Instructions for the warres. Amply, learnedly, and politiquely, discoursing the method of militarie discipline. Originally written in French by that rare and worthy generall, Monsieur William de Bellay, Lord of Langey, Knight of the order of Fraunce, and the Kings lieutenant in Thurin. Translated by Paule Iue, Gent.
Fourquevaux, Raimond de Beccarie de Pavie, baron de, 1509-1574., Ive, Paul., Du Bellay, Guillaume, 1491-1543,

The order that a Lieutenant ought to keepe in martching through the enemies countrie: and the maner howe to range a square Battailon with foure faces, leauing an emptie place in the midst of it.

The 4 Chapter.

I Haue héertofore spoken of the maner that an hoast ought to keepe in giuing of a battaile, and after what maner it ought to be gouerned, hauing their enemies harde by them: and also the manner how to vanquish them. Moreouer I haue spoken of many circumstances appertinent to this busines, wholly accor∣ding vnto the accidents that might happen before the giuing of a battaile, in fighting, after the vanquishing of an enemie, or the receiuing of an ouerthrow: & as I thinke I haue said so much therein, that it were now time to change purpose, and to shewe how foure such Legions as these which I haue ordained, ought to be ranged in traueling (although no enemies be seene) when as a Leiutenāt Generall that hath foure such legions in charge, is continually in doubt to be assaulted: which may happen when as he marcheth through his enemies country, or through a coun∣trie suspect. First of all we must vnderstand that the Romanes armie being in this case, did alwaies send out certaine troopes of Horsemen far before their battailes, for to discouer the waies; and after them marched the right pointe of their Battailon in order ready to sight, & at the taile of it marched all the baggage of the same point. After that marched another Legion and their baggage behinde them, and afterward the third Legion & their baggage, & last of all ye left point & their baggage at their tailes, behind which baggage marched all the horsmē: & this maner did the said Romans ordinarily vse in going through the country: & if the hoast were assayled either before or behinde, they caused Page  152 theyr baggage and carriage to be retired all at once either vpon the left side or vpon the right side, as came best to hande, and when the Souldiers and place were free of all incumbrances, the Battailes turned their faces towardes that side that their enemies came to assault them on. And if so bee that they were assayled vpon one of the flankes, they put their baggage one the other side, and made head vnto their enemyes. Me thinkes that this manner of marching through an enemie his countrie, should be the best that might be imitated in this case: we might likewise send out before on euery side a good number of Hargo∣letiers and Harquebusiers a Horsebacke to discouer the wayes round about our hoast, & send part of our light Horssemen to fol∣low the said Hargoletiers and Harquebusiers somwhat néere to succour them, if they should haue anye encounter; the battailes (as is aforesaid) marching in good order with their rankes at large, so that the way were broad ynough, or at the least that in euery ranke should be ten mē. As for to marche at length being in an enemies country, is an euill counsell. The Legions ought euery one to march by themselues, with their cariages at their backes, after the maner of the Romanes. And for that there are two sorts of baggage, to wit, one that perteineth vnto the Sol∣diers particularly, and the cariages which doe appertaine vnto the common vse, as the prouisiō of victuals, armes, & Ordnance; it would not bee amisse to deuide the sayd carriage into foure parts, and to giue vnto each legion besides their particular bag∣gage, the one fourth part of the publke cariages. Moreouer it would be well done to deuide the Ordnaunce into fower partes if it were but to auoyde the enuie that would bee amongst men of warre, if the one part of the armie should haue it in charge and the other not, or if the one should haue more then the other. And likewise the vnarmed people ought to be deuided equally, such as Pyoners, Carters, Victualers, men of occupation, and other poore people that do follow a Campe to get their liuing: to the intent that euery number of armed men might haue iust∣ly their charge, that the one should not be more aduantaged and charged then the other. But when as it dooth happen that an hoaste doth trauaile through a countrey that is not onely suspec∣ted: Page  153 but also is such an enemie as the sayde Hoaste dooth looke euerye hower to bee assayled, then the forme of martching before spoken of may be altred, and the hoast ranged in another order, which order should bee so good, that neither the people of the Countrey, or an enemie his armie might at any time finde the Lieuetenaunt Generall, nor his battailes in disorder, in any one poinct: nor likewise giue him any repulse, or to doe any do∣mage vnto his men. To auoide the daunger of these suddaine assaults which are made by stealth, the auncient Chiefes, were accustomed to martch with their hoastes square, not that they were altogeather square: but they were raunged with foure fa∣ces, and by that meanes they martched through their enemie his Countrey, beeing ready to defend themselues, whensoeuer that they should bee assaulted, and vsed no other forme, except they were constrained to fight with their Battailes raunged, or that they were charged with too great a force of enemies. This manner of marching will I vse in this place, and will shew how to order fower Legions after this manner, by immitating of whose example a greater armie may bee conducted, to martch through out all Countries, without daunger af enemies, and to make head one what part soeuer that it should be assayled. The Battailes must bee raunged in suche sort, that the first Legion must be at the right corner of the said square, and the Hastaries of this Legion, should occupie their accustomed place towardes the east: (for it shalbe supposed, that they do martch toward the east) and afterward the Princes and Triaries must place them¦selues towardes the South: so that they and the said Hastaries shall make a right angle which is one fourth part of a quadrant.

