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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada





Report H E 9

Fortress of Louisbourg



Since it was through the sounds of the drum that the officer in charge communicated with the troops, there evolved a series of beats, each of which regulated the pace at which the men should advance - or retreat -on a march or in battle, or indicated that certain activities should take place. Some of these beats held more than one meaning, and it was incumbent upon the soldier to be able to recognize not only the beat itself, but also its meaning at the particular time it was being sounded. Any soldier who did not know the various signals would not be able to follow orders. While this is undesirable in itself in any military unit, it could lead to utter confusion on a march or parade, or rout and retreat in battle. It is likely, therefore, that the soldiers, especially new recruits, were exercised in marching and evolutions to the accompaniment of the drum. As Simes indicated in his Guide For Young Officers: "It is necessary that recruits shouldibe instructed to know the sounds and beatings of the drum before they are dismissed from the drill ... as they are thereby taught to march and perform their exercise, maneouvers, &c. It is also very proper to teach them every other sound and signal."[1]

In 1748 M. D'Hericourt, in Elemens De L'Art Militaire, wrote that the preparatory commands given by the major "à voix ordinaire" were sometimes taken by the soldiers to be the commands themselves because of distance, a contrary wind or misunderstanding of terms. The use of the drum for rendering commands eliminated this problem. For this reason, D'Hericourt declared, "il est très-utile d'accoutumer les Troupes â faire toutes les manoeuvres au son du Tambour & suivant les batteries affectées à chacune."[2] And, according to a 1755 ordinance of the king on infantry exercise, the "Tambours seront exercés à marcher de même que les Soldats ."[3]

Although each country had its own set of drum beatings, the types and names of the calls varied little from one country to another, since the duties of the soldiers in all armies were much the same. Some calls were, of course, used more frequently than others, but each had its own purpose, which had to be recognized by the troops and clearly conveyed by the drummers. In discussing the duties of the tambour major, D'Hericourt noted that besides all the French drum beats, he should be familiar with all of those used by neighbouring states; "une chose très-utile â la guerre." [4]

(For music to all the following calls see Appendix A)


As the name suggests, this call signified that the troops should assemble and hold themselves ready. There were different occasions on which this call would be sounded:

1 On a day that the infantry was scheduled to march or exercise, the drummers would beat either La Générale or Le Premier (Aux Champs), depending on whether all or part of the garrison was to turn out. At the time appointed - perhaps a half hour later - they would sound L'Assemblée, whereupon all the officers and non-commissioned officers would take their places and assemble their companies. Roll would be taken, inspection held, and arms and equipment checked. Officers were instructed to go to the head of their companies to prevent anyone from escaping during the movement of the troops from the camp or garrison. [5]

2 La Garde having been sounded, all the drummers would assemble on the Place D'Armes one hour before the new guard was to take its posts. Led by the tambour major, they would leave from there and make a circuit of the town while beating L'Assemblée together. Upon reaching the end of the circuit, they were to separate and go, still beating, to the place where the detachments from their regiments would leave for the guard. [6]

3 On a march, a column of infantry would re-form itself if the drummer played L'Assemblée.[7]

4 The infantry were to form a column of attack when, after two single strokes followed by a roll, the drummer beat L'Assemblée.[8]

5 In a camp, the guard was ordered to take its post each morning when they beat L'Assemblée, except on days they were to march. [9]

6 On days when artillery practice was to be held, L'Assemblée would be sounded one half hour after the call at break of day. [10]

La Générale

Under normal circumstances the sound of La Générale in French camps and garrisons would have been an unusual occurrence since its use was restricted to two extraordinary occasions. On days when the entire garrison was to exercise or march, La Générale was sounded in place of the reveille beating, La Diane, to signal the soldiers to make ready to depart or drill. Officers would immediately position themselves so as to ensure that no soldier used the general commotion as a cover to take his leave, which, says Bland, "the French Soldiers would frequently do, were it not for this precaution."[11]

