The first American army, the Continental Army, was based on its British opponent during the Revolution; even then, the British were known for a brief musketry exchange followed by a charge. Civil War tactics don't resemble this, or British Peninsula tactics, or Napoleonic tactics. But Civil War tactics do resemble the 18th century in that infantry was typically formed in two lines flanked by cavalry. Civil War battles sometimes even featured a Frederican oblique order attack.
Napoleonic tactics during the Civil War
Also - I found something else on the Internet today that I thought was really interesting and was wondering what you all thought about it. I'm abouthalfway through it, so I haven't read it all yet. This guy's argument is that there not as much 'Napoleonic Tactics' going on as might havebeen thought (or, at least, somewhat perpetually argued over the years). It reminds me somewhat of some of the stuff Kelly was saying in the post that gotlost. I'm going to finish reading it (of course); but, I figured I'd go ahead and post it now so you all could read it. If this is 'old news'to the veterans - sorry. This is the first I've seen of this sort of argument.
Napoleonic Tactics and the American Civil War (tl)
In the gunpowder age, battle was often indecisive; Napoleonic combat, the ultimate development of linear tactics, is the exception. To understand Napoleonic tactics, you first have to understand how and why they developed. To do that, you have to go back one hundred years before even Napoleon's time to the invention of the socket bayonet. Before then, an infantry battalion was an unwieldy and vulnerable combination of musketeers and pikemen, with the pikemen protecting the musketeers from enemy pikemen and cavalry. When the socket bayonet replaced the plug bayonet, musketeers shed themselves of pikemen because they could now protect themselves and still fire their muskets. Musketeers stretched themselves thinner, first into six ranks, then four, then three, and finally just two. It was still an awkward system in some ways, with difficulty deploying an army from the march into line of battle. In Marlborough's day, in the early 1700s, it took most of the day to prepare for battle, and it was impossible to surprise an enemy on the march. When battle began, the whole of the infantry would typically attack together simultaneously in two lines. The logical place for cavalry was still on the flanks. In battle, the cavalry would defeat the opposing enemy horsemen then attack the rear of the enemy infantry just like in the 1600s - but also much like during the Civil War, at least in theory. By Napoleon's time, however, this would change - thanks to advances in infantry tactics.
Relearning Napoleonic tactics - any battle tips?