D I S C I P L I N E
O F T H E
The firft inftitution of this ufeful corps that we know of in England, was during the rebellion in the year 1745, when his Grace the late Duke of Kingfton raifed a regiment of Light Horse for his Majefty's fervice at his own expence upon an entire new plan , to imitate the Huffars in foreign fervice, to act regularily or irregularly as occafion required, without adhering to the ftrict rules of the heavy horfe, but at any time to co-operate with thern ; they were mounted upon light
horfes of various colours, with fwifh or nick'd tails; their whole accoutrements were as light as poffible, of every fort and fpecies ; their arms were fhort bullet guns or carbines, fhorter than thofe of the regiments of horfe, and flung to their fidest by a moveable fwivel to run up their fhoulder belt; their piftols upon the fame plan, as they ufed both carbines and piftols on horfeback indifcriminately; their fwords very fharp, and rather inclined to a curve. Their ufe was fufficiently fhown at the battle of Culloden Moor, near Invernefs, in Scotland, where his Royal Highnefs the Duke of Cumberland was mightily pleafed with their behaviour and courage, by breaking into the rebel army, and purfuing the fcattered remains of it upwards of three miles from the field of battle with a prodigious flaughter. As it is reported feveral of the Light Horfe killed fiftteen and fixteen rebels each man, with a very trifling lofs to themfelves, and in which action they did great credit to the noble Peer who raifed them , and were fo highly approved of by his Royal Highnefs the
Duke of Cumberland, that on their reduction, after the conclufion of the rebellion, he obtained leave of his father, the late King George the Second, to raife them as his own regiment of Light Dragoons. The folloving order of thanks to them for their fervices at their reduction, fhews the great fervice they performed. viz.
On Monday the fifteenth of September, 1746, the regiment of horfe raifed laft year by his Grace the Duke of Kingfton, in Nottinghamfhire, which did fo much fervice at the battle of Culloden, was difbanded at Nottingham ; the common men had three guineas each given them, with their bridles and faddles, and every officer and foldier had a printed copy of the Secretary of War's letter to the Duke of Kingfton, which was as follows ;
HIS Majefty has thought fit to order
the regiment of horfe under your Grace's command to be difbanded ; but
as the King confiders the zeal and affection expreffed
for his perfon and government, in your Grace's offer to raife this regiment in the late important time of national danger, and the chearfulnefs and alacrity with which it was raifed, he cannot part with it without expreffing his particular fatisfaction therein ; I am therefore, by his Majefty's command, and in his name, to thank your Grace, and your Officers, for the feafonable and diftinguifhing marks you have given of your fidelity and attachment to his Majefty on this occafion.
I am likewife commanded by his Majefty
to defire vour Grace, and the reft of your Officers, to thank the private
men, in his name, for their fervices, before they are difmiffed, in order
that there may be no one perfon in your regiment unacquainted with the
fenfe his Majefty has of their loyalty, activity, and gallant behaviour
in his fervice : Qualities which have been fo confpicuous in your Grace's
regiment, that his Majefty, willing to retain as many as poffible of fuch
foldiers in his fervice, has been pleafed to order
a regiment of dragoons to be raifed at the fame time and place, when and where your Grace's regiment fhall be difbanded, and to direct that as many of the Officers and private men belonging to your Grace's regiment, as fhall be willing, may ferve in the faid regiment of dragoons, of which, as a fignal mark of honour and diftinction, his Royal Highnefs the Duke of Cumberland will himfelf be Colonel.
As this is a great and moft honourable proof of his Majefty's royal approbation of your paft fervices, fo I doubt not but that your Grace, and the other Officers of your regiment, will engage as many as may be of your men to enlift themfelves, and thereby fhew, that the fame zeal continues for their King and Country, which they have already meritorioufly exerted in defence of both.
I am, with the greateft respect
My Lord, vour Grace's
War-Office, Moft obedient,
Sept. 1 746. Moft humble fervant,
It is very remarkable, that all
the men, excepting eight, entered immediately into the Duke of Cumberland's
new regiment; and thofe gentlemen who did not enter, gave reafons very
fatisfactory and honourable. It is further to be mentioned, that
there were three butchers of Nottingham
that had ente red into the Duke of Kingfton's regiment, who killed fourteen rebels each at the late battle of Culloden..
The regiment was now raifed again from horfe to be light dragoons, but mounted upon the fame fort of light nag-tailed horfes, from fourteen and a half to fifteen hands high, their arms and accoutrements, furniture, faddles, bridles, and all their appointments entirely on a here-to fore new and light plan, the fize of the men from five feet eight to five feet nine inches, but wore hats as the heavy dragoons, amid not helmets.
The regiment went over to Flanders under his Royal Highnefs the duke of Cumberland's command, and were prefent
at the battle of Val, or Kiftelt, July 2, 1747, where they behaved bravely, and had feveral of their Officers and men taken prifoners ; but on the peace in I748 they were entirely difbanded, and no light horfe were retained in his Majefty's fervice till juft before thic enfuing war in 1756, from the gallant behaviour of Kingfton's light horfe during the rebellion in 1745, and his Royal Highnefs the Duke of Cumberland's light dragoons in Flanders, it was thought neceffary to have a body of light cavalry in our fervice, as well as the foreign ftates ; therefore, at the latter end of the year I 755, eleven troops of light dragoons, confifting of 65 men per troop, befides three Officers, were added to the eleven regiments of dragoons on the Britifh eftablifhment, who were difciplined in a different manner from the heavy regiments. Till this time the horfe, or troopers, were called Light Horfe, to diftinguifh tbem from the heavy dragoons, which on raifing this new corps entirely ceafed ; the arms of thefe light troops were a fort of carbine, with the bar and
fliding ring, with a bayonet, but
no fling; the carbine carried in a bucket, as the heavy horfe ; the belts
tanned leather, the bridles and bitts fmall and light, as were the fadd1es,
though made like the heavy, with burs and a cantle ; they carried no fide
pouches, like the dragoons, but in lieu of it a fwivel, which played up
and down their fhoulder belt, to which the carbine was fprung or faftned,
with the muzzle downwards during exercife, as they fired on horfeback as well as on foot, contrary to the horfe in general, except the Huffars in foreign fervice. They alfo ufed their piftols, but at firft they only had one each man, as they carried in their right holfter either an ax, hedging bill, or fpade ; inftead of hats they wore a cap, or helmet, made of ftrong black jackt leather, with bars down the fides, and a brafs bar at top ; the front red, ornamented with brafs work, with the cypher and crown, and number of the regiment to which they belonged, with a tuft of horfe hair on the back of their front, half red, and the other half
the colour of the facing of the regiment; juft before they were difbanded they had a new fort of helmet, with a turban behind rowled round the whole, with two toffels at the back, tied in a knot to fall down over their neck in bad weather, as the former cap had a rowled-up leather flap round it for the fame purpofe.
