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Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

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  • Ambrose Bierce
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by SamuelCathey View Post
    Your argument should simply state that it is important to read where feet are moved. Therefore if you are doing an older style and stepping forward or to the left, then firing through the left interval is correct. If you are using a manual like Hardee's Revised or Casey's or Gilham's you must follow their foot placements which always have the soldier stepping 8 inches towards the right heel of the man to the RIGHT of their file partner. In these cases, firing is done in the usual way (over the right interval). The vast majority of reenactors use one of these manuals and therefore they are correct in firing over the usual interval instead of the left. You end up with something of an apples and oranges argument because the foot placement is so different for the left interval manuals. A final point to consider is when using using the Ready as seen in H. Revised or Casey's, a musket properly held at eye level would have to be lifted over the head of a file partner which is very inefficient when trying to aim at a 90 bpm pace. Awesome that you spent all this time with the early manuals, but like flintlocks, triple ranks, and readied muskets held vertically, many features of earlier manuals did not carry over to all CW manuals. At least you have inspired more people to read carefully.

    Sam Cathey
    Sam said it best. I am amazed this thread has energy, and, in fact, am encouraged it does for the simple fact of Sam's last line. Amen.

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  • john duffer
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by CSchneider View Post
    A postwar militia manual used by a local militia company in Utah has little relevance. And the article concludes that it is appropriate to play mix and match with the language from the wartime manuals and a postwar one to fit a theory. Adding motions not mentioned in the manual to raise the piece over and around the front rank manís head to compensate for a new position of Ready is not the best way to follow the manual.
    Hear, hear!

    In addition - HARDEE'S (1845 ORDONNANCE) is NOT an update, rewrite, addendum, etc, et al of SCOTTS'S (1831 ORDONNANCE). The 1845 ORDONNANCE is a new, standalone manual for an advance in light infantry thinking. I see several references in the article to 'the complete text' as evidence but you can't pull a random paragraph from an 1831 manaul written for line infantry normally formed in three ranks and say the 1845 left out most of it to save time. As for the 'if .... had meant ... they would have said ....' it falls under the same thing, they're not revising - they're breaking new ground. (not to mention it's rank speculation and not research at all to say we know exactly what a French writer was thinking 174 years ago). It's fine to study and develop theories but advising folks to add instructions to their manuals so they can do it the way you want and implying those who don't comply should be subject to ridicule is way beyond the pale.

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  • CSchneider
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    A postwar militia manual used by a local militia company in Utah has little relevance. And the article concludes that it is appropriate to play mix and match with the language from the wartime manuals and a postwar one to fit a theory. Adding motions not mentioned in the manual to raise the piece over and around the front rank man’s head to compensate for a new position of Ready is not the best way to follow the manual.

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  • Silas
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    People who haven't read any of my booklets condemn me for changing original text. And then others pile on with the same gripe. Problem is, I don't change text. I value primary sources. When I add text to one manual from another or when I add text from a different part of the manual, I site the source like this : [Upton] or [SoC xxx] and then I include the outside text. "But, what about left oblique?" you might ask. Glad you asked.

    For my booklets on Gilham, Hardee and Casey, I include text as it was written in those manuals without change. Although I have included left interval in each of the booklets, it has always been in a section immediately following the original text on left oblique under the heading, "Remarks on Oblique Firing" or some header like that.

    You can see both texts side by side with the different text clearly marked with source. I haven't changed what's already there. I add perspective from other period sources when there is discrepancy, ambiguity or a solid idea. For example, when forming ranks, who goes first when both men have the same height at the head and at the shoulder? It's not in the big three, but I've included it in my booklet on Hardee's Revised and noted the source immediately before the text so there is no confusion as to source.

    John, text from William Pace's manual is quoted in my article on Left Oblique. He published a drill manual in early 1865. It's been on my links page forever. Shouldered arms is in the right hand. His instruction on manual of arms reads very much like any other manual of the period with the exception of him specifically instructing that the weapon be placed through the left interval after advancing forward the right foot a mere eight inches. His manual of arms is based upon Hardee and Casey in the same manner that Baxter is based on Scott.

