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An Officer's Notes

(Third Edition)

Captain R. M. Parker

U. S. Cavalry

Compiled by

Lieut. C. C. Griffith, C. A. C.

Copyright 1917, and Published by

George U. Harvey

l©9 Lafayette Street. New York

109 I^ayette St., N. Y. City

Price Two Dollars

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Dedicated to the

Prophet of Preparedness

Major-General Leonard Wood
United States Army

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The need has long been felt for a small pocket manual col-
lecting in one volume the essential parts of military informa-
tion required by a young officer before he can properly per-
form his duties. The basic subjects have been outlined by
the War Department in the course prescribed for a commis-
sion in the Officers Reserve Corps. Endeavor has been made
to condense and compile the military information covering
all these subjects in the simplest, briefest, and clearest manner

Captain Parker's experience has particularly fitted him for
a work of this kind. For the past twenty years he has been
constantly with troops, has seen active service, and has gained
much valuable information and experience. During the sum-
mer of 1916 he was an instructor at the Military Training
Camps, and during the winter has been in charge of a cor-
respondence course for officers along the lines prescribed by
the War Department. Since the creation of the Officers Re-
serve Corps he has been conducting k series of lectures on
these same subjects. ^

"An Officers Notes" is a compilement of the lectures given
by Captain Parker on

Army Regulations (Company administration),

Military Laws,

Small-Arms Firing,

Field Service Regulations,

Military Topography,

Drill Regulations (Infantry and Cavalry).


These lectures are compiled from official publications,
emphasizing the important points, and expressing the ideas
in simple phraseology. The chapters on Drill Regulations
and Hippology have been drawn largely from practical ex-
perience, and contain helpful suggestions which Captain
Parker had acquired during his long experience in the Army.
To these notes have been added some plates and tables of
military infomiation which a young officer will find useful to
him in active service.


359184 Ut Lieut.. C. A. c

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March 23« 1917.

Iff dear Captain Parker:

I wish to express te you and to
Lieut. C. C, Griffith my appreciation of
the very excellent work which you have done
in "ikn Officer's Notes". This little book
contains in limited space and well arranged
a vast smount of most useful information.
It will be of great value not only to
those )i^o are attending the military train-
ing camps but especiflQly to those who are
preparing to take the examination for the
Officers Reserve Corps. It is extremely
compact, useful and a. very valuable addition
to the list of booki/iow so much in demand.

Uajor General, U.S.A

Captain Balph M. Parker,
OoTemors Island* N. Y.

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1. Source— -The Constitution of the United States.

2. Kinds — (a) Military Government, which is military
power exercised by a belligerent in occupied territory of the
enemy. (Part of International Law.)

(b) Martial Law at Home, which is military power ex-
ercised in time of war, insurrection, or rebellion over persons
and things not ordinarily subjected to it.

(c) Martial Law as applied to the Army; which is, mili-
tary power extending in time of war over persons in the
military service, as to obligations arising out of such emer-
gency and not falling within the domain of military law, not
otherwise regulated by law.

Note. The last two divisions (b) and (c) are applica-
tions of the doctrine of necessity to a condition of war, and
spring from the right of national self-preservation.

{d) Military law. This is the legal system that regu-
lates the government of the military establishment. Its
sources are written military law in the form of the Articles
of War; the other statutory enactments pertaining to the
military service; the Army regulations; general and special
orders and decisions promulgated by the War Department
and by law of military commanders. The unwritten military
law is the "custom of war," consisting of customs of service
in time of peace and war.

3. Military Tribunals— (a) Military commissions and
provost courts, for the trial of offenders against the laws of
war and under piartial law.

(b) Courts-martial — general, special and summary —
for the trial of offenders against military law.

(c) Courts of inquiry, for the examination of trans-
actions of, or accusations or imputations against, officers or

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a JP«rm»icr tinSiJect to MiUtary £aw


<a) Atl dflficefs an^ soldiers belonging to the regular army
of the United States, all volunteers from the dates of their
muster or acceptance into the military service of the United
States, and all other persons lawfully called, drafted, or
ordered into or to duty, or for training in the said service
from the dates they are required by the terms of the call,
draft, or order to obey the same. That includes the Regular
Army, entire; Volunteers when mustered into the United
States Service; National Guard, from the date of the order
and the draft into the federal service; members of the Of-
ficers' Reserve Corps when ordered for duty with the army
of the proper authority; Enlisted Reserve Corps when or-
dered into active service.

