On 20 April 1861 the Civil War in the United States opened with the capture of Norfolk Navy Yard by the Confederate forces from the South, and the war raged for four more years, with, as usual, the greater number of casualties being among the infantry. Infantry battle tactics were determined at the time by the firearms with which they were issued, and the main infantry weapon was the Springfield rifle musket. This muzzle loaded weapon was slow to fire, and marginally accurate, even with the new Minie ball: this meant that the tactics on the field of battle were almost unchanged from those of the Napoleonic wars, fought fifty years previously. This book shows how such evolutions (they were little more than drills) at battalion level were adapted and used to enable commanders to deliver the weight of their firepower on to the enemy. All the prescribed manoeuvres could be practised on the drill square, so that once the men were in battle, all they had to do was obey orders, present their weapons and fire. Of course, all the drills in the world do not prevent panic, and records show that despite all the training, some men reloaded their weapons so many times without firing that the weapons were rendered useless. The book is extremely well illustrated with 67 plates of all the movements in plan form.
By Authority The Secretary of War May 1, 1861 .
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2003 N & M Press reprint of 1861 original Edition . SB. 232pp 67plans.
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