Monro His Expedition - An Abridgement of Exercise for the Younger Soldier His Better Instruction

An Abridgement of Exercise for the Younger Soldier His Better Instruction

Wherein first we show a complete company, and then we make twelve companies to complete a brigade.

To make a complete company of marching men under arms, there must be one hundred twenty six men in arms, being reckoned to twenty-one rots, each rot being six men, of which two are esteemed as leaders, being a corporal a rot-master or leader, and an under rot-master, being the last man of the six in field, which also is sometimes a leader when on occasion his leader is made to be under rot-master; then in a company you have twenty-one leaders, being six of them corporals, and fifteen rot-masters, which to close the fields have allowed twenty-one men, called under rot-masters: a company thus consisting of twenty-one rots, is divided in six corporal-ships, whereof three being pikemen, and three rot, being eighteen men, makes a corporal-ship of pikes. Also there must be to complete this company, three corporal-ships of musketeers, each corporal-ship being counted twenty-four men, being four rots, so that to make up the company complete, there must be nine rots of pikemen, which have the right hand, and twelve rots of musketeers on the left hand, being drawn in one front, they make a complete body of a company without officers.

This company hath allowed them for officers, a captain, a lieutenant, an ensign, two sergeants, four under-beifells, being a captain of arms, a furer of colours, a furrier, and a muster-schriver; as also to serve the company, three drummers are allowed, and fourteen pass-volants, with four muster-youngs, are allowed to the captain, as free men unmustered, to make up the complete number of one hundred and fifty, besides the officers.

The company being drawn up complete, the pikes on the right hand, and the musketeers on the left hand, then the ensign or his furer with a drummer and three rots of pikes goes to bring out the colours to be placed in front of the company, before they march; As also the colours are to be conveyed again, in this manner, at all lodging and dislodging.

The company marching to parade or watch, with complete officers, the captain leads off six rots of musketeers, his drum beating betwixt the second and the third rank, then follows up after that division the oldest sergeant, leading up the first five rots of pikemen, the ensign leading up the other division of pikes, his furer furing his colours after him, and the second drummer beating betwixt the two divisions, then the lieutenant leads up the last division of musketeers, being six rots also, and coming in equal front with the rest, the captain making a sign for the drum beating, they order their arms, the captain standing in front on the right hand, the ensign on his left, and the lieutenant on the left hand of both, with a sergeant on each flank, and the under-beifells with half pikes stand in the Rear of the company.

Twelve companies thus complete would make up three squadrons, every squadron of pikes and muskets being drawn up several apart, after the former example of the less body, pikes and colours on the right hand, and the musketeers on the left, which three squadrons thus drawn up and complete would make a complete brigade of foot, to be divided as follows (viz.) eight corporal-ships of musketeers, being thirty-two rots divided in four platoons, every platoon being eight in front, led off by a captain, and every division after him led up by a sufficient officer, till at a halt all were drawn in even front, after this division should follow the thirty-six rots of pikes, being twelve corporal-ships with their colours, a captain leading off the first five rots before the four colours should stir, where betwixt the second and third rank of the first division of pikes, the drummer should beat, then the ensigns should lead off the other division, their furers with their colours following them, till they drew up in even front with the first division of pikes, which ought to be in one front with the thirty-two rots of musketeers, that make the right wing of the brigade, keeping their arms orderly shouldered, till they were commanded otherwise, and their sergeants ought to look unto the flanks, till such time that the whole squadron of pikes being thirty-six rots were drawn up in even front with the musketeers, after this manner, the other squadron of pikes being thirty-six rots also, which should make the battle of the brigade, ought to march by divisions, being led up in all respects and order, after the manner of the former squadron of pikes, till they were in even front with the rest, then the other thirty-two rots of musketeers belonging to that squadron, which are appointed to be the battle of the brigade, ought to be led up as the first division of musketeers were in all points, which ought to draw up at a reasonable distance behind their own squadron of pikes, appointed for the battle of the brigade: where their sergeants on the flanks ought to look to their order, and not to suffer them to stir their arms, till they were commanded. And after them should march up the last squadron of pikes in all respects observing the order of the former squadrons in their marching, till they were led up in equal front with the other pikes, and then march up the last thirty-two rots of musketeers in four divisions, observing the order of the former divisions, till they were in equal front with the whole pikes, and then they making up the left wing  of the brigade, the colonel of the brigade ordaines the battle of pikes being the middle squadron of pikes to advance in one body before the rest, till they are free of the musketeers and pikes, which makes the wings of the brigade, and then the battle of pikes standing firm, the thirty-two rot of musketeers which were drawn up behind them, march up, till they fill up the void betwixt the squadrons of pikes standing right behind their own pikes, that is the battle of the brigade, and then the colonel making a sign to the drummers, they beat all alike, till the brigade in one instant doth order their arms, all officers of the brigade standing on their stations, according as they were directed, then the superplus of the three squadrons of musketeers being forty-eight rot, are drawn up, behind the brigade, having also officers to command them, they attend orders, which they are to obey, being commanded out as pleaseth their officers, either to guard cannon or baggage, or to be convoys to bring ammunition or victuals to the rest.

