Preservation & Care of Arms in Service
The breech-screw should be taken out only by an armorer, and never in
Seventeenth Century French military engineer, La Prestre de Vauban, designed and built military strongholds throughout Europe and then developed a means of destroying them - trench warfare. Basically, this began as a trench filled with men providing firepower that allows enough protection for you to dig another trench closer to the objective in sort of a hop-skip progression. On reaching the objective, you undermine it, put in explosives and blow it up. He also invented the socket bayonet.
Scientific American/ 1843
This essay is intended to make more familiar to the membership the firing techniques used during the Civil War, and how we can incorporate them into our living history and battle portrayals.
To begin with, the commands for firing are the same in Hardees and Caseys Tactics.
The types of firing are as follows: Fire by company (direct, left and right oblique), Fire by rank, Fire by file, and Fire by the rear rank. During the war the soldiers were drilled in the firing movements, but seldom was live ammunition issued to let the men experience the shock and recoil of a fired musket. Blank cartridges were used to some degree in training to simulate combat conditions. But the majority of regiments entered the seat of war never having loaded or fired their muskets.
"Load in nine times" in the School of the Soldier, No. 156, was used to drill the recruit in the movements needed to load a musket until it became second nature. The cadence of each motion in the manual of arms is fixed at the nineth part of a minute. But the manual goes on to state, "As the motions relative to the cartridge, to the rammer, and the fixing and unfixing of the bayonet, cannot be executed at the rate prescribed, nor even with a uniform swiftness, they will not be subjected to that cadence. The instructor will, however, labor to cause these motions to be executed with promptness, and, above all, with regularity." SS No. 130
Once these basic movements were mastered, the recruit was passed onto "Load in four times", SS No. 250. The manual states, "The object of this lesson is to prepare the recruits to load at will, and to cause them to distinguish the times which require the greatest regularity and attention, such as charge cartridge, ram cartridge, and prime." SS No. 250 The object of this drill was to bring the soldier to a level of proficiency, by degrees, where he could load and fire at will.
It would appear that the troops continued to be drilled in the movement "Load in four times", because in the School of the Company the manual states "Loading in four times will be commanded and executed as prescribed in the School of the Soldier, No. 251, and following. The instructor will cause this exercise to be often repeated, in succession, before passing to loading at will.", SC No. 44.
"Loading at will," quickly and effectively was the ideal striven for, though not always achieved. After being taught to "Load in nine times," and "Load in four times," the recruits were drilled in the movements of "Load at will".
The manual states, "The instructor will next teach loading at will, which will be executed as loading in four times, but continued, and without resting on either of the times . The instructor will habituate the recruits, by degrees, to load with the greatest possible promptitude, each without regulating himself by his neighbor, and above all without waiting for him. The cadence prescribed, No. 129, is not applicable to loading in four times, or at will." SS Nos. 256-258.
"Loading at will, being that of battle, and consequently the one with which it is most important to render the men familiar, will claim preference in the exercises the moment the men be well established in the principles. To these they will be brought by degrees, so that every man may be able to load with cartridges, and to fire at least three rounds in a minute with ease and regularity." SC No. 47
In the heat of combat men forgot to tear their cartridges, spilled the powder, rammed bullets without first charging the musket with powder, forgot to cap the piece, or shot off their ramrods, all effectively rendering the musket useless. Some soldiers continued to load round after round into their muskets without knowing if it had fired or not. The manual took steps to prevent this from happening. "When firing is executed with cartridges, it is particularly recommended that the men observe, in uncocking, whether smoke escapes from the tube, which is a certain indication that the piece has been discharged: but if, on the contrary, no smoke escapes, the soldier, in such case, instead of reloading, will pick and prime again.
If, believing the load to be discharged, the soldier should put a second cartridge in his piece, he ought, at least, to perceive it in ramming by the height of the load: and he would be very culpable, should he put in a third. The instructor will always cause arms to be inspected after firing with cartridges, in order to observe if the fault has been committed, of putting three cartridges, without a discharge, in the same piece, in which case the ball screw will be applied. It sometimes happens, when a cap has missed fire, that the tube is found stopped up with a hard, white, and compact powder-in this case, picking will be dispensed with, and a new cap substituted for the old one." SC No. 82-83
In reenacting, nothing sounds better than a nice crisp volley, but in actually, the fire by file was that most often used in battle.
Col. Rufus R. Dawes, of the 6th WI, states that during the action at Brawner Farm, "The left wing fired a volley into the woods, and the right wing advanced and fired a volley into the woods. There were four volleys by wing given, at the word of command. In a long experience in musketry fighting, this was the single instance I saw of other than a fire by file in battle."
The manual states, "The fire by file being that which is most frequently used against an enemy, it is highly important that it be rendered perfectly familiar to the troops. The instructor will, therefore, give it almost exclusive preference..." SC No. 67. "The fire by file will be executed by the two ranks, the files of which will fire successively, and without regulating on each other, except for the first fire." SS No. 273. "The fire will commence by the right file of the company; the next file will take aim at the instant the first takes down their pieces to reload, and so on to the left; but this progression will only be observed in the first discharge, after which each man will reload and fire without regulating himself by others,." SC No. 57.
