The Minute Book
Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Active Militia; Artillery (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Active Militia; Artillery (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

Artillery.—A field battery of six pieces, and with six horses to each gun and waggon, occupies in line ninety-five yards; by thirty-four yards in depth; or forty-four in action; the interval between the pieces is nineteen yards; and the length of a field carriage is about fifteen yards.

In marching, not less than four yards interval should be allowed between each carriage. On opening fire, if the distance of the enemy be not known, it is better to fire rather short of, than over the object. The quickness of firing being regulated by the certainty of execution; at equal ranges, therefore, the object should be to point with great care rather than to fire quickly. With smooth bore guns, round shot should be used from 350 yards, upwards; case at from 350 to 450 when double case may be the used.

The firing should increase in rapidity as the range diminishes. Shrapnel should not be used at a less range than 500 yards. After putting a gun in position the officer's first business is to ascertain the distance of every well marked object within range; next to mask and protect his guns and men by ingenious use of whatever means are at hand. When guns are in position on the brow of a hill they should be retired as far as they can be, without losing command: the more they are retired, the better the men will be covered.

If necessary that they should be immediately at the top, they should not be placed until the firing is to commence. A waggon should wait for a disabled gun, but a gun should never wait for a disabled waggon. Men should be accustomed to work the guns with diminished numbers.

If guns are on an unsupported flank, they should be protected by cavalry in rear. If impassable obstacles to cover the flank do not exist, a wood, or buildings occupied by infantry, will give great security to guns posted on the flank of a line. Infantry should never be directly in rear of artillery. In covering changes of front, the guns should be on the pivot flank and well clear of it, that their fire may not be interrupted.

On a march, halt every two hours for several minutes. Drivers dismount; down props; lift saddles and pads; examine shoulders; sponge nostrils, eyes, and tail; give a mouthful of wet grass or hay, and a little water; if halted for two hours stop feet with wet clay. Frequent watering in small quantities will permit the performance of very severe marches. Feeding at moderate intervals. Cordial balls or drinks (in default of better, a wine-glass of whiskey in a half a pint of water, or one and a half drachms of ginger in oil, grease, or butter,) when horses are weary. When dull, and refusing food, try a a clyster at 96° Fahrenheit. Indian corn should be soaked before feeding. No water until one hour, at least, after feeding. Horses not to graze on grass with the dew on it. Hard water should have a knob of clay, or half a handful of wood ashes mixed with it.

Guns should never be at the head of an advanced guard; but may precede the main body, protected by some cavalry.

Officers should not point guns in action. Their duty is to superintend the working of the guns in all its details; and to note the effect of the fire on the enemy's troops of guns.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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