SEEING THE ELEPHANT-PART 7
Well, Pard and I talked like long lost brothers all the way home. The four hour ride seemed like a 20 minute ride in the country. We told each other our life’s stories and I asked if he really could help our unit get better. He assured me he could help. So we decided to organize a drill.
It took about 2 ½ months to get a drill organized at a local state park. We were allowed to camp out on the park property as long as we made our camp available to the park attendees to come and ask questions and see how 19th Century soldiers operated. We set up camp on a Friday night with tents, a fire and all the comforts of home. Saturday morning Pard had us up and out in full gear. All my equipment had arrived and I had all the paraphernalia required of a Civil War reenactor.
Pard puts us through maneuvers such as going from a column of fours to a company battle line and then back to a column of fours. This maneuver is used quite often and is a basic ingredient in Hardee’s Tactics, which was the bible for Southern units during the Civil War and still is the bible for maneuver for Civil War Reenacting units. We also learned Charge Bayonets, Guard against Cavalry, Skirmish Drill, and how to fire our muskets so it sounds like one shot going off. We spent the morning going over these drills and picked up a new recruit that visited our camp. We outfitted him and he became one of our members.
We broke for lunch and then proceeded to drill during part of the afternoon. By the end of the day we had become proficient and were really establishing Esprit de Corps for our unit. We began to have an élan, which is confidence a premier unit displays when they know what they are doing.
Well, our unit was now ready for the next reenactment. We just needed a commander to lead us. Chris, who I had charged the Union line with at Prairie Grove, was about to surprise us with a veteran commander.