17. STACK - ARMS

This command is executed from the Order-Arms position with the men having numbered off into fours.

With Bayonets

At this command, the front rank man of every even numbered file will pass his musket before him, seizing it with the left hand above the middle band, and place the butt behind and near the right foot of the man next on the left, the barrel turned to the front.

At the same time the front rank man of every odd numbered file will pass his musket before him, seizing it with the left hand below the middle band, and hand it to the man next on the left. The latter will receive it with the right hand two inches above the middle band, throw the butt about thirty-two inches to the front, opposite to his right shoulder, incline the muzzle towards him, and lock the shanks of the two bayonets. The lock of this second musket is towards the right, and its shank above that of the first musket.

The rear rank man of every even file will project his bayonet forward, and introduce it (using both hands) between and under the shanks of the two other bayonets. He will then abandon the musket to his file leader, who will receive it with the right hand under the middle band, bring the butt to the front, holding up his own musket and the stack with the left hand, and place the butt of this third musket between the feet of the man next on the right, the S plate to the rear.

The stack thus formed, the rear rank man of every odd file will pass his musket into his left hand, the barrel turned to the front and, sloping the bayonet forward, rest it on the stack.

Without Bayonets

If the company be armed with muskets without the bayonet, arms will be stacked by the same commands, and in the following manner.

At the command STACK - ARMS, the Front Rank Number Two passes his musket before him, grasping it with the left hand near the upper band. He places the butt a little in advance of his left toe, the barrel turned towards the body, and draws the rammer slightly from its place.

The Front Rank Number One also draws the rammer slightly, and passes his musket to the man next on his left, who will grasp it with the right hand near the upper band, and place the butt a little in advance of the right toe of the man next on his right, the barrel turned to the front. He then crosses the rammers of the two muskets, the rammer of Number One's musket being inside.

The Rear Rank Number Two also draws his rammer, leans his musket forward, the lock-plate downwards, advances his right foot about six inches, and inserts the rammer between the rammer and barrel of the musket of his front rank man. With his left hand he places the butt of his musket on the ground, thirty-two inches in rear of, and perpendicular to, the front rank, bringing back his right foot by the side of the left.

The Front Rank Number Two will at the same time lean the stack to the rear, quit it with his right hand, and force all the rammers down.

The stack being thus formed, the Rear Rank Number One passes his musket into his left hand, the barrel to the front, and inclining it forward, rests it on the stack.

File closers pass their muskets up to be stacked on the nearest stack. Everyone comes to attention.


18. BREAK RANKS - MARCH

Break ranks is the civil war equivalent to the modern Dismissed. The men are free to leave the immediate area and go about their other duties, or are considered off duty. Break-Ranks is always given with the company at attention.

On March, the men step out of ranks.


19. TAKE - ARMS

The company has resumed its position in line, behind the stacked muskets.

At this command, after the File Closers have received their muskets, the Rear Rank Number One withdraws his musket from the stack. The Front Rank Number Two grasps his own musket with the left hand, and that of the man on his right with his right hand, both above the lower band.

The Rear Rank Number Two grasps his musket with his right hand below the lower band. The Number Twos both raise up the stock to loosen the rammers or bayonets.

The Front Rank Number One draws the rammers out slightly with the left hand. The rear rank Number Two takes his musket. The Front Rank Number Two then disengages the muskets, handing the Front Rank Number One a musket with the right hand.

The four men will retake the position of the soldier at order arms.


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