There has been much debate lately within the Fourteenth Brooklyn Reenacting Community as to which manuals were used Early War, Mid War, and Late War by the Fourteenth Brooklyn. Simple things have fueled this investigation. For instance the way the Monument at Gettysburg's Rail Road Cut depicts him Loading his Musket. Which we now know was a veteran of the 14th Brooklyn N.Y.S.M.
Up until recently, we believed it was all "hardee's light infantry tactics" during their entire 3 year enlistment. We did know that in the 1850's they used Scott's. Thanks to A diary entry we found a couple years ago from Charles Teasdale of Company E, we know that in 1863 the Fourteenth Brooklyn Began using Casey's Light Infantry Tactics.
|Note His Loading Style|
This diary entry was the only actual mention of any form of tactical manual that we had to go off of. That is until we remembered that someone had given us a transcript, well more of an excerpt from a Letter that Colonel E.B. Fowler had written home sometime in 1862. It speaks on the Uniform, the early tactics and speaks lovingly about his Regiment the Fourteenth Brooklyn.
The Excerpt below is from a letter written by Col. Edward Brush Fowler. You'll find that it is strikingly similar to what he would later write in his own version of the History of the Fourteenth Brooklyn in 1883. Some of the verbiage is a bit different but it's nearly spot on to his later unfinished work. We present this to you, we are looking for another copy of this letter and so far have come up short, we were also given a horrible scan of Letter, but due to hard drive crashes and more it has been lost in a sea of emails.
"In 1860 the Board of Officers adopted the French 'chasseur' uniform,
consisting of ashy red trousers, white leggings, a blue jacket, red chevrons
and shoulder knots. A fixed to the head was to be a french style kepi with blue band,
red above and blue top.
|Col. E.B. Fowler - 14th Brooklyn N.Y.S.M.|
Later in early 1861 when the regiment arrived in Washington these improvements were matched
by the introduction of the rifled musket and minie ball which took the place of the smooth bore with it's round ball and buckshot.
A mixture of Gilhams' Militia Tactics and Hardee's translation of the French tactics were substituted
for the old Scott "heavy infantry" tactics as well as its accompaniment of leather
stock and pipe clayed belts.
Little did the officers of that board dream that the uniform that they then adopted would become historic, sung of in poets' lays and transferred to the artist's canvas as that of the "red-legged
devils," the Brooklyn Fourteenth."
Does this change how we view the 14th Brooklyn's Tactics of course! Should we change how we do things as a reenacting community, well that's up to you and your people. We are going to continue to research this subject, but this serves as a major milestone in the search for exactly what they used. If we can find another copy of this letter, this will be irrefutable evidence that the Fourteenth Used a Mixture of Gilham's and Hardee's Infantry Tactics.
Until then, learn Caseys', it's 1863 after all!