Inspection and Basic Evolutions of the Infantry Battalion
The following paragraphs and figures attempt to present in a concise and comprehensible form Parade, Inspection and basic Evolutions of a Civil War Infantry Battalion. A knowledge of the School of the Company, as given by Hardee or Casey, is assumed.
Several sections were added to the 2nd Edition to make the present work. In order that the Paragraphs of the 2nd and 3rd Editions would agree, the new sections were added at the end.
The procedures have been adopted from the United States Army Regulations of 1861, and the Infantry Tactics of both William J. Hardee and Silas Casey. It is highly recommended that the reader consult these primary sources. While this book attempts to present the Infantry Tactics in a clear manner, it is not meant to replace the original manuals.
Several other sources are referenced. Upton's 1874 manual is used where the Regulations or manuals are unclear or incomplete; e.g., the communication during Parade, as well as the procedures for inspecting arms and knapsacks.
This "manual" was written with three individuals in mind: the company commander ("Captain"), the senior NCO ("1st Sergt.," right guide) and the second NCO ("2nd Sergt.," left guide). However, it is desirable that every officer and enlisted man have a basic understanding of the movements.
In general, the Battalion Commander's commands should not be repeated by anyone. If he can be heard, then there is no reason to "echo" him. It is therefore of the utmost importance for communication, discipline and safety that the men remain quiet in ranks - we should act like the soldiers we seek to portray.
In most of the figures (not drawn to scale), only the commander and the two senior NCOs of each company have been included, as they do most of the "work" in Battalion drill. The file closers will generally remain two paces behind the rear rank, unless the Battalion "closes" to half distance or in mass, when they close to one pace behind the rear rank.
In small Battalions, its Commander may find it practical manner to amend some of the methods as his staff may be limited. For example, the Commander may find it necessary to eliminate positions that are not as vital in smaller units, such as the markers and even the general guides. However, the basic procedures remain the same.
The author believes that a good vision of the "geometry" is important for a complete understanding and a practical application of the evolutions - moving a large body of men effectively and efficiently. The author has attempted to present well-annotated figures, something which is often lacking in the original manuals.
As stated in the Infantry Tactics, errors in maneuvering should be corrected with patience and without noise; Commanders should not be too quick to correct insignificant errors, else they cause unnecessary frustration resulting in more serious mistakes.
Two competing philosophies have gone into this work: to be complete, and to be concise and practical; it is hoped that the end result is a reasonable compromise. Thus, while Parade and Inspection are included, Review is not. It is also hoped that most of the evolutions that the reader may come across in the field are covered, and if not, then that this work may form a good basis for learning them.
While it is impressive to know all of the Infantry Tactics, H.L. Scott's Military Dictionary reminds us that
Finally, it is hoped that this work will give the reader, from private
on up, a better understanding of the workings of a Battalion of Infantry.
Formation of a Battalion
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|© 2007 by Dominic J. Dal Bello|