I've heard that about the body armor. A big thing was made about it at the time as it hinted that the soldiers who used it were "cowardly". And it turns out some of the Southern troops also used it. But from what I've read it didn't work too well. Not on rifle bullets and shrapnel anyway. There was a Texas Colonel (Rogers, I think) on who's dead body was found some armor after the battle of Cornith. But this is the first I'm hearing of the Yankee cavalry being strapped onto the horses. But it does sound "believable".