Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
School of Instruction Event Report
Haddam Meadows State Park
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April 7, 2001
By the spring swollen old Connecticut River, the company was called out of winter quarters to form and drill. Shortly after sunrise, the men started coming in, so a fire was got up and the coffee started boiling. Some murmurs and grousing was heard among the men about the poor weather and cold of such an early spring requirement.
Once the bulk of the men were at hand, the formation was called and the particulars of the company protocol and safety and the general orders were read. Weapons were inspected and stacked. Since there were new recruits and a several old rusty ones, a detailed school of the soldier was conducted without arms. Once satisfied, the NCOs then proceeded to the school of the company and the men were drilled around in line, and by the flank, for wheels, obliques, and turns. This drill resulted in good order and the men were praised for being able to keep closed up.
The next steps were to demonstrate proper alignments for firing so that the maximum efficiency and safety were ensured. Positions of the feet for both the front and rear ranks were reviewed, and this was followed by positions of feet and arms for straight, left, and right oblique firing by company, by rank, and by file. Once more satisfied, the NCOs then allowed the men to handle their weapons for the first time having earned the right with their demonstrated skills and proficiency. Firing drill were conducted in detail once more and the arrangement of the rear rank feet enforced until familiar.
The next phase of the drill was skirmishing, and that too was done without weapons. Deployment by the left or right file or flank and particular attention to remaining in groups of comrades until proper deployment were practiced. Advancing, retreating, and alternating fire by rank and filemates were reviewed.
A break for dinner was allowed but the soldiers were encouraged to employ the device developed by Pvt. Arthur Murray for training on stacking arms in the ranks. It was a definite hoot. After a good feed by Cookie Elwell of erery possible ration available, the men relaxed as the sun blasted through, and the blouses were lossened and removed as all baked in the sun. All the earlier grousing about the poor weather soon were forgotton.
We continued to drill by the left flank, as a company, and then moved on the the platoon drills. Once the boys were all smooth and ready again, we turned the company over to the Corporals for a turn or two about the meadow. All went quite well, and the company surely can be seen to have gained their old skills and confidence back once more. All the boys are crying send us to the front soon so that our efforts might contribute to the halt of the rebellion and the preservation of our dear Union. The Eighth is ready to campaign once more!
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.