The following regiments of dragoons on the Britifh eftablifhment, had a light troop added to each of them, viz. the firft, or King's regiment of Dragoon Guards, commanded by Lieutenant General Bland; the fecond, or Queen's regiment of Dragoon Guards, commanded by Major General Herbert ; the third, or Prince of Wales's regiment of Dragoon Guards, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Charles Howard ; the firft, or royal regiment of Dragoons, commanded by Lieutenant General Hawley; the fecond, or Royal North Britifh regiment of Dragoons, commonly called the Scotch Greys, commanded by Lieutenant General Campbell ; the third, or the King's own regiment of Dragoons,
commanded by Major General the Earl
of Albemarle ; the fourth regiment of Dragoons, commanded by General Sir
Robert Rich ; the fixth, or the Innifkilling regiment of Dragoons, commanded
by Lieutenant General Cholmondeley; the feventh, or Queen's regiment
of Dragoons, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir John Cope ; the tenth
regiment of Dragoons, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir John Mordaunt
; the eleventh regiment of Dragoons, commanded by Major General the Earl
of Ancram; being eleven regiments in number, the following difcipline was
practifed by them : But it will be firft proper to give inftructions for
managing the horfes, and teaching the light dragoon to ride.
RI D I N G in the military way is called the manage, which is compounded of two Latin words, manus the hand, and ago to do or act ; for the hand, which in this art is the principal inftrument of doth guide and govern the horfe to every action ; and therefore may properly be faid, manus agere which is to lay fkilfully to handle (in conjunction with the leg) or mange the horfe, as all aids of the hand muft be affifted by that of the leg ; and therefore when a rider exerefes his horfe fkilfully and gracefully in his pace, trot, gallop, advance, retreat, paffage, turn, or whatever elfe, the hand, which is the principal actor, or firft mover, puts him to, may be truly and aptly called manage, which cannot be fo clearly underftood , without the general knowledge of the practice and precepts of the whole art.
A light dragoon horfe is of the nag or hunting kind, and from 14 hands three inches to 15 hands one inch high. At firft they are to be ufed to the faddle and furniture, with the cloak and baggage, to enure them to ftand quietly and patiently and not to be alarmed at their putting on and taking off, to be made much of, and cherifhed, to ufe them to the appearance of thofe things ; alfo to take the curb bridle, and to ufe them to placing the curb chain even and fmooth in its proper place ; as they are ufually broke in a cavefon, it with be neceffary to defcribe it ; it confiffs of an headftall, ear band, and throat band of leather, a nofe band of iron, jointed and covered with leather, and buckled under the chin in the fame manner as the nofe band of a curb bridle; it has three rings, one in the middle and one on each fide, which are for reins either to be fixed to the faddle to keep the horfe's head in a proper place, or for the rider to manage the horfe with in his motions, equally as well as if faftened to the bit of the bridle ; the middle ring is for
a long rein to be buckled to of eight or ten feet, which the riding mafter holds in his hand to longe him with, or caufe him to go round in a ring ; as moft horfes at firft will be very refractory, the rough rider affifts the riding mafter, by holding the end of the rein of the cavefon, whilft the riding mafter begins by leading the horfe round the ring a few times, and then letting him go ; if he does not ftill continue his circular motion he forces him by a long whip like a coach whip, which he draws behind him with the lafh on the ground, not to frighten him, but at times gives him ftrokes with it ; in the manage it is called a fhambrier After he begins to obey, amid know fomething of his bufinefs, the riding mafter alone can manage him. After he has fuppled his fhoulders in the longe, and taught him to change hands and crofs over from right to left, and from left to right, with eafe and readinefs, he then begins to mount him, teaching him to ftand quietly whilft he puts his foot in the ftirrup, to bear his hanging on one fide for a time before he throws his leg
over the faddle, and patiently fuffer him to ftrike his hand brifkly on the faddle when going to mount; he next proceeds to longe him in all his paces as on foot, to change hands, crofs over, form the figure of 8, to rein backwards, to advance in a ftraight line, to paffage or go fide ways, to put him upon his haunches, and every other difcipline proper for the military fervice ; which things will be more fully defcribed hereafter. The horfe being broke, it will now be proper for the light dragoon to be fet on horfeback. He muft be firft taught to faddle and bridle his horfe, to know how to fhake the curb ftraight, and place it fmooth and even, fo as not to turn and cut or chafe the horfe's mouth, to fee the bit is properly placed in the mouth ; he muft be inftructed firft to take up his bridle reins in his right hand, looking full over the faddle ; when it is of a proper height to put the little or middle finger of his left hand through the reins, fhut the hand, letting the reins fall over the left hand, and place the left hand thumb upon them ; then take hold of a lock of the
hair of the mane with his right hand, and put it into the left hand between the finger and thumb ; next place the right hand upon the ftirrup leather near the ftirrrup, and raifing the left foot, put the foot into the ftirrup but a little way from the toe ; then brifkly ftrike the back part, or cantle of the faddle, with his right hand ; then take hold of the back part of the faddle or cantle, and rife up in his ftirrup, holding both legs even for a fhort time, looking full the right ; then place his right hand on the butt of the faddle or the right holfter, the fingers within fide, and the thumb on the out ; throw over the right leg, and with the affiftance of the right hand feat himself eafily in the faddle ; next put the right foot in the ftirrup with life, and at the fame time place the right hand juft upon the left, taking hold of the reins, and fliding them through the hand to the end , where the button is ; throw the end brifkly down the horfe's withers or neck, the elbow fquare, and bring down the right hand upon the right thigh with great vivacity.
