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REMARKS ON INVERSIONS.

639. Inversions giving frequently the means of forming line of battle, in the promptest manner, are of great utility in the movements of an army.

640. The application that may be made of inversions in the formations to the right and to the left in line of battle, has been indicated No. 484 and following.  They may also be advantageously employed in the successive formations.

641. Formations, by inversion, will be executed according to the same principles as formations in the direct order; but the colonel’s first command will always begin by inversion.

642. The battalion being in line of battle by inversion, when the colonel shall wish, by forming it into column, to bring it back to the direct order, he will cause it either to break or to ploy by company, or by division, accordingly as the column may have been by company or by division before it had been formed into line of battle by inversion.

643. When a battalion in line of battle, formed by inversion, has to be ployed into column, the movement will be executed according to the same principles as if the line were in the direct order, but observing what follows.

644. If it be intended that the column shall be by division, with the first in front, or by company, with the first company in front, the colonel will announce in the second command – left  in front, because the battalion being in line of battle by inversion, that subdivision is on the left.

645. Each chief whose subdivision takes position in the column in front of the directing one, will conduct his subdivision till it halts; and each chief whose subdivision takes position in rear of the directing one, will halt in his own person when up with the preceding right guide, and see his subdivision file past; and each chief will align his subdivision by the right. When the column is to be put in march, the second command will be – guide left, because the proper right is in front.

646. For the same reason, if it be intended that the last subdivision shall be in front, right in front, will be announced in the second command; the subdivisions will be aligned by the left, and to put the column in march, the second command will be, guide right, because the proper left is in front.

0-647. Whenever the line is formed by inversion, the companies of skirmishers will occupy the relative positions in rear of the first and last battalion companies respectively, as prescribed No. 489. When the column is formed, from a battalion in line by inversion, the platoon columns will be moved, and established on the proper reverse flank.

PART FIFTH.

ARTICLE I.

To advance in line of battle.

648. The battalion being correctly aligned, and supposed to be the directing one, when the colonel shall wish to march in line of battle, he will give the lieutenant-colonel an intimation of his purpose, place himself about forty paces in rear of the color-file, and face to the front.

649. The lieutenant-colonel will place himself a like distance in front of the same file, and face to the colonel, who will establish him as correctly as possible, by signal of the sword, perpendicularly to the line of battle opposite to the color-bearer.  The colonel will next, above the heads of the lieutenant-colonel and color-bearer, take a point of direction in the field beyond, if a distinct one present itself, exactly in the prolongation of those first two points.

650. The colonel will then move twenty paces farther to the rear, and establish two markers on the prolongation of the straight line passing through the color-bearer and the lieutenant-colonel; these markers will face to the rear, the first placed about twenty-five paces behind the rear rank of the battalion, and the second at the same distance from the first.

651. The color-bearer will be instructed to take, the moment the lien tenant-colonel shall be established on the perpendicular, two points on the ground in the straight line which, drawn from himself, would pass between the heels of that officer; the first of these points will be taken at fifteen or twenty paces from the color-bearer.

652. These dispositions being made, the colonel will command:

1. Battalion, forward.

653. At this, the front rank of the color-guard will advance six paces to the front; the corporals in the rear rank will place themselves in the front rank, and these will be replaced by those in the rank of file closers; at the same time the two general guides will move in advance, abreast with the color-bearer, the one on the right, opposite to the captain of the right company, the other opposite to the sergeant who closes the left of the battalion.

0-654. At this the captain and covering sergeant of each of the companies of skirmishers will place themselves as prescribed No. 482, and each captain will command: Such company of skirmishers, forward.

655. The captains of the left wing will shift, passing before the front rank, to the left of their respective companies; the sergeant on the left of the battalion will step back into the rear rank.  The covering sergeant of the company next on the left of the color-company, will step into the front rank.

656. The lieutenant-colonel having assured the color-bearer on the line between himself and the corporal of the color-file, now in the front rank, will go to the position which will be hereinafter indicated, No. 665.

657. The senior major will place himself six or eight paces on either flank of the color-rank. The junior major will hold himself in the position prescribed No. 35, Title I.

658. The colonel will then command:

2. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).

659. At this command, the battalion will step off with life; the color-bearer, charged with the step and direction, will scrupulously observe the length and cadence of the pace, marching on the prolongation of the two points previously taken, and successively taking others in advance by the means indicated in the school of the company; the corporal on his right, and the one on his left, will march in the same step, taking care not to turn the head or shoulders, the color-bearer supporting the color-lance against the hip.

0-660. At the same. command, briskly repeated by their chiefs, the companies of skirmishers will slip off, taking the guides as indicated No. 482.

