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To fire marching.
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 reloading whilst so moving. 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, finish loading his piece and fire, conforming to what has just been prescribed for the rear-rank man; 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, face to the enemy, 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 man who will fire 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 No. 112.
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 the principles prescribed No. 113.
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 continued according to the principles prescribed No. 114.
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 be most convenient. Skirmishers should be 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 the 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 the 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 all 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 to the fire of the enemy.
To form column.
127. A company deployed as skirmishers, is rallied in order to 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 square, 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. If the captain desires again to deploy the groups, he will command, deploy as skirmishers; at which each group will deploy as prescribed No. 26.
132. 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.
133. 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 compact 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 their feet.
134. The captain will move rapidly with his guard, wherever he may judge his presence most necessary.
135. 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.
136. If the reserve should be threatened, it will form into a circle around its chief.
137. If the captain desires again to deploy the sections he will command: form sections, at this, the chief of each will dress his section on that file of the circle which is faced towards the enemy, the men taking their proper places. The sections will then be deployed forward, or by the flanks, on any file or group the captain may wish as indicated No. 22, and following, and No. 37 and following.
138. If the captain, or commander of a line 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.
139. 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.
140. If the captain, or commander of the line of skirmishers, desires again to deploy the platoons, he will command: form platoons, and the movement will be executed as prescribed No. 137.
141. The captain wishing to rally the skirmishers on the reserve, will command:
Rally on the reserve.
142. 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.
143. 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 toward 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.
144. 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.
145. The formation of the square in a prompt and efficient manner requires coolness and activity on the part of both officers and sergeants.
146. 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:
1. Form column. 2. MARCH.
147. 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.
148. If he wishes to march it in retreat, he will command:
1. In retreat. 2. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).
149. At the command march, the column, will immediately face by the rear-rank (the file closers of the first platoon retaining their position), and move off in the opposite direction. As soon as the column is in motion, the captain will command:
3. Guide right (or left).
150. He will indicate the direction to the leading guide: the guides will march at their proper distances, and the men will keep aligned.
151. If again threatened by cavalry, the captain will command:
1. Form square. 2. MARCH.
152. 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.
153. If he should wish to march the column in advance, the captain will command:
1. Form column. 2. MARCH.
154. Which will be executed as prescribed No. 147.
155. The column being formed, the captain will command:
1. Forward. 2. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH). 3. Guide left (or right).
156. 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.
157. 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.
158. 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 center file—take intervals. 3. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).
159. 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.
160. 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.
161. 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.
162. 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.
163. 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.
164. The captain wishing to assemble the skirmishers on the reserve, will command:
Assemble on the reserve.
165. 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.
166. 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.
167. If the captain should wish to assemble them on the centre while marching, he will command:
Assemble on the centre.
168. 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 re-form 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.
169. To assemble on the right, left (or any file) will be executed according to the same principles.
170. 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.
171. 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 thus 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.
To deploy the battalion as skirmishers.
172. 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, be will signify his intention to the lieutenant-colonel and adjutant, and also to the senior and junior majors, one of whom will be directed to take charge of the battalion 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.
173. 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.
174. 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).
175. 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.
176. The captain of the fourth company will face it to the right, and the captains of the seventh and eighth companies will face their respective companies to the left.
177. At the command march, the movement will commence. The platoons of the fifth and sixth companies will deploy forward; the right guide of the sixth will march on the point which will be indicated to him by the lieutenant-colonel.
178. 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 right file of the company, which is immediately on its right; and the chiefs of these companies will afterward deploy their first platoons on the right file.
179. The guides who conduct the files on which the deployment is made, should be careful to direct themselves toward 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 then march on the point thus marked out. The companies as they arrive on the line, will align themselves on those already deployed.
180. 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. The major, not in command of the reserve, will also be near the colonel. In case the companies of skirmishers constitute a part of the battalion reserve, the junior major will be placed in command.
181. The reserves of the companies will be established in echelon in the following manner: the reserve of the sixth company will be placed one hundred and fifty paces in 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 farther to the rear than the reserve of the sixth company.
182. The major commanding the companies composing the reserve, on receiving an order from the colonel to that effect, will march these companies thirty paces to the rear, and will then deploy 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.
183. 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, whence his view may best embrace all the parts, in order to direct their movements.
184. 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 soon as the last file of the company, next toward the direction, shall have taken its interval, it will be moved on the line established by the fifth and sixth companies, halted and deployed.
185. In the preceding example, it has been supposed that the battalion was in order of battle; but if in column, it would be deployed skirmishers by the same commands and according to the same principles.
186. 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 or left and deploy as soon as it is taken.
187. 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 toward the direction shall have finished its deployment.
188. It has been prescribed to place the reserves in echelon, in order that they may, in the event of a rally, be able to protect themselves without injuring each other; and the reserves of two contiguous companies have been united in order to diminish the number of the echelons, and to increase their capacity for resisting cavalry.
189. The echelons, 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.
190. When the color-company is to be deployed as skirmishers, the color, without its guard, will be detached, and remain with the battalion reserve.
0-191. In the deployments of the battalion, one or both, of the companies of skirmishers, can either constitute a part of the battalion reserve, or take their places in the line of skirmishers as the colonel may desire; in the latter case, they will take their appointed places previous to the commencement of the deployment.
192. When the colonel wishes to assemble the battalion, he will cause the assemble on the battalion to be sounded. The companies deployed as skirmishers will be assembled on their respective reserves, and then proceed to join the battalion reserve; they will take places in the battalion in their proper order.
193. 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 wish to rally the battalion, he will cause the rally the battalion to be sounded, and will so disposed his reserve as to protect this movement.
194. 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 outward.
195. The rally being effected, the commanders of 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.
196. As the companies successively arrive near the battalion-reserve, each will reform 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.
197. The battalion reserve will also form square, if itself threatened by cavalry. In this case, the companies, in marching toward it, will place themselves promptly in the sectors without fire, and thus march on the squares.
0-198. If the battalion column has time to form divisions before forming square, the companies of skirmishers will take the position prescribed in the School of the Battalion.
END OF INSTRUCTION FOR SKIRMISHERS.
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Transcribed by Scott Gutzke, 2004-2006.
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