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VOL. 1







    I call STRATEGY, the hostile movements of two armies, made beyond the view of each other; or-if it be preferred- beyond the effect of cannon. TACTICS, I call, the science of movements which are made in the presence of the enemy, that is, within his view, and within reach of his artillery.


    BULOW'S Spirit of the System of Modern War.

VOL. 1.--A

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in this year 1840 by


In the clerk's office of the southern district of New York.


April 10, 1835

The system of infantry tactics, prepared by Major General Winfield Scott, under a resolution of the House of Representatives, passed April 8, 1834, and reported to this Department on the 3d of February, 1835, having been approved by the President, is herewith published for the information and government of the Army, and for the observance of the Militia of the United States.

    The formation in three ranks provided in this system, is for the present, suspended, and will not be adopted in practice until other orders are given by this Department.

    With a view to ensure uniformity throughout the Army, all infantry exercises and maneuvers not embraced in this system are prohibited, and those herein prescribed, with exception aforesaid, be strictly observed.



The Legislature of the State of Massachusetts have passed a resolve, approved April 1, 1852, authorizing the adjutant general to procure a sufficient number of copies of Harper and Brothers' edition of "The System of Infantry Tactics", prepared by General Winfield Scott, and adopted by the War Department in the year 1835, and to furnish one copy to each general and field officer, division inspector, brigade major, the adjutant of each regiment and battalion, and the commander of each company, and also to furnish the first and second volumes of said System to each subaltern officer in the volunteer militia of the Commonwealth.




Formation of Infantry in the Order of Battle

    1. In every corps d'armee, the first division of which it is composed will be posted on the right, and the second on the left.

    2. A similar disposition will be made of the two brigades in a division, and of the two regiments in a brigade.

    3. In all exercises, manoeveres, and evolutions, every regiment (of a single battalion) will take the denomination of battalion, and all the battalions in the same corps d'armee, division, or brigade, will be designated, from right to left, first battalion, second battalion, &c. BY these designations they will be known in the evolutions.

    4. The interval between any two contiguous battalions in the same brigade, division, or corps d'armee, will be twenty-two paces.

    5. (Pl. 1, fig. 1) In every regiment of ten companies, two will be denominated flank companies, and eight battalion companies.

    6. One of the flank companies will be denominated grenadiers, and posted on the right of


the battalion: the other, light infantry or rifle, (according to the arm) and posted on the left of the battalion.

    7. The eight battalion companies will habitually be posted from right to left, in the following order: first, fifth, fourth, seventh, third, eighth, sixth, second, according to the rank of the captains.

    8. The battalion companies, posted as above, will be designated from right to left, first company, second company, &c.  This designation will be observed in the manoeuvers.

    9. In a battalion manoeuvering separately, if the grenadiers only be detached, that company may be replaced by the light infantry, but not by the rifle.

    1O. The first two companies on the right, whatever their denomination, will form the first division; the next two companies, the second division- and so on to the left.  Provision will be made in the manoeuvers, for the presence of an odd company.

    11. In a detached brigade, with the flank companies present, the grenadiers of the two battalions may be on the right of the first battalion, and designated, singly, first and second grenadiers, according to the rank of their captains, and, in division, simply grenadiers.  A corresponding disposition may be made of the two other flank companies, either on the left or right of the second battalion.

    12. In a division (two brigades) near an enemy, the four grenadier companies may be detached from their battalions, formed into a separate battalion,


and posted on the right of the division.  In this battalion, the companies will be posted from right to left, as follows: first, third, fourth, second, according to the rank of their captains, and designated, from right to left, first grenadiers, second grenadiers, &c., the two on the right forming the first division in the manoeuvers, and the other two, the second.  A field officer will be detached to command the battalion.  A corresponding disposition may be made of the other four flank companies, whether they be armed as light infantry or riflemen, or as both.

13. The colour, with a guard, to be herein designated, will, in regimental battalions, be posted on the left of the right center battalion company.  That company, and all on its right, will be denominated the right wing of the battalion; the remaining companies, the left wing.

