ARTICLE XV. On Alarm Posts
By an alarm post we are to understand a certain point where a party is to assemble, in case of alarm, surprise, or approach of an enemy. It is not a matter of indifference how this place is chosen, so as to be in a condition to assemble, and shew a face to the enemy.
When the place is to be fixed on, the village and all its environs are to be well examined, to know if the country be smooth, hilly, or intersected by woods or rivers. Distinction should also be made, whether it would answer the purpose by day or by night, if the ground can contain many different bodies of troops, or only light troops.
If there be any hussars in the village, the alarm post must not be in front towards the enemy, but in the rear, (particularly at night,) and towards that side from whence we can be supported; as otherwise the enemy might prevent our rallying, and disperse the people as fast as they come out of the village. By day, a spot may be chosen in front of the village, and on that side where the advanced guard is placed, to cover that as well as the quarters.
If the environs are too level, and the enemy can approach the village on every side, the detachment had better assemble in the rear of the village, and be kept awake the whole night. From this spot small patroles should constantly be sent out. The officer or non-commissioned officer of the advanced guard must also be made acquainted with this situation, that in case he has a report to make, or is repulsed by the enemy, he may know where to find the main body of the party.
If the country be much intersected, the alarm post, both by day and night, should be chosen behind some defiles, through which the enemy are obliged to pass, as by this means a small party can defend itself against a much superior force.
It would be an egregious error, to choose an alarm post in front of a defile, at least if it be not covered by a body of infantry.
The moment any alert happens during the night, the detachment must assemble as quickly as possible in the rear of the village, to keep the enemy in check, till the whole of it be got together. If then, on account of superiority, it should be obliged to retire, it should be done very coolly, to allow time for the troops in the rear to put themselves in good order to support you, receive the enemy, and make a glorious affair of it.
The place of rendezvous, both by night and day, should be pointed out to the people by the commanding officer, and the officers ought always to be the first on the spot to give their orders, and form the people as they arrive.