CUSTOMS OF SERVICE
1. The profession of arms
has, in all countries and in all ages, been the most successful pathway in the
highest honors of the State. The victorious chieftain never fails to be rewarded
with all the lavishness that a grateful people can bestow; his career is full of
grand attractions; besides the excitement
which the valiant heart seeks, mankind cheers,
praises, and supplicates in his behalf, the
young admire and emulate, the old honor and reward, the fair “love him
for the dangers he has passed;” his return from the field of victory is a display of triumphal processions, teeming banners,
waving scarfs, and thrilling music; his rest from his labors is the
ripening harvest of his declining years, honors fall thick and fast and are
garnered with the other fruits of his labors in the pages of history, to the
support and pride of his posterity.
2. Valor combined with a strong intellect may win laurels that are worn
with a bad grace by an unpolished victor; his great deeds only render his rude
manners more conspicuous, and he stands before the world a living regret for his
own deficiency; how essential, therefore, that every officer should be a
gentleman, and cultivate good manners and refinement to adorn the elevated
station which his heroism may attain.
3. The military service is full of hazardous exposures to varied
climates, inclement seasons, epidemic and prevalent diseases, and great fatigues
that endanger the body more than the enemy's fire and steel: great
responsibilities, care of troops, plans and counter-plans, and anxious
anticipations, strain the thought and tax the powers of the mind to the utmost;
every officer should therefore be physically and mentally sound, with mind well
balanced, feelings and passions self-controlled, and a strong and perfect
4. The operations of armies call in play every improvement of art, every
resource of science, and every invention of genius; a multitude of minds,
teeming with infinite experience and every variety of knowledge, must be
directed with skill and economy to accomplish the aim and object of war; no
inspiration of genius, no gift of nature can do this without acquired knowledge
and experience; great and extraordinary intellects may acquire more rapidly and
retain a greater amount of these means, yet every leader must possess them in
proportion to the command he controls. Every officer should, therefore, be more
or less educated and experienced, not necessarily a graduate of a college or
academy, for self-educated men are often most practical and successful; but he
cannot be an ignorant man and hope to be recognized as a great chief.
5. Time and labor are the great means within the reach of every one to
achieve success in any profession; industry and long service will overcome all
difficulties; they yield slowly and tardily at times, but without effort they
yield not at all. He should begin service young, and master well each successive
grade, and every item of knowledge he accumulates independent of his profession
will add lustre to his position and enhance his chance of success.
6. In short, the officer should be brave, intelligent, and courteous. He
should be patient, just, and reliable. He should be ambitious of distinction,
industrious in acquiring knowledge of his profession, and conscientious in the
performance of his duties. He should possess a high sense of honor, a great
pride in his peculiar arm of service, and confidence in himself to perform the
tasks assigned to him. He should not trust too much to his good fortune or
fancied ability, but rise every chance of success; his plans should be well
matured but rapidly and boldly executed; the end and object once fairly in view
should never be lost sight of, but pursued persistently in spite of all
obstacles; energy and perseverance will compensate for lack of genius and
anticipate ill fortune. With these qualifications in his mind and at his command
no officer will fail to realize an enviable future.
7. For the purpose of administration armies are organized into Companies,
Regiments or Battalions, Brigades, Divisions, and Armies or Corps' d' Armee.
When occupying or garrisoning a country, they are divided for the same object
into Posts, Districts, and Departments. Posts correspond to Battalions or
Regiments, Districts to Brigades or Divisions, and a Department commander's
authority is equal to that of the commander of a separate army.
8. The officers upon whom the duties and responsibilities of
administration fall are Company, Regimental or Battalion Commanders, and
Commanding and General officers. Lieutenants, Field and Staff officers are a
class whose duties are subordinate to the administrative class, and the latter
are in the main responsible for the acts and duties of the former.
9. Whilst the duties of the Administrative class cover all the ground of
the Assistant class, yet there are duties that are peculiar to each grade. Every
officer is supposed to be familiar with all the grades below him, and those who
are not are at a disadvantage that should be overcome without delay.
10. We will begin with the lowest grade and carry the officer through all
the successive steps to which he is sure to attain if he really masters each one
as he advances. The following are the grades and order in which the duties of
each will be treated; the duties of special and general staff officers being
deferred for future works:
11. There are three grades of Lieutenants, viz.: First, Second, and
Brevet Second. There is no material difference in the duties they are required
to perform; they differ only in rank.
12. Brevet Second Lieutenants are supernumerary officers commissioned
from the graduates of the Military Academy, or from the non-commissioned
officers of the Army found worthy of promotion where there are no vacancies.
(Acts April 29, 1812, sec. 4, and August 4, 1854, see. 5, Reg. 22.) First and
Second Lieutenants belong to the legal organization of companies, whilst Brevet
Second Lieutenants are not necessarily attached to the company; in practice they
are usually attached to such companies from which one or more of the Lieutenants
are absent on permanent staff duty. Only one supernumerary officer to a company can be allowed
under the law.
13. Lieutenants commissioned
from the graduates of the Military Academy, if they accept, take rank from the
1st of July succeeding their graduation, and according to their class rank.
Non-commissioned officers take rank from the date the vacancy occurred to
which they are promoted, if commissioned as full Second Lieutenants. If
appointed Brevet Second lieutenants, as in the case of original vacancies, they
rank from the date of their acceptance, and their discharges should be made out
to take effect on the date at which they enter upon their new grade. Graduates
of the Academy are entitled to travelling expenses from the Academy to the
stations at which they are ordered to report (Reg. 1116), and non-commissioned
officers from the stations at which they receive their promotion.
14. Citizens appointed to fill vacancies in organized Regiments are
usually examined by a Board of officers ordered by the Commanding Officer of the
Regiment when they join (Reg. 23). Their rank and pay commence from the date of
their acceptance, and they join their stations at their own expense (Reg. 1115).
15. Officers in the Volunteer Service take rank from their muster in the
service of the United States, and are only entitled to pay from that date from
the General Government. The law under which they are called out, however,
generally regulates that they receive the same pay and allowances as regular
troops; the exceptions are usually included in the law. All officers of the
Regular Service are senior to officers of the Volunteer Service, of the same
grade, without reference to date of commission (Reg. 9).
16. It is a trying time to a
young officer when he first joins his Regiment; he enters upon a new scene in
his life, and is thrown with companions who will try all his qualities, and he
will not be fairly domesticated in his Regiment until he has found his level. As
a rule he must begin at the foot of the ladder, and work his way up. He may be
young, and therefore inexperienced; he may have no fondness for books, and
therefore not learned; and he may be deficient in any one or more traits or
qualifications, yet hope for success, except courage; he cannot have his courage
questioned and expect to succeed as an officer. But with courage he only needs
the opportunity to achieve the respect and consideration of his companions and
superiors, in spite of all bans and clouds under which he may rest.
17. As a rule he cannot claim the privilege of indulging in the vices
which the older officers too often consider themselves entitled to, without
prejudice to his reputation; he must first lay in a stock of virtues, and secure
a capital, before he can run any risks with his military fortune; and even the
oldest officers cannot indulge in all the vices without becoming bankrupt, in
spite of all their former triumphs and successes.
18. Drinking and gambling are the great vices that every young officer
should avoid; even a moderate indulgence will keep his finances always in a
state of pressure. He should endeavor, no matter what his habits, at least to
measure his expenses by his pay; and, if possible, always have a small equipment
fund in reserve for accidents and promotions.
19. It will be an unfortunate thing if there is found to be an
incompatibility among the officers of the same company, for the more they
harmonize and agree the better it will be for all parties; on the contrary, if
they should be antagonistic to each other, they will themselves be greatly
inconvenienced, the company will suffer in many respects, both in discipline and
comfort. There is no easy remedy for such a condition of things, transfers are
not easily arranged, and a detail for detached service cannot always be
obtained, and they must often be borne with until promotion or some other chance
effects a change.
20. The Lieutenant is the assistant or aid of the Captain. When the Captain is present he is under his orders, and in his absence or sickness the duties fall upon the Senior Lieutenant. He should, therefore, be familiar with the Captain's duties, as well as his own, as he is liable at any moment to be required to take command of the Company, and control it in all its details. In addition to his Company duties the following is a list of what he may at any time be called on to perform, viz:
Officer of the Guard.
Officer of Police.
Fatigue and Working Party.
Court Martial, Court of Inquiry or Commission.
Board of Survey.
Board of Examination.
