Grooms’s study of a Union cavalryman with his horse is one of the earliest paintings in his Blue and Gray series. Dating back to ancient times, soldiers on horseback had the advantage of speed and an elevated view of the fighting. Commanders were mounted as were special divisions of troops. During the Civil War, cavalrymen played a critical role in scouts and raiders. The Union army even developed a cavalry force of mounted infantry with repeating rifles. One of the most well-known commanders of Union cavalry is George Armstrong Custer, whose large portrait hangs across the gallery.