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THE individual instruction of the soldier is the foundation upon which the structure of the army rests.  If it is complete, the operations of the army, aided by military science, may be calculated with mathematical accuracy; and unless it is carried to a certain point at least, the management of an army is a mere matter of chance, and success the result only of fortuitous circumstances.  Whilst able men have devoted themselves to the higher branches of the military profession, it is a matter of great surprise that the rudiments have been so long overlooked.

Heretofore the enlisted soldier has been dependent upon tradition for a knowledge of his specific duties; for justice he has been at the mercy of his superiors.

If his officers were competent and conscientious men, faithful in the discharge of their duties and industrious in accumulating and disseminating knowledge among the men, they were cared for, their rights were secured to them, and the ambitious and meritorious were enabled to obtain advancement.

On the contrary, if their superiors were incompetent and unscrupulous men, careless in the execution of their duties, and indolent in acquiring knowledge and instructing the soldiers, the latter were neglected, their rights suffered, and they had little or no opportunity of learning those things necessary to their advancement.

Confident that every soldier who is desirous of learning his duties will feel grateful for this little volume, the author places before them the means of studying for themselves what they so much desire to know.

Once a private himself, in the 1st Ohio Regiment, in the Mexican War, he has by a continuous service since that period been enabled, through his own varied experience, to select the most valuable, if not all the important, information necessary for every grade of the enlisted men.  If they are by this means enabled to feel independent of their officers in acquiring a knowledge of their own duties, the highest aim of the book will be attained.  Although prepared for the soldiers of the regular army, it is equally applicable to the volunteer service, except in some few cases that are fully explained.




A. A. A. G.—Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

A. A. G.—Assistant Adjutant General.

A. A. Q. M.—Acting Assistant Quartermaster.

A. C. S.—Acting Commissary of Subsistence.

A. D. C.­—Aide-de-camp.

A. G. O.—Adjutant-General’s Office.

Act March 3, 1863—Act of Congress approved March 3, 1863.



Art. 35—Thirty-Fifth Article of War.


A. I. G.­—Assistant Inspector General.




Brig.—Brigadier-General, Brigade.





C. S.—Commissary of Subsistence.





















G. O.—General Order.





Hosp. Stwd.—Hospital Steward.




I. G.—Inspector General.


J. Advt.—Judge-Advocate.


L. Art.—Light Artillery.

Lieut.­ and Lt.—Lieutenant.


M.R.—Mounted Rifles.

M.S.—Medical Staff.

M.S.K.—Military Store Keeper.


Med. Cdt.—Medical Cadet.

Med. Dept.­—Medical Department.


N. C. O.—Non-commissioned Officer.


O. B.—Official Business.


Ord. Sgt.—Ordnance Sergeant.


P. D.—Pay Department.

P. M.—Paymaster.



Q. M.­—Quartermaster.



R. C. S.—Regimental Committee of Subsistence.

R. Q. M.—Regimental Quartermaster.


Reg.—In this book, Revised Regulations of 1863.




S. O.—Special Order, Signal Officer.




Sergt. Maj.—Sergeant Major.


Sub. Dept.—Subsistence Department.



Surg. M.—Surgeon’s Mate.


Top. Eng.­—Topographical Engineer.



U. S. A.—United States Army.

U. S. Art.—United States Artillery.

U. S. Cav.—United States Cavalry.

U. S. Eng.—United States Engineers.

U. S. I.—United States Infantry.

U. S. M. D.—United States Medical Department.

U. S. T. Eng.—United States Topographical Engineers.





W. D.—War Department.







1. THE soldier commands respect in proportion to his capacity and length of service.  A youth of military pride and bearing, who wears his uniform with neatness and grace, and does his duty faithfully and with energy and determination, deserves admiration, and generally receives it; but the veteran whose scars and wounds are the reminders of many battles, and whose numerous service chevrons and gray hairs mark a life devoted to the service of his country, chains the listening ear of the citizen to the story of his heroic life, and the greatest chieftain will raise his hat with respect to return his punctilious salute.

2. The decisive events of a soldier’s life are few and far between, and the intervals are devoted to waiting for these turning-points.  If the time he spends in waiting is usually occupied in preparing himself for the critical moments, he will thereby enhance his chances of success, and add lustre to the promotion which his achievements are sure to obtain for him.