661. The two general guides will march in the same step with the color-rank, each maintaining himself abreast, or nearly so, with that rank, and neither occupying himself with the movement of the other.

662. The three corporals of the color-guard, now in the front rank of the battalion, will march well aligned, elbow to elbow, heads direct to the front, and without deranging the line of their shoulders; the centre one will follow exactly in the trace of the color-bearer, and maintain the same step, without lengthening or shortening it, except on an intimation from the colonel or lieutenant-colonel, although he should find himself more or less than six paces from the color-rank.

663. The covering sergeant in the front rank between the color-company and the next on the left, will march elbow to elbow, and on the same line, with the three corporals in the centre, his head well to the front.

664. The captains of the color-company, and the company next to the left, will constitute, with the three corporals in the centre of the front rank, the basis of alignment for both wings of the battalion; they will march in the same step with the color-bearer, and exert themselves to maintain their shoulders exactly in the square with the direction.  To this end, they will keep their heads direct to the front, only occasionally casting an eye on the three centre corporals, with the slightest possible turn of the neck, and if they perceive themselves in advance, or in rear of these corporals, the captain, or two captains, will almost insensibly shorten or lengthen the step, so as, at the end of several paces, to regain the true alignment, without giving sudden checks or impulsions to the wings beyond them respectively.

665. The lieutenant-colonel, placed twelve or fifteen paces on the right of the captain of the color-company, will maintain this captain and the next one beyond, abreast with the three centre corporals; to this end, he will caution either to lengthen or to shorten the step, as may be necessary, which the captain, or two captains, will execute as has just been explained.

666. All the other captains will maintain themselves on the prolongation of this basis; and, to this end, they will cast their eyes toward the centre, taking care to turn the neck but slightly, and not to derange the direction of their shoulders.

667. The captains will observe the march of their companies, and prevent the men from getting in advance of the line of captains; they will not lengthen or shorten step except when evidently necessary; because, to correct, with too scrupulous attention, small faults, is apt to cause the production of greater – loss of calmness, silence, and equality of step, each of which it is so important to maintain.

668. The men will constantly keep their heads well directed to the front, feel lightly the elbow toward the centre, resist pressure coming from the flank, give the greatest attention to the squareness of the shoulders, and hold themselves always very slightly behind the line of the captains, in order never to shut out from the view of the latter the basis of alignment; they will, from time to time, cast an eye on the color-rank, or on the general guide of the wing, in order to march constantly in the same step with those advanced persons.

669. Pending the march, the line, determined by two markers, will be prolonged, by placing in proportion as the battalion advances, a third marker in the rear of the first, then the second marker will quit his place and go a like distance in rear of the third; the first marker will, in his turn, do the like in respect to the second, and so on, in succession, as long as the battalion continues to advance; each marker, on shifting position, taking care to face to the rear, and to cover accurately the two markers already established on the direction.  A. staff officer, or the quartermaster-sergeant, designated for the purpose, and who will hold himself constantly fifteen or twenty paces facing the marker farthest from the battalion, will caution each marker when to shift place, and assure him on the direction behind the other two.

670. The colonel will habitually hold himself about thirty paces in rear of the centre of his battalion, taking care not to put himself on the line of markers; if, for example, by the slanting of the battalion, or, the indications which will be given, Nos. 680 and following, he finds that the march of the color-bearer is not perpendicular, he will promptly command:

Point of directions to the right (or left).

671. At this command, the senior major will hasten thirty or forty paces in advance of the color-rank, halt, face to the colonel, and place himself on the direction which the latter will indicate by signal of the sword; the corporal in the centre of the battalion will then direct himself upon the senior major, on a caution from the colonel, advancing, to that end, the opposite shoulder; the corporals on his right and left will conform themselves to his direction.

672. The color-bearer will also direct himself upon the senior major, advancing the opposite shoulder, the senior major causing him, at the same time, to incline to the right or left, until he shall exactly cover the corporal of his file; the color-bearer will then take points on the ground in this new direction.

673. The two general guides will conform themselves to the new direction of the color-rank.

674. The officer charged with observing the successive replacing of the markers in the rear of the centre, will establish them promptly on the new direction, taking for a basis the color-bearer and the corporal of his file in the centre of the battalion; the colonel will verity the new direction of the markers.

675. The lieutenant-colonel, from the position given No. 665, will see that the two centre companies, and successively all the others, conform themselves to the new direction of the centre, but without precipitancy or disorder; he will then endeavor to maintain that basis of alignment for the battalion, perpendicularly to the direction pursued by the color-bearer.

