A Simplified


Derived for the Use of the Highland Clan Regiments & Other

Irregular Battalions of Foot embodied within


His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, Commanding.

~Anno Domini 1745~

Containing the Necessary Evolutions for both the

Manual Exercise

And the

Firing Exercise

Of the SOLDIER of FOOT under ARMS.



This new Method being based upon Col. Bland’s Treatise of 1727, with Improvements & Abridgements conceived to better serve the particular Needs of His Majesty’s Forces, presently engaged in Great Britain in ridding that fair Kingdom and its Subjects of the Ravages & Importunities of a


B. Carpenter & Sons, Edinburgh



This new plan for instructing the Foot in a manual of arms, marching evolutions, and the firing exercise, is conceived for the purpose of giving the officers of battalion and company the means of quickly managing bodies of raw and otherwise unregulated militia and levies. Our Highlanders and many townsmen as well, are unfamiliar with the extensive schooling under arms of the regular soldier, and a simplified means is called for to instill in these our men the knowledge required of them to prevail in the field against our common enemy.

The Exercise is based upon that now in common usage by regular forces in Great Britain and Ireland. However, it is somewhat shortened and abbreviated to suit our simpler needs, with many extraneous or otherwise unnecessary commands eliminated. As an example, when going from the position of Shoulder Firelocks to Poise Firelocks, the interim command: "Join your Right Hand to your Firelocks" is put aside as not needed. In addition, the numerous separate commands regarding the loading sequence of the firelock musket – which we see in the regular manual exercise – are done away with, all of these motions being performed independently upon receiving the command "Prime and Load."

Similarly, the various movements and commands employed for the fixing and use of the bayonet are likewise deleted. The very few numbers of bayonets in the possession of our men eliminates the need to vex them with a purposeless set of evolutions.

Part the First

The Position of a Soldier under Arms

The word of command to assemble the men is: "Stand to your arms!" or simply "Stand to!" Upon hearing the order, each man will fall into his place in ranks with all his proper accouterments, and assume the correct position, viz. at attention with firelock at the Shoulder, the lock at half-cock with the pan shut. The firelocks will be clean and in good order, with hammer-stalls and flash-guards affixed.

Those men without firelocks and armed with polearms, will likewise fall in to place with weapons at the shoulder, and adhere to the motions of the Manual Exercise with their fusilier fellows. Men not armed with firelocks will not be placed in the front rank. Part the Fifth explains the proper formation of companies and the battalion.

Part the Second

The Manual Exercise

Here follows the sequence of the manual drill. The command of execution appears in bold type. The exercise commences by bringing the men to attention:

Take Care

Poise your Firelock

Order your Firelock

Ground your Firelock

Take up your Firelock

Poise your Firelock

Shoulder your Firelock

Rest your Firelock

Trail your Firelock

Shoulder your Firelock

Present your Arms

Poise your Firelock

Rest on your Arms

Additional motions and commands specific to the Firing Exercise will be presented in the Fourth Part.

Part the Third

Facings & Marching Maneuvers in Line & Column

The men being formed in their two ranks (see the Fifth Part), must be able to carry out marching evolutions in both Line of Battle and Column of March. The disposition upon falling in is always that of the Line. The Facings alter the orientation from line to column and vice versa.

Face to the Right

Face to the Left

Face to the Right About

To the Left About As You Were

The marching commands while in a Line of Battle are as follows.

Take Care

To the front March

To the rear March

By the right wheel March

By the left wheel March

By the right oblique March

By the left oblique March

Take Care


The commands used while in Column of March are as follows.

Take Care

To the front March

By the right turn March

By the left turn March

Countermarch, by the right turn March

Countermarch, by the left turn March

By the right oblique March

By the left oblique March

Take Care


In all marching maneuvers the men are to step off with the left foot, and keep to the proper step, preferably to the beat of a drum. While most often the evolutions will be executed in Common Time, at need the Double Time or the Run may be employed. The correct alignment of rank and file is to be maintained at all rates of marching, however rapid.

