Rules and Regulations
Field Exercise and Manoeuvres of the Infantry,
Established 1st. August 1791.
By the King's Authority
His Majesty having directed a report to be laid before him, of the provisional ordinances and instructions formerly given relative to the discipline and manoeuvres of the infantry; and being desirous to regulate, definitively, whatever appertains to these objects, has been pleased to order, and hereby orders, that the following system shall be followed.
Formation of a Regiment in order of battle, or line.
Formation d'un Regiment en Bataille
Whatever may be the situation of a brigade in the order of battle, or line, the older of the two regiments of which it shall be composed, shall be formed on the right, and the younger on the left.
Whatever may be the situation of the regiments in the brigade they belong to, the first battalion of each shall be drawn up on the right, and the second on the left. The interval between the battalions shall be eight toises. (1 toise = 76 inches, 1 inch = 27 mm, therefore 1 toise = 2.052 metres.)
The first battalion of each regiment shall be composed of the first company of grenadiers, and of the companies of the first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, and fifteenth battalion-captains of the regiment.
The second battalion of each regiment shall be composed of the second company of grenadiers, and of the companies of the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, twelfth, fourteenth, sixteenth battalion-captains of the regiment.
In the first battalion, the battalion companies shall be drawn up from right to left, in the following order: first, ninth, third, eleventh, fifth, thirteenth, seventh, fifteenth.
In the second battalion, the battalion companies shall be likewise arranged from the right to the left, in the following order: second, tenth, fourth, twelfth, sixth, fourteenth, eighth, sixteenth.
When the two battalions, forming a regiment are separated, and act separately, the above arrangements shall take place relative to each battalion. When united again, the same arrangement will take place in proportion to the total strength of the regiment arranged as above.
The two companies of grenadiers shall be denominated, first and second, according to the seniority of the captains who command them. The first company shall be posted on the right of the first battalion, and the second on the left of the second battalion.
Each battalion shall be divided into two half-battalions, which shall be called right and left wings (demi-bataillon de droite, et demi- bataillon de gauche).
Each company, whether of grenadiers or a battalion company, shall constitute a platoon; and the platoons shall be reckoned by the names of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth, successively; commencing on the right, and ending on the left of each battalion. The platoon of grenadiers of each battalion will not be included in the number, and will retain its denomination of grenadiers.
The first and second platoons of each battalion will form the first grand division, the third and fourth platoons the second grand division, the fifth and sixth platoons the third grand division, and, finally, the seventh and eighth platoons will form the fourth grand division.
Each platoon will be divided into two equal parts which shall be denominated subdivisions; that on the right shall be called the first subdivision, and that on the left the second subdivision.
Each company, whatever may be its place in the battalion, shall be formed of men numbered in distinct ranks by size from right to left. One third part, consisting of the tallest men, will form the front rank, one third, composed of the shortest men, will form the centre rank, and the remaining third, the rear rank.
The distance from rank to rank will be one foot, which will be measured from the breasts of the men of the second and third ranks, to the backs of the men who are in front of them, respectively, in their files. When the knapsack is on, the distance shall be measured to the back of the knapsack.
When regiments are on a peace establishment, and are exercised by regiments, or by battalions, the platoons will be formed two- deep, in order to occupy, nearly, the same extent of ground as if formed three-deep, and on a war establishment. The platoons must always be equalised, by assigning over men, if necessary, from one company to another.
The grenadier company of each battalion will remain attached to its own battalion when singly exercised, but when the entire regiment is drilled, the grenadiers of the second battalion will join those of the first, on their left. The united companies will constitute two platoons of equal strength, which will be termed the first and second platoons of grenadiers.
Situations of the Officers and Non-commissioned Officers in the order of Battle and Line.
Place des Officiers et Sous-Officiers, dans l'ordre du bataille.
The captain in the first rank, on the right of his company or platoon.
The lieutenant in the fourth rank, two paces in the rear of the centre of the second subdivision.
