Volume Number: 14 Issue Number: 2 Date: April 2003
History of Carthage
During July 5, 1861 while America was in conflict with itself, 2 regiments of Union troops clashed in desperate combat with an army of pro-southern Missouri state guardsmen at the small town of Carthage in southwest Missouri. The historical value of this small but fierce engagement has been overlooked, discarded as "backwoods farmers shooting at each other." Although this engagement had no effect on the overall outcome of the war, it defined the moment when the pro-southern men of Missouri would no longer run from their enemy. The long and desperate struggle for our state was beginning, and the town of Carthage was about to be devastated by a whirlwind of destruction.
On June 17,1861 Clayborne Jackson, the Missouri governor in exile, led a force of pro-southern Missouri State Guards out of Booneville MO after a quick sharp fight with Union General Nathaniel Lyon's troops that sent the southern boys running from the Union cannons. With this embarrassment, Governor Jackson decided to move the Missouri State Guard to the southwest corner of Missouri for more organization and training.
In Springfield MO, Union General Thomas Sweeny established his headquarters and received orders from Lyon to cut off Jackson's retreat. Sweeny ordered a detachment of troops to find Jackson's southern army. This federal force was made up of the 3rd Missouri volunteer infantry, commanded by Colonel Franz Sigel, and the 5th Missouri volunteer infantry under Colonel Charles Solomon with the support of 2 artillery batteries totaling 8 guns. If everything went according to Gen. Lyons plan, the MSG would be caught in a pincer movement with Lyon's men chasing them south, and Sigel's men blocking the way. However, heavy rains delayed Lyon's advance and large numbers of Union troops were unable to cross the swollen Osage and Marmaton rivers. Until the waters receded Sigel's small force would face Jackson's army alone.
Sigel linked up with Solomon and marched north to Carthage on July 4 with 1100 troopers. Most if not all of Sigel’s men wore a grey colored uniform and wide brimmed hats. "Union blue" versus "Confederate grey," at this early stage of the war was not an established color code. ILL fed, poorly armed, and dressed in their everyday civilian clothes, most of the MSG, about 2000 of Governor Jackson's estimated 6000 men, had no weapons at all. Only a few of the state guard units were well armed and somewhat uniformed. Most of the guardsmen had only civilian hunting rifles and shotguns. Colonel Sigel's infantry however, were equipped with .69 caliber muskets which had been rifled to fire the new minie bullet which was far more accurate than a round ball.
On July 5, 1861 at 4:00 am, the MSG broke camp and trudged south toward Carthage with Governor Jackson riding at the head of the column. His army consisted of 2000 infantry, 3500 cavalry, and 7 artillery pieces along with the 2000 unarmed recruits.
Meanwhile Colonel Sigil’s 950 foot sore infantry men fell into formation and marched through Carthage with 8 cannons and 32 supply wagons moving slowly behind the advancing troops. Heading north, Sigel’s columns struggled to cross Spring River, Buck Branch, and Dry Fork without getting their cartridges wet.
They had traveled about 9 miles when suddenly gunfire erupted in their front bringing the yanks to a halt. This was cavalry under the command of Joseph Shelby which was the vanguard of Jackson's force. The MSG was in a battle line that stretched across a rising slope of open prairie for nearly a mile. In the center of this battle line flew the old style Missouri state flag, a blue field with a gold state seal in the middle. On either side of the line flew the "stars and bars", the new national colors of the Confederacy. Sigel boldly deployed his troops in the face of his overwhelming enemy and ordered the artillery to open fire.
