The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry

Life in the Old Army, 1917-1942

Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.

In an age of nuclear deterrence, SDI, and laser technology, its easy to forget that that the horse soldier played a vital role in the American military until World War II. The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry describes life at the old cavalry posts and recaptures the spirit and pace of that time-honored tradition.

General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. (1895–1965) was, in the opinion of many, the most outstanding U.S. Army combat commander in World War II. He chronicled his wartime exploits in the celebrated Command Missions (1954), which focused on the harsh realities and strategies of battle. By contrast, The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry recounts the decidedly more tranquil lives of cavalrymen in a peacetime army.

“No part of the American military past can exceed in romantic appeal the history of the Army's old horse cavalry. Truscott writes about the era both lovingly and eloquently.”

—Russell F. Weigley in the Washington Post Book World

“Soldiers and scholars will enjoy this fascinating little book.

—Journal of American History
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In this warm, nostalgic work, Truscott recalls fondly both the romance and the hard work of cavalry life among the regiments at Camp Jones (Arizona), Schofield Barracks (Hawaii), Camp Marfa (Texas), Ft. Riley and Ft. Leavenworth (Kansas), Ft. Myer (Virginia), Ft. Knox (Kentucky), Ft. Lewis (Washington), and Ft. Bliss (Texas). He describes “the sea of canvas” at Camp Jones, cavalry drills and “saddle technology,” rigorous training, colorful commanding officers, cotillion balls, fierce polo and equestrian competitions, fabulous prairie rides, Arlington Cemetery funeral escorts, the tragic “Bonus March” by World War I vets demanding Depression relief, Ft. Knox gold trains, and the looming presence of mechanized armor.

Truscott’s special brand of deadpan humor is frequently in evidence. He relates comic episodes about the supply train that lost its way, the officers’ wives who tried to swing a local election, and Ft. Leavenworths scandalous “wife-swapping” incident.

An impressionistic recollection filled with valuable historical detail, The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry creates a rich and fascinating mosaic that will be treasured by historians and military buffs alike.

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series