rear guard

noun
a part of an army or military force detached from the main body to bring up and guard the rear from surprise attack, especially in a retreat.

Origin:
1475–85; < Anglo-French reregard, Old French rereguarde

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Example sentences
The capelin rear guard, sensing danger, rose off the bottom in a great fleeing
  cloud.
The lieutenant with the rear guard concluded the train.
These forklifts did not have a protective rear guard or corner post to prevent
  under-ride from occurring.
Marion followed and destroyed the rear guard as they attempted to cross the
  river.
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