Moving 17th Century Soldiers

Following in the File &
Aligning Yourself with Your File & Rank

Unless you are a File Leader, this is the soldier you follow while in your file. That's right!  You follow the soldier directly in front of you.  That soldier follows the one in front of him - and so on up to the File Leader who is flawlessly taking direction from the officer or sergeant.

You also stay in line with this soldier, not to the right nor left of an imaginary line drawn from the File Leader back through him to the Bringer Up.  To orient yourself in this line is to dress the file (to use a modern military term).

In addition, keep an eye on the soldier to your right (referred to in period texts as the 'sideman').  It is to him you even yourself with the rank, that is, you must be no farther back nor farther forward than the soldier to your right.

Align yourself to those to
your front and to your right.

Nevertheless, the adept soldier always keeps his ears trained on the officer or sergeant.  Their words are your commands.  The movement of the soldier in front of you as well as the soldier to your right should harmonize with what you hear.  If perchance they don't, (not as if any File Leader would screw up) well, the officer or sergeant is the FINAL authority.

Sergeant Subtlelus says:

Consider soldiers in well evened files and ranks to be positioned as though they were points at the intersections of lines on a grid.  When the unit moves, a single grid consisting of all its points moves.