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Re: [WarOf1812] Smyth or Duane

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  • Steve Abolt
    Dear List, As proved by this thread and indeed as having commanded different American companies at large events, each using their own interpretation of a
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 1 6:36 PM
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      Dear List,
      As proved by this thread and indeed as having
      commanded different American companies at large
      events, each using their own interpretation of a
      particular manual, attempting to discover a "proper"
      American Manual for the time period is quite
      difficult.

      Though each edition of Smyth's and Duane's will tell
      you that this is the "approved" version, the US Army,
      began to realize the need for a new drill manual
      before the beginning of the War. The old "Blue Book",
      of Baron Von Stueben, in use since the Revolutionary
      War Days, had become outmoded.

      In 1810 several American Regiments, including the 7th
      US Infantry, were ordered to be used to test the new
      "French System"--basically the French Discipline of
      1791. I have a copy of this order and the commands
      which were to be used to implement the new evolutions.
      It is quite interesting to compare these to the final
      printed version of Smyth's.

      As also has been noted, many old line American
      officers were reluctant to change from the "Blue Book"
      to the newer system. This was by no means limited to
      the 1812 time period. When Winfield Scott revised his
      system in 1835, many officers complained of the
      change, most particularly in the light infantry
      discipline.

      In a living history vein, which is where I believe
      this discussion originally started, which discipline
      to use? In the 7th we use Smyth's System. This is
      also true of our sister units of the 1st US, 6th US,
      25th US, Missouri Rangers and Rifle Regiment. As we
      in the 7th do later time periods, the 1830's-40's, the
      French discipline, had of course, been adopted by the
      US in 1816 with the edition of Scott's Tactics. We
      found it easier to get new folks interested in the
      1812 time period if they could relate to a drill which
      they already knew. It was also easier to get folks
      who do American Civil War to realize that the drill
      they use was taken from somewhere else, and hence easy
      to master in this earlier time period.

      However, the problem still remains at large events as
      to which drill to use? When I command it is Smyth's.
      But as stated, not every American unit uses that. I
      guess until we can all get together, then we will have
      those same problems as plagued the American Army in
      early 1812.

      There was also a question as to castrmentation.
      Smyth's contains a section on the layout of an
      infantry camp. It is basically taken from Von Stueben
      with a few modifications

      All the best,
      Steve Abolt

      =====
      Cottonbalers, By God!

      visit our website at www.cottonbalers.lynchburg.net

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    • Vcohorspraetoria@aol.com
      Then, this is indeed Living History ! We have different American units using different drill manuals that are appropriate for the period. Same thing now, as
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 1 8:07 PM
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        Then, this is indeed "Living History"!
        We have different American units using different drill manuals that are
        appropriate for the period. Same thing now, as then. Depending on the
        various commanders.

        Phil Holmes
        6th Regt. of United States Infantry
        Capt. Machesnay's Company


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Larry Lozon
        From: Steve Abolt ~ the problem still remains at large events as to which drill to use? When I command it is Smyth s.
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 2 7:45 AM
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          From: "Steve Abolt" <sacbg7@...>

          ~ the problem still remains at large events as
          to which drill to use? When I command it is Smyth's.
          ...........................

          Major Abolt et al

          This problem was also realised within the Crown Forces Upper Canada.

          Peter Twist has forwarded the 1811 version of the drill used by British
          and Canadian Regiments in North America to all units and all now seem
          to be using it. At events, a Battalion drill is usually held to bring all up
          to
          speed on this drill. The standardisation has also upgraded the Crown
          Force's safety level.

          The Brit/Canuck units also have organised their encampment (castrmentation)
          into a correct "streeted" structure for wedge tents and a 'Militia" camp for
          all
          the other tent varieties. This worked well at Stoney Creek and Fort George.
          it
          gives the spectator a chance to experience the two styles of military
          encampments.

          Not an "Umbrella Group", but an agreed standardisation.


          Larry Lozon
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