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Gilham vs Hardee: In Defense of Gilham 

By Eric Mink

Over the past few days there has been a very active thread concerning Gilham’s manual, its usage and comparison with Hardee. The constant concern seems to be how heavily Gilham may have been used and where its usage compares with Hardee. For the past six years, I have been chasing Gilham’s “ghost” with particular attention paid to the development and use of his manual. Here are a few of my views, conclusions and opinions on the subject.

Gilham’s work was nothing new. It was simply a compilation, and rehash, of others material such as Hardee, Scott, Poinsett, etc. Nonetheless, the strength of Gilham’s text is in what it includes. For the volunteer and militia officer, it leaves almost nothing out. In one single volume, an officer is instructed in the drill, duties (line and staff officers), organization of the various arms and army, advice on fighting and tactics, explanation of weaponry and ammunition, target practice, conducting courts martial, music, and a glossary of all terms used. For the citizen-turned-soldier, it is the most complete textbook for the training and supervision of commands. For this reason, General Philip Kearney wrote the publisher (Charle Desilver of Philadelphia) on August 3, 1861 “It is comprehensive, complete, and reliable. I regard it the best Military Work that exists.” George McClellan wrote on May 23, 1861, “I…think it an excellent work to be placed in the hands of the Volunteers.” Gilham’s strength, again, is in what it includes, everything needed for a novice officer.

As regards its usage in comparison to Hardee. We do know that the Confederate government never adopted any one manual as its official choice. In May 1861 a resolution was proposed in the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States to adopt Hardee and that the Secretary of War purchase “ten thousand copies…the cost of the same shall not exceed one dollar a copy.” This resolution was tabled and apparently never acted upon. Furthermore, with but a couple exceptions there don’t seem to be any surviving orders, from the army level, stipulating what manual is to be used by the troops. Thus, it appears that the decision was left up to the states and/or officers. I have found orders from Virginia and Georgia stating that Gilham is their choice, and endorsements from Adjutant Generals to the governors of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and New York for the adoption of Gilham. Georgia supplied their troops with copies, while in Virginia the officers had to purchase theirs.

As for the heavy use of Gilham’s early in the war, and then changing to Hardee later on, who knows. We can only speculate. To say that just because Hardee is the latest, in its revised form, and therefore the best? Well, maybe changing horses in midstream was widespread, but there seem to be so few major and important differences between the drills that it would not surprise me if many of the officers held to what they started with. Besides, standardization was something the Confederacy was never too good at.

With all of that said. I believe, and this is my opinion, that claiming that the usage of Gilham is a “reenactorism” is a little harsh. I have examined over 40 id’d copies of Gilham that were used by soldiers north and south, east and west, and from 1861 to 1865. The material I have gathered is in preparation of compiling it and publishing it in the near future.

William Gilham: Soldier, Educator

The following write-up is of a talk delivered to the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table by Eric J. Mink on January 10, 2000.

The January meeting began with the audience being asked how many have heard of William Gilham. Only about 10% of the long time students of the war raised their hand. Yet Gilham’s presence was felt on almost every major battlefield of the war for his work behind the scene. His life and career was linked with that of Thomas J. Jackson. While Jackson is now recognized around the world as a military genius and Confederate icon, Gilham’s fame doesn’t appear on the radar screen in our national conscious.

Historian Eric Mink, after posing the opening question, spent the next 45 minutes informing the audience of who Gilham was and what he accomplished. Mink, a graduate of Mary Washington College, has worked on numerous battlefields including his current position at Richmond National Battlefield Park.

While little is known about Gilham’s personal life, we know he was born in Vincennes, Indiana on January 13, 1818. His father’s family came from Virginia and it was with the Old Dominion that he would make his mark. He gained a military education at West Point where he graduated 5th in the class of 1840. Upon graduation, he became a lieutenant in the 3rd United States Artillery and fought in the Seminole and Mexican Wars. Gilham was cited for good conduct in both of his battles in Mexico, but felt that his real calling was as an educator rather than as a fighter. Hearing of an opening at Virginia Military Institute, Gilham left Mexico to become a professor on the Lexington campus. From 1846 through 1851 Gilham never took a vacation as he developed VMI’s departments of Chemistry and Agriculture, taught infantry tactics and served as the Commandant of Cadets. To lighten the load on Gilham, the Lexington school in the summer of 1851 hired another professor, an uncommon man with the common name of Thomas Jackson.

