Reversed Arms


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Will Posey

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#2
Most often associated with funeral honors, the rifle would be reversed, with the butt in front of the shoulder and the left arm extended across the small of the back and the left hand grasping the barrel. The right hand would be grasping the stock neck. There are several variations of the this carry position.

Others may know much more about this than I.

Will
 
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#5
Is it for certain types of funerals or branches? I've been to a number of military funerals but haven't seen this performed before.
 

M E Wolf

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#7
In the 1861 Revised Regulations of the United States Army and the 1863 Regulations for the Confederate Army; both list under Military Honors the whole procedure of marching at "Reverse Arms,"

There is a still illustration for the funeral procession of President Lincoln, which shows "Reverse Arms," to include officers with swords "in Reverse Arms,"

M. E. Wolf
 
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M E Wolf

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#14
The reversed arms in these images has to do with formally tossing a bad soldier from the army. So, it looks like there are two versions of this practice.
I have also thought that "Reverse Arms" was used when marching to meet the other Army under a flag of "truce" but, I am not finding anything concrete yet, it would make sense as soldiers surrendering would reverse arms to show 'no threat.'

M. E. Wolf
 

M E Wolf

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#16
http://search.aol.com/aol/search?query=military reverse arms for truce&s_it=keyword_rollover

Web Results

Usually "Military Academies" are able to link their military traditions to a military past.
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http://www.sacred-texts.com/etc/mco/ml08.htm

205. A Military Funeral is always an impressive spectacle. When such a one takes place in time of peace, the ceremonial is exactly the same as it would be in camp or on the battle-field. A gun-carriage forms an improvised hearse, the drums are muffled out of respect for the dead comrade, and all arms are carried reversed to show that the company deputed to perform the sad office count upon the forbearance of the enemy for the time being, consequently they do not fear an attack (see 379). In the case of a cavalry officer being buried, his horse is led behind the body; this is a survival of ancient times, when an officer's charger was universally sacrificed at the grave-side and buried with its master. At the conclusion of the ceremony a salute is fired over the grave to intimate to the enemy that they are once more ready to act on the defensive.


M. E. Wolf
 
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M E Wolf

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#17
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIII/1 [S# 90]
AUGUST 7-NOVEMBER 28, 1864.--The Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
No. 183.--Reports of Col. David G. Cowand, Thirty-second North Carolina Infantry, commanding Grimes' brigade, of operations June 13-December 31.
HEADQUARTERS GRIMES' BRIGADE,
Camp near Sutherland's Depot, Va., March 4, 1865.
MAJOR: In obedience to instructions from division headquarters I have the honor of making the following report of the operations of this command from the 13th of June, 1864, to the 1st of January, 1865:
[excerpt]
Next day we moved in the direction of Staunton, passing through Lexington and several small villages. At Lexington the brigade passed by the grave of that noble old hero Lieutenant-General Jackson at reverse arms and heads uncovered. Stopped near Staunton a few days and then moved down the pike in the direction of Winchester, and passed on through very rapidly. Reached Harper's Ferry early on the morning of the 4th of July, and was met by only a small body of sharpshooters, which were soon driven in, the sharpshooters only being engaged, and they soon took Bolivar Heights. Next morning the Forty-third North Carolina Regiment was sent in the village of Harper's Ferry to relieve one of Battle's regiments, then on picket duty. After getting in the village it was quite dangerous relieving the troops then on duty. This regiment lost several men while relieving Battle's by the fire of the sharpshooters in the Maryland Heights. About night the Thirty-second North Carolina Regiment was ordered in the town to assist in doing garrison duty and to help load the wagons with the quartermaster's and commissary supplies that we captured, balance of the brigade being near the Bolivar Heights in reserve. Next morning the brigade was relieved by Lewis' brigade and moved in direction of Shepherdstown. Crossed the Potomac, leaving Shepherdstown to our left, and camped near Sharpsburg, Md. Next morning moved down Pleasant Valley and had some little skirmishing for a day or two, and then moved in the direction of Frederick City without meeting with any opposition. The brigade, except the sharpshooters, was not engaged in the Monocacy fight, being held in reserve. Next day we took up line of march toward Washington City, and arrived at Silver Springs on the 11th. This brigade being the front infantry brigade in the army, sharpshooters were thrown out immediately and the brigade formed line of battle, left extending on the road known as Seventh Street road. After remaining there about two hours were ordered to the front to support the sharpshooters.
[end of excerpt]
-------------------------------
O.R.--SERIES IV--VOLUME I [S# 127]
CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES, DECEMBER 20, 1860-JUNE 30, 1862.(*)--#16
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, June 23, 1861.
Hon. Messrs. GRAHAM and RUFFIN,
Commissioners from North Carolina:
GENTLEMEN: I herewith transmit you the acts passed by the Provisional Congress at its first and second sessions, and in relation to the conversation between us had on yesterday deem it proper to say that by reference to the act "to provide for the public defense," and the emendations to that act, you will find the law regulating and controlling the organization and service of the provisional forces of the Confederate States. It will be seen that volunteers have the same organization and the same pay and allowances provided for the Regular Army, and are received and mustered into service by "companies, squadrons, battalions, and regiments" only.
[extensive excerpt]
It is understood here that North Carolina has organized ten regiments for the war, to be passed under Confederate authorities, and it gives me pleasure to say that these regiments will be mustered into the service and received into the pay of this Department at the earliest moment after notification from Governor Ellis of their actual organic formation. But concerning the fact mentioned by you, that a number of volunteers in addition to the ten regiments reported for the war are being raised in North Carolina, it is proper for me to state that the President, under the laws of Congress authorizing him to make requisitions upon the States, will call for these troops from time to time as the public exigencies may demand. He now more especially desires to embody in the different States a reserved army corps, to be placed in camps of instruction and thoroughly prepared as regulars to meet the casualties of the battle-field and a possible reverse of arms. To this end these forces will be enrolled for the war, will be received by companies, and as thus mustered into service will be paid and subsisted by this Department. The numbers necessary to the entire corps will be determined upon and the quota of North Carolina made known to Governor Ellis in the course of a few days.

[end of excerpt] --NOTE: "IF, the "Reverse of Arms" means Truce, it may read differently.

-----------
M. E. Wolf
 

Bmac48

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#19
Dang! We are exposed to knowledge and some really silly stuff within minutes! I love this board!
My sentiments exactly!

And it is very important that we remember the little things. It is one thing to read the history of the troop movements at, say Gettysburg, and how those movements affected the outcome of a battle.

It is another to find a comb in the remains of a campsite, and wonder what the soldiers did there when not marching; or wonder what Private Joe ate for breakfast before he went to Hell's Half Acre; or just sit and ponder who it was wearing the barrel in the above image, and what crime he committed to deserve being thrown out of the Army while his fellows carried their rifles in reverse.

As a matter of fact, just who was it that was wearing the barrel?
 
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#20
If I recall correctly, and I will need to double check, but I believe I saw the caption once that the guy with placard being drummed out is a member of the 55th Mass Inf, and the placard says " THIEF/ I stole from two sick comrades" or something to that effect... give me afew and I will verify
 



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