At 8:30 am the gun batteries of Captain Essig and Wilkins began blasting holes in the line of militia. Yet the MSG was tired of running and reformed their lines and stood their ground. Captain Hiram Bledsoe's 3 gun MSG battery returned fire with deadly accuracy. This artillery duel lasted for half an hour, then Sigel observed enemy cavalry in the distance moving south on both flanks of his line. Unknown to Sigel, these men were the unarmed recruits sent to create the appearance of a tactical threat. Nevertheless, armed cavalry such as Shelby's Rangers were in fact trying to outflank the Union line. Sigel felt compelled to withdraw toward Carthage before he was surrounded and cut off from his supply train 3 miles in the rear. Sigel began to withdraw, relying on his artillery to slow the encircling cavalry and advancing infantry of the MSG. One such delaying action occurred at Dry Fork also known as Bear Creek. On reaching the south bank of the stream, Sigel ordered a small rear guard to cover the withdraw of his main force. After crossing the creek, several companies o of Union infantry, with 3 cannon under Essig, formed line of battle and opened fire on the opposite bank. Captain Bledsoe ordered up his artillery and his guns were rapidly unlimbered and began blasting away at the grey colored federals across the stream. The rebel infantry advanced into the trees and underbrush lining the creek hoping to force their way across. Just then, they came under heavy fire as they found themselves 50 yards away from their foes at various points. Bledsoe had to personally man an artillery piece for many of his men were becoming casualties. After 2 hours of intense action, the yanks withdrew to rejoin the column in the retreat toward Carthage. Many, if not most of the days wounded and dead fell along the banks of Dry Fork Creek.
Further south at another stream called Buck Branch, the MSG cavalry nearly trapped the retreating yanks by blocking the lane to Carthage. Union Lt Colonel Francis Hassendeubel ordered his men to fix bayonets and reported to Sigel of his intention to charge the enemy. The breakthrough would have to occur quickly as the enemy was rapidly approaching. Hassendeubel and 3 companies of the 3rd Missouri charged with bayonets gleaming across the shallow waters of Buck Branch and up the south bank straight toward the rebel cavalry. The horsemen scattered leaving a gap for the Union column to escape south.
The battle continued with actions at Ornduff Hill, now Quarry Hill, and at the crossing of Spring River where there is a legend that says the Union artillery-men saw it necessary to abandon 2 cannon pieces. Tradition says the federals hidden the pieces on an island in the river to prevent their capture.
During this phase of the engagement, Colonel Sigel set up a temporary command post within Carthage at the Hood home. The storm of battle soon erupted in the streets as civilians ran for cover from the nightmare unfolding before them. Brigadier General William Y. Slack, commander of the 4th Division, Missouri State Guard, gave a vivid report of the action within the town:
“In the town of Carthage the enemy took his next position, taking shelter in and behind houses, walls, and fences. This stand of the enemy was an obstinate one, dealing shot and shell freely from their batteries into our ranks. Colonel Hughes' command, under his direction, and that of Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard and Major Thornton, was brought in close proximity to the enemy's lines, when a deadly fire was opened upon them by our infantry. The enemy retired in great haste from his position in town, being hotly pursued by Colonel Hughes' command, a constant fire being kept up."
During the rebel advance through town the Union column had to abandon one of their supply wagons to the enemy. The southeastern outskirts of town saw the last major action of the day in the vicinity of where the yanks had camped the night before at the present location of the Battle of Carthage State Park.
Finally at nightfall, the darkness allowed Colonel Sigel to break contact with Governor Jackson's MSG army and retreat another 18 miles southeast to the town of Sarcoxie. The Union losses were, 13 killed and 31 wounded, 5 of whom were captured while Jackson's forces had 35 killed, 125 wounded, and 45 captured. It is also important to remember that the Battle of Carthage or Dry Fork preceded the Battle of Bull Run, VA by more than 2 weeks.
Although the battle was over, the town of Carthage would endure more conflicts throughout the war as well as the hardships of the bitter guerilla war. In September 1862 a short but violent skirmish occurred between a detachment of Federal 4th Missouri State Militia under Major G.W. Kelly and a guerilla band led by a man named Jackman. The fight was fast and hot until the guerrillas began to disperse. One Union and a private were killed and 6 federals were captured with their horses. Captain Roecker with Major Kelly's command had a hand to hand fight with one guerrilla, finally killing him.
An account of a skirmish in Carthage during the summer of 1863 was described by a local veteran, George Walker, a Confederate participant in the action. He recalled how he and 9 other new cavalry recruits rode into town with Captain James Petty to surprise 6 Union militiamen that were eating dinner at a home near the southwest corner of the square. As soon as they galloped up a Union soldier drew a pistol and shot Captain Petty in the head and he fell from his horse dead. Suddenly, over 30 yanks swarmed out of the building blasting away at their shocked attackers who soon retreated. George Walker was the last to retreat and he received a shot through the arm as he rode away.
