INSTRUCTION FOR SKIRMISHERS.
General principles and division of the instruction.
1. The movements of skirmishers should be subjected to such rules as will give to the commander the means of moving them in any direction with the greatest promptitude.
2. It is not expected that these movements should be executed with the same precision as in closed ranks, nor is it desirable, as such exactness would materially interfere with their prompt execution.
3. When skirmishers are thrown out to clear the way for, and to protect the advance of, the main corps, their movements should be so regulated by this corps, as to keep it constantly covered.
4. Every body of skirmishers should have a reserve, the strength and composition of which will vary according to circumstances.
5. If the body thrown out be within sustaining distance of the main corps, a very small reserve will be sufficient for each company, whose duty it shall be to fill vacant places, furnish the line with cartridges, relieve the fatigued, and serve as a rallying point for the skirmishers.
6. If the main corps be at a considerable distance, besides the company reserves, another reserve will be required, composed of entire companies, which will be employed to sustain and reinforce such parts of the line as may be warmly attacked; this reserve should be strong enough to relieve at least half the companies deployed as skirmishers.
7. The reserves should be placed behind the centre of the line of skirmishers, the company reserves at one hundred and fifty, and the principle reserve at four hundred paces. This rule, however, is not invariable. The reserves, while holding themselves within sustaining distance of the line, should be, as much as possible, in a position to afford each other mutual protection, and must carefully profit by any accidents of the ground to conceal themselves from the view of the enemy, and to shelter themselves from his fire.
8. The movements of skirmishers will be executed in quick, or double quick time. The run will be resorted to only in cases of urgent necessity.
9. Skirmishers will be permitted to carry their pieces in the manner convenient to them.
10. The movements will be habitually indicated by the sounds of the bugle.
11. The officers, and, if necessary, the non-commissioned officers, will repeat, and cause the commands to be executed, as soon as they are given; but to avoid mistakes, when the signals are employed, they will wait until the last bugle note is sounded before commencing the movement.
12. When skirmishers are ordered to move rapidly, the officers and non-commissioned officers will see that the men economize their strength, keep cool, and profit by all the advantages which the ground may offer for cover. It is only by this continual watchfulness on the part of all grades, that a line of skirmishers can attain success.
13. This instruction will be divided into five articles, and subdivided as follows:
|1. To deploy forward.||4. To close intervals.|
|2. To deploy by the flank.||5.To relieve skirmishers.|
|3. To extend intervals.|
|1. To advance in line.||3. To change direction.|
|2. To retreat in line.||4. To march by the flank.|
|1. To fire at a halt.||2. To fire marching.|
|1. The rally.||3. The assembly.|
|2. To retreat in line.|
|1. To deploy a battalion as skirmishers.||2. To rally the battalion deployed as skirmishers.|
|MANUAL OF THE SWORD OR SABRE FOR OFFICERS|
|MANUAL FOR RELIEVING SENTINELS|
|INSTRUCTION FOR THE CHIEF BUGLER AND DRUM-MAJOR|
14. In the first four articles, it is supposed that the movements are executed by a company deployed as skirmishers, on a front equal that of the battalion in order of battle. In the fifth article, it is supposed that each company of the battalion, being deployed as skirmishers, occupies a front of one hundred paces. From these two examples, rules may be deduced for all cases, whatever may be the numerical strength of the skirmishers, and the extent of the ground they ought to occupy.
15. A company may be deployed as skirmishers in two ways: forward, and by the flank.
16. The deployment forward will be adopted when the company is behind the line on which it is to be established as skirmishers; it will be deployed by the flank, when it finds itself already on that line.
17. Whenever a company is to be deployed as skirmishers, it will be divided into two platoons, and each platoon will be subdivided into two sections; the comrades in battle, forming groups of four men, will be careful to know and to sustain each other. The captain will assure himself that the files in the centre of each platoon and section are designated.
18. A company may be deployed as skirmishers on its right, left, or centre file, or on any other named file whatsoever. In this manner, skirmishers may be thrown forward with the greatest possible rapidity on any ground they may be required to occupy.
19. A chain of skirmishers ought generally to preserve their alignment, but no advantages which the ground may present should be sacrificed to attain this regularity.
20. The interval between skirmishers depends on the extent of ground to be covered; but in general, it is not proper that the groups of four men should be removed more than forty paces from each other. The habitual distance between men of the same group in open grounds will be five paces; in no case will they lose sight of each other.
21. The front to be occupied to cover a battalion comprehends its front and the half of each interval which separates it from the battalion on its right and left. If a line, whose wings are not supported, should be covered by skirmishers, it will be necessary either to protect the flanks with skirmishers, or to extend them in front of the line so far beyond the wings as effectually to oppose any attempt which might be made by the enemy's skirmishers to disturb his flanks.
22. A company being at a halt or in march, when the captain shall wish to deploy it forward on the left file of the first platoon, holding the second platoon in reserve, he will command:
1. First platoon - as skirmishers. 2. On the left file - take intervals. 3. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
23. At the first command, the second and third lieutenants will place themselves rapidly two paces behind the centres of the right and left sections of the first platoon; the fifth sergeant will move one pace in front of the centre of the first platoon, and will place himself between the two sections in the front rank as soon as the movement begins; the fourth sergeant will place himself on the left of the front of the same platoon, as soon as he can pass. The captain will indicate to the sergeant the point on which he wishes him to direct his march. The first lieutenant, placing himself before the centre of the second platoon, will command:
Second platoon backward - MARCH.
