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RE: [civilwarwest] Woodsonville or Rowlett's Station

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  • Harry Smeltzer
    Several squares were formed by Union infantry (regulars, 69th NYSM, and IIRC the 12th NY) against the threat of cavalry at First Bull Run. Harry ... From:
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 31, 2008
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      Several squares were formed by Union infantry (regulars, 69th NYSM, and IIRC the 12th NY) against the threat of cavalry at First Bull Run.

       

      Harry

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Joseph R. Reinhart
      Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 11:21 AM
      To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Woodsonville or Rowlett's Station

       

      Carl 

      For a good description (well researched) of the action, go to my 32nd Indiana web site http://www.geocities.com/ind32ndinfantry/

      and click on The Battle of Rowlett's Station by Mike Peake.

      I have a description of  the battle and about 5-letters from participants from the 32nd, which I translated into English, in my book August Willich's Gallant Dutchmen (Kent Stae Univ. Press, 2006). Also see Gerald Prokopowicz's All for the Regiment.

       

      My recollection is that it was the first battle in which a hollow square (a tactic of Napoleon) was used to defend against cavalry.

      Hope this helps.

      Joe

       

      -------------- Original message from "Carl Williams" <carlw4514@...>: --------------

      Got interested enough to try to check this 1861 KY battle out online,
      from a mention on a battle flag.

      At Wikipedia, a couple of interesting things: one claim that "the
      first time in the Civil War that cavalry faced infantry" is challenged
      for a citation, but none is forthcoming since Fed 2007. Any opinions?

      Also, a defensive tactic called "forming the 'hollow square'" is
      cited, which I can kind of guess at, as well. Any better knowledge on
      that?

      http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Battle_of_ Rowlett%27s_ Station

    • Ricky Washburn
      The hollow square was a napoleanic defensive strategy where dismounted units i.e. infantry would form a tight square two+ ranks deep, usually one row kneeling
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 31, 2008
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        The hollow square was a napoleanic defensive strategy where dismounted units i.e. infantry would form a tight square two+ ranks deep, usually one row kneeling the second standing and would hold against calvary attacks quite well, though artillery had a nasty effect on these squares


        --- On Fri, 10/31/08, Joseph R. Reinhart <sixthky@...> wrote:

        > From: Joseph R. Reinhart <sixthky@...>
        > Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Woodsonville or Rowlett's Station
        > To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Friday, October 31, 2008, 10:21 AM
        > Carl 
        > For a good description (well researched) of the action, go
        > to my 32nd Indiana web
        > site http://www.geocities.com/ind32ndinfantry/
        > and click on The Battle of Rowlett's Station by Mike
        > Peake.
        > I have a description of  the battle and about 5-letters
        > from participants from the 32nd, which I translated into
        > English, in my book August Willich's Gallant Dutchmen
        > (Kent Stae Univ. Press, 2006). Also see Gerald
        > Prokopowicz's All for the Regiment.
        >
        >
        > My recollection is that it was the first battle in which a
        > hollow square (a tactic of Napoleon) was used to defend
        > against cavalry.
        > Hope this helps.
        > Joe
        >   -------------- Original message from "Carl
        > Williams" <carlw4514@...>: --------------
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Got interested enough to try to check this 1861
        > KY battle out online,
        > from a mention on a battle flag.
        >
        > At Wikipedia, a couple of interesting things: one claim
        > that "the
        > first time in the Civil War that cavalry faced
        > infantry" is challenged
        > for a citation, but none is forthcoming since Fed 2007. Any
        > opinions?
        >
        > Also, a defensive tactic called "forming the
        > 'hollow square'" is
        > cited, which I can kind of guess at, as well. Any better
        > knowledge on
        > that?
        >
        > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Rowlett%27s_Station
      • Tom Mix
        At Gettysburg on July 1 Buford moved Gamble to the far left after 1st Corps arrived, a Confederate unit formed square there too but I don t recall which unit.
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 31, 2008
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          At Gettysburg on July 1 Buford moved Gamble to the far left after 1st Corps arrived, a Confederate unit formed square there too but I don’t recall which unit.