Council of Administration
21. Graduates of the Military Academy, whilst they have learned the
elements of tactics, and have in their education acquired a foundation for
future study, will find that there is still much to learn, and that, in many of
the practical details, the Lieutenants promoted from the ranks are their
superiors. Civilians will find
themselves greatly deceived if they indulge the belief that a knowledge of the
tactics of their arm of service is all that is required of them. To feed,
clothe, transport, and govern troops is the great labor to be performed, and the
drill and training in Companies is only an exercise. Administration is the grand
task to be mastered before he has fairly acquired his profession.
22. Company Duties.-Only those duties that fall to him in his grade of
Lieutenant will be spoken of here; as Company Commander he will be guided by
what is laid down for the Captain. In his subordinate capacity his duties are
very limited, and of rather a monotonous character.
23. In reality one officer is quite sufficient to attend to all the
duties requiring the presence of a commissioned officer, and if the Company
would always be sure of an officer competent to do his duty, there would
probably be no Lieutenants; but it is to provide against the Company being left
without an officer that the law has provided Lieutenants.
24. The position of Lieutenant is, therefore, more one of probation and
instruction, and he may be required by the Captain to attend to all the
practical duties incumbent upon the Captain himself. The daily routine is to be
present at all the principal roll-calls, drills, and, with mounted troops,
stable duty, including watering, feeding, and grooming.
25. These duties are very similar and monotonous from day to day, but
they must be performed as scrupulously as those of any other employee of the
Government; it is his day's work, and if he fails to do it, he has not rendered
the expected service for his pay, and, where it is habitually neglected, there
will be no discipline and no system. If an Officer is lot habitually Present On
all occasions when the entire Company is paraded for any purpose whatever, to
sustain the First Sergeant, the Company duties are liable to be carelessly and
indifferently performed; the neglect of the head is the example for all the
subordinates to be negligent; if no officer is present, the First Sergeant is
less strict, the men less obedient, and all the duties are soon neglected and
26. Generally the Captain will require that one of the Lieutenants be
always present for duty with the Company and appear at all roll-calls in front
of the Company, attend drills and stable duty, inspect the kitchens at
meal-times, the quarters in the morning, and the Company at retreat. The
Commanding, officer of the Post or Regiment may, however, require that all the
Company officers be present at roll-calls and drills, unless specially excused,
and thus the matter is no longer discretionary with the Captain.
27. To Perform his duty well at drill the Lieutenant must be familiar
with tactics from the "School of the Soldier," through the "School
of the Company," and "School of the Battalion." He
should know these as well as he can learn them from the book, and under a
Captain who explains the movements well he will have no difficulty in the
practical application. He may, however, be thrown entirely upon his own
resources, without any assistance, and required to instruct where he expected to
28. Under such circumstances the system of beginning at the beginning of
the book, and taking one or more lessons of the text for practical exercise each
day is the best; the book is gone through with, and the subject learned without
any very great effort, and a few weeks suffice to go through the whole subject.
The practice is progressive, and followed out as laid down in the text it
becomes an easy task.
29. Inspection of the Company under arms is usually performed in the
evening previous to marching on parade, and is limited to an examination of the
arms and accoutrements. On Sunday
mornings the Inspection is generally more complete, and extends to the knapsack,
clothing, bedding, bunks, quarters, kitchen, etc.
30. The form of Inspection, laid down in Art. XXX, Gen. Reg., or a
modification of it, according to the arm of service, and the attending
circumstances, is the custom. Modifications are necessary; no particular plan
can he adhered to exclusively; for this service in the field in time of war is
performed entirely with reference to usefulness and efficiency, and in time of
peace, in garrison, more attention is devoted to ornament and display.
31. A daily inspection of quarters is usually made in the morning, in
garrison, by a Lieutenant, to see that the rooms have been swept out, the beds
and blankets folded, that everything is in its place, that the kitchen and
messing is properly conducted. In
camp in the field the inspection of tents and Company grounds is also made at a
specific hour in the day, when the men are expected to have everything in order,
the grounds swept clean, the bedding and blankets properly folded, and knapsacks
and accoutrements in place. At Retreat, whether in the field or in garrison, is the usual time for a
casual inspection of arms; and in time of war the men should always fall in at
Tattoo roll-call with their arms and equipments, in order that they may know
where they are when they lie down, and know where to look for them if suddenly
called out before the next dawn.
32. Stable duty should
always be attended by a commissioned officer, in the Artillery and Cavalry, and
should be, in spite of its monotony, rigorously performed. One hour, morning and
evening, should be occupied at this duty, and the men should be kept employed
during this time, grooming the horses, cleaning the stables, and feeding.
Before the Company is dismissed, each horse and stall should be
inspected. A commissioned officer
should always accompany the horses to water, and prevent the rapid riding that
men are prone to indulge in, which is more injurious at this time than at any
33. The Captain may require the Lieutenant to assist him in making out
the various papers required in the Company. He generally requires him to be
present at the issues of clothing, and to witness the signatures of the men on
the receipt-roll; also at the pay-table he may be required to attend and witness
the signatures of the men on the pay-roll.
34. The Company duties of the commissioned officer are set forth more in
what is laid down for Captains, from which the Lieutenant will gather a better
idea of his relation to the Company, and how the various duties should be
performed. It is difficult to explain what the authority of a Lieutenant over
the men in the Company is when the Company Commander is present.
35. It can only be laid down in general terms that a subaltern cannot
make any material changes, inflict any punishment, detach any of the men, or put
them on duty, or relieve them without the consent or knowledge of the Commander
of the Company. It is always best that there should be a clear understanding
between the Captain and his subalterns as to how far the former will sustain the
latter. Some Captains prefer to direct all matters relative to the Company
themselves, others leave more or less of the duty to the care and direction of
36. On Guard - Guard duty is
of two kinds, viz.: Police Guard and Grand Guard. The Police Guard
is for the purpose of instruction and discipline, to preserve the order in the
camp, and to protect the public property. It
is usually posted in the immediate vicinity of the camp or garrison, and is
maintained and kept up in every military command at all times (Reg. 573).
37. Grand Guards are only kept up in time of war, and are thrown out in
the direction of the enemy, to give notice of his approach and resist his
advance, so as to give the main force time to prepare for battle.
It is posted more or less distant from the camp, according to the
strength of the command, the nature of the country, and the proximity of the
38. The Police Guard, known
under the various names of Camp Guard, Post Guard, &c., finds its model in
the guard of a Regiment placed around the camp, being a regular chain of
sentinels extending entirely around the camp, with a Guard-house for the
rendezvous for the guard, with one or two Lieutenants, one or two Sergeants,
three Corporals, and about 40 Privates comprising the guard.
Circumstances may require modifications
as to the strength, composition, and position of the Police Guard, but
the same regulations govern the duties, the same general principles are followed
when modifications are found necessary.
39. The Roster for Guard is
kept by the Adjutant. The detail
for Officer of the Day and Officer of the Guard is published at Retreat Parade,
and the officer detailed usually also receives his detail on the day previous,
and should the officer be entitled to be excused from the duty he should notify
the Adjutant in time for the detail to be notified to the next officer. The tour
is for twenty-four hours.
40. When the call for guard-mounting sounds, the officer detailed repairs
to the ground usually used for parade purposes, equipped with sword and sash,
and in fatigue uniform or full dress, according as the guard is dressed. By the
time the guard is formed he must be on the ground, and at the command
'front" by the Adjutant, he takes post twelve paces in front of the guard
with drawn sword. If there be more than one officer of the guard, they take post
according to rank, the senior officer being on the right. (Reg. 377.)
41. The ceremony of Inspection is then conducted as prescribed in Reg.,
Par. 378; and in the following paragraph is explained the rest of the ceremony
of Guard Mounting as conducted under the direction of the Adjutant and Officer
of the Day, and how the guard is marched off to its post. The manner in which
the officer of the old guard receives the new guard is also laid down; it is
only necessary to caution the new officer of the guard to satisfy himself that
the property belonging to the guard-house is all on hand, that the prisoners
borne on the Guard Report are all present, and that he gets a correct idea of
existing orders for the discharge of his duty.
manner of distributing the Police Guard is given in Reg., Par. 573, is rarely
followed now-a-days. The location
of the guard in the centre of the camp is dispensed with, and the entire guard
is placed at the point stated for the advance post, Reg., Par. 574; the
prisoners are kept there, and the headquarters of the guard are there during the
tour. A tent or other habitation
for the guard, and a separate place for the prisoners, constitutes the “Guardhouse.”
