E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Line of Battle.
The order of troops drawn up so as to present a battle-front. There are three linesthe van, the main body, and the rear. A fleet drawn up in line of battle is so arranged that the ships are ahead and astern of each other at stated distances.
All along the line, in every particular. The reference is to line of soldiers.
The accuracy of the statement is contested all along the line by persons on the spot.W. E. Gladstone (Newspaper report).
To break the enemys line is to derange their order of battle, and so put them to confusion.