INSTRUCTION FOR SKIRMISHERS
General principles and division of the instruction.
To deploy a battalion as skirmishers, and to rally the battalion.
To deploy the battalion as skirmishers
178. A battalion being in line of battle, if the commander should wish to deploy it on the right of the sixth company, holding the three right companies in reserve, he will signify his intention to the lieutenant colonel and the adjutant, and also to the major who will be directed to take charge of the reserve. He will point out to the lieutenant colonel the direction he wishes to give the line, as well as the point where he wishes the right of the sixth company to rest, and to the commander of the reserve the place he may wish it established.
179. The lieutenant colonel will move rapidly in front of the right of the sixth company, and the adjutant in front of the left of the same company. The commander of the reserve will dispose of it in the manner to be hereinafter indicated.
180. The colonel will command:
1. First (or second) platoons-as skirmishers.
2. On the right of the sixth company-take intervals.
3. MARCH. (or double quick-MARCH.)
181. At the second command, the captains of the fifth and sixth companies will prepare to deploy the first platoons of their respective companies, the sixth on its right, the fifth on its left file.
182. The captain of the fourth company will face it to the right, and the captains of the seventh and eighth companies will face the respective companies to the left.
183. At the command march, the movement will commence. The platoons of the fourth and sixth companies will deploy forward; the right guide will march on the point which will be indicated to him by the lieutenant colonel
184. The company which has faced to the right, and also the companies which have faced to the left, will march straight forward. The fourth company will take an interval of one hundred paces counting from the left of the fifth, and its chief will deploy its first platoon on its left file. The seventh and eight companies will each take an interval of one hundred paces, counting from the first file of the company, which is immediately on its right; and the chiefs of these companies will afterwards deploy their first platoons on the right file.
185. The guides who conduct the files on which the deployment is made, should be careful to direct themselves towards the outer man of the neighboring company, already deployed as skirmishers; or if the company has not finished its deployment, they will judge carefully the distance which may still be required to place all these files in line, and will march on the point thus marked out. The companies, as they arrive on the line, will align themselves on those already deployed.
186. The lieutenant colonel and adjutant will follow the deployment, the one on the right, the other on the left; the movement concluded, they will place themselves near the colonel.
187. The reserves of the companies will be established in echellon in the following manner; the reserve of the sixth company will be placed one hundred and fifty paces in the rear of the right of this company; the reserves of the fourth and fifth companies, united, opposite the centre of their line of skirmishers, and thirty paces in advance of the reserve of the sixth company; the reserves of the seventh and eighth companies, also united, opposite the centre of their line of skirmishers, and thirty paces further to the rear than the reserve of the sixth company.
188. The major commanding the companies comprising the reserve, on receiving an order from the colonel to that effect, will march these companies thirty paces to the rear, and will then ploy them into column by company, at half distance; after which, he will conduct the column to the point which shall have been indicated to him.
189. The colonel will have a general superintendence of the movement; and when it is finished, will move to a point in rear of the line, where his view may best embrace all the parts, in order to direct their movements.
190. If, instead of deploying forward, it be desired to deploy by the flank, the sixth and fifth companies will be moved to the front ten or twelve paces, halted, and deployed by the flank, the one on the right, the other on the left file, by the means already indicated. Each of the other companies will be marched by the flank, and as soon as the last file of the company, next towards the direction, shall have taken its interval, it will be moved upon the line established by the fifth and sixth companies, halted, and deployed.
191. In the preceding example, it has been supposed that the battalion has been in the order of battle, but if in column, it would be deployed as skirmishers by the same commands and according to the same principles.
192. If the deployment is to be made forward, the directing company, as soon as it is unmasked, will be moved ten or twelve paces in front of the head of the column, and will be then deployed on the file indicated. Each of the other companies will take its interval to the right of left, and deploy as soon as soon as it is taken.
193. If the deployment is to be made by the flank, the directing company will be moved in the same manner to the front, as soon as it is unmasked, and will then be halted and deployed by the flank on the file indicated. Each of the other companies will be marched by the flank, and when its interval is taken, will be moved on the line, halted, and deployed as soon as the company next towards the direction shall have finished its deployment.
194. It has been prescribed to place the reserves in echellon, in order that they may, in the event of a rally, be able to protect themselves without injuring each other; and the reserves of the two contiguous companies have been united, in order to decrease the number of the echellons, and to increase their capacity for resisting cavalry.
195. The echellons, in the example given, descend from right to left, but they may, on an indication from the colonel to that effect, be posted on the same principle, so as to descend from left to right.
196. When the color-company is to be deployed as skirmishers, the color, without its guard, will be detached, and will remain with the battalion reserve.
197. The colonel may cause all the various movements prescribed for a company, to be executed by the battalion, and by the same commands and the same signals. When he wishes to rally the battalion, he will cause the rally on the battalion to be sounded, and will so dispose his reserve to protect this movement.
198. The companies deployed as skirmishers will be rallied in squares on their respective reserves; each reserve of two contiguous companies will form the first front of the square, throwing to the rear the sections on the flanks; the skirmishers who arrive first will complete the lateral fronts, and the last the fourth front. The officers and sergeants will superintend the rally, and as fast as the men arrive, they will form them into two ranks, without regard to height, and cause them to face outwards,
199. The rally being effected, the commanders of the squares will profit by any interval of time the cavalry may allow for putting them in safety, either by marching upon the battalion reserve, or by seizing an advantageous position; to this end, each of the squares will be formed into column, and march in this order; and if threatened anew, it will halt, and again form itself into square.
200. As the companies successively arrive near the battalion-reserve, each will re-form as promptly as possible, and without regard to designation or number, take place in the column next in rear of the companies already in it.
201. The battalion reserve will also form square, if itself threatened by cavalry. In this case, the companies in marching towards it will place themselves promptly in the sectors without fire, and thus march on the squares.