Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cavalry Traveled Light

My latest release, Spirit of the Sky, is set during the Army's chase of the fleeing nontreaty Nez Perce. In order to write the book I not only needed to know the Nez Perce's point of view but also know about the cavalry and army chasing them. So I read not only books from the army and Indians view point but also books on the cavalry and forts.

These are some of the interesting things I learned.

Whenever possible, horse artillery was attached to the cavalry, and was followed by its own train of ammunition, supply wagons, and rolling forage. This large entourage made it easy for the Nez Perce to keep an eye on the army. That said the retreating Indians also had a large herd of nearly a thousand horses that were following their path making them also easy to follow. That many horses not only beat the ground up but could leave a large billowing dust cloud in its wake.

When marching the cavalry could cover around thirty-five miles in an eight-hour day with good weather and terrains. During the chase after the Nez Perce the soldiers, horses, and mules were pushed to their limits.
Troopers learned to sleep in their saddles on the long marches, and the horses would plod along in a catatonic state.

At a walk the cavalry could cover four miles in an hour; at a slow trot, six; at a maneuvering trot, eight; at an alternate trot and walk, five; at a maneuvering gallop, twelve; and at a full extended gallop, sixteen.
Cavalry marches covered about six miles per hour, A march was a walk trot rhythm that would be halted for five minutes every hour.

Veteran troopers learned to travel as light as possible, living off of the countryside. This practice not only spared the mount but enabled the troops to cover ground more rapidly.

This is the middle of my blog tour and I'd be remiss if I didn't  share the blurb. excerpt and contest details.

Blurb for Spirit of the Sky
     To save her from oppression, he must save her whole tribe. To give her his heart, he must desert his career…
     When the US Army forces the Nimiipuu from their land, Sa-qan, the eagle spirit entrusted with watching over her tribe, steps in to save her mortal niece. Challenging the restrictions of the spirit world, Sa-qan assumes human form and finds an unexpected ally in a handsome cavalry officer.
     Certain she is a captive, Lt. Wade Watts, a Civil War veteran, tries to help the blonde woman he finds sheltering a Nez Perce child. While her intelligent eyes reveal she understands his language, she refuses his help. But when Wade is wounded, it is the beautiful Sa-qan who tends him. Wade wishes to stop the killing—Sa-qan will do anything to save her people.
     Can their differences save her tribe? Or will their love spell the end of the Nimiipuu?


     The plants parted, revealing the contorted face of a soldier squinting down the length of a rifle pointed at them. Girl of Many Hearts squeaked. Sa-qan drew the child behind her, using her body as a shield. As a spirit she could not be killed by a mortal’s bullet.
     A man dressed in buckskin pants and a soldier’s shirt with leader markings appeared behind the soldier pointing the rifle at them.
     “No, Private! Leave them be!” The command rang with authority. The man’s dark eyes, shaded by the brim of a hat, narrowed, staring at her. “We’re only after the warriors. Go.” He pushed the soldier from the water and stepped closer.
     “Are you a captive?” He held out his hand not holding a weapon. “I can help you. Take you from this.” His voiced dropped to a deeper, calming tone.
     Sa-qan met his gaze. Should she let him know she spoke his tongue? The compassion in his eyes was a harsh contradiction to the violence still raging through the village. She shook her head and pressed Girl of Many Hearts farther into the river.
     He took another step forward. “I can help you. We’re going to keep after these people until they give in. I know the army. They don’t give up.” The sorrow and weariness in his tone puzzled her.
     She thought all soldiers thrived on attacking and harassing the Nimiipuu.
     “I can get you away from this now, before it gets worse.” He took another step.
     His nostrils flared as the stinging scent of burning hide filled the air along with terrified high-pitched screams.
     “Damn!” The soldier lunged out of the river and ran toward a group of teepees being lit on fire.

Buy Links:  Wild Rose Press      Kindle

Contest!  I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter.

Blog Tour Contest! Each blog stop has a picture of an eagle in the post. Follow the tour and send me the number of different pictures you saw while following the tour. To learn where I’ll be go to my blog( or website( If there is more than one correct entry I’ll draw a winner on May 21st  to receive a $25 gift certificate to either Barnes and Nobles or Amazon, a handmade custom ereader cover, and chocolate. Send your entry number to: by May 21st.


  1. Paty, I'm happy to have the benefit of your research on how fast the troops moved. Thirty-five miles a day marching is amazing! At least, it is to me. I could probably manage five before I keeled over. LOL I'll save the distances for marching and riding for my future writing. Thanks.

  2. How interesting your facts are. I had no idea on how far they could travel by horseback in hours. We are sure lucky we don't have to travel that way now days.

    Best of luck on lots of readers.

  3. Paisley, I found that info interesting too. Thanks!


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