Gilham and Jackson despite widely different personalities became close friends. They were roommates for a year and later became business partners. Thomas Munford, the future cavalry leader, wrote that the contrast “was as marked as it was possible to be.” Gilham is described as a personable man with a twinkle in his eyes and a tremendous sense of humor. Jackson’s students described him as a lethargic and sickly person without the hint of a sense of humor. The contrast extended beyond their personalities differences to their teaching methods. While Jackson is thought of as one of the poorer instructors in all American history, Munford wrote that Gilham “was an instructor of high order.” The VMI students looked at Jackson as a weirdo and one frustrated student challenged him to a duel. In contrast, a cadet wrote that Gilham “commanded our profound respect, admiration, and love.”

In 1859, the VMI cadets, with their instructors Gilham and Jackson, went to Harpers Ferry to put down the John Brown Raid. In response to this raid, Virginia Governor Henry Wise ordered Gilham to write a manual to train volunteers and militia. The taunting task, finished in the fall of 1860, was entitled Manual of Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States. Future Union general Phillip Kearney regarded the book as the “best Military Work that exists.” While other books on military tactic existed for professional soldiers, Gilham’s comprehensiveness and easy to understand text made it perfect for the American civilian soldier. The book was officially adopted by Virginia and other Southern states.

Major William Gilham

When Virginia seceded from the Union on April 17, 1861, Gilham’s star far out shown that of his friend and colleague Thomas Jackson. Four days later, Gilham and the VMI cadets received orders to report to Richmond. Gilham, now a colonel, became the Commandant of Camp Lee, the camp of instruction for thousands of Virginians. With the outbreak of war, Gilham’s manual, which had been published in Philadelphia, was briefly unavailable to the citizen soldiers of the South. But being the ideal book for the training of these young men, the manual was quickly republished throughout the South.

During the summer, Gilham organized a unit, which became the 21st Virginia, one of the future backbones of Jackson’s command. The regiment was ordered to northwest Virginia where Gilham temporarily commanded a brigade. In the fall, Jackson arrived on the scene and took command. In the first week of January, 1862 the Romney campaign began despite severe winter weather. Gilham’s Brigade led the advance to Bath (now Berkeley Springs) on the 3rd and 4th day of the New Year. Jackson captured Bath but blamed Gilham for allowing the Union troops to escape. Although Gilham followed orders, Jackson brought court martial charges against his friend for neglect of duty and being slow. Douglas Southall Freeman, the famous chronicler of Robert E. Lee’s army, wrote that the charges against Gilham were just one example of Jackson’s efforts to cover his own mistakes.

Nothing came of the charges, but January 4 ended Gilham’s career on the battlefield. He seemed to realize that his interest and ability lay in teaching rather than duty in the field. He returned to VMI. On May 15, 1864, the VMI cadets participated in the Battle of New Market. As acting superintendent, Gilham was present on the battlefield but did not command troops. About a month later a Union raid torched the campus of VMI. The VMI cadets spent the final months of the war in Richmond.

After the war, VMI reopened, but had little money to pay its instructors. In debt with little salary from his job and no royalties from his book (the Confederacy never adopted a copyright law), Gilham was forced to resign to seek other income. Gilham moved to Richmond where he became a chemist and later president of the Southern Fertilizing Company. Seven years later, he went to Vermont for health reasons. The re-location did not help and he died on November 16, 1872. Fittingly his body was returned to Lexington for burial in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, just a few yards from his friend and colleague.

Guard Duty: A Primer for Civil War Reenactors

By Austin Williams, 5th Virginia

What follows are the most salient points of guard duty, tailored to the circumstances we most often encounter during reenacting events. When improperly executed, guard duty is tedious and boring, but when following the period requirements, it can be a memorable part of your impression of a soldier of the 1860s. For anyone really interested in the intricacies of guard duty, I recommend Instructions for Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers on Outpost and Patrol Duty and Troops in Campaign (1863).