43. It is presumed that
every officer has a copy of the regulations, and therefore deemed sufficient to
refer to the paragraphs applicable. The
manner in which the old guard receives the new and is marched off and dismissed,
is given in Par. 386 to 397. They
include the manner of organizing the Reliefs and posting the sentinels, duties
that properly belong to the non-commissioned officers of the guard, whose duties
are detailed in “Customs of Service for Non-commissioned Officers and
Soldiers,” with which the officer of guard should also be familiar,
otherwise he cannot supervise the performance of the duties.
44. He should also be
familiar with the details of the sentinels’ duties, in order that he may know
that the instruction of the men, which is usually performed by the Corporals and
Sergeants of the Guard, is properly attended to. The system laid down in "Customs of Service for
Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers," par. 75 to 97, is the best. He
should ascertain by personal inspection of the Reliefs before they are posted
and afterwards, that the men are familiar with their duties.
45. The number of posts for sentinels vary with each camp and garrison,
and the location of the guard-house is generally controlled by the point at
which the main entrance to the camp or garrison is located, in order to control
the ingress and egress of all parties. Page 77, Reg., shows the arrangement of
camp and the lines on which the sentinels are usually posted.
46. Art. XXXIII, and Par. 573 to 592, contain nearly all the Regulations
governing the arrangement and duties of the guard, the posting and instruction
of the sentinels. They lack system and detail, and have been deviated from to
some extent by custom, and therefore deserve the closest attention to enable
officers to obtain a correct knowledge of their duties as officers of the guard.
47. The Officer of the Guard is not permitted to leave his guard during
his tour, except to visit the sentinels, or on other duty connected with his
post (Reg. 408). He is not permitted to take off his accoutrements or clothing
during his tour (Reg. 409) , No regulation or law prohibits the officer of the
guard from sleeping during his tour of guard, yet custom requires that he shall
not be found asleep by any superior during this time, and officers have often
been arraigned before courts martial on this charge. A regulation is required by
which the responsibility of keeping awake is divided between the Officer of the
Guard and the sergeant; as the sentinels are permitted to sleep the officers
should be allowed a share of rest also. In practice the officer of the guard
does sleep a portion of the night, but takes good care that he is not caught
asleep. But this is only a
recognized evasion, it would be better if it were made a regulation.
48. The important posts are No. 1, which is always the sentinel in front
of the guard-house; the sentinels over the Quartermaster and Commissary stores;
the color sentinels at the color line, the sentinel in front of the Commanding
Officer's quarters, and the sentinel (one or more) over the prisoners when sent
out to work, and at other times. The special duties of each of these sentinels
are different and require separate instructions.
49. The charge of the prisoners is a responsibility of some importance
even in a Regiment, and a sergeant called a “Provost Sergeant” is
often detailed to take charge of the prisoners during working hours, to keep the
record of their names, and the kind and duration of their several punishments.
50. The Officer of the Guard, however, is responsible for the security of
the prisoners, as that duty is entrusted to him and his Guard. He receives the
prisoners as they are confined, sees that the sergeant of the Guard takes down
the names, by whose order confined, and the date. An abstract of the orders
inflicting punishments is furnished him, and he must keep a record of them in
order that they may be entered on the List of Prisoners that accompanies the
Guard Report daily; he must in all cases wherein the punishment is to be
inflicted under the direction of the Guard, see that the sentences are duly
executed, and that his successors are duly instructed in all cases where
punishments are continued for a length of time from day to day.
51. It is best to take down in writing all orders and instructions, and
transmit them in that way to the next Officer of the Guard, in order that they
may be handed down without omissions or errors. Verbal orders are often given
that should be transmitted, and unless recorded are liable to be forgotten.
52. Vigilance on the part of the Officer of the Guard, should be directed
particularly to seeing that the non-commissioned officers do their duty; that
the Corporals visit their reliefs frequently, and instruct the sentinels; that
the sentinels walk their posts diligently, and he should visit them repeatedly
during the day and night, and ascertain by personal examination whether the
sentinels know their duties. He should enforce cleanliness and order in the
Guard, and proper military deportment, nor allow any games or other pursuits
that would take away from the proper dignity of a Guard.
53. The manner in which the Guard duty is performed is a very good
criterion of the discipline and military character of a Regiment. Properly
performed it is a source of instruction, and a means of preserving the tone and
spirit of the command. Punctuality
and precision in the performance of all the compliments required of Guards are
indications of the military character of the command to which the Guard belongs,
and if all the duties of the Police Guard are properly performed, they may be
relied on for proper vigilance in Advanced Guards and Picket duty.
54. The Guard is turned out and paraded and inspected at Reveille,
Retreat, and Tattoo, and the roll called. It is also required to turn out at the
beating of the "long Roll," or the sounding of "to horse,"
or the cry of 'fire." or any alarm or disturbance. "To turn out the
Guard, means to parade it under arms.
55. As a matter of compliment the Guard is turned out whenever a large
body of troops approaches (Reg. 422), also on the approach of the officer of the
day (Reg. 426), the Commanding Officer and all General Officers (Reg, 242 and
431), the President and Vice-President, the members of the Cabinet, Chief
Justice, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives of
the United States (Reg. 244), and American and foreign ministers (Reg. 246);
foreign military and naval officers may be received with the same compliments as
our own according to their rank. Officers of the Navy and Marines and officers
of other Regiments are to be received according to rank, the same as the
officers of the Command to which the Guard belongs (Reg. 253).
56. When the Guard is turned out as a compliment, arms are usually
presented, unless the officer, for whom the Guard has turned out, passes to the
rear of the Guard, in which case it is only required to stand at attention (Reg.
248). The Guard usually falls in immediately in front of the Guard House, and
behind the line of arms when stacked; the officer of the Guard requires them to
take arms, and awaits at shouldered arms the approach of the officer, and when
he has arrived near the Guard, or is passing its front, or when he reaches No. I
sentinel's beat, he causes the Guard to "present arms." The officer of the Guard may take post either in front of the
centre of the Guard or on the right in the front rank.
57. Sentinels take orders from the officers and non-commissioned officers
of their Guard, the officer of the day, and the Commanding Officer (Reg. 413).
The Commanding Officer, in this connection, means the Commander of the Regiment
or Detachment to which the Guard belongs. It also means the Brigade, Division,
Corps, or Army Commander. It is clear that any one of these officers has the
authority to give orders, as the Guard is a portion of his command; a Commander
of another Brigade, Division or Corps cannot give orders where the Guard is not
a portion of his command. It follows, also, that no officers or non-commissioned
officers, who can give orders to sentinels, can be stopped or detained by a
sentinel after he has been informed as to the identity of the party, either by
night or by day.
58. It also follows that all these officers are exceptions to such orders
as may be given of a general prohibitory character. It must be clear that no
subordinate can give orders that may not be countermanded by his superior in the
same command. It is also evident that Commanders of other Regiments, Brigades,
Divisions, etc., cannot give orders to Guards that are not within their own
commands. All General Officers, however, usually pass all guards and sentinels
without question or detention.
59. Whilst sentinels on posts can be instructed to stop commissioned
officers, and officers are required to respect the orders given to sentinels
posted at certain points for specific purposes, it is manifestly wrong to
entrust non-commissioned officers or privates on patrol with the power to stop
officers, and interrogate them as to their right to be absent from their
commands. Such duty should be entrusted to a commissioned officer, who should be
armed with a copy of his orders fully authenticated, which any superior officer
may demand to see before submitting to the officer's interrogations.
60. The patrols established in cities, on railways and steamboats for the
examination of passes, furloughs, leaves of absence, orders, etc., should be
directed by the highest available authority, so as to include and make all
subordinate, whom it is intended to affect. The duty should be entrusted to a
commissioned officer so far as officers are concerned; should be published in
orders, and made public generally, so that officers may always be provided with
their authority, and save themselves much inconvenience.
61. All Police Guards, whether Cavalry, Artillery, or Infantry, are
paraded and do duty on foot, and the same general principles govern throughout.
Detached Guards, for the protection of storehouses, magazines, depots, etc., all
derive their rule of action from the General Regulations laid down for Police
Guards. Minor matters, and all points of issue yield to the accomplishment of
the special duty of the Guard. Red-tape, orders and regulations are made to
facilitate duty, not retard it.
