Thursday, September 27, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Friday, Sept. 27, 1861

In camps across Ohio, 20 regiments of volunteer infantrymen are in various stages of organization and training. Campgrounds—many of them at county fairgrounds, others hastily erected in farm fields—bustle with inexperienced officers training inexperienced soldiers. About 30 other regiments have already left Ohio for the war, most going to western Virginia or Kentucky. The goal of a new regiment is to meet the federally required 825 to 1,025 men, divided into ten companies of 83 to 101 officers and men each. A company is led by a captain, two lieutenants, and several sergeants and corporals. The regiment is commanded by a colonel, whose headquarters staff includes several lesser officers and staff, including medical personnel and musicians. At this early stage of the war, the officers are usually elected, a practice that the demands of war will change. At least four cavalry regiments and some batteries of artillery are also being organized in Ohio. The quality of training is uneven, with many officers studying military manuals at night in order to train their soldiers the next day. The training itself consists mostly of marching formations, with little or no weapons practice or physical conditioning.

No comments: