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"Civil War Firing Line and Fixed Bayonets" Topic

14 Posts

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753 hits since 22 Aug 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2017 7:46 p.m. PST

I am in the process of mounting a bunch of 15mm Union figures that are in firing poses. The more I look at the configuration that will be required on the bases I'm using, the more I think I should cut off the "overhanging" bayonets. I'm leery of them getting badly bent or broken as they are used.

What do you think, would an ACW firing line have their bayonets fixed (for the most part) if they weren't expecting am imminent assault by their opponents?



Dennis Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2017 8:23 p.m. PST

I've always thought a fixed bayonet would complicate and make reloading slower on a muzzleloader, but don't have any data-or applicable experience as I reinacted ACW in the artillery-so I'd be interested in an answer as well.

attilathepun4722 Aug 2017 8:55 p.m. PST

Everything I have ever read suggests that reloading with fixed bayonets was slower because of the danger of injury to the soldier's hands. Not only that, but the muzzle blast acting against the bayonet reduced the accuracy of fire. Perhaps the latter was not too important in the era of smooth-bore muskets, but it would have been for the rifled muskets of the American Civil War.

Ssendam23 Aug 2017 1:37 a.m. PST

The extra weight on the end of the rifle would impact accuracy too if the rifle is held (as opposed to being rested on a rail fence or some such).

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 3:06 a.m. PST

Having both loaded & fired a musket with bayonet, they are both difficult. The bayonet gets in the way of loading & shifts the balance of the rifle forward especially with a sword bayonet.

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

Chamberlain on Little Round Top gave the order to fix bayonets only after the 20th Maine ran out of ammunition.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 4:56 a.m. PST

Been a very long time since I loaded and fired a
repro 1863 Springfield RM w/bayonet fixed, but
I think Zulupaul is quite right, if memory serves.

Especially about the extra weight making aiming more
difficult, more especially given the leverage applied
to that weight by the RM's length.

If you didn't practice it, ramming a cartridge with
the bayonet fixed could be an adventure…

KeithRK23 Aug 2017 6:29 a.m. PST

Infantry in a firing line would not normally have bayonets fixed.

They would only be given the command to fix bayonets when their use was imminent.

Personal logo Private Matter Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 6:50 a.m. PST

KeithRK states it the most clearly.

tigrifsgt23 Aug 2017 9:15 a.m. PST

Trying to fire my rifle (1841 Mississippi) with bayonet attached (zouave sword bayonet) is a pain in the butt. Putting a couple of extra pounds at the end of a two bander really makes a difference.

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 12:05 p.m. PST

I would go ahead and cut off the bayonets. I have done so myself for a number of my units. As stated above, bayonets were not normally fixed for a firefight. They were fixed for an attack mostly to make the troops look more scary.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 12:07 p.m. PST

Many years ago we released a line of firing figures without bayonets and everybody complained that they wanted bayonets on the rifles because they looked "right" that way. And since the guy that gives you money is always right, we along with every other manufacturer put bayonets on firing figures.
Besides, it's the dice not the bayonet that effects the miniatures firing. grin


Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 2:00 p.m. PST

Thanks to all. That was my opinion as well, even though I've never fired an ACW rifle with or without a bayonet. My only experiences with ACW re-enacting while in college (long, long ago) was lugging a double-barreled percussion cap shotgun up an down the hills and valleys of a Louisiana battlefield and on the pastures at Perryville.

So off they will come!


Clays Russians22 Sep 2017 9:49 a.m. PST

I think it depended on the commander, normally I would say no, but it's a pain in the a$$ loading a rifled musket with an 18 inch triangular bayonet using a ramrod. I was always catching my knuckles n the point. 😠

"Besides, it's the dice not the bayonet that effects the miniatures firing. grin"
🤣 I remember that!!!!!

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