The second-lieutenant, or ensign, in the fourth rank, in the rear of the right of the second subdivision.
The first sergeant in the rear of the captain, and covering him in the third rank. In the evolutions, this sergeant will be named, the covering or replacing non-commissioned officer (sous-officier de remplacement), and will be the director, or guide, of the right of the platoon.
The second sergeant in the fourth rank, in the rear of the left of the second subdivision. This sergeant, in the evolutions, will be the guide or director of the left of his platoon.
In the eighth platoon of the first battalion, the second sergeant will be posted on the left of the battalion, in the front rank, covered by a corporal in the rear rank.
In the second battalion also, whether the platoon on its left consists of grenadiers or of a common company, the second sergeant in the front rank, covered by a corporal in the rear rank, will be posted on the left of the battalion.
The corporal of the department of quarters (caporal-fourrier) is posted with the guard or reserve of the colours of his battalion.
The corporals, according to their height, will be placed on the right and left of their platoons, and in the front and rear ranks, in preference to the centre rank,
The replacing of officers in each company, and also of non-commissioned officers, will be regulated by rank, but in the absence of the captain, and of the lieutenant of a company, the commander of the regiment, should he deem it necessary, may detach a lieutenant from another company to command that, during the drill, whose captain and lieutenant may be absent.
When the regiment is on a war establishment, the third sergeant of each company will be stationed in the fourth rank, in the rear of the left of the first subdivision of his platoon.
Situations of the Superior Officers, Adjutants-Major and Adjutants in the Line.
Place des officiers superieures, adjutans-majors, et adjutans.
The colonel and the two lieutenant-colonels will be mounted.
The adjutants-major, and the adjutants, shall be on foot.
The colonel shall be posted thirty paces in the rear of the fourth rank, and opposite to the centre of the interval between the two battalions forming his regiment.
Each of the lieutenant-colonels, twenty paces in the rear of the fourth or supernumerary rank, and opposite to the colour-supporting files.
The adjutant-major of each battalion eight paces in the rear of the fourth rank of his battalion, and opposite to the centre of its right wing
The adjutant of each battalion, eight paces in the rear of the fourth rank of his battalion,and opposite to the centre of its left wing.
Posts of the drummers and musicians in the line.
Places des tambours et musiciens.
The drummers of each battalion formed in single rank, if the regiment is formed on peace establishment, and two ranks, if on war establishment; will be placed fifteen paces in the rear of the fifth platoon of their battalion. The drum-major will be in front of the drummers of the first battalion, and the corporal of the drums in front of those of the second. The musicians, in one rank, will be placed two paces in the rear of the first battalion drummers.
Guard files of the Colours
Gardes du Drapeau
The guard of the colours of each battalion shall consist of eight corporals of the quarter- master's department, and belonging to the battalion companies. This guard shall be posted on the left of the second subdivision of the fourth platoon, and shall constitute a part of that subdivision.
The first rank of this guard shall be composed of the sergeant-major, who shall carry the colours, and of two corporals of the above department, one on his right, and the other on his left.
The centre and rear ranks of the guard of the colours shall be formed of three corporals of the same department. These corporals, the non-commissioned officers, covering captains of companies, and likewise the sergeants in the supernumerary ranks, shall have their arms advanced.
The three corporals of the quarter-master's department, who may be distinguished for regularity, and perfect appearance under arms and in marching, shall be placed in the centre of the guard of the colours.
The colonel, and in his absence the commanding officer of the regiment, shall select in each regiment, the sergeant-major who ought to carry the colours.
It is of the utmost importance in marching in battle-order, or line, that this sergeant should be thoroughly instructed to observe the precise length, and exact cadence of step; and, in his own person, to prolong a given direction without deviation.
Instruction of the Regiments
Instructions des Regiments.
The colonel, and in his absence the commanding officer of each regiment, shall be responsible for the general instruction of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers of his regiment.
