From the desk of Captain Brian Cox, 9th Texas Regiment of Infantry

 

 

 

 

 

 



Captain's  Corner

DRILL NOTES

Drill notes Volume II - Things every soldier,  officer, non-com and enlisted man, needs to know or refresh on - saluting.

I have taken this from the text of Kautz’s 1864 Customs of Service, see, e.g., 64thill.org/drillmanuals/kautzs_customsofservice/enlisted/ (downloadable copy if you scroll to the bottom), in default of better direction, including from Hardee’s, for some of the flotsam and jetsam of soldiers’ life in the military.

These comments on saluting are well-stated by Kautz and require little elaboration (that in italics is emphasis added by me, and the asterisks indicate my comments):
____________

 DEPORTMENT. **

** from an online dictionary:  “the way that a [soldier] behaves, stands, and moves especially in a formal situation”

47. One of the first things a soldier has to learn on entering the army, is a proper military deportment towards his superiors in rank: this is nothing more than the military way of performing the courtesies required from a well-bred man in civil life, and a punctual performance of them is as much to his credit as the observance of the ordinary rules of common politeness.

48. “Sergeants, with swords drawn, will salute by bringing them to a present; with muskets, by bringing the left hand across the body, so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder.  Corporals out of the ranks, and privates not sentries, will carry their muskets at a shoulder as sergeants, and salute in like manner.” (Reg. 255.)

49. “When a soldier without arms, or with side arms only, meets an officer, he is to raise his hand to the right side of the visor of his cap, palm to the front, elbow raised as high as the shoulder, looking at the same time in a respectful and soldier-like manner at the officer, who will return the compliment thus offered.” (Reg. 256.) **

**  The palm open salute is to he distinguished from the oft-used flat palm salute.

But non-coms - sergeants, corporals - are not to be saluted by enlisted men.

50. “A non-commissioned officer or soldier being seated, and without particular occupation, will rise on the approach of an officer, and make the customary salutation.  If standing, he will turn toward the officer for the same purpose.  If the parties remain in the same place or on the same ground, such compliments need not be repeated.” (Reg. 257.) **

** Hence, the oft-heard exclamation in the 9th’s camp of, “officer in camp.”

51. The foregoing regulations should be strictly observed by enlisted men; and their faithful performance will add much to the military reputation of a company or regiment.

52. The following customs are equally binding, though not provided for in Regulations:

When soldiers are marching in the ranks, they do not salute, unless ordered at the time.  If employed at any work, they are not expected to discontinue their employment to salute.

53. A soldier or non-commissioned officer, when he addresses an officer, or is spoken to by one, salutes; on receiving the answer or communication from the officer, he again salutes before turning to go away.

54. When a soldier enters an officer’s quarters armed, he simply makes the required salute, and does not take off his cap; but without arms, or with side-arms only, he takes off his cap and stands in the position of a soldier, and delivers his message or communicates what he came for in as few words as possible and to the point.

55. A slovenly attitude, frequent changes of position, or much gesticulation, is exceedingly unmilitary, and looks bad.  Say what you have to say in a prompt, courageous manner, without diffidence or hesitation; and, if always respectful, no matter what the subject, it is more likely to be considered than when delivered in a drawling hesitating, and timid manner.

56. A mounted soldier should always dismount if the officer he wishes to address is dismounted.  A mounted soldier passing an officer salutes with the hand, except when he has his sabre drawn, and then he salutes with the sabre.

57. When a soldier enters an officer’s quarters, he remains standing in the position of a soldier until invited to sit down.  When soldiers are in a room and an officer enters, they should rise and remain standing until invited to sit down.                                    

Things every soldier, non-com and enlisted man, needs to know or refresh on, as basic drill is the Formation of a Regiment in order of battle, or in line.

I have taken this from the text of Hardee’s (see, e.g., http://drillnet.net/1862/1862.htm) with some annotations by me given the reality of reenacting practice - these are noted by asterisks (**). I have also deleted those portions of the manual which are not actively used by the 9th or the Battalion - these are noted by ellipses (...).

____________

Hardee’s “RIFLE AND LIGHT INFANTRY TACTICS”:  TITLE FIRST, ARTICLE FIRST

Formation of a Regiment in order of battle, or in line.

1. A regiment is composed of ten companies, which will habitually be posted from right to left, in the following order: first, sixth, fourth, ninth, third, eighth, fifth, tenth, seventh, second, according to the rank of captains.**

** The 9th Texas was a regiment during the war and is so named today. We have never taken on a company designation, as have other companies in the Battalion, e.g., Company E, 4th Missouri. Typically, a Civil War regiment was 10 companies of 100 men each. The lettering was from A to I, then K, L (there was no J as it apparently looked too much like I). As the War progressed, however, the regimental strength fell to 300 to 400 effectives due to lack or replacement, disease, casualties, and the like.
“Company Aytch:  Or a Side Show of the Big Show” was written about Company H of the 1st Tennessee of Sam Watkins.

Company command was by the captain, with  the following non-coms:  1st Lt. (1); 2nd Lt. (1); Sgt. (1); 2nd Sgt. (4); Corporals (8). Clearly, due to differences in the number of men put in the field, these numbers have been adjusted for the present day 9th.

...

3. The companies thus posted will be designated from right to left, first company, second company, &c. This designation will be observed in the manœuvres. **

** Thus is set the line of battle at events by Col. Amend, or whoever is in command.
...

5. Each company will be divided into two equal parts, which will, be designated as the first and second platoon, counting from the right - and each platoon, in like manner, will be subdivided into two sections.

6. In all exercises and manœuvres, every regiment, or part of a regiment, composed of two or more companies, will be designated as a battalion.

7. The color, with a guard to be hereinafter designated, will be posted on the left of the right center-battalion company. That company, and all on its right, will be denominated the right wing of the battalion; the remaining companies the left wing.**

** Thus, the placement of Battalion Color Sgt. Bell and his guard.

8. The formation of a regiment is in two ranks; and each company will be formed into two ranks, in the following manner: the corporals will be posted in the front rank, and on the right and left of platoons, according to height; the tallest corporal and the tallest main will form the first file, the next two tallest men will form the second file, and so on to the last file, which will be company of the shortest corporal and the shortest man. **

** Hence, front rank and rear rank. Although Hardee’s is here short on detail as to how precisely to get there, this is the process of forming the company with tallest men to the right, and shortest to the left. Of course, there is disagreement concerning the proper method to do it. See, e.g., the discussion at drillnet.net/Formco.htm

9. The odd and even files, numbered as one, two, in the company, from right, to left, will form groups of four men, who will be designated comrades in battle. **

** Keeping track of who your comrades in battle are is helpful to getting back into line after a rest or battle or other matter in which you have stepped away from your proper place in line.

10. The distance from one rank to another will be thirteen inches, measured from the breasts of the rear rank men to the backs or knapsacks of the front rank men.
...

____

As non-coms and the rank and file comment on this first drill lesson, I will post those annotations here, and I encourage all who care to comment to do so.