A direction to Train single soldiers apart.

Having thus formed a company, and shown the manner to draw up a complete brigade, for the younger officer his better understanding, being a novice to this discipline, I will set down briefely the best way, suddenly to bring a young company to be exercised, which in my opinion would be thus. First, since every rot of the twenty-one, whereof the company doth consist, hath allowed a corporal or a rot-master as the leader of the other five, which leader is supposed to be more expert in handling of pike or musket, then the other five, who make up the rot, and the under rot-master is supposed to be more expert in handling his arms than the other four, so that he is appointed as a second to the leader, being sometimes a leader himself, then after the company is made up, for the first week I would have every corporal of the six, and the fifteen rot-masters, being leaders, with the help of their under rot-masters, in a weeks time, to make the other four as expert in handling of pike and musket, as themselves, or to be punished with Irons in case of their neglect, which the sergeants should see done, as they should answer to the lieutenant, the lieutenant to the captain, and the captain to the major, the major to the lieutenant colonel, and they all to the colonel, which they ought to practise in the fields apart, till the rot were acquainted, every one with his leader, from the first to the last: and while as the under rot-master should turn leader, then all the followers before, were then leaders also, and then the rot being apart, the middle man of the rot should be taught to double to the front, till their deep were three, that was six before, and in falling off again, the middle man should turn to the contrary side or hand he came up upon, carrying their arms handsomly free from others,  without making noise in their retiring to their former station, and orders.

Likewise I would have the corporal, rot-master or leader, being a musketeer, having his rot once expert, in handling severally the musket well, then to discharge their muskets in winning ground, advancing to an enemy, the leader having discharged his musket, standing still to blow his pan and prime again, having cast off his loose powder, then to cast about his musket to his left side, drawing back with his musket his left foot and hand, till the mouth of the musket come right to his hand, to charge again in the same place, standing firm till his follower marched by him on his right hand, standing at the same distance before him, that he stood behind, and then to give fire, blowing his pan, priming, casting off and retiring his musket with his left hand and foot, and to charge again, as is said, and so forth, one after another, discharging at a like distance, till at last the rot-master should be under-rot, and the under-rot leader, and then his follower marching up by him, while as he is charging, giving fire on the enemy, and having discharged, standing still also charging, till in th'end, the rot-master come to be leader again, and so forth, still advancing per vices, till the enemy turn back, or that they come to push of pike, and butts of muskets. Thus having exercised the rots apart for a week or two, doubtless they will become expert soldiers in using their arms, when they are joined in a strong body, less or more. The pikemen would be exercised also by rots apart, in the several postures thereof, till they were acquainted also with their leaders, and were made expert in using their pikes aright, till thereafter the whole body of pikes might be exercised apart, with great ease to their officers; The musketeers being drawn in a body, being sixteen or thirty-two men in front, being but six ranks deep, the first rank discharging at once, casting about their muskets and charging all alike, the second rank marches through every follower, going by on the right hand of his leader, standing before him at the distance they were behind, and then being firm, they give fire all alike on their enemies, blowing, priming, casting about and charging all alike where they stand, till per vices the whole ranks have discharged, and so forth ut antea, successively advancing and giving-fire, till the enemy turn back, or that they come to push of pike, and being thus well exercised in advancing to the enemy, and winning ground, if through necessity they be forced to retire from an enemy, losing ground, they must also keep their faces to their enemies, the rear being still in fire, and the last rank having given fire, they march through the ranks till they that were last are first coming off, and so per vices, till they have made a safe retreat, the rear which is ever the front, coming from an enemy is in fire.


