Gilhams Manual of Arms


    General Rules and division of the School of the Soldier.

    70. The object of this school being the individual and progressive instruction of the recruits, the instructor never requires a movement to be executed until he has given an exact explanation A it; and he executes, himself, the movement which he commands, so as to join example to precept. He accustoms the recruit to take, by himself, the position which is explained – teaches him to rectify it only when required by his want of intelligence – and sees that all the movements are performed without precipitation.

    71. Each movement should be understood before passing to another. After they have been properly executed in the order laid down in each lesson, the instructor no longer confines himself to that order; on the contrary, he should change it, that he may judge of the intelligence of the men.

    72. The instructor allows the men to rest at the end of each part of the lessons, and oftener, if he thinks proper, especially at the commencement; for this purpose he commands REST.

    73. At the command REST, the soldier is no longer required to preserve immobility, or to remain in his place. If the instructor wishes merely to relieve the attention of the recruit, he commands, “in place-REST”; the soldier is then not required to preserve his immobility, but he always keeps one of his feet in its place.

    74. When the instructor wishes to commence the instruction, he commands – ATTENTION;  at this command the soldier takes his position, remains motionless, and fixes his attention.

    75. The School of the Soldier will be divided into three parts: the first, comprehending what ought to be taught to recruits without arms – the second the manual of arms, the loadings -and firings; the third, the principles of alignment, the march by the front, the different steps, the march by the flank, the principles of wheeling and those of change of direction;., also, long marches in double quick time and the ran,

    76. Each part will be divided into lessons, as follows:



    Lesson 1. Position of the soldier without arms – Eyes right, left and front.

    Lesson 2. Facings.

    Lesson 3. Principles of the direct step in common and quick time.

    Lesson 4. Principles of the direct step in double quick time and the run.



    Lesson 1. Principles of shouldered arms. Lesson 2. Manual of arms. Lesson 3. To load in four times and at will. Lesson 4. Firings, direct, oblique, by file and by rank. Lesson 5. To fire and load, kneeling and lying. Lesson 6. Bayonet exercise.



    Lesson 1. Union of eight or twelve men for instruction in the principles of alignment.

    Lesson 2. The direct march, the oblique march, and the different steps.

    Lesson 3 . The march by the flank.

    Lesson 4. Principles of wheeling and change of direction.

    Lesson 5. Long marches in double quick time, and the run, with arms and knapsacks.



    77. This will be taught, if practicable, to one recruit at a time; but three or four may be united, when the number be great compared with that of the instructors. In this ease the recruits will be placed in a single rank, at one pace from each other. In this part, the recruit will be without arms.


    LESSON I.-Position of the Soldier.

    78. Heels on the same line, as near each other as the conformation of the mail will permit;

    The feet turned out equally, and forming with each other something less than a right angle;

    The knees straight without stiffness

    The body erect on the hips, inclining a little forward;

    The shoulders square and falling equally;

    The arms hanging naturally;

    The elbows near the body;

    The palm of the hand turned a little to the front, the little finger behind the seem of the, pantaloons;

    The head erect and square to the front, without constraint;

    The chin near the stock, without covering it;

    The eyes fixed straight to the front, and striking the ground about the distance of fifteen paces.



    Heels on the same line ~-

    79. Because, if one. were in the rear of the other, the shoulder on that side would be thrown back, or the position of the soldier would be constrained.


    Heels more or less closed

    Because, men who are knock-kneed, or who have legs with large calves, cannot, without constraint, make their heels touch while standing.


    The feet equally turned out, and not forming too large an angle,

    Because, if one foot were turned out more than the other, a shoulder would be deranged, and if both feet be too much turned out, it would not be practicable to incline the upper part of the body forward without rendering the whole position unsteady.


    Knees extended without stiffness;

    Because, if stiffened, constraint and fatigue would be unavoidable.


    The body erect on the hips;

    Because, it gives equilibrium to the position. The instructor will observe that many recruits have the bad habit of dropping a shoulder, of drawing in a side, or of advancing a hip, particularly the right, when under arms. These are defects he will labor to correct.


    The upper part of the body inclining forward ;

    Because, commonly, recruits are disposed to do the reverse, to project the belly and to throw back the shoulders, when they wish to hold themselves erect, from which result great inconveniences in marching. The habit of inclining forward the upper part of the body is so important to contract, that the instructor must enforce it at the beginning, particularly with recruits who have naturally the opposite habit.