On occasion the nature of the ground being passed over may render keeping a proper step impracticable. To ease the men, the commanding officer may then order:

March at will

Upon reaching easier ground, the column may be brought into proper step again with:

To the step March

Part the Fourth

The Firing Exercise

Three ranks is the usual practice when forming the Line of Battle, but owing to our insufficient numbers, the companies will form their lines with TWO RANKS of equal numbers. In the case of an odd number of men, the odd man will be placed in the front rank. Company officers will seek to ensure that any man not armed with a firelock will be placed in the rear rank, if sufficient numbers of fusiliers are available for a complete front rank. In addition, men armed with carbine-length or other short-barreled firelocks must always be in the front rank.

Firing is nearly always done by company rather than by battalion. Battalion volleys are not the usual practice, as this empties all of the pieces at once. A continual volume of fire by the individual companies is more desirable.

When the men are desired to load their pieces, the command will be:

Prime and Load

Upon this order, the men will draw and open their cartridges, prime and then shut their pans, cast about so the muzzles face forward and upward, then load the main charge. When finished loading, each man will bring his piece up to the RECOVER position as an indication to the company officers that he has completed loading. At the RECOVER, the firelock is held up close before the breast in both hands, with right thumb on the cock.

When the battalion commander desires the companies to commence firing, his command will be:

Battalion, Give Fire

At this point, the company commanders conduct the fire of their several companies with the following commands.

Make Ready

(Upon this order, each man will half-turn to the right and box his feet, with the hollow of the right foot close behind the heel of the left, at the same time cocking his piece while keeping it in the vertical position.)


(Here each man brings the butt of his firelock to his right shoulder, levels it and takes his aim.)



(Each man briskly draws his trigger and discharges his piece, then maintains that position, with firelock leveled, until the following command.)

Recover your Arms

(Each man comes back to the Recover, as described above.)

Prime and Load

(The sequence of movements now repeats itself as described.)

When the battalion commander wishes to suspend the firing of the companies, he will command:

Battalion Cease Firing


Addendum to the Fourth Part

Motions & Commands Unique to our Highland Regiments

When the battalion commander wishes to rush vigorously upon the enemy in the old Highland manner, he will command:


The men will ground their firelocks as in the Manual Exercise, draw their swords, and unsling their targes. Men without swords will club their firelocks, or fix bayonets if in possession of one. Those with polearms will of course maintain their hold on their weapons. The command will then be:


While the advance is conducted at a run, the officers and men should somewhat attempt to maintain the integrity of the line, so as to fall upon the enemy in a body rather than with individuals unsupported by their fellows. The Charge, while often effective, has the unfortunate result of scattering the men and making the assembling of them back into their ranks a near impossibility, especially in those situations where the enemy is not broken and a swift rally is required.


Part the Fifth

Forming the Battalion


The figure depicts a battalion of Foot drawn up for parade. This is the primary formation from which all others are derived, and is the manner in which the companies will fall in when the order to "Stand to your Arms" is given.

The Captain of each company will stand to the front and center of his command. Lieutenants and other junior officers will stand in the rear, forming a partial third rank. The men will be drawn up in their two ranks, with Sergeants placed in the front rank on each flanking end, and Corporals interspersed to provide stability to their platoons.

The Colour Section will be under the command of the Colour Sergeant, and be comprised of any stands of Colours, and Colour Guard of well armed men who have shown themselves to be dutiful, courageous, and reliable soldiers. The Music will be incorporated in this section, as well. The Colours will be placed in the center of the battalion. If there are an odd number of companies, the Colours will be placed to the right of the center company.

A proper interval will be maintained between each company, that being a space of two men. When facing right into a Column of March, the interval must also be kept in place.

When the line is engaged with the enemy, the Captains will take a position in the rear of, or on the right flank of their companies, whichever they consider most convenient to direct their men’s fire.