Types of Guards
The guard system used during the Civil War was designed to serve a variety of purposes, ranging from maintaining internal camp discipline to preventing a surprise attack from the enemy. As such, the system as structured around layers of guards. Just outside of the sight of the enemy, a line of outposts of a few men would be posted. These outposts send forward guards to directly observe the enemy, called sentinels if composed of infantry or vedettes if composed of cavalry. Behind this line of outposts and sentinels, a line of grand guards provides support to slow the enemy if he should attack. These grand guards are in turn supported by a line of pickets, which consist of 40 men commanded by a lieutenant. Their purpose is to hold the enemy until the main body of troops has time to form up. The camp of the main body lies behind the pickets and a group of police guards surround the camp of each regiment and are posted at important points within the camp.

It is very rare to see a reenactment which attempts to maintain a line of pickets, grand guards, etc… due to the manpower required. In most cases, when we conduct guard duty during an event, we are portraying police guards. The remainder of this primer will discuss police guards.

Composition and Duties of the Police Guard

Per regulations, the Police Guard consists of the following personnel:

  • One Captain, serving as Officer of the Day (OOD)
  • One Lieutenant, serving as Officer of the Guard (OOG)
  • Two Sergeants, one serving as Sergeant of the Guard (SOG) and the other commanding the Advanced Post
  • Three Corporals, serving three shifts as Corporal of the Guard
  • Two musicians, one located at the Guard Tent with the Officer of the Guard and the other located at the advanced postAt least thirty nine privates, serving three shifts of 13 sentinels. If the regiment is on either flank of the brigade, the guard contains at least 42 privates, as an extra sentinel is posted on the flank of the brigade.

Thirteen sentinels are on duty at a time and are arranged as above. Off duty sentinels remain either at the Guard Tent, which functions as the headquarters for the guard, or at the Advanced Post. The Advanced Post contains the battalion’s prisoners and is commanded by a Sergeant. He will have under his command a musician and nine men. Men assigned to the Advanced Post should be the best of the guard and do not leave the Advanced Post; they do not drill or march with the Battalion and their food is brought to them at the Advanced Post. The Advanced Post positions two advanced guards and a third guard who watches the prisoners and the arms of the Advanced Post off-duty sentinels. All other sentinel posts are relieved by sentinels who remain at the Guard Tent when not on duty.

In reenacting, a guard will more commonly consist of the OOD, a Corporal of the Guard, and sentinels. If less than thirteen men at a time are available to serve as sentinels, priority should be placed on posting guards at the Guard Tent, the colors/arms, and at least one sentinel on each flank and to the rear and advance of the Battalion.

The placement and size of the guard will be determined by the Regimental Staff and the OOG, although no sentinel should be out of earshot of the Guard Tent, either directly or by having closer sentinels relay alarms from distant sentinels. When placing sentinels, each sentinel should be giving a number, beginning with Post No. 1 for the sentinel at the Guard Tent. When calling for the Corporal of the Guard, the sentinel can then relay his position, i.e. “Post No. 3! Corporal of the Guard!”

Rules Governing the Conduct of Sentinels and Their Duties
Sentinels take orders only from the OOG, OOD, Sergeant of the Guard, or the Battalion commander. Unless ordered to march over a particular stretch of ground (“walking a beat”), sentinels may not leave their appointed position for any reason. Likewise, a sentinel must never ground or allow anyone to touch his weapon and should carry it on either shoulder.

When posted, sentinels should be provided with the orders and regulations they are tasked to enforce. All sentinels have the following general orders:

“I am required to take charge of this post and all public property in view; to salute all officers passing, according to rank; to give the alarm in case of fire, or the approach of the enemy, or any disturbance whatsoever; to report all violations of the Articles of War, Regulations of the Army, or camp or garrison orders; at night, to challenge all persons approaching my post, and to allow no one to pass without the countersign until they are examined by an officer or noncommissioned officer of the Guard.”

Additional responsibilities may be assigned based on the sentinel’s assigned post:

  • Sentinel at the Battalion Commander’s Tent: This sentinel has orders to inform the Colonel, day or night, of “unusual movements” in or around the camp.
  • Sentinel at the Battalion Colors: This sentinel has orders that no one may touch the colors except the color bearer or the Sergeant of the Guard if accompanied by two armed men. The colors may not be moved without an escort.
  • Sentinel over the Arms Stacks: These sentinels ensure no one removes a weapon from the stacks without permission from an officer or the Sergeant of the Guard.
  • Sentinels at the Battalion’s Flanks, Rear and Advance: These sentinels ensure no one leaves camp with a weapon unless conducted by an officer or NCO and prevents all NCOs and privates from leaving the camp at night except to visit the sinks. They are also charged with arresting any suspicious people in the vicinity of the camp.

