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Memoirs and Adventures of Sir John Hepburn
Appendix III. Military Excercise of 1627


There is a very quaint and pedantic old work, entitled “Pallas Armata, or Militarie Instructions for the learned, and all generous spirits who affect the profession of Armes; containing the exercise of Infantrie, wherein are clearly set downe all the postures and motions belonging to battalions of foot; by Sir Thomas Kellie, Knight, Advocate, Captaine and Gentleman of his Majesty’s Privie Chamber; printed at Edinburgh by the Heires of Andro- Harte, 1627.” This rare quarto affords a curious glimpse of the tactics and manoeuvres of Scottish troops in the time of Hepburn.

“The armes which our pikemen are accustomed to carrie are : a headpiece, a morion, a gorget or craigpiece, a corslet or cuirace with taces; I have peen some wear puldrons or arme pypes, and those are defensive ; his offensive armes are a sword, and picke of fifteen feet long, shorter than the Grecian.

"The armes of a musqueteer offensive, are a musquet, the barrell of the length of four feete, the bore of twelve bullets to the pound: bandalier with twelve charges at the least, a primer, bullet-bagge and pruning yron, with a rest of a length proportionable to his stature, and a sword. As for defensive armes hee hath none, although in some partes I have seen them weare an headpiece.”

As an example of the rapidity and simplicity of a soldier’s motions in the present day, as contrasted with those of the musketeer of 1627 when under arms, the following thirty-three words of command for firing one round, are given by Sir Thomas Kellie, as being then in use for the Scottish troops :—

“1. Take up your musquet and your staffe, (1.e., the rest.)
2. Recover your musquet, and joyne your staffe to your musquet.
3. Take out your lunt, (i.e., match.)
4. Blow your lunt.
6. Cocke your lunt.
6. Try your lunt.
7. Guarde your pan.
8. Present, or lay on by blowing your lunt and opening your pan.
9. Give fire!
10. Take downe your musquet, and carie it with the staffe.
11. Vncocke your lunt.
12. Put your lunt betwene your fingers.
13. Blow your pan.
14. Move your pan.
15. Shoote your pan.
16. Caste off your louse powlder.
17. Blow your pan lidde.
18. Cast about your musquet and traill your staffe.
19. Charge your musquet.
20. Draw out your ram-sticke.
21. Shorten your ram-sticke.
22. Put in your bullet, and ram downe your powlder and bullet.
23. Draw out your ram-sticke.
24. Shorten your ram-sticke.
25. Put up your ram-sticke.
26. Fetch your musquet forward with the left hand—hold it up with the right and recover the staffe.
27. Shoulder your musquet, and carie your staffe with it.
28. March, and carie your staffe in your right hand.
29. Sinke your musquet and vnshoulder your musquet.
30. Lay your musquet on your staffe.
31. Stad to your sentinell posture.
32. Hold your musquet in your staffe, with the left hand onlie in ballance.
33. Lay downe your musquet.

“Observe that all this multitude of postures in service are redacted to three—make readie, present, and give fire!

“The musquetier vpon a march is alwayes to have his musquet shouldered, and the rest in his right hand, his left vpon the butte-end or head of his musquet; although I have seen many souldiers (and chieflie the lazie Dutches) to carie their musquet with their hand upon the barrell, and the mouth before, which is an vnseemlie posture, and verie vnreadie for service.”

In the present age, this manner of carrying arms, at the trail, is considered the most convenient for the soldiers. In an old English work of 1689, entitled, “The Perfection of Military Discipline after the newest method, as practised in England and Ireland, &c.; or, the Industrious Soldier’s Golden Treasury of Knowledge in the art of making war,” the words for firing are nearly the same as above. Now they are reduced to three.


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