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Old 12 Apr 12, 21:49
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Confederate Plan to ressurect the Era of Pike and Shot?

So, I was browsing Wiki, reading up on pike and shot, when I finish up the page and read at the bottom of a confederate plan to recruit Pikemen for the ACW.

"One attempt to resurrect the pike as a primary infantry weapon occurred during the American Civil War when the Confederate States of America planned to recruit twenty regiments of pikemen in 1862. In April 1862 it was authorized that every Confederate infantry regiment would include two companies of pikemen, a plan supported by Robert E. Lee. Many pikes were produced but were never used in battle and the plan to include pikemen in the army was abandoned."

Now, the Civil War is not my main area of study, but 20 regiments of pikemen? There were no critical shortages of firearms that necessitated arming such a large number of soldiers with pikes, was there?

If not, why willingly arm your soldiers with a weapon considered obsolete for the better part of two centuries, with such rapid technological advances in other areas of military technology such as rifles and artillery as well?

The plan was endorsed by Lee himself too. I wonder what specific challenges existed that compelled the confederates to start manufacturing pikes. Does anybody know anything more about this? Wiki had no citation for that particular section.
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Old 12 Apr 12, 22:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke Maynard View Post
So, I was browsing Wiki, reading up on pike and shot, when I finish up the page and read at the bottom of a confederate plan to recruit Pikemen for the ACW.

"One attempt to resurrect the pike as a primary infantry weapon occurred during the American Civil War when the Confederate States of America planned to recruit twenty regiments of pikemen in 1862. In April 1862 it was authorized that every Confederate infantry regiment would include two companies of pikemen, a plan supported by Robert E. Lee. Many pikes were produced but were never used in battle and the plan to include pikemen in the army was abandoned."

Now, the Civil War is not my main area of study, but 20 regiments of pikemen? There were no critical shortages of firearms that necessitated arming such a large number of soldiers with pikes, was there?

If not, why willingly arm your soldiers with a weapon considered obsolete for the better part of two centuries, with such rapid technological advances in other areas of military technology such as rifles and artillery as well?

The plan was endorsed by Lee himself too. I wonder what specific challenges existed that compelled the confederates to start manufacturing pikes. Does anybody know anything more about this? Wiki had no citation for that particular section.
This is why wikipedia is not an academically reliable source. Twenty regiments? It sounds like some one is pulling that number from their . I don't think even in the campaign leading to Shiloh, where the Confederates were desperate to arm their troops with military issue muskets, didn't use pikes.

By the way, welcome tot he forum.
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Last edited by semperpietas; 12 Apr 12 at 22:14..
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Old 12 Apr 12, 22:10
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There were pikes present in Harpers Ferry at the time of John Brown's raid. How many and for what purpose I do not remember.

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Old 12 Apr 12, 22:12
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Duke,

The Confederacy did have trouble arming it soldiers. The Pikes would give enlisted soldiers something to do instead of them getting disgusted and going home. Possession of a battlefield was often used as a means of re-arming the troops left there. After Vicksburg fell, the Union troops went and exchanged their Austrian and Belgian rifles for good British Enfields that the Rebels surrendered. Many of these Enfields came from Louisiana stocks.

When the US Navy sailed up to New Orleans several thousand Confederate troops ran across Lake Ponchitrain because they had no firearms. Louisiana had armed its earlier volunteers from the Baton Rouge Arsenal and sent thousands more to Mississippi and Texas.

While the US Navy and Army intercepted many shiploads of European firearms coming in, they could not stop them all.

One Texas Cavalry regiment got surprised by an attack on their camp on the Mississippi. They ran off into the swamp leaving behind their horses, weapons, saddles and tack. They had to walk all the way across Southern Louisiana to get more! Many a Cajun house had people lean out and ask "Hey Messieur! Where ats your horse?!"..

Relatively late in the war there were still units without firearms. One Texas Cavalry regiment arrived the day after the Battle of Mansfield armed only with swords! Thankfully General Taylor had salvaged thousands dropped by retreating Union troops!

Favorite weapon of the Western and Trans-Mississippi Rebel Cavalry was the 1858 Enfield Two Band Rifled Musket. Combined with any revolver they could get! While they could and did acquire Sharps, Henry and Spencer Carbines, ammunition was too hard to get.

