company commander position

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18thmississippi

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After doing some research I've come to a dead end on the topic of the position of the company commander when the battalion faces to the left. Does he simply walk forward to the 2nd sgt and stand to his right or does he switch sides and stand on the 2nd sgts left?

Also I've been wondering if the company commander is suppose to repeat the orders given by the colonel ? for example if the colonel calls out "attention Battalion" does the captain call out "Company"?
 

frontrank2

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I can't help you with the first part, but many many years ago I read an article in the Camp Chase Gazeette regarding the echoing of commands. IIRC it was the proper thing to do for the head of the Company to echo the commands from the colonel or c.o. But it was considered excessive if the nco's participated also.
 

frontrank2

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I can't help you with the first part, but many many years ago I read an article in the Camp Chase Gazeette regarding the echoing of commands. IIRC it was the proper thing to do for the head of the Company to echo the commands from the colonel or c.o. But it was considered excessive if the nco's participated also.
And yes, the officer only addresses his own company.
 
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captaindrew

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It's my understanding that the 2nd sgt and captain take the same position as the 1st sgt and captain would take when facing right although we try not to invert the company unless it's absolutely necessary. I'm out of town and don't have my manuals handy. I'll try to remember to look it up when I get home the beginning of the week to make sure that's correct by the book. Usually the only time we left face is a quick move on the field or guiding into a battalion line, don't do it too often.
 

Si Klegg

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Yes, the Company Commander places himself to the RIGHT of the Second Sergeant (or Left Guide.)

ARTICLE FIRST

To march by the flank

135. The company being in line of battle, and at a halt, when the instructor shall wish to cause it to march by the right flank, he will command:

1.Company, right-FACE. 2. Forward. 3. MARCH.

136. At the first command, the company will face to the right, the covering sergeant will place himself at the head of the front rank the captain having stepped out for the purpose, so, far as to find, himself by the side of the sergeant, and on his left; the front rank will double as is prescribed in the school of the soldier No. 352; the rear rank will, at the same time, side step to the right one pace, and double in the same manner; go that when the movement is completed, the files will be formed of four men aligned, and elbow to elbow. The intervals will be preserved.

137. The file closers will also move by side step to the right, so that when the ranks are formed, they will be two paces from the rearmost rank.

138. At the command march, the company will move off briskly in quick time; the covering sergeant at the head of the front rank; and the captain on his left, will march straight forward. The men of each file will march abreast of their respective front rank men, heads direct to the front; the file closers will march opposite their places in line of battle.

139. The instructor will cause the principles of the march by the flank to be observed, in placing himself pending on the march, as prescribed in the school of the soldier, No. 357.

140. The instructor will cause the march by the left flank to be executed by the same commands, substituting left for right; the ranks will double as has been prescribed in the school for the soldier, No. 354; the rear rank will side-step to the left one pace before doubling.

141. At the instant the company faces to the left, the left guide will place himself at the head of the front rank; the captain will pass rapidly to the left, and place himself by the right side of this guide; the covering sergeant will replace the captain in the front rank, the moment the latter quits it to go to the left.

http://www.drillnet.net/1862/1862SotC.htm#L4A1


As to the parroting of commands, we had murders with it here after Glory came out. Every order given in the movie sounds like the Officers have a backing group :whistling:
 

Malingerer

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After doing some research I've come to a dead end on the topic of the position of the company commander when the battalion faces to the left. Does he simply walk forward to the 2nd sgt and stand to his right or does he switch sides and stand on the 2nd sgts left?

Also I've been wondering if the company commander is suppose to repeat the orders given by the colonel ? for example if the colonel calls out "attention Battalion" does the captain call out "Company"?
There is nothing in either Hardee's or Casey's about company commanders parroting commands - that's what drums and bugles are for.
 
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Nope. Try again. The question is about battalion drill, not company drill. Generally, captains do not march next to second sergeants in battalion formations.

First, when marching by the left flank, captains march next to the first sergeants of the company ahead of their own companies. As written in Hardee's School of the Battalion:

"725. The battalion having to face by the left flank, the captains, at the second command, will shift rapidly to the left of their companies, and each place himself by the side of the covering sergeant of the company preceding his own, except the captain of the left company, who will place himself by the side of the sergeant on the left of the battalion. The covering sergeant of the right company will place himself by the right side of the front rank man of the rearmost file of his company, covering the captains in file."


Paragraph is the same in Casey and all other period manuals.

Second, the post for second sergeants generally is in the rank of file closers, not in the front rank. As noted in Article I of Title I:

"15. The remaining officers and sergeants will be posted as file-closers, and two paces behind the rear rank.

19. The second sergeant, opposite the second file from the left of the company. In the manoeuvres he will be designated left guide of the company."


The solitary exception to both rules concerns the forward most company when marching by the left flank, aka, the left most company of the battalion when in line of battle. There, the post for the left most sergeant of the battalion is in the front rank. His captain marches beside him as noted above when marching by the flank.