Instructions of the Officers
Instructions des Officiers
The instruction of the officers includes what is taught under the three headings, The Discipline of the Soldier, The Discipline of the Platoon, and The Discipline of the Battalion. It cannot be completely established without joining theory into practice. Independent of field drills, there shall be, in each regiment a theoretical instructor.
In conformity to this, the commandant of each regiment will, as often as he may deem it requisite, assemble the officers of each battalion, in order to explain, or cause to be explained to them, the principles on which are founded these three species of discipline.
No officer shall be deemed instructed, until he shall be capable of commanding, and of perfectly explaining the three parts composing this system.
In these instructions, the principles and theoretical spirit of the evolutions shall be principally attended to, without ever requiring from the officers to learn the literal detail of the text.
The officers shall be frequently exercised by the superior-officers in marching, and the utmost pains must be bestowed in giving them an accurate position under arms; in teaching them to form regularly; and to observe the exact length and the cadence of the step.
Instruction of the NCOs
Instructions des sous-officiers
The instruction of the non-commissioned officers shall comprehend the Discipline of the Soldier, and the Discipline of the Platoon; and they shall be required to possess an accurate knowledge of the exercise and use of their own arms, and of the manual exercise, and also of all that has reference to the manual exercise of the soldier, and to the firing and marching.
The adjutants-major and adjutant, being especially entrusted with the instruction of the non-commissioned officers, the chiefs of regiments shall commence by ascertaining the certainty, that these themselves are instructed and shall then render them responsible for the instruction of the non-commissioned officers.
The adjutants-major and the adjutants shall begin by instructing, with the greatest care, all the sergeant-majors, and two of the most intelligent non-commissioned officers of each company.
These sergeants being thoroughly instructed, shall each choose two or three other non- commissioned officers in their respective companies, and shall instruct them in the same manner, under the directions of the adjutants and the sergeant-majors.
The first degree of instruction, including only the Discipline of the Soldier, being established, the non-commissioned officers of each battalion shall be formed into one platoon, three deep, with a fourth rank, and commanded by a chief of platoon, having his covering sergeant. This platoon will be drilled by the adjutant-major and adjutant, according to the directions laid down for the Discipline of the Platoon.
This instruction having principally for its object to enable the non-commissioned officers thoroughly to instruct the recruits, all the principles of the first two species of discipline must be explained to them, first, on the field of exercise, and afterwards in their respective theoretical schools, including the various duties of the guides or directing sergeants, during the exercise of the battalion.
In order that this system of instruction may be afterwards constantly maintained, the adjutants-major and their adjutants shall from time to time, assemble the non-commissioned officers, either for the purpose of drill, or for that of inculcating a knowledge of the theory.
In the event of casualties, or promotion taking place among the non-commissioned officers, the sergeant-major shall be required to instruct the new sergeants and corporals, each those of his own company; and the adjutant- majors and adjutants must be attentive in seeing this duty diligently discharged.
The commanders of regiments are to cause the platoons of the colour-guard, and the general directing sergeants of the battalion, to be frequently exercised in the practice of marching in the order of battle, or in line.
The most scrupulous attention must be bestowed on giving to the bearers of the colours the habit of prolonging, without varying to the right or left, a certain given direction, and of maintaining, will the utmost precision, the length, as well as the cadence of the step.
The captains of the companies being responsible to the colonel of the regiment, and to the superior officer of their battalion, for the general instruction of their respective companies, shall by no means neglect that of their recruits. They will, consequently, point out the sergeants and corporals most capable of drilling them, and will give it in charge to the officers and sergeant-major of their company, to pay strict attention to the progress of their discipline.
There shall always, when conveniently possible, a general parade appointed, where the recruits of each regiment shall assemble; and one of the superior officers shall attend there, when his other occupations may admit of it.
When there shall be a certain number of recruits qualified to enter the Discipline of the Platoon, (Ecole de Peloton) the adjutant-major will unite them, and cause them to be drilled either by one of the young officers attached to the school of the platoon discipline, or by an nco. He will himself oversee this instruction, and will direct the progression laid down in the Discipline of the Platoon (Ecole de Peloton) to be followed.
