How did they march 12-18 miles per day?

Waterloo50

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#21
BFT was 3 miles 1.5 in Squad 1.5 solo in 11.30 mins but no packs just boots and work pants.

CFT was 8 miles full pack in 1 hr 55 mins with a fireman's lift of 200 yards at the end , I always seem to get the biggest guy just my luck , You must be as old as me if you had the SLR as well I was 2472 joined in 83 left in 93 did a years juniors as well.
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Cant say I've heard of the ACFT Tigers , BFT and CFT but then I was just an average Grunt.

What I find amazing is that Southern soldiers didn't get a lot to eat in the later stages of the War how on earth did they keep their energy levels so high?.
I did my BFT in full gear, we did that in jungle greens, putties and DMS, my Number began with 2453, so that makes me a tad older than you, Light Infantry by the way, I can still box my bed and nobody can iron a seam in a pair of number 2s with a bar of wet soap like I can. :smug:
 

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Waterloo50

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#22
I've been walking as exercise for many years and figure a moderate pace is about 1 mile/20 minutes or 3 mph. Given that I am somewhat older than the average trooper (ha ha) and am certainly not carrying a fully loaded pack and rifle, nevertheless, I never really questioned the figure of 12-18 miles per day for the Civil War trooper, which seems realistic.
Or being shot at, it’s amazing how a stray round can put a spring in your step.
 

67th Tigers

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#23
Cant say I've heard of the ACFT Tigers , BFT and CFT but then I was just an average Grunt.
ACFT has two components:

ACFT 1 - 1.5 mile run in CEFO (33 lbs) in 15 mins, individual.
ACFT 2 - two day exercise. Day 1, 12 miles in 3 hrs 30 carrying CEMO loaded to 66 lbs. Harbour up overnight and extract back along the same route with 44 lbs in 3 hrs.

ACFT was typically only done by light role infantry, and ISTR came from a requirement for airmobile troops to be able to stage a raid 12 miles from the LZ.
 
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#24
I did my BFT in full gear, we did that in jungle greens, putties and DMS, my Number began with 2453, so that makes me a tad older than you, Light Infantry by the way, I can still box my bed and nobody can iron a seam in a pair of number 2s with a bar of wet soap like I can. :smug:
Haha , Yea a lot older sorry
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Though as 67th notes actual long periods of marching 12-18 miles a day are quite rare in the ACW.
People didn't tend to walk about with 50lbs on their shoulders because they had horses and carts for that in civilian life - that's why marches tended to be shorter, and it's why lots of straggling took place on high-speed marches like the ones to Antietam.
I keep reading in latter stages of the War the CSA soldier survived on a handful of cornmeal and maybe some Bacon fat or pork do you think this effected Lee's tactics , He certainly did execute the sort of daring marches like Chancellorsville or 2nd Bull run , Could the lack of food effected his tactical thinking after Gettysburg and was the Army of Tennessee better fed than the AoNV?.
 

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#25
However this was a time when even women and children would mainly walk on Oregon, California, Mormon, Sante Fe trail. Mormons even sent groups with handcarts, who made the 1300 mile trip to Salt Lake, If could do it pushing a 3-500 lb cart, a 50lb pack wouldn't be harder

Because mainly we dont walk a lot today because theres no need, doesn't mean we are incapable. People were hardy back then, and for the most part already conditioned
Would add beside all the famous western trail journeys, during the CW there were plenty of civilians refugees making long treks north or south both singly and in groups/wagon trains, doing plenty of extended walking
 
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#26
The average ACW infantry soldier was in his early 20s (under 26) 5' 8" and 145 pounds, he was not used to air conditioning and his civilian mode of transportation was shanks mare (by foot). He was generally in fairly good shape upon enlistment, with the exception of the conditioning of the feet for long marches. The average weight carried by a Federal soldier in the field was 45 pounds, this included all accouterments, arms, canteen, haversack with 8 days rations and pack with a change of underclothing and shelter half with blanket. A fully loaded cartridge box alone could weigh between 4 and 5 pounds depending on caliber. The musket with bayonet averaged around 10 pounds. A full canteen could weigh between 3-4 pounds. The haversack 5 depending on marching order and number of days ration. Blankets (rubber and wool), change of clothes and shelter half another 15- 20 pounds. Now strap leather boards to your feet.......
 

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#28
The average intake for a normal man is around 2400 calories a day that's without strenuous exercise.