3. The military profession involves a knowledge of almost every art, and information accumulated and held in store for the fortunate moment is suddenly demanded and called for, and he who can come forward and say, “I possess it,” is the victor.  A soldier can, therefore, never be placed in any situation in which his leisure moments may not be devoted to something that may some time win him a grade.

4. All knowledge, however, is the more readily obtained if sought after methodically.  Thus, a soldier should be conversant first of all with the proper and legitimate duties of his grade, and, these attained, his next step is the acquirement of a knowledge of the duties of the next highest position; for success in military life is usually a succession of progressive steps from a lower to a higher, and the omission of one of these steps is an important deficiency, that should be repaired as soon as possible.  Those officers who undertake the duties of a position without having made themselves familiar with those of grades below them are at a great disadvantage.

5. Beginning at the moment the soldier enters the ranks, we shall endeavor to make known to him all his duties in detail, in the order in which they are likely to be required of him, up to the grade of a commissioned officer.



6. IN the fullest sense, any man in the military service who receives pay, whether sworn in or not, is a soldier, because he is subject to military law.  Under this general head, laborers, teamsters, sutlers, chaplains, &c. are soldiers.  In a more limited sense, a private soldier is a man enlisted in the military service to serve in the cavalry, artillery, or infantry.  He is said to be enlisted when he has been examined, his duties of obedience explained to him, and after he has taken the prescribed oath.

7. “Any free white[*] male person above the age of eighteen, and under thirty-five years of age, being at least five feet three inches high; effective, able-bodied, sober, free from disease, of good character and habits, and with a competent knowledge of the English language, may be enlisted as a soldier” (Reg. 929.)  This regulation makes exceptions in favor of musicians and soldiers who have served one enlistment, although they should be under the prescribed height and age.  A soldier cannot claim a discharge in consequence of any defect in the above requirements, unless, in case of a minor, he can prove that the requirements of the law have not been complied with in his enlistment.

8. In case of a minor under eighteen years of age, the written consent of the parents or guardian must be appended.

9. In time of peace, married men are excluded from enlistment, except in cases of re-enlistment, except by special authority from the Adjutant-General’s Office. (Reg. 930.)  It is but just to the soldier to know that his being such does not exclude him from getting married, or annul in any way the marriage contract.  At the same time, he cannot claim exemption from any duty because he is married.

10. Whilst it is impossible for an officer to prevent a soldier from getting married, it is recommended, if he wishes to do so, that he should procure the consent of the company commander; otherwise he may subject himself to great unhappiness, as the officer is not required to recognize the wife in the army, and no provision is made for her; she cannot claim quarters or subsistence, nor any exemption for her husband from the duties of the soldier on her account.

11. Four laundresses are allowed to each company, and soldiers’ wives may be, and generally are, mustered in that capacity.  They are then entitled to the same quarters, fuel, and rations as a soldier, and the established pay for the washing they may do for soldiers and officers.

12. The term of enlistment at present in the regular service is for three years.  In the volunteer service it varies according to the call under which they enter service. (Act July 29, 1861, sec. 5.)

13. After enlistment, no soldier can be discharged before the expiration of his term of service, except by order of the President, the Secretary of War, the commanding officer of a department in case of disability, or the sentence of a general court-martial. (Art. 11.)  No soldier can leave the service without a proper discharge, without subjecting himself to the penalty of desertion.  Any soldier who leaves his command, without permission, more than one mile, subjects himself to the penalty of desertion. (Art. 41.)

14. Any officer of the regular army is authorized to administer the oath to a soldier upon his enlistment. (Act Aug. 3, 1861, sec. 11.)

15. Whilst officers are required to have the Articles of War read to soldiers, no soldier can plead, in bar of punishment, that this regulation has not been complied with, although he may plead it in extenuation of his offence.  Soldiers are not subject to arrest for debt, except where the sum is twenty dollars, or more, and then it must be contracted before enlisting. (Act Jan. 11, 1812.)

16. “Every soldier who, having been honorably discharged from the service of the United States, shall, within one month thereafter, re-enlist, shall be entitled to two dollars per month in addition to the ordinary pay of his grade, for the first period of five years after the expiration of his previous enlistment, and a further sum of one dollar per month for each successive period of five years, so long as he shall remain continuously in the army.” (Act Aug. 4, 1854, sec. 3.)