676. He will often observe the march of the two wings; and, if he discover that the captains neglect to conform themselves to the basis of alignment, he will recall their attention by the command – Captain of (such) company, or captains of (such) companies, on the line – without however, endeavoring too scrupulously to correct small faults.

677. The senior major on the flank of the color-rank will, during the march, place himself, from time to time, twenty paces in front of that rank, face to the rear, and place himself correctly on the prolongation of the markers established behind the centre, in order to verify the exact march of the color-bearer on that line; he will rectify, if necessary, the direction of the color-bearer, who will immediately take two new points on the ground between himself and the major.

678. All the principles applicable to the advance in line, are the same for a subordinate as for the directing battalion; but when the battalion under instruction is supposed to be subordinate, no markers will be placed behind its centre.

REMARKS ON THE ADVANCE IN LINE OF BATTLE.

679. If, in the exercises of detail, or courses of elementary instruction, the officers, sergeants, corporals, and men, have not been well confirmed in the principles of the position under arms, as well as in the length and cadence of the step, the march of the battalion in line will be floating, unsteady, and disunited.

680. If the color-bearer, instead of marching perpendicularly forward, pursue an oblique direction, the battalion will slant; crow dings in one wing, and openings in the other, will follow, and these defects in the march, becoming more and more embarrassing in proportion to the deviation from the perpendicular, will commence near the centre.

681. It is then of the greatest importance that the color-bearer should direct himself perpendicularly forward, and that the basis of alignment should always be perpendicular to the line pursued by him.

682. If openings be formed, if the files crowd each other, if, in short, disorder ensue, the remedy ought to be applied as promptly as possible, but calmly, with few words, and as little noise as practicable.

683. The object of the general guides, in the march in line of battle is to indicate to the companies near the flanks the step of the centre of the battalion, and to afford more facility in establishing the wings on the direction of the centre if they should be too much in the rear; hence the necessity that these guides should maintain the same step, and march abreast, or very nearly so, with the color-rank, which it will be easy for them to do by casting from time to time an eye on that rank.

684. If the battalion happen to lose the step, the colonel will recall its attention by the command, To the—STEP; captains and their companies will immediately cast an eye on the color-rank, or one of the general guides, and promptly conform themselves to the step.

685. Finally, it is of the utmost importance to the attainment of regularity in the march in line of battle, to habituate the battalion to execute with as much order as promptness the movements prescribed No. 670 and following, for rectifying the direction; it is not less essential that commanders of battalions should exercise themselves, with the greatest care, in forming their own coup d’æil, in order to be able to judge with precision the direction to be given to their battalions.

ARTICLE II.

Oblique march in line of battle.

686. The battalion marching in line of battle, when the colonel shall wish to cause it to oblique, he will command:

1. Right (or left) oblique.  2. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).

687. At the first command, the senior major will place himself in front of, and faced to the color-bearer.

688. At the command march, the whole battalion will take the oblique step.  The companies and captains will strictly observe the principles established in the school of the company.

689. The first command will be briskly repeated by the captains of the companies of skirmishers.  At, the command march they will step off, and be governed by the principles prescribed in the school of the company.

690. The senior major in front of the color-bearer ought to maintain the latter in a line with the centre corporal, so that the color-bearer may oblique neither more nor less than that corporal.  He will carefully observe also that they follow parallel directions and preserve the same length of step.

691. The lieutenant-colonel will take care that the captains and the three corporals in the centre keep exactly on a line and follow parallel directions.

692. The colonel will see that the battalion preserves its parallelism; he will exert himself to prevent the files from opening or crowding.  If he perceive the latter fault, he will cause the files on the flank, to which the battalion obliques, to open out.

693. The colonel, wishing the direct march to be resumed, will command:

1. Forward.  2. MARCH.

694. At the command march, the battalion will resume the direct march.  The senior major will place himself thirty paces in front of the color-bearer, and face to the colonel, who will establish him, by a signal of the sword, on the direction which the color-bearer ought to pursue.  The latter will immediately take two points on the ground between himself and the senior major.

695. In resuming the direct march, care will be taken that the men do not close the intervals which may exist between the files at once; it should be done almost insensibly.

Remarks on the oblique march. 

696. The object of the oblique step is to gain ground to the right or left, preserving all the while the primitive direction of the line of battle.

697. It is then essential that the corporals in the centre of the battalion, and the captains of companies, should follow parallel directions, and maintain themselves at the same height; without which they will give a false direction to the battalion.

698. The colonel and lieutenant-colonel will exert themselves to prevent the files from crowding; for, without such precaution the oblique march cannot be executed with facility.

