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OFFICERS of the Army have certain duties to perform, that are governed by certain laws, rules, and regulations, which are interpreted and executed in a certain way, called “Customs of Service.”  To explain what these duties are, and how they are performed in the United States Army, is the object of this little volume.  A knowledge of these rules of service, and of their application, constitutes the military profession, and is the true art of war.  To this extent it is an exact science, and may be acquired by application and experience; anything beyond this is the application of the art to extraordinary circumstances and difficult tasks, depending on success upon the capacity of the officer entrusted with the execution.  “The Art of War,” a la Napoleon, is but the same work by a superior artist.




A. A. A. G.—Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

A. A. G.—Assistant Adjutant General.

A. A. Q. M.—Acting Assistant Quartermaster.

A. C. S.—Acting Commissary of Subsistence.

A. D. C.­—Aide-de-camp.

A. G. O.—Adjutant-General’s Office.

Act March 3, 1863—Act of Congress approved March 3, 1863.



Art. 35—Thirty-Fifth Article of War.


A. I. G.­—Assistant Inspector General.




Brig.—Brigadier-General, Brigade.





C. S.—Commissary of Subsistence.





















G. O.—General Order.





Hosp. Stwd.—Hospital Steward.




I. G.—Inspector General.


J. Advt.—Judge-Advocate.


L. Art.—Light Artillery.

Lieut.­ and Lt.—Lieutenant.


M.R.—Mounted Rifles.

M.S.—Medical Staff.

M.S.K.—Military Store Keeper.


Med. Cdt.—Medical Cadet.

Med. Dept.­—Medical Department.


N. C. O.—Non-commissioned Officer.


O. B.—Official Business.


Ord. Sgt.—Ordnance Sergeant.


P. D.—Pay Department.

P. M.—Paymaster.



Q. M.­—Quartermaster.



R. C. S.—Regimental Committee of Subsistence.

R. Q. M.—Regimental Quartermaster.


Reg.—In this book, Revised Regulations of 1863.




S. O.—Special Order, Signal Officer.




Sergt. Maj.—Sergeant Major.


Sub. Dept.—Subsistence Department.



Surg. M.—Surgeon’s Mate.


Top. Eng.­—Topographical Engineer.



U. S. A.—United States Army.

U. S. Art.—United States Artillery.

U. S. Cav.—United States Cavalry.

U. S. Eng.—United States Engineers.

U. S. I.—United States Infantry.

U. S. M. D.—United States Medical Department.

U. S. T. Eng.—United States Topographical Engineers.





W. D.—War Department.






1. THE profession of arms has, in all countries and in all ages, been the most successful pathway to the highest honors of the State.  The victorious chieftain never falls to be rewarded with all the lavishness that a grateful people can bestow; his career is full of grand attractions; besides the excitement which the valiant heart seeks, mankind cheers, praises, and supplicates in his behalf, the young admire and emulate, the old honor and reward, the fair “love him for the dangers he has passed;” his return from the field of victory is a grand display of triumphal processions, teeming banners, waving scarfs, and thrilling music; his rest from his labors is the ripening harvest of his declining years, honors fall thick and fast and are garnered with the other fruits of his labors in the pages of history, to the support and pride of his posterity.

2. Valor combined with a strong intellect may win laurels that are worn with a bad grace by an unpolished victor; his great deeds only render his rude manners more conspicuous, and he stands before the world a living regret for his own deficiency; how essential, therefore, that every officer should be a gentleman, and cultivate good manners and refinement to adorn the elevated station which his heroism may attain.

3. The military service is full of hazardous exposures to varied climates, inclement seasons, epidemic and prevalent diseases, and great fatigues that endanger the body more than the enemy’s fire and steel; great responsibilities, care of troops, plans and counter-plans, and anxious anticipations, strain the thought and tax the powers of the mind to the utmost; every officer should therefore be physically and mentally sound, with mind well balanced, feelings and passions self-controlled, and a strong and perfect constitutional organization.

4. The operations of armies call in play every improvement of art, every resource of science, and every invention of genius; a multitude of minds, teeming with infinite experience and every variety of knowledge, must be directed with skill and economy to accomplish the aim and object of war; no inspiration of genius, no gift of nature can do this without acquired knowledge and experience; great and extraordinary intellects may acquire more rapidly and retain a greater amount of these means, yet every leader must possess them in proportion to the command he controls.  Every officer should, therefore, be more or less educated and experienced, not necessarily a graduate of a college or academy, for self-educated men are often most practical and successful; but he cannot be an ignorant man and hope to be recognized as a great chief.