The seconde Legion shalbe placed vpon the left corner and the Hastaries of the saide Legion, shalbe raunged on the east part, as the Hastaries of the first Legion: so that the Hastaries of these two legions, shall make the front of the said square vp∣pon the east side, leauing a space of ten paces distaunt betwixt the saide two legions. The Princes and Triaries of the second legion must bee raunged on the north side, who beeing ioyned vnto their Hastaries, shall make another angle, and by that meanes, these two legions are the one halfe of the quadrant. Page  154 and to finishe it, the third Legion must bee raunged behinde the first, in suche sort, that the Hastaries of that legion shall make the one halfe of the angle towardes the West, to shew their fa∣ces that way if it should be needfull: and their Princes and Tri∣aries, shall make the other halfe of the corner, and shal haue their faces towardes the South, if it should be needfull, and shal ioyn vnto the Princes and Triaries of the first Legion: reseruing the space that ought to be left betwixt them, which shalbe ten paces as is aforesaide: and these spaces shall likewise be obserued be∣twixt the people, and the other Legions, to the intent that they do not touch one another: and there must bee a regard had, that those spaces may be kept. The fourth Legion shalbe raunged behind the second, placing the Hastaries on the west side, and the Princes, and Triaries on the north: so that the Hastaries of the first and second Legions, shal make the front, and the Hastaries of the third and fourth shall make the taile. The Princes and Triaries of the first & third Legions, shall make the right side, & ye Princes and Triaries of the second and fourth, shall make the left side: & these two said sides, when neede requireth, shal turne ye faces towards their two Regions, to wit, those vpon ye right side towards the South, & those on ye left side towards ye North.

All which fower Legions shall make one quadrant, not that it shalbe perfectly square, forasmuch as it shalbe a little more in length then in breadth, for from the front vnto the taile, there shalbe a more space left, then from the one side vnto the other, which square or quadrant shalbe ordred in such sort, yt the spaces which I haue said, yt shalbe left betwixt the bandes in the front, when they are in their first order, should likewise be left now: & the distance from the one rank to the other, shold be alwais kept according vnto the forme of the Hastaries, and as I haue said be∣fore. By this meanes, the place that this square btttaile wil oc∣cupie, may haue in breadth 470. paces, and 590. in length.

Within the saide battail, there shalbe an emptie space, which shalbe in length, 470. paces, and in breadth 340. and with∣in the same place, shall the fower Colonels be placed, to witte the Colonell of the first Legion, in the right corner of the front, and the Colonell of the second Legion, within the corner of the Page  155 seconde Legion: and the others likewise within the corner of their Legions with their garde, to the intent, that euerie man might be neere, and haue an eie to ouer looke his people. The Lieuetenant Generall may be within this emptie place, right against the space which is betwixt the Hastaries of the two Le∣gions in the front, accompanied with his garde, and with those that doe follow his Cornet. The Pikes of the Flanks may be raunged within the said emptie place ioyning vnto their bands, and the Harquebusiers of the flankes by them, who shall leaue the spaces betwixt the bandes, as the bandes them selues doo. As for the Captaines, and other members and officers, they shalbee in their places appointed them before, and the forlorne hope shalbe without vppon the fower sides of the Battaile, in their order, or they may bee with in: and likewise the baggage and carriage shall be within the emptie place, which the fower Legions doe make. And the Ordnaunce maye martch alongest the Flankes, or at the heade and taile. The Péeces vppon the Flankes, may martch one after another: but those in the front and at the taile shall martch one by another, for otherwise, they could not helpe them selues with it, when it shalbe needfull, nor easily to defend it, if it should be assaulted.