    Shoulders square;

    Because if the shoulders be advanced beyond the line of the breast, and the, back arched (the defect called round -shouldered, not uncommon with recruits,) the man cannot align himself, nor use his piece with address. It is important, then, to correct this defect, and necessary to that end that the coat should set easy about the shoulders and arm pits – but in correcting this defect, the instructor should take care that the shoulders be not thrown too much to the rear, which would cause the belly to project, and the small of the back to be, curved.


    The arms hanging naturally, elbows near the body, the palm of the hand a little turned to the front, the little  finger behind the seam of the pantaloons ;

    Because these. positions are equally important to the shoulder arms, and to prevent the man from occupying more space in a rank than is necessary to it free use of the piece; they have, moreover, the advantage of keeping in. the shoulders.


    The face straight to the front, and without constraint;

    Because, if there be stiffness in the latter position, it would communicate Itself to the. whole of the upper part of the body, embarrass its movements and give pain and fatigue.


    Eyes direct to the front;

    Because, this is the surest means of maintaining the shoulders in line- an essential object, to be insisted on and attained.


    80. The instructor having given the recruit the position of the soldier without arms will now teach him the turning of the head and eyes. He will command:


    1. Eyes– RIGHT 2. FRONT.


    81. At the word right, the recruit will turn the head gently, so as to bring the inner corner of the left eye in it line with the buttons of the coat, the eyes fixed on the line of the eyes of the men in, or supposed to he in, the same rank.

    82. At the second command the head will resume the direct or habitual position.

    83. The movement of Eyes – LEFT will be executed by inverse means.

    84. The instructor will take particular care that the movement of the head does not derange the squareness of the shoulders, which will happen if the movement of the former be too sudden.

    85. When the instructor shall wish the recruit to pass from the State of attention to that of ease, he will command:



    86. TO cause a resumption of the habitual position, the instructor will command:


    1. Attention. 2. SQUAD.


    87. At the first word, the recruit will fix his attention; at the Second, he will resume the prescribed position with steadiness.


    LESSON II. -Facings.


    88. Facings to the right or left will be executed in one time, or pause. The instructor will command:


    1. Squad. 2. Right (or left) -FACE.


    89. At the second command, raise the right foot slightly, turn on the left heel raising the toes a little , and then replace the right heel by the side of the left, and on the same line.

    90. The full face to the rear (or front) will be executed in two times, or pauses. The instructor will command:


    1. Squad. 2. ABOUT -FACE.


    91. (First time.) At the word about, the recruit will turn on left heel, bring the left toe to the front rear, the hollow opposite to, and full heel, the feet Square to each Other.

    92. (Second time.) At the word face, the recruit will turn on both heels, raise the toes a little, extend the hams, face to-the rear, bringing, at the same time, the right heel by the side of the left.

    93. The instructor will take care that these motions do not derange the position of the body.

    LESSON III.- Principles of the Direct Step.


    94. The length of the direct step, or pace in common time, will be twenty-eight inches, reckoning from heel to heel, and, in swiftness, at the rate of ninety in a minute.

    95. The instructor, seeing the recruit confirmed in his position, will explain to him the principle and mechanism of this step-placing himself six or seven paces from and facing to the recruit. He will himself execute slowly file step ill the way of illustration, and then command:

    1. Squad, forward. 2. Common time. 3. MARCH


    96. At the first command, the recruit will throw the weight of the body on the right leg, without bending the left knee.

    97. At the third command, he will smartly, but without a jerk, carry straight forward the left foot twenty-eight inches from the right, the sole near the ground, the ham extended, the too a little depressed, and, as also the knee  slightly turned out – he will, at the same time, throw the weight of the body forward, and plant flat the left foot, without shock, precisely at the distance ‘where it finds itself from the right when the weight of the body is brought forward, the whole of which will now rest on the advanced foot. The recruit will next, in like manner, advance the right foot and plant it as above; the heel twenty-eight inches from the heel of the left foot, and thus continue to march without crossing the legs, or striking the one against the other, without turning the shoulders and preserving always the face direct to the front.

    98. When the instructor shall wish to arrest the march, he will command:


    1. Squad. 2. HALT.


    99. At the second command, which will be given at the instant when either foot is coming to the ground, the foot in the rear will be brought up, and planted by the side of the other, without shock.

    100. The instructor will indicate, from time to time, to the recruit the cadence of the step, by giving the command one at the instant of raising a foot, and two at the instant it ought to be planted, observing the cadence of ninety steps in a minute. This method will contribute greatly to impress upon the mind the two ,notions into which the Step is naturally divided.

    101. Common time will be employed only in the first and second parts of the School of the Soldier. As soon as the recruit has acquired steadiness, has become established in the pi. , of shouldered arms and it) the mechanism, length and swiftness of the stop in common time, he will be practiced only in quick time, the double quick time, and the run.