When required by his orders, a sentinel should sound the alarm by calling for the Corporal of the Guard as described above, making sure to state his post number. A sentinel may also sound the alarm by firing his weapon or yelling “Fire!” as the situation dictates.

Sentinels are to be respected by everyone, officers and enlisted. They are not allowed to converse except as part of their official duties. For additional details on the conduct of a sentinel, please see pages 28-39 of Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers.

Honors
The guard, as the only group of men in the Battalion camp who are armed at all times, is responsible for rendering honors for general officers and other dignitaries. Since, as reeneactors, we rarely have a guard other than sentinels on duty, this primer will not cover many of these honors, as they involve the off duty sentinels be formed up. As we rarely maintain a guard of off duty sentinels, those interested in learning the procedures for these honors should consult pages 584-586 of Gilham’s Manual.

Sentinels halt and give the following honors at anytime between reveille and retreat:

Shoulder Arms Any officer above the rank of Captain; the OOD; the Battalion’s commanding officer; friendly groups of armed men led by an officer; the Colors of any battalion
Present Arms Any Captains or Lieutenants; friendly groups of armed men led by an NCO

At night, no honors are paid, except to the OOD, who may inspect the sentinels as part of Grand Rounds and upon whose approach, sentinels come to shouldered arms (see Challenging and Grand Rounds).

Guard Mount and Relieving Sentinels
Guard Mount is a daily review and parade between the guard of the previous day and the guard of the new day. As reenactors, we almost never conduct guard duty on 24 hour shifts and generally only provide men for the guard just prior to their guard duties rather than having the entire guard reviewed during a morning Guard Mount. The purpose of Guard Mount is to transfer authority from one OOD and one OOG to a new command team, as well as to inspect the new guard’s weapons. The full description can be found on pages 610-614 of Gilham’s Manual.

Sentinels are to be relieved by the Corporal of the Guard. The relief will march by the flank in two ranks at support arms. The Corporal of the Guard will designate the man in the first rank of the first file as No. 1, the man in the second rank of the first file No. 2, and so on. If the relief passes any officer, the corporal will order the men to come to shoulder arms until the officer is past. When a sentinel sees the relief approaching, he will halt and face the relief at shoulder arms. Approximately six paces from the sentinel, the Corporal will order:

1. Relief. 2. HALT.

The corporal will then designate the man to replace this sentinel and will order than man to come to arms port.

1. Number One. 2. Arms – PORT.

The sentinel will also come to arms port and he and his relief will approach each other and the sentinel relay his orders to his relief. The sentinel and relief will then come to shoulder arms and the old sentinel will go to the rear of the relief column. The corporal will then order:

1. Support – ARMS. 2. Forward. 3. MARCH.

The column then proceeds to the next sentinel until all posts are relieved.

Challenging and Grand Rounds
Challenges are only given at night and are done by calling out “Who comes there?” and coming to arms port. After a challenge, the approaching party provides the countersign, a word given to officers and NCOs of the guard or other individuals authorized to leave the camp at night. Unlike the modern usage, there is no sign/countersign exchange, such as the famous “Thunder. Flash” sign/countersign used during the Normandy invasion in World War Two. Instead the countersign is a single word set by the OOD, and was historically the name of a battle. The following is the exchange as laid out in the manual:

Sentinel: Who comes there?
Approaching Party: Friends.
Sentinel: Halt, friends. Advance one with the countersign.

The countersign should never been spoken above a whisper. If the incorrect countersign is given, the sentinel should call for the Corporal of the Guard.

At night, the OOD will conduct Grand Rounds to inspect the sentinels and ensure they remain alert. He will travel with an NCO and two men. Upon being challenged by a sentinel, the NCO will answer “Grand Rounds!” The Sentinel will reply “Halt, Grand Rounds! Advance, Sergeant, with the Countersign!” The NCO then advances and provides the countersign. The sentinel will then state “Advance, rounds!” and stand at shoulder arms until they have passed.


