Civil War Infantry Regiment in Line of Battle

In February discussed the size of an artillery Battery The diagram above, taken from Casey’s Infantry Tactics illustrates how large an infantry regiment was. It is based on the regiment as prescribed on in the Act of 3 March 1855, the regiment that existed when the CW began. Although no regular regiment exceeded 5/8 of its authorized strength and the states did not necessarily follow this organizational model, the diagram gives a good idea of what a full strength infantry regiment looked like arrayed in line of battle.

The full strength of the regiment was 880 men (36 officers and 844 soldiers). In this line of battle the regiment would stretch about 300 yards in width. It is formed with 8 of its 10 companies in two ranks. 30 paces to the rear are two more companies prepared to either go forward as pickets or skirmishers. Either of these companies could also form in column on either flank of the regiment and provide security for an open flank.


Infantry Line of battle, Front View


Infantry Line of Battle, Rear View.

The diagram also shows at bottom the array of a company as it formed for line of battle, Note the position of the captain, first sergeant and junior officers and non-commissioned officers. The lieutenants and sergeants are “file closers” who have three duties: keep the men in line, keep them firing and dress them to the right as casualties occur to maintain a solid firing line. Not noted are the corporals. They took station in the front rank on either flank of the two platoons formed by each company.

The field music (2 principal musicians and 20 musicians) are formed to the rear. The 20 drummers or buglers would report to the companies. These musicians were the signal platoon of the regiment. The band was not an authorized part of the regiment but could be organized if desired. The colonel, lieutenant colonel, the majors and staff are arrayed as prescribed for formation. The quartermaster and quartermaster sergeant may not be with the regiment in the field as their duties could call them elsewhere.

Major James B. Ronan II is aFellow of the company of Military Historians


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