When the adjutant-major judges that one or more of the recruits composing the platoon are qualified to join the battalion, he will cause the same to be reported to the officers commanding the companies to which such men belong, and will direct them to be exercised in their presence. The officers commanding companies, if they find them sufficiently instructed, will in that case, direct their joining the battalion.
Division of the Discipline of the Soldier or Recruit.
Division de l'Ecole du Soldat.
The discipline of the soldier shall be divided into four (sic three?) parts. The first part will include all that ought to be taught the recruit before his arms are delivered to him.
The second will include the manual exercise, the loadings, and firings.
The third will comprehend the different steps, the principles of marching to the front, and to the flank, the alignments and dressings, the wheelings, and the changes of direction.
Each part shall be divided into four lessons, as follows.
Lesson la Position of the soldier without arms. Lesson 1b. Motion of the head to right or left (i.e. dressing)
Lesson 2 Facings to the right, left, and right- about.
Lesson 3 Principles of the ordinary step direct.
Lesson 4 Principles of the oblique step.
Lesson 1 Principles of the shouldered arms.
Lesson 2 The platoon exercise.
Lesson 3 Loading I quick time, and quickest time.
Lesson 4 The direct fire, the oblique fire, and firing by independent files.
Lesson 1 The junction of from five to nine men, in order to march to the front; and practising the different steps.
Lesson 2 The march to the flank.
Lesson 3 Principles of the alignment, or dressing.
Lesson 4 Principles of wheeling and changes of direction.
Each lesson shall be followed by observations demonstrating the unity of the principles which have been prescribed. The instructors cannot study them too much, nor be to particular in their application in conveying their instructions to the recruits.
The word of command shall always be animated and loud, in proportion to the number of recruits at exercise.
There shall be two species of words of command, viz those of Caution and those of Evolution.
The words of Caution, which shall be distinguished in the instructions by "Italics", must be distinctly pronounced, at the full extent of the voice, dwelling a little on the last syllable.
The commands of "Execution" will be distinguished in the instructions by "Normal," and shall be pronounced with firm, short, tone of voice.
The words of command, the expression of which in the instructions shall be separated by hyphens, (i.e. the symbol =) shall be cut, or divided, in the same manner , in pronouncing them.
(In this version the original French commands and instructions are given in Red Type)
The instructors will always explain what they teach, in few words, clearly and distinctly. They shall, themselves, always execute what they command, in order thus to exemplify the principles they are explaining.
They will particularly attend to accustoming the recruit to assume, of his own accord, the position he ought; and they shall not place him in the proper position, till his want of comprehension shall oblige them to do so.
1. The first part of the discipline of the soldier shall be taught, as much as possible, to recruits singly, or two or three together, at most, when the number of recruits to be trained and of the number of instructors that can be spared for the purpose, shall render it necessary .In this case they shall be placed in one rank, without arms, and at the distance of one pace from each other.
Position or the soldier
Position du Soldat
2. The heels on the same line, as near to each other as the conformation of the man will admit of; the feet forming with each other, an angle something less than a right-angle, and turned out equally; the knees straight, but not stiff; the body perpendicular on the hips, and leaning forward; the shoulders kept back, and falling equally; the arms hanging naturally; the elbows not separated from the body; the palms of the hands turned a little outwards; the little finger back, the head well up, without being constrained, the chin tending towards the neck, without covering it; the eyes fixed on the ground at the distance of 15 paces in front.
3. Observations Relative to the Position of the Soldier
Observations relatives à la position du Soldat
The heels on the same line; because if one was more behind than the other the shoulders would either incline in the direction of the retired heel, or the position of the soldier
would be constrained. The heels (at minimum) distance from each other; because men whose legs are curved, or who have the calf of the leg brawny, cannot join their heels.
