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A Comparison of the 1866 Infantry Tactics, by Emory Upton, with the 1861 Infantry Tactics, by William J. Hardee, and Commentary on its Applications to Reenacting the American Civil War.

By Leonidas Jones,

Colonel cmdg

6th Regiment, 1st Division, ANV

The Liberty Greys


School of the Soldier 

School of the Company

Instruction for Skirmishers

School of the Battalion



Works Cited


In 1866, Brevet Major General Emory Upton prepared a new system of Infantry Tactics. His goals were to make tactics more similar from one branch of service to another, to simplify the learning process, and to make massive bodies of troops more maneuverable. He learned from the problems encountered in the late war, and accounted for the developments in armament, both in line and skirmishing.

Emory Upton was born in Batavia, New York, on August 27th, 1939. He decided on a military career early in life and, after attending Oberlin College for two years, succeeded in gaining an appointment to West Point, graduating 8th in the class of May, 1861. He went directly into the artillery service, rising to the command of an artillery battalion, and served through the Sharpsburg campaign with great distinction.

In 1862 He became Colonel of the 121st NY Volunteer Infantry, and rose to brigade command, being rewarded with promotion to Brigadier General for his action at Spotsylvania's Bloody Angle. There his lightning assault in a column of three battalions in front, and four battalions deep on May 10th 1864, with a furious bayonet fight, broke the Confederate line and captured over 1,000 prisoners.

Sent to the Shenendoah Valley with Sheridan, Upton was wounded, and was made brevet Major General for his gallantry. His wounds barely healed, he was sent west, and led a division of cavalry in the campaigns against Selma and Columbus.

Upton was one of the few men to command all three branches of service with great distinction. He continued in military service, writing the tactics, which we consider here. He began to be troubled increasingly with severe headaches, and on March 17th, 1881, at the age of 41, desperate to relieve his pain, he took his own life.

Here is an extract from the proceedings of a Board of Officers which convened at West Point, on July 9th, 1867, by order of Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, to consider the Infantry Tactics submitted by Upton, and to recommend its adoption or rejection. The board consisted of Generals Grant, Meade, and Canby, Brevet Maj. Gen. W.F.Barry,

Colonel of the 2nd US Artillery, Brevet Brig. Gen. W.N.Grier, colonel of the 3rd US Cavalry, and Brevet Col. H.M.Black, Major of the 7th US Infantry.

"The general advantages of the new system are: -

1. Its easy application to all the arms of the service, leaving nothing additional to any special branch, except the manual of the arm with which it fights, the adaptation of the words of command, the training of animals, and the management and care of the material with which it is equipped.

2. The readiness with which the principles may be acquired by new troops, abbreviating materially the time required to fit them for the field, and practically extending the effective term of service of the soldier. This is of great importance in its relation to the volunteer force, of which in all great wars our armies must be largely composed.

The special advantages are: -

That it dispenses with the maneuvering by the rear rank, by inversion, and the countermarch, and substitutes therefor rapid and simple conversions of front, and changes from column into line.

That it increases the number of modes of passing from the order in column to the order in line, facing in any direction; diminishes the time required for these changes, and preserves always the front rank in front- advantages of vital importance in the presence and under the fire of the enemy.

That it provides for all column movements required in an open country and by the column of fours, for the movements necessary in narrow roads, wooded or obstructed countries, without the extension incident to ordinary movements by the flank.

That it provides for a single rank formation, specially adapted to the use of breech-loaders.

That it provides for a system of skirmishing, from double or single rank, superior for offense or defense to any existing system."

Obviously, this board considered that Gen. Upton had done his job well, and the system was adopted on August 1st, 1867.

Gen. Upton revised these Tactics in 1874, but it is these 1866 Tactics which are of most use to us. By studying them, we can see how the officers who fought the war felt infantry tactics needed to be changed, and perhaps gain some insight into how to use the tactics from pre-war in our own reenacting.

It is of great interest to see that large passages of the text are taken verbatim, or nearly so, from Lt. General Hardee's work of only 11 years earlier. Clearly, much of Hardee's work stood the ultimate test of war quite well. I intend, in this article, to compare Upton's with Hardee's and take some looks at Hardee's competitors, Gen. Casey, and Major Gilham.

Gen. Upton organized his Tactics along the lines of Gen. Hardee's: School of the Soldier, School of the Company, Instruction for Skirmishers, and School of the Battalion. Gen. Hardee and Major Gilham never went beyond that, relying instead on Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott's Evolutions of the Line for brigade evolutions. Casey did provide Evolutions of a Brigade, and Evolutions of a Corps. Gen. Upton provided Evolutions of a Brigade, Division, and Corps. For the purposes of this article, we will examine only through battalion maneuvers.



School of the Soldier 

School of the Company

Instruction for Skirmishers

School of the Battalion



Works Cited

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School of the Soldier

Gen. Upton took almost all of his SotS almost verbatim from Gen. Hardee. The primary difference comes at the end, where the flank march is addressed. However, there are some interesting additions earlier on the text, so let us begin at the beginning, with Part First. Unfortunately, paragraph numbers do not line up in the two manuals.

The first addition comes in Part First, instruction without arms. Upton is identical with Hardee, until Hardee's para. 80. Here Upton inserts a series of what could be called calisthenics, a series of stretching exercises he calls "setting up".

"First Time.

62. (First motion.) At the command ONE, bring the hands and arms to the front till the little fingers meet, nails downward

63. (Second motion) At the command TWO, raise the hands in a circular direction over the head the ends of the fingers still touching and pointing downwards, so as to touch the forage cap, thumbs pointing to the rear: at the same time, press the elbows well to the rear, the shoulders kept down.

64. (Third motion) At the command THREE, extend the arms upward to their full length, the palms of the hands touching; then force them obliquely back, and gradually let them fall to the position of the soldier."

There are, in all, four of these stretching exercises. Gen. Upton than continues to follow Hardee with eyes right, etc. to the end of Lesson I.

My thought here is that the idea of stretching out before a battle or drill has some merit. It would also make a nice display item at living history setups. I will provide a complete copy of the exercises for anyone interested.

In Lesson II, before teaching facings, Gen. Upton provides instruction in hand saluting. CS Regulations, which copied US Regulations in almost every detail, directs soldiers to salute with the fingers touching the right side of the visor, palm out, as we are used to saluting. Upton gives the modern salute, fingers touching the front of the visor, palms down. The directions of whom to salute and when are similar to CS Regulations, but there are two points of interest. Upton practices saluting with either hand, and requires the soldier to salute with the hand closest to the officer.

The other difference is that the soldier is enjoined to salute any person he knows to be an officer, whether that person is in uniform or not, which is different to our usual practice. CS Regulations are silent on the issue.

There are many points of military courtesy about which we can only guess. Here is a close to period statement on saluting.

My thought here is to leave the salute as CS Regulations specifies, but to adopt the practice of saluting officers out of uniform. I invite comment.

The Rest of Lesson II is from Hardee's. It interesting to note that Upton does not amend the procedure of facing by turning on the heels. Many complain about the difficulty of period facings, but I guess it worked well enough back then.

In Lesson III, both Upton and Hardee teach the principles of the direct step. However, Upton adds an exercise known as the Balance Step. Basically the left foot is brought forward 20" and back 8", the foot about 3" from the ground. This is repeated with the right foot.

Interestingly, while Gen. Hardee does not include this exercise, Major Gilham does, with very minor differences, so it was a known drill technique before the war as well. For our purposes, it is interesting but probably not worth adopting.

The only other addition in this Lesson is the side step.

"1. Side Step to the right. 2. March

120. At the command march, the recruits will carry the right foot 10" to the right, keeping the knees straight, and the shoulders square to the front; as soon as the right foot is planted, the left foot will be brought to the side of it, and the movement will be continued with the right foot, the recruits observing the cadence of quick time, unless common time be specified.

121. Side step to the left will be similarly executed."

File it away, it might just come in handy some day. The rest of Lesson III is identical to Hardee's.

In Lesson IV, Gen. Hardee teaches the principle of the Double Quick step. Gen. Upton does as well, in almost identical language, except he refers to it as the Double Step. In the rest of the manual, the command is Double Time, rather than Double Quick, as in Hardee's.

As an aside, Both Hardee and Upton comment on the importance of consistency of commands. It would be best for all officers and NCO's battalion wide, to give the commands as consistently as possible, following the language Gen. Hardee gives us. Most have grown up as reenactors hearing, "at the Double Quick", as the preparatory command. Hardee specifies only "Double Quick" in every instance.

In the second part of his SotS, Gen. Upton addresses the Manual of Arms. Upton's Manual is virtually the same as Hardee's 1862, and has good illustrations, which the North Carolina book lacks. While these illustrations clarify much, they also muddy some waters, particularly in one area, which we had thought put to bed, the Inspection.

As stated, Upton is identical in most respects to the 1862 Hardee's, at least when outlining the use of the rifled musket. One minor though intriguing difference, is that the term "Shoulder Arms", has disappeared, to be replaced with "Carry Arms". This may be a part of the effort to unify Infantry and Cavalry drill.

The position as described and pictured, however, is our familiar Shoulder Arms. The old heavy infantry shoulder has disappeared entirely, bearing out my contention that it's use in the war was rare, and is overused in reenacting.

Gen. Upton continues with the Manual, in language virtually identical to Hardee's, up to Parade Rest, which Gen. Hardee omitted from his Manual, specifying it in only in the Manual for relieving Sentinels, which follows Instruction for Skirmishers. Gen. Upton inserts it just before Load in Nine Times.

His directions, however, are identical to 1862 Hardee's. The illustration places the two hands somewhat closer together that we have interpreted, but is the same in essence.

Gen. Upton than continues to follow in Hardee's footsteps, until just after the directions for going from Right Shoulder Shift to Support, at which point he inserts Arms Port, which Hardee once again consigned to the Manual for relieving Sentinels. Again, the position itself is the same.

Having covered two additions to the Manual, it is of great interest to discover the one omission Upton makes from Hardee's Manual. Ground and Raise Arms have disappeared! I don't know that the reasoning was the same as ours, but isn't it of interest to see our practice confirmed in a period document?

Now we consider the question of the Inspection. Two years ago, based on Dom Dal Bello's PIE, we changed our inspection position to butt on the buckle, lock plate out, presented with the left hand at an angle out. PIE, at that point in its second edition, had an illustration showing a soldier in some sort of unblocked slouch hat, in a side view, presenting his rifle for inspection at the angle we now use.

