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Title: Elements of Military Art and Science - Or, Course Of Instruction In Strategy, Fortification, Tactics Of Battles, &C.; Embracing The Duties Of Staff, Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, And Engineers; Adapted To The Use Of Volunteers And Militia; Third Edition; With Critical Notes On The Mexican And Crimean Wars.
Author: Halleck, Henry Wager, 1815-1872
Language: English
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443 & 445 BROADWAY.



Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1846, BY D.
APPLETON & COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the
United States for the Southern District of New York.


I. INTRODUCTION.--Dr. Wayland's Arguments on the Justifiableness of War
briefly examined.     7

II. STRATEGY.--General Divisions of the Art.--Rules for planning a
Campaign.--Analysis of the Military Operations of Napoleon.     35

III. FORTIFICATIONS.--Their importance in the Defence of States proved
by numerous Historical Examples.      61

IV. LOGISTICS.--Subsistence.--Forage.--Marches.--Convoys.--
Castrametation.      88

V. TACTICS.--The Twelve Orders of Battle, with Examples of
each.--Different Formations of Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and
Engineers on the Field of Battle, with the Modes of bringing Troops into
action.      114

VI. MILITARY POLITY.--The Means of National Defence best suited to the
character and condition of a Country, with a brief Account of those
adopted by the several European Powers. 135

VII. DEFENCE OF OUR SEA-COAST.--Brief Description of our Maritime
Fortifications, with an Examination of the several Contests that have
taken place between Ships and Forts, including the Attack on San Juan
d'Ulloa, and on St. Jean d'Acre.      155

Fortifications on the Frontier, and an analysis of our Northern
Campaigns.      210

IX. ARMY ORGANIZATION.--Staff and Administrative Corps.--Their History,
Duties, Numbers, and Organization. 235

X. ARMY ORGANIZATION.--Infantry and Cavalry.--Their History, Duties,
Numbers, and Organization. 256

XI. ARMY ORGANIZATION.--Artillery.--Its History and Organization, with a
Brief Notice of the different kinds of Ordnance, the Manufacture of
Projectiles, &c.      275

XII. ARMY ORGANIZATION.--Engineers.--Their History, Duties, and
Organization,--with a Brief Discussion, showing their importance as a
part of a modern Army Organization.      300

XIII. PERMANENT FORTIFICATIONS. Historical Notice of the progress of
this Art.--Description of the several parts of a Fortress, and the
various Methods of fortifying a Position.      327

XIV. FIELD ENGINEERING.--Field Fortifications.--Military
Communications.--Military Bridges.--Sapping, Mining, and the Attack and
Defence of a Fortified Place.      342

XV. MILITARY EDUCATION.--Military Schools of France, Prussia, Austria,
Russia, England, &c.--Washington's Reasons for establishing the West
Point Academy.--Rules of Appointment and Promotion in Foreign
Services.--Absurdity and Injustice of our own System.      378



The following pages were hastily thrown together in the form of
lectures, and delivered, during, the past winter, before the Lowell
Institute of Boston. They were written without the slightest intention
of ever publishing them; but several officers of militia, who heard them
delivered, or afterwards read them in manuscript, desire their
publication, on the ground of their being useful to a class of officers
now likely to be called into military service. It is with this view
alone that they are placed in the hands of the printer. No pretension is
made to originality in any part of the work; the sole object having been
to embody, in a small compass, well established military principles, and
to illustrate these by reference to the events of past history, and the
opinions and practice of the best generals.

Small portions of two or three of the following chapters have already
appeared, in articles furnished by the author to the New York and
Democratic Reviews, and in a "Report on the Means of National Defence,"
published by order of Congress.


MAY, 1846.




Our distance from the old world, and the favorable circumstances in
which we have been placed with respect to the other nations of the new
world, have made it so easy for our government to adhere to a pacific
policy, that, in the sixty-two years that have elapsed since the
acknowledgment of our national independence, we have enjoyed more than
fifty-eight of general peace; our Indian border wars have been too
limited and local in their character to seriously affect the other parts
of the country, or to disturb the general conditions of peace. This
fortunate state of things has done much to diffuse knowledge, promote
commerce, agriculture, and manufactures; in fine, to increase the
greatness of the nation and the happiness of the individual. Under these
circumstances our people have grown up with habits and dispositions
essentially pacific, and it is to be hoped that these feelings may not
soon be changed. But in all communities opinions sometimes run into
extremes; and there are not a few among us who, dazzled by the
beneficial results of a long peace, have adopted the opinion that war in
any case is not only useless, but actually immoral; nay, more, that to
engage in war is wicked in the highest degree, and even _brutish_.

All modern ethical writers regard _unjust_ war as not only immoral, but
as one of the greatest of crimes--murder on a large scale. Such are all
wars of mere ambition, engaged in for the purpose of extending regal
power or national sovereignty; wars of plunder, carried on from
mercenary motives; wars of propagandism, undertaken for the unrighteous
end of compelling men to adopt certain religious or political opinions,
whether from the alleged motives of "introducing a more orthodox
religion," or of "extending the area of freedom." Such wars are held in
just abhorrence by all moral and religious people: and this is believed
to be the settled conviction of the great mass of our own citizens.

But in addition to that respectable denomination of Christians who deny
our right to use arms under any circumstances, there are many religious
enthusiasts in other communions who, from causes already noticed, have
adopted the same theory, and hold _all_ wars, even those in
self-defence, as unlawful and immoral. This opinion has been, within the
last few years, pressed on the public with great zeal and eloquence, and
many able pens have been enlisted in its cause. One of the most popular,
and by some regarded one of the most able writers on moral science, has
adopted this view as the only one consonant with the principles of
Christian morality.

It has been deemed proper, in commencing a course of lectures on war, to
make a few introductory remarks respecting this question of its
justifiableness. We know of no better way of doing this than to give on
the one side the objections to war as laid down in Dr. Wayland's Moral
Philosophy, and on the other side the arguments by which other ethical
writers have justified a resort to war. We do not select Dr. Wayland's
work for the purpose of criticizing so distinguished an author; but
because he is almost the only writer on ethics who advocates these
views, and because the main arguments against war are here given in
brief space, and in more moderate and temperate language than that used
by most of his followers. I shall give his arguments in his own

"I. All wars are contrary to the revealed will of God."

It is said in reply, that if the Christian religion condemns all wars,
no matter how just the cause, or how necessary for self-defence, we must
expect to find in the Bible some direct prohibition of war, or at least
a prohibition fairly implied in other direct commandments. But the Bible
nowhere prohibits war: in the Old Testament we find war and even
conquest positively commanded, and although war was raging in the world
in the time of Christ and his apostles, still they said not a word of
its unlawfulness and immorality. Moreover, the fathers of the church
amply acknowledge the right of war, and directly assert, that when war
is justly declared, the Christian may engage in it either by stratagem
or open force. If it be of that highly wicked and immoral character
which some have recently attributed to it, most assuredly it would be
condemned in the Bible in terms the most positive and unequivocal.

But it has been said that the use of the sword is either directly or
typically forbidden to the Christian, by such passages as "Thou shalt
not kill," (Deut. v. 17,) "I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but
whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other
also," (Matt. v. 39,) &c. If these passages are to be taken as literal
commands, as fanatics and religious enthusiasts would have us believe,
not only is war unlawful, but also all our penal statutes, the
magistracy, and all the institutions of the state for the defence of
individual rights, the protection of the innocent, and the punishment of
the guilty. But if taken in conjunction with the whole Bible, we must
infer that they are hyperbolical expressions, used to impress strongly
on our minds the general principle of love and forgiveness, and that, so
far as possible, we over come evil with good. Can any sober-minded man
suppose, for a moment, that we are commanded to encourage the attacks of
the wicked, by literally turning the left cheek when assaulted on the
right, and thus induce the assailant to commit more wrong? Shall we
invite the thief and the robber to persevere in his depredations, by
literally giving him a cloak when he takes our coat; and the insolent
and the oppressor to proceed in his path of crime, by going two miles
with him if he bid us to go one?

Again, if the command, "Thou shalt not kill," is to be taken literally,
it not only prohibits us from engaging in just war, and forbids the
taking of human life by the state, as a punishment for crime; it also
forbids, says Dr. Leiber, our taking the life of any animal, and even
extends to the vegetable kingdom,--for undoubtedly plants have life, and
are liable to violent death--to be _killed_. But Dr. Wayland concedes to
individuals the right to take vegetable and animal life, and to society
the right to punish murder by death. This passage undoubtedly means,
thou shalt not unjustly kill,--thou shalt do no murder; and so it is
rendered in our prayer-books. It cannot have reference to war, for on
almost the next page we find the Israelites commanded to go forth and
smite the heathen nations,--to cast them out of the land,--to utterly
destroy them,--to show them no mercy, &c. If these passages of the Bible
are to be taken literally, there is no book which contains so many
contradictions; but if taken in connection with the spirit of other
passages, we shall find that we are permitted to use force in preventing
or punishing crime, whether in nations or in individuals; but that we
should combine love with justice, and free our hearts from all evil

II. All wars are unjustifiable, because "God commands us to love every
man, alien or citizen, Samaritan or Jew, as ourselves; and the act
neither of society nor of government can render it our duty to violate
this command."

It is true that no act of society can make it our duty to violate any
command of God: but is the above command to be taken literally, and as
forbidding us to engage in just war? Is it not rather intended to
impress upon us, in a forcible manner, that mutual love is a great
virtue; that we should hate no one, not even a stranger nor an enemy,
but should treat all with justice, mercy, and loving-kindness? If the
meaning attempted to be given to this command in the above quotation be
the true one, it is antagonistical not only to just war, but to civil
justice, to patriotism, and to the social and domestic affections.

But are we bound to love all human beings alike; that is, to the same
degree? Does the Bible, as a whole, inculcate such doctrine? On the
contrary, Christ himself had his _beloved_ disciple,--one whom he loved
pre-eminently, and above all the others; though he loved the others none
the less on that account. We are bound to love our parents, our
brothers, our families first, and above all other human beings; but we
do not, for this reason, love others any the less. A man is not only
permitted to seek first the comfort and happiness of his own family, but
if he neglect to do so, he is worse than an infidel. We are bound to
protect our families against the attacks of others; and, if necessary
for the defence of their lives, we are permitted to take the life of the
assailant; nay more, we are bound to do so. But it does not follow that
we _hate_ him whom we thus destroy. On the contrary, we may feel
compassion, and even love for him. The magistrate sentences the murderer
to suffer the penalty of the law; and the sheriff carries the sentence
into execution by taking, in due form, the life of the prisoner:
nevertheless, both the magistrate and the sheriff may have the kindest
feelings towards him whom they thus deprive of life.

So it is in the external affairs of the state. Next to my kindred and my
neighbors do I love my countrymen. I love them more than I do
foreigners, because my interests, my feelings, my happiness, my ties of
friendship and affection, bind me to them more intimately than to the
foreigner. I sympathize with the oppressed Greek, and the enslaved
African, and willingly contribute to their relief, although their
sufferings affect me very remotely; but if my own countrymen become
oppressed and enslaved, nearer and dearer interests are affected, and
peculiar duties spring from the ties and affections which God has
formed. If my countrymen be oppressed, my neighbors and kindred will be
made unhappy and suffering; this I am bound to take all proper measures
in my power to prevent. If the assailant cannot be persuaded by argument
to desist from his wicked intentions, I unite with my fellow-citizens in
forcibly resisting his aggressions. In doing this I am actuated by no
feelings of hatred towards the hostile forces; I have in my heart no
malice, no spirit of revenge; I have no desire to harm individuals,
except so far as they are made the instruments of oppression. But as
instruments of evil, I am bound to destroy their power to do harm. I do
not shoot at my military enemy from hatred or revenge; I fight against
him because the paramount interests of my country cannot be secured
without destroying the instrument by which they are assailed. I am
prohibited from exercising any personal cruelty; and after the battle,
or as soon as the enemy is rendered harmless, he is to be treated with
kindness, and to be taken care of equally with the wounded friend. All
conduct to the contrary is regarded by civilized nations with

That war does not properly beget personal malignity but that, on the
contrary, the effects of mutual kindness and courtesy on the
battle-field, frequently have a beneficial influence in the political
events of after years, may be shown by innumerable examples in all
history. Soult and Wellington were opposing generals in numerous
battles; but when the former visited England in 1838, he was received by
Wellington and the whole British nation with the highest marks of
respect; and the mutual warmth of feeling between these two
distinguished men has contributed much to the continuance of friendly
relations between the two nations. And a few years ago, when we seemed
brought, by our civil authorities, almost to the brink of war by the
northeastern boundary difficulties, the pacific arrangements concluded,
through the intervention of General Scott, between the Governors of
Maine and New Brunswick, were mainly due to ancient friendships
contracted by officers of the contending armies during our last war with
Great Britain.