It is also important to point out that once the pieces are loaded they are to be brought to the position of ready . ..... they will load their pieces and return immediately to the position of ready." SS No. 262 "At the command, load, the men will load their pieces, and then take the position of ready..." SC No. 51. "If after firing, the instructor should not wish the recruits to reload, he will command: Shoulder - Arms."
SS No. 181.
I trust this brief work will meet with the approval of the membership, and if in any way, I have helped in advancing the knowledge of the hobby, it has met with all my expectations.
David J. Murphy
Rumors have been rampant recently concerning the availability of a reproduction 9M-1854 Lorenz musket. Although Ive been hearing about them coming on the market for a few years, I havent actually seen one yet, and thats too bad because Id like to own one. Heres some excerpts on whats been published on them so far.
In the 1998 Feb-March Is Civil
War News, published the following information: The parts to create... rare and exotic
arms... are available from "TheRifle Shoppe." (18420 East Hefner Road, Jones, OK
73049 405-396-8450, FAX 405-396-8450). Perhaps most interesting, for the Civil War arms
fancier ... is the companys new Lorenz rifle parts kit... The Rifle Shoppes
parts kit will make it easier to restore an original Lorenz missing a barrel band or
ramrod, or, with a stock from Wayne Dunlap, make up a brand new Lorenz. The Rifle Shoppe
is working on a breech and breech plug which will be compatible with Bobby Hoyts
barrel making operation. Greg Edington, who represents Rifle Shoppe products to the N-SSA,
hopes to work with Hoyt to get an N-SSA approved barrel as soon as possible. (N-SSA is
North-South Skirmish Association, a competitive marksmanship organization. Hoyt barrels
are very accurate, high quality rifled barrels, popular among competitors) Most Rifle
Shoppe parts are unfinished, and need some skilled amateur or professional gunsmithing
work to polish, fit and, where necessary, harden them. The company provides a list of
gunsmiths who are prepared to do lock and component assembly work on its parts. Even parts
used for restoration on an original Lorenz have to be hand fitted, as the guns were, like
Birmingham Enfields, "hand made" arms without interchangeable parts. Unlike a
London Armory Enfield or a US Springfield, it was never possible to just pop a part in on
a Lorenz". In February, after the above article was published, Greg Edington posted
the following message to N-SSA Internet bulletin board : I have received several E-mails
concerning my M-1854 Lorenz Rifle-Musket Kit project, and the kits availability. ...The
kit will be of the 54 caliber (13.9 MM) M-1854 Lorenz Infantry Rifle with block site, the
ladder type site will be available as an option. ...The rifle kit is modeled off of a
Viennese Freuwirth with the date "860" (1860) and is correct for both USA &
CSA units. The most of the screws will be US threads as the Austrians hand as sembled and
fitted these rifles and lock parts do not tend to be interchangeable. The stock wood will
be Beech which is correct for the Lorenz with Walnut as an option. The stock will be
specifically inleted and fitted for the parts in the kit. Lorenz accouterments such as
combination tools, worms, wipers, and possibly bayonets will also be available for
purchase. This kit will not be ready until about late spring. Also, the barrel is not
N-SSA approved yet...The basic kit Lorenz kit men tioned above is estimated to have afinal
cost of around $700... If you want to contact me by e-mail please sendit to my home e-mail
address: email@example.com. Subsequent posts explained that the soonest N-SSA
approval could be obtained would be in August 1998.
ED: This received from Greg Edington:
Type 1 Infantry Rifle Kit $799.95
Premium styles of both with Hoyt cut orig.
style rifling and select wood, add $100.
The Lorenz rifle was one of the most used rifle muskets in history.....in the US Civil War by 2d Wisconsin, Hoods 5th Texas Infty, and VMI Cadets at New Market.
The type I kit will have block site and comb on the stock. Type II can also be supplied with the adjustable 900 pace (apx. 800 yd.) The lock date is (1)860 and the configuration is correct for both US and CSA rifles.
The stock supplied will be fully inleted Beech or Light Maple (walnut an option) per originals with the exception of the band spring mortises which were hand fitted on the original. All major screw holes will be drilled and others spotted and started. Stock is premium grade and designed for hardware provided and will need minimum fitting and finishing. (Stocks being supplied by one of Dunlop Woods subcontractors.)
Hardware like butt plate, trigger guard are drilled for screws, lockplate and rear sight are assembled, springsand fully threaded (std. US threads) all other parts are de-gated.
Kit will come with a .543 (13.9MM) barrel with cut rifling, six grooves, with the original 1-62" twist, with front sight installed and the rear site dovetail ready for installation of the provided rear site. Four grooved barrels made to original specifications using blanks hand rifled by Robert Hoyt are also avail on premium grade lines.
Among the accessories that will be available are Lorenz Jeager Saber Bayonet at $129.95; Rifle Musket Bayonet avail. late 98 to be priced; Jag, wiper at $17.95; NCO Comb. tool $19.95. 50% down on order (rifle), 12-18 week delivery.
Phone: ((37) 525-0012. Mail to: 4244 Green Meadows Drive, Enon, OH 45323; e-mail as above.