After careful consideration and debate, we have settled on Cumberland’s 1757 version of the “drill manual.”  Specifically, we like the paperback reference published by the Museum Restoration Service, Historical Arms Series No. 42 "Exercise for the Foot..." .  (You can purchase this manual from the store at Fort Ticondroga.)

Close study of this manual has opened our eyes to more than a few things that we had previously taken for granted.  For example, in the descriptions for platoon firings, you can find references to, “… facing to the right” but nowhere is there a command given, “to the right, face” – something that we reenactors all seem to take for granted as being correct. 

Additionally, the concept of when your firelock is referred to as a “Firelock” versus “Arm” versus “Bayonet” seemed quite arbitrary when studying the Manual Exercise.   If you read on through the platoon exercise, however, it becomes very clear when the various commands are to be given as it is based on having a variety of weapons in the ranks (muskets, swords, and halberds).  The term “arms” would be used when such a variety exists rather than “firelock” or “bayonet,” but "bayonet" is not used as we often hear it used. We encourage yo to read a detailed analysis on the terminology used in the drill (by our Michael Hagen aka the Professor).

Because we are not exposed to these commands and evolutions on a daily basis, it is dangerous to pick a piece of information out of its context and cling to it.  This type of study, albeit frustrating at times, is essential to understanding what we perceive and for us, it is quite fun and intriguing.

For that purpose, we have posted more Drill references (and will continue to do so), including:

Modern Analyses:

Marching in formation