depend on availability, and
the degree to which we can achieve uniformity.)
Riding School Order
Men in undress jackets with swords, but without cloaks or
When officers attend the riding school neither bearskin or shabraque
are to be worn.
(Differences: On some occasions, swords will be ordered no to be
Officers and men in white trousers in summer, and overalls in winter -
if wet, overalls always - officers to have plain saddles.
(Differences: Standing orders do not mention saddlery, but judging
from contemporary illustrations, and Mollo, the horse should have only
a bridoon bridle, and a folded blanket held on by a surcingle.
Blankets should be folded uniformly.)
Full Dress Parades on Foot
Pelisse, best overalls, chaco cap & plume - In summer white
trousers, jacket and sash - officers to wear undress, with overalls or
trousers, chaco & hair plume.
On Sundays - same dress during the day for officers and men outside
Undress jacket, overalls & forage cap with shoes - in summer
trousers (for stable duties trousers always except in very cold wet
weather) -This is the common dress off duty, and for afternoon parades
- officers wear the undress pelisse - in summer, jacket and trousers -
chaco covered, without plume, to be worn - swords are also to be worn
- forage cap to be uncovered on all parades, on other occasions, if
wet, it may be cased.
Pelisse & undress jacket in summer, and dk grey overalls with
(Differences: Overalls to be blue grey with red stripe.
Generally this will be superseded by the dress detailed under levée
& drawing room.)
In England the barrack guard is to mount in full dress - but at sunset
the old overalls, undress jacket, forage cap & shoes to be worn
--the full dress to be resumed in summer at 6am, & at sunrise in
On escort duties, the men are to wear full dress with shoes and
overalls, but without swords.
Except on Sundays, the orderly officer is to wear the chaco cap
covered - on mounted duties the same cap as the other officers - with
the plain pouch belt. He is not to be seen without his sword,
and is not to wear the greatcoat on duty.
The pelisse is to be slung so as to show the whole of the jacket
collar & no more, the edge of it coming between the middle and
left row of the buttons of the jacket.
Leathers shining with a clear brown gloss.
Cloak about 38ins long. To be 1½ins. Below the holster pipe
End of the shabraque to be doubled upon the croup in marching order.
Sword to hang with top of hilt 6ins. From left elbow.
Cap to be worn over the forehead - chaco worn straight - forage cap
obliquely over right eye. (In this instance they refer to the
busby as the "cap", which had been retained for officers for
court wear in the post Napoleonic reforms.)
'Tach to hang so the man at attention can touch it with his middle
by Capt Potts - E Troop, the 15th, or King's, Light Dragoons
Training of Cavalry Remount Horses, Capt. L. E. Nolan
LATE CAPTAIN NOLAN
REVISED BY THE AUTHOR
PARKER SON AND BOURN
LIEUT.-GEN. SIR GEORGE H. F. BERKELEY, K.C.B.,
TESTIMONY OF GRATEFUL
RESPECT AND ESTEEM,
THIS WORK IS INSCRIBED,
L. E. NOLAN
CAPTN. 15th HUSSARS.
ARMY AND NAVY
10th August, 1852
book was, put in the printer's, hands, I have been travelling on the
Continent. Every where I found that Monsieur Baucher's new Méthode
had excited much attention, and not a little jealousy, amongst the
followers of the old system. Books and pamphlets had been
published, trying to turn into ridicule the bold intruder who, in two
months, brings his horses to do what years could not accomplish in the
Baucher's Méthode was subjected to a trial, which, according
to the reports of many members of the committee, were eminently
successful. The system was rejected notwithstanding; but some of
the bending lessons - the most important part of his Méthode -
were retained, and are now made use of in the French Cavalry.