But as in the riding fchool it is ufual to hold a fwifh in the right hand, to fhew how the fword is to be carried, and to employ the hand, which otherwife might on a violent motion of the horfe, or apprehenfion of falling, be apt to catch hold of the mane or faddle, as the horfeman is to depend upon his feat, and not offer to hold himfelf on by any other difgraceful means; the fwifh therefore is placed in the left hand, when preparing to mount with the end downwards.
As foon as the horfeman is feated, on his quitting the lock of the mane he held in mounting, which is done as he puts his foot in the right ftirrup, he, inftead of drawing up the reins with his right hand as at exercife, takes the fwifh out of the left hand by putting the right hand over the left, and placing the fwith in the fame pofition the fword is held, inclining towards the left over the horfe's left ear.
To difinount, the fwifh is returned into the left hand ; or if none, the right hand
takes hold of the reins as in mounting ; at the left hand draws them up, throws them down as before, next takes up a hock of the mane, places it in the left hand, at the fame time quitting the right ftirrup with the right leg, placing the right hand on the right butt or holfter, raifing the body in the faddle, and throwing brifkly the right leg over to the left fide with an upright body ; paufe then awhile and looking full to the right ; come to the ground with the right foot facing full to the right, and then quit the ftirrup with the left foot, bringing it down to the ground, and placing it even with the other ; the left hand muft quit the mane and rein at the fame time, turning or facing to the left on both heels, and taking hold of the left cheek of the bridle with the right hand. Stand faft.
The light dragoon muft be taught to link his horfe when difmounted ; the light dragoons ufually link with collars, the rein of which is faftened by a running knot to a ring in the faddle, a
little above the right or left holfter, as fome faften to one and fome to the other in different regiments ; the men face to the right about, and give the collar reins to their right hand men, who are to faften them to the left cheek of their horfes bridles, with a ftrong knot in the middle; after having again paffed them through the right cheek of their own horfes bridles; the light dragoon being mounted, his ftirirrups fhould be laid acrofs the horfe's withers, to give him a proper feat to depend upon his twift and the infide of his thighs ; the horfe then fhould be run in a longe or ring, and the man muft always look inwards to the center, and rather turn a little that way, or he will be liable to be thrown off. When he is expert enough to guide his horfe, he fhould be allowed his ftirrups and the longing rein may be taken off; he is then to direct his horfe in the circular way, to change hands, crofs over, form the figure of eight.
Next he is to learn to paffage, which is performed by gently turning up the wrift of
his bridle hand, applying the left leg to the horfe's fide and let his fhoulders go firft ; be will lap his legs over each other and move fide ways to the right as he may perhaps fuffer his horfe, as will often be the cafe, to run backwards, or not keep a ftrait line. In paffaging, he muft ftay him with the right leg, by applying it clofe to the right fide, which will bring him up to his ftrait line again ; then hold it off; and he will continue to paffage either in a walk, trot, or canter ; the contrary motions will also paffage to the left.
To rein backwards, that is done
by gently drawing up the bridle hand, and keeping the legs on each fide
rather clofe, but fcarcely touch him with the fpur, and he will go backwards
ftep by flep, now and then flacking your hand to eafe his mouth ; if he
offers to turn his croop either way, apply the fpur to the offending fide
which will bring him fquare again. The ufe of this movement is in
cafe the files double, they may move quicker backwards and prefent a front
which is more agreeable
than to turn round in confufion ; if for inftance, a fingle man takes his poft in the rank, he comes into the front of his interval in the rank, moves his horfe ftrait to the front, and without joftling his right and left man, reins quietly backwards into his poft.
When the word halt or ftop is given, on pulling up the horfe's head, the legs fhould be applied to his fides, to make him ftop with his haunches under him, rather than to ftop on his fhoulders, which would certainly be the cafe if the legs were not clofed to his fides, and in a quick motion endanger the horfeman being thrown out of his faddle, or the horfe's fhoulders ftrained. There is another motion or movement neceffary, which is to make the horfe turn his hind quarters round without moving his two fore legs ; thus keep him eafily in hand, and turn him either to the right or left, by applying the different legs and fpurs to his fides, and he will turn as a center upon his fore legs only, without moving them from their place, and carry his
haunches in a circle, his fore legs making a round hole in the ground on which he flood, very neceffary for the right or left flank men when the fquadron wheels to the right or left about; and alfo in the fame manner he may be made to turn as a center upon his hind legs, by turning up the bridle hand a little, and clofing either leg to the horfe's fide, at the fame time helping him round by the reins, as it will then counteract his paffaging and caufe him to move round his forehand, his hind legs making a hole in the ground. If a horfe is at any time refractory and rears up, flacken the bridle, and vigouroufly apply the fpurs to his fides, which will bring him down again. Some riders to cure fuch a horfe, will dexteroufly flip off his back, and force him over, as a grand fpecific to cure him of thofe tricks; or force him to rear upright in a riding houfe with a fandy bottom, and then fling him backwards. Often by thofe tricks horfes have totally blinded themfelves, and killed their riders.
Lord Pembroke, in his treatife of breaking horfes and teaching foldiers to ride, gives the following directions with regard to the manner of placing a man on horfeback at firft : he obferves, that no man is well on horfeback, nor can in any wife be firm, unlefs he be mafter of the balance of his body, quite unconftrained, with a full poffeffion of himfelf, and at his eafe ; none of which requifites can he enjoy, if his attention be taken up other wife, as it muft wholly be in a raw, unfuppled, and unprepared lad, who is put at once upon a rough horfe.
The firft time a man is put on horfe back, it ought to be upon a very gentle horfe; he never fhould be made to trot till he is quite eafy in the walk ; nor gallop till he is able to trot properly : When he is gradually arrived at fuch a degree of firmnefs in his feat, the more he trots (which no man whatever fhould ever leave off) and the more he rides rough horfes, the better.