In our debate at the time, I contacted Dom, to ask where he had found the illustration, and was told Upton's, in the 1874 revision.

In the 1866 Upton's, the soldier pictured is in a forage cap, and is holding the weapon almost at his left side ("opposite the left eye"), lock plate out, heel at the height of the belt. Since it is a front view, it is impossible to determine whether the rifle is at an angle or straight, but, given the 1874 illustration, it is reasonable to suppose the angle.

In the 3rd edition of PIE, Dal Bello has substituted a side view taken from US Infantry Tactics, 1861, an edition of Hardee's which removed the now Confederate General’s name. In this view, the lockplate would appear to be turned out to the left. I do not have a copy to check, but I assume the language is the same as standard Hardee's, lockplate out, so this is probably an error in small detail by the illustrator.

There is an essentially similar illustration in Gilham's. Here, the lockplate would appear to be turned in to the right, but the text clearly states, lockplate out. Dal Bello has used for a front view, one of the superb series of illustrations in Lt. Col. D.W.C.Baxter's Volunteer's Manual. This brings the butt closer to the buckle, but still to its left. "Opposite the left eye" in this version seems to mean directly in front of it.

My recommendation here is, retain the angle out, and move the butt slightly to the left, to the side of the buckle, not right on top of it.

Reading Upton's has brought up one other question, and a couple of other points concerning inspection. We have always taught our men to open boxes automatically on the command Inspection Arms. Why do we do this? In reading Hardee's, Gilham's, Casey's, Baxter's, and Jaspar K.Lee's Volunteer's Handbook, there is no mention made of opening or inspecting the boxes at all!

CS Regulations, in directions for a full formal inspection, does, but there is a separate command, Open Boxes. Gen. Upton also adds the command, Open Boxes, but only in the directions for breechloaders.

In CS Regulations , the officer is to complete the inspection of the weapons, command Open Boxes, and then inspect boxes. In Upton's breechloader directions, at the command Open Boxes, the soldier is to open his cap pouch, and after pouches have been inspected, close and automatically open his box for cartridge inspection. Does anyone have a period reference to opening boxes automatically?

My thoughts here are, with the number of inspections we do in a weekend, it is impractical to have one officer travel the line three times to inspect rifle cap pouch and cartridge box, so let's cut a corner. Command Inspection Arms, and, as the men return to the order, command Open Boxes, at which time the men will open both pouches and boxes. Then the officer can inspect rifles, while a sergeant inspects pouches, boxes, and canteens. Comments are gladly accepted.

Directions for the various firings are largely untouched, but there are a couple of minor changes that are worth noting. One, in firing at the left oblique and recovering form the aim, the rear man is directed to bring his rifle over the head of his file leader. The other, in the fire by file, the second is directed to aim and fire when the first file has brought their rifles down "to the ground". Gen. Hardee simply says, down. This would have the effect of slowing down the fire by file even a little more.

By the way, in the spirit of consistent commands, it should be Ready, Left (or right) Oblique, Aim, not "at the" Left (or right) Oblique.

Also the command should be Fire by File, not Fire by Files from the Right, and certainly not Fire by Files from Right to Left. Only one file fires at a time, so it is singular, and it always starts from the right, never the left, so the rest is redundant. Besides, that is how is given in Hardee's.

While I am airing pet peeves, it should be By File Right (or left), not By Files, and Countermarch by File right (or left) does not exist in any manual I have ever seen.

The last two points to make in the Upton's analysis are in firing from kneeling and lying positions. Kneeling is ALA Hardee's, but there is an excellent illustration, showing in particular how the left elbow is steadied on the left thigh. Lying omits the direction to roll over when ramming. Of course, that is academic to us, put an interesting point to know.

In Lesson I in this Part, Gen. Upton taught his recruits to align themselves one file at a time, much as Gen. Hardee did, but adds the specific command, By File Right (or left) Dress, which Hardee specifies in SotC. The procedure did not change.

Lesson II begins instruction in marching under arms. While there are no real changes, there are a couple of points to make here about the oblique step. In Upton's, if the squad is at a halt, at the command Right Oblique, all should make a half face to the right, and step off at March. If marching at an oblique, at the command Halt, the men should face to the front when halted. Gen. Hardee did not deal with obliques from or to a halt at all.

Clearly, we should adopt this. It is simple common sense, and something Gen. Hardee probably took for granted. There is an application in teaching the oblique step, however.

In teaching the Right Oblique, I have always commanded, Right Half Face, and pointed out the men the exact positioning they should attempt to maintain on the march. I have always had to drag that command out of my mouth, because, of course, it doesn't really exist. I can now command Right Oblique, get the men to do the half face, and than command March when my explanation is done.

After the obliques Gen. Upton and Gen. Hardee both complete the 3rd lesson with marching at the double quick (or double time in Upton's) and the back step. There is one big omission in Upton's however. Rightabout March has disappeared!

Upton's eliminates all firing and maneuvering faced by the rear rank. Any maneuvering to the rear would require a change of front. That is dealt with later in the manual.

Lesson III is probably the most dramatic change to occur yet. Gen. Hardee begins this lesson with instruction in flank marching. Since the squad to be instructed is in one rank, they face and double into two's, as we are used to. By 1866 in Upton's, doubling up has disappeared!! Gen. Upton's system for marching by the flank is completely different, and appears later in SotS. Gen. Upton's Lesson III is Gen. Hardee's Lesson IV, dealing with wheels, both fixed and moving, and the Turn.

By the way, let's make sure that all companies in the Legion are really clear on the Turn. The only time we have used it is in Forward into Line and Change Front, where the turn is not very great. The Turn is a change of direction to the side of the guide. If your guide is left, and you command Left Turn, the guide should turn left and continue marching at the full 28" step. The rest of the company should double quick to catch him, forming a line in the new direction. This happens in On the Right into Line, which we drilled at Confederate Memorial Day, and which came up again in drill at Gettysburg.

Gen. Upton's Lesson IV is devoted to wheeling by fours. The recruits, dressed in a single rank of 8 to 12 men, are taught to wheel around in circles, in groups of four. If done correctly, as the independent circles complete, the line will briefly reform and then break off as the next circle is begun.

It's as though we wheeled a battalion into column of companies, but, instead of halting the wheels, we just let the companies continue wheeling around and around.

This is done both right and left, and then, the men are placed in two ranks, and we see, for the first time, the command:

1. Each Rank 2. Count Fours.

That's right fours, not twos. Again we see the attempt to bring infantry and cavalry drill closer together.

Gen. Hardee's Lesson IV was Gen. Upton's Lesson III, wheels and turns. He continues in Lesson V with long marches in double quick time, and stacking arms.

In Gen. Upton's Lesson V, we finally get to the flank march. It is based on the wheeling by fours. To march by the right flank the command sequence is as follows:

1. Fours Right 2. March 3. Forward 4. Guide Left. 5. March

Each group of four files ( remember two ranks, 8 men) wheels to the right. Upton's flank march is a miniature column of companies! While the command sequences are different, maneuvering it is very much like maneuvering a column of companies.

I will not go into a complete description of the system, although I recommend it to your study. We are certainly not going to adopt it. It is Gen. Upton's post war fix for maneuvering problems encountered in the war.

We have seen this time and again. Maneuvering a battalion, say by the right flank, is very convenient, but to deploy it into line anywhere but the left is very awkward. Deploying a column of companies into line is very easy, but maneuvering it in route is very cumbersome. Upton devised a system to combine the best points of each!

Have you ever wondered about the term, Column of Fours? That's what most of call a flank march, but none of the pre war manual writers ever use the term. I was beginning to believe that some reenactor had just made it up, but in Upton's we find:

"388. The formation thus described will be designated column of fours."

The rest of Lesson V begins to instruct maneuvering the column of fours. Gen. Upton then adds a Lesson VI, which is Hardee's Lesson V almost verbatim.

Before proceeding to School of the Company, I should make note of another different feature of Gen. Upton's Manual. To face the men by the rear rank, he wheels the fours 180 degrees. They are faced by the front rank, but inverted, exactly the same result we have accomplished by company to deal with the same problem. Once again, the problems we face, and the solutions we have found, are borne out in history.



School of the Soldier 

School of the Company

Instruction for Skirmishers

School of the Battalion



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School of the Company

In SotC we discover a difference right away. Instead of the Captain being in his position in ranks or in column, with a field grade officer acting as instructor, the Captain is specified as the instructor for his company.

Gen. Hardee wrote a pure drill manual, but Gen. Upton has included a bit of the military formalities of the time, which Hardee assumed would be known.

For instance, he has his 1st Sgt. command Fall In, at which point the soldiers fall in two ranks faced to the right. (??) He gives no direction as to how to form the two ranks, so we in the 1st will stay with our In Two Ranks Form Company procedure from Scott's. The 1st Sgt. commands Front, and the soldiers face front, still in two ranks.

Gen. Upton then gives the procedure for calling the roll. Those of you who have seen 1st Sgt. Chris Svejk call roll at the 1st Maryland’s Morning Parade, will see that he opens the ranks, puts the men at Support, and calls the roll. As the men answer, they go automatically to the Shoulder and then to the Order.

This form actually comes from CS Regulations. It is the form for a visiting inspector to muster the company. I latched on to it as a sharp looking display for living histories. It worked, so we adopted it as our standard role call at events. Upton gives almost exactly the same procedure! The only difference is that he does not specify to open ranks. It is almost eerie to see decisions that we have made printed in a volume 125 years old.

The 1st Sgt. then completes the formation of the company by commanding, In Each Rank, Count Fours, and reports the result of the roll call to the Captain.

When we are counting two's, what we accomplish is to establish the four man "Comrades In Battle", Hardee's most basic unit. By Upton's system, this has been replaced by the "Fours", four files, or eight men. The remainder of Lesson I is alignments and Manual of Arms, which are fundamentally unchanged from Hardee's.

One slight difference is that Upton does not specify the order for the Manual, while Hardee does. Has anyone else ever wondered why Hardee omits Right Shoulder Shift from his SotC listing? We in the 1st have reinserted it, and reinserted Parade Rest, and Arms Port, much as Upton has done.

Lesson II instructs the different firings. The differences are in wording only, but a couple of them may be instructive to us.

In Hardee's a drum or bugle command is specified for Cease Firing, and a single note to return the officers and guides to their place. Should the instrument not be available, the verbal commands Cease Firing and Posts are substituted.

In Upton's drum or bugle still sounds Cease Firing, but the single note brings the men to the Carry (Shoulder), and posts the Captain and guides. The verbal commands are Cease Firing and "Taps", to imitate the single drum note.

