Moving 17th Century Soldiers

Firing by Forlorn File

"By file, musketeers give fire and countermarch"*

This is basic for the use of musketeers on the battlefield.  With this method, a steady rate of fire may be had rather than sporadic shots at the enemy.  With a steady rate of fire came coordinated fire, which evolved into volley fire.

Immediately after firing, that musketeer retires to the end of the file by the 'maintain ground' countermarch, with added motion of that musketeer then turning and rejoining his file. Once back in file, the musketeer takes the opportunity to reload.  By the time he reaches the front of the file again, he is ready to fire.

*Colonel Barriffe did not provide a command specific to this, so the command here is suggested.  This procedure would be done within larger maneuvers, being an intrinsic part of them, and the method well understood and practiced by previous drill.

For brevity, shown here is a file only four musketeers deep.  Maurits van Nassau originally recommended 10 musketeers for a file.  By the Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631, King Gustavus Adolphus had decreased that file length to six.  In many of his examples, Colonel Barriffe showed eight (and he referred to a file sometimes as a "file of Forlorns").

Sergeant Subtlelus says:
As applied to musketeers, "Forlorn" is derived from "Forlorn Hope," a term originally given to musketeers who ventured forth away from the protection of pike.  Should such musketeers be set upon by cavalry, they would have only a 'forlorn hope' of surviving.  'Forlorn' evolved to refer to musketeers operating independent of pike.