24. At this command, the second platoon will step three paces to the rear so as to unmask the flank of the first platoon. It will then be halted by its chief, and the second sergeant will place himself on the left, and the third sergeant on the right flank of the platoon.
25. At the command march,the left group of four men, conducted by the fourth sergeant, will direct itself on the point indicated; all the other groups of fours throwing forward briskly the left shoulder, will move diagonally to the front in double quick time, so as to gain to the right the space of twenty paces, which shall be the distance between each group and that immediately on its left. When the second group from the left shall arrive on a line with, and twenty paces from the first, it will march straight to the front, conforming to the gait and direction of the first, keeping constantly on the samealignment and at twenty paces from it. The third group, and all the others, will conform to what has just been prescribed for the second; they will arrive successively on the line. The right guide will arrive with the last group.
26. The left guide having reached the point where the left of the line should rest, the captain will command the skirmishers to halt; the men composing each group of fours will then immediately deploy at five paces from each other, and to the right and left of the front rank men of the even file in each group, the rear rank men placing themselves on the left of their file leaders. If any groups be not in line at the command halt,they will move up rapidly, conforming to what has just been prescribed.
27. If, during the deployment, the line should be fired upon by the enemy, the captain may cause the groups of fours to deploy, as they gain their proper distances.
28. The line being formed, the non-commissioned officers on the right, left and centre of the platoon, will place themselves ten paces in rear of the line, and opposite the positions they respectively occupied. The chiefs of sections will promptly rectify any irregularities, and then place themselves twenty-five or thirty paces in rear of the centre of their sections, each having with him four men taken from the reserve, and also a bugler, who will repeat, if necessary, the signals sounded by the captain.
29. Skirmishers should be particularly instructed to take advantage of any cover which the ground may offer, and should lie flat on the ground whenever such a movement is necessary to protect them from the fire of the enemy. Regularity in the alignment should yield to this important advantage.
30. When the movement begins, the first lieutenant will face the second platoon about, and march it promptly, and by the shortest line, to about 150 paces in rear of the centre of the line. He will hold it always at this distance, unless ordered to the contrary.
31. The reserve will conform itself to all the movements of the line. This rule is general.
32. Light troops will carry their bayonets habitually in the scabbard, and this rule applies equally to the skirmishers and the reserve; whenever bayonets are required to be fixed, a particular signal will be given. The captain will give a general superintendence to the whole deployment, and then promptly place himself about eighty paces in rear of the centre of the line. He will have with him a bugler and four men taken from the reserve.
33. The deployment may be made on the right or the centre of the platoon by same commands, substituting the indication right or centre, for that of left file.
34. The deployment on the right or the centre will be made according to the principles prescribed above; in this latter case, the centre of the platoon will be marked by the right group of fours in the second section; the fifth sergeant will place himself on the right of this group, and serve as the guide of the platoon during the deployment.
35. In whatever manner the deployment be made, on the right, left, or centre, the men in each group of fours will always deploy at five paces from each other, and upon the front rank man of the even numbered file. The deployments will habitually be made at twenty paces interval; but if a greater interval be required, it will be indicated in the command.
36. If a company be thrown out as skirmishers, so near the main body as to render a reserve unnecessary, the entire company will be extended in the same manner, and according to the same principles, as for the deployment of a platoon. In this case, the third lieutenant will command the fourth section, and a non-commissioned officer designated for that purpose, the second section; the fifth sergeant will act as centre guide; the file-closers will place themselves ten paces in rear of the line, and opposite their places in line of battle. The first and second lieutenant will each have a bugler near him.
37. The company being at a halt, when the captain shall wish to deploy it by the flank, holding the first platoon in reserve, he will command:
1. Second platoon-as skirmishers. 2. By the right flank-take intervals. 3. MARCH (or double quick-MARCH).
38. At the first command, the first and third lieutenants will place themselves, respectively, two paces behind the centres of the first and second sections of the second platoon; the fifth sergeant will place himself one pace in front of the centre of the second platoon; the third sergeant, as soon as he can pass, will place himself on the right of the front rank of the same platoon. The captain will indicate to him the point on which he wishes him to direct his march. The chief of the first platoon will execute what has been prescribed for the chief of the second platoon, No. 263 and 24. The fourth sergeant will place himself on the left flank of the reserve, the first sergeant will remain on the right flank.
39. At the second command, the first and third lieutenants will place themselves two paces behind the left group of their respective sections.
40. At the command march,the second platoon will face to the right and commence the movement; the left group of fours will stand fast, but will deploy as soon as there is room on its right, conforming to what has been prescribed, No. 26; the third sergeant will place himself on the left of the right group, to conduct it; the second group will halt at twenty paces from the one on its left, the third group at twenty paces from the second, and so on to the right. As the groups halt, they will face to the enemy, and deploy as has been explained for the left group.
41. The chiefs of sections will pay particular attention to the successive deployments of the groups, keeping near the group about to halt, so as to rectify any errors which may be committed. When the deployment is completed, they will place themselves thirty paces in rear of the centre of their sections, as has been heretofore prescribed. The non-commissioned officers will also place themselves as previously indicated.
42. As soon as the movement commences, the chief of the first platoon, causing it to face about, will move it as indicated No. 39.
43. The deployment may be made by the left flank according to the same principles, substituting left flank for right flank.
44. If the captain should wish to deploy the company upon the centre of one of the platoons, be will command:
1. Second platoon - as skirmishers. 2. By the right and left flanks - take intervals. 3. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
45. At the first command, the officers and non-commissioned officers will conform to what has been prescribed No. 38.
46. At the second command, the first lieutenant will place himself behind the left group of the right section of the second platoon, the third lieutenant behind the right group of the left section the same platoon.