As a humorous aside, on my first reading of Scott's Abstract of Infantry Tactics, SotS, I found the following:

"314. When the instructor wishes the firing to cease, he will command,


It was only on reaching his SotC that I discovered this was an imitation of a drum Cease Fire.

By the way, as a new reenactor, I was trained to react to the command Load and Hold. This is not a period command. The proper command would be Cease Firing, at which point men with unloaded weapons would load them and await further instructions. Why use an invented command when a period command for the same purpose exists?

Gen. Upton, like Gen. Hardee points out that the Fire by File is the most frequently used against the enemy, and should be practiced more than the other firings. Yet it is the one we use least. Keep in mind, in both 1855 and 1866 there was no command Fire at Will. It does not appear. The Fire by File is the fire at will. Let's practice it more, and, when firing our companies independently, let's use it more.

Gen. Upton makes the point that the front rank men should be instructed to keep their left heels on the alignment at all times, and in all firings. We should think about this. We work so much on stepping in the rear rank, that we forget a disarrangement from the front rank can cause just as much trouble.

Finally, in this Lesson, there is no firing faced by the rear rank. Rather, Upton would wheel the fours about, as described earlier, so there is no need to practice here.

The third Lesson for both Hardee and Upton is advancing in line. Both tacticians recommend the use of a directing Sgt. but Gen. Upton states that when the principles are learned, he may be dispensed with. Surely Gen. Hardee intended the same. Upton also recommends marching the company in open ranks in the first exercises, a suggestion not made by Hardee.

The two manuals are otherwise the same, until the instructions for advancing at the double quick. Here Gen. Upton states that arms should be shifted to the right shoulder automatically at double time. Hardee does not, having made that rule general in SotS. Upton did as well, but in para. 514, directions for returning to the quick time, he states:

"514. .......... The pieces will remain on the right shoulder."

Gen. Hardee never specified this, although both tacticians call for a return to the shoulder (carry) when halted.

Since this clarifies a point unclear in Hardee's I believe we should adopt this practice.

By the way, in researching this point, I consulted Gilham's and discovered some interesting information. I have noted in the past that Gen. Hardee was inconsistent in the distance between the two ranks. Sometimes it is 13" and sometimes 16". Major Gilham here prescribed 13" but when pieces were shifted to the right shoulder, the distance was to increase to 16" . No reason was given. Upton's ranks are 16" apart at all times.

I recommend we leave this be. Although it is interesting from an academic point of view, it is practically of little value. The only time the distance is of great significance, at least in terms of a couple on inches, is when the men are halted and firing.

However, for the academically minded, Major Gilham also specifies that the ranks will open to 26" inches when marching at the double quick. This will tend to happen without drilling the point.

Again, at the point where Hardee instructs marching at the rightabout, Upton omits the material, and progresses to wheels and turns instead, which Gen. Hardee does not address in SotC, having dealt with it in SotS.

In Lesson IV both tacticians deal with the flank march, but, as seen in SotS, the systems are completely different. Hardee faces his men and doubles, wheels by file, forms by Company into Line, and on the Right by File into Line, etc. Upton wheels the "fours" into column (Fours Right) and maneuvers them very much as we would a column of companies. Instead of In Two Ranks, Undouble Files, Upton accomplishes the same end, Right by Twos

As an aside, those of you have reenacted Rev War may find all this rather familiar. Baron von Steuben has a very similar command. With a battalion in line, he gives the following command sequence:

1. By Sections of Four 2. To the Right Wheel 3. March

This results in a formation almost exactly like Upton's Column of Fours. The difference is that Upton's fours are independent maneuvering units. Steuben's sections of four would need to reform as platoons before further maneuvering.

Steuben's habitual column of route is the Column of Platoons. Hardee's is the Column of Companies. For Upton, it is the Column of Fours.

This brings us to one of the most surprising omissions from Hardee to Upton. In Upton's, platoon drill has disappeared!! In fact, Upton's companies have no platoons and no sections, no subdivisions at all in fact, except the Fours. Gen. Upton does introduce platoons for guard details so that certain military forms, such as escorting the color, can remain the same. Platoons are nowhere mentioned as a maneuvering unit.

The Column of Companies, however does still exist, as we will see in SotB, and Gen. Upton does provide exercises. For example, where Hardee breaks two or more files from right or left to rear to pass a narrower way, and then returns them to line, Upton breaks Fours in exactly the same way.

Route Step is addressed in both manuals, in largely the same manner. Hardee gives a gait, approximately 110 steps per minute, exactly the same as quick time. Upton states that at the route step the men should cover 2 and 1/2 to 3 miles in an hour.

There is an interesting difference in returning to the cadenced step. Hardee's men are supposed to be marching in a column of platoons. At the command Route step March, the rear rank is to drift back to a distance of 26". Upton's men are in a column of Fours, whose ranks are routinely 32" apart.

Hardee returns to the cadenced step in the following manner:

"310. The company marching in the route step, to cause it to pass to the cadenced step, will first order pieces to be brought to the right shoulder, and then command

1. Close Order 2. March (1855 Hardee's would be Quick time, March.)

311. At the command March, the men will resume the cadenced step and will close so as to leave a distance of 16" between each rank."

Upton, however, gives us the following:

"579. To resume the cadenced step, the Captain will give the commands 1. Attention 2. Company, at which command the arms will brought to a right shoulder shift, and the cadenced step resumed."

While I appreciate the simplicity of the Upton's command, I will remain with Hardee's with one change. I had always assumed that by "right shoulder" Hardee meant Shoulder Arms. But with the evidence of Major Gilham's 16" rule, and the unmistakable clarity of Gen. Upton I will now command as follows:

1. Attention, Company 2. Right Shoulder Shift 3. Arms 4. Close Order 5. March

The close order will not seem to make sense, as we, as did our forebears, will have resorted to the flank march, but it is the command Gen. Hardee gives us.

Gen. Upton, like Gen. Hardee, includes a Lesson VI. Upton's Lesson VI however provides extensive directions for forming the company from a two rank line of battle to one rank, maneuvering it into column and deploying it. It is interesting reading, but not really germane to our study, since this intended for companies armed with breechloaders. Companies armed with three band muzzle loaders were still expected to fight in two ranks.

Gen. Upton's SotC is quite a bit shorter than Gen. Hardee's and more sensibly laid out. I find that I can locate commands in moments in Upton's while one might page around for several minutes trying find them in Hardee's. In that sense, although Upton's language is as arcane as Hardee's, his manual is a better teaching and learning tool.



School of the Soldier 

School of the Company

Instruction for Skirmishers

School of the Battalion



Works Cited

Back to The Drill Network

Back to The Liberty Greys


Instructions for Skirmishers

It is in Gen. Upton's Instruction for Skirmishers that we begin to see another side of Upton's Manual. The introductory paragraphs are either verbatim Hardee's or common sense that Hardee's did not specify, until we reach the following"

"639. They will likewise cultivate among the men the feeling that they cannot be whipped, and that, when compelled to give ground, a new position will be rapidly gained from which the action will be renewed. ..."

Gen. Upton has veered from simple drill instructor to military psychologist! There are several passages of this nature in Instructions for Skirmishers.

Upton's Instructions are divided into 6 Articles, where Hardee had only 5. The extra article in Upton's deals with deployment from single rank, which is not germane to our limited study. Otherwise, the articles cover basically the same material.

Deployments of the skirmish line are forward and by the flank. The commands vary slightly due to the reliance on the "Fours", but the troops reach their positions in much the same manner. The deployment of the Four is on the left front rank man. The other front rank men deploy to his right, the rear rank to his left.

4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1

Rear Rank Front Rank

Again, the fours replace Hardee's Comrades in Battle.

Aside from the deployment of the Four itself, deployments are much the same as in Hardee's.

Extending and closing intervals are accomplished by the same commands, but the result is a little different. Gen. Hardee specified the interval to extended or closed was between the groups of Comrades, who would stay the same distance apart. Thus, if we extended intervals by five paces, (from 5 to 10) the groups of Comrades would be 10 paces apart. Each man within the set of Comrades would still be at a 5 pace interval. In Gen. Casey's system the interval extended or closed is between each individual skirmisher.

I believe Gen. Hardee did not envision a situation where skirmishers would need to be closer than 5 paces. Therefore they might be extended and then closed, but never would the groups of Comrades be closer than 5 paces.



The war proved Gen. Hardee very, very wrong on this point. Many actions were fought in large part in close skirmish order, two or even one pace between men.

Upton's system reflects this reality.

We may want to adopt this, if only from practicality. I cannot remember ever needing to space skirmishers more than 5 paces. On our small battlefields, there are many times when closer spacing would be desirable.

Relieving skirmishers is unchanged.

Advancing is also fundamentally the same. Upton makes a stronger point of the three guides, left right and center, conducting the march, but both manuals specify that the guide is automatically center, unless commanded otherwise. Marching in retreat is unchanged, as is wheeling the skirmish line. Marching by the flank, while the commands change slightly, is also the same old procedure.

It is in the firings where we see fundamental change.

"Commence Firing

718. At this command ,... ,the odd numbers of the front and rear rank will aim and fire; the even numbers will aim and fire as soon as the odd numbers have half completed the loading, after which each skirmisher will fire without regard to others."

No longer are the men working with skirmish partners. No is one weapon to be loaded at all times. Upton's skirmishers are independent.

In firing while advancing, this independence does away with the leapfrog effect, where the man with the loaded weapon advances beyond his partner, and waits for his signal to fire. Upton's line does not move as a block however, since each man is enjoined to stop and kneel when firing, to improve his aim. Still, after the first fire all skirmishers fire independently.

As we have seen, the leapfrog and partner fire are among the first things to go when acting as skirmishers. Upton may have been recognizing this reality, or, more likely, was looking forward to the time when all infantrymen would be armed with breechloaders, their faster reloading making the partner fire unneeded. The breechloader had been adopted as the standard infantry arm in 1865, but most troops were not yet equipped with them at Upton's writing.


It is interesting to note that Upton's skirmishers do not fire in retreat! Rather, a new position is to be selected, and the men double time back to it without firing, resuming their fire when the new line if formed.

Upton realized that marching backwards and firing as you go is ineffective. He felt it better to take a new line as quickly as possible and renew the fight.

Similarly, Upton's skirmishers do not fire when marching by the flank. If the line is menaced when marching by the flank, they are to halt and fire, resuming the flank march only when the danger is passed.

Again, this makes more sense, although I would regret the loss of Hardee's elegant directions for firing while marching by the flank.