5. Time and labor are the great means within the reach of every one to achieve success in any profession; industry and long service will overcome all difficulties; they yield slowly and tardily at times, but without effort they yield not at all.  He should begin service young, and master well each successive grade, and every item of knowledge he accumulates independent of his profession will add lustre to his position and enhance his chance of success.

6. In short, the officer should be brave, intelligent, and courteous.  He should be patient, just, and reliable.  He should be ambitious of distinction, industrious in acquiring knowledge of his profession, and conscientious in the performance of his duties.  He should possess a high sense of honor, a great pride in his peculiar arm of service, and confidence in himself to perform the tasks assigned to him.  He should not trust too much to his good fortune or fancied ability, but use every chance of success; his plans should be well matured but rapidly and boldly executed; the end and object once fairly in view should never be lost sight of but pursued persistently in spite of all obstacles; energy and perseverance will compensate for lack of genius and anticipate ill fortune.  With these qualifications in his mind and at his command no officer will fail to realize an enviable future.



7. FOR the purpose of administration armies are organized into Companies, Regiments or Battalions, Brigades, Divisions, and Armies or Corps’ d’ Armée.  When occupying or garrisoning a country, they are divided for the same object into Posts, Districts, and Departments.  Posts correspond to Battalions or Regiments, Districts to Brigades or Divisions, and a Department commander’s authority is equal to that of the commander of a separate army.

8. The officers upon whom the duties and responsibilities of administration fall are Company, Regimental or Battalion Commanders, and Commanding and General officers.  Lieutenants, Field and Staff officers are a class whose duties are subordinate to the administrative class, and the latter are in the main responsible for the acts and duties of the former.

9. Whilst the duties of the Administrative class cover all the ground of the Assistant class, yet there are duties that are peculiar to each grade.  Every officer is supposed to be familiar with all the grades below him, and those who are not are at a disadvantage that should be overcome without delay.

10. We will begin with the lowest grade and carry the officer through all the successive steps to which he is sure to attain if he really masters each one as he advances.  The following are the grades and order in which the duties of each will be treated; the duties of special and general staff officers being deferred for future works:






Commanding Officer.



Lieutenant-General and




11. THERE are three grades of Lieutenants, viz.: First, Second, and Brevet Second. There is no material difference in the duties they are required to perform; they differ only in rank.

12. Brevet Second Lieutenants are supernumerary officers commissioned from the graduates of the Military Academy, or from the non-commissioned officers of the Army found worthy of promotion where there are no vacancies. (Acts April 29, 1812, sec. 4, and August 4, 1854, sec. 5, Reg. 22.)  First and Second Lieutenants belong to the legal organization of companies, whilst Brevet Second Lieutenants are not necessarily attached to the company; in practice they are usually attached to such companies from which one or more of the Lieutenants are absent on permanent staff duty.  Only one supernumerary officer to a company can be allowed under the law.

13. Lieutenants commissioned from the graduates of the Military Academy, if they accept, take rank from the 1st of July succeeding their graduation, and according to their class rank.  Non-commissioned officers take rank from the date the vacancy occurred to which they are promoted, if commissioned as full Second Lieutenants.  If appointed Brevet Second Lieutenants, as in the case of original vacancies, they rank from the date of their acceptance, and their discharges should be made out to take effect on the date at which they enter upon their new grade.  Graduates of the Academy are entitled to travelling expenses from the Academy to the stations at which they are ordered to report (Reg. 1116), and non-commissioned officers from the stations at which they receive their promotion.

14. Citizens appointed to fill vacancies in organized Regiments are usually examined by a Board of officers ordered by the Commanding Officer of the Regiment when they join (Reg. 23).  Their rank and pay commence from the date of their acceptance, and they join their stations at their own expense (Reg. 1115).

15. Officers in the Volunteer Service take rank from their muster in the service of the United States, and are only entitled to pay from that date from the General Government.  The law under which they are called out, however, generally regulates that they receive the same pay and allowances as regular troops; the exceptions are usually included in the law.  All officers of the Regular Service are senior to officers of the Volunteer Service, of the same grade, without reference to date of commission (Reg. 9).

