Color Guard Drill Digest

Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
This is a digest of color guard drill from an examination of Hardee's, Scott's, and Casey's infantry manuals.
The goal is for Joe reenactor, being tapped for color guard at a coming event, to read this document and understand his responsibilities.

I welcome serious community feedback! In your responses, please cite your sources.
I still have some unresolved questions about the presentation of the color. You will see these highlighted in that section.

This is not a document about battalion drill. If readers feel more background information about battalion, or even company, drill should be added, I would consider that reasonable. However, it is expected that readers are already proficient in company drill and at least familiar with battalion drill.

Bearing a color was a position of honor in a battalion. Let's bring that honor back in our portrayal of those who did so.

Will Thoms
On behalf of the Arkansas Confederate Guard
 

Attachments

  • Color Guard Drill v0-5.pdf
    1.3 MB · Views: 70
Last edited by a moderator:

captaindrew

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Location
Whereabouts Unknown
You mean the colors weren't meant to be carried by the captain's 12 year old grandson ?🤔 Seriously though this is very timely, I've been using this down time to study my manuals, particularly battalion drill, and this helped with some questions. Only a couple times a year at big events do we get the opportunity to do a for real battalion drill. I have a question on alignment for the color guard when stacked in column of companies. In this study the color guard would be an extension of the color company with the color company's second sergeant being the left guide, would he move to the left of the color guard? also would the junior corporals in the color guard remain in a file closer position or form two ranks on the left side of the color company? I actually didn't realize a full color guard was three ranks deep, I always thought it was two. Thanks again for posting this, I greatly appreciate it.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
You mean the colors weren't meant to be carried by the captain's 12 year old grandson ?🤔

Indeed, I was surprised not to find that in the manuals. Very disappointing...

I have a question on alignment for the color guard when stacked in column of companies. In this study the color guard would be an extension of the color company with the color company's second sergeant being the left guide, would he move to the left of the color guard?

Correct. My impression from reading all of these manuals was that the drill listed in them regarding the color guard were exceptions to what was built upon in the Schools of the Company. So, in your example of column of companies, company drill "takes over" and the color guard acts as if privates of the color company. The color company 2nd Sgt resumes his duties as the company left guide. Remember that, in a proper battalion line of battle, sergeants normally spend their time in the rank of file closers and not actually in the line of battle as is typical in reenacting.

also would the junior corporals in the color guard remain in a file closer position or form two ranks on the left side of the color company? I actually didn't realize a full color guard was three ranks deep, I always thought it was two.

In Civil War drill, the file closer rank of the color guard is not a rank in the line of battle. The rank of file closers is where sergeants, lieutenants, and other staff would normally be found: two paces behind the rear rank of the line of battle. The rank of file closers is the home of these three corporals, not the line of battle. The exceptions being if the battalion is maneuvering in retreat or forms square. I also surmised in this paper that the file closer corporals would be used to fill in for casualties to the front two ranks of the guard, but think of that as only being by coincidence of their being there.
 
Last edited:

captaindrew

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Location
Whereabouts Unknown
Indeed, I was surprised not to find that in the manuals. Very disappointing...



Correct. My impression from reading all of these manuals was that the drill listed in them regarding the color guard were exceptions to what was built upon in the Schools of the Company. So, in your example of column of companies, company drill takes over and the color guard acts as if privates of the color company. The color company 2nd Sgt resumes his duties as the company left guide. Remember that, in a proper battalion line of battle, sergeants normally spend their time in the rank of file closers and not actually in the line of battle as is typical in reenacting.



In Civil War drill, the file closer rank of the color guard is not a rank of the line of battle. The rank of file closers is where sergeants, lieutenants, and other staff would normally be found: two paces behind the rear rank of the line of battle. The rank of file closers is the home of these three corporals, not the line of battle. The exceptions being if the battalion is maneuvering in retreat or forms square. I also surmised in this paper that the file closer corporals would be used to fill in for casualties to the front two ranks of the guard, but think of that as only being by coincidence of their being there.
Thank you, in reenacting circles you're usually lucky to have a 4 man color guard let alone 9 so it probably wouldn't come in to play but it's good to know how it should be.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rli
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
@captaindrew Definitely. In most cases there would certainly have to flexibility on these things. I think a 6-man guard would be perfectly adequate in most cases. And if the guard takes casualties, they certainly would have to adapt the drill for their remaining numbers. Like the manuals, this all assumes a fully-staffed, full-sized battalion.
 

garytameling

Cadet
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Location
New York
Under the assumptions of:
1) a color guard of nine men: one sergeant and 8 corporals
2) the front rank - the color rank - includes the sergeant between two corporals, and each of these corporals carries a color
3) the two colors borne by this color guard are the national color and the regimental color
On which side is the national color? Let us say that I am the sergeant of this color guard, and we all face to the front in line of battle. To my left is which color, the national or the regimental? And what manual states this definitively?
For some odd reason, I can find very little about this specification. What little I can find seems unconfirmed
Thanks in advance for your help.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
3) the two colors borne by this color guard are the national color and the regimental color
On which side is the national color? Let us say that I am the sergeant of this color guard, and we all face to the front in line of battle. To my left is which color, the national or the regimental? And what manual states this definitively?

@garytameling this is addressed in the article. Scott's later manuals, Hardee's, Casey's, and Gilham's all address only a single color. However, Scott's Abstract on Infantry Tactics says that the state color should be carried by the right sergeant and the regimental color by the left sergeant. In that manual, they are sergeants by virtue of carrying a color, but the color sergeant in the center is still the center guide and commands the guard, as it were.
I extrapolated this to say that the national color should be carried by the right sergeant/corporal and the state or regimental color should be carried by the left sergeant/corporal.
I have seen a mix of configurations in original images, but most of them appear to follow my extrapolation. I imagine there was a certain degree of preference involved. But the preference in the manuals is for the right side of any formation, so certainly whichever color is more important should be on the right.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
Version 0.5 is coming soon. I have had a chance to review Casey's and Gilham's manuals, and I have found and edited higher quality plates.

I am still waiting to hear back from some folks, particularly regarding presentation of the color. I have not yet found anything else which provides clarification.
 
Last edited:

garytameling

Cadet
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Location
New York
...
In your article, it states that the 4th Company is the "Color Company". Ought it not be the 5th Company? Else the Colors would be skewed to the right of center in the Battalion, rather than be in the center, would they not?
 
  • Like
Reactions: rli
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
In your article, it states that the 4th Company is the "Color Company". Ought it not be the 5th Company? Else the Colors would be skewed to the right of center in the Battalion, rather than be in the center, would they not?

That’s a good point, I should go back and edit that. I believe I said that because I was being literal with Hardee’s plates, which only show 8 companies. The important part is that the color company is the right-of-center company.
A side note, if you had an uneven number of companies, your color guard would be skewed slightly to the right.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: rli

garytameling

Cadet
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Location
New York
The important part is that the color company is the right-of-center company.
A side note, if you had an uneven number of companies, your color guard would be skewed slightly to the right.
Yes, absolutely correct on both points. I only commented as such because a Battalion of ten Companies seemed to be the ideal standard of the day, but there were always exceptions to the rules. :smile:
 

Zack

Corporal
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
I'm still a little confused on the make-up of the color guard.

Assuming full strength, is it
1st Sergeant - National Flag
2nd Sergeant - Regimental Flag
8 Corporals

And are these sergeants and corporals pulled from the company or promoted separately? In other words, if the basic structure of a company is:
8 squads commanded by a corporal with 10 privates each
4 sections commanded by sergeants
2 platoons commanded by lieutenants

Then are the sergeants and corporals of the color guard pulled out of their respective section/squad or are they promoted separately?

Hope that makes sense.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
Let me preface my response by saying that all reenactors absolutely must study the School of the Soldier, School of the Company, and Instruction for Skirmishers. NCOs should also study the School of the Battalion, and commissioned officers should also familiarize themselves with Evolutions of the Line (brigade and division drill).

@Zack So let's back up and review the composition and conduction of a company, all per Hardee's instruction. A full-strength company is composed of:
  • 1 captain
  • 3 lieutenants
  • 5 sergeants
  • 4 corporals and a handful of informally recognized corporal-candidates who we might call "high privates"
  • the privates
  • any other company staff or miscellaneous personnel
Please also see the attached illustration by Hardee of a battalion line of battle, to which I have added labeling of the corporals and sections.