    14. (Pl. 1, fig. 2) Each company will be divided into two equal platoons. The one on the right will be denominated the first, and the other the second platoon.  The division of platoons into sections will be provided for, (in marching in the route step) Title III. See No. 73, and following.

    15. Companies serving in battalion, and averaging seventy-two rank and file, or upwards, will habitually be formed into three ranks- occasionally into two. For an average strength of less than seventy-two rank and file per company, and for detached companies, two ranks will be the habitual, and three the occasional of depth or formation.



    16. The primitive formation of the company into three or two ranks; or into files three or two deep, together with the manner of passing from the one to the other formation, will be given, Title III.  Files having been formed, as often as a front or centre rank man falls or steps out of his rank, he will be immediately replaced, for the time, by his coverer in the next rank.

    17. The distance from one rank to another will be thirteen inches, measured from the breasts of the centre or rear rank men, to the backs of the men in the rank preceding, or to the knapsacks of the rank preceding, if knapsacks be on, and all the manoeuvers are calculated on the latter supposition.

    18. For manoeuvering, the companies of each battalion will be equalized, by assigning over men, if necessary, from the strongest to the weakest companies.

Posts of Company Officers, Sergeants, and Corporals.

    19. The company officers and sergeants may (as on a war establishment, with ranks filled) be ten in number, as follows: 1. Captain. 2. First lieutenant. 3. Second lieutenant. 4. Third lieutenant. 5. Ensign. 6. First sergeant. 7. Second sergeant. 8. Third sergeant. 9. Fourth sergeant. 1O. Fifth sergeant.

    2O. If the whole ten be under arms with the company, they will be posted as follows:

21. No. 1 in the front rank on the right of the company, touching with the left elbow.


    22. No. 6 in the rear rank, touching with the left elbow and covering No. 1.  In the manoeuvers, No. 6 (first sergeant) will be denominated covering sergeant, or right guide of the company.

    23. The remaining officers and sergeants will constitute the file closers, and be posted in a line two paces in the rear of the rear rank, measuring from heels to heels, as follows:

    24. No.2 equidistant between the positions which will be assigned to Nos. 4 and 7.

    25. No. 3 opposite to the centre of the first platoon.

    26. No. 4 opposite to the centre of the second platoon.

    27. No. 5 equidistant between No. 3 and the right of the company.

    28. No. 7 (with an exception to be immediately made) opposite to the second file from the left of the company.  No. 7, (second sergeant) will, in every company, be denominated left guide of the company.

    29. No. 8 opposite to the second file from the left of the first platoon.

    3O. No. 9 opposite to the second file from the right of the second platoon.

    31. No. 10 equidistant from Nos. 3 and 8.

    32. No. 7, in the left company, will be posted in the front rank, on the left of the battalion, touching with the right elbow, and will be covered by a corporal in the rear rank.  This sergeant will, in the manoeuvers, be sometimes designated as the closing sergeant, and the corporal behind him as the covering corporal.


33. File closers will not be allowed to consider themselves a mere ornament to the rear of the company.  They will be more particularly held responsible for the alignment of the centre and rear ranks, of which they will judge by the squareness of shoulders and the touch of elbows.  See No. 1417.  In battle, the arms of file closers are often well employed in preventing the ranks from breaking to the rear.

    34. Absent officers and sergeants will be replaced- officers by sergeants and sergeants by corporals.  According to rank, and according to establishment, and the actual front of a company.  With a narrow front, as on a peace establishment, it will generally be sufficient if the positions of Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9, as above, be filled by replacing.  The front being so reduced as to render manoeuvering in platoons improbable, the positions of Nos. 8 and 9 need not be filled by replacing.

    35. Neither the first nor second sergeant present shall replace an absent officer, unless it be to command the company, a platoon or section.

    36. The colonel may always detach a first lieutenant from one company to command another, of which both the captain and first lieutenant are absent; but this authority will give no right to a lieutenant to demand to be so detached. 

    37. Corporals, other than those selected as the colour-guard, the corporal of pioneers, and the one covering the sergeant on the left of the battalion, belong to the rank and file of their respective


companies. They will be placed in the front and rear ranks, and on the right and left of platoons, according to their height.

