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1163. The battalion marching in line, to form square, forward on the centre, in four ranks. The colonel will command:
1. Forward on the centre, in four ranks, form square. 2. Battalion by the right and left flanks. 3. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).
1164. This movement will be executed by the commands and means prescribed for the formation from a halt, observing what follows. At the first command, the captains of the two centre companies will caution their companies, to continue the march to the front, and at the command march, they will form in four ranks, as prescribed No. 1131.
1165. The companies of skirmishers will conform to what is prescribed No. 1125.
1166. The color-bearer, color rank, and general guides, at the command march, will take their places as prescribed No. 1005.
1167. The battalion being in line of battle, when the colonel shall wish to form the oblique square, he will command:
1. To form oblique square. 2. On the first division form, column.
1168. At the second command, the lieutenant-colonel will trace the alignment of the first division in the following manner: he will place himself before and near the right file of this division, face to the left, march twelve paces along the front rank, halt, face to the right, march twelve paces perpendicularly to the front, halt again, face to the right, and immediately place a marker at this point. The covering sergeant of the right company will step, at the same time, before its right file, face to the left, and conform the line of his shoulders to that of the shoulders of the marker established by the lieutenant-colonel. These two markers being established, the lieutenant-colonel will place a third marker on the same alignment, at the point where the left of the division will halt.
1169. The chiefs of division will place themselves in front of the centres of their divisions; the chief of the first division will immediately establish it by a wheel to the right on a fixed pivot, against the markers, and align it by the left. The chiefs of the other divisions will caution them to face to the right. The colonel will then command:
3. Battalion right—FACE. 4. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).
1170. The three rear divisions will direct their march so as to place themselves at half distance from each other, and in the rear of the first division, as previously indicated, observing what follows:
1171. The chief of the second division, instead of breaking the headmost files to the rear, will break them to the front, and at the command march, will conduct his division toward the point of entrance in the column. Arrived at this point, he will halt in his own person, cause his division to wheel by file to the right, instructing the right guide to direct himself parallelly to the first division; and as soon as the left file has passed, its chief will halt the division, and align it by the left. The other divisions will break to the rear, but slightly; each will enter the column as prescribed for the second, and the moment the battalion is ployed into column, the colonel will cause it to form square.
1172. The formation of a battalion into oblique square on the left division, will be executed according to the same principles and by inverse means.
1173. Should the battalion be in march, the colonel will first cause it to halt.
1174. In the preceding example, the battalion was supposed to be deployed; but if it be already formed in column, the desired obliquity will be established by causing it to change direction by the flank; to this end, the colonel will command:
1. To form oblique square. 2. Change direction by the right (or left) flank.
1175. At the second command, the lieutenant-colonel will trace the new direction in the following manner; he will place before the right and left files of the headmost division, two markers, and a third on the prolongation of the first two, on the side of the change of direction, and at twelve paces from the flank of the column. He will then place himself before the third marker, march twelve paces perpendicularly to the front, halt, and finish tracing the new direction in the manner indicated, No. 1168.
1176. The colonel will then command:
3. Battalion right (or left)—FACE. 4. MARCH (or double quick—MARCH).
1177. The change of direction having been executed, the colonel will cause the square to be formed.
1178. Should the column be in march, the colonel will first cause it to halt.
1179. Oblique squares in four ranks, will be executed by the same means, and according to the principles prescribed for the formation of squares in four ranks.
1180. Whether the battalion be ployed into simple or double column, the particular dispositions for the formation of the square will be executed as prescribed No. 1000 and following. When the division which is to form the rear of the column, is aligned, the senior major will rectify the position of the guides on the side of the column opposite the direction.
0-1181. In the formation of oblique squares, either from line or column, the companies of skirmishers will conform to the principles which have been prescribed in the formation of perpendicular squares, observing what follows. When the square is formed from column, the platoon columns will take the position indicated No. 1002, at the command march, given by the colonel, for the battalion column to change direction by a flank.
REMARKS ON THE FORMATION OF SQUARES AND THE RALLYING OF SKIRMISHERS.
1182. In all formations of squares from columns composed of but six companies, the music will place itself one pace in rear of the file closers of the second division. If the square is formed forward on the centre from line, the music will take place one pace in rear of the file closers of the first division.
1183. It is a general principle that a column by company, which is to be formed into square, will first form divisions, and close to half distance. Nevertheless, if it find itself suddenly threatened by cavalry without sufficient time to form divisions, the colonel will cause the column to close to platoon distance, and then form square by the commands and means which have been indicated; the leading and rearmost companies will conform themselves to what has been prescribed for divisions in those positions. The other companies will form by platoon to the right and left into line of battle, and each chief of platoon, after having halted it, will place himself on the line, as if the platoon were a company, and he will be covered by the guide in the rear rank.
