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.
Page  26

The second Part. Of Marching.


HAving shewed in the first part, how the Cavallrie is to be levied, it followeth now to speak of their manner of marching: a matter of no smalla conse∣quence; in the well ordering whereof, oftentimes (especially upon occasion of sudden charges) the safetie of the troops, or of the whole armie consisteth. For the orderly handling whereof I purpose to direct my discourse to these 3 heads.

1 the knowledge of the wayes, and discoverie of the enemies designes, and residence.

2 The conducting of the troops to their Rendez-vous, and their orders.

3 The particular distribution of the whole train upon the way; And the scouts or fore-runners. And how they are to march in an open or strait countrey, by day or night.

CHAP. I. Of Guides.

FOr the knowledge of the wayes (aa matter of great importance, either to prevent the taking of one way for another in marching, or in pursuing the enemie, he having received the charge, and flying by unusuall wayes) the use of maps may somewhat help, but (being too generall) is not sufficient. And therefore the Waggon-master is to provide good guides, of the inhabitants of those places where the march is to be, which may be able to give certain and particular infor∣mation concerning theb high-wayes and crosse-wayes, how many there be of them; whether they be even, large, and free: or straight, hillie, or impeached with difficult passages. Also concern∣ing ditches and rivers, whether there be bridges or not. And if there be divers wayes, which is the most safe and shortest, or most exposed to the enemies advenues or approches, or most com∣modious for the baggage. Whether there be requisite commoditie for the lodgings, as forrage, water, &c, Insomuch as they may be able to know every hedge or ditch, and all other particulars. And that you may be assured of their fidelitie, and the truth of their informations, it is good to have them to be souldiers in pay; or where they are not, to take them of thec boores or inhabi∣tants (as aforesaid) from place to place, keeping them separated from each other. And if they dif∣fer, either from the souldiers which serve for guides, or from each other, they must be confronted; and by the mutuall consent of all, the best way is to be resolved on. These guides usually (to pre∣vent their running away, which they will often do if they see an opportunitie of escaping) are led bound,d or at least committed to the custodie of some souldier. Recompence is promised them if they do their endeavour, and punishment threatned if they direct amisse.

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.

CHAP. III. Of the order of Marching.

THe Commissarie Generall, grounding himself upon good informations, is to give the orders in writing for the manner of marching, as well of the souldiers as the baggage. Every Ca∣ptain is to receive his written directions overnight, that so, the signe given, he may appear at the Rendez-vous in such rank and place as shall be commanded him.

a Every armie is divided into three parts; The vanguard, battel, and rear. That part of the armie which is most exposed to the enemie (and that most usually is the front) should be the best; and therefore all chiefs desire the vanguard. The manner therefore is (for generall satisfaction) that they which this day had the van, to morrow have the rear; and they which had the rear, the battel. So changing alternatively; except the Lord Generalls guard (consisting of two troops, as Melzo hath it) or the Generalls regiment (according to C. Bingham) which hath alwayes the vanguard. And if the enemie should change place, and from your front become to be upon your rear, whereby the rear (as most dangerous) becomes most honourable; that Captain which to day hath led the battaillon, to morrow (in stead of the vanguard) may challenge the rear.

The scouts alter their course also, and attend the enemies proceedings on the rear.

If occasion be (in time of march) to send out one or more troops for some service, they are to observe the same orders. But the armie being come to their quarter, and occasion being to send outb all or part of the Cavallrie upon some exploit; that troop which first appeareth at the place of Rendez-vous shall be appointed by the Commissarie Generall (who is to be there) to the first place; the second to the second place. If two troops come together, at the same instant, they shall cast lots.

By this means, every man desiring honour, they will be the readier to appear in due time. The same course shall be taken when the troops are to be sent upon some embuscado, convoy, or the like. If the march be but of one day, he which commandeth shall appoint the best experienced and ablest to lead;c who is to be in the rear, returning back to the quarter. And these may have pri∣vate order to be at the place of Rendezvous sooner then the rest, to avoid jealousies.

The vanguard, battaillon, and rear, must be divided from each other 300 paces.

CHAP. IIII. Of Scouts or Discoverers.

TO be secured from unexpected assaults of the enemie, neither the armie nor the Cavallrie alone, no not a companie, must march withouta discoverers: which must be sent out, not onely by the direct way where the enemie is like to come, or you are to march, but to scoure all the by-wayes on either side. And sometime the first discoverers are seconded by a second compa∣nie, to secure the march.

They that shall be employed in this service must be choice men, valiant, vigilant and discreet: such as neither fear nor misconceit can easily distract. They must see that with their own eyes which they inform, the least errour of theirs misleading the whole bodie. Those select men ap∣pointed for this service, are to beb led by an able officer; it being a task so difficult, that many Page  28 have lost that reputation by it which they had been long in gaining of. This officer shall send word of what he discovereth; and what he seeth not himself, he is to signifie it as so reported to him; and having seen it, then to certifie it as for certain.

CHAP. V. Of the order of marching by day.