So, the captain commands the company. In company drill, the captain is the company right guide and the 2nd Sgt is the company left guide. The 1st sergeant is called the covering sergeant because he becomes the right guide when the captain has to go do something else. This becomes more important when the company is broken into divisions and in battalion drill.
The use of these guides in a battalion line of battle is overdone because of, frankly, the lack of study and practice of drill by reenactors. When the battalion is formed in line of battle, the only company officers and NCOs in the line are the corporals, the captain, the covering 1st Sgt, the 10th company 2nd Sgt who is the battalion left guide, and the NCOs of the color guard. Other company officers and NCOs hang out in the line of file-closers.

Anyone in the line of file-closers keeps an eye on the company line and makes sure its members are doing what they're supposed to be doing. When the company or battalion is firing, the captains and sergeants in the company line of battle retire to the line of file-closers.

The only person who's doing any real commanding of the company is the captain; even when the company is broken into platoons or sections the chiefs of those "divisions" are only conducting their divisions to execute the desires of the captain. The lieutenants and sergeants aren't commanding those divisions in the manner of the militaries of today.
The command of the divisions can vary depending on the situation. The captain is the "chief" of lead division and the lieutenants are the chiefs of the subsequent divisions. Please see Hardee's School of the Company for more details.

The company is divided roughly in half into two platoons. The corporals are posted in the front rank and first and last files of each platoon. They do not command anything but are responsible for seeing that the privates are doing what they're supposed to be doing, helping with alignment, and keeping the step.

The platoons are divided roughly in half into two sections. Sections are not really intended to be a functional unit of the line, they merely give company commanders flexibility to approach certain situations. Sections can also be ad-hoc divisions of the platoons; they are not totally set in stone.

Side note: in theory, since all of the companies and sections are supposed to be of approximately the same size, the platoons and sections of the color company should be adjusted to make up for the additional men of the color guard, to the point of sending privates to other companies to level out the number of men in the color company. I did not mention this in the paper because I thought it trivial, and it can be accounted for with proper adherence to guides.

Finally in skirmish drill there is the addition of the "comrades in battle"; the 4 men in each group of two files. They are not commanded by, but rather conduct certain motions on, the front rank man of the 2nd file.
When skirmishing, the two mean of each file work together to ensure that at least one of them always has a loaded weapon.

Squads are purely an instructional division, and are not used in the field. If you had a small group of guys for a living history, you might as well act as a section commanded by a NCO or "high private" and conduct yourselves according to company drill. You don't need a captain for two sergeants and three privates; its goofy.
A group of soldiers with a particular task, typically related to camp or sentry duty, is a detail.


Now, back to the color guard. The members of the color guard are drawn from NCOs across the battalion. It is not specified how this is done, but maybe certain NCOs who are recognized for their excellence might be nominated by their captain or a battalion officer for the honor. Those NCOs live with their companies, as normal. When the battalion is formed, those NCOs leave their companies and form the color guard as an extension of the color company, tacked on to the left of the 2nd platoon / 4th section. The companies from which they are pulled will have to adjust accordingly. I would suggest that the color company not contribute any NCOs because it already has the honor of being the color company, and those NCOs will be the most readily available if the color guard takes casualties. Perhaps an equitable way to assign members of the color guard would be for each other company to contribute one NCO, with the most distinguished company contributing the sergeant. [Add this to future document update.]

The ranks of the members of the color guard depends on the situation. As I explain in the paper, the authors only consider the use of a single color, so I made certain wording choices to reflect the intent of certain points of drill so that a reader may more easily interpret it for the use of two colors.
The battalion center guide is a sergeant, to whom I refer as the color sergeant. In the manuals, he is referred to as the color bearer. Again, this is because the manuals only assume the use of a single color; his true job is as the battalion center guide. He is selected from the battalion's sergeants. It does not appear to matter which sergeants, but a captain might want to hang on to his 1st and 2nd sergeants. The color sergeant is in the center file of the front rank of the color guard.
The other 8 members of the guard consist of corporals pulled from across the battalion.
If two colors are used, we assume that the color sergeant retains his position. However, instead of 8 corporals we now have 2 sergeants and 6 corporals. I do not believe this is required, but I explain my logic for suggesting two sergeants. I believe the national color would be carried by the sergeant to the right of the color sergeant, and the battalion or state color would be carried by the sergeant to the left of the color sergeant.

Does this answer your question? I know it's a lot, that's why I spent a lot of time reading many manuals yet still at times find corrections to make.

