Odd Number Regiment


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#2
What did officers do if a regiment was reduced by casualties to an odd number of men? How would they create the files? Would one man be left hanging in a company?
In the Confederate Army it was not uncommon to combine regiments. If you look through Dyer's Compendium you will find examples of that.
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Zack

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#3
Let’s say you had a company with 15 soldiers. Deployed in line of battle it would look like this:

1111111
11111111

Or this:

11111111
1111111

Either way you’ve got someone dangling on the end. Would they just have the dangling soldier at the end? Would he be in the front or rear rank?
 
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#4
Let’s say you had a company with 15 soldiers. Deployed in line of battle it would look like this:

1111111
11111111


Or this:

11111111
1111111


Either way you’ve got someone dangling on the end. Would they just have the dangling soldier at the end? Would he be in the front or rear rank?
Off hand I would think a fifteen man company reduced to less then a platoon would just be merged into another rifle company. As far as what was the norm at the time in the above situation I would have to defer to other posters I.e. @unionblue @johan_steele @novushomus @Saphroneth @67th Tigers .
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captaindrew

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#5
Let’s say you had a company with 15 soldiers. Deployed in line of battle it would look like this:

1111111
11111111


Or this:

11111111
1111111


Either way you’ve got someone dangling on the end. Would they just have the dangling soldier at the end? Would he be in the front or rear rank?
The odd number man would be in the front rank, same as if in action the front rank man falls the rear rank man steps up to fill the hole.
 

Saphroneth

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#6
Off hand I would think a fifteen man company reduced to less then a platoon would just be merged into another rifle company.
What they actually did was that the tactical companies were equalized. The administrative companies were permanent, but the tactical ones were equal because that's what they're for - they define a tenth of the tactical battalion and all the manoeuvres are built on the assumption that the companies are equivalent.


From the drill manuals:


"11. For maneuvering, the companies of a battalion will always be equalized, by transferring men from the strongest to the weakest companies." - Hardee's

"18. For manœuvres, the companies of a battalion will always be equalized, by transferring men from the strongest to the weakest companies." - Casey's


From the letter of an ACW soldier:


When we started from camp they equalized the companies. Nine companies had 19 [files?] each and one company had 18, that would make 379 men in the ranks, without the file closers to count all.

(That's the 55th Ohio. The transcript of the letter has the first number be 18, but this makes no sense with the 379 total.)
In this case it looks like there were either "38 or 36 men per company" and 378 total, or "38 or 37 men per company" and 379 total - recalling that in a two-rank formation a file would be of two men.

This was so important we even have accounts of it being done under fire, if heavy casualties result in lopsided companies.


So the tactical companies would not be lopsided, because that's the point of having them at all. It's possible that they'd trade men back and forth to make the numbers even, but there's no point because the moment you take the first casualty you've got an odd numbered company again - better to account for the odd numbers in the drill as a "one-rank file".
 
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#7
What did officers do if a regiment was reduced by casualties to an odd number of men? How would they create the files? Would one man be left hanging in a company?
The Confederate Army Of Tennessee had to "Consolidate" Regiments toward the end of the war because of a reduction in numbers. (casualties). I believe the Army of Northern Virginia reverted to consolidating brigades & divisions. I'd guess the would align like they always did ??? Don't believe the Union Army had to deal with such needs (at least not as much).
 
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#8
toward the end of the war because of a reduction in numbers.
They started doing this after Shiloh. Off top of my head, I know the 13th and 15th Arkansas were both merged after the battle, and neither would serve unconsolidated for the rest of the war. And they kept doing this with other units, like the 6th and 7th Arkansas, the 1st and 27th Tennessee, the 6th & 9th Tennessee, etc. After casualties around Atlanta and then after the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, entire brigades of regiments were consolidated.
This was common more out west than with Lee in the East because of the amount of replacements sent to defend Richmond, as well as the zeal carried by the Army of Northern Virginia, hence why its not until 1864, when the manpower pool has completely dried up, that Lee has to start doing some merging. For example, after the casualties suffered at Gettysburg, Lee combines the former brigades of Archer and Heth/Brockenbrough together (eventually, they would be split and the remnant of Archer's Tennesseans brigade joined by the remnant of Bushrod Johnson's old brigade). Then, after casualties at the Wilderness and especially after the disaster at Spotsylvania, the 2 Louisiana Tiger Brigades were merged into a single brigade, and so too were the remaining Virginians of E. Johnson's division. Other then this, though, I do not know of any other mergers were done within Lee's Army, at least those where the unit retained both identities, as it did in the West.
 
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#9
They started doing this after Shiloh. Off top of my head, I know the 13th and 15th Arkansas were both merged after the battle, and neither would serve unconsolidated for the rest of the war. And they kept doing this with other units, like the 6th and 7th Arkansas, the 1st and 27th Tennessee, the 6th & 9th Tennessee, etc. After casualties around Atlanta and then after the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, entire brigades of regiments were consolidated.
This was common more out west than with Lee in the East because of the amount of replacements sent to defend Richmond, as well as the zeal carried by the Army of Northern Virginia, hence why its not until 1864, when the manpower pool has completely dried up, that Lee has to start doing some merging. For example, after the casualties suffered at Gettysburg, Lee combines the former brigades of Archer and Heth/Brockenbrough together (eventually, they would be split and the remnant of Archer's Tennesseans brigade joined by the remnant of Bushrod Johnson's old brigade). Then, after casualties at the Wilderness and especially after the disaster at Spotsylvania, the 2 Louisiana Tiger Brigades were merged into a single brigade, and so too were the remaining Virginians of E. Johnson's division. Other then this, though, I do not know of any other mergers were done within Lee's Army, at least those where the unit retained both identities, as it did in the West.
Great info ! Many thanks !
 

thomas aagaard

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#10
What did officers do if a regiment was reduced by casualties to an odd number of men? How would they create the files? Would one man be left hanging in a company?
It is actually a complex question.
Depending on exactly how you form the company (it is one area where the different drilbooks are not the exact same) you will get a file on one of the ends with only one man. And he will be in the front rank.

But In my group we usually move one man so we end up with:
xxxxxxx
x xxxxx

and not:
xxxxxxx
- xxxxxx


In our experience it look better and work better, especially if we march by the left flank. So we still have two men in the front file.
(And we are also influenced by the fact that the danish army did this back then and today.)

Then after we started doing it I did find a source.
odd-man-left.jpg

Look at the right of the photo.
On their left we got what is likely the 2nd sergeant alone.
Then likely two corporals (of 8 in the company)
And then a file of one man.

Note that this is also the case in the next company. (but not in the 3rd company)

Both got 23 files (not counting the 1st and 2nd sergeant)
With 90 men in the ranks you will end up with an empty sport in both companies... or 22 files on one company and 23 in the rest.


I actually made a post about this on another forum:
https://www.authentic-campaigner.co...ming-the-company-odd-man-on-the-left-or-right
 



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