General Upton gives us the following:

"731. A skirmish line should always be on the alert, and the men should willingly forego all considerations of personal safety when the efficacy of their fire can be increased.

732. The officers will observe that a too scrupulous regard for cover will make the men timid;...."

John Bell Hood would have been proud.

In seriousness, there is much of this kind of writing here. Gen. Upton clearly perceived his skirmishers as an offensive force, while Hardee's system seems more defensive in nature, at least by comparison.

The rally is essentially the same, although, of course it can only be by fours or by company, since platoons and sections no longer exist. There is also no rally on the reserve. Rather, the reserve defends a nearby position, or, if none appears strong enough, advances and joins the company square. Upton omits the directions for forming column and marching to a new position, contenting himself with rallying, and then redeploying the skirmish line when the danger from cavalry is gone.

The assembly is accomplished by virtually the same commands as in Hardee's, but has one major difference. Hardee's men assemble their groups of Comrades, and then march back to the line. Upton's men do not assemble their fours; rather each man goes back to the assembly point individually.

Gen. Upton's Lesson V is the section dealing with the one rank deployments, which we need not consider at this time.



Gen. Hardee's Lesson V and Gen.. Upton's Lesson VI both deal with deploying a battalion as skirmishers, something with which many of us are not familiar.


To summarize, Gen. Hardee specifies a battalion reserve of three companies, from one side of the battalion, which we assume can vary, depending on the situation. The companies not in reserve deploy one platoon as skirmishers, keeping the other as the company reserve. At the end of the maneuver, the skirmish line is one unbroken line, with the company reserves behind the line, in echelon from right to left, right foremost, and the battalion reserve in the rear.

Gen. Upton specifies a battalion reserve of two or three companies, one from each wing, and, if necessary, one from the center. Upton tells us the purpose of the ready reserve, to fill vacant places, relieve the fatigued, and to resupply cartridges, and states that it should be as small as possible for the purpose, we assume probably one "Four".

At the end of the maneuver, There is, again, an unbroken skirmish line. The company reserves are not posted in echelon. We assume they take position behind their skirmishers as outlined earlier in the instructions.

The battalion reserve, instead of being grouped, are positioned behind the outmost company of the wing to which they belong, conforming themselves to the movements of the line.

Hardee's battalion can be deployed as skirmishers from line or column. Upton's must be put into line first. Hardee does not address assembling the battalion, while Upton does.

In Hardee's Rally on the Battalion, all units form square, and move back on the reserve, which has also formed square. Upton's Rally on the Reserve is not really a rally at all.

Upton gives directions for reinforcing the skirmish line by deploying the battalion reserve and moving them up to the line. Rally on the Reserve actually moves the original skirmish line in retreat, to a new line formed by the reserve, where both unite and continue the fight.

Gen. Upton also has a intriguing procedure for changing direction by wheel.

"798. To execute a general change of direction to the left, the colonel will command;

1. Right Wing, left wheel, 2. Left wing, in retreat, left wheel, 3. March."

In other words, the skirmish line is wheeling on its center! This is interesting, not only for its own sake, but as it constitutes the first reference I have ever seen to a reverse wheel of any kind in a period manual.

The wheel in retreat is another thing we should probably adopt. To tell the truth, I have been doing it anyway, having found situations where it is simply necessary to do. This is a command where I would really say " If they'd had it, they would've used it" and if not, would have invented it.

Battalion skirmishing in Upton's is instructive, but, to cut it short, I will content myself with observing that it is quite a bit more involved than in Hardee's, again reflecting the increased importance put on skirmish fighting as the war progressed.

To sum up, the only skirmish maneuvers I recommend adopting from Upton's are the increasing and closing intervals between individual skirmishers, as opposed to groups of Comrades, and the wheel in retreat, both for expediencies sake. Other than this, we should drill and use it as in Hardee's, and feel pleased when we see it evolve into Upton's before our very eyes.

As a final comment before moving on, I would like to see us make much more use of open order fighting. It was true to the period. It can be tough to do on our small battlefields, but I am sure we can manage to use it more.


School of the Soldier 

School of the Company

Instruction for Skirmishers

School of the Battalion



Works Cited

Back to The Drill Network

Back to The Liberty Greys



School of the Battalion

Gen. Upton's SotB is arranged in 6 parts, where Gen. Hardee's is only 5. As in the other schools, the 6th part is drill in single rank, which is outside our study. However, Upton has arranged his SotB in what seems to me to be a much more logical order. As well as I know Hardee's, I can at times spend 15 minutes paging through to find a command that I know perfectly well to be there. In Upton's, it usually takes only a couple of minutes to locate a maneuver.

Gen. Upton's Part First contains Gen. Hardee's, which embraces Manual of Arms and firings. To this Upton adds marching in line of battle, which Hardee leaves for Part Fifth, Articles I through IV plus VII and VIII.

Upton's Part Second deals only with the flank march, which, with his mini-column of companies is quite a bit more involved than Hardee's, which he deals with as Articles X and XI in Part Fifth.

Upton's Part Third is Hardee's Part Second, Articles I, and II, different orders of passing from line into column. Upton then covers marching in column at full distance, the column in route, and the change of direction, Hardee's Part Third, Article I through III. Gen. Upton then, quite sensibly, deals with forming line from column, which Gen. Hardee leaves for Part Fourth.

Part Fourth in Upton's covers ployment to or deployment from close or half distance columns, and the maneuvering of these columns, and ployment and deployment of double columns, which Hardee called columns doubled on the center. Hardee put these points in Part Second, Article III, and Part Third, Articles V through IX, and Part Fifth, Article XIII.

Gen. Upton's Part Fifth is a bit more muddled, encompassing the taking and closing of distances in column, Hardee's Part Third, Articles V and XI, forming line from column at half distance, Hardee's Part Fourth, Article IV, forming divisions and breaking divisions back to companies, Hardee's Part Third, Article X, advancing or retiring by the right or left of companies, Hardee's Part Second, Article II in part, and the formation of squares, and the rally, Hardee's Part Fifth, Articles XIV and XV.

Clearly, this jumble makes a direct comparison difficult to follow, yet, the organization is much more sensible. It so much so, that I am tempted to recommend that the beginning student of Hardee's SotB study it out of order. A good order might be as follows: Part First complete; Part Fifth, Articles I-VII, IX-XI, and XVI; Part Second, Articles I and II; Part Third, Articles I-IV; Part Fourth, Articles II and III; and Part Fifth, Articles VIII and XII. This will give the student a fundamental knowledge of battalion maneuvers in line and column at full distance.

The next step would be to learn maneuvering of columns at half distance and closed in mass. Here I recommend studying Part Third, Articles V-IX; Part Second, Article III; and Part Fourth, Articles IV-V.

To understand the proper use of the countermarch of a column, study Part Third, Articles X and XI. The column doubled on the center is a powerful and versatile attacking formation. To learn about it, study Part Fifth, Article XIII.

For a sense of completeness, study the formation of squares and the rally in Part Fifth, Articles XIV and XV.

Gen. Upton, Like Gen. Hardee begins with Formation of the Battalion. Up through Honors paid to the Color, it Hardee's almost word for word, a with a little rearrangement. There is, however one original paragraph, which may shed some light on markers.

"837. For the purpose of indicating the direction of lines of battle, every battalion will provided with four markers, who will habitually be posted in the rank of file closers, one near each flank of the right and left companies when in line, and the leading and rear subdivisions when in column."

Gen. Hardee often mentions markers, but never specifies who they are or where they are posted.

In Honors, the only change is that the color will be escorted back to the colonel's tent by the color guard, not by reversing the entire formal procedure.

In the General Rules, Upton echoes Hardee in pointing out the importance of uniformity of commands and execution. Let us strive to do so in our reenacting.

Part First begins with the opening of ranks in Article I. These directions are identical to Hardee's with very minor modifications: the responsibilities and positions of the Lt. Col. and the Major are now divided among those men and the adjutant, and the command, which was To the Rear, Open Order, (not To the Rear IN Open Order) now becomes, Rear Open Order. It is of some interest to see the commands become less wordy, exactly as they did from von Steuben, to Scott, to Hardee, and now to Upton.

It is also minor, but of interest to see Gen. Upton use the term, 1st Sergeant, where Hardee always used the term, covering sergeant. 

In our CW terms, there are three different positions, which are usually, though not necessarily, filled by one man. 1st sergeant is a rank. He is of higher rank than other sergeants. 2nd, 3rd, etc. sergeants are not separate ranks, but merely positions on the

field. The covering sergeant is the Sgt. who is the captain's file partner, so called because he "covers" the captain in ranks. This is usually the 1st Sgt., though not necessarily. The orderly sergeant is the sergeant who runs the company day to day. Again, this is usually the 1st sergeant, but could be another sergeant.

Part Second begins with Manual of Arms. Hardee specifies an order, while Upton does not. Here though, Upton inserts an interesting sentence:

"869. In the battalion drill the arms will habitually be carried on the right shoulder."

Hardee does not specify this, but there are enough references to "right shoulder " sprinkled through his SotB, that I begin to wonder if this was not one of the many things Hardee took for granted.

Certainly all of us who have been in the ranks realize that the Shoulder is not a comfortable position for any length of time, and in battalion drill, the men stay at the Shoulder for long stretches. Right Shoulder Shift can be sustained for longer periods more easily. This may be food for thought and discussion.

The different firings begin as we are used to. Minor differences are that the captain and Sgt.’s are not told to half face with the men when they load, a rather pointless procedure, and that the 1st Sgt. falls back to the rank of file closers, rather than to the same line as the captain.

A somewhat more interesting difference is in the fire by Company. In Hardee's for the first round of firing, the captain's of the odd numbered companies are told to listen for each other, and to fire one after the other. In Upton's this has disappeared.

As we found at Gettysburg this year, to hear the other companies fire on the battlefield would be a chancy thing. While it would work on the drill field, Upton may have found it a pointless exercise, given the reality of the battlefield.

Fire by Wing, Battalion, File, and Rank, are substantially unchanged, save that Upton deletes the reference to the Fire by File beginning at each platoon, the platoon having been eliminated. Note that Upton, as Hardee did, specifies that the Fire by File begins at the right of each company simultaneously, not as though the battalion were one large company.

Here is a direct quote from both tacticians:

"887. The Fire by File, being that most used in war...."

I know this a pet peeve of mine, but I really think we should use this fire more than any other.

Upton suggests putting the men at Support before Rest, as an alternative to Order, or Stack.

