By Abel Land
As promised, this is the next dispatch in the series, looking at how the serjeants would formulate the basic training of the recruit during the current war in America. Last week the content was on the foundation position for the recruit without arms; this week, the topic will be on how to stand at ease as explained in the Rules and Regulations 1807.
I would at this time like to backtrack a bit and thank one person who has helped me research and look critically at period manuals, along with clarification on some terms. This person puts his heart and soul into the knowledge of the late 18th and 19th-century foot drill — Ewan Wardle program development officer at Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto, Ontario. Thanks for your dedication to further our knowledge of historic military exercises.
By Abel Land
This is a new idea to help pass on the information acquired on foot drill of his Majesties forces during the North American conflict of 1812. Each Wednesday, there will be a new dispatch, including excerpts from the manuals employed to help train recruits.
This week's post is on the position of the soldier, not under arms. This starting post sets the foundation into which all foot drill is rooted.
This first manual is the Rules and Regulations 1807, now the dates of for the conflict are 1812-15, why is a book published in 1807 crucial, the General Regulations and Orders from 1811, and 1815 both have this to say on the subject; “Every Serjeant of Cavalry and Infantry is required to have in his Possession a Copy of the Abstract of the Rules and Regulations for the Manual and Platoon Exercises; Formations, Field-Exercises, and Movements of His Majesty's Forces, which was printed for their Use, and issued, in the Month of January, 1807.” (Orders and Regulations 1811, 89) This manual should be the most common reference for all serjeants conducting foot drill, unless ordered differently, or future military historians in the 21st century where there will be multiple other sources to do research from.
1807 breaks the exercise down into three sections, the first is of the drill or instruction
of the recruit, in 40 parts. The first section, which will be looked at over the next few posts, is on training without arms, beginning with the position of the soldier.
These articles are written and compiled by members of the 41st Regiment Living History Group.