The Drill Network

Presented by

The Liberty Greys

6th Regiment, 1st Division, ANV

The Liberty Greys at Ft. Adams, 2000.
Image courtesy Marilyn Ela.

SITE LINK Information


We hope that you will find much of interest in the area of accurate military drill of the American Civil War period.


Our officers have devoted many hours of study to this subject, many of the results of which will be posted here.  This is an ongoing process, so be patient.


Articles of interest

Short History of US Drill

This brief article details the sequence of drill manuals adopted by the US Army from 1779-1891, including the entire 19th century of US (CS) drill.

Outline of Basic Drill

This basic outline is for new recruits, and assumes a copy of Hardee's School of the Soldier to be available.  The formation of the company system comes from Baxter's Volunteer's Manual, which can be viewed from this site.


NCO Manual 

Our esteemed 1st Sergeant Chris Svejk has compiled an excellent guide to the duties of NCO's, rather a Customs of Service abridged for reenactors.

Whither Goest the Second Sergeant 

This short article might serve as a companion to the above.  It examines the proper use of the second sergeant, and shows where most of us have gone astray.


6th Battalion Drill Guidelines

These guidelines are based on the 1862 Hardee's, and give a good idea where our battalion is heading in drill.


How to Study Hardee's SotB

This might also be a companion to the above.  This short article outlines an order in which study the School of the Battalion, and points out resources, both period and modern, to assist the learner.


Upton's Comparison

This article compares Emory Upton's 1867 manual with the 1862 Hardee's, and traces the development of drill and tactics as the war progressed.


1891 Comparison

This article is a continuation of the above, comparing Upton's and Hardee's with the next major revision, upon which Upton was working at the time of his death This manual was the drill standard for the Spanish War.


 On Forming the Company 

This article searches drill manuals from 1779 to 1891 for insight into this mundane but necessary duty.



This article discusses the use of various methods of avoiding obstructions in both column and line of battle.



This important military ceremony is too often performed badly.  This article gives an overview of the parade, and details each soldier’s assignment.


Which Manual, Part 1
Which Manual, Part 2

This is an examination of the proper choice of a drill manual for most Confederate units.  It is the work of Geoff Walden and Dom Dal Bello, and was originally published in Camp Chase Gazette.  It was removed from their archive, and is now presented by the Drill Network!


Online Drill Manuals

The electronic books presented here, are mostly transcriptions of volumes in my own collection.  Exceptions will be noted at each description. 

These electronic books are posted for the betterment of performance of 19th century military drill in reenacting.  The texts are in the public domain, but all rights to the transcriptions themselves are reserved by the creators.


 Hardee's 1855

This excellent work is largely complete through the School of the Company, and is an ongoing effort.  It is the work of Robert Lewis, a member of Co. D, 5th Texas Infantry, in Arizona.  Note, that while this is a valuable resource, much of the work seems to have been done with a scanner, leaving some eccentricities that cannot be blamed on Gen. Hardee. I thank Robert for giving his permission to link to his work.


Gilham's 1860

This is an excellent and ongoing effort by Cpl. Josh Bucchioni, of Co. I, 47th, VA, Longstreet's Corps, to provide the most complete of all volunteer manuals to the online public.  The infantry section is complete through the School of the Company and Instruction for Skirmishers.  Thank you, Josh, for giving your permission for this link.

Von Steuben’s

The Baron von Steuben arrived at winter quarters in Valley Forge, PA, and with his expertise in drill, remade the Continental Army from a ragtag militia into a fighting force with which to be reckoned!  It is his work that began the great tradition of the American military drill. This link is courtesy of, which has much of great interest, including the very helpful WayBack Machine, an archive of expired web sites.

Von Steuben's Manual of Arms

This is a link to a page that contains just the manual of arms, for those interested in a comparison with that of other eras. Link courtesy of the 6th North Carolina.

The Hardee's 1855, Gilham's 1860, and von Steuben's  projects are not the work of the creators of the Drill Network.  Questions relating to them should be posed to their creators, who can be accessed from their sites.


Silas Casey's manual was rushed into use to replace William Hardee's.  It was quickly supplanted by by the US Tactics, which was Hardee's, though without giving any credit to the now Confederate General.  Much of Casey's manual was not accepted for use in the war, but it is nonetheless an interesting study.

This version is provided through the kindness of Scott Gutzke, who did the hard work in making this valuable manual available on line.  Please visit his 64th Illinois web site for much other fine information.