La Générale also served as a call for all to take arms. At such times its beating was unscheduled, and would warn the soldiers to proceed promptly to their assigned places, while the officers in charge would go immediately to the commander to receive their orders. Because of the serious implications of this call, commanders of fortified places were instructed "battre la générale à l'improviste, soit de jour ou de nuit, pour juger de l'effet de la disposition générale ordonnée ... & de la promptitude des troupes à l'executer."[12]

Drummers were warned not to begin their practice sessions with La Générale because of the effect this unexpected beating of the call would have on the troops. [13] Except in the event of an alarm, for which La Générale would be sounded, the drums were not to be heard during the night. [14] And, one of the first things to be done upon the arrival of troops in a new place was to designate "un lieu ou plusieurs,... dans lesquels les troupes auront à se rendre en cas d'allarme, de feu, ou de Général battue à l'improviste." [15]

The sound of La Générale was heard by the citizens of Louisbourg in December of 1744 when drummers under armed escort marched through the town announcing the mutiny of the soldiers of the Swiss Kerrer unit and the Companies Franches de la Marine. [16] In all likelihood it was heard as well with the landing of the New Englanders in 1745 and the British in 1758.

La Diane

La Diane was the name of the reveille beat sounded daily at daybreak to awaken the soldiers, except on days when they were to march, exercise or break camp. The precise hour for the sounding of the reveille was ordered by the major, the ordinances stating simply that the drummer of the guard should mount the parapet "au point du jour" and beat La Diane. [17] According to D'Hericourt, the drummers would continue to beat for a quarter of an hour during which the soldiers of the guard would put themselves "enhaye reposés sur leurs Armes ..." The officer would then order the sergeants and corporals to the rampart to listen and see if anything was happening outside the walls, and send for the keys to open the gate. [18] La Diane may also have been used to salute an officer on his saint's day or upon being received into a regiment. [19]

La Fascine Or La Bréloque

The only reference to La Bréloque in the ordinances came in the 1753 regulations for the service of the infantry in the field which stated that after the guards had been posted in the morning, the drummer of the piquet [20] of the first battalion on the right should beat La Bréloque. All the other drummers of the piquets would join in to serve notice that the streets of the camp should be swept to within 30 paces of the stacks of arms. [21] This ties in with its use as explained in Ecole De Mars: that is, to advise the workers when it was time to start work, stop to eat, or quit for the day. [22] The name La Fascine, the least used of the two, probably originated with soldiers being dispatched to construct fascines (a kind of defence made from bundles of branches). It was later applied to any type of work to be done. Additional meanings are given by contemporary dictionaries, but how far back these usages go is not known. Both Larousse and Wilcox's French-English Military Technical Dictionary define La Bréloque as the drum signal for the breaking of ranks, as well as a mess call. [23] These uses of the beat were most likely derived from its earlier employment to tell the workers when they might break to eat and when they were dismissed for the day.

In Ecole De Mars it is also mentioned that Le Bréloque was used to indicate when mass or prayers were about to be said. [24] There is another drum beat, La Priére, to serve this purpose; its use would create less confusion.

La Charge

La Charge was the signal for the soldiers to march "le pas redoublé."[25] In 1588 Arbeau described the charge in his treatise declaring that as they approached the enemy, the soldiers would close ranks and become "one mass, making themselves a strong & solid rampart." All the while, the drummer beats

two quavers [eighth notes] [7] in a quick duple rhythm derived from the metrical foot which the poets call the Pyrrhic [a foot of two short syllables used in war-songs], and the soldiers advance, keeping the left foot forward all the while and putting it down on the first note of the Pyrrhic. And on the second note of the Pyrrhic, they place the right foot behind and near to the said left foot, so as to form a buttress. And leaping and dancing thus, they commence the fight, as if the drum wished to say: dedans dedans dedans.[26]

Le Rigodon

A dance named for a 17th century maître de danse, Le Rigodon was also a military drum beat which signaled a direct hit during target practice.[27] It is not known when this military usage began; no 18th century reference to it has been found. The French Rigodon d'Honneur dates back to Napoleon's time - if not later - but it is much too elaborate and difficult a drum beat to have served simply to signify a bull's eye. [28]


Once the gates were closed at night, the major would order the drummer of the guard stationed at the Place D'Armes to beat L'Ordre. At this the designated officers, sergeants and corporals would gather to receive their orders and the password. [29] This procedure was changed in 1768; the orders were then given after the guard had been posted and the password was given following the closing of the gates. L'Ordre was to be sounded on both occasions. [30]

Le Ban

Le Ban was essentially a device to command attention, and upon hearing it there can be no mistaking its purpose. The call was used on many occasions when the authorities wanted to ensure the attention of the soldiers and/ or the civilian population. Except in the case of an alarm, there was never to be any assembly or publication by sound of bell, drum or trumpet of which the commander had not been given previous notice, even if it were a "ban de police civile" requested by the civilian magistrates. [31] Among the military uses of Le Ban were:

1 To announce ordinances of the king or of the commander; [32]

2 To announce the sale of the effects of a deceased officer following the inventory; [33]

3 To announce the reading of a sentence following a trial; [34]

4 To announce the regulations to be observed by the garrison following their arrival in a town or fortified place. Immediately upon their arrival, the troops were to line up en bataille facing the corps de garde, and the commander or town major of the place would order the drummer to beat Le Ban. At this time soldiers were warned against committing acts of violence, theft or disorder in the houses, gardens or environs. They were told where they would be lodged if there were no barracks. Officers were prohibited from changing the soldier's lodging without permission and were made responsible for any damage or disorder caused by the men of their command. Civilians were instructed on their conduct with regard to the soldiers and were told what to do if the bans were not obeyed. [35] On setting up a new camp, the infantry were acquainted with regulations concerning hunting, fishing, gambling and other things which had to be observed in "les camps de guerre." To these instructions were added the punishments which would be inflicted if the orders were not obeyed; [36]

5 To receive a new officer into a regiment or battalion. The drummers would be ordered to beat Le Ban before the company which the officer was to join. The officer would face the men, who held their arms it "convenables à la Charge," and, after the drumming had ceased, he would raise his hat at the same time as the commander received him by saying: "De par le Roi, Soldats vous reconnoitrez M ... pour votre Capitaine, ou pour Lieutenant de la Compagnie ... & vous lui obéirez en tous ce qui vous ordonnera pour le service du Roi en cette qualité." When someone of higher rank - a colonel, lieutenant colonel, or major -was to be received, three concentric circles would be formed: the first by the captains and other lower officers, the second by the sergeants, and the third by the drummers. The officer to be received would enter the center of the circles, where they would be introduced. At this time the commander would say messieurs instead of soldats in addressing the group; [37]

6 To award decorations or medals to soldiers; [38]

7 To warn those watching not to object to the punishment of a soldier who was being made "passer par les baguettes" - a punishment brought to France by the Swiss and other foreigners - under pain of receiving the same sentence; [39]

8 To warn tradesmen or "ni autre quel qu'il soit, sur peine d'etre pendu & étranglé, ait à se presenter aux dites Montres ..." for any reason other than serving a term with the band. [40]

Le Drapeau or Au Drapeau

As the name indicates, this call was used to render honors to the flag. However, through its connection with the colors, Le Drapeau became part of the routine followed in several basic activities of the French infantry, and would probably have been sounded even if no flags were present.