Ammunition for the Rebel Armies was also hard to come by. Often times Rebel Armies were in danger of running out of ammo (for cannons as well!) after a big battle unless they retreated along their supply lines. Lee's Army after Gettysburg was low until they got to Sharpsburg.

Confederate deserters and people going AWOL tended to take their arms and equipment with them! Cavalrymen naturally took their horse (which sometimes they had enlisted with).

Pruitt
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Old 12 Apr 12, 22:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Duke,

The Confederacy did have trouble arming it soldiers. The Pikes would give enlisted soldiers something to do instead of them getting disgusted and going home. Possession of a battlefield was often used as a means of re-arming the troops left there. After Vicksburg fell, the Union troops went and exchanged their Austrian and Belgian rifles for good British Enfields that the Rebels surrendered. Many of these Enfields came from Louisiana stocks.

When the US Navy sailed up to New Orleans several thousand Confederate troops ran across Lake Ponchitrain because they had no firearms. Louisiana had armed its earlier volunteers from the Baton Rouge Arsenal and sent thousands more to Mississippi and Texas.

While the US Navy and Army intercepted many shiploads of European firearms coming in, they could not stop them all.

One Texas Cavalry regiment got surprised by an attack on their camp on the Mississippi. They ran off into the swamp leaving behind their horses, weapons, saddles and tack. They had to walk all the way across Southern Louisiana to get more! Many a Cajun house had people lean out and ask "Hey Messieur! Where ats your horse?!"..

Relatively late in the war there were still units without firearms. One Texas Cavalry regiment arrived the day after the Battle of Mansfield armed only with swords! Thankfully General Taylor had salvaged thousands dropped by retreating Union troops!

Favorite weapon of the Western and Trans-Mississippi Rebel Cavalry was the 1858 Enfield Two Band Rifled Musket. Combined with any revolver they could get! While they could and did acquire Sharps, Henry and Spencer Carbines, ammunition was too hard to get.

Ammunition for the Rebel Armies was also hard to come by. Often times Rebel Armies were in danger of running out of ammo (for cannons as well!) after a big battle unless they retreated along their supply lines. Lee's Army after Gettysburg was low until they got to Sharpsburg.

Confederate deserters and people going AWOL tended to take their arms and equipment with them! Cavalrymen naturally took their horse (which sometimes they had enlisted with).

Pruitt
Don't forget the Army of Central Kentucky under Hardee, which in 1861 invaded Bowling Green. Half of those men didn't even have small arms, and yet were engaged in an offensive action!

Interestingly, the Union's first attempt to raise Black troops from South Carolina used pikes. They armed recruits with pikes. Most deserted in a handful of days when it became apparent that no muskets were coming.
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Old 13 Apr 12, 05:10
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Old 13 Apr 12, 09:15
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http://www.civilwarhome.com/weapons.htm

Quote:
The lance, another serious weapon in the hands of a trained trooper, also appeared in the war. The 6th Pa. Cav., "Rush's Lancers," was armed with this weapon, in addition to its pistols and a few carbines, until May '63. The weapons shortage in the South led its leaders to give serious consideration to arming troops with lances and pikes. In early 1862 a set of resolutions provided for 20 regiments of Southern pikemen, and on 10 Apr. '62 an act was passed that two companies in each regiment be armed with pikes. "Strangely enough, such foolishness met with the complete approval of the military leaders, and even Gen. Lee on April 9, 1862, wrote Col. Gorgas (Chief of Confederate Ordnance), 'One thousand pikes should be sent to Gen. Jackson if practicable". Georgia's gov. spurred the Production of weapons that are now known as "JOE BROWN'S PIKES."
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"An Act to provide for keeping all fire-arms in the armies of the ConfederateStates in the hands of effective men. April 10, 1862. Companies, &c., of troops to be armed with pikes or other arms. How organized. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President be, and he is hereby, authorised to organise companies, battalions or regiments of troops, to be armed with pikes, or other available arms, to be approved by him, when a sufficient number of arms of the kind now used in the service cannot be procured; such companies, battalions or regiments to be organised in the same manner as like organizations of infantry now are under existing laws. To serve as infantry or be attached to other regiments in the service. May be detailed to fill vacancies. SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That the President may cause the troops armed and organised as herein provided, to serve as similar organizations of infantry now do, or to attach troops so armed to other regiments in the service, in numbers not exceeding two companies of troops so armed to each regiment. And the colonel of the regiment to which such companies may be attached, shall have power to detail men from such companies to take the place of men in the companies armed with fire-arms, whenever vacancies may occur from death, or discharge, or in cases of absence, from sickness, furlough, or any other cause: the true intent and meaning of this provision being to render every fire-arm in the army available at all times, by having it always in the hands of a well and effective man. Secretary of War to furnish a copy of this act to every General in the service. SEC. 3. Immediately after the passage of this act it shall be the duty of the Secretary of War to furnish a copy of the same to every General in the service. APPROVED April 10, 1862."
http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/statutes/statutes.xml