64th Illinois

Gilham's (Drillnet)

William Gilham, born in 1818 in Indiana,  graduated 5th in his class at West Point in 1840, and served his country in both the Seminole War and the war with Mexico.  In 1846, he was appointed a professor at VMI.  Interestingly, Gilham was not only comandant of cadets, but instructor of Infantry tactics, while his colleague, Thomas Jackson, was instructor of Artillery Tactics.

After  John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Governor Wise, of Virginia, ordered Major Gilham to write a manual to train volunteers and militia. Finished in the fall of 1860, it was entitled Manual of Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States. This volume is presented here.

This version is complete, with the exception of the Cavalry and Artillery articles.  If any enterprising cavalryman or artillerist wishes to work on these, please contact me.

Hardee's 1862

General Hardee revised his work in 1860, published in Mobile in 1861, and North Carolina in 1862. This edition is the standard drill manual of the Liberty Greys, 6th Regiment, 1st Division, ANV.  The transcription is available through School of the Battalion.  It is therefore complete as to Hardee's work.  The volume also contains Scott's Evolutions of the Line, the third of his three volume Infantry Tactics, which is  available as part of the Scott's project, on the Drill Network.


US Tactics 1862

As Southern States began to secede, so did Southern officers begin to resign their commissions in the US Army.  One such was newly minted Lt. Colonel of Cavalry, William Hardee.  This was of no small embarrassment to the US Army, as just 4 years before, Hardee’s work had been accepted as the standard of Infantry drill for the Army.  To work around this, the War Department printed a new edition of tactics.  It is Hardee’s work, although the now Confederate General’s name is nowhere to be found.  This transcription the work of the Making of America project, a function of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Scott's Infantry Tactics

The standard drill manual up till 1855, in use during the Mexican War, and still the manual of choice for many prewar militia units, was General Winfield Scott's three volume Infantry Tactics, first published in 1835.  I have transcribed it through the Evolutions of the Line, (Volume III) and present it here in sections.  Click above for the introduction page.

This transcription was made by your webmaster, from a photocopy of an original, generously donated by Lt. Col. Paul Kenworthy, of the New England Brigade, a good friend, and an expert on drill. 

The project is now complete.  Plates are currently unavailable, but should return soon.

Coppee's Evolutions of the Line

 General Scott's Evolutions of the Line having become outdated, and General Hardee's Tactics stopping at the School of the Battalion, there were several efforts to update evolutions of divisions larger then a battalion.  The noted historian, educator, and millitary mind, Henry Coppee, translated the most recent French Evolutions for the use if the US Army.  

This made available on the internet by the GoogleBooks project, making many rare and out of print books available to the researcher.

Military Texts

 These volumes are not drill manuals per se, but have great application and value to reenactors.

Mahon's Out-Post

In 1846, West Point's Professor of Civil and Military Engineering, Dennis Hart Mahon, wrote the second of his famous text books, An Elementary Treatise on Advanced-Guard, Out-Post, and Detachment Service of Troops.  Mahon's work is presented in its entirety here.

Viele’s Hand Book for Active Service

This book is difficult to classify.  Is it a drill manual, artillery manual, synopsis of regulations, fortifications text, or a cookbook??

Regardless of how you view it, there is great information to gained from reading this manual.  I particularly recommend it to light artillery units armed with Mountain Howitzers. The Light Artillery section is based on the weapon, including specific directions for packing and unpacking the howitzer and limber on three mules!

Field Fortifications is also of great interest to the engineer, and I find the Field Rations section to be fascinating for the field impression.

Military Hand-Book

Look at this one as Viele's light!  It has many of the same attributes, particularly in the recipe department.  This makes it of great interest to anyone doing a camp cook impression.  It also has a pretty compete glossary of military terms, though they seem to be of largely English origin,

The fact that this was a Beadle's publication makes it of interest, since it would be very likely to be in the hands of literate volunteers.  The manual was contributed to the Drill Network by one of our best civilian reenactors, Charlie Venturi, known as the correspondent in New England Circles.  Many thanks, Charlie!


H.L. Scott’s Military Dictionary

This compendium defines every military term in common parlance during the American Civil War.  It is the work of the Making of America project, a function of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Edged Weapons


McClellan's Bayonet Exercise

In 1852, George B. McClellan, than a Captain of Engineers, and just about to embark on a mission as US military observer of the Crimean War, submitted a translation of Gomard's manual for bayonet fencing, which, on the recommendation of General Scott, was adopted as the bayonet exercise for US troops.  