On days when all or part of the troops were to take arms, exercise or break camp, Le Drapeau was the third in a series of calls sounded to bring the men to readiness (following La Générale or Aux Champs and L'Assemblée).[41] At this signal - whelm they were to decamp - "les Soldats prennent leur Armes; chaque Fourriers charge du Faisceaux & du Manteau d'Armes, les Compagnies se mettent en haye sans déborder la place oû êtoient les Faisceaux; les Sergens marquent les rangs." [42] It was stipulated in 1768 that not more than two hours should pass between the sounding of La Générale or Aux Champs and Le Drapeau. [43]

After assembly and inspection, the troops preparing to march or exercise would await the arrival of the colors, which would be heralded by the beating of Le Drapeau. The ensigns of the battalion or regiment would assemble and place themselves in rank before the piquet and behind the captain. The sergeants who would serve as their guard would march behind the ensigns, and all the drummers, except for two who remained with each battalion, would form themselves into several ranks behind the piquet with their drums on their shoulders and the tambour major at their head. Led by the captain, this group would proceed to the place where the flags were kept, one drummer only beating Aux Champs. They would put themselves en bataille opposite the door of the building where the flags were housed, and orders would be given for the soldiers to fix bayonets and present arms. They would remain thus while the ensigns and sergeants went to get the flags. When the flags emerged, the sergeants would remove their hats, the captain and lieutenant of the piquet would render a hat salute, and the drummers would align themselves in front of the piquet. The orders to carry arms and to march having been given, the flags would be taken to where the battalion or regiment was assembled, all the drummers beating Le Drapeau. The piquet would take its place, passing along behind the battalion, while the drummers would remain on the right. As soon as the ensigns and the piquet had taken their places, the major would order the drummers to cease beating, and the soldiers to remove the bayonets from their guns. [44]

Le Drapeau was sounded following the blessing of new flags being put into service, and it was employed on a march or in a marching exercise to signal the troops to form themselves en bataille.[45]

L'Appel or Le Rappel

L'Appel was a simple beat, probably akin to the ruffle in the British tradition of drumming. At least its usage in the French service seems to have been very similar to the ruffle's in the British. [46] In French ordinances and military writings there are frequent references to the drummers being ordered to "call," appeler. This, it is presumed, refers to a particular drum beating although often no formal title is given. However, the patterns of use is such that it can only be taken to mean a particular signal. Among the uses of L'Appel were:

1 To reassemble the troops. This is the most common definition of this beat, but most sources do not elaborate on the circumstances under which it would have been used. [47] It is stated in Ecole De Mars that it was a good idea for officers and soldiers to practice returning to their positions after a charge or encounter with the enemy had left them in disarray. To this end the major would order the ranks to go off in different directions. After having marched them around in this manner for a time, he would order the drummers to call, at which sound the men would re-form. During this exercise, the drummer would remain near the major. [48] Undoubtedly the same procedure was followed under actual battle conditions;

2 To render honors to lieutenant generals, maréchals de camp, governors of provinces, general officers attached to the Corps du Génie, and captains commanding naval squadrons; [49]

3 To demand the capitulation of a place held under siege;[50]

4 To close ranks once the troops were assembled; [51]

5 To announce an exercise was to take place or to bring one to a close; [52]

6 To order those about to take guard duty to draw up en bataille, and their officers to go, spontoon in hand, to their posts; [53]

7 To signal that part of a column was not able to follow those ahead or was forced to stop for some reason. L'Appel would be sounded by the drummer marching at the head of the battalion which was halted. The drummers of each of the other battalions would take up the call until it reached the front of the column. When movement was able to start again, the drummer of the stalled battalion would sound Aux Champs, the others relaying it to the front as before; [54]

8 To warn that a column of march was proceeding too quickly for those behind to keep up. When the troops marched by companies, all the drummers, with three exceptions, would march 30 paces ahead of the battalion. One drummer would remain with the piquet, one with the Company of Grenadiers,, and one with the flags. One drummer would beat Aux Champs during the entire march; the forward drummers rotating this duty. If the head of the column was moving too quickly for the rest to maintain their ranks at the proper distances, the captain of the piquet would order his drummer to sound L'Appel. The two other detached drummers would echo this call until the one at the head ceased to beat Aux Champs. When those behind had regained their distances by continuing to march while those in front halted at the silence of the drums, the detached drummers would sound La Marche. On hearing this signal the drummer at the head would begin again to beat Aux Champs and the column would move on; [55]

9 To signal the drummers of all the regiments in a camp that it was time to sound La Retraite. L'Appel would be sounded by the drummer of the brigade quartered in the center of the camp; [56]

10 To signal the lest opportunity to enter or leave a fortified place before the gates were closed for the night. [57]

Aux Champs or Le Premier

Aux Champs was an all-purpose march for occasions when the troops were to proceed en avant, pas ordinaire.[58] It did, however, have other uses some of which were not related to marching.