16. It is a trying time to a young officer when he first joins his Regiment; he enters upon a new scene in his life, and is thrown with companions who will try all his qualities, and he will not be fairly domesticated in his Regiment until he has found his level.  As a rule he must begin at the foot of the ladder, and work his way up.  He may be young, and therefore inexperienced; he may have no fondness for books, and therefore not learned; and he may be deficient in any one or more traits or qualifications, yet hope for success, except courage; he cannot have his courage questioned and expect to succeed as an officer.  But with courage he only needs the opportunity to achieve the respect and consideration of his companions and superiors, in spite of all bans and clouds under which he may rest.

17. As a rule he cannot claim the privilege of indulging in the vices which the older officers too often consider themselves entitled to, without prejudice to his reputation; he must first lay in a stock of virtues, and secure a capital, before he can run any risks with his military fortune; and even the oldest officers cannot indulge in all the vices without becoming bankrupt, in spite of all their former triumphs and successes.

18. Drinking and gambling are the great vices that every young officer should avoid; even a moderate indulgence will keep his finances always in a state of pressure.  He should endeavor, no matter what his habits, at least to measure his expenses by his pay; and, if possible, always have a small equipment fund in reserve for accidents and promotions.

19. It will be an unfortunate thing if there is found to be an incompatibility among the officers of the same company, for the more they harmonize and agree the better it will be for all parties; on the contrary, if they should be antagonistic to each other, they will themselves be greatly inconvenienced, the company will suffer in many respects, both in discipline and comfort.  There is no easy remedy for such a condition of things, transfers are not easily arranged, and a detail for detached service cannot always be obtained, and they must often be borne with until promotion or some other chance effects a change.



20. THE Lieutenant is the assistant or aide of the Captain.  When the Captain is present he is under his orders, and in his absence or sickness the duties fall upon the Senior Lieutenant.  He should, therefore, be familiar with the Captain’s duties, as well as his own, as he is liable at any moment to be required to take command of the Company, and control it in all its details.  In addition to his Company duties the following is a list of what he may at any time be called on to perform, viz.:

Officer of the Guard.

Officer of Police.

Fatigue and Working Party.

Court Martial, Court of Inquiry or Commission.

Retiring Board.

Board of Survey.

Board of Examination.

Council of Administration.

Regimental Staff.

General Staff.

Detached Service.

21. Graduates of the Military Academy, whilst they have learned the elements of tactics, and have in their education acquired a foundation for future study, will find that there is still much to learn, and that, in many of the practical details, the Lieutenants promoted from the ranks are their superiors.  Civilians will find themselves greatly deceived if they indulge the belief that a knowledge of the tactics of their arm of service is all that is required of them.  To feed, clothe, transport, and govern troops is the great labor to be performed, and the drill and training in Companies is only an exercise.  Administration is the grand task to be mastered before he has fairly acquired his profession.

22. COMPANY DUTIES.—Only those duties that fall to him in his grade of Lieutenant will be spoken of here; as Company Commander he will be guided by what is laid down for the Captain.  In his subordinate capacity his duties are very limited, and of rather a monotonous character.

23. In reality one officer is quite sufficient to attend to all the duties requiring the presence of a commissioned officer, and if the Company would always be sure of an officer competent to do his duty, there would probably be no Lieutenants; but it is to provide against the Company being left without an officer that the law has provided Lieutenants.

24. The position of Lieutenant is, therefore, more one of probation and instruction, and he may be required by the Captain to attend to all the practical duties incumbent upon the Captain himself.  The daily routine is to be present at all the principal roll-calls, drills, and, with mounted troops, stable duty, including watering, feeding, and grooming.

25. These duties are very similar and monotonous from day to day, but they must be performed as scrupulously as those of any other employee of the Government; it is his day’s work, and if he fails to do it, he has not rendered the expected service for his pay, and, where it is habitually neglected, there will be no discipline and no system.  If an officer is not habitually present on all occasions when the entire Company is paraded for any purpose whatever, to sustain the First Sergeant, the Company duties are liable to be carelessly and indifferently performed; the neglect of the head is the example for all the subordinates to be negligent; if no officer is present, the First Sergeant is less strict, the men less obedient, and all the duties are soon neglected and carelessly performed.

