ARTICLE VI. Of the Manner in which an Officer should attack the Enemy's Heavy Cavalry
In case that an officer is detached with thirty, forty, or fifty men, as a patrole, or with any other view, and he meets with a party of cuirassiers or heavy dragoons belonging to the enemy, he should endeavor, as much as possible, to conceal the strength of his own party, not discovering more than are barely necessary to observe the force and appearance of the enemy.
If he know how to profit of this advantage, he will be enabled to make a stand against them, tho' they exceed his numbers by more than half. He ought to examine if they have marched any distance, if the horses be tired, and their baggage with them, if the road by which they came be bad or otherwise, if the country be swampy, if the horses sink or the soil be firm, if they march on a plain or in a defile, and whether possible to surround them.
He should be master of all these circumstances at one view, concealing himself at a distance, or shewing but a small part of his force. His future arrangements must depend entirely on circumstances.
If he perceive that he cannot attack them to advantage on their march, he must suffer them to pass quietly on, keeping at a certain distance with a few of his people, (the major part being concealed,) as if disinclined or afraid to attack them, till they arrive at a situation more favorable to his design. He is then to divide his detachment into four, five, or six parties, and begin the attack on the weakest side, of which an intelligent officer ought always to be a judge.
A very little time will convince him of the capacity of the officer opposed to him, and the good or bad order of his people, from whence he will easily conclude if any advantage be to be gained.
It should ever be an officer's design to fatigue and harass the enemy's horse, by drawing them on to soft ground where the heavy cavalry readily sink, and obliging them to a variety of manoeuvres, with a view of throwing them into disorder. If he carry this point, his success is certain.
The attack is then to be made on all sides, and when every fear of resistance be done away, he may give quarter: if it be necessary, however, the horses may be killed till he finds himself completely master of the enemy, and that they are flying: at this period he may be allowed to take some prisoners.
All that can be done by the officers of the enemy in such situation is, either to send a part of their people towards us, or wait steadily and without moving to receive us. In the first case, they must be attacked and beat back to the body of the party as soon as possible, our troops mixing with them: during this period, the other parties are to make a general attack on all sides, occasioning universal disorder. In the second case, we should endeavor to surround them on all sides, keeping up a general fire; and as they will be obliged to turn against those who take them in the rear, that favorable moment should be employed in charging them to advantage.
But if the enemy's officer be a man of experience, the moment he sees any people coming towards him, he will take such a position as to secure his rear, and only subject himself to be attacked in front. It will then be very difficult, if not impossible, to make any thing of him. In this case, the wisest part to take is, to withdraw to a certain distance, and suffer the enemy to continue their march, but to follow sufficiently close to take advantage of any favorable position to employ the means already laid down.