The Exercise of 1779
Introduction and Table of Contents

Whether one is interested in the French Army of this period per se or not, the Ordonnance of 1776 is of interest to American reenactors because the uniform, equiment and drill of the French army became the model for American army as well. This is page is a work in progress and contains, for now at least, only the basic exercise of the infantry. Over time, we hope to add translations and illustrations of tactical manoeuvres and other interesting protocols, such as trooping the colors.

In July of 1776 the Louis XVI issued an Ordonnace concerning the training, discipline and exercise of His army. The French Army had been working for two decades to revamp their methods in the wake of painful defeats by Frederik the Great. The "Prussian Order" was adapted to the French "esprit", variations tested in grand tactical exercises and resulted in a thoroughly redesigned system of training and drills. This new system defined the skills and capability of the French Expeditionary Force that, to quote Cornwallis, "revived the flames of a dying revolution" and sealed the fate of the British at Yorktown.

Table of Contents

Title III: Instruction of the Recruit