School of the Soldier - 1

School of the Soldier

 

Preface

The individual instruction of the soldier is the foundation upon which the structure of the army rests. If it is complete, the operations of the army, aided by military science, may be calculated with mathematical accuracy; and unless it is carried to a certain point at least, the management on an army is a mere matter of chance, and success the result only of fortuitous circumstances.

 

Heretofore the enlisted soldier has been dependent upon tradition for knowledge of his specific duties; for justice he has been at the mercy of his superiors.

 

This manual has been designed to place the knowledge in the hands of the enlisted trooper, to help in his duties, and if desirous, to rise in rank and responsibility.

 

The Soldier
The soldier commands respect in proportion to his capacity and length of service. A youth of military pride and bearing, who wears his uniform with neatness and grace, and does his duty faithfully and with energy and determination, deserves admiration, and generally receives it; but the veteran whose scars and wounds are the reminders of many battles, and whose numerous service-chevrons and gray hairs mark a life devoted to the service of his country, chains the listening ear of the citizen to the story of his heroic life, and the greatest chieftain will raise his hat in respect to return his punctilious salute.

 

In the fullest sense, any man or woman in the military who receives pay, whether sworn in or not, is a soldier, because he/she is subject to military law. Under this general head, laborers, washerwomen, teamsters, Sutlers, chaplains, etc. are soldiers. In a more limited sense, a private soldier is a man enlisted in the military service to serve in the cavalry, infantry, or artillery. He is said to be enlisted when he has been examined, his duties of obedience explained to him, and after he has taken the prescribed oath.

 

“Any male person above the age of sixteen, being at least five feet three inches high; effective, able-bodied, sober, free from disease, of good character and habits, and with a competent knowledge of the English language, may be enlisted as a soldier.” (Reg. 929) This regulation makes exceptions for musicians, and grandfathers those who have served one enlistment and may be under the prescribed height.

 

In the case of a minor under the age of eighteen, the written consent of the parents or guardian must be appended.

 

The term of enlistment in this regiment is two years. A service-chevron will be awarded for each enlistment period achieved, and are to be worn on the right sleeve.

 

 

 

The “Typical” Johnny Reb

From the Confederate Veteran, Volume I, No. 12, Nashville, TN, Dec. 1893


Nearly thirty-three years have passed since the alarm of war called from their peaceful pursuits the citizens who were to make name and fame as Confederate soldiers. The stirring scenes and the dreadful carnage of a memorable conflict have been removed by the lapse of time into the hazy past, and a new generation, however ready it may be to honor those who fought the battles of the South, is likely to form its idea of their appearance from the conventional military type. The Confederate soldier was not an ordinary soldier, either in appearance or character. With your permission I will undertake to draw a portrait of him as he really appeared in the hard service of privation and danger.

 

A face browned by exposure and heavily bearded, or for some weeks unshaven, begrimed with dust and sweat, and marked here and there by the darker stains of powder - a face whose stolid and even melancholy composure is easily broken into ripples of good humor or quickly flushed in the fervor and abandon of the charge; a frame tough and sinewy, and trained by hardship to surprising powers of endurance; a form, the shapeliness of which is hidden by its encumberments, suggesting in its careless and unaffected pose a languorous indisposition to exertion, yet a latent, lion-like strength and a terrible energy of action when aroused. Around the upper part of the face is a fringe of unkempt hair, and above this an old wool hat, worn and weather-beaten, the flaccid brim of which falls limp upon the shoulders behind, and is folded back in front against the elongated and crumpled crown. Over a soiled shirt, which is unbuttoned and button less at the collar, is a ragged grey jacket that does not reach to the hips, with sleeves some inches too short. Below this, trousers of a nondescript color, without form and almost void, are held in place by a leather belt, to which is attached the cartridge box that rests behind the right hip, and the bayonet scabbard which dangles on the left. Just above the ankles each trouser leg is tied closely to the limb - a la Zouave - and beneath reaches of dirty socks disappear in a pair of badly used and curiously contorted shoes. Between the jacket and the waistband of the trousers, or the supporting belt, there appears a puffy display of cotton shirt which works out further with every hitch made by Johnny in his effort to keep his pantaloons in place. Across his body from his left shoulder there is a roll of threadbare blanket, the ends tied together resting on or falling below the right hip. This blanket is Johnny's bed. Whenever he arises he takes up his bed and walks, within this roll is a shirt, his only extra article of clothing. In action the blanket roll is thrown further back, and the cartridge is drawn forward, frequently in front of the body. From the right shoulder, across the body pass two straps, one cloth the other leather, making a cross with blanket roll on breast and back. These straps support respectively a greasy cloth haversack and a flannel-covered canteen, captured from the Yankees. Attached to the haversack strap is a tin cup, while in addition to some odds and ends of camp trumpery, there hangs over his back a frying pan, an invaluable utensil with which the soldier would be loath to part.