HardeeBttn.png
 
Last edited:

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
First, thanks for a good summary! You've boiled down a lot of information into a useful reference. I hope company and battalion officers will read it and apply it.
In tactics discussions everyone has an opinion, sources often are conflicting, and there isn't necessarily one right answer. In that spirit and being a former battalion commander I'll offer a few comments on some minor points:

- You recommend a minimum of 6 NCO's. That's not unreasonable at larger events, but at smaller ones it may amount to a third or half of the color company. You might argue that smaller battalions should do without colors; but troops shouldn't have to wait until a major event to see how a color guard works. In practice you can use a four man color guard in two ranks, with the color bearer on the right of the color rank. You can use this for battalion drill and then do away with colors for the battle if you want a more accurate portrayal.

- I think our ancestors must have scratched their heads about multiple colors just as we do. I'd have to dig to find the reference, but I found that one Union regiment had a 12 man color guard. This makes sense for two colors - keep them in the center and add a fourth file.

- You state the guard should be arranged by seniority, and even propose a specific arrangement. Aside from the fact that it's purely your invention, this is about as practical as observing the formal requirement that companies be arranged in line by the seniority of their captains. The only hard requirement is that the color bearer(s) be in the proper place; let the commander of the color company (or the Adjutant) figure out what makes the most sense with the men available.

- You state the role of general guides is "to keep the flanks of the battalion in line with the color guard". This is a common misunderstanding. The general guides are fully occupied staying in line with the color rank, are looking forward and inward, and consequently have no idea where the flanks of the battalion are. They are there to provide a reference line for alinement - it's the company commanders' job to keep their men the proper distance from that line.

- Finally, under "Direct March" you left out an important step that practically every battalion in the hobby gets wrong. I realize this isn't a treatise on battalion drill, but you really should note that when the color ranks steps six paces forward the all captains in the left wing shift to the left flank of their companies. All the manuals agree on this, and it makes good practical sense - it's a lot easier for a captain to keep his company in line with the color guard if he's on the outside flank. Left wing captains remain on the left of their companies as long as the color rank and general guides are out front.

Again, thanks for sharing your work and I hope it is taken to heart.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR
@grognard thanks for your reply! Yours has been one of the more technical responses I've received. Who are you, and with what org are you? Also, in your responses to mine, would you please cite your sources so that I can add them? Thanks!
Here are my responses and some questions for you:

1) I recommended 6 NCOs because I assumed the maintenance of a 3-file guard, and that we would need at least a full rear rank in order to fill the gap between the color and 6th companies when the color rank is forward. This is because the point of the paper is to lay down the drill as it is presented in the manuals, which assume a full-strength battalion. As I responded earlier in this thread, I agree that this is not always possible and units have to make do with what they have. Since this is the second time this issue has come up, I will mention it in the next version of the paper.
However I would also argue that a battalion which can't assemble at least 5 reasonably-sized companies, as required in the manuals, shouldn't portray a battalion or display colors, and/or should combine with another organizations to form a respectable battalion. Instead of something like three 40-man "battalions" I would hope to see one 120-man battalion. As far as the hobby is concerned, I believe the main obstacles to this are reenactor politics, egos, and the absurd number officers which seem to inhabit reenactor organizations and who are not willing to be "demoted" in order to achieve proper force portrayal. And I understand that there are certain exceptions, such as heavily under-strength battalions such as those of the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg, or any number of units in 1865.
Display of colors at a living history is a different matter, obviously one could not expect to assemble a respectable battalion for a living history. Instead, the colors could be posted at an officer's tent adjacent to a company street. That way the colors are still displayed in an appropriate context.

2) An interesting approach! Let me know if you find that example! I have seen what look like a couple of configurations in original photographs. In the paper, I just wanted to lay down what I thought would be the standard as laid down by the manuals.

3) Yes, it was of my invention but was extrapolated from the principles laid down in the manuals, namely Scott's Abstract #s 51 – 54 and Hardee Vol. 1 #37. I might change the wording of that section to be a suggestion rather than a statement. I was not able to find anything on the subject in my reading. If I ever do, I will update the paper accordingly.
I don't see the impracticality of arranging companies be seniority, whether that would be achieved by reenactor politics or drawing lots. Rotation of companies would allow companies the growth experience of being a flank company, color company, etc.

4) You are correct. I did not mean to imply that it was the general guides' jobs to dress the flanks of battalion, but rather that the flanks of the battalion would dress on them. I will review that wording for the next version.