1 When only part of a garrison or camp was to take arms, exercise or march, Aux Champs would be sounded in place of La Diane as the reveille beat. At these times it was known as Le Premier; [59]

2 When a commander wished to slow a column marching double time, he would order the drummer to sound Aux Champs. At this signal the soldiers of the first section would take four more paces at double time and then slow to pas ordinaire. The second section would change pace immediately on hearing Aux Champs and the third would march "au petit pas" for the distance of four paces; [60]

3 When a regiment arrived at the place where exercises were to be held, the major would call for them to close ranks. The drummer would beat Aux Champs and the troops would march for some distance to allow room for the whole body to form itself en bataille;[61]

4 When honors were rendered to the Blessed Sacrament, the king, members of the royal family - when the king was not present- or anyone deserving a guard with colors such as Princes of Blood, legitimized princes or marshals of France, Aux Champs would be sounded; [62]

5 When the gates of a fortified place were being closed for the night, the drummer of the guard would sound Aux Champs; [63]

6 When an armed troop passed the front or rear guard of a camp with drums beating, the drummer of the guard would sound Aux Champs; [64]

7 When a regiment arrived at a place it would be met by the major or aide-major who would receive them and lead them to the Place D'Armes; They would proceed there in good order, the drums beating Aux Champs;[65]

8 When a body of soldiers entered a place with drums beating the drummer of the guard before which they passed would sound Aux Champs; [66]

9 When a criminal was brought to the place of execution, Aux Champs would be sounded; [67]

10 When a detachment was to mount the guard it would march from its quarters to the place of assembly with their drummer beating Aux Champs. It would be sounded again as the new guard filed past the governor of the place to be reviewed before taking their posts; [68]

11 When a detachment would go to get the flags prior to an exercise or march, one drummer would beat Aux Champs. [69]

La Retraite

Although La Retraite was the signal to cease combat or withdraw in battle, this use of the call received almost no attention in the 18th century French ordinances and military treatises. [70] Widely discussed, however, was its employment as the warning on board ship, in camps or in fortified places that the activities of the day were about to be brought to a close. The ceremony of the Retraite was elaborated in great detail, and the tasks to be carried out following the sounding of La Retraite in the evening were enumerated at length.

La Retraite is often translated mistakenly as "The Tattoo," a call and ceremony in the British and, later, in the American armies. There are many similarities between the two, but "in France the ceremony which [corresponds to] 'Tattoo' has ever been called the 'Retraite.' " There were in the British tradition two distinct ceremonies utilizing two different calls which took place every evening, though the distinctions between them often become fuzzy in the writings of the day. It was not until the 19th century that they were clearly differentiated. [71]

In British garrison towns - they rarely used the Tattoo when encamped - the drummers would beat the Retreat at sunset, a half hour before the gates were to be closed, as a warning to those still outside the walls to return. The Tattoo, on the other hand, was heard at a fixed time every night, usually at 10 P.M. in the summer and 8 or 9 P.M. in the winter. The drummers would make a circuit of the town to notify the soldiers to return to their quarters. This was a totally different drum beat than the one sounded earlier. The Tattoo also signified the closing of all beverage houses and other public establishments to civilians and soldiers alike. Hence the explanation that the word itself came from the "seventeenth century Dutch slang for 'say no more,' 'ease,' or 'stop.'