17. “Soldiers who served in the war with Mexico, and received a “Certificate of Merit” for distinguished services, shall receive two dollars per month, to which that certificate would have entitled them had they remained continuously in the service.” (in. sec. 3.)

18. Non-commissioned officers who were recommended for promotion by brevet to the lowest grade of commissioned officers, but did not receive the benefit of that provision (Act March 3, 1847, sec. 17), shall be entitled to the additional pay authorized to be given to such privates as received certificates of merit. (Ib. sec. 4.)



19. THE pay and allowances of soldiers vary somewhat at different times, under different circumstances, and in different arms of service.

20. The pay of the private soldier in the cavalry, artillery and infantry, as fixed by law, is sixteen dollars per month. (Act June 20, 1864.)  One dollar per month of the soldier’s pay is retained monthly by the paymaster, to be paid upon the expiration of his enlistment.

21. Non-commissioned officers and musicians do not have any of their pay retained, except for the period in which they have served or may serve as privates.

22. Twelve and one-half cents is deducted from the pay of all enlisted men per month by the paymaster, for the support of the Military Asylum or Soldiers’ Home. (Act March 3, 1859, sec. 7.)

23. The soldier has an annual allowance for clothing, the amount of which is obtained by computing the cost of the average amount of clothing allowed to soldiers for the year. (Reg. 1157.)  This allowance is published periodically in orders by the War Department, in connection with the prices of clothing.

24. The first sergeant of the company keeps the clothing account of the soldier, under the direction of the company commander after each issue, the money value of all the clothing drawn should be entered on it, and the soldier’s signature obtained to its correctness.  Should the soldier not draw the amount of clothing allowed in kind, it may be commuted, and the balance paid in money on the expiration of his term of enlistment.

25. At the end of each year, the difference saved is carried to his credit, and paid him in money at the expiration of his term of enlistment. (Reg. 1150.)  Should he exceed the amount in any year, it is charged on the next subsequent muster roll and deducted from his pay by the paymaster. (Reg. 1155.)

26. A soldier who re-enlists within one month after or two months before the expiration of his enlistment, is entitled to two dollars per month additional for re-enlistment, and one dollar per month for each subsequent period of five years’ service.

27. Bounties are generally allowed to soldiers, which are sometimes directed by law, and sometimes by orders from the War Department.  States often offer bounties to volunteers.  The time and manner of payment are prescribed by orders from the War Department.  The bounties allowed by States to volunteers are generally of local notoriety.

28. General Order No. 190, dated War Department, June 25, 1863, authorized a premium, advance pay, and bounty to all men who would enlist before the 1st of December, 1863 (G. O. 338), in the regular army, the enlistment being for five years, as follows, viz.:

Premium paid on enlistment................................................................................................ $2.00

Advance pay, first payment after muster........................................................................... $13.00

Advance bounty, paid at depot after being accepted......................................................... $25.00

Total..................................................................................................................... $40.00


Bounty to be paid at the second regular pay-day after enlistment..................................... $50.00

Bounty to be paid at first pay-day after 8 months’ service................................................ $50.00

Bounty to be paid at first pay-day after 12 months’ service.............................................. $50.00

Bounty to be paid at first pay-day after 2 years’ service.................................................. $50.00

Bounty to be paid at first pay-day after 3 years’ service.................................................. $50.00

Bounty to be paid at first pay-day after 4 years’ service.................................................. $50.00

Bounty to be paid at the expiration of service.................................................................. $75.00


29. This bounty of four hundred dollars, by the same order, was extended to all soldiers then in service in the regular army, whose terms would expire within one year, and who re-enlisted within two months before the expiration of their term of service.