The manner to exercise a body of musketeers.

To exercise a squadron of musketeers, how strong soever they be, the number of ranks being no deeper than six, the files being even may be so many as your voice can extend to, ever observing that your command be given in the front, otherwise may breede disorder, and before you begin to command, you would enter first with a prologue, as good orators commonly do, to reconciliate their hearers' attendance: even so you ought with an exhortation of attendance entreat, but by way of command, your soldiers not to be gazing in time of their exercise, but with steadfastness to settle their minds on their exercise, that they may the better observe and obey the words of command; and above all things, you are to command them to keep silence, not babbling one to another, neither in their motions, to suffer their arms to rattle one against another, always to take heed to their leaders, that go before them, and to follow them orderly without disturbance, keeping and observing their due distance either of ranks or files: which may be easily done, if they but duly follow their leaders, and have an eye on their right and left fellow comrades, for keeping their ranks even in a like front. Likewise they are to observe when they are commanded to turn any where, whether it be by ranks or files, that their faces may by turned to the hand they are commanded to, before they sturre to march, and then to march alike, and when ever they double ranks or files, or counter-march, they must ever observe to retire to the contrary hand, they were commanded to double on, if they doubled to the right, when they fall off they retire turning to the left hand, et contra, for avoiding of disorder or hindrance, that their arms would make, if they retired to the same hand they were commanded to double or march to; In their counter-marches it is also requisite in time of exercise, that neither officer nor soldier do presume to command, direct, or find fault with the error, but he that commands in chief, whether he be superior or inferior officer for the time, since it is said, when many speak few hear; Therefore he must command alone, suffering no rival, for avoiding of disorder. Order therefore of distance being a chief point observed in exercising is three fold, to wit, open order of ranks or files is six foot of distance, being betwixt ranks and files both alike, only requisite to be observed in mustering, or while as they stand in danger of cannon, not being in battle, where in battle order the distance to be observed betwixt ranks or files should be three foot, where elbow to elbow of the side comrades may join, where in the open order aforesaid, hand to hand can but join. But in close order used most in conversion, or wheeling is shoulder to shoulder, and foot to foot, firm keeping themselves together, for fear to be put asunder by the force of their enemies, and then to disorder, which is ever to be looked unto, chiefly before an enemy. Your speech thus ended, for your general directions, you begin again to command silence, and to take heed what is commanded to be done, saying. Height your musketeers, dress your ranks and files, to your open order of six foot, and take heed.

To the right hand turn,
as you were.
To the left hand turn,
as you were.
To the right hand about turn,
as you were.
To the left hand about turn,
as you were.
To the right hand double your ranks,
as you were.
To the left hand double your ranks,
as you were.

The even ranks or files double ever unto the odd, and the fourth rank is the middle rank of six.

To the right hand double your files,
as you were.
To the left hand double your files,
as you were.
Middle-men or fourth rank to the right hand double your front,
To the left hand retire as you were.
Middle-men to the left hand double your front,
To the right hand as you were.
Nota. The sixth rank is called bringers up or rear, or under rot-masters.
Bringers up to the right hand double your front,
To the left hand as you were.
Bringers up to the left hand double your front,
To the right hand as you were.

