The Damn Yankee
Newsletter of the 41st Ohio Volunteer Infantry
March, 2001 Issue
Message from the Editor
I apologize for this issue getting out a few days late - as a computer professional, it pains me to admit that your humble editor had computer problems of a most galling nature, and thus could not get this issue out in print until March 13. I resolve to do better in the future. In order to speed up the publication of this month's edition, I've abbreviated some of the features.
As this week's melting snow proves, spring is almost here, and our first events are just a few weeks away. We'll be voting on our event schedule during the April Camp of Instruction (COI). If you haven't already done so, please submit events for consideration to any of the company officers (military or civilian). All events should be submitted by the first week of April, as a ballot needs to be printed up for the COI. Because we haven't yet voted on events for the year, the schedule below can't officially go beyond our COI; however I thought I would throw in a few events of interest in addition to the schedule. While not official 41st Ohio events, they might include something you would like to attend or bear in mind during the coming weeks.
NCO Training/Testing: March 24, 11AM
Location: The Nelson Home
The test will be given immediately following the training session. See the COI note below for directions.
Camp of Instruction: April 22-23
Location: The Nelson Home (near Randolph, OH)
Weather permitting. Directions for reaching the camp can be found on our web site's schedule page, (http://members.tripod.com/~dmcclory/members/schedule.html) and a map is included with this newsletter. If the weather is bad (a common occurrence in April) please contact a company officer for alternate arrangements. You may arrive Friday evening, and you are welcome to camp in the Nelson's spacious back yard. Drill will commence early Saturday morning, roughly 8 AM, or whenever the breakfast dishes are washed up.
Memorial Day Parade: May 28
Location: Euclid OH (probably)
It is highly likely that this year's parade will be in Euclid. As details become available, we will pass them along.
Some Other Events of Interest
By 1st Sgt. McClory
At the March drill, I made the mistake of ordering "charge bayonet" while running through the manual of arms. While this command is a part of the standard manual of arms drill, I unfortunately didn't know the proper position of the soldier as well as I believed I did. So, to make up for my fumbling then, I have done some homework, and I offer up this short summary of the command.
Virtually all of the various drill manuals in use during the Late Unpleasantness described just two simple movements within their bayonet drill: "Guard against Cavalry", and "Guard against Infantry". The two are essentially identical, except for the height of the bayonet. Both Hardee's and Casey's manual mention the command "Charge Bayonet", but appear to my eyes to be silent regarding what, exactly, this command means.* Both Gilham's manual and Scott's however, do describe it in detail, and indicate that the move is very similar to "Guard against Cavalry". Based on these manuals, starting from the position of "Shoulder Arms" (rifle in the left hand) the movements are:
That's it. Note that the position of your feet is different (closer together) than it would be with the "Guard against Infantry/Cavalry" bayonet drill. For those moves, the right foot moves back about twenty inches rather than the three described here. It's also important to note that this drill position can only be done with the ranks in "open order", so there is plenty of room between the front and rear rank (Scott mentions that "rear ranks will take care not to touch their file leaders with the points of their bayonets"). So, if your 1st Sgt. attempts to perform this drill in close order, please feel free to ignore the order while loudly protesting its insanity. Within the manuals, there's no mention of cheering, growling, shouting, huzzahing, or other noises, so we will dispense with them. And, finally, as our esteemed officers have often pointed out, this "Charge Bayonet" command is NOT how you conduct yourselves during a bayonet charge - it is strictly a School of the Soldier drill maneuver, and not a battlefield maneuver. For more information on bayonet charges, I'll refer you to Dom Dal Bello's excellent article on the subject, which may be found on the web at: http://33rdwisconsin.civilwarmuseum.com/33articles/chargebay.html. I can get a reprint of the article on paper, too, if anyone is interested.
1st Sgt. Daniel McClory
This Month in the Civil War
March 8-9 of 1862 marked the meeting of the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (aka Merrimac), a battle which some historians say was more critical to the outcome of the war than Gettysburg. On March 8, the ironclad Virginia steamed out of Norfolk and into Hampton Roads and attacked the Federal blockade, sinking two wooden hulled fighting ships and causing others to run aground. Disaster for the Federal fleet was averted when the USS Monitor arrived during the night, and on March 9, the two ironclads slugged it out for hours, shots bouncing off their hulls without significant effect. Eventually, after each unsuccessfully attempted to ram the other, the two ships broke off the fight, each captain claiming victory. Afterwards, the Monitor remained on station in Hampton Roads to protect the fleet. In May, Federal troops advanced on Norfolk, and retreating Confederate troops destroyed the Virginia.
After printing up and mailing the newsletter, I found that both Casey's and Hardee's include their own definitions of "Charge Bayonet". However, note that their descriptions assume that the "Shoulder Arms" position is in the right hand, and so the Gilhams/Scotts description above still applies better to our drill.