A synonym of “rank and file,” that is, privates and corporals
of infantry. As, “the number of bayonets was 25,000.”
“It is on the bayonets that a Quartermaster-General relies for his
working and fatigue parties.” —Howitt: Hist. of Eng. (year
1854, p. 200).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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