(b) Cadets of the United States Military Academy.

(c) Officers and soldiers of the Marine Corps when de-
tached for service with the Army.

(d) Officers and enlisted men of the Medical Department
of the Navy, when on duty with marines which have been
detached for duty with the Army.

(c) All retainers to the camp and all persons accompany-
ing or serving with the armies of the United States without
the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and in time
of war all such retainers and persons accompanying or serv-
ing with the armies in the field, both within and without the
territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

(f) All persons under sentence of a courts-martial.

(g) Army field and quartermaster field clerks.


(a) General courts-martial.

(b) Special courts-martial.

. (c) Summary courts-martial.


Officers in the military service of the United States, and
in the Marine Corps when detached for duty with the army.

Exceptions — No officers shall be eligible to sit as a
member of a general or special court when he is the accuser
or a witness for the prosecution; when there is only one

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▲nthorltlAS for Conrts-Martial 8

officer present with a command, however, he shall be the
summary court-martial of that command and shall try cases
brought before him. Chaplains, veterinarians, dental suiv
geons and 2nd Lieutenants, Quartermaster Corps, are not in
practice, detailed as imembers of courts-martial.

Number of Members— (a) General courts-martial—
Any number of officers from 5 to 13, and shall not consist
of less than 13 officers when that number can be convened
without manifest injury to the service. The decision of the
officer appointing the court is final as to the number
which can be convened without manifest injury to
the service. If a court is reduced to less than 5 members it
will direct the Judge Advocate to report the facts to the
convening authority and await his orders. Such report will
always be made through the commanding officer of the post,
command, or station where the court is sitting. The com-
manding officer in forwarding a report will submit the names
of the officers in his command who are available for detail
to the court.

(b) Special courts-martial— Any number of officers from
3 to 5 inclusive.

(c) Summary courts-martial, shall consist of one officer.
The word "officer" means commissioned officer.

An officer suspended from rank is not eligible for detail
upon a court. A retired officer, performing active duty in
time of war, is eligible for courts-martial duty. At other
times he is not eligible for such duty, except when placed in
command of a post, or when assigned to recruiting duty,
when he may act as summary court-martial.

Volunteer officers and officers of the Reserve Corps or-
dered into active service are eligible.

Note. No distinction exists between Regulars and other
forces as to eligibility for courts-martial duty.

Unless unavoidable, no officer shall be tried by officers in-
ferior to him in rank. The convening authority decides as
to whether or not it is avoidable.


(a) The President of the United States.

(b) The Commanding Officer of a territorial division.

(c) The Commanding Officer of a territorial department.

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4 Special Conrts-Mortial

(d) The Superintendent of the Military Academy,

(c) The Commanding Officer of an Army.

(f) The Commanding Officer of an Army Corps.

(g) The Commanding Officer of a (tactical) division.
(h) The Commanding Officer of a separate brigade.

(i) The Commanding Officer of any District, or of any
force or body of troops, when empowered by the President
to do so.

Exceptions to the Above — That when any of the fore-
going Commanders is the accuser or the prosecutor, the court
shall be appointed by superior competent authority. The
Superintendent of the Military Academy cannot convene a
court for the trial of an officer.


Authorities Competent to Appoint— (a) The Com-
manding Officer of a District!

(b) The Commanding Officer of a Garrison.

(c) The Commanding Officer of a Fort.

(d) The Commanding Officer of a Camp.

(e) The Cortimanding Officer of any place where troops
are on duty.

(f) The Commanding Officer of a Brigade.

(g) The Commanding Officer of a Regiment.

(h) The Commanding Officer of a Detached Battalion.

(i) The Commanding Officer of any other detached

When any of the foregoing Commanders is the accuser or
the prosecutor, the court shall be appointed by a superior
authority. The above mentioned authorities may appoint
special courts-imartial for any portion of their commands.

Rank of Appointing Authority — Authority to appoint
courts-martial is entirely independent of any particular rank.

Commanding Officer as a Member— When but two of-
ficers, in addition to the Commanding Officer, are available, he
will not detail himself as a member. In such a case if superior
authority desires to appoint a special court-martial for such
command, the Commanding Officer may be detailed as a
member of the court

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Snnmiary Conrti^flUtrtlal 6


Authorities Competent to Appoint— (a)— The Com-
manding Officer of a Garrison.

