top of page

Tactical Resources: 


Instruction for Field Artillery (1864)

An online photocopy of “the red book”. This is a necessary read for all Artillery re-enactors. The beginning breaks down the basics of artillery, including the ammunition, ranges, and organization. All private soldiers would be trained in “School of the Piece”, which includes the original drill, marching in detachment, and maneuvering the piece. There is also a lot of interesting information about the drivers and maneuvering with horses.

“School of the Section” and “School of the Battery” are very beneficial for an understanding of maneuvering and firing as multiple pieces, and were required learning for NCOs and Officers.

This manual also includes “Evolutions of Batteries”, which discusses the tactical use of several batteries and their organization.

It’s complete with bugle calls, schematics of the pieces (limber, gun, forge, etc), and diagrams for movements.



A Treatise on the Tactical Use of the Three Arms, Colonel Lippitt (1865)

I highly recommend this document to anyone wishing to get a general overview of Civil War tactics. He breaks his discussion into three parts, so if you’re only interested in Artillery tactics, it would possible to read only that section without difficulty.


This resource is fairly easy to read and is very insightful. He cites contemporary and historical battles to illustrate his point, which is highly interesting. I found reading this document extremely helpful in the beginning of my study on 1860 tactics.



Field Service in War, General Lippitt (1869)

Although slightly post-war, this resource contains information (primarily for officers) on the following topics: marches, camps, outposts, convoys, reconnaissance, and foraging. For anyone interested in the more logistical side of the war, this is a great overview and has a lot of cool details to get a better understanding of how the war operated.

By nature, a lot of the information is more about the infantry, however he does discuss where to place artillery in the march to best move and protect it and other logistical issues to consider with artillery.



Course of Instruction in Ordnance and Gunnery, Captain Benton (1862)

For those brave few, this document will give you a taste of one course required at West Point during the Civil War. It discusses gunpowder, projectiles, cannons, the science of gunnery, loading and firing, and a lot more. As interesting as this source is, it contains a lot of math, physics, and chemistry and should only be consulted for a very in-depth study of artillery.




Regulations and Duties


Revised Regulations for the US Army (1861)

While incredibly long, this document provides a wealth of information on the entire spectrum of army life. I suggest at least taking a moment to read the Table of Contents to see what it has to offer. I also have found it very useful to skim the index in the back and read sections that seem interesting. Doing so, I have learned a lot of random, but insightful details.


Also included are the Articles of War, required reading for all soldiers in the US army.



General Orders for the Years 1861, 1862, 1863

Throughout the years, minor and major changes are made in the army regulations through general orders issued from the Secretary of War. This document contains all the changes to regulations and acts of Congress relating to the army, as well as court martial decisions, officer appointments, and other notifications of that nature.


Once again, this is a very large resource and I would advise skimming the index to gain a better idea of exactly what is contained within. There is a lot of information about the organization of volunteer armies, bounties, etc. (1861-1862) (1863)


[NOTE: If you would like the General Orders from 1864, contact John Chapman. I have the pdfs, but cannot find the link again. I have been unable to find General Orders from 1865 unfortunately.]



Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers, General Kautz (1864)

This is a fantastic resource for all private soldiers. The beginning outlines the basic duties expected of all soldiers in all the different posts (garrison, field, etc). He has a section dedicated to the artillery soldier specifically, but also discusses each branch separately. This resource defines, very well, the expectations of privates.


He places an equal weight on the roles and duties of NCOs. While many of the NCOs duties are not applicable to re-enacting, Kautz’s discussion helps to illuminate their exact role and he offers some good leadership advice to those in these positions of authority.


At the end, he discusses a large range of topics, some of which include: cooking, health, battle, promotion, court-martial, punishments, and colored soldiers. This document is a wealth of information for any re-enactor and, unlike some other period sources, is quite easy to read.



Customs of Service for Officers of the Army, General Kautz (1866)

This manual describes the duties of each officer, as defined by military law and custom. In addition, he spends a great deal of time explaining the moral requirements all officers should possess. His insights are definitely great leadership advice, if nothing else.


He also provides information about the daily operations of an army, as well as detailed explanations of administrative duties, legal issues, etc.





Regulations for the Army of the United States

Uniform regulations are detailed in all US army regulations. Depending on your interest, there are a number of different places you might start. The regulations of 1847 and 1857 show some big uniform shifts that eventually became what we know from the Civil War. (1847) (1857)


It was the uniform regulations of 1851 that had a lot of the really major changes, however. Unfortunately I haven’t found a full pdf or scanned copy of this manual, but there are two links you can check out. (typed) (scanned images)


For uniform regulations during the Civil War, refer to the 1861 regulations or General Order No. 6 (page 7 of the 1861 general orders).


Shortly following the war, the US Quartermaster department created these plates of the uniforms of enlisted men. While slightly post-war and specifically for the regulars, it contains very detailed colored pictures of the dress uniform for all branches. (Images of 1866 uniforms)



This document (Uniform and Dress of the Army of the United States, 1872) clearly defines the minor changes in the post-war uniform and may be of interest to someone studying the changes in uniform. At the end are several colored imagines. You may also look at the 1881 regulations. (1872) (1881)



Survey of US Military Uniforms, Weapons, and Accoutrements, David Cole (2007)

Finally, if you just want a quick survey of the evolution of military uniforms, accoutrements, and weapons, this is a nice primer. Although not particularly detailed, it contains an account of the major changes in uniforms with notes on the reasons for them. He includes a lot of good pictures and definitely provides a cursory understanding.


[NOTE: For anyone who wishes to investigate earlier uniforms or to explore the evolution of uniforms in greater detail should search for the US Army Regulations of 1816, 1821, 1836, and/or 1841. These can be found on the Internet Archive Search listed below.]


Where to Find More Resources


Internet Archive Search

I’m not sure who operates this site, but it has access to hundreds of military and government related documents. This is where I found Army Regulations spanning from 1816 to 1918, the General Orders, and a number of other similar documents.


Silas’s Re-enactor Links

Run by a re-enactor, this site contains dozens of wonderful links. He has links to a large variety of tactical manuals, broken down by branch. He also has many links to documents explaining paper work and other administrative duties (the Company Clerk was very interesting). There are tactical resources, maps, general orders, advice for officers, and so many other things.


In addition, he includes links to articles written by re-enactors that discuss a range of topics. This is a website that deserves a few afternoons of study.



Also, if you know the title of a document, google books contains a large number of scanned versions of documents (like the regulations and so forth). A simple google search reveals a surprising number of great resources. 

bottom of page