CHRISTMAS SEASON ON CAMPAIGN-PART 6

CHRISTMAS SEASON ON CAMPAIGN-PART 6

Anyway we fall in for drill. Our company is down to about 30 men from the original amount of about 50. We line up in two ranks. The tall men are toward the front of the line and the short men are at the end of line. I am on the front rank and the second one from the end of the line. Now you know why they call me Shorty. Jim Hill is sort of short also and is actually behind me in the second rank, but Phil and Bill are taller and are located toward the front of the line.

We begin drill with just the manual of arms to get the new recruits used to moving their musket from Order Arms to Shoulder Arms to Right Shoulder Shift and back to Order Arms. We veterans in the ranks are eyeballing the recruits to see if any of them are so clumsy as to be unsafe. Gratefully, they all handled their muskets well and showed that they have been around firearms for most of their lives.

Then the fun starts. We start drilling going from two ranks to right face, which are columns of men four abreast. This is a difficult feat for someone who has been behind a plow most of his life, but the recruits get the gist of it. We then do some complicated maneuvers that really befuddle the recruits. Once we finish after about an hour and a half, they were starting to learn what they needed to do to keep from getting run over by us veterans.

We finally break and return to camp for hopefully word that we could go to the quartermaster for an issue of vittles.

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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