This ends Hardee's Part First, but Upton quite wisely goes on to cover the march in line of battle.

In Upton's Article IV, the first distinction to be noticed is that Gen. Upton has simplified the position of markers. Instead of the positioning of the Colonel and Lt. Colonel, and two or three markers, Upton is content with one marker, two hundred yards ahead of the battalion.

Remember in SotC, when Upton told us that the directing Sgt. was only a training device? I suspect Hardee's elaborate markers in SotB are of the same order, training devices which can be modified or eliminated when the battalion becomes proficient.

In another small modification, Hardee calls for the color bearer and the first rank of the guard to advance 6 paces. In Upton's only the color bearer advances. The two general guides also advance six paces, according to both tacticians.

This would be one we might adopt. Since we don't yet have a full color guard, though Jeff Fioravanti has it in the works, the one man would do. Are our guidon bearers the general guides? If so, they should advance as well. If not, perhaps it should be the Sgt. Major and the Adjutant. Either way, this may help to improve our ability to advance in line.

Both tacticians place the captains of the left wing on the left of their companies at the command Forward. We have never done this, but perhaps it is something to think about.

By the way, at Gettysburg, I placed myself in front of the company when we advanced. This was not proper placement, but it did enable me to hear some of the commands. In ordinary circumstances, captains should be in the ranks, serving as the basis for the alignment.

Gen. Upton again deletes reference to the markers, stating instead that the Lt. Col. and the Major, as wing commanders, should superintend the march of their wings.

Gen. Upton deletes most of the Remarks on the advance in line of battle, save the direction to bring the men back to the step, should they lose it. Here again, we mirror history in our inability to keep step.

Gen. Upton concludes Article IV with a quick guide to marching in retreat. In his system, this is very simple. "Fours Left About" does it. He does specify that for consistency, the fours should always wheel left about when in line of battle.

Article V is the oblique step. It is substantively the same as in Hardee's, save that the Lt. Col. and Major are positioned as wing commanders, and the Remarks are, once again, omitted.

In Article VI comes one of my favorites, identical to Hardee's:

"920. The battalion marching in line of battle, when the colonel shall wish to halt it, he will command:

1. Battalion. 2. HALT."


In a minor difference, the captains in Hardee's return to their proper place on the right of their companies, if not already there. In Upton's they go to the front and center of their companies, unless the colonel desires a general alignment.

The remainder of the alignments is basically the same.

Article VII covers the change of direction.

It has been speculated by some, that Gen. Hardee does not permit a battalion wheel. This is incorrect. He does but only on the march. However, when the direction changed is small, it is reasonable to assume that the battalion could be wheeled from the halt, rather than going through the Change Front Forward procedure.

Gen. Hardee inadvertently masked this, by giving the command as:

1. Change direction to the Right (or left). 2. March.

Gen. Upton simplifies this to:

1. Battalion right (or left) wheel. 2. March.

The maneuver, though described differently, due to the simplification of the guides, is exactly the same.

Gen. Hardee, in his Articles V-VII of Part Fifth, describes marching in retreat, which Upton has done earlier.


Gen. Upton, in Article VIII, deals with the passage of obstacles. His directions vary, dues to the "Fours" system, but the intent is the same: the affected company or companies place themselves into column by a flank march.

Gen. Upton closes with some "Remarks on the march in line in the presence of the enemy", which may be instructive to us:

"951. In battle it should always be the aim of the colonel to preserve command throughout: which can only be done by keeping the men in ranks: the file-closers will, therefore, closely observe the men their front; allow them to break neither to the front nor to the rear, and permit no man to fall out unless wounded.

952. The advance to an attack, if at a considerable distance, should be made by a combination of gaits, and while it should be an object to pass over the intervening ground in the least possible time, care will be taken not to take the double time nor the run till all the men shall be able to reach the point of attack.

953. The unity of the fours will be preserved as long as possible, and as casualties occur in the front rank, the vacancies will be filled from the rear rank."

I was taught, as a new reenactor, that when a man fell in the front rank, his file partner stepped up, and the rear rank dressed over to the right. I wonder, in light of the above, if the rear rank men should not preserve their original file partners as long as possible, and fill other gaps near them, as they appear.

Also, front rank men, it is incumbent upon you to take the first hits! It looks a little silly when your rear rank file partner falls, as though the bullet has magically passed through you!


Gen. Upton's Part Third deals with the flank march of the battalion, which, as we have seen in the earlier schools, is radically different than Gen. Hardee's version.

It is so different that a detailed analysis, interesting though it would be, will not help us deal with problems we encounter in our period. However, an overview may well prove instructive.

As seen in SotC Upton's Column of Fours has become the habitual column of route. Instead of facing and doubling, each set of four files wheels on its own, the rear rank taking a larger spacing. With the 1st Sgt. and Captain placed at the head of the company, it looks exactly like Hardee's flank march, but is much more versatile to deploy. A battalion in placed into the flank march by the command "Fours right(or left)" which causes the wheel by Fours. To form line to the left, where we would command "Front" Upton's colonel would command "Fours left".

It interesting to note that inversions of the Fours do not seem to bother Upton at all. Many of his evolutions invert not only the company orders, but invert the Fours within the company. In fact, to form line to the left, the only evolution given is "Fours left", which places the right hand company on the left of the line, and the right hand Four will be on the left of each company. Note, however, that the front rank always remains faced to the front.

We have found in our struggles with forming line quickly, that inversions of this type do seem to materially affect the performance of the battalion. Gen. Upton evidently made the same discovery, and acted upon it, to the extent that "On the Right Into Line" seems to have disappeared from the manual entirely! More on this when we examine the column of companies.

Gen. Upton places the Principles of Successive Formations here in Part Second. The successive formations encompass forming line to the front, and into line by two movements.

To form to the front, we have "Right Front into Line", with the captains bringing their companies up to position in fours, rather like our "Into Line Faced to the Rear", and forming line "Right Front into Line" on the company level, a miniature "Forward into Line" by our terms. In fact, to face to the rear becomes quite an easy process.

It is interesting to note that "Right Front into Line", as described by Upton, would seem to invert the order of Fours and Companies. "Faced to the Rear" would give proper order. This is if we assume a column, right in front. I will say more on this later.

Into line in two movements will be familiar from Hardee's once the new system of Fours is grasped.

Gen. Hardee set the habitual column as that of the company, and provided extensive directions for diminishing front by platoon, by section, by breaking off files, and finally, in exigency only, resorting to the flank march.

The lesson Gen. Upton learned is that the roads columns needed to travel very often would only permit the flank march, so he devised a system that would combine the convenience of the flank march with the ease of deployment of the column of companies. The Column of Fours was born.

Part Third deals with forming the column of companies. Gen. Upton, who was famed for his assaults in column on the brigade level, evidently felt that this formation still had an important place on the battlefield, if no longer in route.

In Article I, Gen. Upton, as did Gen. Hardee, allows up to break into column by company or division, but not by platoon, which he has eliminated. It is either companies or Fours, although, later on, he will allow us to break Fours to the rear.

The battalion breaks to the right by the old familiar "by Company right wheel". The directions differ in wording only, the procedure is much the same. Directions for breaking to left, or either direction by division, remain basically the same.

There is an somewhat cryptic reference to changing designation of divisions. Evidently, Upton has a different numerical designation in column than in line. This may have something to do with his attitude towards inversions, but it is not fully explained.

Formations of column while marching remain the same, as does "by the Right (left) of Companies to the Rear into Column" , which opens Article II, keeping in mind the difference in the flank march.

Hardee's plan for the flank march was for it to be the primary means of maneuvering a company within battalion formations. Upton uses it both as the column in route, and for maneuvering purposes.

Gen. Upton makes an odd decision here in organization. Gen. Hardee goes on to cover advancing or retiring by the right (left) of companies, a logical extension. Upton leaves that for Part Fifth.

In Article III, we find an evolution we have never used, "Break to Right to March to the Left". Hardee gives us directions for the 1st company only, basically wheeling left and then left again, with the implication that the other companies will follow behind it, in what is, in essence, a countermarch of the column.

Upton changes the command sequence slightly to "Break FROM the Right to March to the Left". Each company successively marches forward and TURNS left, forming a column right in front, company by company. This eliminates the need for the rear company to march the length of the column, only to turn around and march back.

There were several instances in the war where columns found themselves facing the wrong direction, and needed to reverse themselves. Upton gives us a much simpler procedure, taking up less time and less space.

Article IV deals with the march in column at full (wheeling) distance. It differs from Hardee's in wording only, except, of course, that Upton's battalions never march faced by the rear rank. In the place of "Rightabout, March" we get "Fours Leftabout (or rightabout), March".

Incidentally, on this maneuver, the file closers are supposed to place themselves to the new rear by "darting" through the intervals created during the wheels by fours. It must be a pretty sight!

As an aside, in my harping on proper commands, while Gen. Hardee does give us "Rightabout, March", he never, ever, ever, gives us "Rightabout, Face"! Neither does Major Gilham or Gen. Casey, or even Gen. Scott, for that matter. We need to go all the way back to Baron von Steuben to find "To the Rightabout, Face". Let's try to give the period command, "About, Face".

Gen. Upton eliminates the rather confusing paragraphs on prolonging the column along lines of battle, simplifying the lesson quite a bit. He does, however, add an interesting command, or rather, caution, "Incline to the Right (left)", at which the leading guide moves slightly in the new direction, bringing the entire column into a slightly new direction, without the need for a general change of direction.

Gen. Hardee gives a similar direction elsewhere in his manual, for the guide to move slightly, or "insensibly" to one direction or other to avoid the "inconvenience" of the oblique step. 1st Sgt. Svejk and I have developed a process where I suggest to him to "Insensible" to one direction or the other. Once again, our improvisations are found in print in 1866!

Article V deals with the route step, or in Hardee's terms, the Column in route. It is quite a bit simpler than Hardee’s, as it avoids all directions for diminishing front, relying instead on the Column of Fours. Here is an instructive paragraph:

"1055. When the ground will admit of marching a long distance without reducing the front of the column, may march the battalion in route step, in column by company......"

So Gen. Upton does permit this march, but only in the unusual event of a wide path.

Gen. Upton does give a marching position for battalion staff in the route step, which Hardee does not. The band and field music is ahead of the 1st company. The colonel, Lt. colonel, and most of the ancillary staff march at the head of the column. The major and the surgeons march behind. (To attend to those who fall out, perhaps?)