The feet equally turned out. and not forming too large an angle; because if one foot were turned out more than the other, the shoulder would follow the motion; and if the feet were turned out too much, it would not be possible to incline forward the upper part of the body, without rendering unsteady the whole position.
The knees straight. but not stiff; because if they were straightened back, or stiffened too much, constraint and fatigue would naturally arise.
The body perpendicular on the hips; because it is the only mode of giving a perfect equilibrium. The instructor shall observe, that the major part of recruits have a bad habit of inclining or stooping a shoulder, of bending the side, or of advancing the hips, particularly the left, when under arms. He will attend to the correction of these faults.
The upper part of the body leaning forward; because recruits are inclined, in general, to do just the contrary; to project the belly, to bend, or hollow the small of the back, and to reserve or hang back the shoulders, when they wish to hold themselves upright; circumstances attended with the greatest disadvantages in marching, as will be explained in the observation on the principles of the step. The habit of leaning forward the upper part of the body, is so important to acquire, that the instructor, in the beginning, ought to establish this position by force, especially with respect to such men whose natural position, or carriage, is of a contrary tendency.
The shoulders kept back; because if the shoulders are projected forward, rendering the back rounded, the general defect in the appearance of men from the country, men of such description could neither dress themselves in line, nor use their arms with dexterity .The instructor will, therefore, see that the dress and vest of the recruit are sufficiently easy and wide so as not to oppose any restraints to the position he teaches them. In keeping in, or back the shoulders, the instructor must not press them too far back, which will occasion a hollow in the region of the small of the back, a thing that must carefully be avoided.
The arms hanging naturally; the elbows not separated from the body; the palm of the hand turned a little outwards, the little finger behind or back, and placed against, or touching the seam of the breeches; because these positions are necessary to enable the soldier to carry shouldered arms perfectly, and to occupy in the ranks only the space requisite for using his arms with facility, for which purposes the placing of the elbows properly is essentially necessary. This position of the arms and elbows, and hands, answers these purposes, and is besides effectual in keeping back the shoulders.
The head well up without being constrained; because if the head was held awkwardly stiff, the effect would be communicated to the upper part of the body, the movement of which would be constrained, besides rendering the general attitude painful and fatiguing.
The eyes fixed straight to the front; because this position at the head direct to the front, is the surest means of accustoming the soldier to maintaining the squareness of the shoulders, an essential principle, to which he must be habituated with the greatest care.
4. The instructor having established the position shall teach the recruit the motions of the head, called Eyes to the Right, and Eyes to the Left, for which purpose, he will give the words of command as follows:
1. Eyes to the =Right (Tête =à Droite)
2. =Front (=Fixe)
5. At the conclusion of the second part of the first word of command the soldier will turn his head to the right, but not suddenly, so that the corner of the left eye, nearest to the nose shall be in line with the buttons of the waistcoat, his eyes being fixed in the line of the eyes of the men of the rank he stands in.
6. On hearing the second word, of command fix, he will turn back the head horizontally, to the direct position to the front, which ought to be the habitual position of the soldier.
7. The motion of "eyes to the left" ("tête à gauche") will be executed .in the contrary manner.
8. The instructor will take care that the motion of the head may not alter the squareness of the shoulders which might happen, if this motion were too quick.
9. When the instructor sees it necessary to order the rank to "stand at ease", he will give the word:
Stand at =Ease (=Repos).
10. On hearing this word of command, it will not be required from the soldier to maintain either his position or his immobility.
11. The instructor, to make him resume both, will give the following word of command:
1. Attention (Garde à vous)
2. =Platoon (=Peloton, or Escouade).
12. At the first word, the soldier will fix his attention. At the second, he will resume the prescribed position and immobility.
To the right, left, and right about face.
