The following lessons examine various instructions in Casey's School of the Soldier, School of the Company, and School of the Battalion. For each lesson, the author attempts to tie the instructions from each School together, as those taught in School of the Soldier form the foundation for the instructions taught in School of the Company which in turn form the foundation for the instructions taught in School of the Battalion.
These lessons are best viewed in PDF-presentation or full-screen mode.
The lessons are listed in the order they are presented during the author’s Seminar on Casey’s schools of instruction. They address the requirement for theoretical instruction expressed in Casey’s INFANTRY TACTICS, TITLE I, ARTICLE II, INSTRUCTION OF THE BATTALION:
49. Every commanding officer is responsible for the instruction of his command. He will assemble the officers together for theoretical and practical instruction as often as he may judge necessary, and when unable to attend to this duty in person, it will be discharged by the officer next in rank.
50. Captains will be held responsible for the theoretical and practical instruction of their non-commissioned officers, and the adjutant for the instruction of the non-commissioned staff. To this end, they will require these tactics to be studied and recited, lesson by lesson; and when instruction is given on the ground, each non-commissioned officer, as he explains a movement, should be required to put it into practical operation.
51. The non-commissioned officers should also be practised in giving commands. Each command, in a lesson, at the theoretical instruction, should first be given by the instructor, and then repeated, in succession, by the non-commissioned officers, so that while they become habituated to the commands, uniformity may be established in the manner of giving them.
52. In the school of the soldier, the company officers will be the instructors of the squads; but if there be not a sufficient number of company officers present, intelligent sergeants maybe substituted; and two or three squads, under sergeant instructors, be superintended, at the same time) by an officer.
53. In the school of the company, the lieutenant-colonel and the majors, under the colonel, will be the principal instructors, substituting frequently the captain of the company, and sometimes one of the lieutenants; the substitute, as far as practicable, being superintended by one of the principals.
54. In the school of the battalion, the brigadier general may constitute himself the principal instructor, frequently substituting the colonel of the battalion, sometimes the lieutenant-colonel, or one of the majors, and twice or thrice, in the same course of instruction, each of the three senior captains. In this school, also, the substitute will always, if practicable, be superintended by the brigadier general or the colonel, or (in case of a captain being the instructor), by the lieutenant-colonel or one of the majors.
55. Individual instruction being the basis of the instruction of companies, on which that of the regiment depends, and the first principles having the greatest influence upon this individual instruction, classes of recruits should be watched with the greatest care.
56. Instructors will explain, in a few clear and precise words, the movement to be executed; and not to overburden the memory of the men, they will always use the same terms to explain the same principles.
57. They should often join example to precept, should keep up the attention of the men by an animated tone, and pass rapidly from one movement to another, as soon as that which they command has been executed in a satisfactory manner.
This lesson is used as the introductory session for the author’s Seminar on Casey’s schools of instruction. It draws upon Casey’s instructions and the author’s personal experience as a coach and instructor. It sets the stage for developing a uniform impression within a battalion composed of individual and often unique companies. And builds upon Casey’s instruction found in the SCHOOL OF THE BATTALION, General Rules and Division of the School of the Battalion, instruction 19:
19. This school has for its object the instruction of battalions singly, and thus to prepare them for manoeuvres in line. The harmony so indispensable in the movements of many battalions can only be attained by the use of the same commands, the same principles, and the same means of execution. Hence, all colonels and actual commanders of battalions will conform themselves, without addition or curtailment, to what will herein be prescribed.
This lesson focuses on the phrase from SCHOOL OF THE BATTALION 19: “…The harmony so indispensable in the movements of many battalions can only be attained by the use of the same commands, the same principles, and the same means of execution. …”. It further examines the instructions found in INFANTRY TACTICS, TITLE I, ARTICLE II, INSTRUCTION OF THE BATTALION. It also stresses the importance to proper execution of a maneuver, for the Commanding Officer to pause between issuing Preparatory Commands and Commands of Execution, and between multiple Commands of Execution to enable Officers, NCOs, and Soldiers to properly execute their required movements.