47. At the command march,the right section will face to the right, the left section will face to the left, the group on the right of this latter section will stand fast. The two sections will move off in opposite directions; the third sergeant will place himself on the left of the right file to conduct it, the second sergeant on the right the left file. The two groups nearest that which stands fast, will each halt at twenty paces from this group, and each of the other groups will halt at twenty paces from the group which is in rear of it. Each group will deploy as heretofore prescribed No. 40.
48. The first and third lieutenants will direct the movement, holding themselves always abreast of the group which is about to halt.
49. The captain can cause the deployment to be made on any named group whatsoever; in this case the fifth sergeant will place himself before the group indicated, and the deployment will be made according to the principles heretofore prescribed.
50. The entire company may be also deployed, according to the same principles.
51. This movement, which is employed to extend a line of skirmishers, will be executed according to the principles prescribed for deployments.
52. If it be supposed that the line of skirmishers is at a halt, and that the captain wishes to extend it to the left, he will command:
1. By the left flank (so many paces) extend interval. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
53. At the command march, the group on the right will stand fast, all the other groups will face to the left, and each group will extend its interval to the prescribed distance by the means indicated No. 40.
54. The men of the same group will continue to preserve between each other the distance of five paces, unless the nature of the ground should render it necessary that they should close nearer, in order to keep in sight of each other. The intervals refer to the spaces between the groups, and not to the distances between the men in each group. The intervals will be taken from the right or left man of the neighboring group.
55. If the line of skirmishers be marching to the front, and the captain should wish to extend it to the right, he will command:
1. On the left group (so many paces) extend intervals. 2. MARCH (or double quick-MARCH).
56. The left group, conducted by the guide, will continue to march on the point of direction; the other groups throwing forward the left shoulder, and taking the double quick step, will open their intervals to the prescribed distance, by what the means indicated, No. 25, conforming also to what is prescribed, No. 54.
57. Intervals may be extended on the centre of this line, according to the same principles.
58. If, in extending intervals, it be intended that one company or platoon should occupy a line which had been previously occupied by two, the men of the company or platoon which is to retire, will fall successively to the rear as they are relieved by the extension of the intervals.
59. This movement, like that of opening intervals, will be executed according to the principles prescribed for the deployments.
60. If the line of skirmishers be halted, and the captain should wish to close intervals to the left, he will command:
1. By the left flank (so many paces) close intervals. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
61. At the command march,the left group will stand fast, the other groups will face to the left and close to the prescribed distance, each group facing to the enemy as it attains its proper distance.
62. If the line be marching to the front, the captain will command:
1. On the left group (so many paces) close intervals. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
63. The left group, conducted by the guide, will continue to move on in the direction previously indicated; the other groups, advancing the right shoulder, will close to the left, until the intervals are reduced to the prescribed distance.
64. Intervals may be closed on the right, or on the centre, according to the same principles.
65. When intervals are to be closed up, in order to reinforce a line of skirmishers, so as to cause two companies to cover the ground which had been previously occupied by one, the new company will deploy so as to finish its movement at twenty paces in rear of the line it is to occupy, and the men will successively move upon that line, as they shall be unmasked by the men of the old company. The reserves of the two companies will unite behind the centre of the line.
66. When a company of skirmishers is to be relieved, the captain will be advised of the intention, which he will immediately communicate to the first and second lieutenants.
67. The new company will execute its deployment forward, so as to finish the movement at about twenty paces in rear of the line.
68. Arrived at this distance, the men of the new company, by command of their captain, will advance rapidly a few paces beyond the old line and halt; the new line being established, the old company will assemble on its reserve, taking care not to get into groups of fours until they are beyond the fire of the enemy.
69. If the skirmishers to be relieved are marching in retreat, the company thrown out to relieve them will deploy by the flank, as prescribed No. 38 and following. The old skirmishers will continue to retire with order, and having passed the new line, they will form upon the reserve.
To advance in line, and to retreat in line.
70. When a platoon or a company deployed as skirmishers is marching by the front, the guide will be habitually in the centre. No particular indication to this effect need be given in the commands, but if on the contrary it be intended that the directing guide should be on the right, or left, the command guide right,or guide left, will be given immediately after that offorward.
71. The captain, wishing the line of skirmishers to advance, will command:
1. Forward. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
72. This command will be repeated with the greatest rapidity by the chiefs of sections, and in case of need, by the sergeants. This rule is general, whether the skirmishers march by the front or by the flank.
73. At the first command, three sergeants will move briskly on the line, the first on the right, the second on the left, and the third in the centre.
74. At the command march, the line will move to the front, the guide charged with the direction will move on the point indicated to him, the skirmishers will hold themselves aligned on this guide, and preserve their intervals towards him.
75. The chiefs of sections will march immediately behind their sections, so as to direct their movements.
76. The captain will give a general superintendence to the movement.
77. When he shall wish to halt the skirmishers, he will command:
78. At this command, briskly repeated, the line will halt. The chiefs of sections will promptly rectify any irregularity in the alignment and intervals, and after taking every possible advantage which the ground may offer for protecting the men, they, with the three sergeants in the line, will retire to their proper places in rear.
79. The captain, wishing to march the skirmishers in retreat, will command:
80. At the first command, the three sergeants will move on the line as prescribed No. 73.
81. At the command march,the skirmishers will face about individually, and march to the rear, conforming to the principles prescribed No. 74.