McClellan divided his book into a School of the Soldier, which taught the basic maneuvers, and Instruction with the Plastron, which taught the use of these movements in the art of fencing.

The book is now offered here, complete with illustrations and internal links.

Wayne's Sword Exercise

In 1850, Major Henry Wayne, late of the US Military Academy, wrote a manual of instruction for fencing, with a variety of weapons, based on his experience as an instructor.  It contains instructions for the short sword, broad sword, sabre, stick and cudgel, and is an invaluable source for fighting arts without fire-arms in 19th century America.

Note that the original manual was without Table of Contents or an index, making an easy Navigation tool impossible.  Also, many of the plates were very faint, and difficult to reproduce.

Volunteer's Manuals

As the Zouave fad increased, and the sectional tensions increased as well, militia companies became increasingly popular with young Americans.  Many abridged drill manuals were published for this market, giving us great insight into how the citizen-soldiers were trained prior to the war.



This manual is instructive both as it provides one of the primary sources for our system of forming the company, and for its excellent illustrations, which are reproduced here.  The transcription is now complete, with links in the introduction to help navigate.   



J. K. Lee was a Virginia militia officer who published his abridgment of Hardee's adapted for the musket, in 1861, the same time Gilham published his manual. The Manual comprises a complete infantry drill book, plus a section on Regulations.

The Regulations as to Inspection, Parades, Etc., are probably the most valuable for the reenactor, as they outline the specific information we are most likely to need.  This section can be found from the links in the Table of Contents, beginning with “Form of Inspection”.

In 1836, brevet Captain Samuel Cooper, (later to become Adjutant-General of the CSA), at the behest of Major General Alexander Macomb, Commander in chief of the US Army, prepared a Volunteers and Militia Manual, combining instructions for the three arms, as well as other directions from Regulations.  This manual formed the model for Gilham's later work.  The infantry section is a condensation of Scott's, and is now posted complete, with internal navigation links.  We have added the Cavalry and Artillery sections, and and the transcription is now complete with addition of the Regulations.  It is the best source to study for a sense of how Scott's manual was applied in the US Army.

I particularly recommend "Of the Battalion", which is a most valuable tool for studying the various Schools of the Battalion, and the "Regulations", which is a most concise statement of needed information, particularly in posting guards and sentinels.

This transcription was made by your webmaster from an original copy generously loaned by Alden Whyte.


  In the early 19th century, a militia officer and publisher in New York State, named Paraclete Potter, sought to fill a void.  Like many others, He felt the infantry tactics of the time were arcane, large, and generallt too confusing for volunteer use.

He set himself the rask of making an abridgement, which is the present work, published in 1819.  The work was well received in its time, but was soon superceded by General Winfield Scott's own version, the Abstract of Infantry Tactics.   For student of early 19th century drill, a comparison is well worth the time invested.

This transcription was made from a copy provided graciously by Captain Timpothy Brown, of the Howell Works Guard, 2nd Company 3rd Regiment, Monmouth Brigade.

Scott’s Abstract

General Winfield Scott's success in using the French tactics of Napoleon, most notably in the Niagara Campaign in the War of 1812, spurred great interest in moving away from the older Prussion based tactics of von Steuben.  Gen. Scott headed a board to transcribe the Napoleonic manuals for US Army use, which resulted in the drill manual of 1815.

This manual was considered too extensive and confusing for the militia officer.   Gen. Scott was again named as chairman of a board charged with condensing or “abstracting” the tactics manual then in use, for the edification of the militia.  This resulted in the “Abstract of Infantry Tactics”.   It contains many illuminating references not to be found in other manuals.

Note that this is not an abstract of Scott’s three volume Infantry Tactics, but a version of the drill tactics which preceded Scott’s great work.  ACW references to “Scott’s” are never to the Abstract, but to the Infantry Tactics.

Still, the many references to matters which are explained no where else make this a most valuable resource.  The transcription is now complete!

 Digest of the U.S. Tactics

This Digest was prepared by William Steffen, for the use of the 44th Massachusetts Regiment.  This is one of the most important manuals posted here!  The U.S. Tactics upon which it was based are Hardee's, without the crediting the now Confederate General.  It considers all of School of the Battalion with the uninstructed volunteer officer in mind.  It is likewise very valuable for the reenacting officer.  Keep your Hardee's at hand to look up the paragraph references.


