View Full Version : Godfrey's Rhymed Tactics

01-31-2008, 09:31 AM
I stumbled across this while browsing google books : Godfrey's Rhymed Tactics (http://books.google.com/books?id=yPw9UzU_1dEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=related:08dCZeOirVIoy_V-l2Vruz#PPP5,M1)(1862). I'd heard about it, but never seen it until today. Thought I'd share it.

01-31-2008, 09:56 AM
While I'm at it, here's another winner : Infantry Tactics for Schools: Explained and Illustrated for the Use of Teachers and Scholars (http://books.google.com/books?id=Jv2FxxbVPoEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=related:08dCZeOirVIoy_V-l2Vruz#PPP13,M1)(1863). The target audience for this manual is school boys, but the plates are fantastic.

01-31-2008, 10:59 AM
Great stuff! I snagged both PDF's to print out. Thank you for bringing them to our attention.

Justin Runyon
01-31-2008, 11:03 AM
That's awesome Silas, it's like Landrums "My First Drill Manual". In seriousness though, I had no idea such volumes existed...they will be going into my perma-collection.

Greg Renault
02-01-2008, 09:58 PM
These are great. I suspect we have here indications of the importance of rote memory and recitation in 19th century pedagogy. Rhymed tactics might feel familiar to one accustomed to reciting long narrative poems from memory. Similarly, my copy of the USIT ("with questions adapted to the text by Lieut.-Col H.B. Wilson") features questions at the bottom of each page, like footnotes in appearance. Eg., page 17 mostly addresses the battalion color guard, and has 6 questions at the bottom of the page; question number 38 reads "When should there be no color-guard, and no display of colors?" It seems to me that a manual in this format would be perfect for those volunteer officer study groups we read about.

Greg Renault
02-01-2008, 10:44 PM
Yikes! The Infantry Tactics for Schools features the "reenactor countermarch"--by file left or right--on page 37. Not just as an excercise for the school of the soldier, either, as page 69 in the school of the company recommends the usefulness of this kind of countermarch when marching by the flank. Another pet peeve bites the dust.

Lots of quirks in this adaptation of the USIT for schoolboys. I note the use of the term "cadet-grey" on page 113. Plate XXVIII shows the piece angled out slightly, not vertical, when presented during inspection arms. Doubtless there are lots of others--interesting to us because here we have a period interpretation of the standard text. For example, check out the (to me) sloppy illustration of the right shoulder-shift position. Or, the interesting musket-to-rifle-musket transition: the manual of arms used is the one for the rifle musket--except for the body position for inspection arms, and the hand (right) used to handle the bayonet, which are from the musket manual of arms. (Interestingly, most of the illustrations for the manual of arms show a musket.) This one is great fun: I love the admonition "Remember that the sword is not a plaything." Darn.

02-02-2008, 11:43 AM
Here's a shocker for you. Click here to read about the manoeuver on pages 208-09 in Morris' School of the Company (http://books.google.com/books?id=HWsDAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PPA208,M1). Do a search in volume two of his manual (http://books.google.com/books?id=-moDAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#PPA1,M1) using the word, countermach. Some interesting stuff in there. I don't know how widely Morris was used, but he was a practical man and a free thinker when it came to tactics.

The only place you'll find the countermarch used in Upton's 1875 manual (http://books.google.com/books?id=iaQNAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover)is when he speaks about the band. It's a different style of tactics, but still worth mentioning.

Countermarching in the hobby is an overused crutch. It is a convenient replacement for performing manoeuvers by the left flank. If reenactors insist upon doing everything by the flank, instead of by column, then Morris has some fascinating ideas. He pretty much did away with columns and went with flanks as he noted in the preface that armies tended to march due to dense forests and frequent defiles. His "forward into line - by the right (left) of companies" and forming a line to the front or rear when by the right (left) of companies would be of great value.

Jim Moffet
02-04-2008, 05:57 PM
Morris certainly was a free thinker! Some of the concepts in that little booklet really break molds that preceeding texts treat as gospel. Performing "By Platoon, Right (left) Wheel, Guide Left, March" without a fixed pivot - wow!

"The author is indebted to the Generals of the Army of the Potomac for many valuable suggestions, resulting from their long expereince in maneuvering troops in the field."

I'm going to have to re-read Morris. One wonders how many copies were sold, or which regiments trained using a booklet of this sort, rather than the 'old standards.' Or, how many of the lessons trained and re-trained in '61-'62 were being done differently, as presented in Morris, by '63 - '64.

Jim Moffet
Co. A, First Minnesota
Western Brigade