The lesson examines the instructions found in TITLE II, SCHOOL OF THE SOLDIER, General Rules and Division of the School of the Soldier. Proper Alignment of each rank, and hence the company, is critically dependent on the proper position of each soldier. The improper position of a single soldier has the potential to derange the alignment of a rank which can then be compounded into deranging the alignment of the company and subsequently the alignment of the battalion.
This lesson examines the instructions found in the SCHOOL OF THE SOLDIER, lesson on ALIGNMENTS. It appears early in the author’s seminar to mitigate the challenge faced by reenactors of having (making?) too little drill time to focus sufficiently on the fundamentals upon which all other instructions build. Throughout this seminar, the author groups complimentary sets of instruction to effectively use the limited amount of drill time available, e.g., Position of the Soldier plus Alignment plus Facings plus Mechanism of the Step. This section in particular focuses on the principles and use of Right (or Left) DRESS and Right (or Left) backward-DRESS.
The following two lessons focus on the proper execution of facings from the halt and while marching (facings and flanking respectively). Because of the volume of material, the lessons are broken up into two parts.
Facings & Flanking Part One
Facings and Flanking Part One examines the fundamentals of facing and the requirement and importance of all facings being executed on the left heal. It then focuses on the mechanisms of Doubling. It introduces the instructional language “When faced in the direction of the Company Right Guide – the 2’s always double” and “When faced in the direction of the Company Left Guide – the 1’s always double.” It examines doubling when the ranks are faced to the front (typical practice) and when they are faced to the rear (rarely practiced) and illustrates how the recommended instructional language “in the direction of the Company Right (Left) Guide” enables the soldier to properly execute the facing/flanking regardless of starting faced to the front or rear and whether facing/flanking to the left or right.
Facings and Flanking Part Two continues the lesson begun in Facings and Flanking Part One and focuses on the mechanisms of Undoubling. It examines closely the SCHOOL OF THE SOLDIER instruction 376 that instructs that when undoubling, the “it is the men who are in the rear who always move up to form into single rank, and in such manner as never to invert the order of the numbers in the rank.”. Note the instruction’s use of “always” and “never”. A number one man should always be next to the Right Guide.
This lesson examines the fundamentals of marching: properly stepping off as the unit-commanded (squad, platoon, company, battalion, etc…), halting properly, proper pace and cadence, and always maintaining alignment regardless of cadence.
This lesson examines the role and positions of the 1st Sgt (Covering Sergeant & Company Right Guide), the 2nd Sgt (Company Left Guide), and the Captain when marching in battalion line. It illustrates the general movement of Guides and Officers on the command “Guides-POSTS”.
This lesson examines the fundamentals for marching at the oblique, both to the front (rear) and by the flank. Proper execution of marching by the flank at the oblique is critical to proper execution of the instructions for passing the company from the flank march into line.
The following three lessons focus on the proper execution of the Turn and Wheel commands (both as a rank and by file) used to change direction of units regardless of whether the soldiers are marching in column or by the flank.
This lesson examines the fundamentals for changing direction to the side of the guide, the Turn. The Turn is NOT executed as a wheel-in-motion; it is comprised of marching by the flank and marching at the oblique. Therefore the soldier must first be proficient at marching by the flank and marching at the oblique in order to properly execute the Turn.
This lesson examines the fundamental for changing direction change direction to the reverse flank, or to the side opposite to the guide, the Wheel. It examines the instructions for wheel from a halt, or on a fixed pivot; and when wheeling in marching, or on a movable pivot. Note that the command “1. By file, left (or right). 2 MARCH”, is executed as a wheel in motion, one file at a time. Think of it as a wheel-by-file. This lesson also illustrates the risk of collisions for a battalion marching in column during the individual companies execution of their wheel in motion when the companies are of different sizes.
Wheeling, From Line To Column, and From Column To Line
This lesson examines two complementary sections of SCHOOL OF THE BATTALION. The first is a mode of passing a battalion from order in battle (i.e., in line of battle) to order in column (i.e., in column of company). The second is a mode of passing from order in column to order in battle.
