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Civil War Trust

Part 3 - Infantry

The Battle for Harmony Mills

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Friendly horsemen are coming back at a gallop.  You’ve seen enough stretcher-bearers slog past to know that the battle is in full swing.  You had heard the bugler sound the charge and then a resounding crash of musketry--enemy infantry must have repulsed the assault.

“Run!  Double-quick!  Move it, boys, go faster!” 

The rumble of battle punctuates your first sergeant’s exhortations.  The men of your infantry regiment--600 in all--quicken their pace.  Looking to the left, you can see the artillerymen feverishly operating the guns through a cloud of black powder smoke, pouring fire across the field. 

“Enemy guns on the hill!”  You see it, too—the dull shine of cannons swinging into place on the far side of the field, their muzzles gaping towards your men.  A puff of smoke erupts from one and it leaps and recoils wildly.

A second of silence, then another, and then the horrible whine of the shell is overhead.  It explodes and shatters above you.  Your men dodge and cover their heads as jagged, heavy fragments of shrapnel fly through the air.  One man cries out in pain and tumbles to the ground.

“We’ve got to move, Colonel!  What are your orders?” 

A.    “Put the boys in battle line.”
B.    “March column!”

Hint: March column was the fastest Civil War formation, but it was also the most vulnerable to enemy fire.  Battle line was slow, but it reduced the number of men who could be hit by a single enemy shot. 

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