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Military  Etiquette
ARTICLE XXIX:  Honors to be paid by the troops.

254. Courtesy among military men is indispensable to discipline. Respect to superiors will not be confined to obedience on duty, but will be extended to all occasions. It is always the duty of the inferior to accost or to offer first the customary salutation, and of the superior to return such complimentary notice.

Translation:   Practicing the appropriate courtesies in the Military is paramount in showing respect to your superiors (officers and NCOs’) and maintaining discipline among the armies.   It is the duty of ALL soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to offer the customary salute to individuals who are higher in rank than you.  And it is expected that the individual you are saluting return the salute in kind manner.

255. Sergeants, with swords drawn, will salute by bringing them to a present —with muskets, by bringing the left hand across the body, so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder. Corporals out of the ranks, and privates not sentries, will carry their muskets at a shoulder as sergeants, and salute in like manner.

Translation:  Sergeants bearing swords will draw their swords and present arms with the sword (One.  At the distance six paces from the person to be saluted, raise the sword or sabre perpendicularly, the point up, the flat of the blade opposite to the right eye, the guard at the height of the shoulder, and the elbow supported on the body.
Two.  Drop the point of the sword or sabre by extending the arm, so that the right hand may be brought to the side of the right thigh, and remain in that position until the person to whom the salute is rendered shall be passed, or shall have passed, six paces.
Three.  Raise the sword or sabre smartly and place the back of the blade against the right shoulder.)

If carrying a musket the Sergeants will salute by bringing their left hand across the body, palm down so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder.  Corporals who are not in the ranks (formation) or privates who are not performing guard duty and carrying a musket, when an officer approaches, will salute the same way as a sergeant carrying a musket (left hand across the body, palm down so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder).

It should be noted that whether marching in formation as a group OR just walking in a group, it is NOT necessary for each individual to salute the approaching officer.  The senior enlisted soldier (Sergeant/corporal) is only required to render the salute for the group or formation.

256. When a soldier without arms, or with side-arms only, meets an officer, he is to raise his hand to the right side of the visor of his cap, palm to the front, elbow raised as high as the shoulder, looking at the same time in a respectful and soldier-like manner at the officer, who will return the compliment thus offered.



Translation:  Simply, if you do not have a musket, you salute when the officer is six paces away by extending your right hand to the right corner of your cap’s visor, fingers together and straight, palm forward, elbow the height of the shoulder, all the time looking at the officer.  Wail for the officer to return the salute before removing your hand from your visor.  If you are not wearing a cap, salute in same manor by placing your hand to the corner of your right eyebrow.

257. A non-commissioned officer or soldier being seated, and without particular occupation, will rise on the approach of an officer, and make the customary salutation. If standing, he will turn toward the officer for the same purpose. If the parties remain in the same place or on the same ground, such compliments need not be repeated. 

Translation:  If you are seated, and not being occupied with an activity (writing, assembling something or whatever) you are required to rise and render the proper salute.  If already standing salute in like manner.  If the officer stays in the same room, building, (tent or company area for our purposes) you are not required to keep saluting.

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Translations by Captain Bill Purdy
This page was last updated: January 28, 2018
Camp Etiquette 

When an officer makes his way through camp, it is common military etiquette to have the first soldier who sights the officer to declare "Officer in the camp!" . At that notice, the practice is for the other soldiers within hearing in the camp to come to attention and salute. Once the officer has either completed his own salute in response to their salute, or has walked past the soldier, the soldier may then complete his salute. In the event that the officer does not make a comment or give a command, such as "As you were" or "At ease", the soldiers are then free to resume the activities (or inactivity) in which they were engaged prior to the appearance of the officer.


Flag Etiquette

Casual handling of the flag would have been unthinkable in the days of the War, and should be equally unthinkable now. Since so few people have ever had occasion to handle a flag and because it is a highly visible aspect of what we do as re-enactors, it is fitting to discuss flag etiquette.

The state flag and regimental or company colors may be dipped to a person or thing as a mark of honor, but the National flag is never to be dipped to any person or thing.  Dipping the flag to a person or thing brings dishonor to the flag.

The custom is to display the flag between the hours of sunrise and sunset. However, it may be displayed at night on special occasions when it is desirable to produce a patriotic effect. 

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or review, all persons present, whether military or civilian, should face the flag, stand at attention, and salute in the appropriate manner. Men in uniform are to render the military salute.

When a rectangular flag is removed from the flagstaff or pole, it is to be folded in a specific manner. The flag, never touching the ground, is to be held by one man at either end. The flag is then folded lengthwise so that the top of the flag is folded over the top of the bottom half of the flag. The flag is then folded lengthwise once again in the same direction. From that point, the flag should be folded diagonally from one end, with a number of successive folds creating diagonal folds until the flag is folded to a triangular shape, commonly referred to as the shape of a "cocked" or tricorn hat.


Military Etiquette PART III

Manner of Dress

Regulations required that soldiers wear the coat or jacket buttoned at the collar. In camp, it was not uncommon for men to wear a shirt without jacket, coat, or vest.  Custom dictated that it was proper to wear a vest when dispensing with the jacket or coat, as it was improper to expose one’s shirt-front, especially for an officer, although this may have been more widely observed among the men of refinement and higher social stature than other men.
Etiquette of the Hat

A hat should be worn almost always.  Exceptions to the wearing of the hat may include occasions where the soldier or officer may be indoors, and always applies when the soldier or officer is present at divine services, without regard to whether it is indoors or outdoors. On those occasions when soldiers may neglect their etiquette regarding those times when it is appropriate to remove covers, it is incumbent upon their fellows and their superiors to remind them of their breach of etiquette.