View Full Version : U.S. Tactics for Colored Troops

01-31-2008, 09:01 PM
Here's the link to the U.S. Infantry Tactics, for the Instruction, Exercise, and Manúuvres, of the Soldier, a Company, Line of Skirmishers, and Battalion for the use of the Colored Troops of the United States Infantry by United States War Department (1863) (http://books.google.com/books?id=C2aWMIb5n3UC&printsec=frontcover#PPA1,M1). This is another of those books about which I've heard, but have never seen. I thought it was a myth. Nope. It's real.

I've been updating my links page (http://www.zipcon.net/~silas/links.htm)of late. The section where you'll find drill manuals (http://www.zipcon.net/~silas/links.htm#N_5_)is getting rather extensive. Same for the regimental history (http://www.zipcon.net/~silas/links.htm#N_19_)section. I've been searching actively for drill manuals, but when I see a regimental history that looks interesting, I grab it, too.

Archive.org (http://www.archive.org) is another great place to look for books about the period. Do a search using a state name and use the word, regiment. You'll pop up more than you think. I downloaded an original copy of Co. Aytch in text format recently and plopped it on my palm pilot. Been reading it at court when the mood hits me.

01-31-2008, 11:04 PM
Nope, no myth. The NY Times mentioned this work in its 23 January 1882 obituary for Casey. See attachment. My understanding is that the "colored" version of this work was "simplified" for period reasons which you can no doubt guess.


Mark Jaeger

02-01-2008, 01:09 AM
From a brief scan of the Colored manual, it doesn't appear to be simiplified. I haven't noticed any difference in the text, but then again, I'm only spot checking. This isn't a comic book. It's around 400 pages including the school of the battalion. My Stackpole reprint of the '63 tactics has a similar length.

Strange how Casey's name does not appear on this version. It is attributed to the War Department and has Stanton's name on it just like the '61 tactics.

Vicksburg Dave
02-05-2008, 03:40 AM
I suspect it was published so as to put all of the newly minted USCT officers on the same page, so to speak. Just about all of the company grade USCT officers were noncoms in white regiments and had trained according to different manuals.

According to one freshly minted Lieutenant who was training black troops on the Mississippi River, "I put on a bold face, and go it blind, and sometimes I am at a loss to know how to go through the manual of arms. One reason is, I have always drilled Hardee and Elsworth's Manual of Arms, and now we have to drill Casey's, and there is considerable difference, and then to have to drill a company six hours a day."