    102. The principles of the stop in quick time are the same as for common time, but its swiftness is at the rate of one hundred and ten steps per minute.

    103. The instructor wishing the squad to march in quick Time, will command:


    1. Squad, forward 2. MARCH.

    Lesson IV.-Principles of the Double Quick Step.


    104. The length of the double quick stop is thirty-three inches, and its swiftness at the rate of one hundred and sixty-five steps per minute.

    105. The instructor wishing to teach the recruits the principles and mechanism of the double quick step, will command:

    1. Double quick step. 2. MARCH.


    106. At the first command, the recruit will raise his hands to a level with his ]lips, the hands closed, the nails toward the body, the elbows to the rear.

    107. At the second command, he will raise to the front his left leg bent, in order to give to the knee the greatest elevation, the part of the leg between the knee and the instep vertical, the toe depressed; he will then replace his foot in its former position with the right leg he will then execute what has just been prescribed for the left, and the alternate movement of the legs will be continued until the command:


    1. Squad. 2. HALT.


    108. At the second command, the recruit will bring the foot. which is raised by the side of the other. and dropping at the same time his hands by his side, will resume. the position of the soldier without arms.

    109. The instructor placing himself seven or eight paces from., and facing the recruit, will indicate the cadence by the commands, one and two, given alternately at the instant each foot should be brought to the ground, which at fir-it will be in common time, but its rapidity will be gradually augmented.

    110. The recruit being sufficiently established in the principles of this step, the instructor will command.


    1. Squad, forward. 2. Double quick. 3. MARCH.


    111. At the first command, the recruit will throw the weight of his body on the right leg.

    112. At the second command, he will place his arms as indicated  No. 106.

    113. At the third command he will carry forward the left foot, the leg slightly bent., the knee somewhat raised -will plant his left foot, the toe first, thirty-three inches from the right, and with the right foot will then execute what has just been prescribed for the left. This alternate movement of the leg, ill take place by 1 throwing the weight of the body on the foot that is planted, and by allowing a natural, oscillatory motion to the arms.

    114. The double quick step may be executed with different degrees of swiftness. Under urgent circumstances the, cadence of this step may be increased to one hundred and eighty per minute. At this rate a distance of four thousand yards would be passed over in about twenty-five minutes.

    115. The recruits will be exercised also in running.

    116. The principles are the same as for, the double quick step,, the only difference consisting in a greater degree of swiftness.

    117. It is recommended in marching at double quick time, Or the run, that the men should breathe as much as possible through the nose, keeping the mouth closed. Experience has proved that, by conforming to this principle, a man can. pass over at much longer distance and with less fatigue.






General Rules and Division of the School of the Company.

1. Instruction by company will always precede that by battalion, and the object being to prepare the soldiers for the higher school, the exercises of detail by Company will be strictly adhered to, as well in respect to principles, as the order of progression herein proscribed.

2. There will be attached to a company undergoing elementary instruction, a captain, a covering sergeant, and a certain number of file closers, the whole posted in the manner indicated, Title First, and, according to the same Title, the, officer charged with the exorcise of such company will herein be denominated the instructor.

3. The School of the Company will be divided into six lessons, and each lesson will comprehend five articles, as follows :


*1. To open ranks.

*2. Alignments in open ranks.

*3. Manual of arms.

*4. To close ranks.

*5. Alignments, and manual of arms in closed ranks.


*1. To load in four times and at will.

*2. To fire by Company

*3. To fire by file.

*4. To fire by rank.

*5. To fire by the rear rank.

*Lesson III.

*1. To march in line of battle.

*2. To halt the company marching in line of battle, and to align it.

*3. Oblique march in line of battle.

*4. To mark time, to march in double quick time, and the back step.

*5. To march in retreat in line of battle.


*1. To march by the flank.

*2. To change direction by file,

*3. To halt the company marching by the flank, and to We it to the front.

*4. The company being in march by the flank, to form it on the right or left by fire into line  of battle.

*5. The company marching by the flank, to form it by company or platoon into line, and cause it to face to the right and left in marching.


*1. To break into column by platoon either at a halt or while marching.

*2. To march in column.

*3. To change direction. 4. To halt the column.

*5. Being in column by platoon, to form to the right or left into line of battle, either at a halt or marching.


*1. To break into platoons, and to re-form the company.

*2. To break files to the rear, and to cause them to re-enter into line.

*3. To march in column in route, and to execute the movements incident thereto.

*4. Countermarch.

*5. Being in column by platoon, to form on the right or left into line of battle.

4. The company will always be formed in two ranks. The instructor will then cause the files to be numbered, and for this purpose will command:


In each rank-Count Twos.


5. At this command, the men count in each rank, from right to left, pronouncing in a loud and distinct voice, in the same tone, without hurry and without turning the head, one, two, according to the place which each one occupies. He will also cause the company divided into platoons  and sections, taking care that the first platoon is always composed of an even number of files.

6. The instructor will be as clear and concise as possible in his explanations; he will cause faults of detail to be rectified by the captain, to whom he will indicate them, if the captain should not I have himself observed them; and the instructor will not otherwise interfere, unless the captain should not well comprehend, or should badly execute his intentions.

7. Composure, or presence Of mind, in him who command.-; and in those who obey, being, the first means of order in a body of troops, the instructor will labor to habituate the company to this essential quality, and will himself give the example.



ARTICLE FIRST – To open ranks.

8. The company being at ordered arms, the rank and file closers well aligned, when the instructor ,hall wish to cause the ranks to be opened, be will direct the left guide to place himself on the left of the front rank, which being executed, he will command:


1. Attention. 2. Company. 3. Shoulder-ARMS. 4. To the rear open order.


9. At the fourth command, the covering sergeant, and the left guide, will step off smartly to the rear, four paces from the front rank, in order to mark the alignment of the rear rank. They will judge this distance by the eye, without counting the steps.

10 . The instructor will place himself at the same time on the right flank, in order to observe, if there two non-commissioned officers are on a line parallel to the front rank, and if necessary, to correct their positions, which being executed, he will command:




11. At this command, the front rank will stand fast.

12. The rear rank will step to the rear, without counting the steps, and will place themselves on the alignment marked for this rank, conforming to what is prescribed in the school of the soldier, No. 321.

13. The covering sergeant will align the rear rank on the left guide placed to mark the left of this rank.

14. The file closers will march to the roar at the same time with the rear rank, and will place themselves two paces from this rank when it is aligned.

15. The instructor seeing the rear rank aligned, will command:




16. At this command, the sergeant on the left of ‘the rear rank will return to his place as it file closer.

17. The rear rank being aligned, the instructor will direct the captain and the covering sergeant to observe the men in their respective ranks, and to correct, if necessary, the positions of persons and pieces.


ARTICLE SECOND- Alignments in open ranks.


18. The ranks being open, the instructor will, in the first exercise, align the ranks,. man by man the better to inculcate the Principles.

19. To effect this, he will cause two or four men on the right or left of each rank to march two or three paces forward, and, after having aligned them, command :


By file right (or left)-DRESS.


20. At this, the men of each rank will move up successively on the alignment, each man being preceded by his neighbor in the same rank, towards the basis, by two paces, and having correctly aligned himself, will cast his eyes to the front

21. Successive alignments having habituated the soldiers to dress correctly, the instructor will cause the ranks to align themselves at once, forward and backward, sometimes in a direction parallel and sometimes in one oblique, to the original direction, giving., in each case, two or four men to serve as a basis of alignment to each rank. To effect which, he will command:


1. Right (or left)- DRESS. 2. FRONT.


1. Right (or leftbackward– DRESS 2. FRONT.

22. In oblique alignments, in opened ranks, the men of the rear rank will not seek to cover their file leaders, as the sole object of the exercise is to teach them to align themselves correctly in their respective ranks, in the different directions.

23. In the several alignments, the captain will superintend the front rank, and the covering sergeant the rear rank. For this purpose, they will place themselves on the side by which the ranks are dressed.

24. In oblique alignments, the men will conform the line of their shoulders to the new direction of their rank, and will place. themselves on the alignment as has been prescribed in the School of the Soldier, No. 317 or No. 321, according as the new direction shall be in front or rear of the original one.

25. At the end of each alignment, the captain and the covering sergeant will pass along the front of the ranks to correct the positions of persons and arms.


ARTICLE THIRD.- Manual of arms.


26. The ranks being open, the instructor will place himself in a position to see the ranks, and will command the manual of arms in the following order:


Present arms.                (then)                 Shoulder arms.

Order arms.                                                        .

Ground arms.                                                  .

Raise arms.                           Shoulder arms.

Support arms.                       Shoulder arms.

Fix bayonet.                         Shoulder arms.

Charge bayonet.                  Shoulder arms.

Trail arms.                            Shoulder arms.

Unfix bayonet.                      Shoulder arms.

Secure arms.                         Shoulder arms.

Load in nine -times.


27. The instructor will take care that the position of the body, of the feet, and of the. piece, be always exact, and that the times be briskly executed and close to the person.

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