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"How Would ACW Troops Do In A Lost World???" Topic

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Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 12:48 a.m. PST

Would they be as successful as these fellas?


How would a company of ACW soldiers fare if transported to such an environment, particularly after the powder runs out? :)


Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 12:55 a.m. PST

Would they turn into basically soldiers with ACW uniforms and organization, but with medieval weapons?


advocate17 Dec 2008 2:06 a.m. PST

They know plenty of technology is possible, so will be inclined to experiment. If they can't make black powder initially they might learn how. The same goes for producing metal. They know plenty of organisational tricks. A lot depends on what knowledge they take back, as well as what artefacts.

terrain sherlock17 Dec 2008 4:09 a.m. PST

The Lost Regiment series by Forstchen might have some bearing..


mad mac17 Dec 2008 4:49 a.m. PST

I'm sure one of them (pobably a disgraced school teacher) would know how to make gun powder.

VonTed17 Dec 2008 4:59 a.m. PST

That was the series of books I was thinking of :) The Lost Regiment was a fun read.

The Gray Ghost17 Dec 2008 5:24 a.m. PST

>>They know plenty of technology is possible<<
They were much more capable of producing technology than We are today so I think they would fare pretty well.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Dec 2008 5:40 a.m. PST

It would depend on which side and where the regiment was recruited from. A western unit would probably have more frontier skills, a city regiment would have more mechanical skills. There are stories of Union troops repairing wrecked locomotives for their own use, building their own printing presses, etc. A regiment of miners dug the tunnel for the ill-fated Crater attack. So, while it's possible that someone might recognize the white crystals on that pile of tyranosaur dung for saltpeter, they might not, too :)

RavenscraftCybernetics17 Dec 2008 5:48 a.m. PST

same way they got to Lincoln Island. an observation balloon.

Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 6:11 a.m. PST

"someone might recognize the white crystals on that pile of tyranosaur dung for saltpeter"

Give that man a cigar!


Norman D Landings17 Dec 2008 6:40 a.m. PST

I think that, as noted above, their craft skills would be outstanding, and their field skills would be invaluable.

The crucial thing about their tech level is that it's just about as good as it's possible to get… and still be able to be field-maintained. (Black-powder production, simple ore-mining, blacksmithing, etc.) Any more advanced… cartridge weapons, for example, and they'd be sunk.
Cormac Macarthy's 'Blood Meridian' has a classic scene of powder-making in the field.

Their fieldcraft would be able to keep them alive… trailfinding, hunting, scent-covering, butchering, skinning & tanning, etc. These skills could provide food and defend against predators.

The big stumbling block, I think, would be mental. They came from an age where speculation about time-travel, other realities etc was an alien concept.
Also, factual knowledge about prehistoric creatures would not be part of their education.
Most importantly, though… they were from an intensely biblical culture. I'm sure the explanations which would occur to them would be things like 'demons', the day of judgement or divine wrath. I'm sure this mindset would lead to a Lord of the Flies situation pretty quickly.

CPBelt17 Dec 2008 7:00 a.m. PST

If they were Zoauves, they would kick butt! Everyone knows that Zoauves kick butt in any time period. :-)

Commodore Wells 117 Dec 2008 8:24 a.m. PST

That was essentially the plot of Vernes' Mysterious Island minus the dinosaurs.

A more appropriate name would have been Convinent Island since this remote Pacific island contained all the domestic animals, crop plants and raw matirals necessary to replicate a nineteenth century American lifestyle. (minus women of course who rarly feature in Victorian adventure stories).

Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 9:20 a.m. PST

An ACW company (what I was asking about) consisted of around 100 men and officers, right?

If so, then the troops in Forstchen's Lost Regiment series were more than 10 times that number, plus artillery troops, equipment and naval support (from what I recall were aboard their transport ship, the Ogunquit).

I would think that 100 men in a typical ACW infantry company would not have had such resources, right?

Or is there any reference to what a typical ACW company had with them (tools, equipment, etc.), besides their gunpowder and weapons, that could extend their survivability and the continued use of their firearms?

Also, if the firearms were muskets, would the reload capacity permit 100 men to defend against, say, a couple of T-Rex?

