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Re: [civilwarwest] Woodsonville or Rowlett's Station

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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