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Steuben's original Instructions March-April 1778, as written in regimental order books at Valley Forge (Transcribed by Matthew Murphy, February 2003)

Steuben's original Instructions March-April 1778, as written in regimental order books at Valley Forge (Transcribed by Matthew Murphy, February 2003)

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Published by John U. Rees
Transcription of original manuscript of Steuben's Discipline
Transcription of original manuscript of Steuben's Discipline

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Published by: John U. Rees on Feb 16, 2013
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02/06/2015

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Source:
Lt. Col. William Stephens Smith’s order book, Lee’s Additional Regiment (selection
dated 24 March-16 May 1778), vol. 17, 224-261, Numbered Record BooksConcerning Military Operations and Service, Pay and Settlement Accounts, andSupplies in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records(National Archives Microfilm Publication M853, reel 3), Record Group 93, NationalArchives, Washington, D.C.
Note: The transcriber has done his best to preserve the original spelling. The only changes to theoriginal being the occasional omission of some unnecessary punctuation. Any additional punctuationor alterations are in brackets. - Matthew Murphy, February, 2003.
Baron Steubens Instructions
 
On Tuesday 24
th
Inst. March 1778 - Eight O clock in the morning, the Inspectors of Brigades are to Assemble the Majors One Capt. One Sub[altern] From Each Comp[any] fromtheir Respective Brigades & acquaint themselves with the Following Regulations, then taketwenty men without arms & Proceed to the Performance of the following Elementary Evolutions,-1
st
. The Position of the Soldiers, is to be carefully attended to, he must stand straight & firm,upon his leggs without affectation, his Shoulders Square to the front, & keep back the [knees?]upright , both arms hanging down by their sides, without constraint[.] These twenty Soldiers areto be formed into One Rank & in Such a manner that the whole line is Connected by a StraightJunction of the Elbow[.] they must Dress by the Right, & Cast their Eyes to the [right?] withoutAdvancing the Head[.]2
nd
. The Soldiers Placed in the Ranks & Dressed as have Been Directed, are to march to theFront[.] at the word of Command,
To the Front March
all the Soldiers raise their Left foot atonce, Look to the right, & Advance forward with an easy free & Natural Step; Regulated by theofficers [at?] the right wing, without Bending the knees to[o] much or Projecting Breast, &always Closing to the Side, their Eyes fixed upon, & when Crowded on that wing Inclining or gaining Ground to the Opposite Side [.]3
rd
. As it is of the Greatest Importance, to have an Equal & Uniform Step, throughout theWhole Army, the Inspectors are to attend Particularly to the Soldiers, Kepping a Due & a Regular time in their Step, & To the officers not making any alterations in it[.]4
th
. There will be only two Steps used for the Manouvers, [...?...] the Slow and Quick Step, butthe Soldiers must be made, throroughly Acquainted with the former Before they are Taught theLatter [.]5
th
. There must be an Officer on Each flank of the Ranks, & when the men Look to Right, theOfficer takes a Point of View forwards which he Leads them in a Straight Direction, the SoldiersClosing to that Side & when Crowded gaining Ground to the Opposite Side, the Same thing must be Done by the officer of the Left Wing, when the Soldiers Dress to that Side[.]6
th
. During this front march, upon the Officer Commanding -
“Halt!”
Every Soldier is to StopShort on the foot which is then forward & Instantly Bringing up the other to it, without any Other motion, Casting at the Same time their Eyes to the Wing upon which the Rank is Dressed[.]
 
7
th
. The Officer Commanding them -
“To the Right about face”
& marches, the Rank to theother Sides, upon the Same Principles, after having Repeated a Sufficent number of times thisfront march both ways - they must wheel to the right & left at the following Words of Command -8
th
.
“To the Left Wheel, March!”
at the word of march all the Soldiers raising the left footadvance forwards, keeping the usual or Exact time between their Steps, the Left Wing Being thePivot, upon which the whole line moves, the off[icer] of that wing is not to Step out of his Placewhilst the right is Wheeling with the Slow Step[.] the Soldiers are to Dress to the Right & are to be Directed in their Step by the Officers on the right[.] After the Wheeling is over, the officer Commanding
 Halt 
, & the Rank Dresses to the Right.9
th
. After having repeated Several times the Wheeling, the off[icer] orders a new the ranks -
“To the Front, March!”
and after advancing a few Steps forward Commands without Interuptionon the March-
To the Left Wheel!”
[.] at this word the Left Wing Stops Short Making only thetime of their Steps, & becomes the Pivot upon which the Right Wing wheels with the Slow Step.10
th
. Next word of Command is -
To the Right Wheel, March!”
, the troops being Dressed to theright. NB,.-Between the word
Wheel 
&
 March
, it is necessary to observe a Certain pause, becauseat the Word
Wheel 
, the the Soldiers are to look to the Left, & at the Word
 March
, the officer  begins the Wheeling with the [...?...] Step. & all the Rank Dresses To the Left, this Wheeling tothe right.Having been Performed several times, the Off[icer] Commands a new,-
To the Front, March!”
 Observing carefully that the Soldiers at the Word -
“Wheel!”
look instantly to the left, & at theword -
“Halt!’ 
to the Right.11
th
. When the Soldiers can Wheel with [precision?] & Advance with regularity, they must betaught to Incline Oblikely to the right and left, without altering [the] parallel direction of their front[.] For that purpose During the march the Officer Commands,-
“To the Right!”
and Instantlythe Soldiers continuing to move with the Slow Step, carry their Right Foot oblikely to the rightSide, & Left to the front & Continue so until the word
“Forward”
. Then they are to marchStraight forward as before[.]12
th
. The Soldiers [perform] the Same Oblike Step on the Other Side, at the Word -
“To the Left!”
, carrying the Left Foot in an Oblike direction, to the Left side, and the right foot Straightforward, always Observing to keep their front [Parrellell?], with the front of Their Departure,continuing in the Same manner until they hear The Word -
“Forward!”
, when they march asDirected Before. NB This Step is of Great Importance to facilitate a Platoon, or division, when tooCrowded[;] gaining ground on one side or the Other Side without Confusion or dressing to theright or Left, after having Lost their Distance with Other Platoons or Divisions[.]13
th
. The Soldier must be taught how to March by files in the following manner[.] EverySoldier in his position, & the rank dressed, The Officer Commans, -
To the Right Face, March!’ 
,the soldiers raising their Left Feet advance by Files with a Slow Step, and usual distance[.] This
[last?] Object must be Carefully observed in Such a manner, that a Soldier[‘s] foot Occupies the
spot which the foot of his file Leaders Just Left[.]This order of march becomes so much the more necessary and Important, as it is to beused in the Quick Step, in the Several [?nducings] of all collums but as it is very difficult toExecute it with a great Line, without altering the Distance[.] it must never be Done with morethan the front of a Division[.]
 
