from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A line of men, called skirmishers, thrown out to feel the enemy, protect the main body from sudden attack, conceal the movements of the main body, and the like.


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  • In the afternoon a heavy skirmish-line had been thrown forward to the heights on the south side of Cedar Creek, and a brisk affair with the enemy's pickets took place, the Confederates occupying with their main force the heights north of Strasburg.

    She Makes Her Mouth Small & Round & Other Stories

  • All this was done in the darkness, and while we were working away at our cover the enemy could be distinctly heard from our skirmish-line giving commands and making preparations to attack.

    She Makes Her Mouth Small & Round & Other Stories

  • Presently up out of the little valley where Floing is located came the Germans, deploying just on the rim of the plateau a very heavy skirmish-line, supported by a line of battle at close distance.

    She Makes Her Mouth Small & Round & Other Stories

  • Then the small flakes came in skirmish-line, and the horse bent his neck patiently as a transparency of white appeared momentarily on his coat.

    Flappers and Philosophers

  • In successive regions the same sentinel and picket duties were performed; in New England and on the Atlantic coast first; then in the interior districts, in the middle States; and already, a hundred years ago, the flying skirmish-line had crossed the great Appalachian range, and was fording the rivers of the western basin.

    Woman on the American Frontier

  • Had McPherson broken the road ever so "good" and then fallen back to the Gap as ordered, Johnston could have moved his main army to Resaca that night, and at daylight the next morning Sherman would have found in the enemy's trenches at Dalton only a skirmish-line which would have leisurely retreated before him to the new position at Resaca.

    Forty-Six Years in the Army

  • After a laborious march through dense undergrowth, during which our skirmish-line was lost in the woods and another deployed to replace it, we struck an intrenched line strongly held, and a sharp action ensued.

    Forty-Six Years in the Army

  • I got your permission to go to Giles Smith's skirmish-line, and, thinking I saw evidence of the enemy weakening, I hurried back to you and reported my observations.

    Memoirs of the Union's Three Great Civil War Generals

  • Its Commander, Colonel Rhett, of Fort Sumter notoriety, with one of his staff, had the night before been captured, by Kilpatrick's scouts, from his very skirmish-line.

    Memoirs of the Union's Three Great Civil War Generals

  • The enemy was therefore enabled, under cover or the forest, to approach quite near before he was discovered; indeed, his skirmish-line had worked through the timber and got into the field to the rear of Giles A. Smith's division of the Seventeenth Corps unseen, had captured Murray's battery of regular artillery, moving through these woods entirely unguarded, and had got possession of several of the hospital camps.

    Memoirs of the Union's Three Great Civil War Generals


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