30. General Order No. 191, of the same date as the foregoing, extended a similar bounty to veteran volunteers, the enlistment being for three years or during the war.  All those who enlisted between the 25th of June and the 1st of December, 1863, although not previously in service (G. O. 324), and all those who re-enlisted subsequent to the order, after at least nine months’ service, are entitled as follows, viz.:

Upon being mustered into service, one month’s pay in advance....................................... $13.00

Also first installment of bounty......................................................................................... $60.00

Also premium..................................................................................................................... $2.00

Total payment on muster................................................................................................... $75.00


At the first regular pay-day, or 2 months after muster in................................................... $50.00

At the first regular pay-day after 6 months’ service.......................................................... $50.00

At the first regular pay-day after 12 months’ service........................................................ $50.00

At the first regular pay-day after 18 months’ service........................................................ $50.00

At the first regular pay-day after 2 years’ service............................................................ $50.00

At the first regular pay-day after 2½ years’ service......................................................... $50.00

At the expiration of 3 years’ service, the remainder......................................................... $40.00


31. Should the war end before the expiration of their enlistment, volunteers will nevertheless receive the remainder of the four hundred dollars; and should the soldier die in service, the heir will receive the balance due.

32. Soldiers have the privilege of depositing money in the hands of the paymaster for safe keeping, provided that the amount deposited at any one time is not less than five dollars, and that it shall not be withdrawn before the expiration of the soldier’s enlistment. (Reg. 1354.)  A checkbook is given the soldier, and a certificate of each deposit is entered and signed by the paymaster.

33. The company commander must keep an account of each deposit in the Descriptive Book, and after each payment transmit a list of the depositors and the amounts to the Paymaster-General.  In case of transfer, the amount of the deposit is entered on the soldier’s descriptive roll.

34. When discharged, they are entered on his final statements; and when a soldier dies, the amount of his deposit is entered on the inventory.  These deposits are not liable to forfeiture by sentence of a court-martial, and are secure to the soldier or his heirs against all accident.

35. A soldier is entitled to one ration per day.  During the present war, the ration is very ample.  The rations are drawn in bulk by the company commander, and distributed under his direction to the Company.

36. A soldier serving away from his company, and it being impracticable to draw his rations or to carry them with him, the commissary may commute them at seventy-five cents per day when due, or in advance on the order of the commanding officer. (Reg. 1216.)

37. This contemplates services for short periods, such as carrying expresses, pursuit of deserters &c.; and where soldiers are placed on duty in a situation where subsistence is unusually expensive it would no doubt be allowed.  Otherwise, on furlough or on duty, where rations cannot be issued in kind, they will be commuted at the cost price of the place or station. (Reg. 1218.)

38. When a soldier is discharged, he is allowed pay for the number of days from the post where discharged to the place of his enlistment, at the rate of twenty miles per day, and a ration for each day, which is commuted at the cost price of a ration at the post where discharged.

39. In cases of “excessive fatigue” or “severe exposure,” soldiers may receive an issue of whiskey of one gill per ration.

40. By the Act of March 3, 1863, sec. 35, extra-duty pay to soldiers is discontinued, and enlisted men detailed to special service cannot receive any extra pay for such service beyond that allowed other enlisted men of the same grade.[†]

41. The authorized farriers, saddlers, wagoners, blacksmiths, and artificers allowed for cavalry and artillery have salaries fixed by law,—viz.: artificers, farriers, and blacksmiths, eighteen dollars; saddlers and wagoners, fourteen dollars.  The extra pay formerly allowed is therefore prohibited.

42. Soldiers detailed as hospital nurses, attendants, and cooks are not allowed any additional pay, as heretofore.  Soldiers detailed on extra duty as stewards in hospitals cannot receive the thirty dollars allowed to hospital stewards until their appointment has been approved by the Surgeon-General, and they have been transferred from the line to the Medical department.

43. It has been the practice of the Government to extend to soldiers who have served in any of the wars certain other allowances, either of extra pay or land-warrants; also medals for distinguished services rendered.

44. The law also provides for disabled soldiers who have been rendered so in the line of their duty, by giving them pensions.  For total disability the pension allowed for non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates is eight dollars per month.  In case of death from wounds or disease, the widow, or, if no widow, the legitimate children under sixteen, or, if no widow or children, a dependent mother, and, if neither widow, children, nor mother, an orphan sister or sisters, dependent, and under sixteen years of age, are entitled to the pension.

45. The Military Asylum, or Soldiers’ Home, is an institution created for the benefit of indigent, superannuated, and disabled soldiers, where they are clothed, subsisted, and taken care of at public expense.  The institution is open to all soldiers who have become unfit for service, in the service of the United States.  It is one of the richest and best-endowed institutions in the United States, it a healthy and pleasant locality about two or three miles north of Washington, in the District of Columbia.

