Napoleonic Wars Forum

The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Morning Drills- 'Stand to'

For all discussions relating to military weapons and tactics of the Napoleonic period.

Re: Morning Drills- 'Stand to'

Postby Iain » March 11th, 2017, 4:25 pm

Hi JF…

Unfortunately, I can only refer to Waterloo and in particular, Hougoumont. As such, before the use of the bugle, that's obviously a dilemma !
All I can I suggest is to contact RHQ Archives.
I’ll reply to your other post viewtopic.php?f=20&t=3603 concerning instruments.

…, Iain

PS Concerning 'Stand to.' At Hougoumont, they all stood DOWN at sunrise. Sunrise was officially 03h28 but as Josh mentioned, it was obviously pitch black due to the weather.
At ‘sunrise,’ Hougoumont lit fires to dry off and a squad was sent over to the farm to plunder what they could get their hands on. Among other things, a pig was brought back, slaughtered and divided amongst the Scots Guardsmen.

Kind Regards…, Iain.
User avatar
Iain
Senior Member
 
Posts: 377
Joined: October 21st, 2014, 5:53 am
Location: Belgium.

Re: Morning Drills- 'Stand to'

Postby Iain » March 12th, 2017, 5:36 am

JF…, concerning ‘stand to,’ do you have Rottenburg’s account of tactics in the field ?

I’ve not yet found the time to read it all so I can’t say it will help you…, but the date 1798 does seem to be your time zone.

In order to provide you with a URL, I tried Googling it but found nothing. If you do not have the PDF document, I propose you PM me an email address and I’ll send it to you. It also has music at the bottom.

Kind Regards…, Iain.
User avatar
Iain
Senior Member
 
Posts: 377
Joined: October 21st, 2014, 5:53 am
Location: Belgium.

Re: Morning Drills- 'Stand to'

Postby jf42 » March 12th, 2017, 11:41 am

With regard to troops standing to their arms in response to a drum call (or trumpet), I have scouted about a little in C17th and C18th sources and have not found any direct reference to the practice.

However, I was directed to 'A system of camp-discipline, military honours, garrison-duty, and other Regulations for the land Forces, collected by a Gentleman of the Army' 2nd Ed.1757

This Included Kane's 'Camp Discipline' and 'Discipline for a Battalion in Action' and other collected examples dating back to 1694, notably, 'Orders given by his Grace the Duke of Marlborough to the Army under his command in Flanders'

A C17th source 'A Regulation for Garrison Duty' (1694) describes 'Reveille' as being "beat at break of day as usual", in garrison or camp, at any rate.

In Marlborough's 'Orders for the British Foot on the Day of March', it was in ordered that "no Reveille beats the Day the army is to march except when ordered.." and "as soon as a General beats, all officers and Soldiers dress themselves, and prepare for a March."

Although I found no direct reference to the practice of 'Stand-to,' Marlborough's subsequent order is illuminating regarding the term itself:

"That when Assembly beats to strike and pack up all the Tents, load all Baggage, call in the Quarter Guards and Rear Guards and to stand to their arms in the streets."

There is an indication here, I can set it no higher than that, that Reveille was beat at daybreak in Garrison or camp - but not on active service in the field. If, when on the march or in the field in the face of the enemy, there was a another call two hours before daybreak to rouse troops to stand to their arms, I have yet to find referenct to it.

My reasonably educated guess is that NCOs moving among the men might be a more effective way of ensuring they were awake and forming up quickly and quietly. As for quiet, it does seem a good idea not to alert the enemy to your exact morning precautions, (although this could hardly have been be a military secret given the enemy were presumably doing something similar on their side of the hill), in case they choose simply to put in their attack an hour earlier than your own time of 'stand to'. That is assuming the enemy commander might think such a thing worthwhile, night attacks on any scale being notoriously risky enterprises. In the campaign I have been studying, the French sent in attacks before dawn and waited till daybreak; the difference possibly being terrain and the quality of troops they were facing, as well as the specific need for surprise. The British on one occasion marched all night, then lay on their arms till dawn, while waiting for a flanking contingent to get in place (they arrived too late) then went in. The complexity of the terrain, and the difficulties posed by a three-pronged attack made a night attack inadvisable. There was no likelihood of surprise and one column made as much noise as possible to draw enemy artillery fire.