Concerning the Horsemen, the Harquebusiers, and the Har∣goletiers, must bee raunged on euerie side, a good way off, that the light horsmen might be betwixt them and the men of arms, and that the men of armes might be at the least, fifty paces from the battaile, raunged vpon the fower ancomminges, by simple Decuries, or double or more, to witte, one of the companies of the first Legion shalbe at the front, and the other vpon the right Flanke, the one of the companies of the second legion, should be likewise at the front of the battaile before the saide legion, & the other vpon the left Flank: & the companies of the other two le∣gions should be likewise behinde, and vpon the Flankes eache of them by the legion they belong vnto. One thing a Lieuete∣nant Generall must note in this place, for a generall rule, yt is, that as often as he shal range his army for to fight, he take heed, not to range his horsmen before his battails, except he do place them so far of, yt beeing repulsed, they may haue space inough to retire beside ye footmen: for otherwise hee might ouerrune them: Page  156 Or els he must leaue many spaces in the front of the said foote∣men, to the intent that the horsmen might return with in them, without breaking or disordering their rankes. And of this ad∣uertisement, hee ought to make no small account. For manye Chiefes which hertofore haue not regarded it, haue found them selues deceiued, and their people haue bene broken, and ming∣led one among another, when as their horsemen haue been re∣pulsed by their enemies.

Our fower Legions beeing ordered in that fourme that I haue spoken off, may put them selues forward to martch vppon the way, when as it shall please them, and may keepe the said or∣der going a good pace. I do not say that in traueiling, not being troubled by an enemie, that they should alwaies keep the ranks of their Hastaries so néer together nor ye souldiers of the, Princes & Triaries, likewise as I haue spoken before: for they could not carry their Pikes vpon their shoulders, but shold be constrained to beare them right vp an end, for it would be impossible to carry them otherwise, because of the little space betwixt the rankes. But my meaning is, that when as they would resist the assault of their enemies, that then they should ioyne togeather in suche order as is spoken of. And if so bee, that their enemies did but skirmish with them, to trouble them vpon the way, & notwith∣standing were alwaies ready to assault them, and that the sayd fower Legions, would winne ground and not fight: in suche a case, the Souldiers must carrie their Pikes right vp, although it be more painefull: for the necessitie, which they should haue to martch close togeather, would ease their paines. But if that they should not bee enforced, there would bee no daunger, if the Hastaries rankes should follow one another at more scope, and that the princes and Triaries shoulde occupie more grownd in length to c••tch their Pikes, and to march at more ease: for the horsemen and the forlorne hope which doe enuirone this square battaile, would be sufficient inough to stay the assaulters, vntill such time as the battaile were brought neere together into their order, for their wold be no more to doo, but stay the first ranks, & to cause the others to come forward neerer them. Moreouer, it is not to be doubted, that people who assault without keeping Page  157 order and ranke, should euer haue the courage and good will to approche them that are well ordered and ranked within the length of a Pike, nor the Harquebusiers within the shotte of a Harquebusse, except they had some aduantage of ground, as if it were that these Legions kept the lower ground and their ene∣mies the higher, or that there were some great riuer betwixte them: my meaning is that this order is onely for a plaine coun∣trie, for in troublesome passages it is not good, but when as they should passe neare or betwixte mountaines, the plaine being large enough to receaue them in this order: the remedy must be to get the highest ground, and driue away their enemies. For otherwise although that the Legions should keepe the forme of a square Battaile, or of Battailons ranged by themselues, I would neuer be of opinion that they should put themselues into straight passages, except that they were maisters of the higher ground. The Lord of Montpezat whē he returned into Fraūce with the bands that he had vnder him at Fossar, being constrai∣ned to take his way through the valley of Pratgella, the entrey into which is most difficill, seeing that the mountaines were held by the people of the countrey, and certaine men of warre which were ioyned with them, and that he was not entred farre within the sayde mountaines, without the losse of a certaine number of his people, which were slaine and maimed by theyr enemies, who kept themselues in the higher ground, being there placed to haue doone him mischiefe enough, if it had not béene spéedily looked into: the sayd Lorde sent immediatly part of his people vnder the charge of Monsieur Dambres, to get the higher ground, to driue away his enemies, which thing those that were sent did so well execute, marching alwayes vpon the higher ground on the winges of his Battailes; that there was not a Frenchman hurt afterwardes, whereas before they were a marke for their enemies to shoote at: it is all the remedye that may bee vsed in suche lyke passages. But if it were in a plaine, Horssemen with the helpe of Harquebusiers, may staye an enemie farre off, without hindering of the Battailes in loo∣sing of theyr time, for that Horsemen may maintaine a skirmish with an enemy, winning ground alwaies, not running far from Page  158 the battaile, nor forgetting themselues otherwise. True it is, that in marching in this order square, it were necessary that the Country should be euen & open, that the battail might alwaies continew as it was ordred: and therfore it should be necessary to haue a great number of Pioners, to make the way plain & open, wheras it should passe, & the said Pioners might be defended by the Hargoletiers, and other discouerers, if their enemies were not able to repulse them: but if so be that their enemies were of force sufficient to repulse the saide discouerers: the other horse∣men following at their backs, would relieue them, or if it came to the worst, the Pioners might retyre within the battailes, and the horsemen vnto the flanks, if they could not stay their enemies otherwise: for which enemies there néede no iot of this order of martching be changed, except that they were so great a number that they might assail these Legions ranked in battaile: but this assault cannot be done so suddainely, but that the Generall shal haue time inough to retire the Pyoners, & to range his people in order to giue battaille: for as he in marching on his way, doth go but an ordinary pace, so an enemy in comming towards him doth martch but an ordinary pace: so that the one aswell as the other, doe goe so leasurelie, that they shall alwaies haue leasure inough to prouide on both sides. Besides the discouerers who are abroad, will aduertise the said Generall time inough: & then hee may bring the Legions into the same order that is taught in the first booke: and if he be assaulted vpon the front, he may turn the mouth of the Cannon, towardes his enemies, and put the horsemen vpon the wings, and cause the third Legion to range themselues in their first order and accustomed place, and the fourth likewise: and the Princes and Triaries of eache Legion to take their places.

