This book provides a critical re-examination by an expert military historian of the Napoleonic period. It challenges incorrect assumptions about the British cavalry that have endured for generations. The poor discipline demonstrated by the British cavalry commanded by general Slade at Maguilla in 1812 prompted the Duke of Wellington's famous remark that British cavalry officers were in the habit of 'galloping at everything.'This assessment has unduly coloured the view of generations of historians. In this reappraisal, Ian Fletcher contends that the British cavalry were adept at piquet work, at gathering and transmitting intelligence, and on forage and escort duties. On the field of battle they frequently forced their supposedly superior opponents to run on dozens of occasions between 1808 and 1815. The performance of the cavalry, as compared to the British infantry, suffered as a result of their very low numbers, the incompatibility of the terrain for cavalry campaigning, and the lack of a consistent cavalry commander. In fact, the majority of the cavalry's success was achieved when Wellington was not present - a fact that calls his ability as controller of cavalry into question.
Essential reading for serious historians and general readers alike, "Galloping at Everything" rehabilitates the reputation of the British cavalry in the Peninsula and at Waterloo.