Both Hardee and Upton suggest, when time is of the essence, marching at the double quick (time) for 15 minutes and than 5 minutes at quick time. Upton omits the direction for marching as much as 2 miles at the double quick. I suggest we adopt this. :)

Article VI covers the change of direction. While Gen. Upton simplifies the description considerably, the process is exactly the same. The command is also simplified. Rather then our familiar, "Head of Column to the Right (left) ", we get "Column Right (left)".


A couple of notes on the change of direction: in both manuals, it is up to the captain to change the guide, should the change be to the side of the guide. In other words, if we are right in front, with the automatic guide left (our normal column), and hear "Head of Column to the Left", we must command "Guide Right, Left Wheel", before the colonel commands "March". Also, in the placement of the marker, the marker should be placed to the side opposite to the change of direction. We have been doing this backwards, placing the marker on the right for a right wheel, and wheeling around him. He should be on the left, and the wheel begun when the left guide reaches him.

The change of direction is very awkward with uneven company strengths. Remember that the guides should march behind each other. If your company is half the size of the company in front of you, your left guide should march exactly in the trace of the leading guide. Therefore, your company's wheel should be as though it were a second platoon, with a phantom 1st platoon inside of it. Instead of the nine inch step on the inside of the wheel, it would need to more like 18".

This is why both tacticians specify that company strengths be equalized by transferring men from the larger to the smaller companies, and incidentally, why our colonel attempts to form us into field companies of as close to equal size as possible.

It is rather amusing to see that Gen. Upton devotes all Article VII, albeit a very short one, to halting the column. "Column, Halt" . Most of us could have figured that out on our own. :) Upton omits all the directions for dressing the column before putting it into line, a sensible omission, which simplifies matters. He does give a simplified version in the next article.

In Article VIII, Gen. Upton deals with wheeling the battalion into line. Instead of Hardee's elaborate dressing, if the colonel desires to adjust the line before wheeling, he simply places the guides of the first two companies on the desired line, and commands, "Guides Cover". All the other guides adjust accordingly, the companies dress on them, and the battalion is ready to wheel into line. Gen. Hardee does give the same procedure, but not in so simple and clear a fashion.

Gen. Upton then gives directions for wheeling into line by the command "Right into Line, Wheel". If we assume a column right in front, as Hardee usually does, this would invert the order of companies. I think rather that Upton routinely gives directions by the right, and than states we can go left too. Other than moving to the right, the maneuver is identical to Hardee's.

It should be noted here once again that this type of inversion means little to Upton. There is no "On the Right into Line"! We simply wheel into line either way, and the companies take whichever side they come out on. The caution "By Inversion" is no longer considered necessary.

 There is another interesting paragraph:

"1081. Should the 1st sergeants be the left guides...."

In Hardee's the 1st Sgt. would be left guide only in platoon maneuvering, but in Upton's, the wheeling by fours is constantly inverting the company order of Fours. The Four that forms on the right of the company can spend just as much time on the left, bringing the 1st Sgt. with it. Note again that the point of this is that the front rank is always in the lead, regardless of the inversion.

If you go back to my foreword, the board which adopted the manual stated "that it dispenses with maneuvering...., by inversion...". Well, it does dispense with the word inversion, which never appears in the manual! I guess it is all in how you define your terms.

Article IX covers forming line to the front. It is the same as our "Forward into Line" sequence, with only the first command changed to "Right (left) Front into Line". Again, Upton gives the directions to the right, which, in a column right in front, would invert company order, but at this point, so what? We might even want to consider doing this should we need to form a line covering the right of the front instead of the left. "Forward into Line, by Company Right Half Wheel," etc.

Note here that we have caused captains to halt their companies at the conclusion of the half wheel. This is not according to any manual, but became necessary due to the unequal company strengths referenced earlier.

A intriguing point to this, is that the line can be faced to the rear easily by wheeling the Fours.

Article X, Into Line in Two Movements, is the same procedure as in Hardee's. Some of the companies have changed direction 'Head of Column to the Right", by example, but others have not yet wheeled. Gen. Upton has simplified the command a little, "Left into Line, Wheel, Rear Companies Left Front into Line".

We might want to adopt this. It saves the colonel from having to specify which companies should wheel, and which should form forward. The individual captains can figure out whether they have changed direction or not.

Perhaps the most interesting point to be learned from this Part is the question of inversion. Once again, we learned last year that inversions of company order mean little to battalion maneuvering. Gen. Upton made the same observation, and made it an integral part of his new system.

Gen. Upton begins Part Fourth, Article I, with directions for ploying the battalion into a column closed in mass. He, like Gen. Hardee, gives these directions for a column by division, the union of two adjacent companies, but, for our purposes, it is better that we visualize the column as one by company. Since these maneuvers are less familiar to many of us, they may require a little explanation.

Ploying into close column, or half or full distance, for that matter, is quite simple. It is really just a matter of marching your company by the flank from its position in line, to its position in column.

If we suppose a battalion of four companies in line of battle, and the colonel wishes to form a close column, right in front, on the first company, he would command as follows, according to Hardee's:

1.Close Column, by company. 2. On the first company, right in front. 3. Battalion, Right FACE. 4. MARCH

The first company would stand fast. The second company would face right, and march at a diagonal to a point six paces behind the front rank of the first company, and enter the column. The third company would come in behind the second, and the fourth behind the third.

We will now be in a column of companies, with the right hand (or first) company in front, guiding to the left. Each left guide should be directly behind the one in front, and six paces behind him. This is termed either a close column, or a column closed in mass.

If we desire a column left in front (fourth company in front), on the first company, the other companies would again march by the right flank, this time taking position ahead of the first company.

Right in Front


Left in Front



















The close column is a convenient formation for marching in route, as it keeps the companies closer, and the constant need to monitor wheeling distance is not an issue. We shall see, when we cover deployments, that we can form line of battle to the front, rear, and on the right (though not by inversion) just as quickly as we can from the column at full distance.

Gen. Hardee allows us to ploy into column in similar manner on the fourth company, or any interior company. This can also be done while marching.

Gen. Upton makes one change: instead of the first company standing fast, it marches nine paces forward. The second company then marches directly left, and dresses up to position, the other companies coming in behind, as in Hardee's.

























Ployment left in front is unchanged. Gen. Upton also only permits us to ploy into column on the first or last company, never one of the interior companies. While Gen. Upton's changes in maneuver are quite minor, his explanation is much simplified and clearer than Hardee's.

Article II deals with ploying Upton's flank march, the column of Fours into a close column. It is interesting reading, and demonstrates again, the easy maneuverability of the column of Fours, but, since Hardee does not include a similar maneuver, there is no direct comparison to make.

Actually, Hardee's flank march could be maneuvered in much the same manner as Upton's, in this case. By example, if we are marching by the right flank, and were to receive the command, " by company, by file right, March.", each company should wheel by file to the right at the same time. If we command "Halt, Front, Forward, Guide Left, March.", we would be marching in a column at full distance, right in front.

If we were then to command "by company, by the right flank, by file left, March", we would resume the march by the right flank. There is much that is possible in Hardee's that is not strictly specified.

Gen. Upton gives an interesting paragraph:

"1135. Chiefs of divisions will recollect that whenever the battalion wheels about by fours, the first division becomes the fifth, and the fifth the first;...."

We have often wondered, when we have formed line by inversion, whether to change the companies numerical designations. Upton would seem to say that we should.

I tend to think we should not. Let the second company remain second, by example. To suddenly make it the third is inviting confusion.

Upton's Article IV deals with marching forward in column at half distance, or closed in mass, which to both tacticians, are exactly the same as marching forward at full distance. Gen. Hardee gives a cryptic little paragraph:

"286. A column..., whether at full or half distance, or closed in mass, can faced to the right or left, and marched off in the new direction."

This would put us in the parallel flank march, familiar from "by the right (left) of companies to the rear (front). Upton provides the same order of march, but goes into detail as to how to accomplish it.

Article V tells us that the column at half distance will change direction in exactly the same manner (Head of column to the...) as a column at full distance. This is true in Hardee's as well.

The change of direction in a close column, Upton's Article VI, is a somewhat different matter. While Upton's procedure mirrors Hardee's, it merits some explanation. The command "Head of column to the right (left)", is not used. Rather, the colonel commands "Battalion, right wheel, March".

The first company will do a normal marching wheel. However, with the companies stacked so close, they will not clear the wheeling point in time for the next company. Therefore, all the companies are directed to begin the wheel at the same time.

The key to this is the left guide of each company, who is to keep six paces behind the guide of the company to his front, and "incline" to the left. The rest of the company is to conform to his movements.

The result is a kind of right wheel at the left oblique. There is no half face involved, but the company will slide to the left as it wheels to the right. Once the change of direction is complete, the column should be as before, but marching in the new direction.

The colonel, when the first company reaches the end of its wheel, commands "Forward, March". The trailing companies march forward as they arrive on the new direction.

It should not be that difficult, but would take some getting used to.

The change of direction from a halt in both manuals, is effected by flank marching the companies.

1. Change direction by the right flank. 2. Battalion, Right, Face (or fours left) 3. March

The companies face, giving us the parallel columns of four, to use Upton's term. Each company then marches to its place in column in the new direction, much as it did in the ployment. By this command we form the column facing to the left, by marching by the right flank.

1 2 3 4 <New direction





/\Old direction

As both tacticians say, "By this method, there is no direction that may not be given to a column closed in mass."

Gen. Hardee at this point, gives directions for taking wheeling distances. In Article VI, Gen. Upton skips this for the moment, and goes directly to directions for deploying the close column into line of battle. While the directions are for close column, bear in mind that it will work just as well for columns at full or half distance.

Hardee and Upton both describe a column by division, which I will again change to company.

Hardee and Upton are, once again, in agreement. By the deployment, combined with change of direction by the flank, (or wheeling, as Upton adds), or a countermarch (or fours leftabout), a column may form line to the front, rear, or either side.

If we understand the difference in the flank march, both tacticians are in agreement.

With column right in front, if we are to deploy on the first company, the colonel's command would be:

1. On the first company deploy column, 2. Battalion, left face (fours left) 3.March.

The first company would dress up to the line (or stand fast in the more usual reenactors shorthand).

The second company would march to the left until unmasked, then front and dress up to the line. (The more likely reenactorism, would be to front and march up to the line.)

The third, and successive companies, would march to the left, and, when unmasked, march by the right flank (into line) up to the battalion line.

This is for a column right in front. If the column is left in front, reverse the direction and numerical commands.

There are also directions for forming on the last company, or interior companies, and on the march. These we will leave for another time.

Changing direction to the right and left has been covered. In order to form line, first change the front of the column, and then deploy it.