62. When on the march the practice with reference to guards varies
according to circumstances. In times of peace, marching through the country, the
guard is mounted in the evening; it remains in camp in the morning until
everything has moved off, and then brings up the rear. It is the duty of the
Officer of the Guard to see that nothing is left behind, that no stragglers
loiter behind without authority. All prisoners are under his charge and march
with the guard.
63. In time of war, Police Guards are almost entirely dispensed with, and
the guard duty is confined almost entirely to Advanced or Grand Guard duty for
the purpose of watching the enemy. The Police Guard, if any, is small. The Guard
is usually relieved and men join their companies, except a sufficient number to
guard the prisoners. Prisoners however are, in time of war, generally confided
to a Provost Guard.
64. On the march the Police Guard should always be marched on in time to
enable the guards and sentinels to take their posts before night. The Commanding
Officer generally, at the commencement of a campaign or expedition, issues
orders regulating the order of march, and directs the strength of the guards,
the time of marching on and off, and place in column, which may vary from day to
day according to directions.
65. Escorts and Guards to General Officers is a kind of guard duty that
comes within the province of a Lieutenant to know. Escorts of Honor, and the
manner of receiving and attending the official is given in Reg., Par. 271 to
66. Guards for General Officers are usually such small force of Infantry
or Cavalry, or both, as may be necessary to furnish a guard to protect
Headquarters, supplies, trains, etc., to supply details for police and fatigue
duties about Headquarters, and escorts to the General when he visits the lines,
camps, etc., or to reconnoitre the enemy's positions. Ordinarily a General's
escort marches in rear of his Staff. In the vicinity of the enemy whenever the
General requires it, the escort is disposed as provided for patrols, the General
and his Staff riding at the head of the main body of the escort. A similar
disposition is made when an escort is permitted to a Staff officer on duty in
the vicinity of the enemy.
67. Headquarters Guards and Escorts do not turn out for Generals junior
to the General to whom the guard or escort belongs; they turn out only to his
superiors (Reg. 242). The Reg. 243 provides that for Commanding Officers of less
grade than a General their guards present arms but once during the day
when turned out, at other times they turn out at shouldered arms.
68. Grand Guards.-The Grand Guard is a force thrown out in the direction
of the enemy to prevent surprise, to give notice of his approach, and to delay
his advance, and give the main body time to prepare for battle, or make good its
retreat. It is too often called an Advanced Guard, which should only be
applied to a force thrown out to the front, when the main body is moving,
to give notice of the, vicinity of the enemy, to conceal the preparations for
battle, and cover offensive movements. It becomes a Rear Guard when it is
placed in the rear, either to delay pursuit, to cover the retreat, or bring up
the fragments of the column, and guard against sudden attack.
69. Grand Guard duty has by practice, in our service, been called picket
duty and the outer sentinels, pickets; and the guard that furnished these
sentinels the Picket Guard. These terms have been used so variously that some
illustration is necessary to a proper understanding of them.
and nomenclature of Grand Guards according to Mahan.
(See Mahan’s Outposts.)
and nomenclature according to Dufour and Duparcq.
(See Strategy and Tactics – Dufour; Military Art and History – Duparcq.)
and nomenclature of the English and Prussian Service.
(See Decker, Arentschild and Witzleben.)
73. There are still other
variations of the terms and dispositions. In
the regulations Picket means a supernumerary Grand Guard that remains in
camp and is only called out for an emergency, and is then marched to the point
required (Reg. 593). In the English
service this guard is called the “in-lying picket;” the Grand Guard
that is on duty, in contradistinction, is called the “out-lying picket.”
In fact, every author that has written on the subject of Out-Post and
Advanced Guard duty, has given us a different system of names and different
arrangement of the forces. This is owing, perhaps, principally to the fact that nearly
every war has had its own system, the result of the kind of troops and arms and
the nature of the country in which the war has been carried on.
74. The following diagram and extracts from General Orders No. 69,
Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, February 25th 1862, is another system of
names and arrangement of the out-posts that has grown into use in our service.
Guard Duty as required by General Orders
No. 69, 1862, Headquarters Army of the Potomac
Camp – Each Brigade will furnish daily the guard for its own front, connecting
with the guards of the Brigades on its right and left.
Each guard will be under the direction of a Field Officer of the Day, to
be detailed at Brigade Headquarters. Senior
Captains may be added to the roster of field officers for field officers of the
day, when necessity requires.
guards of each division will be under the direction of a General Officer of the
Day, who shall receive his orders directly from the Division Commander. Colonels
will be added to the roster of General Officers for this duty. Brigade
Commanders may be excused from serving on this detail. Each guard shall consist
of a line of sentinels called PICKETS, of a line of SUPPORTS, from which the
sentinels are furnished for the front of the Brigade, and of a RESERVE, posted
in the following manner: The Reserve will occupy a commanding position, and be
stationed about a mile or a mile and a half in front of the main body of the
Supports, two or more, as the nature of the ground and the length of the lines
may require, will be thrown about one mile further to the front. They will be
placed in such positions as easily to communicate with each other and with the
Reserve, and as near the avenues of approach from the front as practicable. From
these Supports the line of Pickets is thrown out about two hundred yards to the
front. As, upon the position of this line, and the manner in which the Pickets
perform their duty, the safety of the entire Army depends, no pains must be
spared to ensure their being properly posted and instructed in their duties; and
the utmost vigilance must be observed to enforce a proper performance of them.
line will be formed by posting groups of three men each; these groups to be not
more than 150 yards apart, and much closer when the nature of the ground or the
attitude of the enemy requires. These groups will keep up constant communication
with each other; which will be readily accomplished by one man of each group
walking half way to the group on his left, another half way to the group on his
right; thus always leaving one of the three at the original station, None of the
men stationed on this line will be allowed to sit or lie down on their post, nor
will they quit their arms, or relax the vigilance of faithful sentinels by day
or night. These Pickets will be relieved every two hours, and being furnished by
the Supports, the latter will be divided into three reliefs for this purpose.
The Supports will be relieved from the Reserve every six hours.
Reserve will also furnish a line of sentinels to communicate with the Supports,
as well as a line communicating with the Headquarters of the Brigade. The
sentinels on these lines will be posted within easy call of each other, so that
intelligence may be passed from the Pickets to the Camp with the utmost
celerity. They are to be relieved every two hours, and while on post must keep
constantly on the alert, never being allowed to sit or lie down.
duties of the Pickets are to keep a vigilant watch over the country in front,
and over the movements of the enemy, if in sight; to prevent all unauthorized
persons from passing in or out of the lines, and to arrest all suspicious
individuals. In case of an attack,
they will act as a line of skirmishers, and hold their ground to the last
moment. If forced to retire, they will slowly close their intervals, and fall
back upon their Supports.
Supports, being placed in strong positions, will hold themselves in readiness to
receive the Pickets and repel an attack, retiring in good order upon the
Reserve, when unable any longer to hold their ground.
relief of the Supports will be allowed to sleep. One must constantly be on the
alert. One commissioned officer must also be up and awake at all hours.
fires will be allowed on the line of the Supports, or outside the line of
Reserves. Any fires found burning will be promptly extinguished.
Reserve, stationed in a strong position, and one which commands, as far as
practicable, all approaches to the camp, shall be of sufficient strength to
check the advance of the enemy, thus affording the main body of the Army ample
time to form and prepare for attack. It will give a rallying point for the
Pickets and their Supports, if driven in, and, being reinforced by them, will
hold its ground until ordered by Division Commander to retire. At least one
commissioned officer and one-third of the men of the Reserve must be on the
alert at all hours. Fires may be built on this line in such places as are
screened from the view in front by the nature of the ground.
position of the Reserve should be strengthened by the use of all such defenses
as the country affords. When near the enemy, abattis should be constructed
Reserve shall, in addition to the lines of sentinels already mentioned, send out
patrols between the lines and a short distance to the front of the line of
Pickets, to examine such portions of the country as are not fully in view of the
detachment of Cavalry should be attached to each Reserve, which shall send
several mounted men to remain with each of the Supports, to act as messengers in
case of necessity. These men shall be relieved every six hours, and while on
duty with the Support shall keep their horses saddled and bridled. The
detachment with the Reserve shall keep one half of their horses saddled and
bridled, prepared to mount at the command. This Cavalry is to be used for
mounted patrols, and such other duty, in connection with the guard, as the Field
officer of the Day may direct.
Artillery may sometimes be used to strengthen the position of the Reserves,
whenever the nature of the ground gives it an effective range.