Manuals for Cavalry and Artillery

 While the Drill Network is largely an infantry based site, accurate drill is just as important for cavalry and artillery impressions.  Here we present electronic transcriptions of period manuals for those arms.


Philip St. George Cooke had a relatively quiet Civil War career.  Had it not been for this manual, he would have been best known as J.E.B. Stuart's father-in-law.  In this 1861 publication, Cooke takes the cavalry from Poinsett's two rank formation, to a single rank formation.

The study of this manual is also of interest to the infantry student.  Upton based much of his 1866 infantry maneuvers upon cavalry tactics.



Before the war, a young Capt. Joseph Robert’s undertook the writing of an artillery manual to replace the somewhat outdated Burns’.  He based his work on earlier manuals, and experiments conducted at Fort Monroe.  It was accepted and printed as the "Hand-Book of Artillery".

 By the time the work reached its fifth printing, in 1863, Robert’s had received a Major’s commission in the Regular Army, and was a Colonel of Volunteer’s, commanding the 3rd Pennsylvania Artillery.

The work is a “Catechism” or “Webb Lecture” of artillery, being largely in the form of questions and answers.  There are many tables with much information.  There is also a “Sequel” with drill instructions specifically for heavy artillery, not often found in the period field artillery manuals.

I must point out that my copy is not the best.  Many of the numbers in the tables were most difficult to make out.  I apologize for errors there, and I hope the text is of use. 


In 1859,  Captain John Gibbon published his “Artillerist’s Manual”, intended as a text book for his students at West Point.  In the second edition of 1893, published here, he included a new section on the relatively new weapon, the rifled gun.

Gibbon had a distinguished career in the war, rising to the rank of Brigadier General of Volunteer’s.

The work is uploaded in PDF format, requiring the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. If the page does not load in your browser, click Here for Adobe, and the free Reader download.  There are alternative PDF readers, such as Foxit, which I find preferable for Windows use.  Mac users will find Preview works very well.

The transcription is the work of Jack Melton, and the Drill Network wishes to thank him for his kind permission to use it here.  Click Below to view his excellent Artillery Site.

Civil War Artillery


Military Signals

 With large numbers of troops engaged over large areas, methods of signalling ore of great importance.  Here are links to sites that present information on various types of signaling.

Starting out as a Field Musician

This is an outstanding synopsis of how to get started well in this area of the hobby.  It is not so simple as to just get a drum and bang on it!  To do it well requires study and practice.

This fine page  is provided courtesy of the Georgia Division.

 ACW Buglers 

This is one article in Jari Villenuev's excellent bugling website. The article contains may links both to sound files and music.  Check out his full site:

ACW Signal

Here is the site for the Signal Corps Association, Reenactors’ Division.  (SCARD.)  This site has much information on the proper use of signaling by flags.  My thanks to Walt Mathers for permission to link to the site.


Here is a link to the ANV's page on signaling. Very good information from the world's largest reenactors organization, the ANV!

Bruce and Emmett's

This is the quintessential source for signal calls for fife and drum.  Bruce was the drummer, and Emmett, the fifer.  Emmett, by the way, was also the composer of the minstrel show walk-abouts, "Old Dan Tucker", and "Dixie's Land", and was a virtuoso of the fife, and a noted martial musician.

(Note, as this book is 90% musical notation, it has been loaded as images, making for a very slow download.  If you do not read musical notation, it will be of little value.)

Other Links of interest.

Here are several links that are valuable, but do not fit the other headings.

Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861

These were the regulations which governed the U.S. Army during the ACW.  Confederate Regulations were copied from them, making this an excellent resource for reenactors of both persuasions.  It is the work of the Making of America project, a function of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Parade, Inspection and the Basic Evolutions

Here you can view the forward to this modern guide for the reenactor, by Dom  Dal Bello, plus ordering information.  All officers and NCO’s should own a copy. If you prefer its available on Amazon:


Ist Division, ANV

The parent organiztion of the Liberty Greys!

Living History Association

This is an excellent reenactor source.  Take a look at their  modern safety manuals for various time periods.

Gilham's or Hardee's

A good examination of the case for making Hardee's tha standard of drill for ACW Confederate reenactors. It is based on the Which Manual artcle linked here as well.  It written by a reenactor in the UK.  See the main site here:

American Civil War Society (UK)

Silas' Library of Links

An excellent set of links, including many fine articles by Silas himself.  Take a look see!  Tell him the Drill Network sent you ;)