III. "It is granted that it would be better for man in general, if wars
were abolished, and all means, both of offence and defence, abandoned.
Now, this seems to me to admit, that this is the law under which God has
created man. But this being admitted, the question seems to be at an
end; for God never places man under circumstances in which it is either
wise, or necessary, or innocent, to violate his laws. Is it for the
advantage of him who lives among a community of thieves, to steal; or
for one who lives among a community of liars, to lie?"

The fallacy of the above argument is so evident that it is scarcely
necessary to point out its logical defects.

My living among a community of thieves would not justify me in stealing,
and certainly it would be no reason why I should neglect the security of
my property. My living among murderers would not justify me in
committing murder, and on the other hand it would be no reason why I
should not fight in the defence of my family, if the arm of the law were
unable to protect them. That other nations carry on unjust wars is no
reason why we should do likewise, nor is it of itself any reason why we
should neglect the means of self-defence.

It may seem, to us short-sighted mortals, better that we were placed in
a world where there were no wars, or murders, or thefts; but God has
seen fit to order it otherwise. Our duties and our relations to our
fellow-men are made to suit the world as it is, and not such a world as
we would make for ourselves.

We live among thieves: we must therefore resort to force to protect our
property--that is, to locks, and bars, and bolts; we build walls thick
and high between the robber and our merchandise. And more: we enact laws
for his punishment, and employ civil officers to forcibly seize the
guilty and inflict that degree of punishment necessary for the
prevention of other thefts and robberies.

We live among murderers: if neither the law nor the ordinary physical
protections suffice for the defence of our own lives and the lives of
our innocent friends, we forcibly resist the murderer, even to his
death, if need be. Moreover, to deter others from like crimes, we
inflict the punishment of death upon him who has already taken life.

These relations of individuals and of society are laid down by all
ethical writers as in accordance with the strictest rules of Christian
morality. Even Dr. Wayland considers it not only the right, but the duty
of individuals and of society to resort to these means, and to enact
these laws for self-protection. Let us extend the same course of
reasoning to the relations of different societies.

We live among nations who frequently wage unjust wars; who, disregarding
the rights of others, oppress and rob, and even murder their citizens,
in order to reach some unrighteous end. As individuals, we build fences
and walls for the protection of our grounds and our merchandise; so, as
a nation, we build ships and forts to protect our commerce, our harbors,
and our cities. But the walls of our houses and stores are useless,
unless made so strong and high that the robber cannot break through or
scale them without great effort and personal danger; so our national
ships and forts would be utterly useless for protection, unless fully
armed and equipped.

Further: as individuals and as societies we employ civil officers for
the protection of our property and lives, and, when necessary, arm them
with the physical means of executing the laws, even though the
employment of these means should cost human life. The prevention and
punishment of crime causes much human suffering; nevertheless the good
of community requires that crime should be prevented and punished. So,
as a nation, we employ military officers to man our ships and forts, to
protect our property and our persons, and to repel and punish those who
seek to rob us of our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. National
aggressions are far more terrible in their results than individual
crime; so also the means of prevention and punishment are far more
stupendous, and the employment of these means causes a far greater
amount of human suffering. This may be a good reason for greater
_caution_ in resorting to such means, but assuredly it is no argument
against the _moral right_ to use them.

IV. War is unjustifiable because unnecessary:

"1st. The very fact that a nation relied solely upon the justice of its
measures, and the benevolence of its conduct, would do more than any
thing else to prevent the occurrence of injury. The moral sentiment of
every community would rise in opposition to injury inflicted upon the
just the kind, and the merciful."

The moral duty of nations in this respect is the same as that of
individuals. Active benevolence and forbearance should be employed, so
far as may be proper; but there are points at which forbearance ceases
to be a virtue. If we entirely forbear to punish the thief, the robber,
and the murderer, think you that crime will be diminished? Reason and
experience prove the contrary. Active benevolence and kindness should
always attend just punishment, but they were never designed to prohibit
it. The laws of God's universe are founded on justice as well as love.
"The moral sentiment of every community rises in opposition to injury
inflicted upon the just, the kind, and the merciful;" but this fact does
not entirely prevent wicked men from robbing and murdering innocent
persons, and therefore wise and just laws require that criminals shall
be punished, in order that those who are dead to all moral restraints
may be deterred from crime through fear of punishment.

"2d. But suppose the [national] injury to be done. I reply, the proper
appeal for moral beings, upon moral questions, is not to physical force,
but to the consciences of men. Let the wrong be set forth, but be set
forth in the spirit of love; and in this manner, if in any, will the
consciences of men be aroused to justice."

Argument, and "appeals to the consciences of men" should always be
resorted to in preference to "physical force;" but when they fail to
deter the wicked, force must be employed. I may reason with the robber
and the murderer, to persuade him to desist from his attempt to rob my
house, and murder my family; but if he refuse to listen to moral
appeals, I employ physical force,--I call in the strong arm of the law
to assist me; and if no other means can be found to save innocent life
that is assailed, the life of the assailant must be sacrificed.

"If," says Puffendorf, "some one treads the laws of peace under his
feet, forming projects which tend to my ruin, he could not, without the
highest degree of impudence, (impudentissime,) pretend that after this I
should consider him as a sacred person, who ought not to be touched; in
other words, that I should betray myself, and abandon the care of my own
preservation, in order to give way to the malice of a criminal, that he
may act with impunity and with full liberty. On the contrary, since he
shows himself unsociable towards me, and since he has placed himself in
a position which does not permit me safely to practice towards him the
duties of peace, I have only to think of preventing the danger which
menaces me; so that if I cannot do this without hurting him, he has to
accuse himself only, since he has reduced me to this necessity." _De
Jure Nat. et Gent_, lib. ii., ch. v., §1. This same course of
reasoning is also applied to the duties of a nation towards its enemy in
respect to war.

"3d. But suppose this method fail. Why, then, let us suffer the evil."

This principle, if applied to its full extent, would, we believe, be
subversive of all right, and soon place all power in the hands of the
most evil and wicked men in the community. Reason with the nation that
invades our soil, and tramples under foot our rights and liberties, and
should it not desist, why, then, suffer the evil! Reason with the
murderer, and if he do not desist, why, then, suffer him to murder our
wives and our children! Reason with the robber and the defaulter, and if
they will not listen, why, then, let them take our property! We cannot
appeal to the courts, for if their decisions be not respected, they
employ _force_ to _compel_ obedience to their mandates. But Dr. Wayland
considers the law of benevolence to forbid the use of force between men.
He forgets this, it is true, in speaking of our duties towards our
fellow-men of the same _society_, and even allows us to punish the
murderer with death; but towards the foreigner he requires a greater
forbearance and benevolence than towards our neighbor; for if another
nation send its armies to oppress, and rob, and murder us by the
thousand, we have no right to employ physical force either to prevent or
to punish them, though we may do so to prevent or punish a neighbor for
an individual act of the same character. The greater the scale of crime,
then, the less the necessity of resorting to physical force to prevent

"4th. But it may be asked, what is to prevent repeated and continued
aggression? I answer, first, not instruments of destruction, but the
moral principle which God has placed in the bosom of every man. I think
that obedience to the law of God, on the part of the injured, is the
surest preventive against the repetition of injury. I answer, secondly,
suppose that acting in obedience to the law of benevolence will not
prevent the repetition of injury, will acting on the principle of
retaliation prevent it?" Again; "I believe aggression from a foreign
nation to be the intimation from God that we are disobeying the law of
benevolence, and that this is his mode of teaching nations their duty,
in this respect, to each other. So that aggression seems to me in no
manner to call for retaliation and injury, but rather to call for
special kindness and good-will."

This argument, if such it can be called, is equally applicable to
individual aggressions. We are bound to regard them as intimations of
our want of benevolence, and to reward the aggressors for the
intimations! Is it true, that in this world the wicked only are
oppressed, and that the good are always the prospered and happy? Even
suppose this true, and that I, as a sinful man, deserve God's anger, is
this any reason why I should not resist the assassin, and seek to bring
him to punishment? The whole of this argument of Dr. Wayland applies
with much greater force to municipal courts than to war.

V. "Let us suppose a nation to abandon all means both of offence and of
defence, to lay aside all power of inflicting injury, and to rely for
self-preservation solely upon the justice of its own conduct, and the
moral effect which such a course of conduct would produce upon the
consciences of men. * * * * How would such a nation be protected from
external attack, and entire subjugation? I answer, by adopting the law
of benevolence, a nation would render such an event in the highest
degree improbable. The causes of national war are, most commonly, the
love of plunder and the love of glory. The first of these is rarely, if
ever, sufficient to stimulate men to the _ferocity necessary to war_,
unless when assisted by the second. And by adopting as the rule of our
conduct the law of benevolence, all motive arising from the second cause
is taken away. There is not a nation in Europe that could be led on to
war against a harmless, just, forgiving, and defenceless people."

History teaches us that societies as well as individuals have been
attacked again and again notwithstanding that they either would not or
could not defend themselves. Did Mr. White, of Salem, escape his
murderers any the more for being harmless and defenceless? Did the
Quakers escape being attacked and hung by the ancient New Englanders any
the more because of their non-resisting principles? Have the Jews
escaped persecutions throughout Christendom any the more because of
their imbecility and non-resistance for some centuries past? Poland was
comparatively harmless and defenceless when the three great European
powers combined to attack and destroy the entire nation, dividing
between themselves the Polish territory, and enslaving or driving into
exile the Polish people.

    "Oh, bloodiest picture in the book of time,
    Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime!"

We need not multiply examples under this head; all history is filled
with them.

Let us to-morrow destroy our forts and ships of war, disband our army
and navy, and apply the lighted torch to our military munitions and to
our physical means of defence of every description; let it be proclaimed
to the world that we will rely solely upon the consciences of nations
for justice, and that we have no longer either the will or the ability
to defend ourselves against aggression. Think you that the African and
Asiatic pirates would refrain, any the more, from plundering our vessels
trading to China, because we had adopted "the law of benevolence?" Would
England be any the more likely to compromise her differences with us, or
be any the more disposed to refrain from impressing our seamen and from
searching our merchant-ships? Experience shows that an undefended state,
known to suffer every thing, soon becomes the prey of all others, and
history most abundantly proves the wisdom and justice of the words of

But let us bring this case still nearer home. Let it be known to-morrow
that the people of Boston or New York have adopted the strictly
non-resisting principle, and that hereafter they will rely solely on the
consciences of men for justice; let it be proclaimed throughout the
whole extent of our Union, and throughout the world, that you have
destroyed your jails and houses of correction, abolished your police and
executive law officers, that courts may decide justice but will be
allowed no force to compel respect to their decisions, that you will no
longer employ walls, and bars, and locks, to secure your property and
the virtue and lives of your children; but that you will trust solely
for protection to "the law of active benevolence." Think you that the
thieves, and robbers, and murderers of Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and
New Orleans, and the cities of the old world, will, on this account,
refrain from molesting the peace of New York and Boston, and that the
wicked and abandoned men now in these cities, will be the more likely to
turn from the evil of their ways?

Assuredly, if this "law of active benevolence," as Dr. Wayland
denominates the rule of non-resistance, will prevent nations from
attacking the harmless and defenceless, it will be still more likely to
prevent individuals from the like aggressions; for the moral sense is
less active in communities than where the responsibility is individual
and direct.

Throughout this argument Dr. Wayland assumes that all wars are wars of
aggression, waged for "plunder" or "glory," or through "hatred" or
"revenge," whereas such is far from being true. He indeed sometimes
speaks of war as being _generally_ of this character; at others he
speaks of it as being _always_ undertaken either from a spirit of
aggression or retaliation. Take either form of his argument, and the
veriest schoolboy would pronounce it unsound: viz.,

_All_ wars are undertaken either for aggression or retaliation;

Aggression and retaliation are forbidden by God's laws;--therefore,

_All_ wars are immoral and unjustifiable.


Wars are _generally_ undertaken either for aggression or retaliation;

Aggression and retaliation are forbidden by God's laws--therefore,

_All_ wars are immoral and unjustifiable.

VI. "Let any man reflect upon the amount of pecuniary expenditure, and
the awful waste of human life, which the wars of the last hundred years
have occasioned, and then we will ask him whether it be not evident,
that the one-hundredth part of this expense and suffering, if employed
in the honest effort to render mankind wiser and better, would, long
before this time, have banished wars from the earth, and rendered the
civilized world like the garden of Eden? If this be true, it will follow
that the cultivation of a military spirit is injurious to a community,
inasmuch as it aggravates the source of the evil, the corrupt passions
of the human breast, by the very manner in which it attempts to correct
the evil itself."