82. The officers and sergeants will use every exertion to preserve order.
83. To halt the skirmishers, marching in retreat, the captain will command:
84. At this command, the skirmishers will halt, and immediately face to the front.
85. The chiefs of sections and the three guides will each conform himself to what is prescribed No. 78.
86. If the commander of a line of skirmishers shall wish to cause it to change direction to the right, he will command:
1. Right wheel. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
87. At the command march,the right guide will mark time in his place; the left guide will move in a circle to the right, and that he may properly regulate his movements, will occasionally cast his eyes to the right, so as to observe the direction of the line, and the nature of the ground to be passed over. The centre guide will also march in a circle to the right, and in order to conform his movements to the general direction, will take care that his steps are only half the length of the steps of the guide on the left.
88. The skirmishers will regulate the length of their steps by their distance from the marching flank, being less as they approach the pivot, and greater as they are removed from it; they will often look to the marching flank, so as to preserve the direction and their intervals.
89. When the commander of the line shall wish to resume the direct march, he will command:
1. Forward. 2. MARCH.
90. At the command march,the line will cease to wheel, and the skirmishers will move direct to the front; the centre guide will march on the point which will be indicated to him.
91. If the captain should wish to halt the line, in place of moving it to the front, he will command:
92. At this command, the line will halt.
93. A change of direction to the left will be made according to the same principles, and by inverse means.
94. A line of skirmishers marching in retreat will change direction by the same means, and by the same commands, as a line marching in advance; for example, if the captain should wish to reverse his left, now become the right, he will command: 1. Left wheel. 2. MARCH. At the command halt, the skirmishers will face to the enemy.
95. But if; instead of halting the line, the captain should wish to continue to march it in retreat, he will, when he judges the line has wheeled sufficiently, command:
1. In retreat. 2. MARCH.
96. The captain, wishing the skirmishers to march by the right flank, will command:
1. By the right flank. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
97. At the first command, the three sergeants will place themselves on the line.
98. At the command march,the skirmishers will face to the right and move off; the right guide will place himself by the side of the leading man on the right to conduct him, and will march on the point indicated; each skirmisher will take care to follow exactly in the direction of the one immediately preceding him, and to preserve his distance.
99. The skirmishers may be marched by the left flank, according to the same principles, and by the same commands, substituting left for right; the left guide will place himself by the side of the leading man to conduct him.
100. If the skirmishers be marching by the flank, and the captain should wish to halt them, he will command:
101. At this command, the skirmishers will halt and face to the enemy. The officers and sergeants will conform to what has been prescribed No. 78.
102. The reserve should execute all the movements of the line, and be held always about one hundred and fifty paces from it, so as to be in position to second its operations.
103. When the chief of the reserve shall wish to march it in advance, he will command:
1. Platoon forward. 2. Guide left. 3. MARCH.
If he should wish to march it in retreat, he will command:
1. In retreat. 2. MARCH. 3. Guide right. At the command halt, it will re-face to the enemy.
104. The men should be made to understand that the signals or commands, such as forward,mean that the skirmishers shall march on the enemy; in retreat,that they shall retire, and to the right or left flank,that the men must face to the right or left, whatever may be their position.
105. If the skirmishers be marching by the flank, and the captain should wish to change direction to the right (or left), he will command:
1. By file right (or left). 2. MARCH. These movements will also be executed by the signals Nos. 14 and 15.
106. Skirmishers will fire either at a halt or marching.
107. To cause this fire to be executed, the captain will command:
Commence - FIRING.
108. At this command, briskly repeated, the men of the front rank will commence firing;they will reload rapidly, and hold themselves in readiness to fire again. During this time the men of the rear rank will come to a ready, and as soon as their respective file leaders have loaded, they will also fire and reload. The men of each file will thus continue the firing, conforming to this principle, that the one or the other shall always have his piece loaded.
109. Light troops should be always calm, so as to aim with accuracy; they should, moreover, endeavor to estimate correctly the distances between themselves and the enemy to be hit, and thus be enabled todeliver their fire with the greater certainty of success.
110. Skirmishers will not remain in the same place whilst reloading, unless protected by accidents in the ground.
111. This fire will be executed by the same commands as the fire at a halt.
112. At the command commence firing, if the line be advancing, the front rank man of every file will halt, fire, and reload before throwing himself forward. The rear rank man of the same file will continue to march, and after passing ten or twelve paces beyond his front rank man will halt, come to a ready, select his object, and fire when his front rank man has loaded; the fire will thus continue to be executed by each file; the skirmishers will keep united, and endeavor, as much as possible, to preserve the general direction of the alignment.
113. If the line be marching in retreat at the command commence firing, the front rank man of every file will halt, face to the enemy, fire, and then reload whilst moving to the rear; the rear rank man of the same file will continue to march, and halt ten or twelve paces beyond his front rank man, face about, come to a ready, and fire, when his front rank man has passed him in retreat and loaded; after which, he will move to the rear and reload; the front rank man in his turn after marching briskly to the rear, will halt at ten or twelve paces from the rear rank, face to the enemy; load his piece and fire, conforming to what has just been prescribed; the firing will thus be continued.
114. If the company be marching by the right flank, at the command, commence firing, the front rank man of every file will face to the enemy, step one pace forward, halt, and fire; the rear rank man will continue to move forward. As soon as the front rank man has fired, he will place himself briskly behind his rear rank man and reload whilst marching. When he has loaded, the rear rank man will, in his turn, step one pace forward, halt, and fire, and returning to the ranks, will place himself behind his front rank man; the latter, in his turn, will act in the same manner, observing the same principles. At the command, cease firing, the men of the rear rank will retake their original positions, if not already there.