Later that summer a garrison of Union militia stationed at Carthage set up camp and prepared the 2 story brick courthouse as a Union fort. One day while the militia was absent, guerrillas under Colonel Craven entered the town and burned the courthouse and the Carthage Academy, the only other large brick building in town at that time.
During Shelby's raid of 1863, his force was finally turned back at Marshall MO and with the Union in close pursuit he started to withdraw south to Arkansas. On October 17 Shelby and his men reached Carthage and set up camp just north of town on the Kindrick farm which still stands today. A battalion of cavalrymen who lived in the Carthage locale received permission from Shelby to occupy the town itself that night. At dawn on the 18th, Shelby and his men awoke at the sounds of artillery and gunfire coming form the direction of town. A Union cavalry force commanded by General Thomas Ewing surprised the Confederates in Carthage and captured 30 men. Shelby dispatched 5 companies to hold Ewing in check while his main force escaped south. The rebs succeeded in holding the Federals back for one half hour of bloody and violent action in and around the town until the confederates retreated to rejoin the main column. Unfortunately there are no records of numbers of casualties in the action of October 18, which is referred to as the 2nd Battle of Carthage.
At dusk on July 21,1864 a company of 30 Union Missouri Militia were grazing their horses in a field outside of town, just east of the Battle of Carthage State Park, when they were suddenly ambushed by a large group of guerrillas.
Union Lieutenant Brice Henry was killed along with 4 of his men. If you stand in the courthouse square of Carthage, its hard to imagine the days of dirt roads and wagon teams. The day the bullets would have whizzed by your head from the desperate conflict fought in those very streets. If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the thunder of guns and cries of the wounded, until a car passes by and brings your thoughts back to present times.
I feel as Missouri reenactors, we have taken upon ourselves to not only represent the common soldier, but to educate and interact with the peoples of Missouri through conversations and demonstrations. We need to be able to answer questions confidently because we are the true educator of the American Civil War, not the classroom teacher or the speech makers and definitely not our political leaders, but we who have a true love and respect for those times in our hearts.
We must remember that the men we represent at the reenactment of the Battle of Carthage, our beloved Missouri State Guardsmen, would later go on to join in the 1st and 2nd Missouri Confederate Brigades and fight in some the most violent engagements of the war. We should be proud of our Missouri Confederates for the bravery they shown at Carthage and all of the fields of death that were strewn with so many of our states heroic dead.
Submitted by Pvt David Abernathy
Company mess at Carthage
The 5th will be having a company mess at Carthage. The cost per person will depend on the amount of people in the mess. If you’d like to be a part of it, please contact me or Sam Hafley ASAP so we can determine the cost. Contact us by emailing me or dad at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 573-859-6948.
Submitted by Joe Hafley
Directions to Carthage
From north off of Highway 71, take the civil war road exit (before any of the Carthage exits) and make a right and go about a 1.5 miles. The event site is at Civil War Ranch Arena (right side of road).
From I-44, take exit 18b and proceed North on highway 71 (pass all the Carthage exits) and turn on the next exit, Civil War road. Turn left and go about 1.5 miles. The Civil War Ranch Arena is on the right side of the road.
Captain Kimmel and Gentlemen of the Battalion:
January Meeting Report(update)
Fifth Missouri CSA Inc Board Meeting minutes
Meeting held January 11 2003
Location: Masonic Lodge in California MO
The meeting was called to order at 12:53 hrs with all board members present.
The board approved the reduction of old Fifth Missouri T-shirt cost to $5 per shirt.
The board approved the donation of $200 dollars to the National battlefield of Vicksburg for preservation.
The purchase of 25 cans of black powder and 24 tins of caps was approved.
Meeting adjourned at 13:04 hrs.
Fifth Missouri annual company Meeting minutes
Meeting held January 11 2003
Location: Masonic Lodge in California MO
The meeting was called to order at 10:25 hrs by President Steve Fink with a quorum of membership present.
