Re: Single-Rank Vs Double-Rank Formations
Reference Wilson's Raid:
During my Master's Thesis' research of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, I discovered the diary of Lt. Charles Alley of the Nebraska Battalion in which he noted the change from single-rank to double-rank formations during the Wilson Raid, According to Lt. Alley, the change was ordered by Gen. "Harry" Wilson to shorten the traditional long lines of a single-rank column of two's into a double-rank column of four's, thereby cutting the length of the column in half. More importantly, according to Alley, this change decreased the amount of area needed for each division to drill resulting in condensing the size of the camps of the raiding force!
Further, this change also helped to deter straggling as well as decreasing the ability of local bushwackers to assail the column while on the march.
Obviously, this change made the entire force more manageable in the field and while on the march ... and the tactical change enabled Wilson's command to deploy more rapidly and bring a larger portion of his force to bear upon the enemy in a shorter period of time.
For the record, Charles Alley enlisted in Omaha, Nebraska Territory, in 1861 and served the entire four years of the war with the Fifth Iowa, rising from a private to Lt. I was fortunate to discover the diary as well as some private letters from his grandson's widow during my research in the 1980's.
H. L. "Jack" Hanger
"Boys, if we have to stand in a straight line as stationary targets for the Yankees to shoot at with a rest, this old Texas Brigade is going to run like hell!" Chickamauga, 1863