Being ex army the hardest test we had to go through was a force march of around 8 miles with rifle and kit around 50IBs with a time limit of 1 hr 55 mins it was called the CFT.
We were fit lads and completed it always on time but are legs ached and the next day you were stiff as a board.

How the heck did these ACW lads march sometimes for a week of more with pack and rifle and weighing 10 stone wet through what was the average intake of calories? The North was better fed but how did the South get the calories to do these epic marches.

Just amazes me the more you read about these soldiers how tough they really were.
For your reading pleasure: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/roads-to-gettysburg-summer-1981.101846/
 

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#30
Great read thankyou , So 5 days marching and a battle to fight at the end , How long did it take you to recover properly and were you semi fit when you started the march did you train for it?.

Again thx for that.
My feet had third degree blisters which took a couple of weeks to recover from, but others did much better. One member said he hadn't worn shoes regularly during the summers until he went to school and I imagine that was true for many Southern boys of the 1860's too. I was relatively fit, especially when compared with today, but was still a "tenderfoot" when it came to marching. Some practiced for the march by wearing their broghans and taking long walks but I don't remember doing that; at least mine were already broken in so weren't too much trouble in that regard. The greatest problem was the rocky shoulders of the roads we traveled - on dirt or even regular asphalt it would've been much easier on the feet!
 
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#31
Many modern day backpackers easily cover 15 miles per day carrying 30 to 40 lb. packs. Those who hike the long-distance trails (such as the Pacific Crest Trail) do closer to 20-25 miles per day, covering a 2500 mile trail (with lots of steep ups and downs) in 4 to 5 months.

Back in the days before lightweight backpacking, I was able to do 8-9 miles per day with a 50 lb. pack (more than a third of my body weight). That was also back in the days when I was a lot younger! More recently, my pack (thanks to modern technology) was 28 lbs for a 9-day trip and my daily distances (thanks to aging) were 5-7 miles. Of course that pack keeps getting lighter as you eat the food in it!

Some of the Civil War efforts at lightening the pack were disastrous, such as discarding warm clothing and blankets on an especially warm winter day, only to have the weather turn to snow and ice the next day!
 

WJC

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#32
These men were mostly country boys, particularly the Confederates. They grew up on farms and learned to work long hard hours at an early age. I doubt our typical modern man could replicate the natural toughness they achieved with fitness and weight training.
Even 'city boys' walked virtually everywhere they went. The entire population was more used to walking than we are today, when our doctors urge us to get out and walk for twenty minutes at least three times a week!
 

Waterloo50

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#33
Even 'city boys' walked virtually everywhere they went. The entire population was more used to walking than we are today, when our doctors urge us to get out and walk for twenty minutes at least three times a week!
Well, if you didn’t like walking, you could always try out for the cavalry. I was a light infantryman and I remember the Royal Corp of transport come flying past in their landrovers and four ton Bedford trucks, I knew then that I’d joined the wrong regiment.:frown:
 
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#34
ACFT has two components:

ACFT 1 - 1.5 mile run in CEFO (33 lbs) in 15 mins, individual.
ACFT 2 - two day exercise. Day 1, 12 miles in 3 hrs 30 carrying CEMO loaded to 66 lbs. Harbour up overnight and extract back along the same route with 44 lbs in 3 hrs.

ACFT was typically only done by light role infantry, and ISTR came from a requirement for airmobile troops to be able to stage a raid 12 miles from the LZ.
Sounds lake a cakewalk compared to the Royal Marines they do 30 miles full pack in 8 hrs for their Green Beret.
 
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#35
Not sure how those boys did it day in and day out, but Infantry soldiers are still doing it today...one foot in front of the other.


The Road March task for the U.S. Army's Expert Infantryman Badge calls for the following conditions:

"Perform 12-mile tactical foot march
TASK: Perform 12-mile tactical foot march.
TEST CONDITIONS: Given the following equipment to carry at a minimum. Units may add to this load IAW unit SOP but may not delete any of the items listed:
  • Pistol belt with suspenders.
  • Ammunition pouches (2) with M16 magazines (6).
  • Canteens with water (2), canteen covers (2).
  • Canteen cup (1).
  • First-aid packet and case.
  • Poncho.
  • Kevlar helmet or steel helmet.
  • Bayonet and scabbard.
  • Protective mask and carrier.
  • M16 series rifle or an M4 carbine, with sling and magazine inserted.
  • Rucksack with load weighing a minimum of 35 pounds.
NOTE: Based on unit issue, this could be a medium or large rucksack.
TEST STANDARDS: Complete the 12-mile tactical foot march within three hours.
REFERENCE: FM 21-18."
Total weight for the list above is about 35 pounds. In my unit it was SOP to carry additional gear in the ruck. Probably ran about 40 pounds.
Your weapon had to be carried at the ready, not strapped on your ruck.
Did mine in 2 hours, 4 minutes. Airborne shuffle all the way.
When you crossed the "Finish Line" you went directly to a Test Station to Clear/Disassemble/Reassemble/and perform a functions check on your weapon (timed separately).​
 