115. If the company be marching by the left flank, the fire will be executed according to the same principles, but in this case it will be the rear rank men who will be first.
116. The following rules will be observed in the cases to which they apply:
117. If the line be firing at a halt, or whilst marching by the flank at the command, Forward - MARCH,it will be the men whose pieces are loaded, without regard to the particular rank to which they belong, who will move to the front. Those men whose pieces have been discharged, will remain in their places to load them before moving forward, and the firing will be continued agreeably to the principles prescribed above.
118. If the line be firing either at a halt, advancing, or whilst marching by the flank, at the command, In retreat - MARCH, the men whose pieces are loaded will remain faced to the enemy, and will fire in this position; the men whose pieces are discharged will retreat loading them, and the fire will be continued agreeably to principles prescribed No. 112.
119. If the line of skirmishers be firing either at a halt, advancing, or in retreat, at the command, By the right (or left) flank - MARCH, the men whose pieces are loaded will step one pace out of the general alignment, face to the enemy, and fire in this position; the men whose pieces are unloaded will face to the right (or left) and march in the direction indicated. The men who stepped out of the ranks will place themselves, immediately after firing, upon the general direction, and in rear of their front or rear rank men, as the case may be. The fire will be continued according to the principles prescribed for firing when marching by a flank.
120. Skirmishers will be habituated to load their pieces whilst marching; but they will be enjoined to halt always an instant, when in the act of charging cartridge, and priming.
121. They should be practised to fire and load kneeling, lying down, and sitting, and much liberty should be allowed in these exercises, in order that they may be executed in the manner found to he most convenient. Skirmishers should he cautioned not to forget that, in whatever position they may load, it is important that the piece should be placed upright before ramming, in order that the entire charge of powder may reach the bottom of the bore.
122. In commencing the fire, the men of the same rank should not all fire at once, and the men of the same file should be particular that one or the other of them be always loaded.
123. In retreating, the officer commanding the skirmishers should seize on every advantage which the ground may present, for arresting the enemy as long as possible.
124. At the signal to cease firing,the captain will see that the order is promptly obeyed; but the men who may not be loaded, will load. If the line be marching, it will continue the movement; but the man of each file who happens to be in front, will wait until the man in rear shall be abreast with him.
125. If a line of skirmishers be firing advancing, at the command halt, the line will re-form upon the skirmishers who are in front; when the line is retreating, upon the skirmishers who are in rear.
126. Officers should watch with the greatest possible vigilance over a line of skirmishers; in battle, they should neither carry a rifle or fowling piece. In all the firings, they, as well as the sergeants, should see that order and silence are preserved, and that the skirmishers do not wander imprudently; they should especially caution them to be calm and collected; not to fire until they distinctly perceive the objects at which they aim, and are sure that those objects are within proper range. Skirmishers should take advantage promptly, and with intelligence, of all shelter, and of a accidents of the ground, to conceal themselves from the view of the enemy, and to protect themselves from his fire. It may often happen that intervals are momentarily lost when several men near each other find a common shelter; but when they quit this position, they should immediately resume their intervals and their places in line, so that they may not, by crowding, needlessly expose themselves the fire of the enemy.
To form column.
127. A company deployed as skirmishers, is rallied in order oppose the enemy with better success; the rallies are made at a run, and with bayonets fixed; when ordered to rally, the skirmishers fix bayonets without command.
128. There are several ways of rallying, which the chief of the line will adopt according to circumstances.
129. If the line, marching or at a halt, be merely disturbed by scattered horsemen, it will not be necessary to fall back on the reserve, but the captain will cause bayonets to be fixed. If the horsemen should, however, advance to charge the skirmishers, the captain will command, rally by fours. The line will halt if marching, and the four men of each group will execute this rally in the following manner: the front rank man of the even numbered file will take the position of guard against cavalry;the rear rank man of the odd numbered file will also take the position of guard against cavalry, turning his back to him, his right foot thirteen inches from the right foot of the former, and parallel to it; the front rank man of the odd file, and the rear rank man of the even file, will also place themselves back to back, taking a like position, and between the two men already established, facing to the right and left; the right feet of the four men will be brought together, forming a squares and serving for mutual support. The four men in each group will come to a ready, fire as occasion may offer, and load without moving their feet.
130. The captain and chiefs of sections will each cause the four men who constitute his guard to form square, the men separating so as to enable him and the bugler to place themselves in the centre. The three sergeants will each promptly place himself in the group nearest him in the line of skirmishers.
131. Whenever the captain shall judge these squares too weak, but should wish to hold his position by strengthening his line, he will command:
Rally by sections.
132. At this command, the chiefs of sections will move rapidly on the centre group of their respective sections, or on any other interior group whose position might offer a shelter, or other particular advantage; the skirmishers will collect rapidly at a run on this group, and without distinction of numbers. The men composing the group on which the formation is made, will immediately form square, as heretofore explained, and elevate their pieces, the bayonets uppermost, in order to indicate the point on which the rally is to be made. The other skirmishers, as they arrive, will occupy and fill the open angular spaces between these four men, and successively rally around this first nucleus, and in such manner as to form rapidly a company circle. The skirmishers will take as they arrive, the position of charge bayonet, the point of the bayonet more elevated, and will cock their pieces in this position. The movement concluded, the two exterior ranks will fire as occasion may offer, and load without moving the feet.
133. The captain will move rapidly with his guard, wherever he may judge his presence most necessary.
134. The officers and sergeants will be particular to observe that the rally is made in silence, and with promptitude and order; that some pieces in each of their subdivisions be at all times loaded, and that the fire is directed on those points only where it will be most effective.
