Moving 17th Century Soldiers

From Marching Column to a Battlefield Formation

Not surprising, the usual method for moving a unit of soldiers to where the battle may take place is by the march.  Once there, the unit must then be arrayed for battle, which means transforming the unit from narrow and long to wide and short, all in an orderly fashion so as not to present a moment's opportunity for the enemy to strike.  The procedure is essentially the reverse of a battle-arrayed unit forming up for the march.

Divisions within the unit are predetermined by the commanding officer and every soldier has been told to which division he belongs.  At the place that officer selects, the column is told to "Stand!"  The commander directs the divisions into battle formation, which are then guided to their places by sergeants and one of their commands being "To this ground!"

Note that with the pikemen in the center of the column, they can readily assume the center of the battle formation (which Colonel Barriffe referred to as "Battel").

By the way, after the divisions have taken their respective positions for battle, an officer should decrease the depth of the unit (an appropriate command for which is "Ranks close forward to your Order!").

Sergeant Subtlelus says:
When soldiers are on the march, they have their weapons shouldered, and may keep them in such manner even when divisions are deploying to Battel.  But before the command is uttered, "Ranks close forward to your Order," all should be told to bring their arms to advance or a battle-ready posture.  Any soldier would be somewhat inconvenienced by being tripped, poked or prodded by his file mate's shouldered weapon.