On The Right, By File Into Line
This lesson examines the instruction for passing from a battalion marching by the right flank to form the battalion on the right or left, by file, into line of battle.
This lesson examines the instructions for causing a company that is marching in column to break files to the rear and to cause them to re-enter into line. This command is useful in reducing the width of the company front to enable it to pass through narrow spaces while maintaining a significant portion of the company’s front without having to pass into a march by the flank. The concept is fundamental to proper execution of breaking to the rear (front) by the right or left.
On The Right, By File Into Line
This lesson examines one method for passing from marching by the flank into line by file. In this lesson the company is marching by the flank and the line of battle is perpendicular to the line of the march. Note the presence of “by file” in the command: “1. On the right, by file into line. 2. MARCH.”
On The Right Into Line (coming soon)
This lesson examines a different method for passing from column into line. In this lesson the company is marching in column of companies and the line of battle is perpendicular to the line of the march. Note the absence of “by file” in the command: “1. On the right into line. 2. Guide right.” To execute this maneuver properly, the company needs to know how to march to continue to march to the front while its Comrades in Battle sequentially perform right (left) turns.
To Break To The Rear Into Column
This lesson examines another method for passing from order in battle to order in column and to advance or retire by the right or left of companies. The lesson illustrates breaking from line into column and returning from column into line. The soldiers need to know how to break files. Most importantly, this is one of the commands where it is critically important for the Commanding Officer to pause between commands to enable the component instructions to be properly executed.
This lesson examines in detail the instructions for passing a company from marching by the flank to marching by the front. Prerequisites for proper execution of this command are: understanding guides, marching by the flank, marching by the flank at the oblique, and undoubling files while marching.
This lesson examines the instructions for the execution of Parade Rest.
This lesson examines the instructions for executing Inspection Arms. It provides instructions to Inspectors for how to inspect the musket. It cautions the soldier to be aware of the Inspector’s method of checking the functioning of the trigger mechanism; and instructs the soldier to refuse to present his musket to an Inspector that use improper inspection “methods” that risk damaging the trigger and/or lock mechanisms.
This document illustrates in detail all the mechanisms for the soldier executing Inspection Arms.
This document illustrates in detail all the mechanisms for executing the Manual of Arms by the Motion, except for the instructions on loading and firing.
(Note this section includes the instructions for going from Support Arms directly to Right Shoulder shift Arms, and to go from Right shoulder shift Arms direct to Support Arms.)
Manual of Arms, Illustrated, Field Manual
This document repeats the introductory material from Manual Of Arms, Illustrated and covers the same set of instructions but omits the illustrations of the individual mechanisms of each motion and only illustrates the desired end-state of each motion.
Manual Of Arms, the video
This video illustrates the manual arms, each instruction executed in one motion.
Manual of Arms, the video, by the motion.
This video illustrate the manual of arms, each instruction executed by the motion.
Load In Nine Times, Illustrated
This document illustrates in detail all the mechanisms for executing by the motion the section on Load In Nine Times from the Manual of Arms.
Reenactor distances, and their impact on the execution of the oblique fire.
This paper discusses the distances reenactors close to when engaging their adversary. It discusses the poor, not to mention the period incorrect impression that this leaves with the spectators. It also examines the impact this close-behavior has on our ability to properly execute the oblique fire instructions as instructed in Hardee's and Casey's Manuals of Instruction. It also addresses the debate within the reenactor community as to whether firing at the left oblique is done through the left interval of the rear rank's file partner or through the right interval. BLUF: the left oblique should be fired through the *right* interval of the rear ranks's file partner the same as the direct fire.
Firing Positions, the Footwork (coming soon)
This document provides a deeper examination of firing footwork and oblique firing.
Regimental Drill Day Lesson Plan
This is the detailed lesson plan for our Regimental Drill Day. It provides the instructor's script for both the theoretical instruction and practical instruction for the fundamental marching maneuvers.