As to the vintage of the term 'Stand-to', the answer might simply turn on what era NCOs graduated from saying 'Stand to your arms,' as they went among the men (assuming they once did), to a briefer 'Stand to.' I hesitate to speculate how far back that might have been. The army has long demonstrated a somewhat contradictory attitude to the virtues of brevity compared with the merits of regulation thoroughness, but one wonders whether there was ever a time when a tired, hungry corporal would bother with four words when two would do.
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1247
Joined: June 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Morning Drills- 'Stand to'

Postby Josh&Historyland » March 17th, 2017, 2:04 pm

I have moved on to Siborne. Who I note, is often misinterpreted, and a heavier going read than his later, French, successor. He makes just as many curious assertions in the name of defending national pride as Houssay does, which often goes unremarked and is guilty on numerous occasions of referring to the allies as British, he goes even to great length to argue that Wellington wasn't surprised on the 15th of June, that Napoleon didn't delay his attack because of the mud, and most definitely has a realistic rather than a dogmatic appreciation of the Prussian role.

Anyway this is his observation from the 1840s based presumably on the volumous correspondence he undertook, about the morning routine. Beginning by a vague description of the troops waking and lighting fires.

"The drying and cleaning of firearms soon became General, and the continuous discharge of muskets, at rapid and irregular intervals, fell upon the ear like the rattle of a brisk and widely extended skirmish. All at once the scene became more animated and exciting. Drums, trumpets and bugles where hear over the whole field sounding the assembly; and never was the call to arms, in either army, responded to with greater zeal, alacrity or cheerfulness."

The latter statement seems to be evidence of lilly gilding somewhat.
Josh.
Adventures In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Josh&Historyland
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1825
Joined: March 2nd, 2013, 1:14 pm

Re: Morning Drills- 'Stand to'

Postby Tony Barton » March 17th, 2017, 5:15 pm

I should contact Kneller Hall, which is ( or was : not sure if they are still going) the home of Army Music : I believe they also have a library. There must be some record of drum calls, because the drummers were certainly trained in at least some of them until fairly recently: think Trooping the Colour, where at least one drum call is sounded.
Certainly, the whole history of military "signalling music" has yet to be written.

As an old ECW re-enactor, since no drum or trumpet calls survived from the 1640s( *see note below), an intelligent drummer wrote some, since we do know from surviving manuals ( e.g.Bariffe) that all manouvers were conducted to drumbeats, and orders given by mouth had drumbeats reinforcing them with a distinct beat for each order, referred to as " The Calls of War ".
And the drums sound whenever the soldiers move.

We have a list of the orders, but not a clue what the actual beats were.
I believe this was the standard Infantry practice throughout the 1700s , until at the very end of the century the bugle was also introduced for Light troops and companies, then gradually seems to have taken over some of the calls.

Trumpet calls still used by the State Trumpeters can be traced back to the early 1700s, and I suspect ( but cannot prove ) that many of the cavalry calls of the 19c may have originated at the same time, possibly from Hanoverian practice.
This whole field needs some research...!

* There is a collection of Trumpet calls collected by Mersenne in France in the 1630s, which I have some of, which includes calls such as " montez a cheval" and " boutezselle". They are highly syllabic calls, quite memorable, which presumably had doggerel attached to them, as have later British calls. " Boutezselle" must be the original of " Boots and Saddles".
There is also an early surviving notation of an " English March" from the time of Charles Ist, which can still be played with a little imagination.
But that seems to be all, alas.....
Tony Barton
New Member
 
Posts: 6
Joined: April 28th, 2016, 10:47 am

Re: Morning Drills- 'Stand to'

Postby jf42 » March 17th, 2017, 9:21 pm

Thank you gentlemen, all. Digesting.
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1247
Joined: June 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am
Location: United Kingdom

Previous

Return to Weapons & Tactics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron