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Except here and there a stray picket - Other Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 01:36 pm
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Kernow-Ox
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What were the rules relating to the behaviour of pickets whilst on duty? I know they shouldn't fall asleep, but was communication across lines, or even fraternisation, officially forbidden?  More importantly, what were the rules of engagement: if an attack was about to begin, say, would the pickets be given a head start, or would they have realsied what was up and reported back anyhow?

Oh, and how far away from camp would they be placed?

I suppose what I really need is a crashcourse in 19th Century military organisation, but these questions have come to me whilst reading various memoirs.




 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 03:17 pm
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ole
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Interesting questions, Kernow-Ox. The books are full of "no pickets," or "not enough pickets, or "pickets not placed far enough out," or "pickets placed too far out."

I suppose there must have been a regulation number and where they ought to be. But what ought to have been done and what was done are constantly at odds.

At Shiloh, Sherman did have pickets out. Many of them. But their orders apparently did not include any urgency so they were all but useless. At Chancellorsville, Howard did have pickets out but, as I understand it, they were not out far enough.

So the number of pickets and their placement would seem to depend on the concerns of the commander and whether he places appropriate urgency on the orders. If feels secure, the pickets are likely to be of little concern and their placement will reflect that lack of concern.

And pickets were to never fraternize with the enemy. But they did it anyway. Who's gonna know?

Their entire purpose was to alert the main body if there was a movement on the other side. Fire off some shots; come running back yelling. Whatever serves to put the camp on alert so it isn't surprized -- like at Shiloh and Chancellorsville.

ole



 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 03:29 pm
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javal1
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Check out this link....



 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 04:03 pm
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Johan Steele
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It's important to understand the military axiom of there is how things are supposed to be done by the regs and how things are actually done in the field.  The regs call for the picketts to be pushed out 200 paces.  In some cases picketts were only a few hundred yards out while in other instances of read of them being pushed out over a mile.

The pickett was supposed to be about 5% of the total force say 48 men for a full strength Regiment.

1 Lt, 2 Sgt's, 4 corporals, drummer & 40 privates.  This is a sufficient number to man the minimum posts & provide the three reliefs

Below is a list of books that should give you an answer to your questions on the regs.  The link is probably the fastest & least expensive option.

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

Casey, Silas, Infantry Tactics, 1862.

Dal Bello, Dominic J., Parade, Inspection and Basic Evolutions of the Infantry Battalion, Dominic J. Dal Bello, 1998.

Griffith, Paddy, Battle In the Civil War Generalship and Tactics in America 1861-65, Fieldbooks, 1986.

Grehl, Jerry, Casey’s for Reenactors, Hardtack Publishing Co.,1998.

Government Printing Office, Revised US Army Regulations 1863, Government Printing Office, 1863.

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

Heitman, Don & Tutle Peter, Heitman’s Simplified Hardee’s & Skirmish Drill, Regimental Guard Mount, Volunteer Publishing, 1990.

Kautz, August V. The 1865 Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers & Soldiers, Stackpole Books, 2001.

Mahan, D.H., Out-Post, US Military Academy, 1861.



 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 05:24 pm
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Kernow-Ox
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Thanks for the replies!

The US Regulars site in particular looks to be a handy resource for the sort of obscure questions that spring to mind but which I never get around to answering.

" the military axiom of there is how things are supposed to be done by the regs and how things are actually done in the field."

True in other walks of life too!



 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 08:15 pm
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susansweet
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Kernow as if you haven't figured it out yourself if you want to know about the foot soldier during the Civil War just as Johan.  He is a wealth of knowledge and always provides a book list a mile long.  Which can get expensive but is a welcome additon to the board.  Ole also has a lot of information on various subjects.  Joval being the fearless leader also is a good source.   Steve Cone when he appears is Johan's Confederate counterpart.   Doc and Texa DefenderPvt Clewell, BamanBooklover and too many I am forgetting all are a wealth of knowledge to ask questions of after I have drained google of all I can find and still not happy with the results.  Cleburne Fan is another good source of books besides being another Fan of dear Patrick .  Wait til Roger gets back from Sea and post his minitures again.  Can't wait . 

Susan 

 

pst you guys can all pay me later . 



 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 08:30 pm
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javal1
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"Joval being the fearless leader also is a good source"

You spell my name wrong and expect to be paid??!! I was going to sue for slander....;):P 

Of course, maybe you just meant "Jovial javal" which would be understandable.=+++



 Posted: Sun Mar 9th, 2008 12:15 am
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PvtClewell
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Susan,

Your check is in the mail



 Posted: Sun Mar 9th, 2008 03:04 am
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susansweet
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Who put that o in your name?  The grimlin of the keyboard?  Geeze how to praise the fearless leader and mess it up all at the same time. 

I beg your pardon Javal!!!

Suson uh   I mean Susan



 Posted: Sun Mar 9th, 2008 03:06 am
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susansweet
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Thank you sir!! I am sure it is and will sit here and wait for the Check. lol sure . 

Susan



 Posted: Mon Mar 10th, 2008 08:18 pm
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j harold 587
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When my wife and I visited Pamplin Military Park at Pertersburg (I highly recommend this museuem/ educational experience) as they have the largest privately owned  area of the original Petersburg seige earthworks they were excavating a picket post that was about 250 yards away from the actual earthworks. I thought at the time this was really far out considering the strength of the fortification. However considering that the Union troops staged closer than that for the Crater it may not have been overly far foreward. By the way I think Susan has commented on the excellent book store they have, but I will give it another plug.  I still have a book from that spree I ave not read yet. Don't tell my wife. :? She may cut off my book money.



 Posted: Mon Mar 10th, 2008 08:45 pm
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susansweet
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J Harold my lips are sealed .  Not having read the books I have has never stopped me from buying more books !!! My excuse is I might never be able to find that book again somewhere else later when I want to read it . 

I knew I was with the right people last year at Murfreesboro when a bunch of us did Muster at Franklin /Spring Hill and Murfreesboro.  I was in the bookshop with the others and each one of us had our arms full.  We were also telling each other what we already had and recommending books to each other.  Only thing is I kept trying to get a couple of the guys to slip my books in with theirs to pay for them and would you believe they all turned me down!!!!  lol :( 

Now I just keep a notebook handy and when someone recommends the book I write it down.  Who knows when I might find it . 

I would love to get to that bookstore in Pamplin . 

susan



 Posted: Tue Mar 11th, 2008 01:41 am
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Johan Steele
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I've been stunned at what I've managed to find at Half Price Books over the years... can't say I've paid full price for very many book in the last decade. Though when I do it's always a damned expensive one.

BTW Susan... whose kneecaps did ya want me to bust for ya?



 Posted: Tue Mar 11th, 2008 04:11 am
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susansweet
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Johan I will let you know when busting is needed !!! Thanks .

Susan :D



 Posted: Tue Mar 11th, 2008 12:42 pm
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j harold 587
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I will second to watch half price books. Yard sales can also be very productive. My wife even has two friends from church who know "no fiction" but any refferance or first hand account is welcome. Last summer one of them got Phantz's Culps Hill and Cemetery ridge for $.50. The bad news is now I want the other three volumes in his series. Too many books, too little time.;) 



 Posted: Tue Mar 11th, 2008 04:25 pm
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susansweet
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J. Harold I collect preprimers and primers as I taught first grade for years and years.  I love old school books but only the ones I used as a child or first grade text.  I have a pretty complete set of Dick and Jane.  I was talking about that to some friends up in Oregon one summer.  The friend of my friend went to a yard sale the next day and came home with a small orange volume.  He handed it to me saying "I know you collect childeren's books."  

I let out a warwhoop you could have heard back east .  I had in my hand David Farragut , Boy Sailor  from a series called Childhood Biographys of Famous Americans.  A series I had loved as a child .  I read them all . I had been trying for years to find one  or anyone else that remembered them as I did. 

Now here by chance was not only one of the series but a Civil War one.  I was so greatful for that fellow that misunderstood what it was exactly that I collected. 

Susan



 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2008 01:25 am
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Dixie Girl
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Johan i cant say ive paid full price for very many books either. i always watch for half price or bargain books if i can help it.



____________________
War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2008 01:46 am
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Lincoln Fan
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Susan, I remember those orange books. They were in a little book section of our library when I was young and I'll bet I read every one. I haven't seen one in years. Whenever anyone asks me how I became so interested in history, I just tell them about the set of biographies of famous Americans at the library. I'm glad someone else enjoyed them as much as I did.

Lincoln Fan



 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2008 05:44 am
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susansweet
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Lincoln Fan exactly where I started reading history and getting interested. That and a grandfather who loved history .  My father also was always taking us to see historical places in the West. 

I think I read each of those books too. I have never been so excited to get a surprise gift from someone as that book Fred handed to me . 

I now have several of them I found on Alibris. 

Susan



 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2008 12:33 pm
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Johan Steele
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History... "Classic Comics" The Count of Monte Cristo, The Downfall got me interested as a kid. THough I grew up listening to WW2 vets at the local Legion hall talk.



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