Sources:
Instructions for Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers on Outpost and Patrol Duty and Troops in Campaign (1863)
Manual of Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States; by William Gilham (1861)
The 1862 Army Officer’s Pocket Companion; by William Craighill (1862)
Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers; by August Kautz (1865)

Roll Call

 Military manuals and soldier’s accounts from the time of the Civil War indicate that the company roll was to be called three times a day: at reveille (the first formation of the day), retreat (near sunset), and tattoo (9-9:30 p.m.). It is apparent that these roll-calls were viewed as military formations and it appears that there was a set routine followed for the calling of the roll. In order to better our military impression at events we will attempt a closer adherence to the available manuals of the period.

The most complete description of how roll-calls were undertaken can be found in August Kautz’s “Customs of Service”. He describes the routine as follows: At all roll calls the first sergeant takes his place six or eight paces, according as the company is small or large, in front of and opposite the center of his company, facing towards it. If the company is forming without arms, the men fall in and take the position of parade rest, and the first sergeant takes the same position. They should fall in in two ranks, whether with our without arms. With arms they fall in at a shoulder arms instead of at parade rest. The company is formed in the interval between the musician’s call and the last note of the assembly(reveille) when every man should be in ranks; and those who fall in afterwards should be punished for being late. When the music has ceased, the first sergeants commands, “Attention!” whereupon the company, if at parade rest, take the position of the solider, and if with arms, the sergeant adds, “Support arms.” The roll is then called, commencing with sergeants, Adams, Smith, &c., in the order of rank, until all are called; then “corporals, “Brown, Jones, &c., to “farriers;” then “buglers or musicians;” and finally “privates,” Ames, Brown, Cox &c., in alphabetical order. As each names is called, they answer, “Here;” and if with arms at a support they come to a “shoulder” and finally to “order arms,” immediately on answering to their names” After the roll has been called, the first sergeant turns to the officer superintending the roll call, and reports the absentees by name. If none are absent without proper authority, he reports, “All present or accounted for.” If the officer should then take command of the company, the first sergeant takes his post on the right of the company, and acts as right guide.

If you are wondering, yes “Customs of Service” is a federal manual. Unfortunately, Gilham’s Manual does not specify how a roll call was to be conducted. However, if you read Gilham’s description of a muster you will notice not so subtle similarities between Kautz’s Roll Call and Gilham’s muster. These similarities include how each soldier was to answer his name (“Here”) and what he was to do with his musket immediately afterwards. Given the similarities between these two manuals on a closely related subject, and because “Customs of Service” may be the only Civil War period manual that contains an in depth description of how a roll-call was to be conducted, it would seem that the use of Kautz’s roll-call is a safe choice for the SWB. I do not suggest that every roll-call conducted during the war was taken in the manner Kautz describes. Obviously there would be times when the men would be much fatigued from march or battle and a roll call in another less strict form would be instituted. On the other hand, it is apparent that the roll-call described by Kautz and referenced by other military publications of the period became an integral part of routine camp life. The use of Kautz’s system of roll-call will improve the military impression of the brigade while creating little or no increase in work for the men in the ranks.

Sources: Gilham’s Manual for Volunteers and Militia Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers

Firing by Files

by Erik Mink, 4th Virginia

I thought I might stray a little bit from uniforms and equipment, and share a couple of quotes concerning firing practices during the war. Although all three of these accounts were written by Northern soldiers, their sentiment could quite easily have been penned by men of Lee’s army.

At living histories we often refer to “firing by file” as the favored way in which the soldiers fought. In training officers in the instruction of firing, William Gilham states that “firing by file being that which is most frequently used against the enemy, it is highly important that it be rendered perfectly familiar to the troops.” William Hardee and Silas Casey have similar statements in their manuals, in fact Hardee asserts that “the instructor will, therefore, give it almost exclusive preference.” As we know, theory and practice can be very different. So how often did the officers in battle utilize this style of firing?

Rufus Dawes of the famed Iron Brigade penned on of the most vivid and informational memoirs of any officer in the Army of the Potomac. Having witnessed some of the heaviest firefights of the war, Dawes wrote with some amazement of his regiment’s participation in the Battle of South Mountain. In this particular action, Major Dawes wrote that the 6th Wisconsin Infantry moved forward: “The left wing fired a volley into the woods, and the right wing advanced in the same manner over them and fired a volley into the woods. Once more [Lieutenant Colonel Edward] Bragg gave a volley by the left wing. There were four volleys by wing given, at the word of command. In a long experience in musketry fighting, this was the single instance I saw of other than fire by file.” It seems interesting that this battle tested officer would mention that only once during the war did he ever witness fighting done by command other than fire by file.

