|Military/Info Home Page||Freebie Menu Page|
Major Robert Rogers - 1757
(Commander of Rogerís Rangers)
This is the original version ó
1. All Rangers are to be subject to the rules and articles of war; to
appear at roll-call every evening on their own parade, equipped each with a
firelock, sixty rounds of powder and ball, and a hatchet, at which time an
officer from each company is to inspect the same, to see they are in order, so
as to be ready on any emergency to march at a minute's warning; and before they
are dismissed the necessary guards are to drafted, and scouts for the next day
2. Whenever you are ordered out to the enemy's forts or frontiers for
discoveries, if your number be small, march in a single file, keeping at such a
distance from each other as to prevent one shot from killing two men, sending
one man, or more, forward, and the like on each side, at the distance of twenty
yards from the main body, if the ground you march over will admit of it, to
give the signal to the officer of the approach of an enemy, and of their
number, & c.
3. If you march over marshes or soft ground, change your position, and
march abreast of each other, to prevent the enemy from tracking you (as they
would do if you marched in a single file) till you get over such ground, and
then resume your former order, and march till it is quite dark before you
encamp, which do, if possible, on a piece of ground that may afford your
sentries the advantage of seeing or hearing the enemy at some considerable
distance, keeping one half of your whole party awake alternately through the
4. Some time before you come to the place you would reconnoitre, make a
stand, and send one or two men in whom you can confide, to look out the best
ground for making your observations.
5. If you have the good fortune to take any prisoners, keep them separate
till they are examined, and in your return take a different route from that in
which you went out, that you may the better discover any party in your rear,
and have an opportunity, if their strength be superior to your, to alter your
course, or disperse, as circumstances may require.
6. If your march in a large body of three or four hundred, with a design to
attack the enemy, divide your party into three columns, each headed by a proper
officer, and let these columns march in single files, the columns to the right
and left keeping at twenty yards distance or more from that of the center, if
the ground will admit, and let proper guards be kept in the front and rear, and
suitable flanking parties as a due distance as before directed, with orders to
halt on all eminences, to take a view of the surrounding ground, to prevent
your being ambushed, and to notify the approach or retreat of the enemy, that
proper dispositions may be made for attacking, defending, & c, and if the
enemy approach in your front on level ground, form a front of your three
columns or main body with the advanced, guard, keeping out your flanking
parties, as if you were marching under the command of trusty officers, to
prevent the enemy from pressing hard on either of your wings, or surrounding
you, which is the usual method of the savages, if their number will admit of
it, and be careful likewise to support and strengthen your rear guard.
7. If you are obliged to receive the enemy's fire, fall or squat down, till
it is over, then rise and discharge at them. If their main body is equal to
yours, extend yourselves occasionally; but if superior, be careful to support
and strengthen your flanking parties, to make them equal with theirs, that if
possible you may repulse them to their main body, in which case push upon them
with the greatest resolution, with equal force in each flank and in the center,
observing to keep at a due distance from each other, and advance from tree to
tree, with one half of the party before the other ten or twelve yards. If the
enemy push upon you, let your front fire and fall down, and then let your rear
advance thro' them and do the like, by which time those who before were in
front will be ready to discharge again, and repeat the same alternately, as
occasion shall require; by this means you will keep up such a constant fire,
that the enemy will not be able easily to break your order, or gain your
8. If you oblige the enemy to retreat, be careful, in your pursuit of them,
to keep out your flanking parties, and prevent them from gaining eminences, or
rising grounds, in which case they would perhaps be able to rally and repulse
in their turn.
9. If you are obliged to retreat, let the front of your whole party fire
and fall back, till the rear has done the same, making for the best ground you
can; by this means you will oblige the enemy to pursue you, if they do it at
all, in the face of a constant fire.
10. If the enemy is so superior that you are in danger of being surrounded
by them, let the whole body disperse, and every one take a different road to
the place of rendezvous appointed for that evening, which must every morning be
altered and fixed for evening ensuing, in order to bring the whole party, or as
many of them as possible, together, after any separation that may happen in the
day; but if you should happen to be actually surrounded, form yourselves into a
square, or if in the woods, a circle is best, and, if possible, make a stand
till the darkness of the night favours your escape.
11. If your rear is attacked, the main body and flankers must face about to
the right or left, as occasion shall require, and form themselves to oppose the
enemy, as before directed; and the same method must be observed, if attacked in
either of your flanks, by which means you will always make a rear of one of
12. If you determine to rally after a retreat, in order to make a fresh
stand against the enemy, by all means endeavour to do it on the most rising
ground you can come at, which will give you greatly the advantage in point of
situation, and enable you to repulse superior numbers.
13. If general, when pushed upon by the enemy, reserve your fire till they
approach very near, which will them put them into the greater surprise and
consternation, and give you an opportunity of rushing upon them with your
hatchets and cutlasses to the better advantage.