Much has been said to show that war begets immorality, and that the
cultivation of the military spirit has a corrupting influence on
community. And members of the clergy and of the bar have not
unfrequently so far forgotten, if not truth and fact, at least the
common courtesies and charities of life, as to attribute to the military
profession an unequal share of immorality and crime. We are declared not
only parasites on the body politic, but professed violators of God's
laws--men so degraded, though unconsciously, that "in the pursuit of
justice we renounce the human character and assume that of the beasts;"
it is said that "murder, robbery, rape, arson, theft, if only plaited
with the soldier's garb, go unwhipped of justice."[1] It has never been
the habit of the military to retort these charges upon the other
professions. We prefer to leave them unanswered. If demagogues on the
"stump," or in the legislative halls, or in their Fourth of-July
addresses, can find no fitter subjects "to point a moral or adorn a
tale," we must be content to bear their misrepresentations and abuse.

[Footnote 1: Sumner's Oration.]

Unjust wars, as well as unjust litigation, are immoral in their effects
and also in their cause. But just wars and just litigation are not
demoralizing. Suppose all wars and all courts of justice to be
abolished, and the wicked nations as well as individuals to be suffered
to commit injuries without opposition and without punishment; would not
immorality and unrighteousness increase rather than diminish? Few events
rouse and elevate the patriotism and public spirit of a nation so much
as a just and patriotic war. It raises the tone of public morality, and
destroys the sordid selfishness and degrading submissiveness which so
often result from a long-protracted peace. Such was the Dutch war of
independence against the Spaniards; such the German war against the
aggressions of Louis XIV., and the French war against the coalition of
1792. But without looking abroad for illustration, we find ample proof
in our own history. Can it be said that the wars of the American
Revolution and of 1812, were demoralizing in their effects? "Whence do
Americans," says Dr. Lieber, "habitually take their best and purest
examples of all that is connected with patriotism, public spirit,
devotedness to common good, purity of motive and action, if not from the
daring band of their patriots of the Revolution?"

The principal actors in the military events of the Revolution and of
1812, held, while living, high political offices in the state, and the
moral tone which they derived from these wars may be judged of by the
character stamped on their administration of the government. These men
have passed away, and their places have, for some time, been filled by
men who take their moral tone from the relations of peace. To the true
believer in the efficacy of _non-resistance,_ and in the demoralizing
influence of all wars, how striking the contrast between these
different periods in our political history! How infinitely inferior to
the rulers in later times were those, who, in the blindness of their
infatuation, appealed to physical force, rather than surrender their
life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness! Let us trace out this

In the earlier ages of our republic, and under the rule of those whose
moral character had been corrupted by war, party spirit ran higher and
was less pure than at later periods in our history. The object of the
principal leaders of the great political parties was then to render the
opinions of the opposite party odious: now, their only object is to
sustain their own opinions by argument. Then, each party claimed to
itself an exclusive love of country, and stigmatized the other as aliens
and the natural enemies of the state: now, they both practise great
forbearance, love, and charity, towards political opponents. Then, men
obtained place through intrigue and corruption, and a universal scramble
for the loaves and fishes of office on the one side, and a universal
political proscription on the other, were regarded as the natural
results of an election: now, this disgusting strife for office has
ceased; men no longer seek place, but wait, like Cincinnatus, to be
called from their ploughs; and none are proscribed for opinion's sake.
Then, in electing men to office the most important social and
constitutional principles were forgotten or violated: now, we have the
august spectacle of a nation-choosing its rulers under the guidance of
strict moral principle. Then, the halls of congress were frequently
filled with demagogues, and tiplers, and the _small men_ of community:
now, the ablest and best of the country are always sought for as
representatives. Then, the magnates of party were the mere timid,
temporizing slaves of expediency, looking, not to the justice and wisdom
of their measures, but to their probable popularity with then sneaking
train of followers: now, they rely for respect and support upon the
judgment of the honest and enlightened. Then, the rank and file of party
were mere political hirelings, who sold their manhood for place, who
reviled and glorified, and shouted huzzas and whispered calumnies, just
as they were bidden; they could fawn upon those who dispensed political
patronage with a cringing servility that would shame the courtiers of
Louis XIV., or the parasites and hirelings of Walpole: now, all
political partisans, deriving their moral tone from the piping times of
peace, are pure, disinterested patriots, who, like the Roman farmer,
take office with great reluctance, and resign it again as soon as the
state can spare their services. Then, prize-fighters, and blacklegs, and
gamblers, having formed themselves into political clubs, were courted by
men high in authority, and rewarded for their dirty and corrupting
partisan services by offices of trust and responsibility: now, no man
clothed with authority would dare to insult the moral sense of community
by receiving such characters in the national councils, or by bestowing
public offices upon these corrupt and loathsome dregs of society.

Such, the advocates of non resistance would persuade us, are the
legitimate results in this country of war on the one hand and of a
long-protracted peace on the other. But there are men of less vivid
imaginations, and, perhaps, of visions less distorted by fanatical zeal,
who fail to perceive these results, and who even think they see the
reverse of all this. These men cannot perceive any thing in the lives of
Washington, Hamilton, and Knox, to show that they were the less virtuous
because they had borne arms in their country's service: they even fail
to perceive the injurious effects of the cultivation of a military
spirit on the military students of West Point, whose graduates, they
think, will compare favorably in moral character with the graduates of
Yale and Cambridge. Nay, more, some even go so far as to say that our
army, as a body, is no less moral than the corresponding classes in
civil life; that our common soldiers are as seldom guilty of riots,
thefts, robberies, and murders, as similarly educated men engaged in
other pursuits; that our military officers are not inferior in moral
character to our civil officers, and that, as a class, they will compare
favorably with any other class of professional men--with lawyers, for
example. In justification of these opinions--which may, perhaps, be
deemed singularly erroneous--they say, that in the many millions of
public money expended during the last forty years, by military officers,
for the army, for military defences, and for internal improvements, but
a single graduate of West Point has proved a defaulter, even to the
smallest sum, and that it is exceedingly rare to see an officer of the
army brought into court for violating the laws.

But even suppose it true that armies necessarily diffuse immorality
through community, is it not equally true that habitual submission to
the injustice, plunder, and insult of foreign conquerors would tend
still more to degrade and demoralize any people?

With regard to "pecuniary expenditures" required in military defence,
many absurd as well as false statements have been put forth. With
respect to our own country, the entire amounts expended, under the head
of war department, whether for Indian pensions, for the purchase of
Indian lands, the construction of government roads, the improvement of
rivers and harbors, the building of breakwaters and sea-walls, for the
preservation of property, the surveying of public lands, &c., &c.; in
fine, every expenditure made by officers of the army, under the war
department, is put down as "expenses for military defence." Similar
misstatements are made with respect to foreign countries: for example,
the new fortifications of Paris are said to have already cost from fifty
to seventy-five millions of dollars, and as much more is said to be
required to complete them. Indeed, we have seen the whole estimated cost
of those works stated at two hundred and forty millions of dollars, or
twelve hundred millions of francs! The facts are these: the works, when
done, will have cost about twenty-eight millions. We had the pleasure of
examining them not long since, in company with several of the engineer
officers employed on the works. They were then three-fourths done, and
had cost about twenty millions. We were assured by these officers that
the fortifications proper would be completed for somewhat less than the
original estimate of twenty-eight millions. Had we time to enter into
details, other examples of exaggeration and misrepresentation could be

But it is not to be denied that wars and the means of military defence
have cost vast amounts of money. So also have litigation and the means
deemed requisite for maintaining justice between individuals. It has
been estimated that we have in this country, at the present time, thirty
thousand lawyers, without including pettifoggers. Allowing each of these
to cost the country the average sum of one thousand dollars, and we have
the annual cost to the country, for lawyers, thirty millions of dollars.
Add to this the cost of legislative halls and legislators for making
laws; of court-houses, jails, police offices, judges of the different
courts, marshals, sheriffs justices of the peace, constables, clerks,
witnesses, &c., employed to apply and enforce the laws when made; the
personal loss of time of the different plaintiffs and defendants, the
individual anxiety and suffering produced by litigation; add all these
together, and I doubt not the result for a single year will somewhat
astonish these modern economists. But if all the expenditures of this
nature that have been made for the last fifty years, in this individual
"war of hate," be added together, we have no doubt a very fruitful text
might be obtained for preaching a crusade against law and lawyers! But
could any sane man be found to say that, on account of the cost of
maintaining them, all laws and lawyers are useless and should be

If, therefore, these vast sums of money are deemed necessary to secure
justice between individuals of the same nation, can we expect that the
means of international justice can be maintained without expenditures
commensurate with the object in view? If we cannot rely exclusively upon
the "law of active benevolence" for maintaining justice between brothers
of the same country, can we hope that, in the present state of the
world, strangers and foreigners will be more ready to comply with its

The length of the preceding remarks admonishes us to greater brevity in
the further discussion of this subject.

It is objected to war, that men being rational beings, should contend
with one another by argument, and not by force, as do the brutes.

To this it is answered, that force properly begins only where argument
ends. If he who has wronged me cannot be persuaded to make restitution,
I apply to the court,--that is, to _legal_ force,--to compel him to do
me justice. So nations ought to resort to _military force_ only when all
other means fail to prevent aggression and injury.

But war often fails to procure redress of grievances, or to prevent
repeated and continued aggression.

So does a resort to civil force; but such a resort is none the less
proper and just on that account.

But in war the innocent party is sometimes the sufferer, while the
guilty triumph.

So it often is in civil life: God, for some wise purpose, sometimes
permits the wicked to triumph for a season.

But in all wars one party must be in the wrong, and frequently the war
is unjust on both sides.

So in suits at law, one party is necessarily wrong, and frequently both
resort to the civil tribunals in hopes of attaining unrighteous ends.

But nations do not resort to tribunals, like individuals, to settle
their differences.

For the reason that it is believed a tribunal of this character--a
congress of nations, as it has been called,--would be more productive
of evil than of good. By such an arrangement the old and powerful
European monarchies would acquire the authority to interfere in the
domestic affairs of the weaker powers. We see the effects of
establishing such a tribunal in the so-called Holy Alliance, whose
influence is regarded by the friends of liberty as little less dangerous
than the Holy Inquisition. Moreover, such a tribunal would not prevent
war, for military force would still be resorted to to enforce its
decisions. For these and other reasons, it is deemed better and safer to
rely on the present system of International Law. Under this system, and
in this country, a resort to the arbitrament of war is not the result of
impulse and passion,--a yielding to the mere "bestial propensities" of
our nature; it is a deliberate and solemn act of the legislative
power,--of the representatives of the national mind, convened as the
high council of the people. It is this power which must determine when
all just and honorable means have been resorted to to obtain national
justice, and when a resort to military force is requisite and proper. If
this decision be necessarily unchristian and barbarous, such, also,
should we expect to be the character of other laws passed by the same
body, and under the same circumstances. A declaration of war, in this
country, is a law of the land, made by a deliberative body, under the
high sanction of the constitution. It is true that such a law may be
unjust and wrong, but we can scarcely agree that it will necessarily be
so. The distinction between war, as thus duly declared, and
"international Lynch-law" is too evident to need comment.

But it is said that the benefits of war are more than counterbalanced by
the evils it entails, and that, "most commonly, the very means by which
we repel a despotism from abroad, only establishes over us a military
despotism at home."

Much has been said and written about _military_ despotism; but we think
he who studies history thoroughly, will not fail to prefer a military
despotism to a despotism of mere politicians. The governments of
Alexander and Charlemagne were infinitely preferable to those of the
petty civil tyrants who preceded and followed them; and there is no one
so blinded by prejudice as to say that the reign of Napoleon was no
better than that of Robespierre, Danton, and the other "lawyers" who
preceded him, or of the Bourbons, for whom he was dethroned.

"Cæsar," says a distinguished senator of our own country, "was
rightfully killed for conspiring against his country; but it was not he
that destroyed the liberties of Rome. That work was done by the
profligate politicians without him, and before his time; and his death
did not restore the republic. There were no more elections: rotten
politicians had destroyed them; and the nephew of Cæsar, as heir to his
uncle, succeeded to the empire on the principle of hereditary

"And here History appears in her grand and instructive character, as
Philosophy teaching by example: and let us not be senseless to her
warning voice. Superficial readers believe it was the military men who
destroyed the Roman republic! No such thing! It was the politicians who
did it!--factious, corrupt, intriguing politicians--destroying public
virtue in their mad pursuit after office--destroying their rivals by
crime--deceiving and debauching the people for votes--and bringing
elections into contempt by the frauds and violence with which they were
conducted. From the time of the Gracchi there were no elections that
could bear the name. Confederate and rotten politicians bought and sold
the consulship. Intrigue and the dagger disposed of rivals. Fraud,
violence, bribes, terror, and the plunder of the public treasury
commanded votes. The people had no choice; and long before the time of
Cæsar, nothing remained of republican government but the name and the
abuse. Read Plutarch. In the 'Life of Cæsar,' and not three pages before
the crossing of the Rubicon, he paints the ruined state of the
elections,--shows that all elective government was gone,--that the
hereditary form had become a necessary relief from the contests of the
corrupt,--and that in choosing between Pompey and Cæsar, many preferred
Pompey, not because they thought him republican, but because they
thought he would make the milder king. Even arms were but a small part
of Cæsar's reliance, when he crossed the Rubicon. Gold, still more than
the sword, was his dependence; and he sent forward the accumulated
treasures of plundered Gaul, to be poured into the laps of rotten
politicians. There was no longer a popular government; and in taking all
power himself, he only took advantage of the state of things which
profligate politicians had produced. In this he was culpable, and paid
the forfeit with his life. But in contemplating his fate, let us never
forget that the politicians had undermined and destroyed the republic,
before he came to seize and to master it."