Election of Corporate Officers:
Vice President: Mike White elected by acclamation
Secretary \ Treasure Position: Larry Dietzel elected acclamation
Treasures report given:
As of 12-31-02 the company has $2.408.13 a profit of $154.63 for the year of 2002.
Company Gear is in order and accounted for as per Mike White
Company Officers and NCOs elections:
Captain nominations were; Steve Fink and Larry Dietzel
Larry Dietzel was elected.
Lieutenant nominations were; Steve Fink and Clint Crane
Steve Fink elected
1st Sergeant Nominations were; Clint Crane, Alan Bowling, Sam Hafley
Sam Hafley was elected.
: 2nd Sergeant Nominations were; Clint Crane, Dave Plowman, Alan Bowling
Clint Crane was elected.
Corporal nominations were; Dave Plowman, Mike White, Mike Hamilton, Travis Tackett
Dave Plowman was elected.
2003 Events approved:
April 4-5 Battalion Drill
May 2-3 Carthage MO
June no (date set) Live fire
July 4-5-6 Gettysburg Pa
Sept. 20-21 Lone Jack MO
October 18-19 Warsaw MO
November 1 2 Osceola MO
There was a motion for the unit to donate $200 for preservation to the National Vicksburg Battlefield approved.
Todd Conner’s request for equipment and members of his unit to fall in with company at Gettysburg reenactment was approved as long as equipment is available.
The unit has leftover T shirts and the cost was reduced to $5 per shirt.
Need of better communication was brought up.
Messenger editor job is open. (Job taken)
Safety issues, Musket care knowledge of drill etc. by Crane
New recruits, every one should try to get at least one new person in to the unit.
Support SCVA events do more marker dedications etc.
Next meeting spring drill April 4-5
Meting adjourned at 12:502003 Dues Notice
Individual & Family membership ($12 & MCWRA $10) = $22.00
Make checks payable to:
FIFTH MISSOURI INFANTRY (CSA), INC
920 West Broadway
Columbia, MO 65203
140th Gettysburg Anniversary Reenactment. FEE is coming due!
Largest Civil War Reenactment of the Decade
July 4, 5, 6, 2003 - Gettysburg, PA
Let’s get out money in as soon as possible if you want to attend this event. As you can read the price will be going up quite quickly. Make your Checks out to the Fifth Missouri infantry and the company will make one payment. Registration fees are $10.00 for individuals if registered before March 15th 2003- $15.00 March 15th 2003 until May 1st 2003- $25.00 May 1st 2003 until June 1st, 2003.
Due to the size, scope and planning necessary for this huge event, no registrations will be accepted after June 1st, 2003 and no walk-ons will be permitted.
No "substitution" for pre-registered reenactors will be permitted after the June 1st, 2003 deadline for registration. Absolutely no walk-on substitutions will be permitted.
Proof of identification through presentation of a Photo ID is required at the time of registration. Children without Photo ID must be identified by parent or legal guardian.
Submitted by Captain Larry Dietzel
Navy Arms musket caps tin of 250 selling for the cost of $7.00 each.
