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 Posted: Sat Jun 6th, 2009 09:15 pm
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jb
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Are there books that describe how these tactics were employed?  How larger units were trained to perform those specific tactics, and just as importantly how to defend against them?

From most of what I've read it seems clear that the South was always at a material strategic disadvantage, yet because of effective tactics was able to resist for as long as they did.

Similarly, in several major battles the Union missed victory due to failure to employ effective tactics, or maintain tactical initiative despite temporary setbacks.

What I'd like to read or explore is authoritative discussion of this type of topic.  I believe a better understanding of this issue would make a lot of things more clear about how the Civil War developed.

Anyone who has comments on the subject or suggestions on source material your comments would be appreciated.  regards,



 Posted: Sat Jun 6th, 2009 11:25 pm
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1861-65
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http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Command-Strategy-Process/dp/0029166357/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244329903&sr=1-1


When you asked this question it made me wonder if there were any good books on Civil War tactics. I then did some searching on Amazon.com and I found a book that seems good explaining Civil War strategy called "Civil War Command and Strategy: The Process Of Victory And Defeat". I might even buy this book after I'm finished with the stack of books I'm working on reading.



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That old man...had my division massacred at Gettysburg!" - George Pickett said these words to John S. Mosby shortly after paying Lee a visit in Richmond "Well, it made you famous" - Mosby's reply to Pickett


 Posted: Sat Jun 6th, 2009 11:55 pm
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ole
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There are several out there. I have two: "Battle Tactics of the Civil War," Paddy Griffith, and "Civil War Command & Strategy," Archer Jones. Haven't read either, but the authors are well-respected historians.

Ole



 Posted: Sun Jun 7th, 2009 01:37 am
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jb
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Thanks for taking the time to reply.  Now that I have two hits on the Jones book it is on my list!.  I have always found it frustrating that I could not really understand the evolution of the battlefield when reading books on the Civil War.  Hopefully, this book will help address that.  I've always suspected that taken as a whole that is probably one of the most interesting aspects of the struggle, at least up to Gettysburg.  BTW:  this comment is intended to both of you gentlemen!



 Posted: Sun Jun 7th, 2009 01:48 pm
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Johan Steele
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Griffith, Paddy, Battle Tactics of the Civil War, Yale University Press, 2001. &

Tactics in America 1861-65, Fieldbooks, 1986.

Hardee, W.J., Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics, J.O. Kane, 1862.


http://www.usregulars.com/library.htm

 

Those should get you started, of Jones and Griffith I prefer Griffith.  The Regulars site should give you access to all the manuals you could ever want.



 Posted: Mon Jun 8th, 2009 02:54 pm
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I know they have these books at the Gettysburg Visitor Center Bookstore (amongst other places in town) but they have to be somewhere else.

They are little pocket sized field guides for officers that were published by the US War Department in the 1860s. I believe there is one for each branch of the military.

Here is a link for the Infantry version entitled: The 1863 U. S. Infantry Tactics: Infantry of the Line, Light Infantry, and Riflemen

http://books.google.com/books?id=fkE4EAWReq8C&pg=RA1-PA216&lpg=RA1-PA216&dq=Infantry+Tactics+Field+Guide+1863&source=bl&ots=3NQwVmQL_5&sig=GqWjrKWwwEL_xTjwEf7oDxt2jsQ&hl=en&ei=qCQtSuvZGJT0Mpj1pekJ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#PPP1,M1



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 Posted: Tue Jun 9th, 2009 05:02 am
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Johan Steele
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Below are a few more net links that you might find useful. The last two show animated movements of various drill. The first two are manuals.

http://home.att.net/~Cap1MD/Drill.htm

http://civilwarfortifications.com/library/

http://www.reznorstudios.com/CivilWarFolder/DrillCo1.htm

http://www.10thbattalion.org/school.php



 Posted: Tue Jun 9th, 2009 07:51 pm
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Henry
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A few people influenced the way the military acted when formed for battle during the Civil War period. The Napoleonic Wars and the Crimean War were precedent to what happened on American soil during the four years of conflict. These actions prior influenced the tactics and technology used.

At the start of the Civil War Zoaves and their colorful, easily decerned uniforms were all the rage. By the end of it all most were garbed in either Butternut Brown, Field Gray and Field Blue. Colors to blend in with the scenery.

The shovel took on an importance unknown to it when the conflict began. Being below the line of fire in a trench was recognized as a good idea as some of the sieges around urban centers began to develop.

You request an authoritative source of information regarding the tactics used in this conflict we consider here. My suggestion is to use The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion while considering the course syllabus of the Military Institutions of the time. The Official Records are available online from Cornell's Making of America site. Perhaps you are graced with a library containing a set of these volumes in their catalog. Johann mentions the manuals he'd linked to. Some of these texts were as much military training as some of those citizen-soldiers received, the balance coming from on the job training.



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