26. Generally the Captain will require that one of the Lieutenants be always present for duty with the Company, and appear at all roll-calls in front of the Company, attend drills and stable duty, inspect the kitchens at meal-times, the quarters in the morning, and the Company at retreat.  The Commanding Officer of the Post or Regiment may, however, require that all the Company officers be present at roll-calls and drills, unless specially excused, and thus the matter is no longer discretionary with the Captain.

27. To perform his duty well at drill the Lieutenant must be familiar with tactics from the “School of the Soldier,” through the “School of the Company,” and “School of the Battalion.”  He should know these as well as he can learn them from the book, and under a Captain who explains the movements well he will have no difficulty in the practical application.  He may, however, be thrown entirely upon his own resources, without any assistance, and required to instruct where he expected to be instructed.

28. Under such circumstances the system of beginning at the beginning of the book, and taking one or more lessons of the text for practical exercise each day is the best; the book is gone through with, and the subject learned without any very great effort, and a few weeks suffice to go through the whole subject.  The practice is progressive, and followed out as laid down in the text it becomes an easy task.

29. Inspection of the Company under arms is usually performed in the evening previous to marching on parade, and is limited to an examination of the arms and accoutrements.  On Sunday mornings the Inspection is generally more complete, and extends to the knapsack, clothing, bedding, bunks, quarters, kitchen, etc.

30. The form of Inspection, laid down in Art. XXX, Gen. Reg., or a modification of it, according to the arm of service, and the attending circumstances, is the custom.  Modifications are necessary; no particular plan can he adhered to exclusively; for this service in the field in time of war is performed entirely with reference to usefulness and efficiency, and in time of peace, in garrison, more attention is devoted to ornament and display.

31. A daily inspection of quarters is usually made in the morning, in garrison, by a Lieutenant, to see that the rooms have been swept out, the beds and blankets folded, that everything is in its place, that the kitchen and messing is properly conducted.  In camp in the field the inspection of tents and Company grounds is also made at a specific hour in the day, when the men are expected to have everything in order, the grounds swept clean, the bedding and blankets properly folded, and knapsacks and accoutrements in place.  At Retreat, whether in the field or in garrison, is the usual time for a casual inspection of arms; and in time of war the men should always fall in at Tattoo roll-call with their arms and equipments, in order that they may know where they are when they lie down, and know where to look for them if suddenly called out before the next dawn.

32. Stable duty should always be attended by a commissioned officer, in the Artillery and Cavalry, and should be, in spite of its monotony, rigorously performed.  One hour, morning and evening, should be occupied at this duty, and the men should be kept employed during this time, grooming the horses, cleaning the stables, and feeding.  Before the Company is dismissed, each horse and stall should be inspected.  A commissioned officer should always accompany the horses to water, and prevent the rapid riding that men are prone to indulge in, which is more injurious at this time than at any other.

33. The Captain may require the Lieutenant to assist him in making out the various papers required in the Company.  He generally requires him to be present at the issues of clothing, and to witness the signatures of the men on the receipt-roll; also at the pay-table he may be required to attend and witness the signatures of the men on the pay-roll.

34. The Company duties of the commissioned officer are set forth more in what is laid down for Captains, from which the Lieutenant will gather a better idea of his relation to the Company, and how the various duties should be performed.  It is difficult to explain what the authority of a Lieutenant over the men in the Company is when the Company Commander is present.

35. It can only be laid down in general terms that a subaltern cannot make any material changes, inflict any punishment, detach any of the men, or put them on duty, or relieve them without the consent or knowledge of the Commander of the Company.  It is always best that there should be a clear understanding between the Captain and his subalterns as to how far the former will sustain the latter.  Some Captains prefer to direct all matters relative to the Company themselves, others leave more or less of the duty to the care and direction of their subordinates.

36. ON GUARD.—Guard duty is of two kinds, viz.: Police Guard and Grand Guard.  The Police Guard is for the purpose of instruction and discipline, to preserve order in the camp, and to protect the public property.  It is usually posted in the immediate vicinity of the camp or garrison, and is maintained and kept up in every military command at all times (Reg. 573).

37. Grand Guards are only kept up in time of war, and are thrown out in the direction of the enemy, to give notice of his approach and resist his advance, so as to give the main force time to prepare for battle.  It is posted more or less distant from the camp, according to the strength of the command, the nature of the country, and the proximity of the enemy.