In all cases, when Artillery forms a portion of the guard, it will be
constantly in readiness for immediate use. The horses will never be unhitched,
and their drivers will remain within reach of them.
a general rule, the Advanced Guard will consist of about one-tenth of the
effective strength of the command. But this, of course, varies with
circumstances. The Reserve (with the sentinels and patrols it furnishes) will
comprise two-thirds of the entire guard. The other third being subdivided for
the Supports and their Pickets.
positions of Pickets, Supports, and Reserves, will be designated by the Field
officer of the Day for each Brigade, under the supervision and control of the
General Officer of the Day for the Division.
Commander of a Division will have an understanding with the commander on his
right and left as to where they are to unite with the adjoining Guards.
arriving at the position to be occupied by the Reserve, the Commander of the
Guard will advance with and station the Supports and point out the position of
the line of Pickets. The Commanders of the Supports will, accompanied by the
non-commissioned officers of the reliefs, post the Pickets of the first relief,
and explain to them their duties. They will be careful to observe that the whole
ground is covered, and that perfect connection is made with the lines on their
right and left. After the Pickets are posted, the Commander of the Guard himself
will visit them, see that they understand their duties and occupy proper
positions, and connect with the lines to the right and left. Should the position
of the Pickets be changed, the order must pass through the Commander of the
Support to which they belong. The Commander of the Guard will make himself
thoroughly acquainted with the ground which his Guard occupies, with the
approaches and communications. He will keep up constant communication from front
to rear, and from right to left, by means of lines of sentinels and patrols. In
case of alarm, he will promptly investigate the cause, and be careful not to
exaggerate the danger. Should the enemy advance, he will, by personal
observation, endeavor to discover whether they are in force, and beware of
causing unnecessary alarm. He will communicate all important intelligence to the
Field Officer of the Day, who will report the same to the General Officer of the
Day, and, if the case be urgent, directly to Division and Brigade Headquarters.
He will see that all the duties of his Guard are performed in a prompt and
soldierly manner, and enforce the strictest discipline.
Field Officer of the Day will visit the Reserves, Supports, and Pickets, soon
after they are posted, and at least once during the night. He will see that they
are in proper positions, and connect through the whole line of his Brigade, and
with the Pickets of the Brigades on the right and left, and that they understand
and perform their duties. He will study the nature of the ground, and prepare
himself to make a vigorous defense in case his Pickets are attacked or driven
in. He will communicate his dispositions and arrangements to the General Officer
of the Day and his Brigade Commander, and keep them informed of everything of
importance which may transpire.
line of Pickets should be located with a view to the most extensive observation
possible of the country in front. To secure this, the line during the day should
pass over the highest points, and in front of such ground as is covered by
timber or brushwood. The sentinels should be instructed to observe carefully the
nature of the ground, and to select such places of protection for themselves as
their post will afford, to occupy in case the enemy appears within range. At
nightfall the line should be drawn somewhat closer to the Supports, and should
pass through the lower ground, and just within the front of any timber or brush.
By this means the intervals are diminished and the line strengthened; and while
the Pickets are themselves secured from sight, the enemy cannot approach without
being seen distinctly. Patrols will be sent frequently from the Reserve along
the lines, and all directions within the Pickets. They will not pass beyond the
line of Pickets at night, unless especially ordered by the General or Field
Officer of the Day.
sentinels of Advanced Guards must be given the countersign before sunset, and
commence challenging immediately thereafter.
night, care and vigilance must be redoubled by officers and men of the Guard.
Communications between the Reserves, Supports, and Pickets must be constant; and
all circumstances out of the ordinary routine must be at once reported to the
Field Officer of the Day, who will report everything of special importance to
the General Officer of the Day. Too much care cannot be urged upon all concerned
to avoid creating false alarms.
unnecessary discharge of fire-arms will be severely punished.
75. The unfortunate confusion of terms throws great difficulty in the way
to the young officer of learning Grand Guard duty, particularly if he has not
the opportunity of actual service, and has only books to depend upon. But in all
services and under all names it has the same object, and is by far the most
important duty that the young officer has to perform. He is here thrown, to a
certain extent, upon his own resources. Whatever happens on the tour gives an
opportunity for the display of his personal fitness for an officer.
76. In the English and Prussian service the Grand Guard duty is generally
intended to consist of Cavalry, with what they call the picket, composed of
Infantry. Properly, however, Grand Guard duty is the whole subject of protecting
the position of a large body of troops when at rest in times of war, and may be
composed of all arms and arranged in a great variety of ways, according to
circumstances. (See diagram of the Grand Guard duty in the Army of the James.)
77. Annexed is a diagram showing how the Grand Guard was posted to
protect the right flank of the Army of the James in front of Richmond, in
December, 1864. The intrenchment served the purpose of the main armies. The
Grand Guard, therefore, consisted only of a line of Sentinels and a line of
Supports. The Guard was all Infantry immediately in front of the enemy, but on
the right flank along the Darbytown road was all Cavalry except the chain of
sentinels immediately in front of the works:
78. The usual post that
falls to a Lieutenant on Grand Guard duty is the charge of one or more Supports
from which the outer sentinels are drawn. His
first duty is to receive and understand his orders, and if not already in
writing, he should write them out at the first opportunity. He should go round
with the first relief and learn all the posts and positions of the sentinels,
and know the orders of each that is under his control, and see that there is a
connection made on the right and left with the other portions of the Grand
79. He should inform himself thoroughly about his position, and get all
the information of the enemy and the country in his immediate front. He should
learn the names of places, houses, farms, streams, etc., in his vicinity; learn
all he can from the inhabitants about the roads leading to his position, and all
other information they are able or willing to give. He should arrange in his own
mind and anticipate probabilities, as to what he will do if the enemy appear,
remembering that he is not to retire before an equal or inferior force, and only
when it is greatly superior, unless positive orders to the contrary are given;
and of the existence of such a superior force there must be no doubt; nothing
more unfortunate can happen to a subaltern than the subsequent discovery that he
fell back from his position unnecessarily; his reputation as an officer hangs on
the integrity of his report. At the same time he must not remain too long and
thereby endanger his capture by a superior force.
80. He should thoroughly inform himself of the ground in his rear, fix
upon the means and routes of communication with his supports. He should neglect
no means of defense for retarding the enemy, by cutting down trees, barricading
the roads, taking up the planks of bridges, and every other means that will
prevent the enemy from closing suddenly upon his position in superior numbers
and capturing his party.
81. A system of Signals should be agreed upon for day and night by which
the line of outer sentinels can warn the supports and other posts in the rear
with as little delay as possible; these signals should be very few and very
plain, so as not to be mistaken. Each officer can make his own signals that will
answer the purpose, which may be conveyed in various ways, such as a flag
hastily made with a handkerchief, by the various modes of walking about or
running, by certain attitudes and positions of the body, by smoke, by the use of
small mirrors that soldiers generally carry, and many other means that will
suggest themselves. At night fire is used in a variety of ways. The report of
firearms should always indicate an attack.
82. An officer on Grand Guard duty should always be provided with writing
materials for the purpose of sending communications to the rear, which should
always be plainly and concisely written. He should have a Memorandum Book, in
which to enter items to be remembered, in case he may be required to make a
report of his tour of duty. He should have a field-glass and a map of the
country, and should make a map of his own position, for his own improvement and
83. It is as well to say it here that map-making is an essential
qualification in an officer, and he should be constantly practising it; it
produces the habit of observing where you are going, and sharpens the faculty of
locality, which, by the way, is nothing more than keeping one's eyes open to
where he is going. An officer should so habituate his observation that he may be
able to tell clearly where he has been, and to go back again if necessary.
84. But the most important item is the posting and instruction of the
sentinels. The main duty is to watch the enemy, and give notice of his approach.
The sentinels should, therefore, be posted where they can see the enemy as he
approaches; the next advantageous position is where the enemy cannot see the
sentinel. The next consideration is to be where he can send intelligence to the
rear with the greatest facility, the greatest perfection of all these points is
85. Then, having posted the sentinel, it is important that he should
understand clearly and distinctly what he is there for, and what he is to do.
These instructions should be plain and simple as possible. They are limited
usually to watching a certain section in his front, to observe what is
transpiring there, and then as to how he shall make his observations known to
the rear, whether by signal or by courier; he should be particularly instructed
not to retire without firing his piece when the enemy appears suddenly and in
force, so that he may warn the sentinels on his right and left, as well
86. He should be instructed concerning Flags of Truce (Reg. 639), the
reception of deserters (Reg. 641), and the orders concerning parties or
individuals passing to the front. The sentinels should be visited frequently
during his tour by the officer, as it gives encouragement to the timid, and
keeps himself informed of the condition of the line.