We could point to numerous instances, where the benefits of war have
more than compensated for the evils which attended it; benefits not only
to the generations who engaged in it, but also to their descendants for
long ages. Had Rome adopted the non-resistance principle when Hannibal
was at her gates, we should now be in the night of African ignorance and
barbarism, instead of enjoying the benefits of Roman learning and Roman
civilization. Had France adopted this principle when the allied armies
invaded her territories in 1792, her fate had followed that of Poland.
Had our ancestors adopted this principle in 1776, what now had been,
think you, the character and condition of our country?

Dr. Lieber's remarks on this point are peculiarly just and apposite.
"The continued efforts," says he, "requisite for a nation to protect
themselves against the ever-repeated attacks of a predatory foe, may be
infinitely greater than the evils entailed by a single and energetic
war, which forever secures peace from that side. Nor will it be denied,
I suppose, that Niebuhr is right when he observes, that the advantage to
Rome of having conquered Sicily, as to power and national vigor, was
undeniable. But even if it were not so, are there no other advantages to
be secured? No human mind is vast enough to comprehend in one glance,
nor is any human life long enough to follow out consecutively, all the
immeasurable blessings and the unspeakable good which have resolved to
mankind from the ever-memorable victories of little Greece over the
rolling masses of servile Asia, which were nigh sweeping over Europe
like the high tides of a swollen sea, carrying its choking sand over all
the germs of civilization, liberty, and taste, and nearly all that is
good and noble. Think what we should have been had Europe become an
Asiatic province, and the Eastern principles of power and stagnation
should have become deeply infused into her population, so that no
process ever after could have thrown it out again! Has no advantage
resulted from the Hebrews declining any longer to be ground in the dust,
and ultimately annihilated, at least mentally so, by stifling servitude,
and the wars which followed their resolution? The Netherlands war of
independence has had a penetrating and decided effect upon modern
history, and, in the eye of all who value the most substantial parts and
elementary ideas of modern and civil liberty, a highly advantageous one,
both directly and through Great Britain. Wars have frequently been, in
the hands of Providence, the means of disseminating civilization, if
carried on by a civilized people--as in the case of Alexander, whose
wars had a most decided effect upon the intercourse of men and extension
of civilization--or of rousing and reuniting people who had fallen into
lethargy, if attacked by less civilized and numerous hordes. Frequently
we find in history that the ruder and victorious tribe is made to
recover as it were civilization, already on the wane with a refined
nation. Paradoxical as it may seem at first glance, it is, nevertheless,
amply proved by history, that the closest contact and consequent
exchange of thought and produce and enlargement of knowledge, between
two otherwise severed nations, is frequently produced by war. War is a
struggle, a state of suffering; but as such, at times, only that
struggling process without which--in proportion to the good to be
obtained, or, as would be a better expression for many cases, to the
good that is to be borne--no great and essential good falls ever to the
share of man. Suffering, merely as suffering, is not an evil. Our
religion, philosophy, every day's experience, prove it. No maternal
rejoicing brightens up a mother's eve without the anxiety of labor."

One word more, and we must leave this subject. It has been said by some
that the duties of patriotism are less binding upon us than upon our
ancestors; that, whatever may have been the practice in years that are
past the present generation can in no manner bear arms in their
country's cause, such a course being not only _dishonorable_, but in the
eye of the Christian, _wicked_, and even _infamous_! It is believed,
however, that such are not the general opinions and sentiments of the
religious people of this country. Our forefathers lighted the fires of
Religion and Patriotism at the same altar; it is believed that their
descendants have not allowed either to be extinguished, but that both
still burn, and will continue to burn, with a purer and brighter flame.
Our forefathers were not the less mindful of their duty to their God,
because they also faithfully served their country. If we are called upon
to excel them in works of charity, of benevolence, and of Christian
virtue, let it not be said of us that we have forgotten the virtue of

[Footnote 2: For further discussion of this subject the reader is
referred to Lieber's Political Ethics, Part II., book vii. chap. 3;
Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy; Legare's Report of June 13,
1838, in the House of Representatives; Mackintosh's History of the
Revolution of 1688, chap. x.; Bynkershock; Vatel; Puffendorf;
Clausewitz; and most other writers on international law and the laws of

Dr. Wayland's view of the question is advocated with much zeal by Dymond
in his Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of
Christianity; Jay's Peace and War; Judd's Sermon on Peace and War;
Peabody's Address, &c.; Coue's Tract on What is the Use of the Navy?
Sumner's True Grandeur of Nations.]



War has been defined, "A contest between nations and states carried on
by force." But this definition is by some considered defective, inasmuch
as it would exclude all civil wars.

When war is commenced by attacking a nation in peace, it is called
_offensive_, and when undertaken to repel invasion, or the attacks of an
enemy, it is called _defensive_. A war may be essentially defensive even
where we begin it, if intended to prevent an attack or invasion which is
under preparation. Besides this general division of war, military
writers have made numerous others, such as--

_Wars of intervention_, in which one state interferes in favor of
another. This intervention may either have respect to the _internal_ or
to the _external_ affairs of a nation. The interference of Russia in the
affairs of Poland, of England in the government of India, Austria and
the allied powers in the affairs of France during the Revolution and
under the empire, are examples under the first head. The intervention of
the Elector Maurice of Saxony against Charles V., of King William
against Louis XIV., in 1688, of Russia and France in the seven years'
war, of Russia again between France and Austria, in 1805, and between
France and Prussia, in 1806, are examples under the second head. Most
liberal-publicists consider intervention in the internal affairs of
nations as indefensible; but the principle is supported by the advocates
of the old monarchies of Europe.

_Wars of insurrection_ to gain or to regain liberty; as was the case
with the Americans in 1776, and the modern Greeks in 1821.

_Wars of independence_ from foreign dictation and control as the wars of
Poland against Russia, of the Netherlands against Spain, of France
against the several coalitions of the allied powers, of the Spanish
Peninsula against France and of China and India against England. The
American war of 1812 partook largely of this character, and some
judicious historians have denominated it the war of Independence, as
distinguished from the war of the Revolution.

_Wars of opinion_, like those which the Vendeans have sustained in
support of the Bourbons, and those France has sustained against the
allies, as also those of propagandism, waged against the smaller
European states by the republican hordes of the French Revolution. To
this class also belong--

_Religious wars_, like those of Islamism, of the crusades, and of the

_Wars of conquest_, like those of the Romans in Gaul, of the English in
India, of the French in Egypt and Africa, and of the Russians in

_National wars_, in which the great body of the people of a state
engage, like those of the Swiss against Austria and the Duke of
Burgundy, of the Catalans in 1712, of the Americans against England, of
the Dutch against Phillip II., and of the Poles and Circassians against

_Civil wars_, where one portion of the state fights against the other,
as the war of the Roses in England, of the league in France, of the
Guelphs and Ghibelines in Italy, and of the factions in Mexico and South

It is not the present intention to enter into any discussion of these
different kinds of war, but rather to consider the general subject, and
to discuss such general principles and rules as may be applicable to all

War in its most extensive sense may be regarded both as a _science_ and
an _art_. It is a science so far as it investigates general principles
and institutes an analysis of military operations; and an art when
considered with reference to the practical rules for conducting
campaigns, sieges, battles, &c. So is engineering a science so far as it
investigates the general principles of fortification, and also
artillery, in analyzing the principles of gunnery; but both are arts
when considered with reference to the practical rules for the
construction, attack, and defence of forts, or for the use of cannon.

This distinction has not always been observed by writers on this
subject, and some have asserted that strategy is the _science_, and
tactics the _art_ of war. This is evidently mistaking the general
distinction between science, which investigates principles, and art,
which forms practical rules.

In popular language, however, it is usual to speak of _the military art_
when we refer to the general subject of war, and of _the military
sciences_ when we wish to call attention more particularly to the
scientific principles upon which the art is founded. We shall here
consider the military art in this general sense, as including the entire
subject of war.

As thus defined, the military art may be divided into four distinct
branches, viz.: 1st. _Strategy_; 2d. Fortification, or _Engineering_;
3d. _Logistics_; 4th. _Tactics_. Several general treatises on this art
add another branch, called _The Policy of War_, or the relations of war
with the affairs of state.

_Strategy_ is defined to be the art of directing masses on decisive
points, or the hostile movements of armies beyond the range of each
other's cannon. _Engineering_ embraces all dispositions made to enable
troops to resist a superior force the longest time possible; and also
the means resorted to by the opposing army to overcome these material
obstacles. _Logistics_ embraces the practical details of moving and
supplying armies. _Tactics_ is the art of bringing troops into action,
or of moving them in the presence of an enemy, that is, within his view,
and within the reach of his artillery. All these are most intimately
connected. A fault in tactics may occasion the loss of strategic lines;
the best combined manoeuvres on the field of battle may lead to no
decisive results, when the position, or the direction of the operation
is not strategic; sometimes not only battles, but entire campaigns, are
lost through neglect of the engineer's art, or faults in his
dispositions; again, armies would be of little use without the requisite
means of locomotion and of subsistence.

1. _Strategy_ regards the theatre of war, rather than the field of
battle. It selects the important points in this theatre, and the lines
of communication by which they may be reached; it forms the plan and
arranges the general operations of a campaign; but it leaves it to the
engineers to overcome material obstacles and to erect new ones; it
leaves to logistics the means of supporting armies and of moving them on
the chosen lines; and to tactics, the particular dispositions for
battle, when the armies have reached the destined points. It is well to
keep in mind these distinctions, which may be rendered still more
obvious by a few illustrations. The point where several lines of
communications either intersect or meet, and the centre of an arc which
is occupied by the enemy, are strategic points; but tactics would reject
a position equally accessible on all sides, especially with its flanks
exposed to attack. Sempronius at Trebbia and Varro at Cannae, so placed
their armies that the Carthagenians attacked them, at the same time, in
front, on the flanks, and in rear; the Roman consuls were defeated: but
the central strategic position of Napoleon at Rivoli was eminently
successful. At the battle of Austerlitz the allies had projected a
_strategic_ movement to their left, in order to cut off Napoleon's right
from Vienna; Weyrother afterwards changed his plans, and executed a
corresponding _tactical_ movement. By the former there had been some
chance of success, but the latter exposed him to inevitable destruction.
The little fort of Koenigsten, from its advantageous position, was more
useful to the French, in 1813, than the vast works of Dresden. The
little fort of Bard, with its handful of men, was near defeating the
operations of Napoleon in 1800, by holding in check his entire army;
whereas, on the other hand, the ill-advised lines of Ticino, in 1706,
caused an army of 78,000 French to be defeated by only 40,000 men under
Prince Eugene of Savoy.

War, as has already been said, may be either offensive or defensive. If
the attacking army be directed against an entire state, it becomes a war
of _invasion_. If only a province, or a military position, or an army,
be attacked, it is simply regarded as taking the _initiative_ in
offensive movements.

_Offensive_ war is ordinarily most advantageous in its moral and
political influence. It is waged on a foreign soil, and therefore spares
the country of the attacking force; it augments its own resources at the
same time that it diminishes those of the enemy; it adds to the moral
courage of its own army, while it disheartens its opponents. A war of
invasion may, however, have also its disadvantages. Its lines of
operation may become too _deep_, which is always hazardous in an enemy's
country. All the natural and artificial obstacles, such as mountains,
rivers, defiles, fortifications, &c., are favorable for defence, but
difficult to be overcome by the invader. The local authorities and
inhabitants oppose, instead of facilitating his operations; and if
patriotism animate the defensive army to fight for the independence of
its threatened country, the war may become long and bloody. But if a
political diversion be made in favor of the invading force, and its
operations be attended with success, it strikes the enemy at the heart,
paralyzes all his military energies, and deprives him of his military
resources, thus promptly terminating the contest. Regarded simply as the
initiative of movements, the offensive is almost always the preferable
one, as it enables the general to choose his lines for moving and
concentrating his masses on the decisive point.

The first and most important rule in offensive war is, to keep your
forces as much concentrated as possible. This will not only prevent
misfortune, but secure victory,--since, by its necessary operation, you
possess the power of throwing your whole force upon any exposed point of
your enemy's position.