14. When you encamp at night, fix your sentries in such a manner as not to
be relieved from the main body till morning, profound secrecy and silence being
often of the last importance in these cases. Each sentry, therefore, should
consist of six men, two of whom must be constantly alert, and when relieved by
their fellows, it should be done without noise; and in case those on duty see
or hear anything, which alarms them, they are not to speak, but one of them is
silently to retreat, and acquaint the commanding officer thereof, that proper
dispositions may be made; and all occasional sentries should be fixed in like
15. At the first dawn of day, awake your whole detachment; that being the
time when the savages choose to fall upon their enemies, you should by all
means be in readiness to receive them.
16. If the enemy should be discovered by your detachments in the morning,
and their numbers are superior to yours, and a victory doubtful, you should not
attack them till the evening, as then they will not know your numbers, and if
you are repulsed, your retreat will be followed by the darkness of the
17. Before you leave your encampment, send out small parties to scout round
it, to see if there be any appearance or track of an enemy that might have been
near you during the night.
18. When you stop for refreshment, choose some spring or rivulet if you
can, and dispose your party so as not to be surprised, posting proper guards
and sentries at a due distance, and let a small party waylay the path you came
in, lest the enemy should be pursuing.
19. If, in your return, you have to cross rivers, avoid the usual fords as
much as possible, lest the enemy should have discovered, and be there expecting
20. If you have to pass by lakes, keep at some distance from the edge of
the water, lest, in case of an ambuscade, or an attack from the enemy, when in
that situation, your retreat should be cut off.
21. If the enemy pursue your rear, take a circle till you come to your own
tracks, and there form am ambush to receive them, and give them the first
22. When you return from a scout, and come near our forts, avoid the usual
roads, and avenues thereto, lest the enemy should have headed you, and lay in
ambush to receive you, when almost exhausted with fatigues.
23. When you pursue any party that has been near our forts or encampments,
follow not directly in their tracks, lest you should be discovered by their
rear guards, who, at such a time, would be most alert; but endeavour, by a
different route, to head and meet them in some narrow pass, or lay in ambush to
receive them when and where they least expect it.
24. If you are to embark in canoes, bateaux, or otherwise, by water, choose
the evening for the time of your embarkation, as you will then have the whole
night before you, to pass undiscovered by any parties of the enemy, on hills,
or other places, which command a prospect of the lake or river you are upon.
25. In paddling or rowing, give orders that the boat or canoe next the
sternmost, wait for her, and the third for the second, and the fourth for the
third, and so on, to prevent separation, and that you may be ready to assist
each other on any emergency.
26. Appoint one man in each boat to look out for fires, on the adjacent
shores, from the numbers and size of which you may form some judgement of the
numbers that kindled them, and whether you are able to attack them or not.
27. If you find the enemy encamped near the banks of a river, or lake,
which you imagine they will attempt to cross for their security upon being
attacked, leave a detachment of your party on the opposite shore to receive
them, while, with the remainder, you surprise them, having them between you and
the lake or river.
28. If you cannot satisfy yourself as to the enemy's number and strength,
from their fire, & c. conceal your boats at some distance, and ascertain
their number by a reconnoitring party, when they embark, or march, in the
morning, marking the course they steer, & c. when you may pursue, ambush,
and attack them, or let them pass, as prudence shall direct you. In general,
however, that you may not be discovered by the enemy on the lakes and rivers at
a great distance, it is safest to lay by, with your boats and party concealed
all day, without noise or show, and to pursue your intended route by night; and
whether you go by land or water, give out parole and countersigns, in order to
know one another in the dark, and likewise appoint a station for every man to
repair to, in case of any accident that may separate you.
Such in general are the rules to be observed in the Ranging service; there
are, however, a thousand occurrences and circumstances which may happen that
will make it necessary in some measure to depart from them and to put other
arts and stratagems in practice; in which case every man's reason and judgment
must be his guide, according to the particular situation and nature of things;
and that he may do this to advantage, he should keep in mind a maxim never to
be departed from by a commander, viz. to preserve a firmness and presence of
mind on every occasion.
ó From JOURNALS OF MAJOR ROGER ROGERS (as published in 1765)
|Also see: Our subject pages on Ranger
Operations, Patrolling, and
Infantry for military manuals on
the subject of modern military rangers.
1. At the bottom of each subject webpage there is also a link to separate articles and extracts which we sell on Ranger Operations, Patrolling, and Infantry.
2. There are also a number of articles on World War Two patrolling methods of the various armies, mixed into their respective infantry article sections: German - Infantry, Japanese - Infantry, Russian, British.
3. For a person wanting to look deeper, there are also certain amount of information concerned with patrolling which can be found in other manuals and articles: Cavalry (Mounted), Cold Weather Operations, Desert Operations, Guerrilla Warfare, Jungle Operations, Mountain Operations, Night Operations, Special Forces, Trench Warfare, Urban Operations and War Dogs.
1 Roger's Rules has been brought to you by Military/Info Publishing (Home page).
2. Military/Info Publishing specializes in the last 200 years of historical military technology. We are sort of the lost and found department of military manuals and articles on the web.
3. Now in business for 17 years, on the web for 12, adding around 50 items a month to our lists.
4. Military/Info Publishing has over 11,000 other manuals, articles, and books for sale. Organized into over 200 subject heading (Subject Index).
|Military/Info Home Page||Freebie Menu Page|