This brief article details the
sequence of drill manuals adopted by the US Army from 1779-1891,
including the entire 19th century of US (CS) drill.
Outline of Basic Drill
This basic outline is for new recruits, and assumes a copy of Hardee's
School of the Soldier to be available. The formation of the
company system comes from Baxter's Volunteer's Manual, which can be
viewed from this site.
Our esteemed 1st Sergeant Chris Svejk has compiled an excellent guide
to the duties of NCO's, rather a Customs of Service abridged for
Whither Goest the Second Sergeant
This short article might serve as a companion to the above. It
examines the proper use of the second sergeant, and shows where most of
us have gone astray.
6th Battalion Drill Guidelines
These guidelines are based on the 1862 Hardee's, and give a good idea where our battalion is heading in drill.
How to Study Hardee's SotB
This might also be a companion to the above. This short article
outlines an order in which study the School of the Battalion, and
points out resources, both period and modern, to assist the learner.
This article compares Emory Upton's 1867 manual with the 1862 Hardee's,
and traces the development of drill and tactics as the war progressed.
This article is a continuation of the above, comparing Upton's and
Hardee's with the next major revision, upon which Upton was working at
the time of his death This manual was the drill standard for the
On Forming the Company
This article searches drill manuals from 1779 to 1891 for insight into this mundane but necessary duty.
This article discusses the use of various methods of avoiding obstructions in both column and line of battle.
This important military ceremony is too often performed badly.
This article gives an overview of the parade, and details each
Which Manual, Part 1
Which Manual, Part 2
This is an examination of the proper choice of a drill manual for most
Confederate units. It is the work of Geoff Walden and Dom Dal
Bello, and was originally published in Camp Chase Gazette. It was
removed from their archive, and is now presented by the Drill Network!
Online Drill Manuals
The electronic books presented here, are mostly transcriptions of
volumes in my own collection. Exceptions will be noted at each
These electronic books are posted for the betterment of performance of
19th century military drill in reenacting. The texts are in the
public domain, but all rights to the transcriptions themselves are
reserved by the creators.
This excellent work is largely complete through the School of the
Company, and is an ongoing effort. It is the work of Robert
Lewis, a member of Co. D, 5th Texas Infantry, in Arizona. Note,
that while this is a valuable resource, much of the work seems to have
been done with a scanner, leaving some eccentricities that cannot be
blamed on Gen. Hardee. I thank Robert for giving his permission to link
to his work.
This is an excellent and ongoing effort by Cpl. Josh Bucchioni, of Co.
I, 47th, VA, Longstreet's Corps, to provide the most complete of all
volunteer manuals to the online public. The infantry section is
complete through the School of the Company and Instruction for
Skirmishers. Thank you, Josh, for giving your permission for this
The Baron von Steuben arrived at winter quarters in Valley Forge, PA,
and with his expertise in drill, remade the Continental Army from a
ragtag militia into a fighting force with which to be reckoned!
It is his work that began the great tradition of the American military drill. This link is courtesy of Archive.org
, which has much of great interest, including the very helpful WayBack Machine, an archive of expired web sites.
Von Steuben's Manual of Arms
This is a link to a page that contains just the manual of arms, for
those interested in a comparison with that of other eras. Link courtesy
of the 6th North Carolina.
The Hardee's 1855, Gilham's 1860, and von Steuben's projects are not the work of the creators of the Drill
Network. Questions relating to them should be posed to their
creators, who can be accessed from their sites.
Silas Casey's manual was rushed into use to replace
William Hardee's. It was quickly supplanted by by the US Tactics,
which was Hardee's, though without giving any credit to the now
Confederate General. Much of Casey's manual was not accepted for
use in the war, but it is nonetheless an interesting study.
This version is provided through the kindness of Scott Gutzke, who did
the hard work in making this valuable manual available on line.
Please visit his 64th Illinois web site for much other fine information.
William Gilham, born in 1818 in Indiana, graduated
5th in his class at West Point in 1840, and served his country in both
the Seminole War and the war with Mexico. In 1846, he was
appointed a professor at VMI. Interestingly, Gilham was not only
comandant of cadets, but instructor of Infantry tactics, while his
colleague, Thomas Jackson, was instructor of Artillery Tactics.
After John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Governor Wise, of
Virginia, ordered Major Gilham to write a manual to train volunteers
and militia. Finished in the fall of 1860, it was entitled Manual of
Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States. This
volume is presented here.
This version is complete, with the exception of the Cavalry and
Artillery articles. If any enterprising cavalryman or artillerist
wishes to work on these, please contact me.
General Hardee revised his work in 1860, published in Mobile in 1861,
and North Carolina in 1862. This edition is the standard drill manual
of the Liberty Greys
, 6th Regiment, 1st Division, ANV. The
transcription is available through School of the Battalion. It is
therefore complete as to Hardee's work. The volume also contains
Scott's Evolutions of the Line, the third of his three volume Infantry
Tactics, which is available as part of the Scott's project, on the Drill Network.
US Tactics 1862
As Southern States began to secede, so did Southern officers begin to
resign their commissions in the US Army. One such was newly
minted Lt. Colonel of Cavalry, William Hardee. This was of no
small embarrassment to the US Army, as just 4 years before,
Hardee’s work had been accepted as the standard of Infantry drill
for the Army. To work around this, the War Department printed a
new edition of tactics. It is Hardee’s work, although the
now Confederate General’s name is nowhere to be found. This
transcription the work of the Making of America project, a function of
the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Scott's Infantry Tactics
The standard drill manual up till 1855, in use during the Mexican War,
and still the manual of choice for many prewar militia units, was
General Winfield Scott's three volume Infantry Tactics, first published
in 1835. I have transcribed it through the Evolutions of the
Line, (Volume III) and present it here in sections. Click above
for the introduction page.
This transcription was made by your webmaster, from a photocopy of an
original, generously donated by Lt. Col. Paul Kenworthy, of the New England Brigade, a good friend, and an expert
The project is now complete. Plates are currently unavailable, but should return soon.
Coppee's Evolutions of the Line
General Scott's Evolutions of the Line having become outdated,
and General Hardee's Tactics stopping at the School of the Battalion,
there were several efforts to update evolutions of divisions larger
then a battalion. The noted historian, educator, and millitary
mind, Henry Coppee, translated the most recent French Evolutions for
the use if the US Army.
This made available on the internet by the GoogleBooks project, making
many rare and out of print books available to the researcher.
These volumes are not drill manuals per se, but have great application and value to reenactors.
In 1846, West Point's Professor of Civil and Military Engineering,
Dennis Hart Mahon, wrote the second of his famous text books, An
Elementary Treatise on Advanced-Guard, Out-Post, and Detachment Service
of Troops. Mahon's work is presented in its entirety here.
Viele’s Hand Book for Active Service
This book is difficult to classify. Is it a drill manual,
artillery manual, synopsis of regulations, fortifications text, or a
Regardless of how you view it, there is great information to gained
from reading this manual. I particularly recommend it to light
artillery units armed with Mountain Howitzers. The Light Artillery
section is based on the weapon, including specific directions for
packing and unpacking the howitzer and limber on three mules!
Field Fortifications is also of great interest to the engineer, and I
find the Field Rations section to be fascinating for the field
Look at this one as
Viele's light! It has many of the same attributes, particularly
in the recipe department. This makes it of great interest to
anyone doing a camp cook impression. It also has a pretty compete
glossary of military terms, though they seem to be of largely English
The fact that this was a Beadle's publication makes it of interest,
since it would be very likely to be in the hands of literate
volunteers. The manual was contributed to the Drill Network by
one of our best civilian reenactors, Charlie Venturi, known as the
correspondent in New England Circles. Many thanks, Charlie!
H.L. Scott’s Military Dictionary
This compendium defines every military term in common parlance during
the American Civil War. It is the work of the Making of America
project, a function of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
McClellan's Bayonet Exercise
In 1852, George B. McClellan, than a Captain of Engineers, and just
about to embark on a mission as US military observer of the Crimean
War, submitted a translation of Gomard's manual for bayonet fencing,
which, on the recommendation of General Scott, was adopted as the
bayonet exercise for US troops.
McClellan divided his book into a School of the Soldier, which taught
the basic maneuvers, and Instruction with the Plastron, which taught
the use of these movements in the art of fencing.
The book is now offered here, complete with illustrations and internal links.