To this general rule some writers have laid down the following

1st. When the food and forage of the neighborhood in which you act have
been exhausted and destroyed, and your magazines are, from any cause,
unable to supply the deficiency, one of two things must be done; either
you must go to places where these articles abound, or you must draw from
them your supplies by _detachments_. The former is rarely compatible
with your plan, and necessarily retards its execution; and hence the
preference which is generally given to the latter.

2d. When reinforcements are about to join you, and this can only be
effected by a march through a country actually occupied by hostile
corps, or liable to be so occupied, you must again waive the general
rule, and risk one party for the security of the other; or, (which may
be better,) make such movements with your main body as shall accomplish
your object.

3d. When you have complete evidence of the actual, or probable
insurrection in your favor, of a town or province of your enemy, or of a
division of his army, you must support this inclination by strong
_detachments_, or by movements of your main body. Napoleon's operations
in Italy, in 1796-7, furnish examples of what is here meant.

4th. When, by dispatching a _detachment_, you may be able to intercept a
convoy, or reinforcement, coming to the aid of your enemy.

These are apparent rather than real exceptions to the rule of
concentration. This rule does not require that _all the army should
occupy the same position_. Far from it. Concentration requires the main
body to be in immediate and supporting reach: small detachments, for
temporary and important objects, like those mentioned, are perfectly
legitimate, and in accordance with correct principles. Napoleon's
position in Spain will serve as an illustration. A hand, placed on the
map of that country, will represent the position of the invading forces.
When opened, the fingers will represent the several detachments, thrown
out on important strategic lines, and which could readily be drawn in,
as in closing the hand, upon the principal and central mass, preparatory
to striking some important blow.

"If, as we have seen, it be the first great rule for an army acting on
the offensive principle, to keep its forces _concentrated_, it is, no
doubt, the second, _to keep them fully employed._ Is it your intention
to seize a particular province of your enemy? to penetrate to his
capital? or to cut him off from his supplies? Whatever measure be
necessary to open your route to these objects must be _promptly_ taken;
and if you mean to subsist yourself at his expense, your movements must
be more rapid than his. Give him time to _breathe_,--and above all, give
him time to _rest_, and your project is blasted; his forages will be
completed, and his magazines filled and secured. The roads of approach
will be obstructed, bridges destroyed, and strong points everywhere
taken and defended. You will, in fact, like Burgoyne, in 1777, reduce
yourself to the necessity of bleeding at every step, without equivalent
or use."

"Such cannot be the fate of a commander who, knowing all the value of
acting on the offensive, shakes, by the vigor and address of his first
movements, the moral as well as physical force of his enemy,--who,
selecting his own time, and place, and mode of attack, confounds his
antagonist by enterprises equally hardy and unexpected,--and who at last
leaves to him only the alternative of resistance without hope, or of
flying without resistance."

The British army, in the war of the American Revolution, must have been
most wretchedly ignorant of these leading maxims for conducting
offensive war. Instead of concentrating their forces on some decisive
point, and then destroying the main body of our army by repeated and
well-directed blows, they scattered their forces over an immense extent
of country, and became too weak to act with decision and effect on any
one point. On the other hand, this policy enabled us to call out and
discipline our scattered and ill-provided forces.

The main object in _defensive_ war is, to protect the menaced territory,
to retard the enemy's progress, to multiply obstacles in his way, to
guard the vital points of the country, and--at the favorable moment,
when the enemy becomes enfeebled by detachments, losses, privations, and
fatigue--to assume the offensive, and drive him from the country. This
combination of the defensive and offensive has many advantages. The
enemy, being forced to take the defensive in his turn, loses much of the
moral superiority due to successful offensive operations. There are
numerous instances of this kind of war, "the defensive-offensive," as it
is sometimes called, to be found in history. The last four campaigns of
Frederick the Great of Prussia, are examples which may serve as models.
Wellington played a similar part in the Spanish peninsula.

To merely remain in a defensive attitude, yielding gradually to the
advances of the enemy, without any effort to regain such positions or
provinces as may have fallen into his power, or to inflict on him some
fatal and decisive blow on the first favorable opportunity; such a
system is always within the reach of ignorance, stupidity, and
cowardice; but such is far from being the true Fabian system of
defensive war.

"Instead of finding security only in flight; instead of habitually
refusing to look the enemy in the face; instead of leaving his march
undisturbed; instead of abandoning, without contest, points strong by
nature or by art;--instead of all this, the true war of defence seeks
every occasion to meet the enemy, and loses none by which it can annoy
or defeat him; it is always awake; it is constantly in motion, and never
unprepared for either attack or defence. When not employed in efforts of
courage or address, it incessantly yields itself to those of labor and
science. In its front it breaks up roads or breaks down bridges; while
it erects or repairs those in its rear: it forms abbatis, raises
batteries, fortifies passes, or intrenches encampments; and to the
system of deprivation adds all the activity, stratagem, and boldness of
_la petite guerre_. Dividing itself into detachments, it multiplies its
own attacks and the alarms of the enemy. Collecting itself at a single
point, it obstructs his progress for days, and sometimes for weeks
together. Does it even abandon the avenues it is destined to defend? It
is but for the purpose of shielding them more securely, by the attack of
his hospitals, magazines, convoys, or reinforcements. In a word, by
adopting the maxim, that the _enemy must be made to pay for whatever he
gains_, it disputes with him every inch of ground, and if at last it
yields to him a victory, it is of that kind which calls forth only his

In discussing the subject of strategy, certain technical terms are
employed, such as _theatre of war; theatre of operations; base of
operations_, or the line from which operations start; _objective
points_, or points to which the operations are directed; _line of
operations_, or the line along which an army moves; _key points_, or
points which it is important for the defensive army to secure; _line of
defence,_ or the line which it is important to defend at all hazards:
and in general, _strategic points, strategic lines, strategic positions,
&c._ As these terms are very generally used in military books, it may be
well to make ourselves thoroughly acquainted with their import. After
defining these terms and explaining their meaning and application, it is
deemed best to illustrate their use by reference to well-known and
striking historical examples.

_The theatre of a war_ embraces not only the territory of the two
belligerent powers, but also that of their allies, and of such secondary
powers as, through fear or interest, may be drawn into the contest. With
maritime nations it also embraces the seas, and sometimes crosses to
another continent. Some of the wars between France and England embraced
the two hemispheres.

_The theatre of operations_, however, is of a more limited character,
and should not be confounded with the theatre of war. In general, it
includes only the territory which an army seeks, on the one hand, to
defend, and on the other, to invade. If two or more armies be directed
towards the same object, though by different lines, their combined
operations are included in the same theatre but if each acts
independently of the others, and seeks distinct and separate objects,
each must have its own independent theatre of operations.

A war between France and Austria may embrace all Italy and Germany, but
the theatre of operations may be limited to only a portion of these
countries. Should the Oregon question lead to hostilities between the
United States and England, the theatre of war would embrace the greater
part of North America and the two oceans, but the theatre of operations
would probably be limited to Canada and our northern frontier, with
naval descents upon our maritime cities.

The first point to be attended to in a plan of military operation is to
select a good _base_. Many circumstances influence this selection, such
as mountains, rivers, roads, forests, cities, fortifications, military
dépôts, means of subsistence, &c. If the frontier of a state contain
strong natural or artificial barriers, it may serve not only as a good
base for offensive operations, but also as an excellent line of defence
against invasion. A single frontier line may, however, be penetrated by
the enemy, and in that case a second or third base further in the
interior becomes indispensable for a good defence.

A French army carrying on military operations against Germany would make
the Rhine its first base; but if driven from this it would form a second
base on the Meuse or Moselle, a third on the Seine, and a fourth on the
Loire; or, when driven from the first base, it would take others
perpendicular to the front of defence, either to the right, on Béfort
and Besançon, or to the left, on Mézières and Sedan. If acting
offensively against Prussia and Russia, the Rhine and the Main would
form the first base the Elbe and the Oder the second, the Vistula the
third, the Nieman the fourth, and the Dwina and the Dnieper the fifth.

A French army operating against Spain would have the Pyrenees for its
first base; the line of the Ebro for a second, resting its wings on the
gulf of Gascony and the Mediterranean. If from this position it advance
its left, possessing itself of the kingdom of Valencia, the line of the
Sierra d'Estellas becomes its third base of operations against the
centre of Spain.

A base may be parallel, oblique, or perpendicular to our line of
operations, or to the enemy's line of defence. Some prefer one plan and
some another; the best authorities, however, think the oblique or
perpendicular more advantageous than the parallel; but we are not often
at liberty to choose between these, for other considerations usually
determine the selection.

In 1806, the French forces first moved perpendicular to their base on
the Main, but afterwards effected a change of front, and moved on a line
oblique or nearly parallel to this base. They had pursued the same plan
of operations in the Seven Years' War. The Russians, in 1812, based
perpendicularly on the Oka and the Kalouga, and extended their flank
march on Wiozma and Krasnoi; in 1813, the allies, based perpendicularly
on Bohemia, succeeded in paralyzing Napoleon's army on the Elbe.

An American army moving by Lake Champlain, would be based perpendicular
on the great line of communication between Boston and Buffalo; if moving
from the New England states on Quebec and Montreal, the line of
operations would be oblique; and if moving from the Niagara frontier by
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, the line would be nearly parallel
both to our base and to the enemy's line of defence--an operation, under
the circumstances, exceedingly objectionable.

Any point in the theatre of operations which gives to the possessor an
advantage over his opponent, is regarded as _strategic_. Their
geographical position and political and military character, give them a
greater or less influence in directing the campaign. These points are
occupied by the defensive army, and attacked by the offensive; if on or
near the base, they become the _key_ points for the former, and the
_objective_ points for the latter.[3] There are also between these two a
greater or less number of strategic points, which have an important
though inferior influence upon the result of the war.

[Footnote 3: It may be well to remark that a strategic point is not
necessarily a geometrical point; an entire province, or a considerable
portion of a geographical frontier, is, in military language, sometimes
denominated a _point_. In the same way, strategic lines, instead of
being mathematical lines, are frequently many miles in width.]

The first object of the French in attacking Belgium, is to gain
possession of the Meuse, as this position would give them a decided
advantage in any ulterior operations. In attacking southern Germany, the
course of the Danube offers a series of points which exercise an
important influence on the war. For northern Germany, Leipsic and the
country bordering on the Saale and the Elbe, are objects often fiercely
contested by the French and other belligerent powers. In a war between
this country and England, Montreal and the points on the St. Lawrence
between Montreal and Quebec, would become objects of the highest
importance, and their possession would probably determine the result of
the war.

The capital of a state, from its political importance as well as its
military influence, is almost always a decisive strategic point, and its
capture is therefore frequently the object of an entire campaign. The
possession of Genoa, Turin, Alexandria, Milan, &c., in 1796, both from
their political and military importance, had a decided influence upon
the results of the war in these several states. In the same way Venice,
Rome, and Naples, in 1797, Vienna, in the campaigns of 1805 and 1809,
Berlin, in 1806, Madrid, in 1808, and Paris, in 1814 and 1815. If
Hannibal had captured the capital immediately after the battle of
Cannae;, he would thus have destroyed the Roman power. The taking of
Washington, in 1814, had little or no influence on the war, for the
place was then of no importance in itself, and was a mere nominal
capital. It, however, greatly influenced our reputation abroad, and
required many brilliant successes to wash the blot from our national

_Lines of defence_ in strategy are either permanent or temporary. The
great military frontiers of a state, especially when strengthened by
natural and artificial obstacles, such as chains of mountains, rivers,
lines of fortresses, &c., are regarded as permanent lines of defence.
The Alpine range between France and Piedmont, with its fortified passes;
the Rhine, the Oder, and the Elbe, with their strongly-fortified places;
the Pyrenees, with Bayonne at one extremity and Perpignon at the other;
the triple range of fortresses on the Belgian frontier--are all
permanent lines of defence. The St. Lawrence river is a permanent line
of defence for Canada; and the line of lake Champlain, the upper St.
Lawrence, and the lakes, for the United States.

Temporary lines of defence are such as are taken up merely for the
campaign. Napoleon's position in Saxony, in 1813; the line of the allies
in Belgium, in 1815; the line of the Marne, in 1814, are examples of
temporary lines of defence.

It will be seen from these remarks that lines of defence are not
necessarily bases of operation.

_Strategic positions_ are such as are taken up during the operations of
a war, either by a _corps d'armée_ or grand detachment, for the purpose
of checking or observing an opposing force; they are named thus to
distinguish them from tactical positions or fields of battle. The
positions of Napoleon at Rivoli, Verona, and Legnano, in 1796 and 1797,
to watch the Adige; his positions on the Passarge, in 1807, and in
Saxony and Silesia in front of his line of defence, in 1813; and
Massena's positions on the Albis, along the Limmat and the Aar, in 1799,
are examples under this head.

Before proceeding further it may be well to illustrate the strategic
relations of lines and positions by the use of diagrams.

(Fig. 1.) The army at A covers the whole of the ground in rear of the
line DC perpendicular to the line AB, the position of the enemy being at

(Fig. 2.) AJ being equal to BJ, A will still cover every thing in rear
of DC.