38. The Police Guard, known under the various names of Camp Guard, Post Guard, &c., finds its model in the guard of a Regiment placed around the camp, being a regular chain of sentinels extending entirely around the camp, with a Guard-house for the rendezvous for the guard, with one or two Lieutenants, one or two Sergeants, three Corporals, about forty Privates comprising the guard.  Circumstances may require modifications as to the strength, composition, and position of the Police Guard, but the same regulations govern the duties, the same general principles are followed when modifications are found necessary.

39. The Roster for Guard is kept by the Adjutant.  The detail for Officer of the Day and Officer of the Guard is published at Retreat Parade, and the officer detailed usually also receives his detail on the day previous, and should the officer be entitled to be excused from the duty he should notify the Adjutant in time for the detail to be notified to the next officer.  The tour is for twenty-four hours.

40. When the call for guard-mounting sounds, the officer detailed repairs to the ground usually used for parade purposes, equipped with sword and sash, and in fatigue uniform or full dress, according as the guard is dressed.  By the time the guard is formed he must be on the ground, and at the command “front” by the Adjutant, he takes post twelve paces in front of the guard with drawn sword.  If there be more than one officer of the guard, they take post according to rank, the senior officer being on the right. (Reg. 377.)

41. The ceremony of Inspection is then conducted as prescribed in Reg., Par. 378; and in the following paragraph is explained the rest of the ceremony of Guard Mounting as conducted under the direction of the Adjutant and Officer of the Day, and how the guard is marched off to its post.  The manner in which the officer of the old guard receives the new guard is also laid down; it is only necessary to caution the new officer of the guard to satisfy himself that the property belonging to the guard-house is all on hand, that the prisoners borne on the Guard Report are all present, and that he gets a correct idea of existing orders for the discharge of his duty.

42. The manner of distributing the Police Guard as given in Reg., Par. 573, is rarely followed now-a-days.  The location of the guard in the centre of the camp is dispensed with, and the entire guard is placed at the point stated for the advance post, Reg., Par. 574; the prisoners are kept there, and the headquarters of the guard are there during the tour.  A tent or other habitation for the guard, and a separate place for the prisoners, constitutes the “Guard-house.”

43. It is presumed that every officer has a copy of the Regulations, and therefore deemed sufficient to refer to the paragraphs applicable.  The manner in which the old guard receives the new and is marched off and dismissed, is given in Par. 386 to 397.  They include the manner of organizing the Reliefs and posting the sentinels, duties that properly belong to the non-commissioned officers of the guard, whose duties are detailed in “Customs of Service for Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers,” with which the officer of guard should also be familiar, otherwise he cannot supervise the performance of the duties.

44. He should also be familiar with the details of the sentinels’ duties, in order that he may know that the instruction of the men, which is usually performed by the Corporals and Sergeants of the Guard, is properly attended to.  The system laid down in “Customs of Service for Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers,” Par. 75 to 97, is the best.  He should ascertain by personal inspection of the Reliefs before they are posted and afterwards, that the men are familiar with their duties.

45. The number of posts for sentinels vary with each camp and garrison, and the location of the guard-house is generally controlled by the point at which the main entrance to the camp or garrison is located, in order to control the ingress and egress of all parties.  Page 77, Reg., shows the arrangement of camp and the lines on which the sentinels are usually posted.

46. Art. XXXIII, and Par. 573 to 592, contain nearly all the Regulations governing the arrangement and duties of the guard, the posting and instruction of the sentinels.  They lack system and detail, and have been deviated from to some extent by custom, and therefore deserve the closest attention to enable officers to obtain a correct knowledge of their duties as officers of the guard.

47. The Officer of the Guard is not permitted to leave his guard during his tour, except to visit the sentinels, or on other duty connected with his post (Reg. 408).  He is not permitted to take off his accoutrements or clothing during his tour (Reg. 409).  No regulation or law prohibits the officer of the guard from sleeping during his tour of guard, yet custom requires that he shall not be found asleep by any superior during this time, and officers have often been arraigned before courts martial on this charge.  A regulation is required by which the responsibility of keeping awake is divided between the Officer of the Guard and the sergeant; as the sentinels are permitted to sleep the officers should be allowed a share of rest also.  In practice the officer of the guard does sleep a portion of the night, but takes good care that he is not caught asleep.  But this is only a recognized evasion, it would be better if it were made a regulation.

48. The important posts are No. 1, which is always the sentinel in front of the guard-house; the sentinels over the Quartermaster and Commissary stores; the color sentinels at the color line, the sentinel in front of the Commanding Officer’s quarters, and the sentinel (one or more) over the prisoners when sent out to work, and at other times.  The special duties of each of these sentinels are different and require separate instructions.