46. Soldiers who become insane in the service are provided for and sent to the Asylum for the Insane at Washington.




47. ONE of the first things a soldier has to learn on entering the army, is a proper military deportment towards his superiors in rank: this is nothing more than the military way of performing the courtesies required from a well-bred man in civil life, and a punctual performance of them is as much to his credit as the observance of the ordinary rules of common politeness.

48. “Sergeants, with swords drawn, will salute by bringing them to a present; with muskets, by bringing the left hand across the body, so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder.  Corporals out of the ranks, and privates not sentries, will carry their muskets at a shoulder as sergeants, and salute in like manner.” (Reg. 255.)

49. “When a soldier without arms, or with side arms only, meets an officer, he is to raise his hand to the right side of the visor of his cap, palm to the front, elbow raised as high as the shoulder, looking at the same time in a respectful and soldier-like manner at the officer, who will return the compliment thus offered.” (Reg. 256.)

50. “A non-commissioned officer or soldier being seated, and without particular occupation, will rise on the approach of an officer, and make the customary salutation.  If standing, he will turn toward the officer for the same purpose.  If the parties remain in the same place or on the same ground, such compliments need not be repeated.” (Reg. 257.)

51. The foregoing regulations should be strictly observed by enlisted men; and their faithful performance will add much to the military reputation of a company or regiment.

52. The following customs are equally binding, though not provided for in Regulations:

When soldiers are marching in the ranks, they do not salute, unless ordered at the time.  If employed at any work, they are not expected to discontinue their employment to salute.

53. A soldier or non-commissioned officer, when he addresses an officer, or is spoken to by one, salutes; on receiving the answer or communication from the officer, he again salutes before turning to go away.

54. When a soldier enters an officer’s quarters armed, he simply makes the required salute, and does not take off his cap; but without arms, or with side-arms only, he takes off his cap and stands in the position of a soldier, and delivers his message or communicates what he came for in as few words as possible and to the point.

55. A slovenly attitude, frequent changes of position, or much gesticulation, is exceedingly unmilitary, and looks bad.  Say what you have to say in a prompt, courageous manner, without diffidence or hesitation; and, if always respectful, no matter what the subject, it is more likely to be considered than when delivered in a drawling hesitating, and timid manner.

56. A mounted soldier should always dismount if the officer he wishes to address is dismounted.  A mounted soldier passing an officer salutes with the hand, except when he has his sabre drawn, and then he salutes with the sabre.

57. When a soldier enters an officer’s quarters, he remains standing in the position of a soldier until invited to sit down.  When soldiers are in a room and an officer enters, they should rise and remain standing until invited to sit down.

58. Soldiers should bear in mind that the officer has his duties to perform, and that they are more weighty and important than any soldier can have, and that his leisure time is limited, and they should therefore avoid, as much as possible, troubling him with unimportant matters, or, at least, not be disappointed if they receive short answers.

59. In a company of seventy or eighty men, if each one should go only once a day to his captain with any matter, it is easily seen how annoying such a thing would soon become.

60. Soldiers should learn, as far as possible, to manage their own affairs; and, whilst their company commander is the legitimate person to apply to for any thing needful or when in difficulty, his time should not be trespassed upon with regard to matters they should know themselves.

61. The company commander, through the first sergeant, is the proper person to apply to for all indulgences, such as passes, furloughs, &c., and for clothing, rations, pay, and the adjustment of all differences and difficulties in the company.

62. An application to any other source will most generally be answered by referring the applicant to his company commander, whose duty it is to attend to the wants of his men.  Only when the company commander neglects his duty in this respect is a soldier justified in applying to his regimental or post commander.


63. THE first duties which a newly-enlisted soldier is called upon to perform are to familiarize himself with his camp or garrison duties.

64. He is provided with clothing, which he is expected to adept to the best advantage to improve his military appearance, by the best means in his power.  There is usually a tailor or two in the company or among the recruits, who is excused from all duty possible, to fit soldiers’ clothing for a moderate compensation.