S.S. Mucket
 

grognard

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"The solitary exception to both rules concerns the forward most company when marching by the left flank, aka, the left most company of the battalion when in line of battle. "

I believe this is true when the battalion is in line. However, if a battalion is in column of companies and the companies face to the left, each company commander will post on the right of his left guide (second sergeant) as prescribed in the School of the Company.

Examples include maneuvers such as:

- By the left of companies to the front
- By the left of companies to the rear
- Change direction by the left flank (for a column closed in mass)
- Countermarch (for a column closed in mass)(chiefs of even-numbered divisions go to the left flank though their guides remain in place)
 

grognard

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"Usually the only time we left face is a quick move on the field or guiding into a battalion line, don't do it too often. "

This is very common for reenactment units, and IMO it's a shame. Generally speaking any maneuver that can be done to the right can also be done to the left, and units should practice both ways. Too often we see battalions arriving on the field "the wrong way" and "countermarching" (actually two "by file lefts") the full length of their line. If they had marched by the left flank it would have been halt - front - dress - done.

"we try not to invert the company unless it's absolutely necessary."

Too many reenactor officers have never done a "real" inversion and think it means marching by the left flank. It actually means forming the battalion into line in "inverted" order - i.e. with the first company on the left.

Why would you need to do this? Well, suppose the battalion is in column of companies "right in front" (first company leading, as usual). It's easy to form line of battle to the left (the "proper" front) - you do a "left into line, wheel" and the companies are in their proper order. But suppose the enemy suddenly appears on the right flank and there's no time for any fancy stuff. Casey's Tactics describes how to perform the inversion:

By inversion to the right (or left) into line of battle.

484. When a column, right in front, shall be under the necessity of forming itself into line faced to the reverse flank, and the colonel shall wish to execute this formation by the shortest movement, he will command:

1. By inversion, right into line, wheel. 2. Battalion guide right.

485. At the first command, the lieutenant-colonel will place himself in front, and facing to the right guide of the leading subdivision: at the second command, he will rectify, as promptly as possible, the direction of the right guides of the column; the captain of the odd company, if there be one, and the column be by division, will promptly bring the right of his company on the direction, and at company distance from the division next in front;, the left guide of the leading subdivision will place himself on the direction of the right guides, and will be assured in his position by the lieutenant-colonel; which being executed, the colonel will command:

3. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).

486. At this the right front-rank man of each subdivision will face to the right, rest his breast lightly against the left arm of his guide, and the battalion will form itself to the right into line of battle, according to the principles prescribed; which being executed, the colonel will command: Guides—POSTS.

487. If the column be with the left in front, it will form itself, by inversion, to the left into line, according to the same principles.
 
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captaindrew

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"Usually the only time we left face is a quick move on the field or guiding into a battalion line, don't do it too often. "

This is very common for reenactment units, and IMO it's a shame. Generally speaking any maneuver that can be done to the right can also be done to the left, and units should practice both ways. Too often we see battalions arriving on the field "the wrong way" and "countermarching" (actually two "by file lefts") the full length of their line. If they had marched by the left flank it would have been halt - front - dress - done.

"we try not to invert the company unless it's absolutely necessary."

Too many reenactor officers have never done a "real" inversion and think it means marching by the left flank. It actually means forming the battalion into line in "inverted" order - i.e. with the first company on the left.

Why would you need to do this? Well, suppose the battalion is in column of companies "right in front" (first company leading, as usual). It's easy to form line of battle to the left (the "proper" front) - you do a "left into line, wheel" and the companies are in their proper order. But suppose the enemy suddenly appears on the right flank and there's no time for any fancy stuff. Casey's Tactics describes how to perform the inversion:

By inversion to the right (or left) into line of battle.

484. When a column, right in front, shall be under the necessity of forming itself into line faced to the reverse flank, and the colonel shall wish to execute this formation by the shortest movement, he will command:

1. By inversion, right into line, wheel. 2. Battalion guide right.

485. At the first command, the lieutenant-colonel will place himself in front, and facing to the right guide of the leading subdivision: at the second command, he will rectify, as promptly as possible, the direction of the right guides of the column; the captain of the odd company, if there be one, and the column be by division, will promptly bring the right of his company on the direction, and at company distance from the division next in front;, the left guide of the leading subdivision will place himself on the direction of the right guides, and will be assured in his position by the lieutenant-colonel; which being executed, the colonel will command:

3. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).

486. At this the right front-rank man of each subdivision will face to the right, rest his breast lightly against the left arm of his guide, and the battalion will form itself to the right into line of battle, according to the principles prescribed; which being executed, the colonel will command: Guides—POSTS.