Before you let the man mount, teach him to know, and always to examine, if the curb be well placed, (I mean when the horfe has a bit in his mouth, which at fifst he fhould not, but only a fnaffle, till the rider is firm in his feat, and the horfe alfo fomewhat taught) and likewife if the nofeband be properly tight, the throat band loofifh, and the mouth piece neither too high nor to low in the horfe's mouth, but rightly put, fo as not to wrinkle the fkin, nor to hang lax ; the girts drawn moderately, but not too ftrait, and the crupper and the breaft-plate the fame. When thefe things have been well looked to, let the man approach the horfe gently near the fhoulder, then taking the reins and a handful of the mane in his left hand, let him put his foot foftly into the left ftirrup, by pulling it towards him, left he touch the horfe with his toe (which might frighten him) then let him ftand up a moment on it with his body ftrait, but not ftiff ; and after that paffing his right leg clear over the faddle, without rubbing againft any thing, let him feat
himfelf calmly down. He muft be cautious not to take the reins too thort, for fear of making the horfe rear, fail back, or throw up his head ; but let him hold them of an equal and proper length, neither tight nor flack, and with the little finger placed betwixt them.
You muft obferve that the ftirrups be neither fhort nor long, but of fuch extent, that when the rider, being well placed, puts his feet into them, (about one third of the length of each foot from the point of it) the points may be between two and three inches higher than the heels. The length is to be taken in the following method : Make the rider place himfelf upon the faddle, ftraight, even, upright, and well, with his legs hanging down, and the ftirrups likewife; and when he is in this pofition, take up the ftirrup, till the bottom of it comes juft under the ankle bone.
It would be fcarce poffible (neither is it at all neceffary) to teach the many more
difficult and refined parts of horfemanfhip to the different kinds and difpofitions, both of men and horfes, which one meets within a regiment; or to give the time and attention, requifite for it, to fuch numbers. The money, certainly, that is allowed, if rightly difpofed of, is fully fufficient to procure, and properly pay, deferving and intelligent fubjects ; and moreover a fadler and gunfmith, which are abfolutely neceffary to every troop.
The beft method would be to qualify as many quartermafters as poffible for riders; and under each, one rough rider, and one lance rider at leaft for every troop. One man fhould have more pay than the reft, and be an inftructor to the whole regiment, going about from one quarter to another, and from troop to troop ; and it fhould be part of his duty alfo to give leffons to the young officers, as likewife to break their horfes.
As to horfes that are apt to lie down in the water, if animating them, and attacking
them vigouroufly, fhould fail of the defired effect (which feldom is the cafe) then break a ftraw bottle full of water upon their heads, and let the water run into their ears, which is a thing they apprehend very much.
To ufe an horfe to fire arms, firft put a piftol or carbine in the manger with his feed, then ufe him to the found of the lock and the pan ; after which, when you are upon him, fhew it to him, presenting it forwards, fometimes on one fide, fome times on the other ; when he is reconciled to that, proceed to flafh in the pan ; after which, put a fmall charge into the piece, and fo continue augmenting it by degrees to what is commonly ufed ; if he feems uneafy, walk him forwards a few fteps flowly, and then ftop, back, and carefs him.
Lieutenant Colonel Campbell Dalrymple, of the King's own regiment of dragoons, commanded by Lord Albemarle, in his Military Effay, gives thefe inftructions
for the light dragoons. The flrft part of their education is to learn to faddle, unfaddle, bridle and unbridle, and to put on their baggage with all the care and attention neceffary to prevent fore backs. Love to the horfes fhould be ftrongly inculcated from the beginning ; and to keep it up, as few changes ought to be made as poffible; which are eafily prevented by well fizing men to their horfes, when fit for the ranks, and not taking them from them afterwards, on account of either growing a little. A few days will be fufficient to inftruct them in thefe particulars, during which the men fhould be out on foot under a drill ferjeant or corporal's care, to learn to march; the attitude of the body may be acquired by that means, at leaft facilitated to the riding mafter, when the recruit comes mounted to the riding fchool. If temper is recommended in the firft part, it is not lefs neceffary here; for nothing can be more awkward than a country fellow, or perhaps an artizan, mounted, ftill ftiff with their former occupations ; the riding mafter
muft, therefore, fpeak mildly to the recruits, inftruct them to fit upright, to turn in the flat of the thigh to the faddle, and to let the leg and foot hang down carelefsly: they muft be told to depend more on the poize of the body Than their twifts, and fhould therefore have all eye to the head of their horfe, by which they may always forefee what he is going to do, if vicious, and be the better prepared to hu-mour the motion. With thefe directions let the light dragoon run the longe without ftirrups till he finds his feat, and as much longer as time and hurry of bufinefs will permit ; for nothing can fo effectually place him well on horfeback as this fingle practice; however, he fhould every day after his leffon, take his ftirrups, which ought to be fo fhort as to clear him of the pommel of the faddle when he ftands in them, and be taught how to mount, difmount, and give the feveral aids neceffary to make the horfe paffage, rein back, move forward, and halt. Thefe things, impreffed with good humour, will be ea-gerly liftened and attended to ; for though
we meet with great aukwardnefs, yet we find a defire to learn in almoft every recruit; and where we fail in that, the power of compulfion is in our own hands, which, however, fhould be ufed with moderation. During the progrefs of the riding, the recruit is to attend the drill on foot, and be forwarded according to the feveral fervices, in what is neceffary for him to learn ; which will be of ufe, as already obferved, in giving attitude, and in fuppling the body, by thefe feveral quick motions neceffary for them to be infttructed in.
Recruits well grounded and formed in thefe minute things, fhould next be taken, in fmall bodies, with a few old men to the field; to take the lead on old horfes, and fome on young horfes, that both may be forwarded together ; they fhould there learn how to open and clofe their files, to move forward and rein back, fingly, and in ranks, and to mount and difmount together, with all the incumbrances of their arms ; they fhould be inftructed alfo to wheel in large bodies. When perfect
fect in thefe things, open the flies to double diftance, and make them paffage to right or left, preferving their proper intervals; and during that make them go to the right or left about, which muft be done, by turning the horfe fhort about, leaning the body to the turning hand to affift him ; thefe fhould be done paffaging to either hand or reining back, and particularly in moving forward at any rate, trot, or even gallop ; for till every man and horfe can do it adroitly, either one or the other is deficient, and unfit to put into the ranks of any fquadron. The men are to be inftructed on foot in the movements of all horfe evolutions, fo that as much time as poffible may be given, to render them, by the above practice, maf-ters of their horfes at the drill, which once obtained, there remains but little difficulty for them to act well in fquadron.
