In the succeeding reigns the Cavalry of the Army was composed of Knights (or men at arms) and Hobiliers (or horsemen of inferior degree); and the Infantry of spears and battle-axe men, cross-bowmen, and archers. The Knights wore armour on every part of the body, and their weapons were a lance, a sword, and a small dagger. The Hobiliers were accoutred and armed for the light and less important services of war, and were not considered qualified for a charge in line. Mounted Archers were also introduced, and the English nation eventually became preeminent in the use of the bow.
About the time of Queen Mary the appellation of "Men at Arms" was changed to that of "Spears and Launces." The introduction of fire-arms ultimately occasioned the lance to fall into disuse, and the title of the Horsemen of the first degree was changed to "Cuirassiers." The Cuirassiers were armed cap-à-pié, and their weapons were a sword with a straight narrow blade and sharp point, and a pair of large pistols, called petronels; and the Hobiliers carried carbines. The Infantry carried pikes, matchlocks, and swords. The introduction of fire-arms occasioned the formation of Regiments armed and equipped as infantry, but mounted on small horses for the sake of expedition of movement, and these were styled "Dragoons;" a small portion of the military force of the kingdom, however, consisted of this description of troops.
The formation of the present Army commenced after the Restoration in 1660, with the establishment of regular corps of Horse and Foot; the Horsemen were cuirassiers, but only wore armour on the head and body; and the Foot were pikemen and musketeers. The arms which each description of force carried, are described in the following extract from the "Regulations of King Charles II.," dated 5th May, 1663:—
"Each Horseman to have for his defensive armes, back, breast, and pot; and for his offensive armes, a sword, and a case of pistolls, the barrels whereof are not to be undr. foorteen inches in length; and each Trooper of Our Guards to have a carbine besides the aforesaid armes. And the Foote to have each soldier a sword, and each pikeman a pike of 16 foote long and not undr.; and each musqueteer a musquet with a collar of bandaliers, the barrell of which musquet to be about foor foote long and to conteine a bullet, foorteen of which shall weigh a pound weight."
The ranks of the Troops of Horse were at this period composed of men of some property—generally the sons of substantial yeomen: the young men received as recruits provided their own horses, and they were placed on a rate of pay sufficient to give them a respectable station in society.
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