Downloadable Historical Reference Material
Patten's Artillery Drill ....For reference and living history use only. This unmodified procedure is not safe for firing artillery at reenactments, with reenactors in front of the gun and other guns and personnel in close proximity. With multiple safety modifications , this drill can be safely used, under controlled circumstances.
Caution- The use of unmodified Patten's Artillery Drill and procedure is dangerous and should not be used at reenactments for firing artillery.
Safeguards must be add to modify all original period drills and procedures, before they can be used to safely reenact Civil War battles using muzzle loading artillery.
More Historic Reference Material
US 1860/61/63/64 Artillery Drill Manuals Note: These drills and procedures are not safe for Civil War reenacting, without modification.
For research and living history reference use only. Not to be used for loading and firing muzzle loading artillery!
Some required changes are listed below.
The NCWAA Drill and procedure was based on the original US War Dept. drills and procedures outlined in the 1845 through 1864 manuals. As the original drills were geared toward teaching one man at a time on a single gun, our drill was modified to better instruct a full crew simultaneously. The original drill manuals were laser focused on only the basic duties and function of each cannoneer, starting with the load command. The NCWAA drill begins at the limber and includes the preparation of the gun and equipment for firing. Due to accidents and safety concerns, other modifications have been added through the years. The most obvious is the addition of the implements on the hubs. This change was due to several severe accidents and the concerns of local government officials. The original procedure did not do anything that would telegraph their activities to the enemy. We however have friends and fellow reenactors in front of and all around the gun. When we put the implements up, it is to alert all to the condition of the gun and were it falls in the loading process. When number 2 places his implement on the hub, this alerts all that a round or charge has been placed in the tube and is ready to be rammed. This starts the steps that can be hazardous to both number 1 and anyone downrange (in front of the gun). A premature detonation at this point would send deadly projectiles downrange (pieces of, or a complete rammer...or pieces of # 1 and the rammer). When the cannoneers take their ready stance, this alerts all that the gun is about to fire. A command for Worm or Search has also been added, as we must use a more safely constructed blank round that is made using an aluminum foil housing. A well made round is paramount to artillery safety. We have also added some small changes, to better train and control the actions of those on the back of the gun. Hearing protection has also been addressed, by requiring that number 1 and 2 cover their ear closest to the muzzle when firing. Using the exact ready stance, as outlined in the period manual. Numbers 1 and 2 allow the end of the implement closest to the muzzle to fall to their foot, and cover their ear, using the now free hand. With an earplug in the ear that is aimed to the rear of the gun and the other covered, a fair amount of ear protection is achieved. After firing, the ear without an earplug is uncovered, and a sufficient amount of hearing is returned to address safety and awareness of the cannoneer's surroundings. A complete study of cannoneer hearing loss was performed by Dr. W. Phillips in 2005. The results were very clear and strongly indicated the need for hearing protection while firing cannon. At this point, the NCWAA added hearing protection to our drills and procedures. The NCWAA also requires a minimum exposure to the muzzle, while loading. We also treat all guns as loaded, while servicing the piece. To reduce the chance of premature discharge, steps are taken to reduce the rate of fire to a maximum of one round in three minutes, with a minimum of two minutes between the fire command and introduction of the next round. Using two complete introductions of the sponge, well made rounds, and other proper loading procedures allows the guns to be fired at a maximum rate of one round every three minutes. However, a slower the rate of fire can be safer, especially for new and inexperienced crews. Keep in mind that too slow of a rate of fire can also present safety problems when cannoneers lose concentration and become distracted. Our motto is "Safety Above all Else", but with a mix of safety, period military protocol and the original procedures, we have preserved the core and essence of the basic Civil War period drills and procedures.
More of the Civil war period drills and procedures are listed below. They will give a good indication of the drills and procedures the NCWAA started with. Theses drills were modified through the years, with input from thousands of cannoneers and many years of experience. Most changes were driven by accidents that occurred in the past 25 or 30 years, and some changes were just plain common sense. Please remember, do not use these period drills and procedures, without the required safety modifications.
1845 "Field Artillery, Horse and Foot"
1861 "Instruction for Field Artillery"
1851 "Instruction for Mountain Artillery"
1864 "Field Artillery Tactics"
1860 "Hand-Book of Artillery"