ARTICLE III.

To halt the battalion, marching in line of battle, and to align it.

699. The battalion, marching in the line of battle, when the colonel shall wish to halt it, he will command:

1. Battalion.  2. HALT.

700. At the second command, the battalion will halt; the color-rank and the general guides will remain in front; but if the colonel should not wish immediately to resume the advance in line, nor to give a general alignment, he will command:

Color and general guides—POSTS.

701. At this command, the color-rank and general guides win retake their places in line of battle, the captains in the left wing will shift to the right of their companies.

702. If the colonel should then judge it necessary to rectify the alignment, he will command:

Captains, rectify the alignment.

703. The captains will immediately cast an eye toward the centre, align themselves accurately on the basis of the alignment, which the lieutenant-colonel will see well directed, and then promptly dress their respective companies.  The lieutenant-colonel will admonish such captains as may not be accurately on the alignment, by the command: Captains of (such) company, or captains of (such) companies, move up or fall back.

704. But when the colonel shall wish to give the battalion a general alignment, either parallel or oblique, instead of rectifying it as above, he will move some paces outside of one of the general guides (the right will here be supposed) and caution the right general guide and the color-bearer to face him, and then establish them by signal of the sword, on the direction which he may wish to give to the battalion.  As soon as they shall be correctly established, the left general guide will place himself on their direction, and be assured in his position by the senior major.  The color-bearer will carry the color-lance perpendicularly between his eyes, and the two corporals of his rank will return to their places in the front rank the moment he shall face to the colonel.

705. This disposition being made, the colonel will command:

1. Guides—ON THE LINE.

706. At this command, the right guide of each company in the right wing, and the left guide of each company in the left, will each place himself on the direction of the color-bearer and the two general guides, face to the color-bearer, place himself in rear of the guide who is next before him at a distance equal to the front of his company, and align himself upon the color-bearer and the general guide beyond.

707. The captains in the right wing will shift to the left of their companies, except the captain of the color-company, who will remain on its right, but step into the rear rank; the captains in the left wing will shift to the right of their companies.

708. The lieutenant-colonel will promptly rectify, if necessary, the positions of the guides of the right wing, and the senior major those of the other; which being executed, the colonel will command:

2. On the centre—DRESS.

709. At this command, the companies will move up in quick time against the guides, where, having arrived, each captain will align his company according to prescribed principles, the lieutenant-colonel aligning the color-company.

710. If the alignment be oblique, the captains will take care to conform their companies to it in conducting them toward the line.

711. The battalion being aligned, the colonel will command:

3. Color and guides—POSTS.

712. At this command, the color-bearer, the general and company guides, and the captains in the right wing, will take their places in the line of battle, and the color-bearer will replace the heel of the color-lance against the right hip.

713. If the new direction of the line of battle be such that one or more companies find themselves in advance of that line, the colonel, before establishing the general guides on the line, will cause such companies to be moved to the rear, either by the back step, or by first facing about, according as there may be less or more ground to be repassed to bring the companies in rear of the new direction.

714. When the colonel shall wish to give a general alignment, and the color and general guides are not on the line, he will cause them to move out by the command:

1. Color and general guides—ON THE LINE.

715. At this command, the color-bearer and the general guides will place themselves on the line, conforming to what is prescribed No. 704.

0-716. In the alignments, the companies of skirmishers will conform to the movements of the first and last battalion companies respectively, and preserve their relative positions to them.

ARTICLE IV.

Change of direction in marching in line of battle.

717. The battalion marching in line of battle, when the colonel shall wish to change direction to the right, he will command:

1. Change direction to the right.  2. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).

718. At the command march, the movement will commence; the color-rank will shorten the step to fourteen or seventeen inches, and direct itself circularly to the right, taking care to advance the left shoulder, but only insensibly; the senior major will place himself before the color-bearer, facing him, and so direct his march that he may describe an arc of a circle neither too large nor too small; he will also see that the color-bearer takes steps of fourteen or seventeen inches, according to the gait.

719. The right general guide will wheel on the right captain of the battalion as his pivot; the left general guide will circularly march in the step of twenty-eight inches or thirty-three inches, according to the gait, and will align himself upon the color-bearer and the right general guide.

720. The corporal placed in the centre of the battalion, will take steps of fourteen or seventeen inches, and will wheel to the right by advancing insensibly the left shoulder; the battalion will conform itself to the movement. of the centre; to this end, the captain of the color-company, and the captain of the next to the left, will attentively regulate their march, as well as the direction of their shoulders, on the three centre corporals.  All the other captains will regulate the direction of their shoulders and the length of their step on this basis.