Another veteran officer, in the Army of the Potomac, that seemed amazed by the usage of volleys was Major Frederick L Hitchcock of the 132nd Pennsylvania Infantry. Historians have stated that fighting on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, was some of the fiercest during the war in Virginia. In his memoirs, Hitchcock wrote that that morning, as Lee’s men assaulted their position, his battalion fired a volley that: “Had exactly reached its mark and had done fearful execution. There must have been more than two hundred lying there either dead or wounded, marking their line of battle. This was the only instance in my war experience where we delivered a volley as a battalion. the usual order of firing in line of battle is by “file”, each man firing as rapidly as he can effectively, without regard to any other man.” Although Hitchcock’s regiment only saw service for nine months, his experience in fighting continued as he went on to command the 25th United States Colored Troops in the last year of the war.

Although the preceding quotes pertain to Union regiments utilizing firing by files, one officer who witnessed the effectiveness of Confederate fighting in this style was Sartell Prentice of the US Regulars. As Prentice watched the Regulars charge across Saunders’ Field in the Wilderness, Edward “Allegheny” Johnson’s Confederates opened fire. Prentice stated that:

“a line of fire began in their [his] front, but nearly a brigade’s length to their [his] left, and swept along the edges of the wood, from where the wood touched the Turnpike, to and past the brigade front, slowly beautifully in its machine-like regularity, file-firing, past the brigade front, and lost itself out of sight, and by sound way off, in the woods to its right.”

“As the sound of firing ceased in the woods on the right, again that sheet of fire began upon the left, and with clock-work regularity file-firing moved slowly along the wood’s edge and past the brigade front, and again lost itself in the distance, in the woods at the right and once more begins the clock-work fire on the left; and how grim and severe it seems now, in its slow, sure movement, and awful in its effect!”

Three times the Confederates were able to fire by file while the Yankees charged across the field. In the ten minutes it took the Regulars to cross Saunders’ Field, they lost almost half their strength.

Although three accounts certainly do not reflect the entire war, they do represent what these men witnessed. It is interesting that in the first two accounts, the officers take time to mention that the volleys their men delivered were extraordinary, in the sense that they usually fired by file. Rationalization would indicate that it would be easier for the men and officers to utilize firing by file more often, as it allowed the men to fire on their own. As soldiers load at different rates, it would no doubt be very disconcerting to be loaded and waiting on your comrades, the whole time taking casualties from enemy fire. For the officers, firing by file would eliminate trying to shout commands above the noise of battle. Regardless of whether the armies as a whole preferred to fire by file, at least two officers saw that practice did indeed follow theory.

New Material Found for Article – February 24, 2000:

Today, while chasing down a Gilham lead at the Virginia Historical Society, I went through the papers of Colonel John M. Patton – 21st VA. I found the following in his handwritten “Reminiscences of Jackson.” Unfortunately, the manuscript was torn, right in the middle of his quoting “Stonewall,” but I managed to make out all but one word. This conversation between Patton and Stonewall was supposed to have taken place in December of 1861. It reinforces my continued belief that “firing by file” was the preferred, and predominant, method of firing on the field. [The following is an excerpt from Col. Patton’s manuscript]:

“I asked his opinion of the comparative advantage of the ‘fire by file’ and the ‘fire by company’ or Battalion, remarking that it seemed to me if the officers and men could be kept cool in action, the fire by company or Battalion, made deliberately under orders, and with a caution to the me to aim well, would be much more deadly, and intimidating to the enemy, than the promiscuous ‘fire by file.’ He replied, ‘I don’t know, Colonel, I rather think the ‘fire by file’ —— the best on the whole, for it gives to the enemy an idea that the fire is heavier than if it was by Company of Battalion. Sometimes how ever one may be best. Sometimes the other, according to circumstances, but my opinion is, there ought not be much fighting at all. My idea is that the best mode of fighting is to reserve your fire till the enemy get, or you get them, to close quarters, then deliver one deadly deliberate fire and Charge!!!'”