Tap-toe ... was also used by the Dutch to say 'put the tap to.' " [72] Another possibility for the derivation of the word was offered by James in his Military Dictionary where he defined "tatou" as a kind of hedge-hog which takes cover under its scaly coat in time of danger, and declared that it was "not improbable but our word tap-too or tattoo has been taken from this term, signifying a notice given to go under cover, or into quarters. [73]

The French also beat La Retraite at sunset to announce that the gates were soon to be closed. The same call, however, was sounded by all the drummers after the gates were secured and orders had been given. No specific time for its sounding was stipulated in the ordinances, but D'Hericourt stated that it was at 7 P.M. from November through February, at 8 P.M. during March, April, September and October, and at 9 P.M. from May through August. This was known as the Retraite Générale of the garrison, and within an hour of its sounding, all soldiers were to be in their quarters or barracks. Any found wandering the streets were to be placed under arrest. To ensure that all had returned, three rolls would be executed by the drummer after which roll call would be taken. [74]

Aside from the prohibition against public disorder after the Retraite, it did not affect the civilian population. Public houses were given until the tolling of the bell at 10 P.M, to conduct their business. This was termed the Retraite Bourgeoisie, and once it went into effect, no one was allowed on the streets without a lantern, torch or candle. Rounds of the various guard posts were to be made immediately after La Retraite, and except for this, there was to be no movement along the ramparts until daybreak. [75]

In camps, soldiers were to return to their tents after the sounding of La Retraite, roll was to be taken, vivandiers were to stop selling drinks, "filles de mauvais vie" and other suspect persons were to be arrested, all fires and lights were to be extinguished, officers of the piquets were to be relieved, inspection of the arms by the new officers of the piquets was to be held, and the flags were to be folded and put away. [76] On board ship, sergeants were to count heads and make certain that the men were at their posts. Due to the danger presented by fire on a ship, a prohibition against smoking would go into effect with La Retraite, violators to be placed in irons with a ration of bread and water for three days. [77]

La Garde

La Garde was sounded daily three hours before the new guard was to be mounted, so that preparations could begin. All the drummers would assemble a half hour or an hour before for an inspection by the tambour major. [78] It would seem that prior to 1750 the call was to be sounded at 12 P.M. in the inter with the guard taking its posts at 3 P.M., and at 1 P.M. in the summer with the guard being mounted at 4 P.M. [79] The Ordonnance Du Roi of 1750 gives the sounding of La Garde at 8 A.M. during summer and winter, with the mounting of the guard at 11 A.M. [80] In 1768 it changed again; this time to 9 A.M, for La Garde and 12 P.M. for the guard change during summer and winter. However, any place suffering from extreme heat was permitted to sound the call at 7 A.M. and mount the guard at 10 A.M. [81]

No music has as yet been found for La Garde. Until music of the period is uncovered it would seem proper to use L'Appel for this purpose.

La Prière or La Messe

The soldiers would be called to prayers or mass by this call or by La Breloque.[82]


L'Enterrement would be sounded at military funerals on drums covered with black serge. [83]

La Marche

The march usually, if not always, referred to in the ordinances and writings of the period was Aux Champs. It possessed a very stable, basic beat which met all the requirements of a good march as outlined in Arbeau's Orchesographie.[84] There were, however, other marches which may have been employed by drummers, especially on long marches, to break the monotony.

In his Encyclopedie, Diderot claimed that since the "troupes françoises ayant peu instrument militaires pour l'infanterie hors les fifes et les tambours, ont aussi fort peu marches, & le plupart très-mal faites... " [85] His view was shared by Marshal Saxe who stated that the march "according to the present practice, is accompanied with so much noise, confusion and fatigue, to no manner of effect..." [86] The poor state of the march had been noticed in the 17th century in England where a royal warrant issued in 1632 declared that "'the ancient custome of nations hath even been to use one certaine and constant forme of March in the warres, whereby to be distinguished one from another. And the March of this our nation ... was through the negligence and carelessness of drummers, and by long discontinuance so altered and changed from the ancient gravity and majestie thereof ..."' It has been contended that the "inattention of the fundamental drum beats prompting the issue of the royal warrant, was due to the addition of the pipe and the fife." [87]

While Aux Champs must be considered the primary march rhythm, there are alternatives in two Marches des Mousquetaires which might be substituted during extended periods of marching.