135. If the reserve should be threatened, it will form into a circle around its chief.
136. If the captain, or commander of a line of skirmishers formed of many platoons, should judge that the rally by section does not offer sufficient resistance, he will cause the rally by platoons to be executed, and for this purpose, will command:
Rally by platoons.
137. This movement will be executed according to the same principles, and by the same means, as the rally by sections. The chiefs of platoon will conform to what has been prescribed for the chiefs of section.
138. The captain wishing to rally the skirmishers on the reserve, will command:
Rally on the reserve.
139. At this command, the captain will move briskly on the reserve; the officer who commands it will take immediate steps to form square; for this purpose, he will cause the half sections on the flanks to be thrown perpendicularly to the rear; he will order the men to come to a ready.
140. The skirmishers of each section, taking the run, will form rapidly into groups, and upon that man of each group who is nearest the centre of the section. These groups will direct themselves diagonally towards each other, and in such manner as to form into sections with the greatest possible rapidity while moving to the rear; the officers and sergeants will see that this formation is made in proper order, and the chiefs will direct their sections upon the reserve, taking care to unmask it to the right and left. As the skirmishers arrive, they will continue and complete the formation of the square begun by the reserve, closing in rapidly upon the latter, without regard to their places in line; they will come to a ready without command, and fire upon the enemy; which will also be done by the reserve as soon as it is unmasked by the skirmishers.
141. If a section should be closely pressed by cavalry while retreating its chief will command halt; at this command, the men will form rapidly into a compact circle around the officer, who will re-form his section and resume the march, the moment he can do so with safety.
142. The formation of the square in a prompt and efficient manner, requires coolness and activity on the part of both officers and sergeants.
143. The captain will also profit by every moment of respite which the enemy's cavalry may leave him; as soon as he can, he will endeavor to place himself beyond the reach of their charges, either by gaining a position where he may defend himself with advantage, or by returning to the corps to which he belongs. For this purpose, being in square, he will cause the company to break into column by platoons at half distance; to this effect, he will command:
144. At the command march, each platoon will dress on its centre, and the platoon which was facing to the rear will face about without command. The guides will place themselves on the right and left of their respective platoons, those of the second platoon will place themselves at half distance from those of the first, counting from the rear rank. These dispositions being made, the captain can move the column in whatever direction he may judge proper.
145. If he wishes to march it in retreat, he will command:
l. In retreat. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH).
146. At the command march,the column will immediately face by the rear rank, and move off in the opposite direction. As soon as the column is in motion, the captain will command:
3. Guide right (or left).
147. He will indicate the direction to the leading guide; the guides will march at their proper distances, and the men will keep aligned.
148. If again threatened by cavalry, the captain will command:
1. Form square. 2. MARCH
149. At the command march,the column will halt; the first platoon will face about briskly, and the outer half sections of each platoon will be thrown perpendicularly to the rear, so as to form the second and third fronts of the square. The officers and sergeants will promptly rectify any irregularities which may be committed.
150. If he should wish to march the column in advance, the captain will command:
1. Form column. 2. MARCH.
151. Which will be executed as prescribed No. 144.
152. The column being formed, the captain will command:
1. Forward. 2. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH). 3. Guide left (or right).
153. At the second command, the column will move forward, and at the third command, the men will take the touch of elbows to the side of the guide.
154. If the captain should wish the column to gain ground to the right or left, he will do so by rapid wheels to the side opposite the guide, and for this purpose, will change the guide whenever it may be necessary.
155. If a company be in column by platoon, at half distance, right in front, the captain can deploy the first platoon as skirmishers by the means already explained; but if it should be his wish to deploy the second platoon forward on the centre file, leaving the first platoon in reserve, he will command:
1. Second platoon - as skirmishers. 2. On the centre file take intervals. 3. MARCH (or double quick - MARCH.)
156. At the first command, the chief of the first platoon will caution his platoon to stand fast; the chiefs of sections of the second platoon will place themselves before the centre of their sections; the fifth sergeant will place himself one pace in front of the centre of the second platoon.
157. At the second command, the chief of the right section, second platoon, will command: Section right face;the chief of the left section: Section left face.
158. At the command march,these sections will move off briskly in opposite directions, and having unmasked the first platoon, the chiefs of sections will respectively command: By the left flank - MARCH, and By the right flank - MARCH; and as soon as these sections arrive on the alignment of the first platoon, they will command: As skirmishers - MARCH. The groups will then deploy according to prescribed principles, on the right group of the left section, which will be directed by the fifth sergeant on the point indicated.
159. If the captain should wish the deployment made by the flank, the second platoon will be moved to the front by the means above stated, and halted after passing some steps beyond the alignment of the first platoon; the deployment will then be made by the flank according to the principles prescribed.
160. When one or more platoons are deployed as skirmishers, and the captain should wish to rally them on the battalion, he will command:
Rally on the battalion.
161. At this command, the skirmishers and the reserve, no matter what position the company to which they belong may occupy in order of battle, will rapidly unmask the front of the battalion, directing themselves in a run towards its nearest flank, and then form in its rear.
162. As soon as the skirmishers have passed beyond the line of file closers, the men will take the quick step, and the chief of each platoon or section will reform his subdivision, and place it in column behind the wing on which it is rallied, and at ten paces from the rank of the file closers. These subdivisions will not be moved except by order of the commander of the battalion, who may, if he thinks proper, throw them into line of battle at the extremities of the line, or in the intervals between the battalions.