487. If the column be with the left in front, it will form itself, by inversion, to the left into line, according to the same principles.
I agree with you, there's lots of things I wish we could do but you only get so many weekends a year and lucky to get a hour or two of drill in over those weekends not to mention some of the guys only show up to a couple events you have to keep things pretty simple. On top of that most events you're operating at a company level. Unless you get to a couple large events you never get any battalion drill. There's probably only a few guys in our company including myself that have any battalion experience at all and the only time we get that is at Olustee and Gettysburg every year.
 
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"The solitary exception to both rules concerns the forward most company when marching by the left flank, aka, the left most company of the battalion when in line of battle. "

I believe this is true when the battalion is in line. However, if a battalion is in column of companies and the companies face to the left, each company commander will post on the right of his left guide (second sergeant) as prescribed in the School of the Company.

Examples include maneuvers such as:

- By the left of companies to the front
- By the left of companies to the rear
- Change direction by the left flank (for a column closed in mass)
- Countermarch (for a column closed in mass)(chiefs of even-numbered divisions go to the left flank though their guides remain in place)
Well, yes. There are those exceptions to the exceptions. None are common manoeuvers.
- The manoeuver which next follows by the left of companies to the front/rear is by company into line - from the left.
- I've been in a battalion which was in column and had to move laterally to the left. Once.
- How many times have you seen a battalion performing the real countermarch and on the left, at that? This is another formation which starts as a column of companies. Perform it as a column of divisions and the exception to the exception doesn't apply.

- S.S. Mucket
 

Ataxerxes

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I agree with you, there's lots of things I wish we could do but you only get so many weekends a year and lucky to get a hour or two of drill in over those weekends not to mention some of the guys only show up to a couple events you have to keep things pretty simple. On top of that most events you're operating at a company level. Unless you get to a couple large events you never get any battalion drill. There's probably only a few guys in our company including myself that have any battalion experience at all and the only time we get that is at Olustee and Gettysburg every year.
I would add to that that it also depends on who and when you are portraying. While the idea of “drill, drill, drill” certainly has some merit, the truth is quite a bit more complicated. I have come across some interesting accounts of men saying they weren’t drilled above the company level for months at a time. In Hess’ Infantry Tactics, he cites several examples of units doing just that, avoiding complicated maneuvers because the men (or officers) were unpracticed.

Not saying it’s not worth it to be well drilled, especially if you do have the time. But it’s not entirely historically accurate to assume everyone knew what they were doing and could maneuver any which way without confusion, much less operate at the battalion level or higher, especially under fire, with perfection.
 
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grognard

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"there's lots of things I wish we could do but you only get so many weekends a year and lucky to get a hour or two of drill in over those weekends not to mention some of the guys only show up to a couple events you have to keep things pretty simple."

I understand, I've been in your shoes. Time is precious so you have to get the most out of what time you have.

One thing that helped our company was to have a spring drill each year. No camp life or cooking, no spectators, uniforms optional for new guys. We would start Saturday morning with individual and squad drill without weapons. Then the manual of arms, and a pizza break for lunch. Company maneuvers in the afternoon. Sunday was bayonet drill and skirmish drill.

Something that helped at events was to do a short drill anytime the company was formed (such as roll call). We would quickly go through the manual of arms, then do a right face, front, left face, front to review the rules for "doubling and undoubling". We would place the right and left guides a couple paces forward and have the men dress on them - then place them a couple paces behind the line and practice dressing backward.

Once we'd practiced this a couple times, it only took five minutes; and we could do it in a shady spot. Having covered these "basics" we could use all the scheduled drill time for actual marching.

The object of a company drill should never be just to fill time. As the instructor, think about what you're going to teach and prepare yourself by reviewing the books. Keep it fresh by teaching something new or different, especially if you're going to need it for the afternoon battle. There aren't that many company maneuvers - try to use each one at least once per year.

The best way a company can prepare for battalion drill is by forming a column of platoons. Some of the details are different, but the formation works the same way. If you don't have enough men put the men in a single rank formation. That helps for a lot of other drills because the rear rank men just follow their file leaders.
 
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grognard

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"But it’s not entirely historically accurate to assume everyone knew what they were doing and could maneuver any which way without confusion, much less operate at the battalion level or higher, especially under fire, with perfection. "

Some will say the only battle we should attempt to reenact is First Bull Run (First Manassas) for exactly that reason. But why not try to be the best you can? You can always "forget" drill when it's historically appropriate...
 

Ataxerxes

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"But it’s not entirely historically accurate to assume everyone knew what they were doing and could maneuver any which way without confusion, much less operate at the battalion level or higher, especially under fire, with perfection. "

Some will say the only battle we should attempt to reenact is First Bull Run (First Manassas) for exactly that reason. But why not try to be the best you can? You can always "forget" drill when it's historically appropriate...
Like I said in my post, if you’ve got the time, it’s probably better spent drilling than drinking, napping or visiting the funnel cake stand. I’m just saying that to make a blanket statement the infamous “they” would have done X or Y isn’t always correct, which is why especially if you are doing a specific impression, research is incredibly important.
 
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