To form to the rear Gen. Upton would simply command "Fours leftabout", and then deploy. Gen. Hardee would cause the column to countermarch.

Each company countermarches individually. On the command, " Countermarch," the guides face about. On the command", Battalion, Right and Left Face" the odd numbered companies face to the right, and the even to the left. On the command "by file left and right, March" the odd companies wheel by file to the left around the right guide, and the even wheel by file to the right around the left guide. When they reach the opposite guide, they are halted, and dressed into the line. The column, now left in front, can be deployed.

Score one for Gen. Upton! Fours Leftabout is much easier!

Gen. Upton's Article VII teaches the deployment into double column, which Hardee also refers to as the column doubled on the center.

A column doubled on the center is a division column, with the two center companies as one division in the lead, and the flanking companies in column behind, left wing, right in front, and right wing, left in front.

Assuming a battalion of four companies, two and three are in the lead, with one in column behind two, and four behind three:

Battalion Line


Double Column




In an eight company battalion:

Battalion line

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Double column

5 4

6 3

7 2

8 1

To form this column from line the colonel will command:

1. Double column at ...distance 2. Battalion, Inwards Face(fours left and right)3. March

The companies on the flanks will place themselves into column by wing, at the prescribed distance (full, half or close) behind the inner companies following the instructions for the ployment into close column. There is more to it, but this will suffice for the present.

Upton gives directions for forming closed in mass that the color division will march forward nine paces, similar to his ployment into a simple column. Hardee leaves them stationary, and ploys behind them.

Upton's Article X, the deployment of the double column, follows the directions for deployment of a simple column. The commands are:

1.Deploy Column 2.Battalion, Outwards, face (fours left and right) 3. March.

The rear companies face outwards, and deploy as though they were in simple column., left and right in front.

In the formation of line to the right or left, we find Upton' first major error. To form line to the right, his command sequence, similar to Hardee's, is " Right into Line Wheel, Left Companies On the Right into Line, March."

The companies of the right wing, being right in front, can easily wheel into line. However, the companies of the left wing have never been taught to form "On the Right into Line" as they would have been under Hardee's. Upton does give directions for the successive formation, but, since his companies have been trained to deal with inversions, this would have been most unfamiliar. One can only assume that the double column did not figure greatly in post war maneuvers.

Gen. Upton's Part Fifth seems to be where he parked the evolutions that did not seem to fit elsewhere in his reorganization. He begins Article I, sensibly enough however, with closing and taking distances in column.

Here, Upton's directions are for a company column, rather than that of division, which is our more ready reference. I do need to point out that while, in Upton's system, a column by company at half distance serves no real purpose, since the platoon has been eliminated, a column by division at half distance does serve a purpose, as we shall see when we cover the formation of squares.

Closing to half distance, or in mass is unchanged, and as we drilled at Gettysburg. The colonel's command is:

"1 To half distance, close column, (or, Column, close in mass) 2. March.

The first company stands fast, while the trailing companies march up and halt at the desired distance. The column can also be closed on the trailing company, by facing about (Hardee's) or wheeling by fours (Upton's) and following the same procedure.

There are two interesting points to consider here, one in each manual. In Upton's the colonel need not specify the numerical designation of the company, he need only command "On the rear company".

In Gen. Hardee's manual, this Article contains the one specification of "Halt" as a command of execution in a maneuver. Hardee's captains, when closing distance on the rear company at the double quick, are to command, "Such company, Rightabout, HALT."

It interesting to note that, while this is the only reference to this in Hardee's, Gen. Casey made it a regular feature of his manual, as in his SotS Para. 379:

"1, Squad, by the right (or left) flank. 2. HALT."

This is another one to file away, as it can come in handy.

Neither tactician provides instructions for closing on an interior company, although it could be done easily enough if necessary.

In Article II, Gen. Upton simplifies the process of taking distances. Gen. Hardee gives three sets of directions, for taking distances by the head of the column, on the rear company, and on the first company.

On examination, the end result of opening by the head of the column, and on the rear company are exactly the same. To be very technical, in the first named evolution, the column should continue marching, but should the colonel command Halt, we have one procedure that serves both purposes. Upton here, chooses the simpler course.

On the face of it, the omission of taking distances on the rear company sees odd, but, remember, in Upton's system, he need only face the Fours about, and he has a column left in front, which can take distances on the new head of the column.

To be sure, Gen. Hardee's system would permit the same thing, if we countermarched the battalion, as described earlier, but this is a more awkward procedure than wheeling Fours about. Yet why could we not simply face the battalion about? Then we could, as Upton did, make one maneuver fit all purposes.

The command sequence is the same in both manuals:

"1. By the head of the column take wheeling (or half) distance. 2. March."

The lead company will march forward. When the wheeling distance is opened, the second company begins forward, and is followed in sequence by the trailing companies. The colonel could either halt the column when the last distance is opened, or allow the column to continue the march. Distances are opened without the need for the company of markers Hardee seems to require for "On the first company". Clearly, this is a better way, and one we can adopt, since Hardee gives us both options.

Upton's Article III is very short outline in how to form line from a column at half distances, which involves either opening distances and proceeding form full distance, or using the deployment, as outlined for close columns.

In analyzing this, the deployment forward would likely be faster than opening distances and forming "Forward into Line". "Into line, faced to the rear", and "On the Right into line", would actually work just as well from half distance as they do at full. It is only for "Left into line, Wheel", or "By inversion, Right into line, Wheel", that wheeling distances are truly needed.

Gen. Upton then gives us the procedure for forming divisions from a column by company, closed in mass, in his Article IV. His directions, and command sequence, other than the flank march, are much the same as in Hardee's:

"1. Form divisions. 2. Rear(Left in Hardee's)companies, fours left (left face).3.March

The second company in each division marches by the left flank. When unmasked, it halts, and, being closed in mass, is considered close enough to dress up into line, rather than having to march.

It is interesting to note that, when forming division from a column at half or full distance, Gen. Hardee uses the same procedure, although, at these distances the left companies have to march up to line, rather than simply dressing.

Gen. Upton, however, causes the right companies of each division to oblique to the right, and then mark time as the left companies catch up to them. Those of us familiar with Hardee's platoon drill will recognize this procedure as "Form Company".

Had Upton not eliminated the platoon drill, the use of a familiar movement might make sense, but in the context of his new system, it only makes matters more complicated.

In Article V, Upton continues with "By the right, Break into companies" which we will recognize as Hardee's "Break into platoons". While this does not seem to make real sense, he at least gives us a procedure. In a glaring omission, Gen. Hardee never tells us how to return to company column!

We can assume that the command "Break into companies" would suffice, and further assume that it would be accomplished by flank marching the left companies into their place in column, much as we saw in the ployment. This would basically reverse Hardee's procedure for forming divisions.

As far as Upton, I have a mental picture of the good General, working late at night against a deadline, trying to finish his manual for the Board of Officers to review, working on evolutions that he was quite sure had been rendered obsolete, and tossing off the first ideas which came into his head. I have no documentation for this, but all of us who have faced deadlines have seen such things happen.

In Article VI, we find "To pass a defile in retreat, by the right or left flank". The battalion is supposed to be retiring in line of battle, and reaches a narrow way, perhaps a bridge. Basically, both tacticians cause it to halt, face to the original front, and march by the right (left) flank through the defile. The colonel commands, "To the rear, by the right (left) flank, pass the defile". Each captain successively has his company face right, and wheel by file to the right, three (Upton's) or four (Hardee's) paces past the rank of file closers, then to the right by file again, and finally forming by platoon into line (Hardee's) and turning to the left to pass the defile in a column of platoons, or (Upton's) continuing to march in a column of Fours through the defile.

Hardee forms companies as soon as the defile is passed, and turns the column to the left to reform it into line facing the original front. Upton sends his column of fours to the left when the defile is passed, and also forms to the original front. Clearly, the maneuverability of the Fours simplifies this evolution considerably.

Gen. Upton makes clear a point that Gen. Hardee never stated. The battalion is understood to be under the fire of the enemy! Upton states that the companies in line will fire until they begin their flank march, and face the enemy again on the other side of the defile. He also provides for forming into line in two movements, so that the lead companies can cover the retreat of the trailing companies.

Hardee's procedure seems idiotic! Why not wheel successively into platoons to begin with, or just remain in the flank march? I find it hard to imagine going through all this parade ground maneuvering while under fire.

Upton's directions sound for all the world as though the battalion is expected to do a countermarch with the left wing companies marching around in a big circle while under fire. However his diagram makes it clear that each company waits for the others to pass before falling into column. Hardee's diagram (1855 version) makes it looks like a countermarch, but his text clearly states that each successive company will " wheel" (by file) "to the right, on its ground".

Upton's Article VII deals with changes of front. Organizationally, it might have made more sense to place this near the essentially similar "Right Front into Line" Hardee's "Forward into Line", but he leaves it for here instead. The procedure is identical to the one we know so well.

There is one slight, but interesting difference in the commands. Instead of "On the first company" or "On the fourth" (fifth, sixth, or whatever the last company may be), Upton gives simply "On the right (or left) company". As we recall Upton's numeric designations keep shifting as the companies invert.

This might be good for us to adopt as well, since we find ourselves in the position of having to perform the evolution with inverted company order.

In Article VIII, Gen. Upton covers advancing and retiring by the right of companies, which would have been more logically covered earlier when addressing the formation of columns. Still, it is a familiar evolution, and, other than the flank march "by fours" has not changed from Hardee's.

In Article IX, Gen. Upton provides the procedure for forming square. This is an evolution that we have never used, since we never have more than four mounted cavalrymen to "menace" us. Still, we probably ought to know how to form a simple square.

The simple square according to Hardee's, is formed from a column by division, at half distance. The command sequence is as follows:

"1. Form square. 2.Right and left into line, wheel. 3. March."

The first division will stand fast, forming the front of the square. The right companies of the second and third divisions will wheel to the right into line, and the left companies to the left, forming the sides of the square. The fourth division marches forward and faces about, forming the back of the square.

In our terms, the above can work just as well for a column of companies, by substituting companies for divisions, and platoons for companies. Our only other problem would be the rear company being faced by the rear rank, a safety concern. This could be solved by having it countermarch, or by adopting Upton's procedure. His rear division has only the outer file face out.

In both manuals, the color bearer is directed to fall back to the rank of file closers once the square is formed, his place being taken by a color corporal. In his Remarks later on, Gen. Hardee states that the color guard is to fire with the rest of the company, and not reserve its fire for the defense of the color, as is its usual practice. Upton is silent on that point.

