Military instructions for the cavallrie, or, Rules and directions for the service of horse collected out of divers forrein authours, ancient and modern, and rectified and supplied according to the present practice of the Low-Countrey warres.
Cruso, John, d. 1681.

CHAP. XXIX. Of exercising the Cuirassier.

ALthough it be supposed and expected that no horse-man will presume to mount his horse to repair to his Cornet, before his pistols, harquebuse, or carabine be spanned, primed, and la∣den: his cases furnished with cartouches and all other equipage belonging to himself, his horse, and arms, made fix and in a readinesse: yet in case a Cuirassier upon service should (though un∣likely) spend both his pistols, and the six cartouches wherewith his cases were filled, so that he must resort to his flask; and my present task being to teach the untutored Cuirassier his postures; it will not be impertinent here to set them down in the largest manner.

Now because these things are to be performed on horseback, it will not be unnecessary (though mounting on horseback be accounted no posture, but a preparative to exercise or service) first to shew how he is to mount (which with the rest of the postures is done in Figure 3. Part 1. Chap. 29.) and for this, the word of command is,

1. To Horse.

aBoth reins hanging in a loose position over the horse neck, and upon the pummel of the saddle, the horseman is, First, to take the ends of the reins above the button in his right hand, and with the thumbe and two first fingers of that hand, to draw them to an even length. Then putting the little finger of his left hand betwixt both reins under the button, with the other three fingers of the same hand on the further rein, and the thumbe on the near side of the button, to grasp both reins, that so (before he endeavour to mount) he may have his horse head in ballance and at command: Then grasping the pummel of the saddle with his left hand, and standing with his full body close to the horse-side, and just between the bolster and cantle of the saddle (alwayes on the near side of the horse) with the help of his right hand he shall put the left foot into the left stirrop, and with his right hand taking fast hold on the highest part of the cantle behinde, he shall (with the help of both hands) gently (yet strongly, and in a right-up posture, without inclining his body to either hand) raise himself untill he may stand perpendicular upon his left foot, and then putting over his right legge, place himself in the saddle.

2. Uncap your pistols.

With the right hand he is to turn down the caps of the pistol-cases.

3. Draw your pistol.

He is to draw the pistol out of the case with the right hand, (and alwayes the left pistol first) and to mount the muzzel of it, as in posture 15.

4. Order your pistol.

He is to sink the pistol into his bridle-hand, and to remove his right hand towards the muzzel, and then to rest the but end upon his thigh.

5. Span your pistol.

He is to sink the pistol into his bridle hand, and taking the key (or spanner) into his right hand, to put it upon the axletree, and to winde about the wheel till it stick: and then to return the span∣ner to his place, being usually fastened to the side of the case.

6. Prime.

Holding the pistol in the bridle-hand (as before) he is to take his priming box into his right hand, and (pressing the spring with his fore-finger to open the box) to put powder into the pan.

7. Shut your pan.

He is to presse in the pan-pin with his right thumbe, and so to shut the pan.

8. Cast about your pistol.

With the bridle-hand he is to cast about the pistol, and to hold it on the left side, with the muz∣zel upward.

9. Gage your flasque.

He is to take the flasque into the right hand, and with his forefinger to pull back the spring, and turning the mouth of the flasque downward, to let go the spring.

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10. Lade your pistol.

Having gaged his flasque (as in the former posture) he is to presse down the spring, which open∣eth the flasque, with his forefinger, and so to lade his pistol.

11. Draw your rammer.

He is to draw his rammer with the right hand turned, and to hold it with the head downward.

12. Lade with bullet, and ramme home.

Holding the rammer-head in his right hand (as before) he is to take the bullet out of his mouth, or out of the bulletbag at the pistolcase, being in fight, with the thumbe and forefinger, and to put it into the muzzel of the pistol, and the rammer immediately after it, and so to ramme home.

13. Return your rammer.

He is to draw forth his rammer with the right hand turned, and to return it to its place.

14. Pull down your cock.

With the bridle-hand he is to bring the pistol towards his right side; and placing the but end upon his thigh, to pull down the cock.

15. Recover your pistol.

He is to take the pistol into his right hand, mounting the muzzel.