163. If many platoons should be united behind the same wing of a battalion, or behind any shelter whatsoever, they should be formed always into close column, or into column at half distance.
164. When the battalion, covered by a company of skirmishers, shall be formed into square, the platoons and sections of the covering company will be directed by their chiefs to the rear of the square which will be opened at the angles to receive the skirmishers, who will be then formed into close column by platoons in rear of the first front of the square.
165. If circumstances should prevent the angles of the square from being opened, the skirmishers will throw themselves at the feet of the front rank men, the right knee on the ground, the butt of the piece resting on the thigh, the bayonet in a threatening position. A part may also place themselves about the angles, where they render good service by defending the sectors without fire.
166. If the battalion on which the skirmishers are rallied be in column ready to form square, the skirmishers will be formed into close column by platoon, in rear of the centre of the third division, and at the command, Form square - MARCH, they will move forward and close on the buglers.
167. When skirmishers have been rallied by platoon or section behind the wings of a battalion, and it be wished to deploy them again to the front, they will be marched by the flank towards the intervals on the wings, and be then deployed so as to cover the front of the battalion.
168. When platoons or sections, placed in the interior of squares or columns, are to be deployed, they will be marched out by the flanks, and then thrown forward, as is prescribed, No. 157; as soon as they shall have unmasked the column or square, they will be deployed, the one on the right, the other on the left file.
169. A company deployed as skirmishers will be assembled when there is no longer danger of its being disturbed; the assembly will be made habitually in quick time.
170. The captain wishing to assemble the skirmishers on the reserve, will command:
Assemble on the reserve.
171. At this command, the skirmishers will assemble by groups of fours; the front rank men will place themselves behind their rear rank men; and each group of fours will direct itself on the reserve, where each will take its proper place in the ranks. When the company is re-formed, it will rejoin the battalion to which it belongs.
172. It may be also proper to assemble the skirmishers on the centre, or on the right or left of the line, either marching or at a halt.
173. If the captain should wish to assemble them on the centre while marching, he will command:
Assemble on the centre.
174. At this command, the centre guide will continue to march directly to the front on the point indicated; the front rank man of the directing file will follow the guide, and be covered by his rear rank man; the other two comrades of this group, and likewise those on their left will march diagonally, advancing the left shoulder and accelerating the gait, so as to reform the groups while drawing nearer and nearer the directing file; the men of the right section will unite in the same manner into groups, and then upon the directing file, throwing forward the right shoulder. As they successively unite on the centre, the men will bring their pieces to the right shoulder.
175. To assemble on the right or left file will be executed according to the same principles.
176. The assembly of a line marching in retreat will also be executed according to the same principles, the front rank men marching behind their rear rank men.
177. To assemble the line of skirmishers at a halt, and on the line they occupy, the captain will give the same commands; the skirmishers will face to the right or left, according as they should march by the right or left flank, re-form the groups while marching, and to arrive on the file which served as the point of formation. As they successively arrive, the skirmishers will support arms.
To deploy a battalion as skirmishers, and to rally the battalion.
178. A battalion being in line of battle, if the commander should wish to deploy it on the right of the sixth company, holding the three right companies in reserve, he will signify his intention to the lieutenant colonel and the adjutant, and also to the major who will be directed to take charge of the reserve. He will point out to the lieutenant colonel the direction he wishes to give the line, as well as the point where he wishes the right of the sixth company to rest, and to the commander of the reserve the place he may wish it established.
179. The lieutenant colonel will move rapidly in front of the right of the sixth company, and the adjutant in front of the left of the same company. The commander of the reserve will dispose of it in the manner to be hereinafter indicated.
180. The colonel will command:
1. First (or second) platoons-as skirmishers. 2. On the right of the sixth company-take intervals. 3. MARCH. (or double quick-MARCH.)
181. At the second command, the captains of the fifth and sixth companies will prepare to deploy the first platoons of their respective companies, the sixth on its right, the fifth on its left file.
182. The captain of the fourth company will face it to the right, and the captains of the seventh and eighth companies will face the respective companies to the left.
183. At the command march, the movement will commence. The platoons of the fourth and sixth companies will deploy forward; the right guide will march on the point which will be indicated to him by the lieutenant colonel
184. The company which has faced to the right, and also the companies which have faced to the left, will march straight forward. The fourth company will take an interval of one hundred paces counting from the left of the fifth, and its chief will deploy its first platoon on its left file. The seventh and eight companies will each take an interval of one hundred paces, counting from the first file of the company, which is immediately on its right; and the chiefs of these companies will afterwards deploy their first platoons on the right file.
185. The guides who conduct the files on which the deployment is made, should be careful to direct themselves towards the outer man of the neighboring company, already deployed as skirmishers; or if the company has not finished its deployment, they will judge carefully the distance which may still be required to place all these files in line, and will march on the point thus marked out. The companies, as they arrive on the line, will align themselves on those already deployed.
186. The lieutenant colonel and adjutant will follow the deployment, the one on the right, the other on the left; the movement concluded, they will place themselves near the colonel.
187. The reserves of the companies will be established in echellon in the following manner; the reserve of the sixth company will be placed one hundred and fifty paces in the rear of the right of this company; the reserves of the fourth and fifth companies, united, opposite the centre of their line of skirmishers, and thirty paces in advance of the reserve of the sixth company; the reserves of the seventh and eighth companies, also united, opposite the centre of their line of skirmishers, and thirty paces further to the rear than the reserve of the sixth company.