A droite, à gauche, et demi-tour à droite
13. The facings to the right, and left shall be executed by one word. The instructor shall give the word:
1. Platoon (or squad) will face (Peloton par le flanc droite)
To the right (or left) (or à gauche)
2. To the right (or left) =Face (= A Droite, ou =à gauche) .
14. At the second word of command, the recruit will turn on his left heel, raising a little the point of the left, heel and will, at the same time, carry back the right heel to the side of the left, placing it on the same line.
15. To the right about face, shall be executed in two motions. The instructor shall give the word:
1. Squad (Peloton)
2. To the right about =Face (Demi-Tour =à droite)
First word or time of the second command;
16. At the word to the right about, (Demi-tour), make a half face to the right, and the right foot must be slipped back to the rear, so that the buckle shall be opposite to and three full inches from the left-heel; laying hold, at the same time, of the. cartridge-box by the corner, with the right hand.
Second word or time of the second command;
17. At the word Face (à Droite), the recruit raising the points of the feet or toes, and keeping the hams straight, will turn on both heels, and face to the rear, carrying back, at the same time, the right heel to the side of the left, and quitting the cartridge-box.
18. When the recruit carries arms, at the first word of command, he shall face his musket with the left hand, as will be explained in describing the first motion of loading; and he will resume the position of shouldered arms at the moment of placing the right heel in contact with the left
19. The instructor will take care that the movements do not derange the position of the body, which ought to remain inclined forward.
Principles of the ordinary step direct.
Principes du pas ordinaire direct.
20. The length of the ordinary step shall be two feet (Remember these are French feet 12 French inches = 12.785 English inches therefore 1 pace = 25.57 inches), reckoning from heel to heel; and 76 paces shall be taken in one minute.
21. The instructor seeing the recruit confirmed in his position shall explain to him the principles and mechanisms of the step, by placing himself three or four paces in front of and facing the recruit, and by showing him slowly, the mode of executing the step, thus exemplifying the principles he is explaining. He will give the following words of command.
1.Forward (En avant).
2. =March (=Marche).
22. At the first word of command, the recruit shall throw the weight of his body onto the right leg.
23. At the second word he will step off smartly, with the left foot, projecting it a pace of two feet, smoothly, and without jerking the body, the hams straight, the toes pointing a little downwards, and the knee turned somewhat outwards. He will at the same time, carry forward the weight of the body, and without striking the sole against the ground, will plant the foot flat, precisely at the distance prescribed from the right foot, the whole weight of the body resting on the foot which comes to the ground, the recruit shall smartly, but without a jerk or shock of the body, shall pass the right foot to the front, carrying it near to the ground, and will plant it at the same distance, and in the same manner, as has been explained relative to the left He will march in this manner without crossing the legs, keeping the shoulders square, and the head always in the direct position.
24. When the instructor sees it necessary to order a halt, he will give the commands:
1. Squad (Peloton)
2. =March (=Marche)
25. At the second word, which shall be given at the instant when either foot may be coming to the ground, the recruit shall bring up the foot which is in the rear to the side of the other, without striking it against the one planted in front, or against the ground.
26. Observations relative to the principles of the ordinary step.
Observations relatives aux principes du pas.
To carry the weight of the body on the right leg, at the cautionary word forward (En Avant); to prepare the soldier to take the first step smartly, a thing very essential for a body of men.
The point of the foot carried low, but without affectation or constraint; by carrying the point of the foot low, the ham is stretched, and the foot is ready to be placed flat.
The point of the foot turned a little out; if the feet are turned too far out the body would be subject to wave, and to be unsteady.
The upper part of the body thrown forward; the weight of the body bearing on the foot which is just planted, the foot in the rear can be raised with ease, and the step will not be shortened.
To march with the ham straight; without this a body of men could not without constraint, or breaking, march as if each man was independent; and since no two men march absolutely in the same manner; it becomes necessary that recruits should learn to march with an uniform step, which may be marked and cadenced, without which there would be no regulated connection.