65. Under the instruction of a drill-sergeant, he is taught the first principles in the “School of the Soldier.”  After a certain progress in the instruction without arms, his arms and accoutrements are issued to him; for these he is held responsible, and, if injured or lost by any fault of his, they are charged to him on his muster-roll, and their value deducted from his pay at the first subsequent payment.

66. Should the arms or accoutrements be lost or destroyed or injured in any way not the fault of the soldier, the commanding officer may order a board of survey, who, if the facts authorize it, may relieve the soldier from the payment.

67. The soldier’s instruction is usually completed at the depot for the recruits, before the recruit reaches his company; if not, it is continued when he joins it.  After he is fully instructed in the “School of the Soldier,” he is ready to be placed in the company ranks.

68. This is the usual course pursued with the soldier in the regular army, and, as far as possible, it should be followed with volunteers and militia.  But, as they are usually called into service for special purposes and on sudden emergencies, the same thoroughness cannot be attained, and is not expected.

69. The duties of the thoroughly-instructed soldier partake of two kinds, depending on whether he is in a garrison or camp of instruction or other camp, and in the field in front of the enemy in time of war.



70. IT is the duty of the soldier, under all circumstances, to be always present with his company for duty, and attend all the standing roll-calls and exercises, unless specially excused by his commanding officer, or he is sick and excused by the surgeon, or is absent on duty.

71. The various duties to which a soldier is subject are matters of regular detail,—each soldier taking his regular tour of each as it comes,—and consist, in the main, of the following:—1st. Guards.  2nd. Working-parties, or Fatigue.  3rd. Daily duty.

72. The roster for these various details is kept by the first sergeant, and the longest off are the first to be detailed.  The details are usually published to the company at retreat roll-call for the next day.

73. At the hour fixed, the detail is paraded for the duty by the first sergeant on the company parade-ground, and marched to the parade-ground or rendezvous for such parties, and received by the sergeant-major or adjutant, who inspects the guard or party, and, after all the details have arrived, sees that they are properly equipped as required, and then turns the detachment over to the officer detailed to take charge of it, who immediately proceeds to march it to the performance of the duty required.

74. For guard, the form and ceremony are prescribed in Regulations. (Reg. 375 to 398.)  A soldier cannot leave his guard or party, until regularly relieved or marched off, without permission from his superior officer. (Articles of War 44 and 50.)

75. ON GUARD.—When the guard has marched on, it is divided into three reliefs, and in each relief the soldier is numbered, and he retains his number and the same relief during his tour, unless specially changed.

76. When the soldier is placed upon post, lie becomes a sentinel; his duties then are of two distinct characters,—those which belong to all sentinels on all posts, and those peculiar to the post on which he is placed.  The former are called general, and the latter special.

77. When called upon by the commanding officer, the officer of the day, or some officer or non-commissioned officer of the guard, to give his orders, he does so, in substance, in the following general terms, which he should understand sufficiently well to explain in detail, viz.:—

78. “I am required to take charge of this post and all public property in view; to salute all officers passing, according to rank; to give the alarm in case of fire, or the approach of an enemy, or any disturbance whatsoever; to report all violations of the Articles of War, Regulations of the Army, or camp or garrison orders; at night, to challenge all persons approaching my post, and to allow no one to pass without the countersign until they are examined by an officer or non-commissioned officer of the guard.”

79. “My special orders are” (here state them as they are given, as when in charge of commissary or quartermaster’s stores) “to take charge of all these stores, and to allow no one to interfere with or take them away, except by direction of the quartermaster or commissary sergeant, or the quartermaster or commissary himself.”

80. He should know what is meant by the above, and be able to explain it in detail.  Thus, to take charge of his post means to walk diligently the length of his beat, the limits of which are generally indicated to him; to take charge of all public property in view is to prevent, if possible, any damage being done to houses, fences, tents, trees, &c., by any unauthorized persons: if he cannot do so without leaving his post, he calls out for the corporal of the guard, and his number, and reports the matter to him.

81. To salute all officers, according to rank, who may pass near his post, means to halt and face outwards, and stand at a “carry,” until the officer has passed, if the officer is of the rank of captain or below; if above the rank of captain, the sentinel must “present arms.” He must, also, “present arms” to the officer of the day and commanding officer, whether above or below the rank of captain.

