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I will of course defer to the master when Eric posts, but in the meantime your weaponry comment was a little off. Union cavalry had repeating rifles/ carbines by the end of the war, but this was not true initially. Most Union cavalry initially had pistols and sabers, with most fielding carbines by the end of 1861. It took that long for weapons production to catch up with all of the troops being raised. I'm not an expert on southern cavalry, but initially (First Bull Run up to almost the Peninsula Campaign, perhaps longer in the western theater) cavalry units were armed with whatever was readiest to hand. This often included shotguns and muzzleloading muskets until more appropriate arms were provided or captured.