(Fig. 3.) If the army A is obliged to cover the point _a_, the army B
will cover all the space without the circle whose radius is _a_ B; and of
course A continues to cover the point _a_ so long as it remains within
this circle _a_ B.

_A line of operations_ embraces that portion of the theatre of war which
an army or _corps d'armée_ passes over in attaining its object; _the
front of operations_ is the front formed by the army as it advances on
this line.

When an army acts as a single mass, without forming independent corps,
the line it follows is denominated a _simple line of operations_.

If two or more corps act in an isolated manner, but against the same
opposing force, they are said to follow _double_ or _multiple lines_.

The lines by which Moreau and Jourdan entered Germany in 1796, were
double lines; but Napoleon's advance by Bamberg and Gera, in 1806,
although moving in seven distinct _corps d'armée,_ formed but a single
line of operations.

_Interior lines of operations_ are those followed by an army which
operates between the enemy's lines in such a way as to be able to
concentrate his forces on one of these lines before the other can be
brought to its assistance. For example, Napoleon's line of operations
in 1814, between the Marne and the Seine, where he manoeuvred with so
much skill and success against the immensely superior forces of the

_Exterior lines_ present the opposite results; they are those which an
army will form in moving on the extremities of the opposing masses. For
example, the lines of the Marne and the Seine, followed by the army of
Silesia and the grand Austro-Russian army, in the campaign of 1814.
Burgoyne's line of operations, in 1777, was double and exterior.

_Concentric lines_ are such as start from distant points, and are
directed towards the same object, either in the rear or in advance of
their base.

If a mass leaves a single point and separates into several distinct
corps, taking divergent directions, it is said to pursue _eccentric

Lines are said to be _deep_, when the end to be attained is very distant
from the base.

The lines followed by a secondary or auxiliary force are denominated
_secondary lines_.

The lines pursued by the army of the Sombre-et-Meuse in 1796, and by
Bagration in 1812, were _secondary lines_, as the former were merely
secondary to the army of the Rhine, and the latter to that of Barclay.

_Accidental lines_ are those which result from a change in the primitive
plan of campaign, which give a new direction to the operations. These
are of rare occurrence, but they sometimes lead to important results.

The direction given to a line of operations depends not only on the
geographical situation of the country, but also on the positions
occupied by the enemy. The general plan of campaign is frequently
determined on previous to beginning operations, but the choice of lines
and positions must ordinarily result from the ulterior events of the
war, and be made by the general as these events occur.

As a general rule, _a line of operations should be directed upon the
centre_, or _one of the extremities of the enemy's line of defence_;
unless our forces be infinitely superior in number, it would be absurd
to act against the front and extremities at the same time.

If the configuration of the theatre of operations be favorable to a
movement against the extremity of the enemy's line of defence, this
direction maybe best calculated to lead to important results. (Fig. 4.)

In 1800 the army of the Rhine was directed against the extreme left of
the line of the Black Forest; the army of reserve was directed by the
St. Bernard and Milan on the extreme right and rear of Melas's line of
defence: both operations were most eminently successful. (Fig. 5.)

It may be well to remark that it is not enough merely to gain the
extremity and rear of the enemy, for in that case it may be possible for
him to throw himself on our communications and place us in the very
dilemma in which we had hoped to involve him. To avoid this danger it is
necessary to give such a direction to the line of operations that our
army shall preserve its communications and be able to reach its base.

Thus, if Napoleon, in 1800, after crossing the Alps, had marched by
Turin on Alexandria and received battle at Marengo, without having first
secured Lombardy and the left of the Po, his own line of retreat would
have been completely cut off by Melas; whereas, by the direction which
he gave to his line of operations he had, in case of reverse, every
means for reaching either the Var or the Valois. (Fig. 6.) Again, in
1806, if he had marched directly from Gera to Leipsic, he would have
been cut off from his base on the Rhine; whereas, by turning from Gera
towards Weimar, he not only cut off the Prussians from the Elbe, but at
the same time secured to himself the roads of Saalfield, Schleitz, and
Hoff, thus rendering perfectly safe his communications in his rear.
(Fig. 7.)

We have said that the configuration of the ground and the position of
the hostile forces may _sometimes_ render it advisable to direct our
line of operations against the extremity of the enemy's line of defence;
but, _as a general rule_ a central direction will lead to more important
results. This severs the enemy's means of resistance, and enables the
assailant to strike, with the mass of his force, upon the dissevered and
partially paralyzed members of the hostile body. (Fig. 8.)

Such a plan of operations enabled Napoleon, in the Italian campaigns of
1796 and 1797, to pierce and destroy, with a small force, the large and
successive armies which Austria sent against him. In 1805 his operations
were both interior and central: in 1808 they were most eminently
central: in 1809, by the central operations in the vicinity of
Ratisbonne, he defeated the large and almost victorious army of the
Archduke Charles: in 1814, from his central position between the Marne
and Seine, with only seventy thousand men against a force of more than
two hundred thousand, he gained numerous victories, and barely failed of
complete success. Again in 1815, with an army of only one hundred and
twenty thousand men against an allied force of two hundred and twenty
thousand, by his central advance on Charleroi and Ligny, he gained a
most decided advantage over the enemy--an advantage lost by the
eccentric movement of Grouchy: and even in 1813, his central position at
Dresden would have secured him most decisive advantages, had not the
faults of his lieutenants lost these advantages in the disasters of Kulm
and the Katzbach.

For the same frontier it is objectionable to form more than one army;
grand detachments and corps of observation may frequently be used with
advantage, but double or multiple lines of operation are far less
favorable than one simple line. It may however sometimes occur that the
position of the enemy's forces will be such as to make this operation
the preferable one. In that case, interior lines should always be
adopted, unless we have a vast superiority in number. Double exterior
lines, with corps several days' march asunder, must be fatal, if the
enemy, whether acting on single or double interior lines, take advantage
of his position to concentrate his masses successively against our
isolated forces. The Roman armies under the consuls Flaminius and
Servilius opposed Hannibal on exterior lines, the one by Florence and
Arrezzio, and the other by Modena and Ariminum. Hannibal turned the
position of Flaminius and attacked the Roman armies separately, gaining
a complete and decisive victory. Such also was the character of the
operations of the French in 1795, under Pichegru and Jourdan; they met
with a bloody and decisive defeat. Again in 1796, the French armies
under Jourdan and Moreau, pursued exterior lines; the Archduke Charles,
from his interior position, succeeded in defeating both the opposing
generals, and forcing them to retreat. If the two armies united had
pursued a single line, the republican flag had been carried in triumph
to Vienna.

_Converging_ lines of operation are preferable, under most
circumstances, to diverging lines. Care should be taken, however, that
the point of meeting be such that it may not be taken as a strategic
position by the enemy, and our own forces be destroyed in detail, before
they can effect a junction. In 1797 the main body of the Austrians,
under Alvinzi, advanced against Napoleon, on three separate lines,
intending to concentrate at Rivoli, and then attack the French in mass;
but Napoleon took his strategic position at Rivoli, and overthrew the
enemy's corps as they successively appeared. In the same way the
Archduke Charles took an interior position, between Moreau and Jourdan,
in 1796, and prevented them from concentrating their forces on a single
point. Wurmser and Quasdanowich attempted to concentrate their forces on
the Mincio, by moving on the opposite shores of Lake Garda; but Napoleon
took an interior position and destroyed them. In 1815 Blucher and
Wellington, from their interior position, prevented the junction of
Napoleon and Grouchy.

_Diverging_ lines may be employed with advantage against an enemy
immediately after a successful battle or strategic manoeuvre; for by
this means we separate the enemy's forces, and disperse them; and if
occasion should require it, may again concentrate our forces by
converging lines. Such was the manoeuvre of Frederick the Great, in
1757, which produced the battles of Rosbach and Leuthen; such also was
the manoeuvre of Napoleon at Donawert in 1805, at Jena in 1806, and at
Ratisbon in 1809.

_Interior_ lines of operations, when properly conducted, have almost
invariably led to success: indeed every instance of failure may be
clearly traced to great unskilfulness in their execution, or to other
extraneous circumstances of the campaign. There may, however, be cases
where it will be preferable to direct our forces on the enemy's flank;
the geographical character of the theatre of war, the position of other
collateral forces, &c., rendering such a direction necessary. But as a
general rule, interior and central lines, for an army of moderate
forces, will lead to decisive results.

Napoleon's Italian campaigns in 1796 and 1797, the campaign of the
Archduke Charles in 1796, Napoleon's campaigns of 1805 and 1809 against
Austria, and of 1806 and 1807 against Prussia and Russia, of 1808 in
Spain, his manoeuvres in 1814, between the battle of Brienne and that
of Paris, and his operations previous to the Battle of Ligny in 1815,
are all brilliant examples under this head.

To change the line of operations, in the middle of a campaign, and
follow _accidental lines_, is always a delicate affair, and can only be
resorted to by a general of great skill, and with disciplined troops. In
such a case it may be attended with important results. It was one of
Napoleon's maxims, that "a line of operations, when once chosen, should
never be abandoned." This maxim, however, must sometimes be disregarded
by an army of undisciplined troops, in order to avoid entire
destruction; but the total abandonment of a line of operations is always
attended with great loss, and should be regarded as a mere choice of
evils. A regular army can always avoid this result, by changing the
direction of its line; thus frequently gaining superior advantages in
the new theatre of action. If the plan of this change be the result of a
good _coup d'oeil_, and it be skilfully executed, the rear of the
operating army will be secure from the enemy; and moreover, he will be
left in doubt respecting its weak points. But such is the uncertainty of
this manoeuvre, that it is very rarely taken by the best troops, unless
actually forced upon them. If the army be of incongruous materials,
generally a change of direction will be less advantageous than to
entirely abandon the line, and save as many as possible of the troops
for some new plan of operations. (Maxim 20.) If, however, the
undisciplined army be sustained by fortifications, it can take up the
_accidental line of operations_ in the same manner, and with the same
probability of success, as is done by a regular force.

We have examples of accidental lines in the operations of the king of
Prussia, after the battle of Hohenkirchen, and of Washington, in
New-Jersey, after the action of Princeton. This is one of the finest in
military history. Napoleon had projected a change in his line of
operations, in case he lost the battle of Austerlitz; but victory
rendered its execution unnecessary. Again in 1814 he had planned an
entire change of operations; but the want of co-operation of the forces
under Mortier and Marmont forced him to abandon a plan which, if
properly executed, had probably defeated the allies. Jomini pronounced
it one of the most brilliant of his military career.

Having explained the principal terms used in strategy, let us trace out
the successive operations of war in their usual strategic relations.

We will suppose war to be declared, and the army to be just entering
upon a campaign. The political and military authorities of the state
determine upon the nature of the war, and select the theatre of its
enterprises. The chief selects certain points, on or near the borders of
the seat of war, where his troops are to be assembled, and his
_materiel_ collected. These points, together, form his base of
operations. He now selects some point, within the theatre of the war, as
the first object of his enterprises, and chooses the line of operations
most advantageous for reaching this objective point. The temporary
positions taken on this line become strategic positions, and the line in
his rear, a line of defence. When he arrives in the vicinity of his
first object, and the enemy begins to oppose his enterprises, he must
force this enemy to retreat, either by an attack or by manoeuvres. For
this purpose he temporarily adopts certain lines of manoeuvre, which may
deviate from his general line of operations. The ulterior events of the
campaign may possibly cause him to make these new, or accidental lines,
his lines of operations. The approach of hostile forces may cause him to
detach secondary corps on secondary lines; or to divide his army, and
pursue double or multiple lines. The primitive object may also be
relinquished, and new ones proposed, with new lines and new plans of
operations. As he advances far from his primitive base, he forms new
depots and lines of magazines. He may encounter natural and artificial
obstacles. To cross large rivers in the face of an enemy is a hazardous
operation; and he requires all the art of the engineer in constructing
bridges, and securing a safe passage for his army. If a fortified place
is to be taken, he will detach a siege corps, and either continue his
march with the main army, or take a strategic position to cover this
siege. Thus Napoleon, in 1796, with an army of only 50,000 combatants,
could not venture to penetrate into Austria, with Mantua and its
garrison of 25,000 men in his rear, and an Austrian force of 40,000
before him. But in 1806 the great superiority of his army enabled him to
detach forces to besiege the principal fortresses of Silesia, and still
to continue his operations with his principal forces. The chief of the
army may meet the enemy under circumstances such as to induce or compel
him to give battle. If he should be victorious, the enemy must be
pursued and harassed to the uttermost. If he should be defeated, he must
form the best plan, and provide the best means of retreat. If possible,
he must take shelter in some line of fortifications, and prepare to
resume the offensive. Lines of intrenchment and temporary works may
sometimes serve him as a sufficient protection. Finally, when the
unfavorable season compels him to suspend his operations, he will go
into winter cantonments, and prepare for a new campaign.

