Signal Corps Association Reenactors Division (SCARD)

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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 01/10/2010 22:07:15 EDT
Subject: Hand Salute

Message Detail:
The hand salute prescribed for both armies during the war was the open or "palm out" salute we tend to associate today with the British and French armies -- arm shoulder high, fingers touching the visor of the cap/kepi (not the eyebrow or face). Let's make that as much a mark of authenticity in reenactment as articles of clothing and equipment. If you are challenged or "corrected," cite the US Army Regs of 1861 and CS Army Regs (identical wording) for 1862 and later. Don't hesitate to (politely) "correct" those not conforming. As a New Year's resolution, let's stamp out the use of the modern (palm down) salute (along with the variations such as the bent wrist, the cupped or arched hand, etc). I've placed on the forum of the Co. of Military Historians the citations and the note that the origin was credited -- not to England, but -- to Frederick the Great and Prussian influence on France, England and (from France...Hardee's Tactics era) the US.

If anyone differs or I can amplify, please speak up. (I got into this partly because I am still trying to find out exactly when and why the US Army changed to palm-down. Perhaps about 1874-76 during army reforms, when the hunting horn for infantry became the familiar crossed rifles. The CS Army never did change, of course!)


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