(b) The Commanding Officer of a Fort.

(c) The Commanding Officer of a Camp.

(d) The Commanding Officer of any other place where
troops are on duty.

(e) The Commanding Officer of a Regiment.

(f) The Commanding Officer of a Detached Battalion.

(g) The Conwnanding Officer of a Detached Company.
(h) The Commanding Officer of any other detachment.
Superior authority may appoint a summary court in any case

where deemed advisable. When more than one officer is
present the Commanding Officer will not detail himself as a
summary court.


Power to Appoint — For each general or special court-
martial the convening authority shall appoint a judge ad-
vocate, and for each general court-martial when necessary,
one or imore assistant judge advocates.


Jurisdiction Defined— The jurisdiction of a court-martial
is its power to try and determine cases leeallv referred to
it and, in case of a finding of guilty, to award a punishment
for the offence within the prescribed limits.


Courts-martial form no part of the federal judicial system
referred to in the Constitution of the United States. They are
established under the constitutional power, however, to msike
rules for the government and regulation of the land^ forces,
and are recognized in the provisions of the fifth amendment
expressly exempting* "cases arising in the land and naval
forces" from the requirement as to presentment and indict-
ment by grand jury. They are tribunals appointed by mili-
tary orders issued under authority of law. Their jurisdiction
is entirely criminal. They have no power to adjudge

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6 To Show JarUdlotion

damages for personal injuries or private wrongs, nor to col-
lect private debts. No appeal can be made from them, nor
can they be set aside by any other court. The United States
Courts, however, may on a writ of habeas corpus inquire into
the legality of detention of a person held by military au-
thority and may order him discharged, if military jurisdic-
tion does not exist. Sentences of courts-martial have no
legal effect until they have received approval or confirma-
tion of the proper commanding ofl&cer.


(a) That it was convened by competent authority.

(b) That it was composed of persons legally competent.

(c) That it was vested with power to try the person and
the offence.

(d) That its sentence was in accordance with law.


In accordance with the principle of comity as between the
civil and military tribunals in cases of concurrent jurisdic-
tion that which first attaches in a particular case is entitled to
proceed to its termination. This is, however, not an inflex-
ible rule.

Cannot be divested by act of accused — A court-martial
having assumed jurisdiction of a case, cannot be prevented
from discharging its duty by any wrongful act on the part
of the accused. For instance, if the accused has escaped
from military custody and furnishes no grounds for the
court's not proceeding to a finding, the court should find and,
in the event of conviction, sentence him as in any other case.
In such a case it is proper for the counsel to represent the
accused as though he were present.

Jurisdiction Not Territorial — It extends to persons
legally subject to it and to offences committed by them in any
place whatsoever; i. e. in the case of an attache committing
an offence, when on foreign duty.

Jurisdiction When Terminated— Usually military juris-
diction ceases when military persons sever their connection

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0«n«ral Courts-Martial 7

legally with the military service of the United States. There
are exceptions to this, however, as follows:

(a) Persons being guilty of fraud, embezzlement etc.,
though dismissed or discharged from the service continue to
be liable for an act not known at time of discharge.

(b) When an officer in time of war, dismissed by the
President, applies in writing for a trial on the grounds that
he was wrongfully dismissed, the President shall convene a
court-martial to try the officer on the charges for which he
was dismissed. If the court-martial is not convened within
six months of the making of the application by the officer,
or after being tried, the court does not award dismissal or
death, the President's order of dismissal shall be void.

(c) All persons undergoing sentence of a court-martial.

(d) Where a soldier obtains a discharge by fraud.

(c) Even though discharged from a term of enlistment,
it does not relieve the soldier from the consequence of de-
sertion committed during a former term of enlistment.


As to Persons and Offences— (a)— Any person subject
to Military Law, for

(b) Any crime or offence punishable under the Articles
of War.

(c) Any other person subject to trial by military tribunals
for violations of law of war.

Limits of Punishment — Punishment upon conviction is
discretionary with a general court-martial, except

(a) When mandatory by law.

(b) When limited by order of the President.

(c) Death punishment can only be imposed when specifi-
cally authorized.


As to Persons and Offences— (1)— Any person subject
to military law, excepting

(a) Commissioned officers.

(b) Any person subject to military law belonging to a
class excepted by the President.

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8 Snxnmary Oonrts^Martial

(2) Any crime or offence not capital, punishable by ar-
ticles of war.