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  • john duffer
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by Silas View Post
    That someone asked which side was correct shows there was a discrepancy even then. If only William Pace had watched the video on facebook, he would have known (1) that the instruction in his 1865 manual was impossible and (2) that the right interval is the only correct interval for firing.
    I admit I 'm not familiar with William Pace's 1865 manual but I assume this post is a bit tongue in cheek. I don't think Facebook was available at that time and even if it was he couldn't watch a video that didn't exist until the 21st century (similar to how I don't see officers training their men with booklets prepared in the 21st century).

    I have seen folks on here that conclude that left interval was the only correct way no matter what your manual indicates for some reason but I personally feel you followed the instructions in the manual you were training with and sometimes left was correct and sometimes right was correct. You follow the text and the foot positions.

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  • Pvt Schnapps
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by Silas View Post
    That someone asked which side was correct shows there was a discrepancy even then. If only William Pace had watched the video on facebook, he would have known (1) that the instruction in his 1865 manual was impossible and (2) that the right interval is the only correct interval for firing.
    Or if he had read the tactical manuals in actual use at the time...

    Granted there were readers of the US Service Magazine who had questions, including the fellow who asked if regimental adjutants could wear gold trouser stripes. But the existence of "discrepancies" didn't mean that there was no correct answer,
    whether it was the one the editor knew or not.

    And while the Tactics of the Nauvoo Legion certainly have some historical interest, I don't know which army of the United or Confederate States adopted them for general use...

    The fatal flaw in your argument about which shoulder to fire over is that it simply doesn't work if you follow the steps in the manuals actually in wartime service. The LR's video shows that, and the fact that it appears on Facebook simply shows they know how to use social media. It doesn't lessen the value of their analysis; quite the opposite.

    I have a feeling that if you could have made a video showing why the LR's was wrong you'd have posted it by now. I have an even stronger feeling that if you had, it would simply have underscored the correctness of theirs.

    That option's still available...

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  • Silas
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    That someone asked which side was correct shows there was a discrepancy even then. If only William Pace had watched the video on facebook, he would have known (1) that the instruction in his 1865 manual was impossible and (2) that the right interval is the only correct interval for firing.

    Leave a comment:


  • CSchneider
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Once again, just so everybody knows, the United States Service Magazine that everybody cites as being the "official" answer to the left oblique question was not any sort of official military publication. It was, in fact, a short lived literary magazine that spent more time reviewing the latest edition of the dictionary than it did discussing military matters. The person who stated that left oblique is over the left shoulder was not a Civil War officer--he was in fact Henry Coppee, Professor of English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. He had been in the Army once, but had not seen active service since the Mexican War. Certainly he was writing from his understanding of Scott's manual. He also answered questions about artillery drill in his magazine that reflected earlier drill and contradicted the latest instruction just the same.

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  • Pvt Schnapps
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by rake View Post
    There are two good reasons why the question would be asked (A) what to do is unclear to the questioner who is there at the time (B) both possible answers have been observed and there is a request for the generally accepted practice to be stated.

    From the perspective of the historian, we have a primary source - the point in question is being directly answered. While we don't know why the question is being asked, it had been answered definitively by someone in a better position to have that knowledge than we do.

    As to the lack of qualification of the editor to comment on the subject due to lack of combat experience in the war in question, it would seem that the same limitation should apply to all of the commenters in this forum, but we carry on anyway.
    Right, we're not combat-qualified either, and we don't know which manual either the questioner or the editor were looking at, but we do know that if you use either Hardee's, the '61 Tactics, Casey's, or the USCT manual and place your feet according to their directions, firing over the left shoulder is impossible unless your front rank man has the courtesy to remove his head before you execute the command "aim."