Such are the ordinary operations of war: its relations to strategy must
be evident, even to the most superficial reader.

Not unfrequently the results of a campaign depend more upon the
strategic operations of an army, than upon its victories gained in
actual combat. Tactics, or movements within the range of the enemy's
cannon, is therefore subordinate to the _choice of positions_: if the
field of battle be properly chosen, success will be decisive, and the
loss of the battle not disastrous; whereas, if selected without
reference to the principles of the science, the victory, if gained,
might be barren, and defeat, if suffered, totally fatal: thus
demonstrating the truth of Napoleon's maxim, that success is oftener due
to the genius of the general, and to the nature of the theatre of war,
than to the number and bravery of the soldiers. (Maxim 17, 18.)

We have a striking illustration of this in the French army of the
Danube, which, from the left wing of General Kray, marched rapidly
through Switzerland to the right extremity of the Austrian line, "and by
this movement alone conquered all the country between the Rhine and
Danube without pulling a trigger."

Again, in 1805, the army of Mack was completely paralyzed, and the main
body forced to surrender, at Ulm, without a single important battle. In
1806, the Prussians were essentially defeated even before the battle of
Jena. The operations about Heilesberg, in 1807, the advance upon Madrid,
in 1808, the manoeuvres about Ratisbon, in 1809, the operations of the
French in 1814, and the first part of the campaign of 1815, against
vastly superior numbers, are all familiar proofs of the truth of the

Strategy may therefore be regarded as the most important, though least
understood, of all the branches of the military art.[4]

[Footnote 4: Strategy may be learned from didactic works or from general
military histories. There are very few good elementary works on this
branch of the military art. The general treatises of the Archduke
Charles, and of General Wagner, in German, (the former has been
translated into French,) are considered as the best. The discussions of
Jomini on this subject in his great work on the military art, are
exceedingly valuable; also the writings of Rocquancourt, Jacquinot de
Presle, and Gay de Vernon. The last of these has been translated into
English, but the translation is exceedingly inaccurate. The military
histories of Lloyd, Templehoff, Jomini, the Archduke Charles, Grimoard,
Gravert, Souchet, St. Cyr, Beauvais, Laverne, Stutterheim, Wagner,
Kausler, Gourgaud and Montholon, Foy, Mathieu Dumas, Ségur, Pelet, Koch,
Clausewitz, and Thiers, may be read with great advantage. Napier's
History of the Peninsular War is the only English History that is of any
value as a _military_ work: it is a most excellent book. Alison's great
History of Europe is utterly worthless to the military man; the author
is ignorant of the first principles of the military art, and nearly
every page is filled with the grossest blunders.

We subjoin the titles of a few of the best works that treat of strategy,
either directly or in connection with military history.

_Principes de la Stratégie, &c._, par le Prince Charles, traduit de
l'Allemand, 3 vols. in 8vo. This is a work of great merit. The technical
terms, however, are very loosely employed.

_Précis de l'Art de la Guerre_, par le Baron Jomini. His chapter on
strategy embodies the principles of this branch of the art.

_Grundsätze der Strategic_, Von Wagner.

_Cours Elémentaire d'Art et d'Histoire Militaire_, par Rocquancourt.
This work contains much valuable information connected with the history
of the art of war; but it is far too diffuse and ill-arranged for an
elementary book.

_Cours d'Art et d'Histoire Militaire_, par Jacquinot de Presle. This
work is especially designed for cavalry officers, and the other branches
of military service are but very briefly discussed.

De Vernon's Treatise on the Science of War and Fortification contains
much valuable information; but, as an elementary book, it has the same
objections as that of Rocquancourt.

_History of the Seven Years' War_, by Lloyd and Templehoff. The military
writings of Lloyd and Templehoff are valuable as connected with the
history of strategy; but many of the principles laid down by these
writers are now regarded as erroneous.

_Mémoires de Napoléon_. The Memoirs of Napoleon, as dictated by himself
to Gourgaud and Montholon, have been translated into English. It is
hardly necessary to remark that they contain all the general principles
of military art and science. No military man should fail to study them
thoroughly. The matter is so condensed, and important principles are
embodied in so few words, that they are not easily understood by the
ordinary reader, and probably will never be popular with the multitude.

_Essai général de Tactique_, par Guibert. A work very popular in its
day, but now far less valuable than the writings already mentioned.

_Ausführliche Beschreibung der Schlacht des Pirmasens_, von Gravert.
Regarded by military men as a valuable historical fragment.

_Mémoires sur les Campagnes en Espagne_. Souchet.

_Mémoires de Gouvion St. Cyr._

_Statistique de la Guerre_, par Reveroni St. Cyr.

_Première Campagnes de la Revolution_, par Grimoard.

_Victoires et Conquêtes_. Beauvais.

_Campagnes de Suwarrow_. Laverne.

_Histoire de la Guerre de la Péninsule_. Foy.

_Précis des Evénements Militaires_. Mathieu Dumas.

_Histoire de Napoléon et de la Grande Armée en 1812_. Ségur

_Mémoires sur la Guerre de 1809_. Pelet.

_La Campagne de 1814_. Koch.

_Vom Kriege--Die Feldzügge, &c._ Clausewitz.

_La Révolution, le Consulat et l'Empire._ Thiers.

_Mémoires sur la Guerre de 1812--sur la Campagne du Vice roi en Italie,
en 1813 et 1814; Histoire de la Guerre en Allemagne en 1814; Histoire
des Campagnes de 1814 et 1815, en France_. Vaudoncourt.

_Essai sur l'Art Militaire, &c._ Carion-Nisas.

_Histoire de l'Expédition en Russie en 1812_. Chambray.

_War in Spain, Portugal, and the South of France_. John Jones.

_Peninsular War_. Napier.

_Notices of the War of 1812_. Armstrong

All the above are works of merit; but none are more valuable to the
military man than the military histories of Jomini and Kausler, with
their splendid diagrams and maps.]



_Fortifications, or engineering_, may be considered with reference to
the defence of states and the grand operation of armies; or with
reference to the details of the construction, and attack, and defence of
forts, and the influence of field-works on the tactical manoeuvres of
armies. It is proposed to speak here only of its general character, as a
branch of the military art, without entering into any professional
discussion of details.

The connection of fortification and strategy may be considered under two
distinct heads: 1st, the choice of sites for constructing fortresses for
defence; 2d, their influence in offensive operations, and the
determination of the question whether they can be passed with safety, or
whether the attacking force will be under the necessity of besieging

The centre and extremities of _a base of operations_ should always be
secured either by natural or artificial obstacles. This base is
generally chosen so that fortifications will be necessary for
strengthening only a part of the line. But if a frontier, like the side
of France towards Belgium, be destitute of natural obstacles, the
artificial means of defence must be proportionally increased. Great care
should be taken that permanent fortifications be made only on such
places as may favor military operations. If otherwise, the troops
detached from the active army for garrisoning them, will only tend to
weaken this force without any corresponding advantages. In this way,
fortifications may become actually injurious to defence. A number of the
European fortresses which were built before the subject of strategy was
properly understood, are now regarded as utterly useless, from their
ill-advised positions.

Whether a fortress may be safely passed with merely blockading or
observing it, depends very much upon the nature of the war, and the
numbers and position of the defensive army. The allies, in 1814,
invading France with a million of soldiers, assisted by the political
diversion of factions and Bourbonists within the kingdom, and treason in
the frontier fortresses, and even in the ranks of Napoleon's army, could
conduct their military operations on a very different plan from that
which would be adopted by either Austria, Prussia, Russia, England,
Spain, Portugal, Holland, Italy, and the German powers, if singly waging
war with the French. Napoleon sometimes detached a corps to observe a
fortress which threatened his line of operations or of manoeuvre; at
others, he delayed his advance till the place could be reduced.

"An army," says Jomini, "may sometimes penetrate between places on an
open frontier, to attack the enemy's forces in the field, taking care at
the same time to _observe_ these places; but no invading army can cross
a great river, like the Danube, the Rhine, or the Elbe, without reducing
at least one of the fortresses on that river, so as to secure a line of
retreat; but being in possession of such a place, it can continue the
offensive, while its _matériel de siège_ successively reduces the other

In case the main army is obliged to remain and cover the besieging
corps, it should take some central position, where it can command all
the avenues of approach, and fall with vigor on the enemy, should he
attempt to raise the siege. Napoleon's operations before Mantua, in
1796, offer the finest model for imitation.

The old system of intrenched camps and lines of contravallation is
unsuited to the spirit of modern warfare. In ancient times, and more
particularly in the middle ages, too much importance was attached to
tactical positions, and not enough to strategic points and lines. This
gave to fortifications a character that never properly belonged to them.
From the middle ages down to the period of the French Revolution, wars
were carried on mainly by the system of positions--one party confining
their operations to the security of certain important places, while the
other directed their whole attention to the siege and capture of these
places. But Carnot and Napoleon changed this system, at the same time
with the system of tactics, or rather, returned from it to the old and
true system of strategic operations. Some men, looking merely at the
fact that a _change_ was made, but without examining the _character_ of
that change, have rushed headlong to the conclusion that fortified
places are now utterly useless in war, military success depending
entirely upon a good system of marches.

On this subject, General Jomini, the great military historian of the
wars of the French Revolution, remarks that "we should depend entirely
upon neither organized masses, nor upon material obstacles, whether
natural or artificial. To follow exclusively either of these systems
would be equally absurd. The true science of war consists in choosing a
just medium between the two extremes. The wars of Napoleon demonstrated
the great truth, that distance can protect no country from invasion, but
that a state, to be secure, must have a good system of fortresses, and a
good system of military reserves and military institutions."

In all military operations _time_ is of vast importance. If a single
division of an army can be retarded for a few hours only, it not
unfrequently decides the fate of the campaign. Had the approach of
Blucher been delayed for a few hours, Napoleon must have been victorious
at the battle of Waterloo. An equilibrium can seldom be sustained for
more than six or seven hours between forces on the field of battle; but
in this instance, the state of the ground rendered the movements so
slow as to prolong the battle for about twelve hours; thus enabling the
allies to effect a concentration in time to save Wellington.

Many of Napoleon's brilliant victories resulted from merely bringing
troops to bear suddenly upon some decisive point. Rivoli in 1796-7,
Marengo in 1800, Ulm in 1805, Jena in 1806, Ratisbon in 1809, Brienne in
1814, and Ligny in 1815, are familiar examples. But this concentration
of forces, even with a regular army, cannot be calculated on by the
general with any degree of certainty, unless his communications are
perfectly secure. And this difficulty is very much increased where the
troops are new and undisciplined. When a country like ours is invaded,
large numbers of such troops must suddenly be called into the field. Not
knowing the designs of the invaders, much time will be lost in marches
and countermarches; and if there be no safe places of resort the
operations must be indecisive and insecure.

To a defensive army fortifications are valuable as points of repose,
upon which the troops, if beaten, may fall back, and shelter their sick
and wounded, collect their scattered forces, repair their materials, and
draw together a new supply of stores and provisions; and as rallying
points, where new troops may be assembled with safety, and the army, in
a few days, be prepared to again meet the enemy in the open field.
Without these defences, undisciplined and inexperienced armies, when
once routed, can seldom be rallied again, except with great losses. But
when supported by forts, they can select their opportunity for fighting,
and offer or refuse battle according to the probability of success; and,
having a safe place of retreat, they are far less influenced by fear in
the actual conflict.

The enemy, on the other hand, being compelled either to besiege or
_observe_ these works, his army will be separated from its magazines,
its strength and efficiency diminished by detachments, and his whole
force exposed to the horrors of partisan warfare. It has therefore been
estimated by the best military writers, that an army supported by a
judicious system of fortifications, can repel a land force _six_ times
as large as itself.

Every government should prepare, in time of peace, its most prominent
and durable means of defence. By securing in a permanent manner its
important points, it will enable a small force to retain possession of
these places against a greatly superior army, for a considerable length
of time. This serves the same purpose as a battle gained; for, in the
beginning of a war of invasion, the economy of time is of the utmost
importance to the defensive party, enabling it to organize and prepare
the great military resources of the state.

In all mountainous frontiers, or sides of states bordering on large
rivers, or chains of lakes, there will necessarily be but few points by
which an invader can penetrate into the interior of the country. Let us
suppose that, for a frontier of moderate extent, there are _five_
passes, or avenues through which the enemy may approach the interior. To
effectually defend these approaches against the invading army will
require, for each, an army of ten thousand men. Not being able to decide
positively on the plans of the enemy, all these communications must be
defended at the same time. This requires a defending army of fifty
thousand men. Let us now suppose each of these passes to be fortified in
such a way, that one thousand men will be able to hold the enemy in
check, and force him to resort to the operations of a siege; or, at
least, to retard his advance till an active army can be organized in the
interior, and prepared to meet him in the field. We here see that five
thousand men, by means of fortifications, can accomplish the same
defensive object as fifty thousand men without these artificial means of

But let us enter a little more into the details of frontier defences,
and examine the character of the several systems which have been
successively proposed or adopted. Frontiers are divided into four
distinct classes, according as the state may be open on one or more
sides, or bounded by mountains, large rivers and lakes, or by the sea.