188. The major commanding the companies comprising the reserve, on receiving an order from the colonel to that effect, will march these companies thirty paces to the rear, and will then ploy them into column by company, at half distance; after which, he will conduct the column to the point which shall have been indicated to him.
189. The colonel will have a general superintendence of the movement; and when it is finished, will move to a point in rear of the line, where his view may best embrace all the parts, in order to direct their movements.
190. If, instead of deploying forward, it be desired to deploy by the flank, the sixth and fifth companies will be moved to the front ten or twelve paces, halted, and deployed by the flank, the one on the right, the other on the left file, by the means already indicated. Each of the other companies will be marched by the flank, and as soon as the last file of the company, next towards the direction, shall have taken its interval, it will be moved upon the line established by the fifth and sixth companies, halted, and deployed.
191. In the preceding example, it has been supposed that the battalion has been in the order of battle, but if in column, it would be deployed as skirmishers by the same commands and according to the same principles.
192. If the deployment is to be made forward, the directing company, as soon as it is unmasked, will be moved ten or twelve paces in front of the head of the column, and will be then deployed on the file indicated. Each of the other companies will take its interval to the right of left, and deploy as soon as soon as it is taken.
193. If the deployment is to be made by the flank, the directing company will be moved in the same manner to the front, as soon as it is unmasked, and will then be halted and deployed by the flank on the file indicated. Each of the other companies will be marched by the flank, and when its interval is taken, will be moved on the line, halted, and deployed as soon as the company next towards the direction shall have finished its deployment.
194. It has been prescribed to place the reserves in echellon, in order that they may, in the event of a rally, be able to protect themselves without injuring each other; and the reserves of the two contiguous companies have been united, in order to decrease the number of the echellons, and to increase their capacity for resisting cavalry.
195. The echellons, in the example given, descend from right to left, but they may, on an indication from the colonel to that effect, be posted on the same principle, so as to descend from left to right.
196. When the color-company is to be deployed as skirmishers, the color, without its guard, will be detached, and will remain with the battalion reserve.
197. The colonel may cause all the various movements prescribed for a company, to be executed by the battalion, and by the same commands and the same signals. When he wishes to rally the battalion, he will cause the rally on the battalion to be sounded, and will so dispose his reserve to protect this movement.
198. The companies deployed as skirmishers will be rallied in squares on their respective reserves; each reserve of two contiguous companies will form the first front of the square, throwing to the rear the sections on the flanks; the skirmishers who arrive first will complete the lateral fronts, and the last the fourth front. The officers and sergeants will superintend the rally, and as fast as the men arrive, they will form them into two ranks, without regard to height, and cause them to face outwards,
199. The rally being effected, the commanders of the squares will profit by any interval of time the cavalry may allow for putting them in safety, either by marching upon the battalion reserve, or by seizing an advantageous position; to this end, each of the squares will be formed into column, and march in this order; and if threatened anew, it will halt, and again form itself into square.
200. As the companies successively arrive near the battalion-reserve, each will re-form as promptly as possible, and without regard to designation or number, take place in the column next in rear of the companies already in it.
201. The battalion reserve will also form square, if itself threatened by cavalry. In this case, the companies in marching towards it will place themselves promptly in the sectors without fire, and thus march on the squares.
POSITION OF THE SWORD OR SABRE, UNDER ARMS.
The carry. The gripe in the right hand, which will be supported against the right hip, the back of the blade against the shoulder.
TO SALUTE WITH THE SWORD OR SABRE.
Three times (or pauses.)
One. At the distance of six paces from the person to be saluted, raise the sword or sabre perpendicularly, the point up, the flat of the blade opposite to the right eye, the guard at the height of the shoulder, the elbow supported on the body.
Two. Drop the point of the sword or sabre by extending the arm, so that the right hand may be brought to the side of the right thigh, and remain in that position until the person to whom the salute is rendered shall be passed, or shall have passed, six paces.
Three. Raise the sword or sabre smartly, and place the back of the blade against the right shoulder.
In the ranks, the color-bearer, whether at a halt or in march, will always carry the heel of the color-lance supported at the right hip, the right hand generally placed on the lance at the height of the shoulder, to hold it steady. When the color has to render honors, the color-bearer will salute as follows:
At the distance of six paces slip the right hand along the lance to the height of the eye; lower the lance by straightening the arm to its full extent, the heel of the lance remaining at the hip, and bring back the lance to the habitual position when the person saluted shall be passed, or shall have passed, six paces.
One time and one motion.
Throw the piece diagonally across the body, the lock to the front, seize it smartly at the same instant with both hands, the right at the handle, the left atthe lower band, the two thumbspointing towards the muzzle, the barrel sloping upwards and crossing opposite to the point of the left shoulder, the butt proportionally lowered. The palm of the right hand will be above, and that of the left hand under the piece, the nails of both hands next to the body, to which the elbows will be closed.
One time and two motions.
(First motion.) Bring the piece smartly to the left shoulder, placing the right hand as in the position of shoulder arms, slip the left hand to the height of the shoulder, the fingers extended.
(Second motion.) Drop the left hand smartly by the side.
Being on parade, and at order arms, if it be wished to give the men rest, the command will be:
At the command rest, turn the piece on the heel of the butt, the barrel to the left, the muzzle in front of the centre of the body; seize it at the same time with the left hand just above, and with the right at the upper band; carry the right foot six inches to the rear, the left knee slightly bent.
The posts of the field music and band have been given, Title I, for the order in battle.
In column in manoeuvre, the field music and band will march abreast with the left centre company, on the side opposite the guide.
In column in route, as well as in the passage of defiles to the front or in retreat, they will march at the head of their respective battalions.