Here, Hardee's system is actually more versatile than Upton's. Upton must form a column by division at half distance, due to the lack of platoons. Hardee can form from either division or company column.

Gen. Hardee goes on to address formation of square from line of battle, oblique squares, squares in four ranks, marching the squares, forming column to march and reforming the square, and forming square from close column. None of these will be addressed here.

Gen. Upton discusses forming square on the center from line of battle, a different procedure than Hardee, who ploys into column, oblique squares, and forming square from close column. Squares in four ranks, marching the squares, forming column to march and reforming the square are all omitted.

In the Remarks, Gen. Hardee says that the fire from the square will be by file and by rank only. To this, Gen. Upton adds fire by front, meaning one of the four fronts (or sides) of the square. Gen. Hardee also points out that the column doubled on the center is particularly well suited to forming square, and recommends its use. Upton is silent on this as well.

The formation of squares was very little used during the civil war, as Upton well knew, but he also knew that it might have importance in the coming Indian wars., so it is pared down from Hardee's, but not eliminated.

The final Article, X, is the Rally. The disperse, (a bugle signal) is to be sounded, at which point the battalion breaks ranks in all directions. It is rallied by the call. To the Color, when the battalion is to rally,. forming line of battle on a line formed by the color bearer and the two general guides. Thus far, the manuals are the same.

Gen. Hardee goes on to suggest that if Assembly is played instead, the battalion should rally in a column of companies at half distance. Upton omits this, but does provide that the captains will cause the companies to count fours before dressing up to the line. Remember that intact fours are vital to Upton's maneuvering.

Gen. Hardee goes on from here to address maneuvers faced about, which Upton has eliminated in favor of wheeling the fours. Gen. Upton goes on to Article X, which addresses maneuvers in one rank, which is not germane to the comparison of the two manuals.

Here Gen. Hardee ended. The pre war US Army had never had an organizational unit larger than the brigade, for which Winfield Scott's Evolutions of the Line from his Infantry Tactics, was considered to be sufficient.

With the memory of the massive armies of the civil war fresh in his mind, Gen. Upton went on, to include Evolutions of Brigade and Division, and a quick sketch for Corps. These are of great interest, but not applicable to the current study.


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After the Evolutions of a Corps, Gen. Upton cleans up a few details. He provides a Manual of the Sword, for Officers. It is virtually the same as that offered by Gen. Hardee, but continues with directions for the order. These specify that officers will drop the points of their swords, the back of the hand up. Upton does specify whether the point of the sword is to be on the ground, but in directions for parade rest, the hands are to be clasped in front of the body, the left hand uppermost, the point of the sword between the feet. Again, he does not say specifically , but it seems as though the point of the sword is to rest on the ground.

However, In Scott's Abstract, the directions for the order state that the blade should be two inches from the ground. I would tend to say, follow Upton's and rest the point on the ground. I don't really see the artillery order as appropriate for infantry.

Gen. Upton continues with directions for the color salute. These are identical to Hardee's, but continue to note that the color salutes only the president, vice president, and general officers.

Scott' Abstract notes that, in ranks, the color salutes at Present, Arms, and returns to the carry at shoulder, Arms. Gen. Scott also states that the color lance should be ordered and shouldered along with the rest of the battalion's arms on command.

Gen. Upton then gives us instructions with times and motions, for Reverse Arms, and Rest on Arms. These positions are not specified in Hardee's which was intended only as a manual for drill, but do appear in CS (and US) Regulations, in the order for funeral honors. Those of you who were at the late Major Barker's memorial service may remember our use of these positions. These are the first directions I have seen, however, that give times and motions, and provide illustrations.

The 1st Maryland has incorporated Rest on Arms into the manual, as a position for prayer. At Hammonassett this year, we also discovered that it makes an excellent position of rest in inclement conditions. We do recommend against using it with loaded weapons, and fixed bayonets would also be contraindicated.

Gen. Upton then gives Instructions for the Drum Major. I will give these on request, should anyone be interested.

Upton concludes his manual with two appendices, the first for dress parade, review and inspection of a battalion of infantry, and the second similar instruction on brigade and division level.

Gen. Hardee, writing a drill manual only, includes no such directions, but the battalion directions do appear in CS Regulations. A comparison may be of interest.

As the foreword to instructions for dress parade, Gen. Upton states that the companies will assemble under arms, and be inspected by their captains. This has become our practice before all formations, and is a good one. He states that the formation will be on the principles of successive formations, giving us the support arms from which the captains command Shoulder (Carry) Arms, Order Arms, and Parade Rest.

As an aside, CS Regulations give Parade Rest ala Gilham's, with the hands crossed in front of the musket, left over right. Upton uses the same form as 1862 Hardee's.

The directions for the music to beat off remain the same.

When ranks are opened, there is a small change. The captains are to be four paces at the front and center of their companies, not opposite their intervals.

The form stays basically the same, until the adjutant salutes the Colonel, and says "Sir, the parade is formed." The colonel is given a command for the adjutant "Take your post, sir". CS Regulations do not give a specific command, nor does Gilham's.

The next minor change is in the 1st sergeants report where they are brought to face front by the command "Front" rather than the outdated "Front Face". The rest of the instructions are as pre war.

In the Review, directions are similar, except the non-commissioned battalion staff forms on the left of the front rank instead of on the right. When saluting the reviewing officer, directions for the salute by NCO staff, bringing swords to a Poise, are omitted.

Most of the other directions are essentially the same. However, Upton makes provision for passing in review a second time this time at double time (double quick), without saluting. There is also provision for the placement of a pioneer corps.

Gen. Upton then covers the inspection of a battalion. The form is basically the same as we used at Confederate Memorial Day weekend this year. The battalion is placed in a column of companies, right in front, and ranks opened. At Officers and Sergeants, to the front of your companies, March, the officers place themselves eight paces and the sergeants six (CS Regulations) or four (Upton's) in front of their companies.

Those of you present at CMD, will remember that our company sizes were so small, that we placed officers and NCO's in one rank to the front of their companies as space permitted.

At CMD, we had company officers inspect. The CS Regulation's form, and Upton's are very much the same. Perhaps we will go to the point of having a formal inspection, by regulations, so we can all experience what the form specifies.

Upton's form for muster is essentially the same as CS Regulations.

Guard Mounting varies only in small detail. The guard turns out on company parades at second call for inspection, and are marched out at Adjutant's call, rather that first and second call, respectively. The guard, of course, counts "fours" instead of twos, and, strangely, is formed into platoons, which does not occur in CS Regulations.

The guard is marched to its post in column of fours. In CS Regulations it is simply marched, without further direction.

The relief of guards is substantially the same.

The corporal of the guard is directed to march them in a column of "Twos" which does appear in the manual earlier. CS Regulations specifies no order of march.

Grand Guards are dealt with in one small paragraph.

Funeral honors are next. It is much the same as CS Regulations, except that the escorting column, rather than being one of company or platoon, is by "company, escort, or fours". By "escort" we assume the platoon specified for guard or honor, earlier in the manual.

Wording varies, but intent is the same through the coffin reaching the grave. There is a very minor, but interesting difference in loading, for the salute after the service. We see the following: "Carry( from Rest on) Arms. Load with blank cartridges, Load".

CS Regulations do not specify that the ceremonial three rounds be fired with blanks, but, of course, they should be so fired.

Pall bearers for officers are to be sergeants. CS Regulations provide officers of the same grade. NCO's or privates will have six privates.


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Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study has been to see that the problems that we have found in drill caused Gen. Upton to make adjustments. It has been most exciting to see so many of the improvisations we have made come to life in his manual.

To look deeper though, I am most particularly struck with how little Upton really changed. He had one profound change in maneuvering, the "fours", and he adopted some small, though significant changes in skirmish fighting.

Other than that, Gen. Upton discarded some little needed maneuvers, simplified directions for many, clarified some murky points, and, particularly in School of the Battalion, reorganized extensively. The result is a clearer and easier to use version of Hardee’s Tactics! Studying it has clarified many minor points for me, but the basis of it is the drill we know.

This essay has taken on a life of its own. I had never intended for it to become as detailed as it has. I hope that, for the reader, it may have accomplished three things 1. I hope that it has brought a better understanding of drill, and further appreciation of its fine points. 2. I hope it may have given you all some insight into how I approach the study of drill. 3. I hope that, for you, as he has for me, Emory Upton has come to life again for a short time, as we have studied his work.


School of the Soldier 

School of the Company

Instruction for Skirmishers

School of the Battalion



Works Cited

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Here is a listing of the works I have consulted in making this study, and a short commentary on their use.

Baxter, D.W.C. (1861) Volunteer’s Manual. Philadelphia: King & Baird

                A version of Scott’s School of the Soldier, for Volunteer’s

Casey, Silas. (1862) Infantry Tactics. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1862

                The Standard Federal Manual for reenactors.

Gilham, William. (1861) Manual of Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States       Philadelphia: Charles Desilver

                A very useful volume. Infantry is Hardee’s with additions for volunteer’s.

Griffith, Paddy. (1989) Battle Tactics of the Civil War. New Haven: Yale University

                The definitive study on ACW tactics.

Hardee, William J. (1861) (original, 1855) Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics. Philadelphia: J.Lippencott & Co.

                Hardee’s original work.

Hardee, William J. (1862) Rifle and Infantry Tactics. North Carolina.

                Hardee’s revision for three band weapons. 1st printed in Mobile in 1861

Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War. (1986) New York: Harper and Rowe.

                A most useful volume for checking dates.

Hood, John Bell. (1959) Advance and Retreat. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

                Hood’s post war reminiscence.

Lee, Jas. K. (1861) Volunteer’s Handbook. Richmond: West & Johnston Press

                Another manual for volunteers.

McWhiney, G. and Jamieson, D. (1982) Attack and Die. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press

                A controversial book, with an agenda, but very well researched as to drill and tactics.

Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States. (1863) Richmond. J.W.Randolf.

                Most valuable for reenactors.

Upton, Emory. (1867) Infantry Tactics. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

                The manual studied in this article.

Scott, Winfield. (1830) Abstract of Infantry Tactics. Boston: Hilliard, Grey, Little, and Wilkins.

                A short manual written by committee before Scott’s major work, Infantry Tactics.

Steuben, Frederick, Baron von. (1794) Regulations for the Order and Discipline of Troops of the United States. Boston: Thomas & Andrews.

                The standard manual for Rev. war reenactors. It was supplanted by the French manuals, which formed the basis of Gen. Scott’s work.