As to the young horfes, they ought to be very gently ufed, and have a great deal of walking exercife, till brought into proper
condition for the riding-fchool. After a fortnight's preparation they may be working a little in hand ; but if vicious, muft not be undertaken till in perfect good order, otherwife the horfe may be hurt by his own refiftance ; for the riding mafter muft fet out with a refolution to get the better of every horfe in the firft reprife. As they come into order, their exercife may be increafed, and, except where they are very obftinate, they may be qualified to join in fmall bodies in a fortnight or three weeks. Working in hand is the fhorteft and beft method ; it raifes the head, and fupples the horfe fooner than the tedious progrefs of the longe ; but the horfe ought to be mounted, and put through his leffon after it every day to reduce it to practice
The fervice of light dragoons requiring perfonal activity and addrefs, they fhould practice galloping gently in file while in fmall bodies, carrying the horfes forward in a ferpentine line, bending the bodies always to the hand they turn to, and this
this to turn at word of command to right or left about. This fhould be continued till the horfe acquires a fteady, even hand gallop, and the man a perfect command of him ; they may then be inftructed how to fkirmifh with each other, and be fhewed the addrefs neceffary to avoid an enemy Shot, by throwing themfelves on the oppofite fide of the horfe; and how, by being expert and quick, they may come up with their fword on their adverlary's left hand, which gives all the advantage they can defire over him. The rider fhould always keep his horfe in hand, and never let him out but in the purfuit, or in coming off; for the moment a horfe gets into full fpeed he lofes his command of him; and when either the enemy or they fire, they ought always to turn upon him to take advantage from the execution of their own fhot, or that of their adverfary's being thrown away. The exercife on foot might
be much the fame as with the infantry, viz. the manual, but particularly the platoon exercife When the men difmount after linking their horfes, they
fhould unfpring their carbines and fhoulder as quick as poffible ; and when they mount, fpring them without any formality.
Having thus very minutely attended the drill, we will proceed next to the evolutions, which, with fuch noble materials, cannot fail to form a moft powerful cavalry.
The troops every fpring fhould exercife
by fquadrons before they join , and fhould begin with the paffage,
and turning at open files, as they will acquire by that; means a total
command of their horfes, without which, no man can be faid to be a compleat
cavalier ; they ought alfo to be perfected in all minute things in fmall
bodies, to prevent teaching trifles in the ranks afterwards. The captains
and officers muft diligently attend the exercife by fquadrons and give
the neceffary directions for forming both men and horfes with punctuality
and quicknefs ; and the fquadrons fhould particularly
wheeling and marching, taking care in
the latter to put all their horfes in motion at once, as the leaft omiffion of that kind , efpecially in wheeling, is always certain, from the rapidity of the movements of cavalry, to break their order, and often difable men by bruifes in the ranks. More attention therefore, if poffible, is neceffary than in the infantry.
The recruits and fquadrons perfected in the minute parts of their duty, a field day or a troop is ordered, and according to the ftreet or place of parade, directed to form two or three deep, or a rank entire. At the hour appointed, every man fhould he at his horfe's head ; and on the drum beating to horfe, the whole fhould mount, and form, as ordered, one, two, or three deep, at the Serjeant's or Corporal's quarters, who, after infpecting their fquadrons, fhould march them to the troop parade, where the officers ought to be ready to examine them once more as they arrive. If the troop forms a rank entire, the front rank draws up upon the right, the rear upon tile left, and the center rank in the center
If two deep, the center forms behind the front rank, and the rear is doubled up on the left of front and center The officer commanding the troop finding every thing right, gives the word, rank and file; on which the men, who file to the right move forward, and thofe who go to the left rein back out of the line they ftood in, paufe a little, and then get into their places as foon as poffible, avoiding joftling or running againft their fellow foldiers ; this teaches, as in the infantry, a quick method of rallying, and of falling from confufion into order. The men fettled, the ranks are clofed, the files compleated, the troop told off by fives (what is meant by fives, is the quarter rank fubdivided, and called fo for fhortnefs as they may be always about that number. A troop is therefore in two and four divifions, and a fquadron will be composed of double that number ; for example, if a troop has eighteen files, it is told off by two divifions of nine files ; and each of thefe is one five and a four ; both which wheeling, when ordered on
the center, will not obftruct one another. Should the eftablifhment become fmaller, we muft adopt the fours again, as any number below that cannot wheel well ; for three horfes do not occupy fo much fpace in breadth as one in length, and of courfe cannot eafily turn in that fmall compafs. It is to be obferved through the whole, that a fives is the fourth part of the front of a troop, and eighth of a fqua-dron) and two divifions, and immediately march out of town to the place of exercife, forming three deep on the march, as the ground will permit, and the men telling themfelves off by odd files, that no time may be loft ; for though the whole day is before them, and little elfe to do, yet nothing military ought to be done in a flovenly or dilatory manner. The Captain marches in the front, the Lieutenant falls in upon the right, the Cornet on the left of the front rank, and the Quarter-Mafter in the rear, a Serjeant on the right of center and rear, and left of the rear rank, which difpofes of all the officers ; the Corporals being one on the right, and the other two where they fize in the ranks.
The ranks are always to be at a horfe length only diftant from each other except at the charge, when they are clofe to the croup, which is only done to let the men know that they muft keep as clofe as they can, for it is impoffible to march and continue fo. When the troop comes upon its ground, the Captain orders it to halt, and immediately the exercife begins.
The troop then receives the word of command, take care to difmount, the odd files rein back, juft clear of the croup of, their right hand men, having hold of their carbines by the middle ; paufe here a little, then throw the carbine over the horfe to the near fide, and immediately place the right hand on the infide of the right burr of the faddle ; a fecond paufe, and then every man flings himfelf off his horfe The files who reined back are immediately to double up, go to the right about, and link their horfes, the men alfo unfpring their carbines, front, and fhoulder. At the word of command to
form the battalion, the front rank
moves gently on, and the rear ranks, dividing from the center, run
brifkly round the horfes, and form in their rear at two paces diftant from each other, the files clofing into the center ; then follows the manual exercife, and afterwards the feveral firings. The fignals for difmounted light dragoons ought to be the fame as with the infantry, viz.