0-1184. At the first command for forming square, the chief of the first platoon column will deploy it on his first platoon; he will then face his company to the left or right, as the right or left may be in front, and taking the double quick step, will establish his company, at platoon distance, in front or rear of the first battalion company. The second company of skirmishers, will take a position in rear or front, of the last battalion company, by the same means. The junior major will take post in the centre of the square. When the square is reduced, the companies of skirmishers will resume their proper positions.
1185. A battalion in column at full distance, having to form a square, will always close on the leading subdivision; and a column closed in mass, will always, for the same purpose, take distances by the head. In either case, the second subdivision should be careful, in taking its distance, to reckon from the rear rank of the subdivision in front of it.
1186. If a column by company should be required to form square in four ranks, the doubling of files will always take place on the file next the guide.
0-1187. In this case, the companies of skirmishers after filing into the column, will close up, and face to the front without undoubling.
1188. When a column, disposed to form square, shall be in march, it will change direction as a column at half distance; thus, having to execute this movement, the column will take the guide on the side opposite to that to which the change of direction is to be made, if that be not already the side of the guide.
1189. A column doubled on the centre at company distance or closed in mass, may be formed into square according to the same principles as a simple column.
1190. When a battalion is ployed, with a view to the square, it will always be in rear of the right or left division, in order that it may be able to commence firing, pending the execution of the movement. The double column, also, affords this advantage, and being more promptly formed than any other, it will habitually be employed, unless particular circumstances cause a different formation to be preferred.
1191. A battalion, in square, will never use any other than the fire by file, and by rank; the color being in the line of file closers, its guard will not fall back as prescribed No. 47; it will fire like the men of the company of which it forms a part.
1192. If the square be formed in four ranks, the first two ranks will alone execute the firings prescribed above; the other two ranks will remain either at shoulder or support arms.
1193. The formation of the square being often necessary in war, and being the most complicated of the manœuvres, it will be as frequently repeated as the supposed necessity may require, in order to render its mechanism familiar to both officers and men.
1194. In the execution of this manœuvre, the colonel will carefully observe that the divers movements which it involves succeed each other without loss of time, but also without confusion; for, if the rapidity of cavalry movements requires the greatest promptitude in the formation of squares, so, on the other hand, precipitancy always results in disorder, and in no circumstance is disorder more to be avoided.
1195. If the battalion is formed in square when skirmishers are rallied, the platoons and sections will be directed by their respective chiefs, in rear of the square, which will be opened at the angles to receive them.
1196. 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 bayonets in a threatening position. A part may dispose themselves about the angles, where they can render good service by defending the sectors without fire. The first company of skirmishers will be attached to the first and second, and the second company, to the third and fourth fronts of the square. [Editor’s Note: See Changes.]
1197. When the platoons or sections placed in the interior of a square or column, are to be deployed, they will be marched out by the flank, and then, if required to cover the front, they will be moved forward, as prescribed No. 161, and following instructions for skirmishers; and as soon as they have unmasked the column or square they will be deployed. If it be required to cover the flanks of the column, or other fronts of the square, the platoons, as soon as disengaged, will be brought into line, facing outward, and then deployed, either forward, or by the flanks. [Editor’s Note: See Changes.]
1198. If the battalion on which the skirmishers, other than the companies of skirmishers, are rallied, be in column, ready to form square, they will take their proper places in the column, but if circumstances should prevent their so doing, they will, when the square is formed, act as prescribed for the skirmishers No. 1196. [Editor’s Note: See Changes.]
0-1199. When the colonel shall wish to cover by skirmishers the movements of a column preparing to form square, he will detach for this purpose one or two platoons of the companies of skirmishers. [Editor’s Note: See Changes.]
1200. When the colonel shall be ready to form square, he will, in order to recall the skirmishers, cause to the color to be sounded. The skirmishers in this case will move in quick, or double quick time.
Column against cavalry.
1201. When a column closed in mass has to form square, it will begin by taking company distance, but if so suddenly threatened by cavalry as not to allow time for this disposition, it will be formed in the following manner:
1202. The colonel will command:
1. Column against cavalry. 2. MARCH.
1203. At the first command, the chief of the leading division will caution it to stand fast and pass behind the rear rank; in the interior divisions each captain will promptly designate the number of files necessary to close the interval between his company and the one in front of it. The captains of the division next to the one in rear, in addition to closing the interval in front, will also close up the interval which separates this division from the last; the chief of the fourth division will caution it to face about, and its file closers will pass briskly before the front rank.
0-1204. At the same command, the chief of the first platoon column will immediately dispose it along the front, and right flank of the column, as indicated No. 1196, and the chief of the second platoon column, will dispose his column in like manner, along the rear, and left flank of the battalion column.