All that doubled, turn first about, and then they retire falling behind those were their leaders, before in the same place or distance. This doubling of the bringers up or of middle-men, is very requisite in giving a general salvo of musket, and as it is to be observed in ranks, that the best men are placed in front, rear and middle, even so in files, every corporalship being four files of musketeers, the likeliest are put ever in the right and left files of the four, being also of best experience.

The doubling of ranks being done, and all remitted in good order, and to their first distance of open order, you are to command, and exercise soldiers in three several ways of counter-marching, requisite in some respects, but in my opinion to be used but seldom, except it be in necessity in such parts, as the ground will not permit otherwise, therefore to avoid disorder, soldiers ought not to be ignorant of any of the three sorts of counter-marching.

First having commanded the soldiers to dress their ranks and files, and to carry their muskets handsomly keeping silence, say.

To the right hand the counter-march without noise or losing of ground.
To the left hand retire again to the former ground.

Then command again to dress ranks and files, and to right their arms keeping silence, taking heed to what is to be commanded, and say.

To the right hand turn.
Then the flank before being now the front command,
To the right hand counter-march and lose no ground.
To the left hand as you were.

This is used ordinarily to change one wing of battle in place of the other, then that the front may be as it was first before they countermarched.

To the left hand turn, dress your ranks and files, and be silent.

Another sort of countermarch is the Slavonian countermarch, where you lose ground, the front being changed also: then you command the first rank to turn about to the right hand, then you say to the rest,

Countermarch, and through to your former distance after your leaders,
Then say, leaders as you were; and to the rest:
To the left hand countermarch as you were to your first ground.

The third sort of countermarch I esteem most of to be practised, being rather a conversion very requisite to be well known to all soldiers in all armies, chiefly to be used before an enemy: for as it is most sudden; so in my opinion, it breeds least disorder and disturbance, the soldiers once used to it, of themselves they will willingly do it on any occasion, the body being before in open order or battle order, say. Close the ranks and files to your closs order, without encumbering one of another, every man following right his own leader, keeping close to his side man, then say. To the right hand the quarter turn half or whole, as the occasion and the ground doth permit, and then say. Dress your arms, and follow your leaders, and open again to your battle order.

Lastly, the body of your musketeers exercised perfectly after this manner, for the better bringing of them in exercise and breath, that in case any disorder may happen amongst them, they may the better afterward be acquainted one with another, say to your open order of six foot distances. Open both ranks and files, and set down your arms handsomely where you stand, then command your sergeant to go an hundred paces from the  body of your musketeers, and stick in his halberd in the ground, then admonish your soldiers, that at the tuck of your drum they run from their arms about the halberd, and to stay there till the drum recall them again to their arms, which being done, it makes the soldiers able in breath to know one another's place, in case they should be brought at any time in disorder, to recover themselves the better. Thus much for the training of soldiers in changing of place, as you will have them, without giving of fire.

When you have gotten your soldiers thus experimented in their motions, then are you to acquaint them with shot in giving of fire, to make them fix against their enemies, which is easily done, having once apart and singularly used their muskets, after the order of the several postures, belonging thereto, as was commanded their inferior officers and leaders to teach them before they were exercised. Therefore before you come to the particular forms of giving fire, you shall first give some general directions to be observed by all, for avoiding the hurting of themselves, or of their comrades, as also how they can best offend their enemies; and to this effect, you shall admonish in love all brave musketeers, first to have their muskets clear and handsome, and above all fix in the work, especially every soldier would be well known with his own musket and cock, to cock aright, then to hold the mouth or cannon of his musket ever high up, either being on his shoulder, or in priming or guarding of his pan, but in giving fire, never higher or lower than level with the enemies' middle, then your musketeers being in readiness, your muskets charged, they may be commanded to give fire in skirmish, disbandoned as their officers do direct them, to advance or retire, as the occasion offers; also to give fire by ranks, files, divisions, or in salvos, as the officer pleaseth to command, to the effect they may be fixed Omni modo, though in my opinion, one way is the best, yet there are several ways of giving fire in advancing to an enemy, as retiring from an enemy, or in standing firm before an enemy, either by ranks, or by files made to ranks.