-to move forwards.
Retreat -to go to the right about.
Ruff -to halt.
Preparative -to fire by half fquadrons.
Double preparative - to fire by fquadrons.
Firft part of the general - all fire to ceafe.
Troop - to double up to fquadrons, if marching by half
fquadrons; and to half fquadrons, in marching by quarter
ranks ; alfo the fignal to call in all advanced parties and
To arms - for the battalion to form its front to the alarm, wherever
it is beat.
The troop might now fire a few rounds to the front and rear, to fhew its expertnefs, a few rounds alfo in the oblique and parapet fire will be proper, as both may be neceffary for the defence of the poft they may be in poffeffion of. Marching, wheeling, inclining, difperfing, and rallying, and fubdividing, are all manoeuvres neceffary to be practifed on foot, which, all nearly depending on the fame principles by which they act on horfeback, will occafion little difficulty in inftructing the men, and will be of ufe to confirm them in the evolutions of both fciences, the horfe and foot. The Captain or commanding officer having exercifed the troop in thefe feveral things, faces it to the right about, and marches to the horfes; when it comes within twenty paces they fhould give the word 'mount'; on which the rear ranks run round the flanks, and form at the head of their refpective horfes, and the front rank moves on to theirs ; the men immediately fpring their carbines, then unlink, rein back, and mount ; the files, after a little paufe to put their carbines right, double up.
40 THE DISCIPLINE OF
A troop fhould have field days on foot, to form their men in all the evolutions of that fervice, but fhould frequently difmount, form, and go through all their bufinefs with the embarraffment of boots, to accuftom them to it ; and as the intention of difmounting cavalry is either to charge immediately, or to take poffeffion of, or drive an enemy from the poft, fo difpofitions fhould be made for thefe different purpofes, and which ought to be the bounds of their duty and practice on foot, to prevent too much time being thrown away, in forming men for a fervice they were not principally intended to, and neglecting the manoeuvres of cavalry, which requires all the care and time which can be fpent on it, firft to form, and afterwards to keep up the fpirit and difcipline of it in men and horfes. The troop fhould wheel to the right, left, or about, and practife the men to break, difperfe, and rally again, and to paffage to right or left without opening of files, to increafe or diminifh the intervals between fquadrons.
Plan for a Squadron
E X P L A N A T I O N.
I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
O Odd men.
DD4 - - - - -6 - - - - - - - - S - - - - - 3DD
S - - - - - O - - - 5 - - - O - - - - O
S - - - - - S - - - Q - - - S - - - - S
F 2 F
E X P L A N A T I O N.
The commanding officer leads the
Second officer- - in the rear.
Third and fourth officers - - right and left flank.
Fifth officer - - carries the ftandard. Sixth officer - - on a quarter rank.
All thefe officers are covered by Serjeants or privates, except the commanding officer, which is left open for him to fall in; but at a review a Quartermafter or Serjeant may fall into the rear, and the flandard come up to the front. The places of abfent officers to be fupplied by Serjeants, they from Corporals, and the Corporals from the ranks. The ranks at a horfe's length diftance.
On the drums beating to horfe, the troops mount, form, and march out of quarters, as already explained ; they join in the field, and the fquadrton is ready told off; each troop being a divifion or half fquadron, in two fub-divifions or quarter ranks, and told off by fives, and alternate files for difmountiiig ; fo that the fquadron finds it felf divided into two half fquadrons, four quarter ranks, and eight fives.
The officers are pofted with their refpective troops ; the eldeft leads the fquadron, the fecond in the rear, the third
upon the right flank, the fourth
on the left flank, and the eldeft Cornet carrying the ftandard, the fixth
officer in the quarter rank in the center of his own troop, and the moft
intelligent Serjeant, without refpect to feniority, to be pofted on the
other ; where by ficknefs, death, or accidents, this cannot be complied
with, the fixth officer's place may be fupplied by a Serjeant, and the
fecond officer may be brought from the rear to the right flank, and fent
occafionally to lead off the fquadron when it retreats. The Quarter-Mafters
being generally with the baggage, or affifting the furgeon in action, need
not be difpofed of; but fhould any remain with the regiment, they
might cover the Cornet, who is in the center rank, by falling in behind
him in the rear, and be ready to affift in leading off the fquadron. The
other officers are covered in rank, thofe on the flanks by two Serjeants
on the rear ranks, but on the center at the charge ; thofe on the divifions
by two Serjeants in the rear, and by odd men in the center, for which purpofe,
the troops are quite compleat, a file fhould be turned out from the ftrongeft troop ; and if that fupplies more men than wanted, they may cover the officers on the flanks in the center ranks. If there are but three officers to a fquadron, one fhould lead, and one be pofted to each flank, to improve the advantage of outnumbering, or oppofe it with fpirit and vigour in the enemy ; in that cafe a Quarter-Master or Serjeant had better be intrusted with the ftandard, than an officer be ufelefsly taken up in carrying it, and leavinig the flanks naked This method of forming fquadrons might be ufed when light dragoons are to charge in fquadrons.