1205. At the command march, the guides of each division will place themselves rapidly in the line of file-closers. The first division will stand fast, the fourth will face about, the outer file of each of these divisions will then face outward; in the other divisions the files designated for closing the intervals will form to the right and left into line, but in the division next to the rearmost one, the first files that come into line will close to the right or left until they join the rear division. The files of each company which remain in column will close on their outer files, formed into line, in order to create a vacant space in the middle of the column.
1206. If the column be in march, the column against cavalry will be formed by the same commands and means. At the command march, the first and fourth divisions will halt, and the latter division will face about; the interior divisions will conform to what has been prescribed above.
1207. The battalion being no longer threatened by the cavalry, the colonel will command:
1. Form column. 2. MARCH.
1208. At the command march, the files in column will close to the left and right, to make room for those in line, who will retake their places in column by stepping backward, except those closing the interval between the two rear divisions, who will take their places in column by a flank movement. The fourth division will face about, the guides will resume their places.
1209. At the command march, the companies of skirmishers will retake their places.
1210. If the colonel should be so pressed as not to have time to order bayonets to be fixed, the men will fix them, without command or signal, at the cautionary command, column against cavalry.
1211. As this manœuvre is often used in war, and with decided advantage, the colonel will frequently cause it to be executed, in order to render it familiar.
1212. The battalion being in line of battle, the colonel will sometimes cause the disperse to be sounded, at which signal, the battalion will break and disperse.
1213. When the colonel shall wish to rally the battalion, he will cause to the color to be sounded, and at the same time place two markers and the color-bearer in the direction he may wish to give the battalion.
1214. Each captain will rally his company about six paces in rear of the place it is to occupy in line of battle.
1215. The colonel will cause the color-company to be promptly established against the markers, and each company, by the command of its captain, will be aligned on the color-company, according to the principles heretofore prescribed.
1216. When the colonel shall wish to rally the battalion in column, he will cause the assembly to be sounded, and place two markers before the position to be occupied by the first company; the captain of this company will rally his company in rear of the two markers, and each of the other captains will rally his company at platoon distance, behind the one which should precede it in the order in column.
0-1217. In rallying, either in line or column, at the signal, the companies of skirmishers will at once take their proper positions.
Rules for manœuvring by the rear rank.
1218. It may often be necessary to cause a battalion to manœuvre by the rear rank: when the case presents itself, the following rules will be observed:
1219. The battalion being by the front rank, when the colonel shall wish to manœuvre by the rear rank, he will command:
1. Face by the rear rank. 2. Battalion. 3. About—FACE.
1220. If the battalion be deployed, this movement will be executed as has been indicated for the fire by the rear rank.
0-1221. In this case, the companies of skirmishers will execute what is prescribed No. 61.
1222. If the battalion be in column by company, or by platoon, right or left in front, the chiefs of subdivision, to take their new places in column, will each pass by the left flank of his subdivision, and the file closers by the right flank; the guides will place themselves in the rear rank.
1223. If the column be formed by division, the chiefs of division will each pass by the interval in the centre of his division, and the file closers by the outer flanks of their respective companies; the junior captain in each division will step into the rear rank, and be covered in the front rank by the covering sergeant of the left company.
1224. The lieutenant-colonel will place himself abreast with the leading subdivision, and the senior major abreast with the rearmost one.
0-1225. The platoon columns, at the first command, will be marched around the flanks of the battalion column, and take position, such that the first platoon column shall occupy with reference to the battalion column, the same position that the second did before the column faced; and in a similar manner, the second a position like that the first had before the facing of the battalion.
1226. The battalion being faced by the rear rank, companies, divisions, and wings, will preserve their prior denominations respectively.
1227. The manœuvres by the rear rank will be executed by the same commands and on the same principles as if the battalion faced by the front rank, but in such manner that when the battalion shall be brought to its proper front, all the subdivisions may find themselves in their regular order from right to left.
1228. According to this principle, when a column faced by the rear rank is deployed, the subdivisions which, in line of battle by the front rank, ought to find themselves on the right of the subdivision on which the deployment is made, will face to the left; and those which ought to be placed on its left, will face to the right.
1229. When a battalion in line of battle, faced by the rear rank, is to be ployed into column, the colonel will announce, in the commands, left or right in front, according as it may be intended that the first or last subdivision shall be at the head of the column, because the first subdivision is on the left, and the last on the right of the battalion faced by the rear rank. The column by the rear rank will take the guide to the right, if the first subdivision be in front, and to the left in the reverse case.
1230. A column faced by the rear rank will be brought to its proper front by the means heretofore prescribed. If the column be formed by company, or by platoon, the chiefs of subdivision, in order to take their new places in column, will pass by the left of subdivisions, now right, and the file closers by the right, now left.
END OF SCHOOL OF THE BATTALION.
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Transcribed by Scott Gutzke, 2004-2006.
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