Membership Roster March 2003
190 Pvt Abernathy, David Rt. 1 Linn, MO 65051
W- Horan, Stacy W-Civ Andrew
154 Pvt Bowling, Alan 400 S. Brookline Columbia MO 65203-5610
(573)442-9489 email@example.com W- Civ Bowling, Ann
183 Pvt Burton, Richard 39838 Maries Rd. 634 Dixon MO 65459
182 Vet Res Cauthen, Mike 6115 Main St. Kansas City, MO 64113
132 2nd Sgt Crane, Clint 3209 Shoemaker Dr Columbia MO 65202
W-Civ Crane, Connie W-Civ Crane, Schelby W-Civ Crane, Zack
138 Capt Dietzel, Larry 920 West Broadway Columbia MO 65203
W-Civ Dietzel, Nora Singnora@mchsi.com
W-Civ Dietzel, Vaughan W-Civ Dietzel, Evan
153 1st Lt Fink, Steve 7935 Holmes Rd Kansas City MO 64131
W-Civ Fink, Becki W-Civ Fink, Braxton W-Civ Fink, Chelsea
56 1st Sgt Hafley, Sam HCR 2 Box 150 Belle MO 65013
56bVet Res Hafley, Greg firstname.lastname@example.org
56a Pvt Hafley, Joe email@example.com
56c Rec Hafley, Jason firstname.lastname@example.org
137 Pvt Hamilton, Mike 713 East 10th Street Sedalia MO 65301
129 Cpl Plowman, David 310 W 5th St Sedalia MO 65301
93 Rec Shane, Stear 15 Piedmont Park O'Fallon MO 63366
144 Pvt White, Mike 31975 Jacket Factory Rd California MO 65401
13 Vet Res Yoakum, Steve, Jeff, Michael 4802 Thornbrook Ridge Columbia, MO 65203 (573)455-6936 email@example.com
194 Rec Bullock, Dave P.O. Box 2532 Lake Ozark, MO 65409
1 Vet Res Bill Wayne 413 S.E. Y Hwy Warrensburg, MO 64093
Submitted by Capt. Larry Dietzel
In the latter part of the civil war, the confederacy adopted a new national flag known as the “Stainless Banner”. The flag was predominantly white, with the stars and bars tucked into the upper left hand corner. The designers claimed to have modeled the pennant on that of France’s bourbon dynasty. Confederate naval commanders, however, detested the flag as it often mistaken as a sign of surrender when flying from their masts. About a month before Appomattox, the confederate congress added a red bar to the banner’s right hand side, to reduce the confusion.
Spring Drill Report
Spring Drill was held on April 4th and 5th, 2003 at Mike White’s place in California, MO.
Dad and I arrived Friday night around 9 pm to find Alan Bowling and Mike White present. Later that night Dave Bullock showed up. Everyone else came in early Saturday Morning. There were 18 members present on Saturday and 6 people with interest. The members at roll call were: Captain Larry Dietzel, 1st Sgt. Sam Hafley, 2nd Sgt. Clint Crane, and Corporal Plowman. The Privates present were Dave Abernathy, Alan Bowling, Joe Hafley, Mike Hamilton, Shane Stear, and Steve Yoakum.
The New recruits of the 5th are: Rec. Schnell, Jeff Yoakum, Michael Yoakum, and Dave Bullock. Let’s make them feel welcome and assist them with any questions that they may have about reenacting and safety.
Saturday consisted of drilling the new recruits by 2nd Sgt. Crane and Corporal Plowman. Also we had drills of the basic formations and also skirmisher drills. The spring drill ended on Saturday night when about everyone left because of the oncoming rain and cold night and Sunday. Hopefully Carthage will be warmer, which it should be for May. See Ya at Carthage!!!
Submitted by Joe Hafley
Cleaning the musket - part 1
Some of you older members of the 5th may remember I have written on this subject in past issues of the Messenger. However as it has been a while and we have new members. I think it may be appropriate to address this issue again. By way of qualification may I say that though I don’t claim to be an expert I have been shooting and cleaning muzzle loading arms since about 1970 both percussion and flintlock. Basically there are three reasons why we as re-enactors should devote time and effort to cleaning and caring for our muskets.
The first and foremost is safety. If a musket is dirty it is more likely that after repeated firings an ember will remain in the breach to ignite a charge as it is poured down the barrel. In 1995 at Springhill, TN, I witnessed this very thing in the ranks of the 5th. A gentleman who was not a member of the 5th but had fallen in with us had this happen during the battle. He was in the rear rank right behind me. The resulting discharge blew my hat off and peppered the back of my neck with hot powder grains it also badly burned and blistered the fingers on the hand with which he was holding the cartridge over the muzzle. (A good reason to be careful not to get any part of your hand over the muzzle while charging.) Also as fouling builds up in the breach and flash channel it will not let some or perhaps any of the fire from the musket cap reach the main charge this can result in a hang-fire or a misfire. While this is bad enough there is a more dangerous side effect to this. When the fire from the cap is restricted or prevented from going through to the breach the cap pressure has to go somewhere. This results in the copper or brass body of the percussion cap being fragmented and these fragments are usually thrown to the side with enough force that they can draw blood when they strike you or a man in the rank on either side of you. I know of one instance at Jefferson Barracks a few years ago in which a re-enactor was struck in the eye by a cap fragment and lost partial sight in that eye! ENOUGH SAID!!