87. The men should be instructed that in retiring they should approach
the supports on the flanks, so as to uncover the front, so that the support may
command the enemy as they pursue the retiring sentinel; and the supports, when
they retire, should approach the Reserves in the same manner.
88. PATROLS properly belong to Grand Guards, although they may be
specially detailed for the duty, but, as a rule, they consist of small parties
of soldiers, varying from two to thirty men, selected from the Grand Guard, to
make short reconnoisances or scouts, and procure information. A patrol is a
detachment, but always a small one, while Detachments may be either small or
large bodies of troops.
89 Patrols for reconnoitering within and in the vicinity of the line of
sentinels consist usually of three or four men, and are sent out for the purpose
of detecting scouts of the enemy, and for keeping the sentinels on the alert.
The general principle that is observed in marching any body of troops, holds
good in patrols; that is, there should always be an advance and rear
Guard, and if there are but two men, one is the advance guard and the other the
rear guard. In the vicinity of the
enemy, and when not following a road, the patrol marches in a manner that may be
called line of battle, as indicated in the figures below.
90. The distance apart of
the men thrown out from the main body of the patrol will depend upon the nature
of the ground; they should always be within hailing distance or sight.
In an open, comparatively level country, like the western prairies, the
men could be several hundred yards apart, whilst in a thick wooded country they
should necessarily be much closer. In
a country that can only be travelled on the roads, the patrol is disposed on the
road as follows:
91. The distance between
each part of the patrol should never be beyond sight except such as the
inequalities of the road may produce for a few moments at a time; where the road
passes through an open country flankers may be thrown out, in which the order of
march approximates the previous disposition.
The main object in the march of a Patrol is so to conduct it that it will
get the first sight of the enemy, and that no part of it can be surprised and
captured without knowledge of the adjoining subdivision.
92. Every man of the Patrol
should be cautioned and directed to use his eyes; they should be made to
understand that everything depends upon getting first sight of the enemy.
Fifteen to thirty men all using their eyes industriously cannot fail to
discover everything hostile within the range of vision.
93. Patrols may consist
either of Infantry or Cavalry; the object and the disposition remains the same.
In a broken or difficult country Infantry should be used, but Cavalry is
generally used where it can be, and even with Infantry a few horsemen should
accompany the Patrol to carry intelligence to the rear.
94. The Patrol is sent out for the purpose of seeing the enemy, not to
fight him, and encounters are therefore to be avoided, and even when the enemy
is discovered in inferior numbers he is not to be attacked unless the capture of
a prisoner or two would secure the desired information for which the patrol had
been sent. Even then the failure of such an attempt might produce the total
failure of the object for which the patrol had been sent out.
95. The principal object in sending out patrols is usually to ascertain
the position and strength of the enemy, and to find out his intended movements;
also to ascertain the distance he is from the lines, and what is the character
of the intermediate country.
96. Every precaution is, therefore, taken to march the Patrol with as
much secrecy as possible. If the enemy is discovered in small force, a Patrol
perhaps, he should be avoided either by concealment or changing the direction
until he has passed.
97. If, after all precaution, the patrol is nevertheless discovered, then
the officer must make the best of it; if it is still possible to accomplish the
object for which the patrol was sent out, he should not give up, but push on;
the officer must decide at once how he will act; it may be best to feign a
retreat, and fall back until the pursuit is abandoned, and then try again; or,
if his force will warrant it, to attack and disperse the enemy's patrol, and
endeavor in the route to press on; usually, however, the only thing that it is
advisable to do, is to attack the force and get what prisoners it is possible,
98. It is in the selection of the men composing the Patrol, and their
fitness for the duty, that the success of it will mainly depend. Particularly
the men in advance must be specially selected, quick sighted, active, and brave
men, who know how to take advantage of the inequalities of the ground and
objects in advance, to approach the enemy unseen, and who will make no mistakes
in what they see. It is too often the case that an exaggerated report defeats
further investigation, that would have discovered the practicability of
99. It is the officer in charge, however, who is the soul of the party;
if he is not fond of such duty, and has not an aptitude for it, the patrol will
lack the essential elements of success. He will, if he is zealous, provide
himself with a map of his proposed route, a compass, field-glass, or telescope,
such guides as it is possible to obtain, and all the information possible before
starting. In order that he may be able to give an intelligent account of where
he has been, he should provide himself with paper, prepared for taking notes of
100. Various methods are recommended for this purpose, and one is laid
down in Regulations (page 100). The simplest is to take ordinary writing paper,
if none prepared for the purpose is to be had, and rule it into squares by a
system of parallel lines perpendicular to the lines already on the paper. These
squares can be assumed as a quarter, half, or mile square, as may be most
desirable, then assuming the top of the sheet to be always north, and knowing
the general directions of the route, it is easy to select the point on the paper
where you start from according as you are to travel, north, south, east, or
101. The sketch of the roads north of Deep Bottom was made by riding out
from the entrenchments at Deep Bottom to the Kingsland road, along the Kingsland
road to its intersection with the Newmarket road, then turning to the left up
the Newmarket road to Signal Hill, there a farm road led across to the Darbytown
road, then returning by the last road by Fussel's Mill to the Newmarket road and
back to Deep Bottom. The distance travelled, and the sketch required about three
hours. There are no actual measurements, everything is estimated, but it serves
as an excellent aid to the memory in remembering the various points, and the
sketch together with the verbal description of the various points which the
officer would be able to give, might prove of great service at a critical
moment. The dotted lines are conjecture, the other parts are put in by actual
observation from different points in the roads. This qualification in an officer
is invaluable, and should be practised constantly as an exercise; it can be
carried to a great state of perfection by consulting books devoted to the
102. It would be impossible to anticipate all the conditions that may
exist, and offer in a work like this suggestions for the emergency. The natural
capacity of the officer for the duty will, especially if he has studied the
subject, and takes an interest in it, suggest the means best suited to the end
in each individual case. The distance to be travelled, the nature of the country
to be passed over, the time of day, and the object to be attained, together with
the kind of troops to be used, the number and character of their arms, and many
other considerations must be considered on such duty, and everything should be
provided for and anticipated.
103. If the Patrol is passing through a section where the enemy would
probably expect it, the advance should be cautiously made, and all kinds of
cover should first be examined before the patrol passes on. When the Patrol
reaches ground where the enemy would hardly expect it, then the Patrol can move
more rapidly, and with less caution, and in fact the rapidity of the march is
the safety of the patrol, as before dispositions can be made to receive it, it
will have passed the dangerous points where it would be interrupted.
104. The officer must set the example, and be ready to face any danger
that may assail them, and capable of suffering any fatigue or exposure with the
men. When the patrol has arrived in the vicinity of the enemy the main force
should be kept back concealed, and the officer advance with one or two men, and
endeavor to get sight of the enemy's position, and to ascertain his strength and
condition. He should, whenever it is possible, look for himself, and not trust
it to any of the men. Sometimes it is necessary to make a dash at the enemy's
line to capture some of his pickets, or, at least, to drive them in and create
an alarm, by which he will be made to display his force. The officer should
always be with the advance in these affairs, in order that he may see for
himself whatever is to be seen.
105. Night marches of Patrols require to be conducted with still greater
precautions than in the day-time. The men are kept within speaking distance of
each other; signals are agreed upon, in case of separation, in order that the
men may recognize each other in the night. The most safe course to pursue is to
procure a countryman, and by bribery or threat, if good-will fails, induce him
to show the way as far as he is familiar with the country, and then procure
another in the same way. The Guides furnished seldom know enough to answer all
the purposes of such an expedition.
106. When an officer returns from such a reconnaissance he must be able
to answer all questions, as to the kind of a road passed over, the number and
nature of the streams crossed, the character of the banks and bed, and whether
passable for all kinds of troops or not. The number and character of the
bridges, the resources of the country as relates to forage, provisions, horses,
mules, beef cattle, and other supplies useful to troops. An officer who has not
the facility to remember accurately these points should never fail to keep a
record as he marches along.
107. Patrol duty has also an important part to perform in connection with
Advance and Rear Guards. To understand how to do this it is necessary to have a
correct knowledge of the principles on which they are organized and directed.
(See Reconnoisances, page 94, Reg.)
108. ADVANCE GUARDS. - Advance and Rear Guards are terms applied to the
forces disposed for the protection of the troops when they are moving, and
correspond in their object with the Grand Guards when the troops are in camp.
They are intended to guard against a sudden attack of the enemy, an ambuscade,
to discover the position of the enemy, and to conceal the operations of the main
body from him.
109. The following diagram shows the arrangement of the Advance and Rear
Guards as directed in General Orders No. 69, Headquarters Army of the Potomac,
February 25, 1862. It supposes the force to be a Division of three Brigades, but
it is manifest that it may be extended to any number of Divisions. It supposes
the column to be marching by flank along an ordinary road. The same principles
apply if the Division were marching in line, by simply extending the line of
skirmishers, and the number of flankers would be necessarily reduced.
THE MARCH.-The same general principles apply to the protection of a column in
motion as to an army in camp. The scene continually shifting, however, redoubled
precautions are necessary, and stronger Advanced Guards, of course, are
advance is taken by a line of skirmishers, extending four or five hundred yards
beyond the flanks of the column on each side. The skirmishers correspond with
the Pickets in Camp. About one hundred yards behind this line march the
Supports, three in number. The centre Support keeps to the road to be followed
by the column. The officer commanding this Support must be well instructed as to
the direction he is to pursue, and in detail as to the route and rate of march.
The flank Supports move about three hundred yards to the right and left.
Reserve marches about one hundred and fifty yards behind the centre Support.
main body of the column follows from a half-mile to a mile behind the Reserve.
flanks of the column are protected by Flankers, disposed according to similar
outer lines to the right and left are formed of skirmishers, moving by the
flank, and keeping their lines about four hundred yards from the flank of the
column. The Supports of these Flankers, one to each Brigade, move by the flank,
about one hundred and fifty yards inside the line of Flankers.
Rear Guard marches half a mile behind the main body. The measures of spaces
given are simply indicative. They will be modified according to circumstances.
Advanced Guard is composed of troops of all arms, and in strength should not be
less than one tenth of the entire force.
line of skirmishers (except in extraordinary cases) will consist of light
Infantry. The Supports will consist of Infantry. A small detachment of Cavalry
is attached to each Support, to act as scouts and messengers. A few pieces of
Field Artillery march in rear of the centre. The Reserve will comprise at least
one-half the entire strength ,,f Cavalry and Infantry of the Advanced Guard, and
the principal portion of the Artillery.
number of flankers is regulated so as to have the lines of skirmishers extend
from the Advanced Guard to the Rear Guard. Their Supports being equal, in the
aggregate, to the number of files composing the lines of skirmishers. Small
detachments of Cavalry will be with each of the Supports, to perform the duty of
scouting the country beyond the lines of skirmishers, and to act as messengers.
Rear Guard of an Army advancing on the enemy need not be stronger than
one-twentieth part of the enemy force. On a retreat, it should be not less than
one eighth of the Infantry, and as large a proportion of Artillery and Cavalry
as can be used to advantage.
duties of the Rear Guard, when the column is advancing, are to collect and bring
forward all stragglers from the Army, whether men or animals, and to prevent any
sudden attack upon the rear of the column or train. It will be arranged in the
following order: The main body of the Rear Guard will follow about five hundred
yards behind the rear of the column. Two hundred yards further to the rear will
follow a line of skirmishers, extending about a hundred yards on each side
beyond the flanks of the column. A small number of Cavalry will be attached to
the Rear Guard, to be employed in communicating with the main body,
retreat, the duties of the Rear Guard are of the most important nature; and upon
their proper performance the safety of the whole Army depends.
favorable position must be seized by the Commander to make a stand against the
pursuers with his Infantry; charge their advanced lines with his Cavalry, and
bring his Artillery into battery. Always bear in mind, that it may at any moment
be possible, by energetic action and judicious management, to entirely check the
pursuit, or even to turn defeat into victory.
their movements depend entirely upon the dispositions of the enemy in pursuit,
no definite rules can be laid down for any particular order of march.
advancing into a portion of the country which has not been thoroughly and
recently recommitted, too much caution cannot be observed to guard against
surprise and ambuscade. Every ravine and piece of forest should be carefully
examined by Infantry. Should Cavalry be in advance, they will dismount on
approaching a ravine or wood, and a small number advance on foot and ascertain
whether it is occupied by the enemy. Artillery, particularly, must never be
allowed to come within rifle range of any cover which has not been explored.
exertion must be used by the officers of the whole force to prevent any of the
men from halting, or leaving the ranks on any pretense whatever
in charge of trains will strictly prohibit any unauthorized persons from riding
upon the wagons or ambulances.
and plundering of every description will be most surely and severely punished. [G.O.
The duties devolving upon the Lieutenant in connection with Advanced Guards,
ordinarily would be the command of one or more supports to the skirmish line or
flankers. His attention should be particularly directed to maintain his line of
skirmishers or flankers, to see that the men preserve the proper direction and
interval, and that they keep their places in line, all the time keeping a good
look out for the enemy, and approaching all places of cover where an enemy could
conceal a force, with all the necessary precaution.
111. Both Skirmishers and
flankers are guided in march by the movements of the main column, when it moves
they move, and when it halts they halt. If
the enemy is met in front, the skirmishers halt and preserve their order and
steadiness until the Commanding Officer decides and directs what shall be done. The enemy must be in evident force, however; the Skirmishers
should not halt simply at the sight of a few of the enemy. If the enemy appears
on the flank, the flankers hold their ground to give the column time to prepare
for action. In no case should the men fall back in disorder at the appearance of
the enemy; if it is necessary to fall back, and the fact has been made fully
apparent, they should fall back in order, sending word to the column at once.
112. The Rear Guard is quite as important as the Advance Guard, and is
governed by the same general principles. On the retreat is when the Rear Guard
displays its greatest importance. Great tact and judgment are necessary in the
officer commanding, to enable him to take advantage of the defensive positions
along the line of retreat, to delay 1w enemy and compel him to form a line of
battle, and then to withdraw before he can avail himself of his arrangements for
attack, the object being to postpone the moment for withdrawing only so long as
may be safe to retire.
113. Bridges, fords, ravines, defiles, &c., are the positions to be
chosen by the Rear Guard. If the enemy attack in small force they are easily
repulsed, if they attack in large force time is necessary to develop his troops.
When he is nearly ready to attack is the time to withdraw. In order to resume
the pursuit he is obliged to form column, which again involves time; this being
often repeated the main column gets so far advanced that pursuit is useless.
Time must not be allowed to the enemy to detach a flanking party, which, by
turning the Rear Guard, may get between it and the main column, and thus delay
it and perhaps cause its capture.
114. The word flanker in the Regulations (page 95), has a more general
meaning than that given in the foregoing; it is there applied to a detachment
from the main Army, sent out to attack and annoy the enemy's flanks and rear,
and interrupt his communications. That application of the word has become almost
Some general principles in connection with Advance Guard duty are found under "Marches. " (Reg. 677).
115. POLICE.-Lieutenants in camp have often to act as Officer of Police,
whose duty it is to see that the General Parade Ground, and ground about the
Field Officers quarters, are cleaned up daily, and that each company keeps its
own grounds in order, and in fact that the entire camp is kept in a proper state
116. Each company has its detail for Police for its own respective
ground, but the guard detail which marched off the morning previous constitutes
the detail for "General Police." The police call sounds generally
immediately after Reveille, when the First Sergeant orders the police details to
fall in. That for General Police is marched to the Parade Ground, that for the
company is immediately set to work on the company grounds under the direction of
a non-commissioned officer.
117. The Officer of Police superintends the parading of the General
Police, and then directs what the detail shall do. The duty consists generally
in sweeping up and removing all offal and refuse from the General Parade Ground,
color line, and the vicinity of the Field Officers' quarters. Police call sounds
twice in the day, in the morning immediately after Reveille, and again in the
afternoon before Retreat Parade.
118. Twice during the day, therefore, the camp is expected to be in
perfect order. When regularly performed this duty is light, and serves to keep
the camp perfectly neat. In active service the routine of this duty is so often
interrupted as to break it up frequently; but it will be found advisable to
renew it at all times when the absence of an enemy and the duties of the troops
will admit of it.
119. The detail is often reduced by the sickness or absence on other duty
of some member of the guard detail of the day previous. They must be accounted
for by the First Sergeant, but it is not usual to replace them. One hour,
morning and evening, is generally allowed for this work. The Officer of Police
inspects the grounds before the detail is dismissed, and if the duty has been
imperfectly performed they are required to go over the neglected parts again.