How close would the beast have to be before they could fire on it (if they knew it was headed their way in the first place)? If the beast was charging them, how many shots could they get out before it was on top of them? :)


Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2008 10:03 a.m. PST

Veteran troops could load and fire 3 shots per minute with unfouled rifle-muskets. A marksman, trained to use the sights, could hit a 2 foot square target at 500 yards. Massed volleys at 100 yards would be accurate if troops had some training and were not over-excited. A Minie "ball" could do some nasty things to flesh and bone. Soldiers and military surgeons should have much greater insight.

CPBelt17 Dec 2008 10:12 a.m. PST

A musket ball should do some serious damage as it rips into the dino. Remember, we are talking rifles not smoothbore, so range should be good. Plus 100+ men getting off a combined volley at a huge target should be nasty, with nearly everyone hitting it mostly in the chest. Probably three shots a minute after that, if they can contain their fear. You would need a morale/fear check. I would imagine that would cause the dino to think twice, unless it's a Hollywood dino then it would keep attacking until it dies, unlike most normal animals.

Honestly, my bet would go with the troops.

Their hardtack would last a lifetime, as long as their teeth could handle it. That stuff is nasty. Being rural fellows, they should have no problem surviving. It would be just like back home, where they usually hunted for their own food anyway. Many would toss their shoes as well, preferring to be barefoot. 19th century rural Americans had thick soles on their feet, like we used to as kids playing outside barefoot all summer.

Why would a regiment have attached artillery? I never read the books, but they sound hokey.

Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 10:16 a.m. PST

"3 shots per minute with unfouled rifle-muskets"

"Massed volleys at 100 yards would be accurate if troops had some training and were not over-excited."

So, if a T-Rex was charging at 30 mph (880 yards per minute?), they would only be able to get one shot within the last 100 yds, right?

I hope my math is correct.

"Why would a regiment have attached artillery?"
I think that both happened to be on the same transport ship when they were "lost" in the storm.


wminsing17 Dec 2008 10:20 a.m. PST

I'm sure the explanations which would occur to them would be things like 'demons', the day of judgement or divine wrath. I'm sure this mindset would lead to a Lord of the Flies situation pretty quickly.

I'm not sure I agree with this- Knowledge of dinosaurs was present (but not widespread) at this point, and indeed the Haddonfield find occurred in 1858 and set off a bit of 'Dinosaur mania' in the US. And soldiers tended be surprisingly literate- I think there's a good chance that someone in the regiment would have some idea about them. You're right though the *factual* knowledge would be extremely slim.

Also, if the firearms were muskets, would the reload capacity permit 100 men to defend against, say, a couple of T-Rex?

Considering the Rexes are big targets and the first round to get through the skull is going to reduce the Rexes brains to mush due to the rounding bouncing around the brain case, I think they would have a fighting chance.


EJNashIII17 Dec 2008 10:35 a.m. PST

100 Springfield rifles could easily take down a T-rex. You are talking a weapon that fires a bullet near the size of a 12 gauge slug with far less recoil and many times the range. Also, the movies generally over hype the monsters. A T-rex is still dumber than a door knob. It is still unarmored flesh and blood. Plus, Victorian era hunters regularly hunted large game. The only monsters I would worry about were the faster ones like raptors. Even then, it would be more a matter of buying enough time to build a proper defensive perimeter.

A typical ACW company wouldn't normally be alone. So, that question would be hard to answer. Depends on your story line. How did they get there? Shipwrecked? Sloop of war landing at an uncharted Isle? Just appeared thru a worm hole with the clothes on their back? Finally, what a typical company is depends on many factors. Which side? How well supplied it was to begin with? 20 to 100 men. A company could have it's own supply wagon or share 1 with 1/2 or more of the regiment. Depends. The individual makeup of the unit is a factor (i.e. if you had allot of prewar carpenters you will have a few extra very valuable tools in the unit.)

Ranges depend on the terrain. Is it open? dense jungle? I have live fired my CW rifles. A T-rex is near the size of a small house. If you have a clear field of fire you could easily hit it at far over 100 yards. Figure 3 shots per minute vs. the speed of the animal. The weapons are capable of over 500 yard shots, though even a T-rex would be hard to hit at this range. However, the animals are dumb, not necessarily suicidal. A hit at long range may make them decide it isn't worth getting closer. If it is a solid hit, It might even stampede in a random direction. Then, getting run over is the bigger threat. Again, the worry is the fast little guys that attack in packs. You are not going to see them until they are at close range. Then, you probably only have time for 1 shot or less. CW soldiers generally weren't well trained at individual, quick reaction. Of course a westerner that dealt with Indians, wolves, bandits or mountain lions would behave a bit cooler under this threat. Then, remember even the Indians, wolves, etc. lost in the long run.