To carry along the foot near the ground; Because that if the soldiers raised the foot more than was necessary, time would be lost, and the march would be attended with useless fatigue. Besides, if there was no fixed principle, they would raise the foot and bend the knee, some more, some less; the feet would not be brought at the same time to the ground; and there would be neither cadence nor uniformity.
To plant the foot flat, without striking it against the ground; In order to avoid the balancing of the body, and the shortening of the step, which would take place if the heel were brought to the ground first, or if the foot was struck against the ground in placing it; which latter circumstance would be attended with the inconvenience of useless fatigue to the soldier, and of breaking the cadence, because some would raise the foot more, and others less.
The head held up, and direct to the front; Because this position enables the recruit to march square to the front, without bringing forward either shoulder.
27. The instructor will explain to the recruit, occasionally, the time of the cadence of the step, by giving the word one (un) when the foot is raised, and two (deux) when it ought to be planted on the ground; observing that 76 cadenced steps are taken in a minute. This method will contribute exceedingly to impress on the mind of the recruit, the two parts of the time of which every step is composed.
Principles of the Oblique Step.
Principes du pas oblique
28. This step will be in ordinary time, 76 steps being taken in a minute. The length of this step will be pointed out hereafter.
29. When the recruit has acquired the habit of marching accurately with the direct step, and of taking steps of equal length in the same time, the instructor shall teach him the oblique step, which he decompose, or take to pieces, in order that the recruit may the better comprehend its mechanism, or component parts, as follow.
30.. The recruit being steady in his rank, the instructor will make him step off with the right foot, to the right and front, obliquely, and shall make him plant it 24 inches nearly from the left; observing to make him turn the point of the right foot a little inwards, to prevent the bringing forward of the left shoulder. The recruit will rest in this position.
31. At the word two (deux), by the instructor, the recruit shall carry his left foot over the shortest possible line, and plant it 17 inches in front of the right heel. He will rest in this position.
32. He will continue to march in this manner, at the words one (un) and two (deux); stopping at each step, and paying the greatest attention in keeping the shoulders square, and the head direct to the front.
33. The oblique step to the left shall be executed on the same principles, the recruit stepping off with the left foot.
34. After some lessons of this kind, the recruit shall oblique to the right and left, without dwelling on the step, as follows.
35. The recruit marching to the front, in ordinary time, shall receive these words of command;
1. To the right oblique. (Oblique à droite)
2. March. (Marche)
36. At the second word which shall be given, at the instant when the left foot is coming to the ground, the recruit shall commence the oblique step to the right, observing to conform to the above directions relative to the formation and length of the step, and squareness of the shoulders to the front, but without stopping at each step, he must march 76 paces in a minute.
37. Obliquing to the left shall be executed on the same principles, the instructor giving the word march, (march), at the instant when the right foot comes to the ground.
38. In order to resume the march to the front direct, the instructor shall give the words,
1. Forward. (En avant)
2. March. (=Marche.)
39. At the second word, which shall be given when either foot is just coming to the ground, the recruit shall resume the direct march, and the ordinary step of two feet.
Observations relative to the oblique step.
Observations relatives au pas oblique.
40. The instructor shall diligently observe, conformable to what has been inculcated in the preceding lesson, that the soldier marches with the ham straight; that the weight of the body bears on the foot on the ground; that the feet shall pass over the shortest line possible to the place where they ought to be planted; that the head is kept up, and direct to the front; and that the shoulders are carried square, without turning forward.
41. The recruits must be exercised much in marching with this step, which is attended with difficulty at the commencement, but which is extremely useful in the movements of the line. It is, besides, an excellent mode of setting up the recruits, and of habituating them to maintain the direction of the shoulders. For these purposes, the recruits will be required to march fifty or sixty paces obliquely before the direct march is resumed.
42. When the recruit is perfect in marching the oblique step, the instructor shall not be rigorously precise in causing the rules laid down for the length of this step to be followed. He shall establish it as a principle, to gain as much ground as possible to a flank, and to the front in the same proportion, without deranging the line of the shoulders, which must be always square to the front, as in the march to the front direct.