721. The men will redouble their attention in order not to pass the line of captains.

722. In the left wing, the pace will be lengthened in proportion as the file is distant from the centre; the captain of the eighth company who closes the left flank of the battalion will take steps of twenty-eight or thirty-three inches, according to the gait.

723. In the right wing the pace will be shortened in proportion as the file is distant from the centre; the captain who closes the right flank will only slowly turn in his person, observing to yield ground a little if pushed.

724. The colonel will take great care to prevent the centre of the battalion from describing an arc of a circle, either too great or too small, in order that the wings may conform themselves to its movement.  He will see also that the captains keep their companies constantly aligned upon the centre, so that there may be no opening and no crowding of files.  He will endeavor to prevent faults, and, should they occur, correct them without noise.

725. The lieutenant-colonel, placed before the battalion, will give his attention to the same objects.

726. When the colonel shall wish the direct march to be resumed, he will command:

1. Forward.  2. MARCH.

727. At the command march, the color-rank, the general guides and the battalion, will resume the direct march; the senior major will immediately place himself thirty or forty paces in front, face to the colonel, placed in rear of the centre, who will establish him by signal of the sword on the perpendicular direction which the corporal in the centre of the battalion ought to pursue; the senior major will immediately cause the color-bearer, if necessary, to incline to the right or left, so as to be exactly opposite to his file; the color-bearer will then take two points on the ground between himself and the major.

728. The lieutenant-colonel will endeavor to give too the color-company find the next on the left a direction perpendicular to that pursued by the centre corporal; and all the other companies, without precipitancy, will conform themselves to that basis.

0-729. In changing direction, the companies of skirmishers will execute what is prescribed No. 722.

ARTICLE V.

To march in retreat, in line of battle.

730. The battalion being halted, if it be the wish of the colonel to cause it to march in retreat, he will command:

1. Face to the rear.  2. Battalion, about—FACE.

731. At the first command the color-rank and general guides, if in advance, will take their places in line.  At the second command the battalion will face about, the color-bearer will pass into the rear rank, now leading; the corporal of his file will step behind the corporal next on his own right, to let the color-bearer pass, and then step into the front rank, now rear, to re-form the color-file; the colonel will place himself behind the front rank, become the rear; the lieutenant-colonel and senior major will place themselves before the rear rank, now leading.

732. At the second command the companies of skirmishers will face about with the battalion.

733. The colonel will take post forty paces behind the color-file, in order to assure the lieutenant-colonel on the perpendicular, who will place himself at a like distance in front, as prescribed for the advance in line of battle.

734. If the battalion be the one charged with the direction, the colonel will establish markers in the manner indicated No. 650, except that they will face to the battalion.  If the markers be already established, the officer charged with replacing them in succession will cause them to face about, the moment that the battalion executes this movement, and then the marker nearest to the battalion will hasten to the rear of the two others.

735. These dispositions being made, the colonel will command:

3. Battalion, forward.

736. At this command, the color-bearer will advance six paces beyond the rank of file closers, accompanied by the two corporals of his guard of that rank, the centre corporal stepping back to let the color-bearer pass; the corporal of the color-file in the front-rank, now rear, will replace the color-bearer when the latter steps out, the two file closers nearest this centre corporal will unite on him behind the color-guard to serve as a basis of alignment for the line of file closers; the two general guides will place themselves abreast with the color-rank, the covering sergeants will place themselves in the line of file closers, and the captains in the rear rank, now leading; the captains in the left wing, now right, will, if not already there, shift to the left of their companies, now become the right.

737. The colonel will then command:

4. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).

738. The battalion will march in retreat on the same principles which govern the advance in line: the centre corporal behind the color-bearer will march exactly in his trace.

739. If it be the directing battalion, the color-bearer will direct himself on the markers, who will of their own accord, each place himself in succession behind the marker most distant, on being approached by the battalion; the officer charged with the superintendence of the markers will carefully assure them on the direction.

740. In the case of a subordinate battalion, the color-bearer will maintain himself on the perpendicular by means of points taken on the ground.

0-741. At the fourth command by the colonel, the companies of skirmishers will march to the rear, retaining their relative positions with reference to the first and last battalion companies.

742. The colonel, lieutenant-colonel, senior and junior majors will each discharge the same functions as in the advance in line.

743. The lieutenant-colonel, placed on the outside of the file closers of the color company, will also maintain the three file closers of the basis of alignment in a square with the line of direction: the other file closers will keep themselves aligned on this basis.


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Transcribed by Scott Gutzke, 2004-2006.


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