Oddly enough, the state of Pennsylvania attained a degree of notoriety during the Civil War for some of its unruly cavalry regiments. Arguably the worst disciplined regiment in the Union army was the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, which had rather more than its fair share of courts-martial, desertions, insubordinate enlisted men, and incompetent officers, although the last-named may well have been the root cause of the other problems. Perhaps it was in reaction to such a poor reputation that the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, seen here, strove so hard to create a distinguished record whilst serving with the Army of the
Potomac. Of course, part of its reputation derived from its distinctive indeed, in the Union army, unique weaponry. Originally uniformed and equipped like any other cavalry regiment in the army, the 6th, called Rush's Lancers after its colonel, Richard Rush, later chose to fight with a nine-foot lance made from Norwegian fir. The lance had a tradition stemming back from the Battle of Waterloo, fought just fifty years previously, to the Battle of Agincourt, fought in 1415, but such a weapon was totally useless when faced by even the poorest Rebel firearm, and was soon discarded.
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