82. This involves a knowledge of the uniforms of officers.  A safe guide is the fact that all officers above the rank of captain in the army have a double row of buttons on their coats, whilst captains and lieutenants have only a single row.[‡]

83. Armed bodies of men passing near the sentinel’s post, commanded by an officer, are entitled to a “present;” if under a non-commissioned officer, they are saluted with a “carry.”  To give the alarm is to call out “the guard,” to fire off his piece, or to cry “fire.”

84. To report all violations of camp or garrison orders, or Regulations, or of the Articles of War, is to call the corporal of the guard and report the facts to him.  This includes all the irregularities usually prohibited among troops, such as discharging fire-arms, committing nuisance, drunkenness, disorderly conduct, sale of liquor, gambling, improper or excluded characters, and, in general, every thing that is known to be prohibited or improper.

85. To challenge is to call out, “Who comes there?”  Soldiers usually commence challenging after taps, and continue until reveille; although it is sometimes ordered to commence challenging immediately after retreat.

86. No. 1 sentinel is always posted at the house, tent, or bivouac where the guard is quartered.  His beat is always in front of the guard, and his duties are mostly special.  The prisoners are more or less under his charge.  He salutes officers passing, as on other posts; but, in addition, he calls, “Turn out the guard,” for the officer of the day, commanding officer, and all general officers and all bodies of troops approaching, and announces at the same time who approaches.  He reports violations as other sentinels, but does not receive the countersign; but, challenging at night, he commands, “Halt,” and calls, “Corporal of the guard,” and repeats the answer received.  If the officer of the day or any one entitled to the compliment, he commands, “Halt; turn out the guard, officer of the day!”

87. The other sentinels of the guard are posted according to numbers, and in the order most convenient for going from and returning to the guard.  They are generally posted two hours on and four hours off.

88. The following Regulations are sufficiently clear and distinct without explanation:


399. Sentinels will be relieved every two hours, unless the state of the weather, or other causes, should make it necessary or proper that it be done at shorter or longer intervals.

400. Each relief, before mounting, is inspected by the commander of the guard or of its post.  The corporal reports to him, and presents the old relief on its return.

401. The countersign, or watchword, is given to such persons as are entitled to pass during the night, and to officers, non-commissioned officers, and sentinels of the guard.  Interior guards receive the countersign only when ordered by the commander of the troops.

402. The parole is imparted to such officers only as have a right to visit the guards, and to make the grand rounds; and to officers commanding guards.

403. As soon as the new guard has been marched off, the officer of the day will repair to the office of the commanding officer and report for orders.

404. The officer of the day must see that the officer of the guard is furnished with the parole and countersign before retreat.

405. The officer of the day visits the guards during the day at such times as he may deem necessary, and makes his rounds at night at least once after 12 o’clock.

406. Upon being relieved, the officer of the day will make such remarks in the report of the officer of the guard as circumstances require, and present the same at headquarters.

407. Commanders of guards leaving their posts to visit their sentinels, or on other duty, are to mention their intention, and the probable time of their absence, to the next in command.

408. The officers are to remain constantly at their guards, except while visiting their sentinels, or necessarily engaged elsewhere on their proper duty.

409. Neither officers nor soldiers are to take off their clothing or accoutrements while they are on guard.

410. The officer of the guard must see that the countersign is duly communicated to the sentinels a little before twilight.

411. When a fire breaks out, or any alarm is raised in a garrison, all guards are to be immediately under arms.

412. Inexperienced officers are put on guard as supernumeraries’ for the purpose of instruction.

413. Sentinels will not take orders or allow themselves to be relieved, except by an officer or non-commissioned officer of their guard or party, the officer of the day, or the commanding officer; in which case the orders will be immediately notified to the commander of the guard by the officer giving them.

414. Sentinels will report every breach of orders or regulations they are instructed to enforce.

[*] The enlistment of negroes and Indians is a peculiarity of the volunteer service, and has not yet been authorized for the regular service.

[†] The decision of the Third Auditor is, that until the Regulation authorizing extra pay is rescinded, extra pay may be allowed.

[‡] NOTE.—Officers of the Navy at a short distance cannot be recognized by this means, as they all have double rows of buttons.

Download a .pdf version of this document, click here.

Transcribed by Scott Gutzke, 2006.



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