 

 

 

 

With his trusty gun in hand - an Enfield rifle, also captured from the enemy and substituted for the old flint-lock musket or the shotgun with which he was originally armed - Johnny reb, thus imperfectly sketched, stands in his shreds and patches a marvelous ensemble - picturesque, grotesque, unique - the model citizen soldier, the military hero of the nineteenth century. There is none of the tinsel or trappings of the professional about him. From an esthetic military point of view he must appear a sorry looking soldier. But Johnny is not one of your dress parade soldiers. He doesn't care a copper whether anybody likes his looks or not. He is the most independent soldier that ever belonged to an organized army. He has respect for authority, and he cheerfully submits to discipline, because he sees the necessity of organization to affect the best results, but he maintains his individual autonomy, as it were, and never surrenders his sense of personal pride and responsibility. He is thoroughly tractable, if properly officered, and is always ready to obey necessary orders, but he is quick to resent any official incivility, and is a high private who feels, and is, every inch as good as a general. He may appear ludicrous enough on a display occasion of the holiday pomp and splendor of war, but place him where duty calls, in the imminent deadly breach or the perilous charge, and none in all the armies of the earth can claim a higher rank or prouder record. He may be outré and ill-fashioned in dress, but he has sublimated his poverty and rags. The worn and faded grey jacket, glorified by valor and stained with the life blood of its wearer, becomes, in its immortality of association, a more splendid vestment than mail of medieval knight or the rarest robe of royalty. That old, weather-beaten slouch hat, seen as the ages will see it, with its halo of fire, through the smoke of battle, is a kinglier covering than a crown. Half clad, half armed, often half fed, without money and without price, the Confederate soldier fought against the resources of the world. When at last his flag was furled and his arms were grounded in defeat, the cause for which he had struggled was lost, but he had won the faceless victory of soldiership.

 

Duties of the Soldier

 

Deportment and Military Courtesy

One of the first things a soldier has to learn on entering the army, is a proper deportment towards his superiors in rank; this is nothing more than the military way of performing the courtesies required from a well-bred man in civil life, an a punctual performance of them is a much to his credit as the observance of the ordinary rules of common politeness.

 

When a soldier without arms, or with side arms only, meets an officer, he is to raise his right hand to the right side of the visor of his cap, palm to the front, elbow raised as high as the shoulder, looking at the same time in a respectful and soldier-like manner at the officer, who will return the compliment thus offered.

 

A non-commissioned officer or soldier being seated, and without particular occupation, will rise on the approach of an officer, and make the customary salutation. If standing he will turn toward the officer for the same purpose. If the parties remain in the same place or on the same ground, such compliments need not be repeated.

 

When at assigned work detail, or marching in the ranks, a soldier is not required to salute unless ordered.

 

In Camp or Garrison

It is the duty of the soldier, under all circumstances, to always be present with his company for duty, and attend all the standing roll-calls and exercises, unless specially excused by his commanding officer, or sick and excused by the surgeon, or is absent on duty.

 

 

The various duties to which a soldier is subject are matters of regular detail  - each soldier taking his regular tour of each as it comes, and consist, in the main, of the following:

   i.                  Guards

 ii.                  Working Parties or Fatigue

iii.                  Daily Duty

 

The rooster for these details is kept by the first sergeant, and the longest off are the first to be detailed. The details are usually published to the company at retreat roll call for the next day.

 

Freely adapted from the Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers

Kuntz – 1864

 

The Settee, or Comrades at Battles is the smallest military unit of infantry and cavalry, in the Army. It is the smallest unit used during the American Civil war era. A settee consists of four soldiers and are usually grouped into a squad or section.

 

The concept of the Settee is based on the need for tactical flexibility. A Settee is capable of autonomous operations as part of a larger unit, as in Skirmish Drill. Successful Settee employment relies on quality small unit training for soldiers, experience of members operating together, sufficient communications infrastructure, and a quality non-commissioned officer corps to provide tactical leadership for the team.

 

Settee team members are more effective as they build experience over time working together and building personal bonds. Each settee is lead by a Corporal, as many as four to six settees report to a Sergeant. The settee is also, in essence, a mess. The members work together, eat and sleep together and fight together.

 

The creation of effective Settees is essential in creating an effective professional military, as they serve as a primary group. Psychological studies have indicated that the willingness to fight is more heavily influenced by the desire to avoid failing to support other members of the Settee than by abstract concepts. Historically, those armies with an effective Settee style organization have had significantly better performance from their units in combat than those limited to operations by larger units.