In what I
have seen in the different foreign riding schools which I have
visited, I have found no reason to change my opinion regarding the
advantages to be derived from the application of part of Monsieur
Baucher's Méthode to the purposes of cavalry; and I have
endeavoured to graft upon it what I found best in practice, namely,
first to bring out the horse's action, improve his paces, and give
power and freedom to his movements; then use Monsieur Baucher's
Lessons, which enable us to control that action, and thus regulate the
horse's paces, and render him handy and obedient. The troop
horses in our service are not under proper control. The daring
impetuous courage of our men is thrown away in action, for the horse
will not second the rider's efforts with that speed and those sudden
volts which enable the horseman to close upon and conquer his
opponent. Does the fault lie with our men or with the horses?
certainly not with either. Our men are superior to those of
other nations, and there is no quality in which the well-bred English
horse does not excel, no performance in which he cannot beat all
competition. No, it is the system which is at fault. To
ascertain and expose the faults of an existing state of things is
easier than to substitute a different one, which shall not be liable
to greater objections; a trial of the system which I advocate, will,
at least, prove interesting, and I hope establish beyond a doubt the
great advantages to be derived from it.
Marshal Soult, who took great interest in it, and witnessed several of
the trials made by order of the French Government, was heard to say
repeatedly, ``If English Dragoons were taught to break in their horses
in this manner, they would prove the most formidable Cavalry that the
world ever beheld, for it would give them that command over their
horses in which they are so deficient."
8th August, 1853.
Emperor has conferred a pension of 2,400 francs on Monsieur Baucher,
the well-known professor of horsemanship, as a recompense for the
services rendered by him in the Cavalry School at Saumur."
from a letter of LIEUT.-GENERAL
My Dear Sir,
* * * * * * * the system
established and followed by you was eminently successful in training
horses for the ranks (in the 15th Hussars).
I saw several
remounts of seventy and eighty horses of different breeds and
countries, and all appeared to be equally well broken in in a very
short time; and it is due to you to state, that your successor, Lieut.
LEE, who followed out your system, was perfectly successful in
breaking in in a short time all the different breeds of horses for the
occasion I suddenly required a ride to be shewn to me in the school,
at a time of the year when no riding drill (except for recruits) was
carried on, and for this volunteers of two men from every troop turned
out, who, without preparation of any sort, went through all that is
required in Her Majesty's Regulations, and also performing several
difficult and intricate figures at a gallop, and picked up basket
heads from the ground at full speed, shewing how much they were at
home on horseback, and how perfectly they could manage their horses.
I may add,
that while the regiment was in the division under my command from July
1845 to October 1851, I never recognized any man but one who had ever
been before me at any of the inspection rides, and I believe from
inquiries made at the time, that he was the only man I had ever seen
twice at these rides. * *
review of the regiment took place at the half-yearly inspection of
October 1851, at which time two squadrons were mounted on geldings and
two on entire horses*, and I reported that it was the best review I
had ever seen the regiment make at Bangalore, that the movements were
executed with celerity and precision, and that the entire horses and
geldings all worked so steadily and close, I could not observe any
difference between them.
(Signed) JOHN AITCHISON.
TO CAPTN. L. E.
was supposed that stallions could not be made to work as close and
as steadily in the ranks as geldings: the entire horses when brought
into contact, if they once got their noses together, reared, fought,
and broke from the ranks.~ - Note by Author.
Extracts from a letter of
M.-GENERAL LOVELL B. LOVELL, KH., H.P., 11th Hussars.
London, U. S.
C., 27th March, 1852.
MY DEAR NOLAN,
* * * * * *
In regard to the Breaking and Training of Horses and men in the riding
school or manége, I have to remark, that by your excellent system the
horses, instead of being eight or ten months there, were all ready in
less than two months, were brought simultaneously, and were equally
obedient and handy. The work was so light that none suffered
from the training.
horses broken in one season, whilst I held the command of the 15th
Hussars, seventy-nine were ranged in the ranks in six weeks. I passed
them myself, having seen them go through the whole of the lessons -
cantering, passage, changes of leg, &c.; they walked well, trotted
steadily, and I remarked, particularly, their fine carriage, and the
facility with which they reined back and closed to either hand, my
approbation of which I mentioned in regimental orders, and which I
attributed to the system pursued by you, which system was also
attended by other advantages; the men had greater confidence in
feeling their horses to be so much under control, that they worked
better in the field, and would prove more formidable in single
combat. By this system a large number of horses could be broken
in in a very short space of time, and it would prove advantageous, if
generally adopted in our cavalry.