THea march must be so ordered as the companies may readily (from that order) be brought into a good form of battel, upon occasion of a sudden charge. The Cavallrie (supposed to consist of 40 troops, and the countrey spacious) is to be divided into two bodies of 20 troops a∣piece. Melzo would have 3 troops of Harquebusiers in front of the vanguard, which Basta and Walhausen are against, because they are (for the most part) but ill armed. These two divisions are to march in even front, 150 paces divided. Coming to strait passages, the right wing is to march before the left. The officers must suffer none of the baggage nor any other to intermingle with their troops.

The Captain of Harquebusiers which hath the vanguard (or one of them in that division, when the Cuirassiers have it)b must send out a Corporall with 15 horse and a good guide, some league before; whereof two shall be sent out directly before him; two towards the right, and other two towards the left;c to discover among the woods and valleys, and to get intelligence at any dwelling houses or villages, advising the Corporall of what they discover. Who is from time to time to advise the chief, which is to march at the head of the first troop.

After these 15 he is to send out 4 others, led by a sufficient souldier, to bring reports of what those 15 shall discover; the rather because the enemie might come upon them upon the flanks, af∣ter the first 15 were past.

The Captain of the Harquebusiers which hath the rear of the left wing, must leave a Corporall with 15 horse a mile behind him. Of these 15, two are to be some 12 or 14 score behind the rest, to give notice if the enemie follow them in the rear.

d The Captain which leads in front must march so as the other troops must keep foot with him; and passing over a bridge or narrow passage, must make Alto so soon as he is over, or in the plain, leaving a souldier at the bridge or strait, which shall give him knowledge so soon as the rear be past over or through.e And if in these strait passages there be any advenues by which the enemie might charge you, those must be prepossessed by Harquebusiers, or Dragons, alighting, and keeping themselves upon some height, or in some valley, or behind some hedge or ditch, to secure their flanks.

Every troop is to leave 100 paces distance between each other, and are to suffer no baggage nor others to trouble them, as abovesaid.

CHAP. VI. The order of marching by night.

UPon occasion of marching with all or part of the Cavallrie by night, the companies are punctually appointed their places of march by written orders delivered to their officers. Be∣fore the troops, a Corporall with 12 or 15 Harquebusiers is to be sent, by the space of half a league, to discover and take intelligence at the houses, whether there be any news of the enemie. And passing by places which are at the enemies devotion, some of them must have the language, and feigne themselves friends, the better to know what passeth.

Not long after these, foure others are to follow, as in the former chapter. Besides, a chosen troop of Cuirassiers are to be ready, led by a Captain of speciall desert, with order toa charge resolutely upon any adversarie; and these are to march 150 paces before the rest.

The chief Commander is to march at the head of the first troop which followeth the said cho∣sen troop of 60 Cuirassiers, and with him one of the best souldiers of every troop, to carrie the or∣ders (upon all occasions) to their Captains: sending before him foure of his ablest men, to give him notice if the said select troop of 60 Cuirassiers charge the enemie: which if it happen, he shall cast his companie out of the way, and charge the enemie on the flank; and so the rest of the troops, observing that they intermix not their troops.

The troops must not leave such distances between each other as in the day march, unlesse they heare news of the enemies approch.b They must march with all possible silence. At any by∣way, the first company must leave a souldier at the entrance thereof, which shall be relieved or changed by the next company, and so successively untill all be past. Coming into open and cham∣pion places, the officers shall draw up their troops, and cause them to march in square bodies, well closed, having regard that none sleep. The spare horses or pages must not march at the heads of the troops. If the enemie charge the rear, the chief officer in the rear shall cause the last company to face about; and so the rest, if need be: but those companies which were in front must not come Page  29 to the rear, for avoiding of disorder, and lest the enemy cunningly make an alarm in the rear, when he meaneth to charge the front. In the rear of all, a Corporall with 15 horse shall march as above-mentioned, with a guide. The day being come, the said 60 Cuirassiers shall return to their severall companies. If the companies refresh themselves in the night, they must not be suf∣fered to unsaddle their horses, nor disarm themselves. The guides (diverse of them) must go be∣fore the troops, whether on foot or on horse-back, guarded by two souldiers which know the lan∣guage, and no other to speak to them.c These are diligently to observe them whether they seem doubtfull, looking here and there, as doubting of the way, and thereof shall presently certifie the officer, that he may call others, to be assured.

CHAP. VII. How the baggage is to march.

AS little baggage as possible may be must be conducted with the Cavallrie. It is the Waggon-masters charge to order it for the march. First, the Generalls baggage is to march, then the Lieutenant Generalls, then the Commissary Generalls, and so the other officers in their degrees.

The place of march is uncertain;a but alwayes it must be most remote from danger. If the danger be in the front, it marcheth in the rear, &c. The Waggon-master (or with some the Pro∣vost) must see that all march in their appointed place, and disband not. A company of Harque∣busiers is to guard the baggage. The horse-boyes march after the waggons, and must not be suf∣fered to march among the troops.