But as light troops are more intended
to act loofe than in bodies, their principal practice fhould be to acquire
perfonal addrefs, viz. to manage the horfe well, to ufe the fword with
dexterity, and fire the carbine with great juftnefs. The propofal of
Monfieur de Saxe, for loading at the breach of the carbine, feems well
calculated for the fire arms of cavalry, if it
will not make them too complicated (the author once faw a carbine belonging to a brother officer, made according to this propofal of Monfieur de Saxe ; to be loaded, it was held firmly in the left hand as when it was prefented to be fired, and about the fame place ; then with the right hand the guard over the trigger was pulled back, on which the butt of the carbine dropped down , hanging by a pin, and difcovered the breach of it quite open ; in a cartridge box he carried nine iron tubes loaded, one of which he thruft into the barrel, and directly with his right hand pufhed up the butt, which made a click, and fecurely fhut up the breach. On ftrikinig the lock with his hand the piece primed itfelf, and he fired without miffing fire at any time. He loaded his iron tube or cartridges without any rammer, with his finger fhoving down powder, ball, and paper. I think he told me Mr. Griffin , gunfmith , in Old Bond-ftreet, was the maker of it, and the officcr had himfelf invented it, as he was a very mechanical
ingenious gentleman , and
horfe officer) the ramrod is apt to be lost, and at any rate is very difficult to manage well on horfeback, whereas a chamber with a frefh charge, could eafily be introduced ; but of this, Mr. Barbor, or any other gunfmith, can give the beft account. The objection of expence fhould not be admitted, for oeconomy in the price of arms is, at heft, very injudicious. Light troops fhould never form fquadrons; the levity of the men, from the nature of their employment, and the want of weight in their horfes, abfolutely incapacitate them from forming a corps, which requires fo much folidity. They fhould therefore march, act, and always form by troops in two ranks, without ftandards, and having only one trumpet. Their arms fhould be lighter than thofe of the cavalry, and there fhould be only four men to a tent (the light troops are propofed to have but one trumpet, in order to give them, by that means, another non-commiffioned officer; and alfo that they fhould carry their tents on emergencies, as it will be impoffible, on all occafions, for bat-horfes
or wheel carriages to keep up with them on the march ; they fhould therefore be fo fmalI as to be carried by the men, or fhould have none at all, but he always difpofed of in the advanced villages) which will leffen it fo much as to render it, on emergencies, eafy to be carried by the dragoons, with every thing belonging to it.
But as evolutions may be neceffary, they fhould be instructed how to march, and form by half fquadrons and quarter-ranks, telling every troop off as a fquadron; they fhould march and wheel in fquadrons, and by fives to the right and left about, and likewife move in the oblique line ; it is eafily done; the troop being on the march, and the word incline to the right given, the men fhould Carry their bridle hands a little to the right, and immediately apply their left legs ; the officer who leads must be careful that the troop gains ground, otherwife it will onJy become a paffage, and anfwer no purpofe; but by getting forward in this oblique
direction, which practice will render
very eafy, a fquadron may fall in upon the flank, or even wheel into the
rear of any foreign cavalry. This is eafieft executed, and only neceffary,
when by any accident our fquadrons are inferior to thofe of the enemy ;
for where there is an equality, the Britifh cavalry cannot defire a greater
advantage than fhocking in front. They fhould particularly practife
the plan of marching through woods, as the eafieft method of paffing them,
and as it fcours them at the fame time ; the most practicable manner of
paffing through woods, where any horfeman can go. The commanding officer
makes it file to the front from the right of each quarter rank the center
following the front, and the rear following the center rank in one file.
Where a wood is very practicable, a fquadron may file from the right of
each fives, which will facilitate the forming ; and when very thick, may
only file from the right of the half fquadrons. Thefe files must keep an
equal pace, and pafs where the trees and bufhes will permit ;
and if a rivulet with a bridge, or pafs of any fort, impedes the march, the files muft incline clofe to one another, and pafs as a four, or by two's, as the ground will admit of from the center, and the wings paffing after, the whole fhould expand again to their former intervals. When neceffary to form, beat to arms; and each file doubles up to the left by ranks, which brings the fquadron into immediate order. In this manner, thick and ftrong countries may be paffed, and an enemy furprifed, who depends too much for fecurity from the fituation of' his post. This fhould be practifed in woods, after the men have been inftructed in the plan ; and it will be alfo very neceffary to make the fquadron file to the rear by quarter ranks ; which is done by the right hand men reining out of the ranks, going off, and being fol~ lowed by the rest, the center fucceeding to the rear, and the front to the center rank: This evolution will be very ufeful in retreats, as the rear ranks in a manner fteal away imperceptibly, and are instantly
followed by the front. To form again, beat to arms ; when the leading men of each quarter rank, turning their horfes to the left about, the whole does the fame, and form upon their left ; the ranks im-mediately clofe, and are fit for action again. When a regiment of heavy dragoons charge cavalry, and break them, the light troops may purfue, fustained by the heavy dragoons ; filing by quarter ranks, or fives, to the front or rear, fome times inclining clofe to pafs a defile, and expanding outwards to their proper intervals. Every man having been inftucted on foot, and being master of his horfe, may be taught to execute thefe things with the utmost punctuality and readinefs, in a week. Light troops fo formed and exercifed, may be ufed as dragoons were formerly ; they may be fent to fecure paffes, to fortify themselves there, fending tools in light wheel carriages, not loading them with them ; and afterwards, with the carbine, maintaining themfelves against any attack which may be made upon them, till fupported by frefh troops.
To qualify them for this last purpofe, makes the practice of difmounting, frilling on three deep firft, forming expeditioufly, and all the other foot difcipline of the cavalry very neceffary ; for by their arms, they may all, horfe or dragoons, equally well maintain themselves against the efforts of infantry, unlefs over-powered.
For this kind of arm it is eafy to fee that every man is not calculated; therefore care fhould be taken to post officers to the light troops, - who are diflinguifhed for activity and addrefs, and above all by a fpirit of enterprize ; a man who raifes fcruples and doubts, and is, full of difficulties, has mistaken his talents, and fhould difpofe of himfelf better immediately. The fpirit of this corps fhould be always to try, by which great things can be only achieved ; and as with that principle they will meet with frequent repulfes, it must be no difgrace to abandon any attempt ; for though conftantly pufhed before the army, yet they fhould
never think of maintaining their poft against fuperiority, unlefs ordered fo to do, as their principal intention in fuch a fituation, is rather to apprize of danger, than to refist it when it comes.
The officers of light troops ought to have a general knowledge of geography, and a very particular one of the scene of action which will be found of the utmost consequence to promote their own, and defeat the fchemes of an enemy. They ought alfo to be able to take a sketch of any country, the better to il-lustrate their difcoveries to the General, who fent them to view the fituation of the enemy, and the avenues leading to him; The non commiffloned officers and men fhould likewife be well practifed to reconnoitre and patrole, the former to gain intelligence of an enemy, and the latter to prevent his approach without difcovery; for both which many little artifices may be ufed, too numerous to be inferted, though not undeferving a place in this effay.