RockyRusso17 Dec 2008 12:03 p.m. PST


I have the period field tools for my rifled musket, and usually make my cartridges myself.

I also have period tools for the later 45/70 trap door springfield, see above. Unlike smokeless reloading, the brass cartridges don't streach when you shoot them, meaning if you pick up your brass, you can relaod it with the and tools pretty much forever.

The trick in any case isn't making gunpowder. The rural americas had most people out there making their own ammo. The intesting problem are the caps. Brass or copper caps are easy, fulminate of murcury not so much. HOWEVER, if you are old enough and remember "cap" guns, in fact this was a common substitute "in the day". Pre-brass cartridge sharpes, for instance, usually have a special spindal compartment for a roll of such caps to advance automatically for every shot.

What you are underestimating is that the resupply problem is more common than not in the 19th century. Small rural country, the US was then, and no gunshops within weeks of travel!


Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 12:12 p.m. PST

Ok. Aside from getting the components to make gun powder, getting them to the right consistency, and finding a source for lead and extracting it, they would be pretty much self-sufficient, for a while at least?


EJNashIII17 Dec 2008 1:14 p.m. PST

Yes on self sufficient if the have enough natural resources and leadership. We can assume the plant life would be quite a bit different from what they are used to. Shooting a large dino brings plenty of meat. If it is a tropical climate, you can assume their hardtack would not last long. Do, they have a local replacement grain? Do they they have a fruit crop they can eat? Without fruit you are dead of scurvy in 6 months. Is the fruit accessible without too much risk? Is the fruit safe? what kind of diseases and parasites will they face? I imagine, not unlike the colony at Jamestown Va, the 1st year will be tough with allot of trial and deadly error. If they can make it thru that, then they will thrive. Even the guns may not even be needed by the time they run out of say rifle caps. You quickly build a fortress will walls that are proof against any dinos, Learn to make a few nasty medieval style tension siege weapons for the walls, burn off a clear field of fire/view around their base, domesticate plant eaters, learn the art of large game trapping (the ancient Romans caught African elephants and lions to take 3,000 miles to Rome), etc. This will get them 20 years. Before that point they will obviously need women if they want to break say 30 years.

In the long run, the shovel, knife, and axe are far more important than the gun. They can survive without the gun.

Mulligan17 Dec 2008 1:48 p.m. PST

I'm sorry, but I just had this vision of one of the Union soldiers on picket duty. He catches his first glimpse of a triceratops. The triceratops paws the ground, shakes his head, bellows, lowers his horns and begins to lope forward. And then the Yankee soldier bolts for the rear and screams out: "Bull! Run!"


Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 1:53 p.m. PST


LOL. You'll like this then:


They would have to be careful with this fella too, the Hatzegopteryx:



Frederick Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2008 2:14 p.m. PST

Depends on how long they were stuck there – until the ammo ran out, they would do just fine – then, though, could be grim, especially if they were a 'just off the boat' green Union company – now, a company of tough Union Westerners or Southern boys should do just fine

J Womack 9417 Dec 2008 2:32 p.m. PST

I imagine, not unlike the colony at Jamestown Va, the 1st year will be tough with allot of trial and deadly error.

The major problems Jamestown had that first year were location, lack of a leader and laziness. Everyone wanted to go find gold, no one wanted to farm. Too many gentlemen, not enough laborers. And the swamp they located it in had only one thing going for it: it was next to a navigable river.

With some sense, and a strong leader (preferably one that has proven his leadership in battle), and the luck of having raw materials available, I see no reason why a group of veteran soldiers wouldn't do alright, at least until they start to die off from lack of medical care, old age, etc. Dinos would probably honestly be the least of their worries.

The Gray Ghost17 Dec 2008 2:41 p.m. PST

Don't underestimate the effect of the noise and smoke a gun will make I can easily see that alone stopping many animals.

The Gray Ghost17 Dec 2008 2:52 p.m. PST

Or is there any reference to what a typical ACW company had with them (tools, equipment, etc.), besides their gunpowder and weapons, that could extend their survivability and the continued use of their firearms?