          Tom

           

          -----Original Message-----
          From: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Carl Williams
          Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 10:03 AM
          To: civilwarwest@yahoogroupscom
          Subject: [civilwarwest] Woodsonville or Rowlett's Station

           

          Got interested enough to try to check this 1861 KY battle out online,
          from a mention on a battle flag.

          At Wikipedia, a couple of interesting things: one claim that "the
          first time in the Civil War that cavalry faced infantry" is challenged
          for a citation, but none is forthcoming since Fed 2007. Any opinions?

          Also, a defensive tactic called "forming the 'hollow square'" is
          cited, which I can kind of guess at, as well. Any better knowledge on
          that?

          http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Battle_of_ Rowlett%27s_ Station

        • Tom Mix
          You literally form a square of a Regiment size with 3-4 rows forming each of the 4 sides, colors and command structure along with any one not in the unit
          Message 4 of 10 , Oct 31, 2008
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            You literally form a square of a Regiment size with 3-4 rows forming each of the 4 sides, colors and command structure along with any one not in the unit (often artillerymen) are in the center. The first row kneels on one knee, planting the butt of their rifle in the ground with bayonets thrusting up forming a very formidable wall of steel that the horses will not attack.  They are not that stupid.  The lines behind the kneeling first line them volley fire over the heads of the first line.

            The best example in movies is “Waterloo” staring Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer.  The “British” soldiers form their various squares while the French cavalry attack. In the movie, members of the Soviet army donned the British red and formed the squares.  The cavalry attacks in the movie were so realistic that some of the Soviet soldiers in the squares broke on their own, unscripted, as the soldiers actually did get really scared of the charging horses.  The camera pulls back and you can see a panoramic view of all the squares with the cavalry milling around between them.  A beautiful feat of cinematography and coordination.  

            Plus the movie is highly realistic and I recommend it. But to see a square and how they work, there is not a better movie out there.

             

            It took a lot of discipline to form and hold a square but once one broke they were virtually dead as the cavalry would ride them down.  So the motivation to hold that square was quite high.  

            Tom

             

            -----Original Message-----
            From: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of keeno2@...
            Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 10:28 AM
            To: civilwarwest@yahoogroupscom
            Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Woodsonville or Rowlett's Station

             

            Just when you think everyone has been put to bed ....... Know nothing of the battle, sir, but "forming a square" is a well known infantry defense against cavalry. Am not particularly well versed in that tactic, but when it was done, the cav could not breach it.




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          • Carl Williams
            Many thanks for the links and info. Now I gotta find and rent that movie somewhere! I had a dim knowledge of the square tactic against cavalry, but hollow
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 1, 2008
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              Many thanks for the links and info. Now I gotta find and rent that
              movie somewhere!

              I had a dim knowledge of 'the square' tactic against cavalry, but
              "hollow" had a meaning I wasnt sure of.

              I have a hunch there is a reason that later in the war we don't hear
              about infantry forming squares so much. It may be that cavalry wasn't
              going to challenge infantry except dismounted as infantry firepower grew?
            • Carl Williams
              ... Sometimes I wonder, too, if we have exhausted it here, but actually I find if I got nothing it s more a matter I havent been reading or whatever. The
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 1, 2008
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                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, keeno2@... wrote:
                >
                > Just when you think everyone has been put to bed .......

                Sometimes I wonder, too, if we have exhausted it here, but actually I
                find if I "got nothing" it's more a matter I havent been reading or
                whatever. The subject of the Civil War may be inexhaustible!

                Sometimes when this group seems pretty quiet it also makes you wonder,
                what with what's happening in the blog world, email discussion groups
                seem a little yesteryear. I think maybe those of us with an emotional
                attachment keep it alive here; in addition to remembering old times, a
                lot of us have uploaded files and pictures and whatever. Or maybe I'm
                wrong and the concept is alive and well. We do have some lulls.
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