Difcipline cannot be kept up with too high a hand in light troops, their very exiftence depends upon it; that properly eftabliffied, they will become a bleffing to every country, by the protection they will yield to it against the incurfions of the enemy; they will procure plenty and quiet to their friends, and uneafinefs and diftrefs to their enemies. But if there fhould be a neceffity for light troops to charge in fquadron, let one quarter rank be drawn up before the other three in a rank entire with open files ; the whole move on; and when at a proper diflance from the enemy, the advanced divifiton fire their carbines in a straggling manlier, and immediately file outwards, and fall upon the rear of the enemy ; the three other divifions, on that firing, subdivide from the center, and under cover of the fmoke incline outwards, and fall in upon the flanks. In this manner they may evade a fhock, and perhaps be victorious; when the heavy dragoons are difmounted and formed into battalion, if the light troops are continued to the regiments,
they fhould remain on horfeback ; that they might fkirmifh to cover the difmounting and mounting of the regiment, and form by two divifions in the rear of the flanks, ready to improve the firft advantage, if the enemy gives way or to fuftain their own battalion,
The paffing through woods is a neceffary and ufeful practice for all kind of troops; and therefore the fquadrons fhould file to the front by fubdivifions or fives, and on beating to arms form again im-mediately. Filing alfo to the rear will be very proper, particularly for light troops, as it has the appearance of confufion, and may be ufeful for that reafon to decoy an enemy from an impracticable fituation, to take advantage of a feigned diforder. The fquadrons may do it by fives, or quarter ranks ; the leaders in either cafe muft go off with rapidity from the right, till the whole is drawn into file, and then drop into the rate which the commanding officer directs : in whatever manner they file, the whole form, when ordered,
ordered, on the left of the leader's, as already explained. This evolution is well calculated for paffing a defile, either in retreating or advancing ; therefore they fhould frequently clofe the files by a fquadron, and pafs a bridge or defile, then expand, and form immediately, which which ftill help to form the eye, and give officers a juft notion of ground, esteemed one of the moft effential qualities of the military character.
During all thefe evolutions, the light troop might continue upon the right in one body, and perform them with the regimerit, except in paffing of defiles, when it fhould cover the front in forrning, and the retreat in going off. Their operations in fervice will be very fmall with their refpective corps, as they will be generally employed as irregulars, to annoy and harrafs the enemy ; hut as they may probably join in a day of action, we will confider them accordingly.
The heavy regiment fhould next have orders to prepare to charge ; on which caution the divifions of light troops occupy the intervals between the fquadrons After drawing their fwords, and clofing their ranks, the drums beat a march, and the whole move forward: on a preparative being beat, the light dragoons advance brifkly, fire their carbines into the flank of the enemy in an oblique direction, that they may not kill one another, and immediately fall upon the flank and rear with the fword, without waiting to form ; the fquadrons having the word march repeated, fall into a trot and at the word charge, pufh forward; the men collect themfelves, and rifing in their ftirrups, fhock with the oppofite fquadrons. If the enemy is beat, the fquadron muft rally immediately, leaving the execution and purfuit to the light dragoons, and march in, good order to charge the fecond line The charging in line must be very frequently practifed, as every thing depends upon it.
To charge foot, the right fquadron moves off very quickly, and inclines to the left, till it covers that of the center, and the left inclines to the right to cover both ; then each fquadron forms into three, with fmall intervals ; the light troop ftill occupying thefe intervals, and at the preparative rufhing out, and firing at the enemies battalion. The fquadrons move on till the word prepare to charge, when the whole drop on their horfes necks, and advance in this pofititon, till the enemiies fire is drawn off; (charging infantry is undoubtedly the most dangerous fervice that cavalry can be employed in, and what they often fail in frorn their going off on receiving the fire of the foot, inftead of falling on when they have nothing but the bayonet to defend themfelves. The men fhould therefore be apprifed, that after the fire they have little to fear ; and that they must improve that opportunity to revenge the lofs of their companions, by falling vigoroufly on the battalion with their fwords ; for the fmalleft refpite given, they may expect a fecond
difcharge as fatal as the first. They may alfo affure themfelves that the bayonet will not prevent the horfes from breaking through, and that thefe fmall fquadrons coming up frefh, cannot fail to compleat the defeat of the best infantry). The centre divifion of the first fquadron purfues the run-aways, and the two flank ones wheel outwards, to take the enemy in flank; in fhort, thefe three must affift the light dragoons in routing and difperfing the enemy, being fupported by the other two fquadrtons, as the commanding officer, who is at the head of the three center fquadrons or divifions, fees neceffary. The troop being beat, the purfuers return, and rally in the rear of the whole by troops, and afterwards join to make a fquadron, being first told off; to repair the diforder occafioned by the lofs in the charge. The regiment having finifhed thefe evolutions, forms, first fquadrons, then the line, and return to quarters.
A fcheme might take place for the improvement of military knowledge in the cavalry. A few corps might meet and encamp
c amp for fome little time together,
under the direction of a general officer, who ihould oblige them to conform
to every part of camp duty, as well as instruct then in the grand manoeuvre.
Forage for the horfes may be as eafily found as provifion for the men,
and the making of it up and carrying it in truffes will be a very ufeful
leffon to them. The manoeuvres of a few regiments might be regulated
fo far as is proper for cavalry, if they encamp by themselves ; but if they could be joined to infantry, it would afford a greater field for improvement to both fervices ; and it is imagined that by frequent experiments, fome method might be difcovered of mingling the two arms, fo as more effectually to fupport each other, and to act with more vigour in action ; but fhould difficulties arife about affembling of corps, yet a fingle regiment might be divided into fix, eight or twelve fquadrons, and march in any number of columns to the front and rear ; to give officers by that means, who have never been in fervice, fome idea of the movement of an army.
INSTRUCTIONS for the LIGHT
TROOPS of the Regimeuits of
After the troop is told off and formed, to unftrap carbines as quick as
Clofe fquadron to the center.
The men take their bridles properly in hand, fit upright, thcir heads turned
to the right.
fquadrons paffage to the center, preferving an interval of
Files rein backwards.
The left hand files rein back half the distance of open order,
and pull off their gloves very nimbly, and fit fteady.
Transcribed by John Novicki c. 1999