That depends on how they got to the island.
If they were going by ship, from one port to another they would most likely be heavily loaded down with equipment.
If they just marched through a wormhole on thier way to battle they would be in light order.
Overall I would say they would have axes, shovels, picks, a couple hammers.
And remember an infantry company would not be equiped with a blacksmith and forge like a cavalry unit.

The Gray Ghost17 Dec 2008 3:02 p.m. PST

Unlike modern companys Civil War ones were not designed to operate away from thier parent unit.
Instead of a doctor there would be one or two medical orderlies with bandages a strecher and maybe a few store bought drugs, a supply sgt with maybe a small stash of necessary things, shoes, boot nails things that would be needed if they should have to spend the night in the field.
Also guns were mostly designed to be replaced not fixed if broken.

The Gray Ghost17 Dec 2008 3:37 p.m. PST


These are a little early but give you an idea

Warrenss217 Dec 2008 4:18 p.m. PST

"How Would ACW Troops Do In A Lost World???"

Yankee or Rebel?

You'd be looking at troops from two different backgrounds.

Industrial or agricultural – either case would have some advantages/disadvantages over the other.

It might be more fun to have some of both teleported back… maybe in the middle of a skirmish? I'm sure at least one of the officers is an engineer, and that sarg used to be a blacksmith before he up and joined. A a lot of them southern boys know all about shootin… with all that hunting they do down there.


Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 4:23 p.m. PST

"Before that point they will obviously need women if they want to break say 30 years."

What if they were in the process of escorting or saving a school of young women out of harm's way, when they were transported? Wouldn't that create short term problems, but long term solutions?

"It might be more fun to have some of both (Yankees and Rebs) teleported back… maybe in the middle of a skirmish?"

In that particular scenario, would you think they will continue as two separate camps, or join forces for survival?


The Gray Ghost17 Dec 2008 4:37 p.m. PST

Why can't there just be a tribe of warrior women on the island?

Cacique Caribe17 Dec 2008 4:40 p.m. PST

That will work for me!

Or they would have to go hunting for mates, among the primitive tribes on the island.

Of course, having hostile humans on the island, however primitive, is not going to make things any easier for the lads:


For Confederates vs Cavemen:

TMP link


Lampyridae17 Dec 2008 7:33 p.m. PST

Ok. Aside from getting the components to make gun powder, getting them to the right consistency, and finding a source for lead and extracting it, they would be pretty much self-sufficient, for a while at least?


Actually, "all" you need to make *smokeless* powder is urine, wood and time – but it is harder than black powder. Sulfur you can get from fossil fuels, peat, or any kind of decayed muck. A mineral deposit of it would be useful, commonly found near hot springs and such.

The big difference with ACW types and WWI types would be the production of ammonia through the Fitz-Haber process. Ammonia is the chemical basis for a modern civilisation. It is SO tanj useful.

Lampyridae17 Dec 2008 7:44 p.m. PST

Before that point they will obviously need women if they want to break say 30 years.

Afrikaaners travelled as family on their treks and assisted in the fighting. They would have had similar tech skills AND be able to survive (ie reproduce). Their situation would be have been similar to American frontiersfolk, making gunpowder, women loading the guns and occasionally shooting etc.

Cacique Caribe18 Dec 2008 3:19 a.m. PST


However, in the case of an ACW infantry company . . .

Unless they were followed by camp followers or, like I suggested above, they were escorting a group from a school of young women or other civilian group with high numbers of women, I think their only other option would have to be raiding for females of the primitive tribes they encounter.

Much like the "Korsars" (Pirates) had to do in Burroughs' Pellucidar series:


TMP link
TMP link
TMP link

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Dec 2008 5:21 a.m. PST

A full-strength ACW company had a hundred men, but they were rarely ever near full strength. 30-40 was the average for a unit that had been in the field for a while. A hundred-man company would be a freshly recruited unit with no experience.

But instead of infantry, how about a company of cavalry? They would have a lot more stuff with them and the horses would be very useful.

As for women, we all know that lost worlds have swarms of scantily-clad babes :)

streetline18 Dec 2008 7:52 a.m. PST

If the ACW troops can be transported there from "outside", presumably the women could have been transported there seperately as well. No need for them to be with the Union troops.

