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The two sides of the American Civil War tried to emulate
the European tactics of linear formation . Because of the lack of experience
of maneuvering in formation and insufficient time to train the rank and
file in linear formations , coupled with the troops , at times choosing
whether they obeyed an order a less formal style of orders and command
were adopted . This shows well in a situation where the officer giving
the command for his Battalion to maneouvre into a position to attack the
enemy required him to ask the Battalion to pirouette to the right which
they all understood and carried out the action very well .
Unit organization and strengths also helped to dictate the tactics adopted
by the two sides in the Civil war .
Both sides at the start of the war modeled their armies on the French style with their organization and also their formations . Column was frequently used in some battles . Also line and skirmish line was used . The skirmish order was adopted by the troops more frequently later in the war to help reduce the casualties much to the chagrin of the officers .
Higher formations used corresponded with the European style of Brigades
and Divisions . Also Legions
The battle itself was fought at times with an individual officers preference
for certain tactics employed . There was the theory that a unit should
close as quickly as possible to the enemy to reduce the casualties and
then charge . Some units were told not to load their fire arms so that
they did not get into a fire fight .
The soldier of the American Civil War became a resilient fighter but
did not have the discipline of the more professional and disciplined armies
of Europe , such as the British army . This was shown in some battles
where the units might retreat or retire and then return to the fight after
realising that the firing was more smoke and flash than hot lead .
The battle itself tended to be one of ebb and flow and at times was fought
over two or three days ending in either exhaustion of material , men or
the will to fight any more .