120. It is generally only when a Regiment or more of troops are encamped
together that the Officer of Police is called upon, where the amount of work and
the number of Lieutenants for duty will justify it.
121. In smaller camps a Sergeant of Police is sufficient under the
direction of the Officer of the Day. In garrison, the general parade, and other
grounds used in common, are kept in order by the prisoners or if there are none,
a special detail is made, and the duty is directed by the Officer of the Day.
122. Where there is much other duty for the troops to do, the foregoing
method of policing the camp is too often omitted, owing to the police detail
being broken up by details for other duties. In such cases the camp is always
greatly neglected, and it is allowed to go on from bad to worse until it becomes
a matter no longer to be overlooked, and the whole command is turned out for a
general cleaning up. It costs less labor and the camp is always in good order
and a picture of neatness, where a daily police system is adopted and properly
carried out; it indicates a good state of discipline, and the health and comfort
of the troops is greatly promoted.
123. A complete system of drainage should be adopted, and puddles of
water not be allowed to stand and dry up after a rain. Each company kitchen
should collect its slops, and remove them away from the camps or bury them, so
as neither to offend the eye nor the nose. Cavalry and Artillery should sweep
out and remove the manure of the stables daily.
124. The cleanliness of a camp depends greatly upon the selection of the
location. Care should always be had to select ground a little rolling, or a
plain with a slight inclination. The season of the Year and the length of time
the ground is likely to be occupied should be considered. Camps that are only to
be occupied for a day or two need not be selected with reference to their
police; but when they are to be occupied for weeks, and perhaps months, the
question of police becomes an important one. A complete drainage is of the first
importance; for the soil is very soon made so compact under the men's feet that
it will not absorb the rain, and if the water cannot run off it collects in
puddles and pools, that, in warm weather, generates poisonous vapors, and, in
winter, causes uncomfortable mud-holes. If the men are required regularly to
clean up the camp at stated periods they will be careful in creating unnecessary
litter, which they know they will be required to remove, and cleanliness soon
becomes a habit.
125. The sinks are also subject to the inspection of the Officer of
Police. Each Company usually has
its own sink. The sinks consist, when the troops are in the field and in camp
for several days at one place, of trenches about ten feet long, two feet wide,
and three or four feet deep, dug in the earth, and screened by shrub branches,
located about two hundred yards in front of the encampment, and inside of the
line of sentinels of the Police Guard.
126. Sinks cannot be constructed too soon after a camp is once
established, and the Officer of Police is usually entrusted with the duty of
directing where they are to be placed, and seeing that the necessary number are
properly made. The earth that is dug out is thrown back again, little by little,
every day or two, thus rendering them less offensive. In due time they are
entirely filled up, and new ones dug.
127. In Garrison the sinks are more permanent and are kept clean by
washing, and the use of lime. They require constant attention, or they soon
become very offensive. In Camp and Garrison there are always established certain
Police Regulations and Orders, intended to regulate the cleanliness of the
place, which it is the particular duty of the Officer of Police to see enforced
and complied with. All violations should be promptly reported, and the necessary
steps taken to have the offence punished.
128. FATIGUE AND WORKING PARTIES. - Lieutenants are constantly required
to take charge of Fatigue or Working Parties, and direct their labors. The work
to be performed may be any of the labors incident to military operations, of
sufficient magnitude to require a number of men to do it. Ordinarily it will
consist of work pertaining to the erection of field fortifications, such as
digging trenches, throwing up parapets, constructing abattis, felling forests,
building stockades, making gabions, facines, etc., etc. It may be some labor in
connection with the construction required in building a military post, erecting
quarters, stables, storehouses, etc. Often he is directed to improve the means
of communication by making new roads, building bridges, or repairing them, etc.
129. The work may be required under circumstances of danger, either
exposed to the enemy's fire, or liable to attack; more frequently, however, it
will be a peaceful duty, without danger and free of all inconvenience, except
the fatigue incident to the work. In any case the officer in charge, in addition
to the simple duty of directing and controlling the men in the performance of
the work, has the opportunity to display his personal knowledge and capacity,
and if he has anticipated the work by learning all about it, it will save him
from the mortification of an exhibition of ignorance, if it does nothing more,
and may possibly attract attention to his merits that might otherwise pass
130. If, in the construction of fortifications, the officer shows that he
has given attention to the subject of Military Engineering, it will manifest
itself in the disposition of the men for the work, so that the greatest number
can be employed at the same time, without being in each other's way; in a
knowledge of the details, avoiding all errors, and proceeding at once to the
labor without delay, and without unnecessary questions. In siege operations he
will be able to protect his men as much as possible from the fire of the enemy.
131. In the making of a road, the construction of a bridge, the building
of a block-house or stockade, quarters, or storehouses, he has the opportunity
of showing any knowledge and capacity he may possess. But whether he have any
special knowledge of the work to be done or not, he must be able to control his
men, preserve order, and enforce a proper amount of labor on the part of the
men. When it is necessary to take precautions against the enemy he must be able
to do so with judgment and skill, to guard against disaster.
132. A fatigue-party cannot usually be relied upon for its own defence,
especially where the attack may be sudden and short, as in a siege where the
besieged make sorties against the besiegers in the trenches, for the reason that
the men cannot work with their accoutrements on, and if they take them off
before they can be replaced they will be defeated. In such cases the
fatigue-party should be attended by a guard to protect them whilst they are at
work, or, what would be the same thing, let the fatigue-party be so large that a
portion may stand guard whilst the other works, and in that way relieve each
other. The arms of the working-party should be taken to the ground with them
under such circumstances, and stacked at the rallying point under charge of the
guard, which should be so disposed that they can defend them until the
working-party can resume their arms.
133. The most difficult case is when a foraging party is sent
outside of the lines to procure supplies of any kind, the difficulty of
defending the wagons and guarding against a sudden attack is usually very great,
and requires every precaution and foresight on the part of the officer, and
courage and decision when an attack does take place. Such parties are generally
very weak and defenseless, and the country may be such as to greatly favor the
enemy, especially if the foraging is to be performed in the enemy's country. The
general principles given for the protection of a Patrol apply in such cases.
When attacked the guard must seek to occupy the enemy until the wagons can get
out of the way, and all the men that are not needed to hold the enemy in check,
go with the wagons to assist them, and to guard against detachments sent to
intercept. In no case should the
wagons be left to themselves if there is any possibility that they may be
134. An Engineer or Staff-officer sent with a working party, whilst he
cannot exercise command or give orders affecting the men, he nevertheless has an
advisory control as to the work that cannot be ignored, and it is the duty of
the officer in charge of the working party to conform to his counsel, and should
there be any conflict, it is always best that the point at issue be made in
writing. The Staff officer gives orders in the name of his Commanding Officer
with reference to the character of the work, the time and means of performance-,
and it is the duty of the officer in the immediate charge of the men to conform
to these orders.
135. Details for fatigue, as well as other purposes are more to be relied
upon if composed of complete companies, or detachments from the same company,
particularly in duties that involve danger. Men have not the same confidence in
strangers that they have in their messmates. It is also a great convenience to
the officer if he knows his men. There is less danger of straggling and
shirking, because the offenders are easily recognized and punished. Where the
party is composed of many small details from different companies, the utmost
vigilance is necessary to keep it together, and to get each man to do his share
of work, particularly in times of danger. A list should be made, the first
thing, of the men's names and their Company and Regiment, and the roll called
136. Much space might be taken up here with details of the best mode of
performing the different kinds of work usually required of fatigue and working
parties, in fact it would make a respectable little volume in itself. These
details, however, may be found more complete than can be stated here, in other
books, and it can only be indicated, generally, what the subjects are that
deserve attention, and where to find the information concerning them.
137. The different kinds of labor consequent upon a siege, in building fortifications and intrenching positions, may be learned from Mahan's "Field Fortifications" and Duane's "Manual for Engineer Troops." Downing's "Country Houses" will afford many excellent suggestions in the construction of officer's quarters, barracks, storehouses, etc. In the building of roads, construction of bridges, dams, railroads, and many other useful points, Mahan's "Civil Engineering" should be consulted. Galton's "Art of Travel" has many useful suggestions to the officer on frontier stations and in campaigns. The "Aide Memoire to the Military Sciences," edited by the Royal Engineers, English Army, is a valuable book to the military student.
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