Waterloo50

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#36
Sounds lake a cakewalk compared to the Royal Marines they do 30 miles full pack in 8 hrs for their Green Beret.
The Royal Marines YOMP (Your Own Marching Pace) and the Parachute Regiment TABs, (Tactical March to Battle) both elite forces think nothing of covering rough terrain in short periods of time, I think the average speed is about 4mph over rough ground with full kit. I’ve read that soldiers during the CW could cover anything between 15 and 30 miles per day on a forced march, not bad considering that they’d often be carrying 50 to 60 pounds of equipment. Does anyone know what equipment a CW soldier would carry if he was in light marching order?
 

damYankee

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#37
IMHO the average human being living in the US or Canada in the mid 1800s was in general much tougher than even the above average athlete of today.
For one thing the average persons daily physical exercise due to just normal tasks was greater, they were also unspoiled by expectations or even the concept of an “easy life”.
How did they march so far?
Here’s another question for you to consider, how did 70,000 families walk the Oregon Trail in 1852?
People were stronger and not challellenge adverse.
Counter to the common misconception, people North and South, East and West endured things that would leave us curled up in a ball in the corner.
 
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#38
Mr. Scott, that is a question I have wanted answered myself. The only thing I can think of is that they were starving, malnourished and tough as hell. I have said that the Army if Northern Virginia was living on their reputation as they marched in to Pennsylvania.
The Civil War Times magazine published a letter from a Pennsylvania farmer recounting the ANV passing by his farm. He expected to see a great and powerful army but what he saw was dirty, stinking, walking scarecrows.

These Confederate prisoners with their sunken cheeks and skinny legs may indicate they had been starved and malnourished but they still look dangerous and proud.




938lrs_0f823aa2a761d4f.jpg
 
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#39
Mr. Scott, that is a question I have wanted answered myself. The only thing I can think of is that they were starving, malnourished and tough as hell. I have said that the Army if Northern Virginia was living on their reputation as they marched in to Pennsylvania.
The Civil War Times magazine published a letter from a Pennsylvania farmer recounting the ANV passing by his farm. He expected to see a great and powerful army but what he saw was dirty, stinking, walking scarecrows.

These Confederate prisoners with their sunken cheeks and skinny legs may indicate they had been starved and malnourished but they still look dangerous and proud.




View attachment 216359
Yes I've seen that picture many times think their from Archers Brigade captured at the railroad cut but I might be wrong.

The Confederate soldier had a dash about him very cavalier unlike the dour workmanlike Northerner.

They don't look malnourished to be fair in fact they look in very good condition however the guy on the far left looks like his boots are falling apart and I think the guy on the right doesn't have boots on unless its my eyes.
 

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#40
DSC05411.JPG


The Royal Marines YOMP (Your Own Marching Pace) and the Parachute Regiment TABs, (Tactical March to Battle) both elite forces think nothing of covering rough terrain in short periods of time, I think the average speed is about 4mph over rough ground with full kit. I’ve read that soldiers during the CW could cover anything between 15 and 30 miles per day on a forced march, not bad considering that they’d often be carrying 50 to 60 pounds of equipment. Does anyone know what equipment a CW soldier would carry if he was in light marching order?
For the Union soldier: Waistbelt with beltplate suspending cap pouch, bayonet, and scabbard; canteen, its cover, & strap; cartridge box suspended from over-the-shoulder strap, containing two box tins with forty rounds of ammunition, and ornamented with one or two brass plates (late in the war the box was also worn Confederate-style on the waistbelt, thereby eliminating the strap and brass plates altogether); tarred haversack and its contents which varied but usually included tin plate, knife, fork, and spoon plus food items; tin cup or mucket; musket, rifle-musket, or rifled musket. For actual marches (not just going short distances), add blanket roll wrapped in tarred or rubberized ground cloth or poncho or knapsack containing same and usually spare clothing items like extra shirt, drawers, socks, etc. In weather like we're having now, a greatcoat would be a nice but relatively heavy addition.

Image (19)A.jpg
 
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