Posts of Field Officers and Regimental Staff.

38. The field officers (colonel, lieutenant colonel, and major) are supposed to be mounted, and on actual service shall be on horseback.  The adjutant, when the battalion is manoeuvering, will be on foot.

    39. The colonel will take post thirty paces in rear of the file closers, opposite to the centre of the battalion.  This distance may be reduced according to the reduction of the front of the battalion.

    4O.The lieutenant colonel and the major will be opposite to the centres of the right and left wings, respectively, and twelve paces in rear of the file closers.

    41. The adjutant and sergeant major will be opposite to the right and left of the battalion, respectively, and eight paces in rear of the file closers.

    42. The adjutant and sergeant major will aid the lieutenant colonel and major respectively in the manoeuvers.  Hence, these assistants are not frequently named in the text, it being understood that the smaller duties referred to the principal, and requiring that the person should be on foot, may, under supervision, be performed by the assistant. 

    43. The colonel, if absent, will be replaced by the lieutenant colonel, and the latter by the


major.  If all the field officers be absent, the senior captain will command the battalion; but if either be present, he will not call the senior captain to act as a field officer, except in case of evident necessity.

    44. The quartermaster, the surgeon, and his assistants, drawn up in one rank, from right to left, in the order in which they are named, will be posted on the left of the colonel, three paces in his rear.

    45. The quartermaster sergeant will be posted in a line with the front rank of the field music, and two paces on the right.

Posts of the Pioneers, Field Music, and Band.

    46. The pioneers (one per company) will be drawn up in two ranks, and posted on the right, having their left four paces from the right of the grenadiers.  A corporal of pioneers, selected from the corporals by the colonel, will be posted on the right of the pioneers.  In a brigade, all its pioneers may be united on its right.

    47. The drummers and fifers, or bugles, (the field music) will be drawn up in two ranks, the drummers in the rear, and posted twelve paces in the rear of the file closers, the left opposite to the centre of the left centre company.  The senior principal musician will be two paces in front of the field music, and the other two paces in the rear.

    48. The regimental band, if there be one, will be drawn up in two or three ranks, according to its numbers, and posted three paces in rear of the


field music, having one of the principal musicians at its head.

    49. (Pl. 1, fig. 2) If a company be detached, its pioneer will be posted in the line of file closers, on the right, and its music four paces on its right, on a line with its front rank; the drummer on the right of the fifer or bugler.


    5O. In each battalion, the colour-guard will composed of eight or five corporals, according as the battalion may be formed in three or two ranks, and be posted on the left of the right centre company, of which company (for the time being) the guard will make a part.

    51. The corporals will be selected by the colonel, who, nevertheless, will take but one at a time from the same company, and not one from the rifle, unless the rifles have bayonets.  (In battalions with less than five companies present, there will be no colour-guard and no display of colours, except it may be at reviews.

    52. The front or colour rank of the guard will be composed of a sergeant, (to be selected by the colonel) who will be called, for the time, the colour-bearer*, with a corporal on his right and left; these places will be given in preference to the corporals of grenadiers and light infantry,

        The colour, in bad or windy weather, except in saluting, will be born furled and cased.  The heel or ferrule of its lance ought to have for support, a leather stirrup or socket, suspended from a belt, the latter belted around the waist of the colour-bearer.


respectively, as often as they compose a part of the guard. 

    53. The two other ranks of the guard will each consist of three corporals; or if there be but one other rank, that will be so composed.

    54. When the guard consists of three ranks, the centre rank will be composed of the three corporals the most distinguished for regularity and precision, as well in their positions under arms as in their marching.  The latter advantage, and a just carriage of the person, are yet to be more particularly sought for in the selection of the colour-bearer. 

    55. The corporals of the colour-guard will carry their muskets within the right arm, as will be prescribed at the end of Title III- bayonets always fixed.

General Guides

    56. There will be two general guides, selected, for the time, by the colonel, from among the sergeants (other than first sergeants) the most distinguished for carriage under arms, and accuracy in marching.

    57.These sergeants will be respectively denominated in the manoeuvers right general guide and left general guide, and be posted in the line of file closers; the first, in the rear of the right, and the second in the rear of the left flank of the battalion.



