Fall in for drill! Camp life and drill was a big part of the normal routine for Civil War soldiers, both North and South. More time was spent in camps and drilling than was spent on battlefields fighting. Oliver Norton of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment famously wrote of daily life in the army: “The first thing in the morning is drill, then drill, then drill again. Then drill, drill, a little more drill. Then drill, and lastly drill. Between drills, we drill, and sometimes stop to eat a little and have roll-call.”
Soldiers then did not have boot camps but held “camps of instruction” where they were taught the different maneuvers and firings by way of drill. This drilling would continue throughout their time in the service. Basic drill would first be “the school of the soldier” and the “school of the company”. They would start each drill in company formations for an hour or so, then the different companies would come together to practice battalion and regimental drill.
On Saturday, March 12th reenactors from Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia will come together at the Clisby Austin House in Tunnel Hill Georgia to conduct a “Camp of Instruction”. This drill will recreate what the Confederate soldiers did on these same grounds during the moths of January – April 1864 when they were camped here. Drill will be open to those who have purchased the special Living History Day tour ticket.