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The Damn Yankee

Newsletter of the 41st Ohio Volunteer Infantry

January, 2001 Issue

Message from the Editor

Our Supreme Military Commander, Captain Mike Nelson, contributes a major portion of this month's newsletter - so pay particularly close attention. This month marks the start of a new year, and the start of our drill season. During the "late unpleasantness", soldiers drilled nearly every day, for hours a day, so we get off pretty light with just a couple of hours a month. Please read Captain Nelson’s article below for more information on our drills this season.

Meeting/Drill Schedule

The schedule for our winter drills is as follows:

Sunday, January 21, 2 PM

Sunday, February 18, 2 PM

Sunday, March 11, 2 PM

All drill dates are held at the Oakes Rd. Facility located at:

4450 Oakes Road

Brecksville, Ohio 44141


As we do every February, the February 18 drill/meeting is also our big recruiting push. If you know of anyone who seems interested in joining a group like ours, please be certain to invite them to the February meeting. It’s also a good idea to begin publicizing the event in your area. Making a small poster and asking the local bookstore or library to put it in a prominent area doesn’t require much time or effort, and can pay off by drawing in another couple potential members.

"Attention to Orders!" - Notes from our Captain

Salutations. Well, the time has come for us to prepare for the upcoming campaign season. Our drill time is only 2 hours per meeting instead of 3, so we must cover the same amount of material in 75% of the usual time allotted to this task. While not impossible to do, it will require everyone’s cooperation and concentration during the time we do have. So be prepared to start drilling at exactly 2pm – not 2:15 or later. Plan to arrive by at least 1:45 and be ready to drill, Drill, and DRILL!

The early drills will contain a great deal of information and be presented fast. Every drill will build on the lessons of the previous drills, so the importance of attending all drills should be apparent. We will incorporate customs of service in each drill. During drills, things will be handled as if we were at an event. Please respect your officers – many of them are learning their part just like the privates are learning theirs.

So, when you arrive, soldiers please report to 1st Sgt. McClory, civilians report to the meeting room. Do bring all of your traps, weapons, etc. but remember no Brogans on the gym floor! And remember, things will seem rushed – we have less time to work with. The officers have a schedule that must be followed to reach our goals before the camp of instruction – so even though it may not seem like it, there is a madness to our method, or is that a method to our…… you know what I mean.

That’s it. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to seeing you all at drill on the January 21.

Your most humble and obedient servant,

Capt. Michael M. Nelson

Commanding 41st Regt. Ohio Infantry

"Drill Bits" – A note from the 1st Sergeant

Since this is our drilling season, and since I’ve been reading lots of drill manuals lately, I thought I might take a few lines to pass on a tidbit each month (at least until the spring sunshine gets my head out of these books). This month, we take up saluting. The Federal Army in the Civil War had a variety of salutes depending upon whether one was under arms, or not, and under what conditions the soldier stood. There were also many rules to determine when it was appropriate to render a salute. Rather than go into all the details, I’ll use this space to try to simply describe the proper ways to perform the most common salutes. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunities to discuss the details during our drill this season.

When a private soldier was without arms (or just with a side arm) a salute would be given with the right hand, elbow raised to the shoulder level, fingers touching near the right temple, and the palm forward. In many ways, it was similar to the British Army salute of today, only without the stiff, rapid movements and there is no "quiver" at the end. If you are wearing a kepi or a forage cap, your hand will end up near the button at edge of the cap’s bill.

If the private is armed with his rifle, then the procedure is different. In this case, the soldier should come to the "shoulder arms" position of light infantry (the rifle in the right hand, fingers about the trigger guard, a la Hardee’s), the left arm is brought up and across the chest at roughly shoulder height, palm downwards. The edge of the left index finger should touch the rifle.

For more information on salutes, see:

1st Sergeant Daniel McClory

This month in 1864

On January 12 and 13 of 1864, a battle broke out just across the Mexican border from Brownsville, Texas, where Federal troops were stationed. At about 8 pm on January 12, firing began to be heard in the town of Matamoros, on the other side of the Rio Grande river. By 10 pm, the conflict had engulfed the town and both musketry and cannon fire was heard. Shortly after this, the Federal commander in Brownsville received a message from the U.S. consul in Matamoras, detailing that a force under the command of one Col. Juan N. Cortina had attacked the town’s garrison, that bandits roamed the streets, and that the consulate was in danger of being pillaged. A message was also received from the Mexican Governor of the province of Tamaulipas, requesting that U.S. troops be sent across the border to help quell the disturbance and defend U.S. property and civilians within the town of Matamoras. The Federal commander, Maj. Gen. Francis Herron, sent four companies of the 20th Wisconsin Infantry across the river, with orders to "proceed to the U.S. consulate and there make proper disposition of his force [the 20th Wis.] to protect the U.S. consul and his property and to remove them at the earliest possible time to this side of the river, instructing him at the same time in the most positive manner not to interfere in the fight". By 11:30 pm, the 20th Wisconsin was across the river, and the fighting subsided in the face of their appearance. The consulate was secured, and representatives from the warring factions arrived at the consulate to ask why the troops had crossed the river. Once both sides were informed that the Federal troops were under orders to take no part in the conflict, fighting resumed where it had left off. The consul believed it too dangerous to remove his family and consulate property from the town that night, so the movement was postponed until daylight. All night the fighting continued, and at daybreak the Wisconsin troops escorted the consul’s family safely into Texas. By noon, the fighting ceased, with Col. Cortina apparently victorious, and the Mexican governor fleeing into Texas.