General Instruction.

    58. Each general officer and colonel will be responsible to his next superior for the general instruction of his division, brigade, or battalion.

    59. The lieutenant colonel and the major will each be responsible for the instruction of a wing of the battalion

    6O. In peace, the general instruction of infantry on the ground, beginning with the School of the Soldier, and regularly advancing through the subsequent schools and the Evolutions of the Line, according to the numbers embodied, will annually recommence on the 1st of January, or as soon thereafter as the the climate may permit.

    61. In the School of the Soldier, the company officers will be the instructors of the squads; but if there be not a sufficient number of company officers, intelligent sergeants may be substituted, and two or three squads, under sergeant instructors, be superintended, at the same time, by an officer.  This may also be done when a great number of recruits join at once.

    62. In the School of the Company, the lieutenant colonel and the major, under the colonel, will be the principal instructors, substituting frequently the captain of the company, and sometimes one of the lieutenants- the substitute, as far as practicable, being superintended by one of the principals.


    63. In the School of the Battalion, the brigadier general may constitute himself the principal instructor, frequently substituting the colonel of the battalion, sometimes the lieutenant colonel or major, and twice or thrice in the same course of instruction, the three senior captains.  In this school, also, the substitute will always, if practicable, be superintended by the brigadier general or the colonel, (or in the case of a captain being the instructor) by the lieutenant colonel or major.

    64. A similar rule will be observed in the evolutions of a brigade.

    65. the use of music in elementary instruction is forbidden, except as a recreation at halts.  On other occasions, the exact cadence, (time or rate of march) whether ninety or one hundred and ten steps in a minute, will be scrupulously observed.  To enable the principal musician to effect this, he will keep plummets vibrating those times respectively, and he will bring the drums, by frequent verifications, in accordance therewith.

Instruction of Officers.

    66. As this cannot be well established but by joining theory to practice, there will be, in every battalion, a school of theoretic instruction, independent of the exercises on the ground. 

    67. Accordingly, the colonel will assemble the officers as often as may be necessary, to explain, or cause to be explained to them, the principles of the several Titles of these Regulations.


    68. The instruction of the field officers and captains will embrace all the Titles; that of the subalterns, The Schools of the Soldier, Company, and the Battalion, including the supplement for Light Infantry or Rifles.

    69. No officer will be deemed instructed who cannot perfectly explain the parts appertaining to his rank, as above, and put such parts into practice, by command.

    7O. The object of this theoretic instruction will be the principles and spirit of the system, without requiring the officers to commit to memory literally, more than the words of command.

    71.The officers will sometimes be exercised in marching, by one of the field officers, who will labour to give them the habit of taking steps equal in length and time. 

Instruction of Sergeants and Corporals.

    72. This will comprehend the Schools of the Soldier and Company. The sergeants and corporals will be held to know, not only how to execute with precision the manual of arms as sergeants, but also everything relating to the manual of arms, as rank and file, the firings and marchings.

    73. The adjutant and sergeant major, under the supervision of the field officers, will be immediately charged with the instruction of the sergeants and corporals.  This will commence with the exercises in the School of the Soldier,


followed by the manual of arms as sergeants.  See end of Title III.

    74. When the sergeants and corporals are well established in the foregoing, they will next be formed into the semblance of a company, and four of the sergeants designated as captain, covering sergeant, left guide and file closer, respectively.  Every sergeant will, in his turn, fill each of those positions, and, if practicable, each corporal, also.

    75. This instruction having principally for object to qualify the sergeants to instruct the men, and the corporals to replace sergeants, the adjutant will explain to them all the principals of the first two schools, at first on the ground, and next in a course of theoretic instruction.  The two modes will comprehend all the various duties of guides in the manoeuvers of the battalion.

    76. The colonel will frequently cause to be exercised, by a field officer, the colour-bearer, the colour-guard, and the general guides in marching in line.  The endeavor will be to make them contract the habit of marching in a given direction with the most scrupulous accuracy, and of preserving, in like manner, the length and cadence of the pace.

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