Les Batteries Préparatoires

Prior to beating Aux Champs or any other call during a march or marching exercise, a drummer would signal by means of rolls, strokes or combinations of the two the direction in which the troops were to go or the evolution which they were to perform. Aux Champs, sounded without any preparatory beats, would indicate that the soldiers were to advance en avant. Only one drummer would perform the preparatory beats; the others joining him after the strokes to signal the start of the march itself were given. [88]

1 roll - announced movement to the right
2 rolls - announced movement to the left
1 roll plus 2 strokes - battalion to break by demi-rang to the right
2 rolls plus 2 strokes - battalion to break by demi-rang to the left
1 roll plus 3 strokes - battalion to break by tiers de rang to the right
2 rolls plus 3 strokes - battalion to break by tiers de rang to the left
1 roll plus 4 strokes - battalion to break by platoon to the right
2 rolls plus 4 strokes - battalion to break by platoon to the left
1 roll plus 5 strokes - battalion to break by sections to the right
2 rolls plus 5 strokes - battalion to break by sections to the left
1 roll plus 1 stroke - entire battalion to make a quart de conversion to the right
2 rolls plus 1 stroke - entire battalion to make a quart de conversion to the left
3 rolls plus 1 stroke = double the divisions
4 rolls plus 1 stroke - triple the divisions
2 strokes plus 1 roll followed by L'Assemblée - form a column of attack
2 strokes plus 1 roll followed by La Retraite - form a column of retreat
All drums silent - all to halt

All Followed by Aux Champs

Additional Drum Signals

1 When the troops were assembled for an exercise, the major would say: "Prenez garde à vous, Bataillon, ou Bataillons, on va faire l'exercise." He would then order the drummer to beat one stroke at which all the officers and sergeants would remove their hats with their left hand and make a demi-tour à droite. L'Appel would then be ordered, and all the officers and sergeants would move to new positions.

2 When the exercise was finished the major would order a roll to advise the troops to take the places they had occupied at the beginning of the exercise. [89]

3 A half hour before the assembly of the new guard, three rolls would be sounded to notify those who would form the guard that the lieutenant or sub-lieutenant would conduct an inspection. [90]

4 When a new guard, having been inspected and assembled, was to march toward their posts, the major would order the drums to roll "qui servira d'avertissement; puis il sera donner un coup de baguette, pour faire serrer les rangs a la pointe de l'épée; & lorsqu'il faudra les faire défiler, ce sera lui qui leur dira (Marche)." [91]

5 Before the soldiers would leave their quarters in the morning, a roll would be sounded to warn the men that roll call was to be taken. [92]

6 A half hour after La Retraite was sounded in the evening, the drummer would perform three rolls in the barracks or quarters to signal that roll call would again be taken. [93]

7 In a camp, when drummers of several battalions were to beat together along the front of the encampment, the drummer on the right - where the most senior battalion was usually situated - would strike three blows on the drum. Each drummer in turn would do likewise. As soon as all the drummers had responded, all would begin to sound the required call together. [94]

Signals For The Drummers

According to the 1755 ordinance for the exercise of the infantry, the major would signal the drummers to sound a particular call by motioning with his sword:

Rolls - the sword would be waved in a circular motion; most likely to the right for one roll, to the left for two.

Strokes - sword moved to indicate the number desired.

Aux Champs - sword raised, point up, arm extended to the height of the shoulder.

Le Drapeau - arm extended, wrist turned inward, the sword crossing the major horizontally at the height of the cravate.

La Charge - sword directly before the major, point forward, arm extended.

L'Appel - sword on shoulder.

La Retraite - sword passed across behind the back.

L'Assemblée - sword held perpendicular to the ground, point down, arm extended before him at the height of the cravate, and wrist turned downward to the inside.

Cease Drumming - a great coup of the sword toward the ground without raising it. [95]