Wayne's Sword Exercise
In 1850, Major Henry Wayne, late of the US Military Academy, wrote a
manual of instruction for fencing, with a variety of weapons, based on
his experience as an instructor. It contains instructions for the
short sword, broad sword, sabre, stick and cudgel, and is an invaluable
source for fighting arts without fire-arms in 19th century America.
Note that the original manual was without Table of Contents or an
index, making an easy Navigation tool impossible. Also, many of the
plates were very faint, and difficult to reproduce.
As the Zouave fad increased, and the sectional tensions increased as
well, militia companies became increasingly popular with young
Americans. Many abridged drill manuals were published for this
market, giving us great insight into how the citizen-soldiers were
trained prior to the war.
This manual is instructive both as it provides one of the primary
sources for our system of forming the company, and for its excellent
illustrations, which are reproduced here. The transcription is
now complete, with links in the introduction to help
J. K. Lee was a Virginia militia officer who published his abridgment
of Hardee's adapted for the musket, in 1861, the same time Gilham
published his manual. The Manual comprises a complete infantry drill book, plus a section on Regulations.
The Regulations as to Inspection, Parades, Etc., are probably the most
valuable for the reenactor, as they outline the specific information we
are most likely to need. This section can be found from the links
in the Table of Contents, beginning with “Form of
In 1836, brevet Captain Samuel Cooper, (later to become Adjutant-General of the CSA), at the behest of Major General
Alexander Macomb, Commander in chief of the US Army, prepared a
Volunteers and Militia Manual, combining instructions for the three
arms, as well as other directions from Regulations. This manual
formed the model for Gilham's later work. The infantry section is
a condensation of Scott's, and is now posted complete, with internal
navigation links. We have added the Cavalry and Artillery
sections, and and the transcription is now complete with addition of
the Regulations. It is the best source to study for a sense of how Scott's manual was applied in the US Army.
I particularly recommend "Of the Battalion", which is a most valuable
tool for studying the various Schools of the Battalion, and the
"Regulations", which is a most concise statement of needed information,
particularly in posting guards and sentinels.
This transcription was made by your webmaster from an original copy generously loaned by Alden Whyte.
In the early 19th century, a militia officer and publisher in New
York State, named Paraclete Potter, sought to fill a void. Like many
others, He felt the infantry tactics of the time were arcane, large,
and generallt too confusing for volunteer use.
He set himself the rask of making an abridgement, which is the present
work, published in 1819. The work was well received in its time, but
was soon superceded by General Winfield Scott's own version, the
Abstract of Infantry Tactics. For student of early 19th century
drill, a comparison is well worth the time invested.
This transcription was made from a copy provided graciously by Captain
Timpothy Brown, of the Howell Works Guard, 2nd Company 3rd Regiment,
General Winfield Scott's success in using the French tactics of
Napoleon, most notably in the Niagara Campaign in the War of 1812,
spurred great interest in moving away from the older Prussion based
tactics of von Steuben. Gen. Scott headed a board to transcribe
the Napoleonic manuals
for US Army use, which resulted in the drill manual of 1815.
This manual was considered too extensive and confusing for the militia
officer. Gen. Scott was again named as chairman of a board
condensing or “abstracting” the tactics manual then in use,
for the edification of the militia. This resulted in the
“Abstract of Infantry Tactics”. It contains
many illuminating references
not to be found in other manuals.
Note that this is not an abstract of Scott’s three volume
Infantry Tactics, but a version of the drill tactics which preceded
Scott’s great work. ACW references to
“Scott’s” are never to the Abstract, but to the
Still, the many references to matters which are explained no where else
make this a most valuable resource. The transcription is now
Digest of the U.S. Tactics
This Digest was prepared by William Steffen, for the use of the 44th
Massachusetts Regiment. This is one of the most important manuals
posted here! The U.S. Tactics upon which it was based are
Hardee's, without the crediting the now Confederate General. It
considers all of School of the Battalion with the uninstructed
volunteer officer in mind. It is likewise very valuable for the
reenacting officer. Keep your Hardee's at hand to look up the
Manuals for Cavalry and Artillery
While the Drill Network is largely an infantry based site,
accurate drill is just as important for cavalry and artillery
impressions. Here we present electronic transcriptions of period
manuals for those arms.
Philip St. George Cooke had a relatively quiet Civil War career.
Had it not been for this manual, he would have been best known as
J.E.B. Stuart's father-in-law. In this 1861 publication, Cooke
takes the cavalry from Poinsett's two rank formation, to a single rank
The study of this manual is also of interest to the infantry
student. Upton based much of his 1866 infantry maneuvers upon
Before the war, a young Capt. Joseph Robert’s undertook the
writing of an artillery manual to replace the somewhat outdated
Burns’. He based his work on earlier manuals, and
experiments conducted at Fort Monroe. It was accepted and printed
as the "Hand-Book of Artillery".
By the time the work reached its fifth printing, in 1863,
Robert’s had received a Major’s commission in the Regular
Army, and was a Colonel of Volunteer’s, commanding the 3rd
The work is a “Catechism” or “Webb Lecture” of
artillery, being largely in the form of questions and answers.
There are many tables with much information. There is also a
“Sequel” with drill instructions specifically for heavy
artillery, not often found in the period field artillery manuals.
I must point out that my copy is not the best. Many of the
numbers in the tables were most difficult to make out. I
apologize for errors there, and I hope the text is of use.
In 1859, Captain John Gibbon published his
“Artillerist’s Manual”, intended as a text book for
his students at West Point. In the second edition of 1893,
published here, he included a new section on the relatively new weapon,
the rifled gun.
Gibbon had a distinguished career in the war, rising to the rank of Brigadier General of Volunteer’s.
The work is uploaded in PDF format, requiring the Adobe Acrobat Reader
to view. If the page does not load in your browser, click Here for
, and the free Reader download. There are alternative PDF readers, such as Foxit
, which I find preferable for Windows use. Mac users will find Preview works very well.
The transcription is the work of Jack Melton, and the Drill Network
wishes to thank him for his kind permission to use it here. Click
Below to view his excellent Artillery Site.
Civil War Artillery
With large numbers of troops engaged over large areas, methods of
signalling ore of great importance. Here are links to sites that
present information on various types of signaling.
Starting out as a Field Musician
This is an outstanding synopsis of how to get started well in this area
of the hobby. It is not so simple as to just get a drum and bang
on it! To do it well requires study and practice.
This fine page is provided courtesy of the Georgia Division
This is one article in Jari Villenuev's excellent bugling website.
The article contains may links both to sound files and music.
Check out his full site:
Here is the site for the Signal Corps Association, Reenactors’
Division. (SCARD.) This site has much information on the
proper use of signaling by flags. My thanks to Walt Mathers for
permission to link to the site.
Here is a link to the ANV's page on signaling. Very good information from the world's largest reenactors organization, the ANV
Bruce and Emmett's
This is the quintessential source for signal calls for fife and
drum. Bruce was the drummer, and Emmett, the fifer. Emmett,
by the way, was also the composer of the minstrel show walk-abouts,
"Old Dan Tucker", and "Dixie's Land", and was a virtuoso of the fife,
and a noted martial musician.
(Note, as this book is 90% musical notation, it has been loaded as
images, making for a very slow download. If you do not read
musical notation, it will be of little value.)
Other Links of interest.
Here are several links that are valuable, but do not fit the other headings.
Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861
These were the regulations which governed the U.S. Army during the
ACW. Confederate Regulations were copied from them, making this
an excellent resource for reenactors of both persuasions. It is
the work of the Making of America project, a function of the Andrew W.
Parade, Inspection and the Basic Evolutions
Here you can view the forward to this modern guide for the reenactor,
by Dom Dal Bello, plus ordering information. All officers
and NCO’s should own a copy. If you prefer its available on Amazon:
Ist Division, ANV
The parent organiztion of the Liberty Greys!
Living History Association
This is an excellent reenactor source. Take a look at their modern safety manuals for various time periods.
Gilham's or Hardee's
A good examination of the case for making Hardee's tha standard of
drill for ACW Confederate reenactors. It is based on the Which Manual
artcle linked here as well. It written by a reenactor in the
UK. See the main site here:
American Civil War Society (UK
Silas' Library of Links
An excellent set of links, including many fine articles by Silas
himself. Take a look see! Tell him the Drill Network sent
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