In the meane while, the ordnance may play their partes, and the forlorne hope with the Harquebusiers a horsebacke, and har∣goletiers many likewise doe theirs. The Baggage must bee retyred behind the Legion with the Pyoners, and the vnarmed men, who may make themselues strong with wagons, coffers, packes, and other carriages, with al which, they may entrenche themselues, if so be that they had no strong place neere to retyre Page  159 vnto, or time to fortifie. Yet if leasure would serue, it would be better to stay and to make some place strong before the battail, then to hazarde a battaile before a Campe were made to retyre vnto if néed were. And if so bee that the said enemie would as∣sault these Legions behinde, the Lieuetenant Generall must make the head of the Battailons that way, or towardes any o∣ther part that he looketh to be assaulted vpon. And if so be that the said enemie should assault him vppon two sides, and that hee were of force inough to doe it; this Generall ought to take Souldiers from the other two sides that are not assaulted, to strengthen those that are assaulted, or els hee must vse another manner of order, to witte, to raunge the Princes and Triaries all in one front, or to do otherwise, that is in euerie Legion to retyre one band of Hastaries, and to place it with another band of Princes, and that those two bands should raunge themselues in 10. rankes at the backes of the said Hastaries: and the o∣ther two bandes of Princes, should retyre backwards to be ran∣ged with the Triaries: so that at the front their should be fower bandes, and at the taile as many, and the two bands in the midst shoulde stretche out their rankes, and shoulde occupie asmuche ground in breadth as the other fower, and this must bee doone throughout al ye Legions: and so their would be two fronts wel furnished, and the Flankes also would bee sufficient inough of them selues, besides the Pikes of the Flankes for to helpe them. And when as the front were broken they might retire vn∣to the two bands in the midst to make an enemy to fight againe with them.

I haue spoken before of these two formes, and therefore to returne to my matter: I saye that if the Generall of our ene∣mies Armie shoulde assayle these our aforesayde fower Legy∣ons vppon two or three partes: that eyther hee or wee were not bee thought wise. For if a Generall Chiefe bee wise, hee will neuer put hym selfe into a place where an enemye maye assayle hym with a great power vppon so many sides, or parts.