5) That point of drill is absolutely little-known enough that I might just mention it in the next version, maybe not in the body, but as a note on the appropriate plates. That was my excuse to be sure to mention changes of direction and front. I have also been considering writing digests on company and battalion drill.
I need to go back and find where it says this in the manuals. Do both the 1st Sgt and captain move to the left flank of the company? Do they occupy the file formerly occupied by the 1st Sgt and captain of that company? If only the captain moves, does the other company's 1st Sgt become his temporary covering sergeant? Do they move across the front of the company?

Do you have any insights into my unknowns about the formation of the battalion and presentation of the color? And please let me know if you have any sources for this info.

Thanks! Will
 
Last edited:

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Sorry for my delay in replying; I don't check this board every day. It doesn't matter what I was; today I'm just an old curmudgeon. I would prefer to be judged on the quality of the information I provide.

Responding to your points:

1) It's a battalion commander's job to support the goals and scenarios of the event organizers. At a couple of Chris Anders' events, we used understrength battalions to portray brigades. And I can assure you that many of the privates were people who usually wear stripes or straps. Display of colors was deemed appropriate because that's what the organizer asked for.

2) Unfortunately I couldn't find the reference by a quick scan of my archives. If I run across it I'll be sure to post it.

3) To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you do the event with the units you have. Reenactors have no uniform definition of "seniority" because there is no authority that issues commissions and warrants with dates of effect.

It is often advisable to have your two most active and skillful company commanders in charge of your flank companies. Those are likely to be some of the youngest, not "Geriatricus Maximus" who's been in charge of his unit for 40 years. In the same way, place the men in your color guard according to their level of experience and what will be expected of them.

4) Agree.

5) From Casey, School of the Battalion, Part Fifth, Article I, To Advance in Line of Battle:
(only relevant material cited):

Para 652. These dispositions being made, the colonel will command:
1. Battalion, forward.

Para 655. The captains of the left wing will shift, passing before the front rank, to the left of their respective companies; the sergeant on the left of the battalion will step back into the rear rank. The covering sergeant of the company next on the left of the color company, will step into the front rank.

You didn't ask - but it's noted in Para 701 that the left wing captains remain on the left until the command "Color and general guides - Posts" is given. (Or until a firing command is given.)

You'll find similar if not identical language in the other manuals. This exercise is for the student :smile:.
 

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Do you have any insights into my unknowns about the formation of the battalion and presentation of the color?

I'm going to assume you transcribed Hardee's text accurately rather than pull my copy off the shelf :smile:.

The escort company could be any company but the color company. Since the colonel is in charge it would be his responsibility to designate it. Since this duty would be considered an honor, he might choose a company which had recently distinguished itself (in a good way). Or he might want to give a new captain a chance to show off.

The sergeant who forms part of the escort would logically be a file closer, since the first and second sergeants are needed as guides in a column of platoons. Again, this is a post of honor, so the company captain would choose accordingly.

The colors would be retrieved from whoever was left in charge of them. If a guard is mounted and Post #1 is at the colonel's quarters, it would probably be the Officer of the Guard. If the battalion is about to march off on campaign the "colonel's quarters" would be packed in a wagon and the ceremony would be dispensed with.

Casey, S.B., para 6 and 10, notes that the color bearer marches "between the platoons" when the escort is in column of platoons. Since the book says nothing about the escort forming line when it halts 20 paces from the battalion, and since the color bearer has no prescribed place in that line, I assume the intention was to remain in column. Forming line just wastes time since as soon as honors are rendered the escort has to wheel, march around the battalion and return to place from the rear. Text doesn't prescribe whether they march in front of the right wing, left wing, or whether that's up to the escort company captain to choose.
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
A few, admittedly rather basic questions in regards to this excellent guide:

1. Would it not be better to have the color guard fix bayonets, firstly as a practical matter to visually differentiate between the members and the ranks so that they are easy to follow (if you somehow miss the giant flag, the dudes with fixed bayonets would be easy to spot) and to encourage them to hold their fire? I can understand not wanting to injure the colors but wouldn’t a tear be easier to patch than a powder burn? I just feel like this is one of those things that could be reasonably left up to the discretion of the individual commander. Playing devils advocate on myself, I suppose that the non-fixed bayonets ought to be default, in cases where you have only weapons without bayonets available (maybe your unit has weird guns without bayonets like Henry rifles or shotguns or something, or Bob just left his at home again and you want to look uniform), and bayonets are optional. Maybe that was Scott’s thinking in 1857?