They wanted 2 companies per regiment to have pikes, not 2 entire regiments. Still, pretty silly unless you were on the receiving end. Plus, no ammunition requirements.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 17:00
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Going back to Roman tactics I guess. The European lines of combat shoot outs were proving costly. Weird part is, the West Point grads must have studied tactics of the 'Revolutionary War'. In which the Americans ambushed & fought from behind cover. I can only assume that it was difficult to coordinate thousands of troops with large open fields to fight on.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 18:33
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Going back to Roman tactics I guess. The European lines of combat shoot outs were proving costly. Weird part is, the West Point grads must have studied tactics of the 'Revolutionary War'. In which the Americans ambushed & fought from behind cover. I can only assume that it was difficult to coordinate thousands of troops with large open fields to fight on.
Unfortunately, the shoot from behind cover is one of the myths from the American Revolution that won't die. The battles of Monmouth and Trenton were frequently taught at West Point. So yes the American Revolution was studied. Just not the falsehood that Americans fought behind cover. Yes, there were Guerilla engagements but they were performed by both sides.

But aside from Concord, name one battle where the American fought ambuscade?
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Old 16 Apr 12, 13:45
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it is the use of the rifle instead of the smoothbore musket that caused the tactical shift from fighting out in the open to fighting behind some type of cover.

you can see that tactical shift occur during the ACW.
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Old 16 Apr 12, 13:49
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it is the use of the rifle instead of the smoothbore musket that caused the tactical shift from fighting out in the open to fighting behind some type of cover.

you can see that tactical shift occur during the ACW.
I think you are on the money, Kick.
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Old 17 Apr 12, 13:22
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I think you are on the money, Kick.

I know I'm on the money
the smooth bore musket is a spear that can spit a few projectiles at the enemy at relatively short range until the real work is performed with the bayonet or the clubbed musket..

the rifled musket firing the minie ball is a good example of the compression of time and space that has occurred in all modern warfare.


if it weren't for field artillery and the smoothbore, there isn't much different about the fighting in Napoleons wars than there was in the Roman Legions..

not so in Grant and Lee's time..
.

Last edited by KICK; 17 Apr 12 at 13:29..
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Old 19 Apr 12, 20:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KICK View Post
I know I'm on the money
the smooth bore musket is a spear that can spit a few projectiles at the enemy at relatively short range until the real work is performed with the bayonet or the clubbed musket..

the rifled musket firing the minie ball is a good example of the compression of time and space that has occurred in all modern warfare.


if it weren't for field artillery and the smoothbore, there isn't much different about the fighting in Napoleons wars than there was in the Roman Legions..

not so in Grant and Lee's time..
.
I've read recently that the turning point in tactics was Shiloh. After Grant's camp was surprised, the armies, at least in the West, started digging earthworks.

The use of earthworks in Halleck's Corinth campaign is (in)famous, but I'm not sure if the idea originated with him.
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Old 20 Apr 12, 13:43
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I've read recently that the turning point in tactics was Shiloh. After Grant's camp was surprised, the armies, at least in the West, started digging earthworks.

The use of earthworks in Halleck's Corinth campaign is (in)famous, but I'm not sure if the idea originated with him.
Not universally. Earthworks were not used at Perryville, at Stones River or at Chickamauga. There were breastworks that were built, but not earthworks in the major battles of 1862 and 1863 between the AotC and AoT. In Mississippi, you would be correct that the defenses at Corinth had earthworks and redoubts (and used during the battle in 10/1862).
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Old 20 Apr 12, 16:11
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armies on the move don't have time or much reason to dig, unless the enemy is near but a stationary army with warning time of an enemy approach was going to use the shovel and the axe to their advantage in this war..

Grants excuse before Shiloh was he had green troops and he thought it better use of time to drill them than to build up a defensive network. ( doesn't hurt his argument to say he was on the move either but it does hurt his argument to say he ignored reports of enemy troops on his front)
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