For so it is, that hee that will hurt another man, and bee sure to take no hurt hym selfe, but deale vppon the Page  160 aduantage, must néeds haue vpon euery side, that hee would as∣saile his enemy, asmuch people, or very neer asmuch, as his said enemie hath in all his: if so be then that our Generall should he so euill aduised, as to enter into a Prince his Countrie, his ene∣mie, who had three or fower times as many Souldiers as him selfe, and should take anye hurt: there were no reason, but that he should blame his owne lacke of vnderstanding, & not put the fault in his ill lucke. But let vs put case, that the General of our enemies hoast, hath but a fewe Souldiers more then wee haue: and not withstanding, thinking to put vs into disorder, he char∣geth vs in diuers places: you may say then, that the folly is his, and the aduantage is ours: As for to assayle our fower legions, in which of the fourmes abouesaid soeuer they should bee raun∣ged, hee shalbe forced to make his battailes so thinne and small, that our armie might easilie resist the one, and beat the other, and by that meanes get the victorie.

Our Generall might also (if he thought it good) raunge his Legions two and two together, or euery one a part, in manner of a square, & leaue a place emptie in the midst, which he might doo after this maner: that is, that one Legion should make the front with his Hastaries, & the left Flank with his Princes and Triaries, and that the other legion should make the tail with his Hastaries, and the right Flanke with his Princes and Triaries, and so these two Legions should occupy 230. paces in breadth, and 350. in length: and the square that should be left empty in the midst, should haue 110. paces in breadth, and 230 in length. Touching the raunging of these legions by themselues, three bandes of Hastaries might make the fronte, and the other two should be placed, one band vpon the one Flanke, and the o∣ther Bande vppon the other Flanke. Likewise two bandes of the Princes, might raunge themselues vpon the Flanks behind the other two bandes of the said Hastaries in a right line, & the third band should make the taile with the Triaries: for by that means the space that one legion so ordred would occupie, might bee 136. paces in breadth, and 219. in length: the space which is left empty in the midst, should haue by this reckoning 16. pa∣ces in breadth, and 99. in length.

Page  161This forme might serue, as often as it should bee necessarie that the Legions should march through the countrie one after another, or one alone, not being accompanied with some good number of horsemen, if so be that they would be prouided against the surprises and sodaine assaults of their enemies, & haue their sicke and hurt men, and also their baggage out of daunger of the sayd enemies. For that this manner of martching doth require that the way where it should passe should be large and euen, and is also inuented but to withstand people that should assayle it without keeping order, and at vnwares, to the intent to put those that trauell into disorder, if they could, or at the least to make their hands with the baggage: the chiefest remedie (as I haue aboue said) is to raunge the Souldiers in such order that they might defend themselues on euery side: and also haue their baggage in a sure place, for otherwise it would not be possible to defend it so well if it should bee without the battaile, but that in martching and staying there might be much lost: wherefore this order of martching, for doubt of our enemies whom we see not, is most necessarie. And it would bee a most profitable thing to accustome our Legionaries to put themselues together, and to martch in this order. And vpon the way to take them out of this order, and raunge them according vnto their first manner of battaile, or like vnto the others which we haue shewed: and im∣mediatly to bring them againe into the order of martching that is here spoken of. Moreouer, to cause them to make the tayle of their battailes the head, and the head the tayle: and afterwards to make of either of the two flankes sometimes the one, and sometime the other. This done, they may then be raunged a∣gaine in their first order: and it shal be necessarie to exercise them often in these exercises, if we will haue them to be right good and expert Souldiers: for Militarie discipline is nothing else but to know how to begin and to execute the things aboue sayd: where∣in all Captaines and others that haue charge of the gouern∣ment of Souldiers ought to take paines. And I beleeue that an hoast so ordred, should bee alwaies the vanquisher, and could ne∣uer at any time bee broken and vanquished. If so bee that the formes aforesayd do seeme any thing hard, it is most certaine Page  162 that the difficultie will become easie enough by meanes of exer∣cise. Moreouer, who so doth knowe how to raunge an hoast and to order them in these formes, shall knowe the easier how to raunge and order an hoast in others, which are not altogether so hard.