14
th
, The Same march by files must be Executed to the left, as wel as to the right upon the same principles[.]15
th
, The Soldiers having been Sufficently Exercised in these Marches, in one Rank[,] theInspectors are to have them exercised in two Ranks equally with & without Arms, observing theDistance only of two Paces between the first & Second Rank[.]16
th
, When the Soldiers are Sufficiently acquianted with these Orders of March, they will goth
ro’ the Same Evolutions again with their Arms, and when they Can Execute them regularly with
the Slow Stepthey will Immediately pass to the Execution of them with the Quick Step[.]The Proceeding Evolutions being the Elementary grounds of all maneuvers whatsoever,the Brigade Inspectors must Take Particular care, that the off[icers] conceive themselves clearly&Execute them with regularity & exactness[.] The Main Point is to Introduce the Same Stepthrough the whole army, & except the Quick Step[,] which is used in Some Evolutions, theremust not be a Quicker or Slower in any Kind of March; wither for Parading or MountingGuards[.] In Short in every march or Motion, the Soldier will use no other motion than the SlowOne[.]Before the word march and after the word Halt is given[,] no Soldier is to move in anymanner, his feet or arms, & even tho he march without arms, he must not Stir his hands, blow hisnose, & much less talk.The Exercise shall be Performed the four first Days without arms on the Parade of everyBattalion[.] In order not to tire the Soldiers, no Exercise shall Last an hour[.] the Inspectors &off[icers] of Battalions will Explain with [mildness?] what the Soldiers are to Do[.] [They are] arenot to use them ill, niether by Abusive words or otherwise, but to Point out their faultsParticularly[.] There will be no other Punishment for the Soldier that neglect his Duty, or isinatentive, than to make him Exercise one hour after the others have Done[.]On the 24
th
Inst. PM, the Brigade Inspector will again assemble the Maj[ors],Camptains[,] one Sub[altern], from each Company, on the Parade, in Order to repeat themanouvers of the morning and go gradually thro the rest, as described above, and this exercise tolast until five o Clock[.] On the 25
th
Inst. 8 O Clock AM[,] Every Capt. Is to take 20 men outfrom his Com[pany] in Order to Exercise them as above[.] all the off[icers] of Batallions, will bePresent at this Exercise, and the Inspectors are to Examine during that time, that the off[icers]Introduce nothing but what has been Prescribed & Especially that the Slow Step be Introducedevery where the Same[.]For the future[,] every Other Manual Exercise is Prohibited until further Instruction fromthe Commander in Cheiff[.]after having Exercised the Troops in the Common or Slow Step, both by front and flanksin one Rank, without Arms and afterwards with arms, they Shall be made to Repeat the Samething in Two ranks, always Close, and from that Movementthe Troops Shall make no Exerciseeither for the Parade, Marching Manual Exercise & without having the Ranks Closed[.]When a Company put themselves under arms and forms themselves in two Ranks[,] theSecond is Six Paces from the first, but as Soon as the officer has examined the Equipment of theSoldier[,] the Second rank shall advance to the Distance of two paces of the first, which Distancethey shall always keep in all Marches & Evolutions, whatsoever, & only when the Exercise isover Shall the Captains make the Second rank fall back to Order their firelocks, & Dismiss their men[.] When the Soldiers is Skilled enough in these marches, by front & flank with the Slowstep[,] the Same Marches will be performed with the Quick Step, on the Same Principles, after which Several plattons will be taken together, and formed into a line of two Ranks[.]Wheel to the right and left by Plattons and march in that Order, with their Rank[s] alwaysClosed, and the officers will learn to Perserve their distance[.] the officers & non Comisionedofficers on the right wing of Their Plattons, will always march in the Direction given[.] the line is

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