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Here are some of the basics that you will need to know right off. We in the Confederate Brigade use the Gilliam’s Manual of Arms, similar but with slight differences than the Hardees that is more common in the Union Brigade. "New recruits" will be paired with a veteran, who will assist the recruit in proper drill. Safety is first and foremost on the battle field.

Put your mouse over the command to see what it looks like.

The first you will need to know is "Shoulder Arms"- When the last command, "Arms" is given, bring your rifle up with your right hand and place it against your left shoulder, placing the butt in your left hand and leaning it against your shoulder with the hammer pointing out. Drop your right hand back down against your side.

Next is "Order Arms" the second most common command you will hear. From Shoulder Arms, bring your right hand up and grab your rifle and bring it down across your front to your right side and slowly lower the butt to the ground.

Another common order is "Right Shoulder Shift, Arms"- You will use this mostly when you are marching. When the command is given you will be at Shoulder Arms. Carry the rifle with your right hand from your left shoulder to your right, holding the butt with your palm down and the lock plate pointing out and positioned level with the top of your shoulder. You ues this without order whenever you are moving at a quick march or faster and bring it back to shoulder arms when you halt.

"Support Arms" - From Shoulder Arms, reach across and grip your rifle with your right hand. Then lift your left arm around your rifle bringing the crook of your elbow up under the hammer, supporting it on your arm.

When in formation you will need to know "Present Arms" - This is basically a salute when you have a rifle in hand as you are not to salute with your hand when armed. To do this, you are to grip just bellow the trigger with your right hand and at the first band with your left, holding it so that the hammer is pointing at you.

Now for the Fireing process.

"Load"- Bring your rifle down and rest the butt on the ground in front of you. Reach back into your cartridge box and withdrawal a single paper cartridge, tear off the tip with your teeth and dump the powder and only the powder down the barrel. Cast aside the empty paper cartridge and bring the rifle to the shoulder.

"Prime"- With your thumb, bring the rifle to half cock and retrieve a cap from your cap pouch. Place the cap on the cone/nipple and return to Shoulder Arms.

And to finish off the basics,

"Ready"- From facing forward with Shoulder Arms, grip your rifle similar to Present Arms but with the rifle turned so that the lock plate is facing away from you. Also, you need to turn your body to the right, keeping you left foot facing forward and turning your right foot to form a "T". Bring the rifle up so that the hammer is about mid torso.

"Aim"- Lower the barrel of your rifle down and facing left. If you are in the back rank, make sure that the persons head is between the first and second bands of your rifle, keeping the flash from the muzzle and the percussion from the cap a safe distance away from his ears. (See the grey lines in the picture.)

"Fire" - Pull the trigger. But remember to stay in that position.

"Recover Arms"- Now you can return your rifle up to the ready position.

Now you have an idea of the basics and are ready to join the ranks. And don’t worry, your company will help you out with it, and if in doubt, ask, Veterans love to pass on knowledge to newbie’s.