The Civil War was a time of great technological change as well as political change, with traditional weapons such as the longbow making way for the more modern gunpowder weapons, the successors of which are still in use today. At the start of the Civil War most regiments comprised equal proportions of pike and musket, but by the end of the war most Royalist regiments were almost exclusively musketeers. In Tyldesleys’ we aim to portray the musketeer in his ascendancy.
Leading a unit of musketeers in battle, as well as being an honour, is also quite a responsibility. You need to be aware of the position of your troops and adjust their formation to suit any situation. As an officer not only must you handle tactics on the field, but also deal with the blocks formation and ensure the musketeers are foot drilled correctly. On top of all this, it is important to watch for the opposition’s troops and keep a look out for marauding units of pikemen and horse. You need to be particularly aware of the safety of your soldiers who are festooned with explosive chemicals and burning slowmatch.
In fulfilling my role as an officer I am aided by the Sergeant, Corporals and the musketeers themselves. Every one of them is a friend and a comrade in arms. I know what it is like to serve in the ranks, having risen from Corporal, through Sergeant and Ensign, I still relish the thrill of firing a musket when I get the opportunity.
Safety on the Field
Despite being re-enactors of the 17th Century, the musketeers have some vital 20th century attitudes, including the importance of safety; a ‘buddy’ system where the more experienced musketeers look after the new recruits; and a non-discrimination policy that results in a number of female musketeers in the ranks. One of the reasons that the musket replaced the bow is of course that it takes 20 years to train an archer but only 20 minutes to train a musketeer. We can train new musketeers to fire safely in a similar time providing that they have the relevant 20th century licenses. Perfecting the role takes a lifetime!
If you have any questions about being a musketeer or would like to know more about what the musket division does on the field, please contact us.