ARTICLE XIII. On an Attack by Night on a Quarter occupied by Hussars
If, for the reasons laid down in the preceding article, an attack be proposed on a quarter of hussars by night, it should be begun by approaching as near as possible to the village where they are cantoned, avoiding the advanced guards, arriving at the intended point, if possible, from behind by going about, and endeavoring to prevent the enemy from assembling.
In order to attain the first object, the advanced guard with the flankers near to each other must move forward in silence, and endeavor to approach the enemy. As soon as the flankers find they are discovered, they should fall on the enemy full gallop, and endeavor to mix with them, without allowing them to mount, or accompany them into the village.
The distribution of his party is first to take place, which cannot properly be done without having some idea of the force of the enemy. Suppose the party attacked to be fifty in number, and the attackers only twenty-five or thirty, the arrangements are to be made in the following manner:--
A non-commissioned officer with ten men forms the advanced guard, who are already acquainted with the enemy's rallying point, in case of an alert: as soon as he has entered the village with the enemy, he must make directly for this spot, and take possession of it, killing and dispersing whatever comes in his way.
The second party, consisting also of ten, will follow the first pretty closely, enter the village with them, and then disperse to prevent the enemy from rallying, hashing every individual as he presents himself: this is not the moment for making prisoners, but must be delayed till the enemy can no longer resist, or that they have surrendered themselves.
The third party of five will also follow the first, keeping their files close, that they may be in readiness to repair to any spot where the enemy appear to intend resistance, or where the greatest uproar prevails, in order to support the suffering party.
The fourth party, composed also of five, must remain drawn up without the village, to receive the prisoners that are brought to them. But if they perceive that the enemy are beaten, a part of them may also be detached to ramble round the village, and pick up those who wish to escape on foot.
The quarter of the officers, as has been already said, should be the first object of the people appointed to that service, and the officers, if possible, made prisoners. The other men should scatter themselves about the village, to prevent the enemy from mounting, or assembling together.
The officer will most certainly endeavor to escape, by passing through the garden or some other opening, that he may be able to rally his people: but though he should succeed in this, the third detachment will be sufficiently strong to disperse them again, and when the officers are once taken, no one will remain to give orders, or get the people together.
The officer who commands should be personally present to give all the necessary orders, and as soon as the affair is finished, he ought to retire in the manner proposed for an attack by day.
In a night expedition of this nature, every kind of pillage must be very particularly forbidden, for if this be suffered, the soldier neglects his chief object, and thinks he can in security commit such baseness as tarnishes the most noble exploit, forfeits the reputation of an officer, makes the whole enterprize miscarry, and leads the detachment into the very snare which they had prepared for the enemy.
The retreat is to be conducted in the same manner as proposed in the attack by day.
In night expeditions it is also necessary to make use of some mark or signal to know each other, such as, the turning of the pelisses, wearing the cloaks, or putting a piece of white linen on one arm, a green bough in the cap, or choosing some particular word, which must be given to the people beforehand, that they may know each other in the dark: for want of this caution, very serious inconvenience often happens.