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  • rake
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by SyLibby View Post
    One minor comment. The USSM question/answer at least implies that there was some discrepency over how Left oblique was being performed in the field. I am personally a supporter of the Left interval. However, clearly some commands were using or advocating the Right interval, hence the question to the USSM. So, although I believe the Left interval is correct, I would not view it as in unauthentic representation to do it over the Right.
    There are two good reasons why the question would be asked (A) what to do is unclear to the questioner who is there at the time (B) both possible answers have been observed and there is a request for the generally accepted practice to be stated.

    From the perspective of the historian, we have a primary source - the point in question is being directly answered. While we don't know why the question is being asked, it had been answered definitively by someone in a better position to have that knowledge than we do.

    As to the lack of qualification of the editor to comment on the subject due to lack of combat experience in the war in question, it would seem that the same limitation should apply to all of the commenters in this forum, but we carry on anyway.

    Leave a comment:


  • john duffer
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by thomas aagaard View Post
    Not a official manual used by the US military.
    I think you missed the point. Neither was ELLSWORT'H'S but Hardee switched to his stack or whoever Ellsworth got it from. Notice Hardee uses number two and number one in the stack section but odd numbered and even numbered elsewhere. There were a number of musket manual of arms not a THE musket manual of arms and seems far more likely he just borrowed one of those instead of starting from scratch. Of course the first three muskets could be stacked ala ELLSWORTH but the man leaning his on the stack is using 1835 SCOTTS :sarcastic

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  • thomas aagaard
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Not a official manual used by the US military.

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  • john duffer
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by thomas aagaard View Post
    He used a mixed manual of arms.
    The first part of Load and how you fix bayonets are from the musket manual.
    But Shoulder arms is from the rifle manual.


    that is what I mean about modifying the manual to fit the conditions. He stuck to the right hand shoulder arms, that is useful for the faster movements.(compared to Scotts manuals)
    But went back to the left side load that is better suited for the long muskets. (compared to the short rifles that he had expected to be in use)
    Not 100% sure he mixed and matched to create something new.STATE OF NEW YORK 1858.pdf

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  • john duffer
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Thanks Thomas, I get it now - he replaced the manual of arms for rifles with one more suitable for muskets. Don't know why I couldn't grasp that.:confused_

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  • thomas aagaard
    replied
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Originally posted by john duffer View Post
    Correct, he replaced the rifle manual of arms and stack with a musket manual of arms and stack. I meant to say that in my earlier post but must have been unclear.

    If you've come across some other difference I'd be interested in learning them.
    He used a mixed manual of arms.
    The first part of Load and how you fix bayonets are from the musket manual.
    But Shoulder arms is from the rifle manual.

    Musket manual of arms: Taken from the US Infantry tactics 1861
    Shoulder arms in the left hands. (U.S. Tactics, 415. "The piece is held in the left hand")
    during load the musket is to the left of the left foot. (U.S. tactics 441 "With the right hand carry the piece directly downwards along the left thigh, seizing it with the left hand above the right, and letting the butt come to the ground without shock, so that the piece shall touch the left thigh ;")

    Rifle manual of arms: Taken from the US Infantry tactics 1861
    Shoulder arms is in the right hand, (U.S. tactics 121. "The piece in the right hand")
    During load the rifle is between the feet. (156. "and bring it vertically opposite the middle of the body, shift the right hand to the upper band, place the butt between the feet,")

    Hardee's revised:
    Shoulder arms: 121. "The piece in the right hand"
    Load: 156. "Carry the piece to the left side with the left hand—butt upon the ground—barrel to the front—piece inclined to the right and front resting along the left thigh, muzzle six inches in front of the center of the body"

    that is what I mean about modifying the manual to fit the conditions. He stuck to the right hand shoulder arms, that is useful for the faster movements.(compared to Scotts manuals)
    But went back to the left side load that is better suited for the long muskets. (compared to the short rifles that he had expected to be in use)

    Personally the two versions of load make no difference to me. but Iam 180cm tall.
    I got one of our short members who is something like 165cm tall to try the musket version. It was much easier for him, than the rifle manual.
    (We are a union units, so we have always used Casey)
    Last edited by thomas aagaard; 09-03-2018, 04:26 PM. Reason: typo and layout

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