16. Present and give fire.

Having the pistol in his right hand (as in posture 15.) with his forefinger upon the tricker, he is to incline the muzzel (with a fixed eye) towards his mark; not suddenly, but by degrees, (quicker or slower according to the pace he rideth) and that not directly forward toward the horse head, but towards the right; turning his right hand so as the lock of the pistol may be upward: and ha∣ving gotten his mark, he is to draw the tricker, and give fire.

17. Return your pistol.

He is to return his pistol into the case, and then to draw his other pistol (as occasion may serve) and to do as before.

Now concerning the snap-haue pistol, those postures wherein it differeth from the fire-lock pi∣stol are these, (as in figure)

18. Bend your cock.

Holding the pistol in the bridle-hand (as before hath been shewed) with the right hand he is to bend the cock.

19. Guard your cock.

With the right hand he is to pull down the back-lock, so to secure the cock from going off.

20. Order your hammer.

With the right hand he is to draw down the hammer upon the pan.

21. Free your cock.

With the right thumbe he is to thrust back the back-lock, and so to give the cock liberty.

But the more compendious way of lading, for the gaining of time (which in the instant of skir∣mish is chiefly to be regarded) is by using cartouches. Now, the cartouch is to be made of white paper, cut out of convenient breadth and length, and rolled upon a stick, (or the rammer, if it be not too little) fit (according to the bore of the barrell) to contain a due quantity of powder, and the bullet. The proportion of powder usually required is half the weight of the bullet; but that is held too much by such as can judge. Having moulded the paper, the one end of it is to be turned in, (to keep in the powder) and the due charge of powder to be put into it at the other end; which powder is to be closed in by tying a little thred about the paper: then the bullet is to be put in, and that also tied in with a little thred. When the Cuirassier is to use his cartouch, he must bite off the paper at the head of it, and so put it into the barrell of his pistol, with the bullet upward, and then ramme it home. Byb this means he shall much expedite the lading of his pistol. The Cuirassier be∣ing become ready in his postures, his next and chiefest study is, to be an exact marks-man. And to this end he must frequently be practised at somec marks, to be set up at some tree or stake, of seve∣rall heights. Now because the Cuirassier is armed pistol-proof, he must not give fire but at a veryd near distance, being carefull to bestow his bullets so, as they may take effect. The principall place of advantage to aim at, is the lower part of the belly of the adverse Cuirassier, also his arm-pits, or his neck. Some would not have a Cuirassier to givee fire, until he have placed his pistol under his enemies armour, or on some unarmed parts. If he fail of an opportunity to hurt the man, he may aim at the breast of the horse, or his head, as he shall see occasion. He usually giveth his Page  20 charge upon the trot, and seldome gallopeth, unlesse it be in pursuit of a flying enemie, or such like occasion. Having spent both his pistols, and wanting time to lade again, his next refuge is his sword; whereof the best manner of using is to place the pummell of it upon his rightf thigh, and so with his right hand to direct or raise the point to his mark, higher or lower as occasion ser∣veth; either at the belly of the adverse horse-man (about the pummel of the saddle) or at his arm∣pits, or his throat; where if it pierce not (as it is very like it will not fail, by slipping under the casque) yet meeting with a stay in that part of the body where a man is very weak, and having a sword of a very stiff blade, as aforesaid, it will doubtlesse unhorse him. Being past his enemie, he is to make a back-blow at him, aiming to cut the buckle of his pouldron, whereby he disarmeth one of his arms, &c. Basta highly commendeth the aiming at the enemies sight, and so (by rai∣sing the vizures of his casque with the point of the sword) to run him into the head. But this seemeth not so likely to take effect as that of aiming at the throat; and sometimes (as some casques are made) it would be of no use.

In these and the like exercises the Cuirassier is frequently and diligently to practise himself at some mark; which will render him fit for service when need shall require.

Some authors (for the disposing of the Cuirassiers for fight) hold that they ought to be ordered in grosse bodies, that sog by their solidity and weight, they may entertain and sustain the shock of the enemie. They are also fit for troops of reserve, to give courage to the other Cavallrie, and to give them opportunity to re-assemble themselves behind them, &c.