2. Do the manuals discuss doing the drill in a more ceremonial context? Was it ever done not under arms?

3. Would an NCO sword be living on the color bearers left hip? I assume the color bearer is a Sargent?

4. Do you think that, for smaller units, the color guard could be a viable impression on its own?

5. As a youngin’ might I suggest you make it explicit that if the color guard is to be detailed from various units that those units be asked to send their youngest person? In other words, intentionally reverse the situation of the war and send the least senior people foreword. I believe there was a blog called “Explicitly Clear” that suggested something similar with forming “light companies”. I feel this would give a opportunity for young people to bond, gain a unique experience, and have a role of importance. Too often we seem to parcel out our youth to about one per unit and opportunity for advancement is slim. I think that’s the direction you’re headed anyways.
 
Last edited:

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
@Western Reserve Volunteer:
1) "To Bayonet or not To Bayonet" probably depended on the type of troops the book was originally written for. Scott's 1835 book is a translation of a French manual for "line" troops, who carried smoothbore muskets. Combat was intended to be at close ranges and bayonets were as important as firing. By contrast, Hardee's book is a translation of an 1840's French manual for "Chasseurs" (literally "hunters", light infantry). While much of the material is the same, the drill has been modified for greater speed ("doubling" is an example); the troops are armed with rifled weapons and the use of the bayonet is exceptional. When Silas Casey married the two books in 1862 he kept some of both; reverted to the "Musket Stack" from Scott's book but kept Hardee's concepts with the bayonet. Since Hardee and Casey are the main systems used during the Civil War it makes sense not to fix bayonets unless they are actually needed.

2) The School of the Soldier has lessons for basic marching without arms. The Color Guard is never mentioned until we get to School of the Battalion. I suppose a battalion commander could have his men stack arms, then practice maneuvering with the color guard; but with proper changes of position and "Order Arms" while verbal instruction is given this shouldn't be necessary. If it's going to get that hot, do your strenous drills before breakfast while it's cool :smile:.

3) On dress parade (especially in the Regular Army) - yes. On campaign - no. Carry one awhile and you'll see why.

4) That might work in a living history context, say where the members of the color guard are talking in "first person" about their experiences at a recent engagement. But color guard duty is something every corporal and sergeant should be familiar with, since they may be called on for it; and that means your living historians need to know how to be corporals and sergeants first. This shouldn't be a "specialist" impression which keeps "line" NCOs from being able to do part of their jobs.

What about modern occasions such as Memorial Day parades? For this I found that the manual's concept of a "color escort" works well. Put your company in column of platoons with the color bearer in between. If ceremonial firing is called for, have the second platoon "face by the rear rank" before firing. All the powder goes up and down the street instead of into the crowd, and you won't injure the colors.

5) As an "old 'un" I appreciate your enthusiasm. The problem is that even today, color guard duty is something that's reserved for responsible NCOs. Young people may not have the experience, the judgement, or the physical stature required for this duty. They are also not likely to be proficient enough in drill. Also, keep in mind that the people on the other side may decide to "change history" and wrestle the flag away from you. Are you prepared for that?

Keep in mind that color guards are full of willing volunteers because reenactor "officers" can't make their troops do anything against their will - and there are plenty who just want to stay in the ranks. Your chance to carry the flag will come - be patient.
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
Thank you for your replies:

1. That makes sense. I recalled that much of the later manuals were more light infantry oriented than heavy infantry oriented, and that then dictates both differences in weapons and in drill.

2. Noted. My thought was that there might be instances in the modern day where color guards are welcome, but arms are not. I expect this largely wasn't the case back in 1860 something... I need to consult those manuals for marching without arms myself, as far too many re-enactors in the artillery branch don't seem to be particularly good at that, in spite of it being something that there forebears absolutely would have.

3. That makes sense. The NCO sword isn't the most practical thing the Army ever came up with.

4. Noted, I was mainly thinking of how small a unit one could put together and still have a realistic role to talk about for living history, or for parades, community events, ect. . Any excuse to get out there and do stuff!

5. Thank you, I hope that comes to pass. I increasingly worry that young people are being denied a chance to prove themselves, both in the hobby and life in general. It's also particularly frustrating when you're almost 26, and by wartime standards an "old man"!
 
Top