49. The charge of the prisoners is a responsibility of some importance even in a Regiment, and a sergeant called a “Provost Sergeant” is often detailed to take charge of the prisoners during working hours, to keep the record of their names, and the kind and duration of their several punishments.

50. The Officer of the Guard, however, is responsible for the security of the prisoners, as that duty is entrusted to him and his Guard.  He receives the prisoners as they are confined, sees that the sergeant of the Guard takes down the names, by whose order confined, and the date.  An abstract of the orders inflicting punishments is furnished him, and he must keep a record of them in order that they may be entered on the List of Prisoners that accompanies the Guard Report daily; he must in all cases wherein the punishment is to be inflicted under the direction of the Guard, see that the sentences are duly executed, and that his successors are duly instructed in all cases where punishments are continued for a length of time from day to day.

51. It is best to take down in writing all orders and instructions, and transmit them in that way to the next Officer of the Guard, in order that they may be handed down without omissions or errors.  Verbal orders are often given that should be transmitted, and unless recorded are liable to be forgotten.

52. Vigilance on the part of the Officer of the Guard, should be directed particularly to seeing that the non-commissioned officers do their duty; that the Corporals visit their reliefs frequently, and instruct the sentinels; that the sentinels walk their posts diligently; and he should visit them repeatedly during the day and night, and ascertain by personal examination whether the sentinels know their duties.  He should enforce cleanliness and order in the Guard, and proper military deportment, nor allow any games or other pursuits that would take away from the proper dignity of a Guard.

53. The manner in which the Guard duty is performed is a very good criterion of the discipline and military character of a Regiment.  Properly performed it is a source of instruction, and a means of preserving the tone and spirit of the command.  Punctuality and precision in the performance of all the compliments required of Guards are indications of the military character of the command to which the Guard belongs, and if all the duties of the Police Guard are properly performed, they may be relied on for proper vigilance in Advanced Guards and Picket duty.

54. The Guard is turned out and paraded and inspected at Reveille, Retreat, and Tattoo, and the roll called.  It is also required to turn out at the beating of the “Long Roll,” or the sounding of “to horse,” or the cry of “fire,” or any alarm or disturbance.  “To turn out the Guard,” means to parade it under arms.

55. As a matter of compliment the Guard is turned out whenever a large body of troops approaches (Reg. 422), also on the approach of the officer of the day (Reg. 426), the Commanding Officer and all General Officers (Reg. 242 and 431), the President and Vice-President, the members of the Cabinet, Chief Justice, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States (Reg. 244), and American and foreign ministers (Reg. 246); foreign military and naval officers may be received with the same compliments as our own according to their rank.  Officers of the Navy and Marines and officers of other Regiments are to be received according to rank, the same as the officers of the Command to which the Guard belongs (Reg. 253).

56. When the Guard is turned out as a compliment, arms are usually presented, unless the officer, for whom the Guard has turned out, passes to the rear of the Guard, in which case it is only required to stand at attention (Reg. 248).  The Guard usually falls in immediately in front of the Guard House, and behind the line of arms when stacked; the officer of the Guard requires them to take arms, and awaits at shouldered arms the approach of the officer, and when he has arrived near the Guard, or is passing its front, or when he reaches No. 1 sentinel’s beat, he causes the Guard to “present arms.”  The Officer of the Guard may take post either in front of the centre of the Guard or on the right in the front rank.

57. Sentinels take orders from the officers and non-commissioned officers of their Guard, the officer of the day, and the Commanding Officer (Reg. 413).  The Commanding Officer, in this connection, means the Commander of the Regiment or Detachment to which the Guard belongs.  It also means the Brigade, Division, Corps, or Army Commander.  It is clear that any one of these officers has the authority to give orders, as the Guard is a portion of his command; a Commander of another Brigade, Division or Corps cannot give orders where the Guard is not a portion of his command.  It follows, also, that no officers or non-commissioned officers, who can give orders to sentinels, can be stopped or detained by a sentinel after he has been informed as to the identity of the party, either by night or by day.

58. It also follows that all these officers are exceptions to such orders as may be given of a general prohibitory character.  It must be clear that no subordinate can give orders that may not be countermanded by his superior in the same command.  It is also evident that Commanders of other Regiments, Brigades, Divisions, etc., cannot give orders to Guards that are not within their own commands.  All General Officers, however, usually pass all guards and sentinels without question or detention.

