shifting every one as they could

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Senior Member
Hi friends, it is cited from Colonel Jack by Daniel Defoe.
I need your help on this pharase: " shifting every one as they could

In the first heat of this action, a German officer of dragoons, well followed, had knocked down three men that stood next me; and, offering
me quarter, I was obliged to accept it, and gave him my sword; for our men were upon the point of quitting their post and shifting every one
as they could
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    “Shift” is meant in the sense “manage by oneself”, which is not a very common usage, but is in the WordReference dictionary. Everyone was on the point of leaving their posts and adopting an “every man for himself” policy. “Every one” qualifies “our men”; “as they could” means “as best they could”.
    Last edited:
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