Advancing to an enemy not being disbandoned, but in one body they give fire by ranks to ranks, having made ready alike, they advance ten paces before the body, being led up by an officer that stands in even front with them, the cannon or mouth of their muskets of both ranks being past his body. The second rank being close to the back of the foremost, both gives fire alike, priming and casting about their muskets they charge again where they stand, till the other two ranks advance before them, and give fire after the same manner, till the whole Troop hath discharged, and so to begin again as before, after the order of the through-countermarch; ever advancing to an enemy, never turning back without death, or victory. And this is the form that I esteem to be the best: as for the rest, they are not to be much used; but this order can be used winning ground, advancing or losing ground in a retreat. When you would command the body of your musketeers to give fire in a salvo, as is ordinary in battle, before an enemy join, or against horsemen; then you command the bringers up or rear to double the front to the right hand, and to make ready, having the match cocked and their pans well guarded, having closed the three ranks, though not the files, the officers standing in equal front with the foremost rank, betwixt two divisions, he commands  to give fire, one salvo, two or three, and having charged again, and shouldered their arms, they retire to the left hand again, every man falling behind his own leader.

Being on retiring from the enemy, the whole body having made ready, as they march off in order, a qualified officer being in the rear, and qualified officers in the van to order them that fall up, the last two ranks in the rear turn faces about, and the whole body with them, and the two ranks having given fire, they march through the body to the van, and order themselves as they were before, and so successively the whole body gives fire ever by two ranks, and falls off till such time as they have made their retreat sure. Thus much of fire-giving by ranks on two or three, as you please, at once and no more.

Now a little for the exercising of the squadron of pikes in general; for the general motion certain directions are to be observed concerning pikes, that the soldiers keep their pikes clean and clear, and never to be suffered to cut off the lengths of their pikes, as often is seen upon marches, being very uncomely to see a squadron of pikes not of one length; likewise in all motions with the pike, the hand and foot ought to go alike, and the soldier would be expert in giving the right pousse with the pike backwards and forwards. Your squadron of pikes as they ought to march with the drum; so they ought to obey the drum beating a troop, a charge, a call, a retreat. As also to traile their pikes, to make reverence with the pike being shouldred: and your squadron of pikes being but six deep in rank, your files may be so many, as can well hear your voice in command, providing there be no odd file; and thus well ordered at their open order of six foot distance, command to mount their pikes, then calling for a drum beside you, let him beat a march, then they are to shoulder their pikes, flat or slant carried, and then to march a little, let your drum again beat a troop, then they mount their pikes and troop away fast or slow, as your pass leads them stopping, or advancing as you do, then let your drum beat a charge, then they charge their pikes and advance fast or slow, as you lead them, and retire also backwards, their pikes charged as you will have them, then troop again, and they mount their pikes, march and shoulder; and halting, let the drum beat again, and they order their pikes on the ground as first, being at their distance, and trooping again they mount their pikes, so that you can command them to battle order or closs order, for wheeling or counter-marching at your own pleasure.

In repairing to their colours, or coming from watch, they should ever walk with their pikes mounted, as also they may use this posture on sentry; and your pikes mounted and at your open order, you can use all doublings that your musketeers used, as also to present, to front, rear, right or left hand, the curiosity of the turns to the right or left hand in van or rear, the pike being shouldered, you can also teach them, as you will, though not much to be used in exercise: and the pikes thus well exercised, having seen frequent danger, can do good service against horsemen and against foot to foot, either in battle entering a town or breach, or retiring, or advancing to choke an enemy, on walls within  towns or forts they are very commodious for service, providing they resolve to fight well and to abide by their officers, and, in my opinion, being well led they may beat musketeers accidently off the field, and being well lined with shot they are a safeguard against horsemen, having the least advantage of ground. Thus much in brief for the use of the pike, the most honourable of all weapons, and my choice in day of battle, and leaping a storm or entering a breach with a light breast-plate and a good head-piece, being seconded with good fellows, I would choose a good half-pike to enter with.

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