Note. — Cadets and soldiers holding certificates of eligi-
bility for promotion are excepted from the jurisdiction of
Special Courts-Martial.

The following are capital crimes and offences under the
Articles of War.
~ (1) Peace offences:

(a) Assaulting or disobeying a superior officer. (A. W. 64)

(b) Mutiny or sedition. (A W. 66)

(c) Failure to suppress mutiny or sedition. (A. W. 67)
(2) War offences:

(a) Desertion. (A.W.58)

(b) Advising or aiding another to desert. (A..W. 59?

(c) Misbehavior before the enemy. (A. W. 75)

(d) Subordinates compelling commander to surrender.
(A. W. 76)

(e) Improper use of countersign. (A. W. 77)

(f) Forcing a safeguard. (A. W. 78)

(g) Relieving, corresponding with or aidinc: the
enemy. (A. W. 81)

(h) Spies. (A.W.82)

(i) Misbehavior of sentinels. (A. W. 86)

Limits of Punishment— A special courts-mariial shall
not have power to adjudge,

(a) Dishonorable discharge, nor.

(b) Confinement in excess of 6 months nor

(c) Forfeiture of more than 6 months pay.

Note. Reduction to the ranks of non-commissioned of-
ficers and reduction in classification of first-class privates may
be adjudged by a special courts-martial.


As to Persons and Offences — Same as for Special courts-
martial, except that a non-commissioned officer, who objects
to trial by a summary court will not be tried by such court,
except upon the order of authority competent to bring him
before a general courts-martial.

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other miitarar TrlbnnaUi 9

Any crime not capital, made punishable by the articles of

Limits of Pi^iishment— A summary court shall not ad-
judge :

(a) Dishonorable discharge.

(b) Confinement in excess of three months, nor

(c) Forfeiture of more than three months pay.

Note. When sumfnary court officer is the Command-
ing Officer, no sentence of such summary court adjudging
confinement or forfeiture, or both, for a period in excess of
one month, shall be carried into execution until approved by
superior authority.


When Concurrent With Courts-Martial— The provisions
of the Articles of War shall not be construed as depriving
military commissions, provost courts, or other military tribun-
als of concurrent jurisdiction in respect to offenders or of-
fences that may be lawfully tried by such tribunals.


(a) An officer charged with crime or serious offence shall
be placed in arrest, or may be placed in confinement by the
same authority.

(b) A soldier charged with crime or serious offence shall
be placed in confinement. When charged with a minor of-
fence, he may be placed under arrest.

(c) Any other person subject to military law, charged
with crime or serious offence may be placed under arrest.

Note. Persons under arrest may be confined; may be re-
stricted to barracks, quarters or tents, except when such
limits are extended by proper authority. An officer who
breaks his arrest or escapes from confinement shall be dis-
missed, or suffer such other punishment as a court-martial
may direct. Other persons who escape from confinement or
break arrest shall be punished as the court-martial may direct.

Who May Order Arrests— (a) Only Commanding Of-
ficers are empoyirered to place officers in arrest, except as
provided in Article of War 68.

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10 Arrests aiLd ConflnemeiLts

Note. Under A. W. 68, all officers or non-commis-
sioned officers have power to part and quell all quarrels,
frays, and disorder among persons subject to military law.
They may order officers taking part in such fray or disorder
into arrest, and place other persons subject to military law
in arrest or confinement, as the case may require, until their
proper superior officer is acquainted with the facts. Who-
soever refuses to obey such an officer or non-commissioned
officer, or threatens violence to him, shall be punished as a
court-martial may direct.

(b) Judge advocates of courts-martial have no power to
place officers or soldiers in arrest, who are about to be tried
by a court, or to compel the attendance of the accused before
a court. These duties pertain to the convening authority,
commanding officer, or officer having custody of the accused.

(c) Courts-martial have no control over the nature of the
arrest, or other status of restraint of the prisoner, except in
regard to his personal freedom in its presence. The Com-
manding Officer has entire control in such matters.

Arrcdt— How Executed — An officer is placed under ar-
rest by his Commanding Officer in person, or through another
officer by a verbal or written order advising him that he is
under arrest, or will consider himself under arrest, or words
to that effect.

Status of Officer in Arrest — A person in arrest cannot

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Online LibraryRalph Middleton ParkerAn officer's notes → online text (page 1 of 18)