RockyRusso18 Dec 2008 11:46 a.m. PST


Actually, I remember reading somewhere that in the ACW, remember every village needed this stuff, that the average company would have 2 or 3 ex-blacksmiths there.

Vitamins. Respectfully, you are seeing through modern diatary laws. Every killed animal has C in his blood, and every liver is a pretty complete conucopia of whatever you need. Killing in 6 months from no C is a little overstated. Too often in the Dacotas, you have zero access to citrus, certainly more than 6 months of being snowed in. "Canning" is a solution, but not often practiced. And overcooking with the canning causes the molecule called C to break down.

I would go into protein orientation, but I doubt that would be an issue.

So, I cannot see a real problem with the idea of survivle except the women part. Well, there are a couple long term problems. Side issue, women passing as men to fight in the ACW did happen. Making a very popular woman! Anyway, the issue is that 100 men and 100 women is too small a breeding population. Disaster awaits from inbreding. Anthropologically, humans needs 2000 for some chance at a long term survival, and careful marriage laws. You will still get a lot of genetic drift (thats how we got those pasty caucasians). Limited genetic diversity.

So, you would need a division with at least an amazon bregade!


The Gray Ghost18 Dec 2008 12:33 p.m. PST

Does this really need to be so thought out????

Cacique Caribe18 Dec 2008 12:59 p.m. PST

Now, now. This is cool stuff.

Initially, I would think they would set up some sort of palisade/stockade defense, but would upgrade to something more solid once they realized they would not be going back, right?


The Gray Ghost18 Dec 2008 4:16 p.m. PST

I just never think these things out that much, if I need women for a game there's women. No one I game with ever asks how they got there.

As for a palisade/stockade defense they would have no trouble building that.

Lampyridae18 Dec 2008 6:06 p.m. PST

The minimum population number for humans is more like 200. That's based on studying breeding in zoos. Having mixed races would help too, I think, but unlikely in ACW days.

They could make some pretty impressive forts with say, redwood type trees. Against dinos the best temporary defences are camoflauged spiky pits. Impale a raptor and cripple a T-rex.

Spectacle18 Dec 2008 8:55 p.m. PST

Maybe the company had just rescued a large number of female slaves? That would make for a genetically diverse breeding population.

Anyway, I doubt any given area could sustain enough large carnivorous dinos for them to be a constant, serious threat, so the biggest problem would be environmental hazards, including finding out what's safe to eat or not. There's no grains yet, fruits and roots might be poisonous or not, and even dinosaur meat might have some nasty parasites humans aren't prepared to deal with.

streetline19 Dec 2008 2:57 a.m. PST

if I need women for a game there's women.

Surprising how rarely you hear that phrase these days.

Cacique Caribe21 Dec 2008 4:31 p.m. PST

Spikey thingies like these, I would imagine:



Cacique Caribe29 Jan 2009 11:33 p.m. PST

How would cowboys handle themselves if faced with "alien" creatures?

TMP link


abdul666lw30 Jan 2009 12:37 a.m. PST

Pedantic mode ON.
At least *here* the local biochemistry would be basically compatible, so they would have a good chance to survive (well, most of them, after some trials & errors): the nature and stereochemistry of nuclear bases, sugars, aminoacids… would be 'the good ones'. Totally unlikely to be so on another planet: instead, and at best, highly carcinogenic 'pseudo nuclear' bases, sugar 'mimics' that would block the enzymes, extremely poisonous 'false' aminoacids -like the few biosynthetized 'here' as defense molecules. The lethal effects of 'alternate' biochemistry are always conveniently oversighted. Indeed microparticles of biological origin would probably be intensely allergenic, rendering a sealed suit compulsory even in a perfectly 'breathable' atmosphere.
End of the senile rant.
Pedantic mode OFF

Next time I'll digress on the unlikelihood of the earthling vertebrate jaw in extraterrestrial fauna and 'humanoids'…

Robin Bobcat30 Jan 2009 3:00 a.m. PST

Only if you've got alien life that evolved wholly on another planet. If you have an alien race doing genetic seeding of planets, or even comets with bit of algae in them, you could conceivbly have myriad planets with functionally identical biochemistries. Not that it would solve *all* compatability issues, but you would probably be able to survive on one without hideous amounts of effort..

And then there's always the fact that it's more fun that way.

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