CHAP. II. Of Intelligence.
EVery good commander must have these two grounds for his actions; 1. the knowledge of his own forces, and wants, (knowing that the enemie may have notice thereof, and therefore must he be alwayes studying for remedies, if the enemie should come suddenly upon him) 2. The assu∣rance of the condition and estate of the enemie, his commodities, and necessities, his counsels and designes: thereby begetting divers occasions, which afterward bring forth victories.a And because the commoditie of spies cannot alwayes be had; some of the enemies men must be assayed to be taken, from whom there may be drawn a relation of the estate of the adverse part, and this exploit is calledb taking of intelligence, a dutie of great importance, (whereon the deliberations which are to be taken do depend) and also of much travell and danger.
To effect this, an expert officer, with 20 or 25 of thec best mounted, stoutest, and hardiest Harquebusiers (or mixt of Cuirassiers and Harquebusiers, according to Melzo) with two Trum∣pets are to be employed. These are to carrie with them some refreshment for themselves and their horses; to that purpose retiring themselves into some wood, or shadie place; placing good Centi∣nells upon trees. If they find the enemie marching, they shall follow him on either flank (as op∣portunitie Page 27 shall direct them) or on the rear, or meet him on the front, assaying to take some that are disbanded, or some forrager. In the night they must approch the enemies armie, assaying to take some Sentinell, or some disbanded souldier in some of the houses thereabout. And because it well may fall out that (after the taking of some prisoner) the troop shall be charged by the ene∣mie; the Chief (which must be valiant,d and abundant in resolutions and inventions of stratagems to make his retreat by some woodie place) shall send (or first there leave them) foure of his best, and best mounted souldiers with a Trumpet; with order, that when they see the troop coming, charged by the enemie, they shew themselves, the trumpet sounding. For, it being an usuall thing in militarie courses to go and observe who they be which appear, the enemie by this means makes Alto, (or a stand) for fear of some embuscado which gives leisure to the troop to advance their retreat: and the said foure souldiers may make their retreat, either severally, or together, safe enough, by reason of their good horses. If the enemie be likely to come from divers parts, the like number would be sent to each suspected place. These should be sent before with the Quarterma∣sters which go to make the quarters, that so they might have two or three houres refreshment, before they go to take intelligence. If the armie be lodged in a very suspicious place; after the first troop so sent out, a second shall be sent; but neither of them knowing of each others sending out. If the armie be to march the next day, the chiefs of the said troops must know towards what place the march is intended.