Dismissing the Troops.

In all of the drill manuals, books, diaries, journals, and orderly books I have perused, I have only found one source that describes how to dismiss the troops.

Thomas Simes wrote a series of books on how to conduct a battalion of infantry. In one of these -- A Military Medely -- he offers the following:

"To dismiss the troops, the Commanding officer gives the command: Recover your arms. To the right about , march. And the men go to their quarters."1

Simes makes no mention of any salutes or special honors to be paid to any officers present, the men simply come to recover, step off with their left foot, pivot on that foot so they come to the right about, and walk to their camp.

The position of "recover" -- also commonly called the "battle carry" by re-enactors (I have not seen a period reference for the latter term) -- is described thus:

"Come smartly to the Recover by springing the firelock straight up with the left Hand, turning the barrel inwards to [the] proper height of the recover [lock along-side the face]; at the same Time that the left hand springs the firelock, the right hand is raised briskly from the right Side, and seizes the Firelock [by the small of the stock (wrist)] across the breast; as it rises below the cock, the left hand comes with a quick motion from the Butt, and seizes the Fire lock strong above the Lock, the little Finger of the left Hand at the [feather] Spring of the Lock, the left Hand at an equal Height with the Eyes, the Butt close to the left breast, but not pressed, the Firelock perpendicular, [the lock] opposite the left Side of the Face.2


1) Simes, Thomas, The Military Medley: Containing the Most Necessary Rules and Directions for Attaining a Competent Knowledge of the Art: to which is added an Explanation of Military Terms. Second Edition, 1768, London, p. 263.

2) The bulk of this explanation comes from The Manual Exercise As Ordered by His Majesty, in the Year 1764, 1776, Philadelphia, Pa. "Recover" is much easier to demonstrate than it is to describe, and the items in brackets are included to help clarify the motion. The bracketed text is from the von Stueben and Pickering manuals, where the position of "Recover" is also described in detail.