The second reason is to preserve the value of your investment. Perhaps some more wealthy than I may disagree but the purchase of a reproduction musket represents a fairly significant outlay of money. Black powder fouling is corrosive and if a musket is left uncared for it will cause rust. This will at least lower the value of your musket should you decide to sell or trade it for another and if allowed to progress can impair proper functioning altogether.
The third reason is authenticity. We are trying to represent to the public the clothing, equipment and conditions of the Civil War soldier. Some time ago I was a sergeant in the US Army Infantry and I would never let any of my men get away with having a dirty rusty weapon. While I’m not quite old enough to have served with Pap Price I believe the army, whether 1775, 1865, or 1965 hasn’t changed much on this. Also, no soldier in his right mind is going to neglect an instrument with which in a battle his very life may be endangered if it fails to function. I am not just speaking about cleaning and caring for the bore and lock internals of the musket though this is of primary importance, but also of the exterior of the weapon as well. Some will point to surviving originals on which rust pits and a grayish brown rust patina is to be seen as evidence that this is how they looked in 1863. To this I say Bunk!
That rust and pitting is the result of the 40 or 50 or more years they spent neglected in some closet, attic or basement well after the Civil War when they were nothing but old obsolete guns with no value.
I quote a passage from a book written by Leander Stillwell entitled “The Story of a Common Soldier“. Mr. Stillwell lived on a farm near Alton , Illinois and in late 1861 at age 18 enlisted in the 61st Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
The 61st fought at Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, and Vicksburg and then later in Arkansas and finally portions of the regiment finished the war near Macon, Missouri. The regiment was initially issued Austrian Lorenz rifle muskets and in 1863 received Springfield’s. Mr. Stillwell served to the end of the war and rose from private to Lieutenant.
He wrote this book in later years from letters he wrote home that his had mother preserved.
It has been reprinted by Time-Life Books. On pages 90 and 91 he says “About the only drawback resulting from our being caught out in the summer rains was the fact that the water would rust our muskets. In our time we were required to keep all their metal parts (except the butt plate) as bright and shining as new silver dollars. I have put in many an hour working on my gun with an old rag and powdered dirt, and a corncob, or pine stick, polishing the barrel, the bands, lock-plate, and trigger guard until they were fit to pass inspection. The inside of the barrel we would keep clean by use of a greased wiper and plenty of hot water. In doing this we would ordinarily, with our screwdrivers, take the gun to pieces and remove from the stock all metallic parts. I never had any head for machinery, of any kind, but, from sheer necessity, did acquire enough of the faculty to take apart, and put together, an army musket, - and that is about the full extent of my ability in that line. We soon learned to take care of our pieces in a rain by thoroughly greasing them with a piece of bacon, which would largely prevent rust from striking in.” While this is a Federal unit I hardly think the officers and NCOs in Confederate service were any less professional in performing their duties. I will quote again from Mr. Stillwell. This on page 45 of the above mentioned book. This takes place at Shiloh and the author is speaking of Confederate troops “Suddenly on our right, there was a long wavy flash of bright light, then another and another! It was the sunlight shining on gun barrels and bayonets- and- there they are at last a long brown line with muskets at right shoulder shift.” I hardly think rusty barrels or bayonets are going to reflect sunlight in that manner. As you can see from this those re-enactors who use three band Enfields with blued barrels and brass mounts are going to have it easier but even a blued barrel will rust if neglected and brass will tarnish.
Part 2 next month.
Submitted by Alan Bowling
Wanting Rides for Gettysburg
Dave Abernathy, Stacy Horan and Andrew are looking for a ride to Gettysburg. They want to catch a ride with someone leaving around Thursday, July 3, 2003 and getting back on Monday, July 7th, 2003. If anyone knows anybody that fits the time frame, please contact Dave Abernathy at 573-897-0305 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks. Joe HafleyCompany Drill
From time to time I plan on writing articles for the Messenger on some aspect of drill.
This is not meant as a criticism of anyone but as a way of standardizing our drill practices and helping the 5th look sharp at drill as from accounts I have read the original members of the Missouri Brigade were known for their sharp drill. At our recent Spring Drill I noticed there was some confusion on conducting the inspection of arms. Particularly the proper way for a soldier to give and take his musket to and from the inspecting officer or NCO. That is my topic for this article.
Assuming the company is formed in two ranks and at “in place rest” the commands will be:
Attention - Company
At this command the company will come to attention and assume the position of order arms. The next commands are:
Shoulder - Arms
To the rear open order - March
The company will come to shoulder arms and after the second preparatory command the officer or NCO will pause. At this time the Covering (First) Sergeant and the Second Sergeant will take four paces to the rear and halt. At the command “March” the rear rank of the company will step off to the rear and dress on the Second Sergeant. The Covering Sergeant will insure that the rear rank is properly dressed and aligned. When the officer or NCO in charge sees that the rear rank is properly aligned he will give the command:
On this command the Second Sergeant will return to his place in the front rank. The First Sergeant will post himself one pace behind the inspecting officer and make notes of any deficiencies that the officer finds. However if the inspecting officer wishes to expedite the inspection he may direct a lieutenant or the First Sergeant to inspect the muskets of the rear rank. Also at this point the inspecting officer may direct the rear rank to execute an about face however the drill manuals I have consulted are silent on this and it would not normally be done at a formal parade or inspection. The next commands are:
Order - Arms
Inspection - Arms
At the first command the company will of course assume the position of order arms. At the second command each soldier will bring his piece in front of him with the barrel facing front and the butt between his feet. Then grasping the piece at the upper band with his right hand will with his left hand draw his bayonet from its scabbard bring it up and fix it to the muzzle of his musket. The soldier then draws the rammer using the same procedure as is used in the “draw rammers” command of the load in nine times drill. Next the soldier places the rammer in the muzzle tip first and lets it slide down the bore until it rests on the face of the breech. The rammer should not be dropped or “sprung” in such a manner as to bounce or ring on the breech of the musket. This completed the soldier again assumes the position of order arms. At this point the inspector will pass down the ranks from right to left and inspect each soldier’s musket. As the inspecting officer halts in front of a soldier, and this is where I have seen we have no uniformity, the soldier should bring his piece in front of him with his right hand at the same time turning the piece so that the lock plate faces front and lifting the piece high enough so that he may grasp the musket with his left hand just below the lower band.
The soldier then drops his right hand to his side and raises the musket with his left hand until the hand is level with his chin. The lock plate should be facing front and the musket held in front of the soldier’s left eye. The inspector should take the piece by the wrist of the stock in his right hand and inspect it. As soon as the inspector takes the musket the soldier will drop his left hand to his side. The inspector will return the musket to the soldier in basically the same position in which it was taken. That is the piece vertical and lock plate facing front. The soldier will take the musket back with his right hand and place it at the position of order arms. When the inspector has halted in front of the next soldier in the rank the soldier will bring the musket in front of himself with the barrel to the front and butt between his feet. Then draw the rammer, return it to the slot under the barrel and go back to the position of order arms. The bayonet remains fixed. If after all muskets have been inspected the officer or NCO in charge wishes to conduct an inspection of cartridge boxes the command is:
At this the soldier will bring his left hand across his body, grasp the musket, and with his right hand pull the leather tab on the cartridge box lid off the lug then return to the position of order arms. When inspection are completed the commands are:
Shoulder - Arms
Close order - March
At the first command the company will come to the shoulder and at the second the rear rank will march to the front and take their normal interval behind the front rank.
Just remember give your musket to the inspector with the left hand and take it back with the right hand.
1. Hardee’s Light Infantry & Rifle Tactics Vol. 1, School of the Company, 1855 edition, by William J. Hardee
2. Parade, Inspection, and Basic Evolutions of the Infantry Battalion, 3rd edition, by Dominic Dal Bello.
3. Volunteers Handbook, 1861 edition, by James K. Lee.
Alan Bowling Co A 5th MO Infty