59. Whilst sentinels on posts can be instructed to stop commissioned officers, and officers are required to respect the orders given to sentinels posted at certain points for specific purposes, it is manifestly wrong to entrust non-commissioned officers or privates on patrol with the power to stop officers, and interrogate them as to their right to be absent from their commands.  Such duty should be entrusted to a commissioned officer, who should be armed with a copy of his orders fully authenticated, which any superior officer may demand to see before submitting to the officer’s interrogations.

60. The patrols established in cities, on railways and steamboats for the examination of passes, furloughs, leaves of absence, orders, etc., should be directed by the highest available authority, so as to include and make all subordinate, whom it is intended to affect.  The duty should be entrusted to a commissioned officer so far as officers are concerned; should be published in orders, and made public generally, so that officers may always be provided with their authority, and save themselves much inconvenience.

61. All Police Guards, whether Cavalry, Artillery, or Infantry, are paraded and do duty on foot, and the same general principles govern throughout.  Detached Guards, for the protection of store-houses, magazines, depots, etc., all derive their rule of action from the General Regulations laid down for Police Guards.  Minor matters, and all points of issue yield to the accomplishment of the special duty of the Guard.  Red-tape, orders and regulations are made to facilitate duty, not retard it.

62. When on the march the practice with reference to guards varies according to circumstances.  In times of peace, marching through the country, the guard is mounted in the evening; it remains in camp in the morning until everything has moved off, and then brings up the rear.  It is the duty of the Officer of the Guard to see that nothing is left behind, that no stragglers loiter behind without authority.  All prisoners are under his charge and march with the guard.

63. In time of war, Police Guards are almost entirely dispensed with, and the guard duty is confined almost entirely to Advanced or Grand Guard duty for the purpose of watching the enemy.  The Police Guard, if any, is small.  The Guard is usually relieved and men join their companies, except a sufficient number to guard the prisoners.  Prisoners however are, in time of war, generally confided to a Provost Guard.

64. On the march the Police Guard should always be marched on in time to enable the guards and sentinels to take their posts before night.  The Commanding Officer generally, at the commencement of a campaign or expedition, issues orders regulating the order of march, and directs the strength of the guards, the time of marching on and off, and place in column, which may vary from day to day according to directions.

65. ESCORTS and Guards to General Officers is a kind of guard duty that comes within the province of a Lieutenant to know.  Escorts of Honor, and the manner of receiving and attending the official is given in Reg., Par. 271 to 274.

66. GUARDS for General Officers are usually such small force of Infantry or Cavalry, or both, as may be necessary to furnish a guard to protect Headquarters, supplies, trains, etc., to supply details for police and fatigue duties about Headquarters, and escorts to the General when he visits the lines, camps, etc., or to reconnoitre the enemy’s positions.  Ordinarily a General’s escort marches in rear of his Staff.  In the vicinity of the enemy whenever the General requires it, the escort is disposed as provided for patrols, the General and his Staff riding at the head of the main body of the escort.  A similar disposition is made when an escort is permitted to a Staff officer on duty in the vicinity of the enemy.

67. Headquarters Guards and Escorts do not turn out for Generals junior to the General to whom the guard or escort belongs; they turn out only to his superiors (Reg. 242).  The Reg. 243 provides that for Commanding Officers of less grade than a General their guards present arms but once during the day when turned out, at other times they turn out at shouldered arms.

68. GRAND GUARDS.—The Grand Guard is a force thrown out in the direction of the enemy to prevent surprise, to give notice of his approach, and to delay his advance, and give the main body time to prepare for battle, or make good its retreat.  It is too often called an Advanced Guard, which should only be applied to a force thrown out to the front, when the main body is moving, to give notice of the vicinity of the enemy, to conceal the preparations for battle, and cover offensive movements.  It becomes a Rear Guard when it is placed in the rear, either to delay pursuit, to cover the retreat, or bring up the fragments of the column, and guard against sudden attack.

69. Grand Guard duty has by practice, in our service, been called picket duty and the outer sentinels, pickets; and the guard that furnished these sentinels the Picket Guard.  These terms have been used so variously that some illustration is necessary to a proper understanding of them.

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Transcribed by Scott Gutzke, 2006.



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