Hussars, at that time, had been composed of men of different arms, and
I do not hesitate to state, that by your mode of manége they were all
brought to the same uniform position and seat on horseback.
L. LOVELL, M.-GENERAL,
Colonel H. P. 11th Hussars.
Letter from LIEUT.-COLONEL
G. W. KEY, 15th Hussars.
My Dear Nolan,
As you tell
me in your letter that you are about to publish a small work on
Military Equitation, and ask me for my opinion of the system followed
by you for breaking in the remounts of the 15th Hussars, I lose no
time in complying with your request, and in stating what I know from
practical experience to be the case, that it is a most excellent
system. Its advantages are numerous. The chief, perhaps,
is the short time required under it to render the horse in every
respect perfect in manége, and fit for his work in the field, either
in squadron or when skirmishing. The system is so simple and so
gradual that no evil effects result from it; and may be acquired most
easily by any dragoon, enabling each man to break in his own horse
thoroughly. The evident and rapid progress creates an interest
which renders this duty of the soldier a pleasure and never a toil. I
cannot write nearly all I think of the system, but all that I do say
in its praise I can say with confidence, for I have carefully
considered it, practised it, and seen its beneficial results.
Upwards of 300 horses of the regiment have been broken in (each by his
owner) on this system; and, if my memory serves me correctly, all
having progressed together, with perhaps two or three exceptions, were
simultaneously dismissed from drill under three months, rest-days
included, fit for all hussar purposes, wel1 mouthed, well balanced,
and under proper control. Such of my own horses as were broken
in on this system by you were, to my mind, perfect chargers, and some
I know belonging to others were more highly finished even than
mine. It is not to be expected that every dragoon is to be a
perfect riding master, or that his horse should be of the haute école;
but it is greatly to be desired that every dragoon should be able to
break in his own horse, to have him under thorough control, and to
ride him with confidence and pleasure. This can easily be
obtained by the system you pursued, and it perfectly succeeded with
horses of various descriptions and breeds - Arab, Cape, Persian,
Australian, and the country-bred horse of India - this last the least
tractable of any; and it must be remembered that all these horses were
quite unbroken when they joined the regiment, and unaccustomed to
With my best wishes,
Yours very sincerely,
G. W. KEY.
Captn. L. E.
Cardigan bought the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 15th King's Hussars.
Their previous commander, Sir Joseph Thackwell, was a military
historian and respected soldier (he'd lost an arm and had two horses
shot from under him at Waterloo), and his command was notable for his
humaneness and the rare incidence of insubordinate behavior. All
that changed under Cardigan, who suddenly demanded higher standards of
formation, parades, uniform maintenance and appearance.
Underlings who differed with Cardigan's insistence on discipline and
protocol were punished; one Captain Augustus Wathen was nearly court-martialled,
mainly because he alerted superiors to Cardigan's overpurchasing of
new uniforms. It was the acquittal of Wathen that prompted the
army to take the 8th Hussars away from Cardigan.
come in to command men who had fought alongside of Wellington at
Waterloo, and who had been majors when he had entered the
military. That was also the year when the threats of riots and
revolution spurred the passage of the Reform Bill-- which Cardigan,
one of the more reactionary Tories of the time, opposed. In
short, Cardigan was a man who felt the divine right of kings in the
marrow of his bones, and who was deeply at odds with the current
reshaping of society.
could not believe that he would not have a command. He lobbied
the Duke of Wellington (who was amazed at Cardigan's single-mindedness
and apparent inability to realize how badly he'd embarrassed
himself). Only through the influence of relations-- his
brother-in-law was the Queen's chamberlain-- and another purchase of
rank was Cardigan able to secure the command of the 11th Light
Dragoons in 1837-38. (Another factor was Sir William Molesworth,
reformer, radical, professed atheist, advocate of the secret ballot
and the abolition of flogging. He denounced Cardigan's
reassignment, so the military closed ranks to smite Molesworth the
upstart. Thus, Cardigan was reinstated by an act of Parliament.)