General observations on the Direct and Oblique Steps.
Observations générales relatives au pas direct et oblique.
43. In order to ascertain whether the position of the body is conformable to the principles laid down; whether the step is regularly formed; and whether the weight of the body rests on the foot which is on the ground; the instructor shall frequently post himself from six to twelve paces in front, facing the recruits; if he does not perceive the soles of the shoes when the feet are lifted and carried forward to be placed on the ground, and if he does not observe any movement of the shoulders, or a waving to and fro of the upper part of the body, he may rest assured that the principles of marching are strictly conformed to.
44. When the principles of the step are shown to two or three men at a time, accurate dressing need not be required, as that might divide attention; besides, when they have acquired the habit of taking steps of equal length, in equal times, they will have learnt the true means of preserving the alignment.
45. The instructor should, when drilling two or three recruits together, place them at the distance of one pace from each other, to prevent them from acquiring a bad habit of spreading out the elbows, or of leaning against the men on either side of them.
46. The instructor of the drill shall not carry on the recruits to this second part of the Discipline of the Soldier (Ecole de Soldat) until they are perfectly confirmed in the position of the body, and in the formation of the direct and oblique steps.
47. The instructor shall then place three men in one rank, elbow to elbow, and shall instruct them to hold their arms at the shoulder, as follows:
Principles of Shouldered Arms
Principes du Port d'armes.
48. The recruit being placed as directed in the first lesson of the first part, the instructor will make him raise and turn up the left hand, without bending the wrist, the part of the arm from the elbow downwards only acting, and shall raise the musket perpendicularly, to be placed as follows:
The musket in the left hand, the arm being a little bent; the elbow back and joined to the body without pressure; the palm of the hand firmly against the exterior rounding of the butt; the exterior edge of the butt resting on the first articulation joining the fingers to the palm; the heel of the fore part of the butt resting between the first and second fingers, the thumb above, the third and fourth fingers under the butt, which must be supported more or less kept back, according to the conformation of the recruit, in such a manner that the musket, seen from the front, may rest always perpendicular, and that the movement of the thigh in marching may not raise it, or disturb it in its perpendicular position; the ramrod against the point, nearly, of the shoulder; and the right hand and arm hanging naturally, as described in the first lesson of the first part.
Observations on Shouldered Arms
Observations Relatives au Port d'armes
49. Recruits have frequently defects in the formation of the shoulders, breast and hips. The instructor ought to endeavour, as much as possible to correct these defects, previous to delivering arms to the recruit, and ought afterwards to have a constant attention in regulating his mode of shouldered arms, according to these defects of conformation, in such a way, that the general appearance of the men may be uniform, without constraining their positions.
50. He will remark, that men are very apt to derange the position of the body when arms are placed at the shoulders, and especially to distort the shoulders, which deprives the musket of its point of support, and makes the men sink the left hand to prevent it from falling. This also occasions a sinking of the left shoulder, a curvature of the side, and an extension of the elbows, to restore the equilibrium, etc.
51. The instructor will take pains to correct all these faults, and continually to rectify the position of the men. He must frequently take their arms from them, in order to replace them properly. He will avoid fatiguing them in the beginning, and will endeavour to render this so natural and easy, that they may remain in it for a long time without fatigue.
52 Finally, the instructor ought to bestow much attention in directing that the musket, when shouldered, is not carried either too high or too low. If too high, the left arm, forming a curve at the elbow, would open out from the body, render the position of the musket unsteady, and make the soldier occupy more space in the ranks than he ought. If carried too low, he would not have the space necessary for using his arms with freedom; because the fatigue sustained by the left arm, thus sunk down, would affect the squareness of the shoulders etc.
53. The instructor previous to proceeding to the second lesson, shall make the recruits, at shouldered arms practice the motions of eyes right, eyes left (tête à droite et à gauche), and also the facings, to the right, to the left, and to the right about (à droite, à gauche and demi-tour à droite).