An open frontier is the most difficult of defence; and while there
exists a perfect uniformity among military men upon the vast importance
of fortifying such a frontier, there is an equal diversity of opinion
respecting the best manner of arranging these works. We shall here
mention three general systems of arranging forts for the defence of an
open country, each of which has been advocated at different times, and
afterwards received various modifications and additions. These three
systems comprise the main features of all others worthy of much
consideration. They are:--

1st. The system of continuous lines, proposed by Montalembert.

2d. A system of three lines of detached works, strongly recommended by
D'Arçon and others.

3d. A system proposed by Vauban, and advocated by Rogniat, consisting of
lines of very strong works, placed at considerable distances from each
other and covering large _intrenched camps_.

The first of these systems was proposed in 1790, and for a time
attracted considerable notice in France, but has long since been
discarded, as being utterly incompatible with the principles of the
military art. A writer, however, of some pretensions in this country,
recommends its adoption for the defence of Baltimore and the shores of
the Chesapeake. The same author would dispense entirely with our
present system of fortifications on the sea-coast, and substitute in
their place wooden Martello towers! This would be very much like
building 120 gun ships at Pittsburg and Memphis, for the defence of the
Ohio and the Mississippi rivers, and sending out duck-boats to meet the
enemy on the Atlantic!

In the second system, the works on the extreme frontier are to be placed
about thirty or forty miles apart, and those of the second and third
lines respectively thirty or forty miles in rear of the first and second
lines, and opposite the intervals.

In the third system, first recommended by Vauban and more recently by
Rogniat, the works are to be arranged in the same manner as in that of
D'Arçon, but the distance between them is to be from seventy to one
hundred miles, and each fort arranged for covering a large intrenched

Either of these last two systems is well suited to the defence of an
open frontier. The former is applied to the side of France towards
Belgium, and the latter, with certain modifications, to the defence of
Western Germany. The first line of fortifications on the northern
frontier of France consists of Dunkirk, Lille, Valenciennes, Condé,
Quesnoy, Rocroi, Charlemont, Mézières, and Sedan; the second line, of
Calais, Andres, St. Omer, Béthune, Arras, Douai, Chambrai, Landrecies,
and Avesnes; the third line, of Boulogne, Montreuil, Hesdin, Abbeville,
Amiens, Bapaume, Peronne, Ham, and Laon.

For mountainous frontiers it is deemed necessary to secure all the
important passes with small redoubts or military works, and to defend
with strong forts the grand interior strategic points on which these
communications are directed. For a frontier of moderate extent there may
be some six or eight gorges in the mountains by which an army might
penetrate; but it will always be found that these roads concentrate on
two or three points in the great valleys below. Take, for example, the
frontier of France towards Switzerland and Italy. The passes of the
mountains are secured by the little works of Fort L'Ecluse, Fort
Pierre-châtel, Fort Barraux, Briançon, Mont Dauphin, Colmars, Entrevaux,
and Antibes; while Besançon, Grenoble, and Toulon, form a second line;
and Lyons a grand central dépôt.

Where a great river or chain of lakes forms the boundary of a state, the
system of defence will be much the same as that of an open land
frontier, the works of the first line being made to secure the great
bridges or ferries by which the enemy might effect a passage; those of
the second line, to cover the passes of the highlands that generally
approach more or less near the great watercourse; and those of the third
line, far enough in rear to protect the great internal communications of
the country. Let us take, for example, the side of France bordering on
the Rhine. Wissembourg and Lauterbourg, Fort Louis, Haguenau,
Strasbourg, Schelstadt, Neuf-Brisach, and Huneguen, cover the several
passages of the river; while Bitche, Phalsbourg, and Béfort form a
second line; Thionville, Metz, and Toul, a third line; and Verdun a
grand central dépôt.

The following are the principal objects proposed to be accomplished by
fortifications on a sea-coast.

1st. To close all important harbors to an enemy, and secure them to the
navy of the country.

2d. To prevent the enemy from forming an establishment on our shores,
from which, by his naval superiority, he might destroy our commerce and
keep the whole frontier in continual alarm.

3d. To cover our great cities against a maritime attack and bombardment.

4th. To cover our ship-yards and great naval depots.

5th. To prevent, as much as possible, the great avenues of interior
navigation from being blockaded by naval means at their entrance into
the ocean.

6th. To give to our navy facilities for protecting our coast trade from
the enemy's ships of war, and our internal communications, which lie
near the coast, from maritime descents.

Let us notice how France has attempted to accomplish this object. The
Mediterranean frontier has Fort Quarré, Fort St. Marguérite, St. Tropez,
Brigançon, the forts of Point Man, of l'Ertissac, and of Langoustier,
Toulon, St. Nicholas, Castle of If, Marseilles, Tour de Boue,
Aigues-Montes, Fort St. Louis, Fort Brescou, Narbonne, Château de
Salces, Perpignan, Collioure, Fort St. Elme, and Port Vendre. Toulon is
the great naval dépôt for this frontier, and Marseilles the great
commercial port. Both are well secured by strong fortifications. The
Atlantic frontier has Bayonne; the forts of Royan, Grave, Medoc, Paté,
&c., on the Gironde; Rochefort, with the forts of Chapus, Lapin, Aix,
Oleron, &c., to cover the roadstead; La Rochelle, with the forts of the
Isle of Ré; Sables, with the forts of St. Nicholas, and Des Moulines,
Isle Dieu, Belle Isle, Fort du Pilier, Mindin, Ville Martin; Quiberon,
with Fort Penthièvre; L'Orient, with its harbor defences; Fort Cigogne;
Brest, with its harbor defences; St. Malo, with Forts Cézembre, La
Canchée, L'Anse du Verger, and Des Rimains; Cherbourg, with its
defensive forts and batteries; Havre, Dieppe, Boulogne, Calais, and
Dunkirk. Cherbourg, Brest, and Rochefort, are great naval dépôts; and
Havre, Nantes, and Bordeaux, the principal commercial ports. Many of the
works above enumerated are small in extent and antiquated in their
construction, and some of them quite old and dilapidated nevertheless,
they have heretofore been found sufficient for the defence of the naval
depots and commercial seaports of France against the superior naval
forces of her neighbor.

Omitting for the present all discussion of sea-coast defences, let us
examine more particularly the character and influence of fortifications
on land frontiers.

All military writers agree that fortifications have heretofore exerted a
great, and frequently a decisive, influence on the operations of a war.
Those of France are frequently referred to as proofs of this influence.
But, while all are disposed to allow that these works contributed much
in former times to the defence of states, yet some have said that modern
improvements in the mode of attack have rendered forts far less valuable
than formerly.

Such, however, is not the case. Improvements in the mode of attack have
not kept pace with the facilities of locomotion; and, although
fortifications do not now usually sustain a siege of as _many days_ as
in former times, still, as compared with the relative lengths of
campaigns in ancient and modern wars, the _proportional_ length of
sieges is now even _greater_ than formerly. When the same is
accomplished in a campaign of seven weeks as was formerly done in a war
of seven years, it is not necessary that fortified places should hold
out a very long time. A place that can sustain a siege of a month is now
deemed sufficiently strong for ordinary campaigns; for by the end of
that time the defensive army will either be destroyed, or be able to
come to its succor. In either case a longer defence would not be

A reference to the most important sieges of the last century or two will
show that forts are, on an average, capable of sustaining a siege for
more than that length of time. Lille, in 1708, held the allies in check
for a whole year; and again, in 1792, compelled the Austrians to raise
the siege after an unsuccessful attack of fifteen days.

Antwerp, in 1585, sustained a siege of fourteen months against greatly
superior forces; in 1814 Carnot defended the citadel of this place for
four months, and until an armistice had been concluded between the
contending parties; in 1832, it sustained, with a garrison of only 4,500
men and 145 pieces of ordnance, a siege of twenty-five days, against a
force of 55,000 men and 223 cannon.

Namur, near the end of the seventeenth century, sustained a siege of ten

Ismaïl, in 1790, sustained a siege of more than two months against the

Maestricht, in 1793, sustained a siege of nearly two weeks; and again,
in 1794, sustained a blockade and siege of nearly two months.

Magdeburg, in the thirty years' war, resisted the army of Wallenstein
for seven months; and in 1813-14, although garrisoned by only 4,000 men,
it for a long time resisted the overwhelming forces of the allies.

Dantzic, at the same time, sustained a siege against superior forces for
more than nine months.

Landau, in 1793, sustained a siege of nine months.

Valenciennes and Mayence, in 1793, each sustained a siege of about three

Charleroi, Fort Vauban, and L'Ecluse, in 1794, each sustained a siege of
about thirty days.

Quesnoy, in 1794, sustained a siege of about three weeks.

Rosas, in 1795, sustained a siege of some seventy days.

Mantua, in 1796-7, protected from invasion, for eight months, the Tyrol
and the heart of the Austrian monarchy.

Kehl and Huninguen, in 1796, sheltered Moreau for three months against
all the efforts of the Archduke Charles.

St. Jean d'Acre, in 1799, sustained a siege of sixty days of open

Ulm, in 1800, held Moreau in check for more than a month.

Genoa, in 1800, sustained a blockade of sixty and a siege of forty days.

Saragossa in 1808 sustained a close siege of near two months; and in
1809 it was again besieged for two months.

Rosas in 1808 sustained a siege of thirty days.

Gerona in 1809 sustained a siege and blockade of seven months, nearly
four of them being of open trench.

Mequinenza (a very small work) in 1810 sustained a siege of more than
two weeks.

Astorga in 1810 sustained a siege of thirty days; twenty-four being of
open trench.

Lerida in 1810 sustained a siege of thirty days, two weeks being of open

Ciudad Rodrigo in 1810 sustained a siege of two months.

Almeida in 1810 sustained a siege of more than a month.

Tortosa in 1810 sustained a siege of six months.

Tarragona in 1811 sustained a siege of nearly two months.

Badajos in 1811 sustained a siege of more than forty days open trench.

Lerida in 1811 sustained a siege of two weeks open trench.

Saguntum in 1811 sustained a siege of a month.

Valencia in 1811-12 sustained a siege of two months

Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812 sustained a blockade of several months, and a
close siege of two weeks.

Badajos in 1812 sustained twenty-one days of open trenches.

Burgos in 1812 sustained thirty-three days of open trenches.

St. Sebastian in 1813 sustained a siege and blockade of nearly three
months, with fifty-nine days of open trenches.

Pampeluna in 1813 sustained a siege of more than four months.

Monzon in 1813-14 also sustained a siege of more than four months.

This list might be increased with numerous other examples, to show that
even poorly fortified towns are capable of defending themselves, on an
average, for more than a month. These examples, be it remembered, are
nearly all taken from a period of history since any material
improvements have been made in the art of attack. Since the time of
Vauban the improvements in attack have not kept pace with the increased
means of defence. Moreover, these examples are taken from the sieges of
towns defended mainly by old and antiquated works, and entirely
incapable of offering the same resistance as detached fortifications,
with all the modern improvements.

The value of fortifications, as land defences, is sufficiently proved by
showing their general capability of resisting an invader, even for a
limited period; thus affording us time and opportunity to provide other
means of security. But it must not be inferred that forts besieged _en
règle_ will necessarily fall after so many days. Such is far from being
the case. The besieged have usually great advantages over the besiegers;
and unless the latter are vastly superior in number, or the work is of a
very inferior character, or the garrison is destitute of the requisite
means and energy to resist an attack, they will not be taken.

Mezieres was not taken in 1520; nor Marseilles in 1524; nor Peronne in
1536; nor Landrecies in 1543; nor Metz in 1552; nor Montauban in 1621;
nor Lerida in 1647; nor Maestricht in 1676; nor Vienna in 1529, and
again in 1683; nor Turin in 1706; nor Conde in 1744; nor Lille in 1792;
nor Landau in 1793; nor Ulm in 1800; nor Saragossa in 1808; nor Burgos
in 1812. This list might be extended almost indefinitely with the names
of places that could be reduced neither by force nor by starvation.

But, as has already been noticed, some have asserted that fortifications
have become of little comparative importance, under the new system of
warfare introduced during the wars of the French Revolution. On this
subject let us consult the opinions of the best military judges of the
present century.

Napoleon says of fortifications, "they are an excellent means of
retarding, fettering, enfeebling, and disquieting a conquering foe."

"The possession of strategic points," says the Archduke Charles, "is
decisive in military operations; and the most efficacious means should,
therefore, be employed to defend points whose preservation is the
country's safeguard. This object is accomplished by fortifications,
inasmuch as they can resist, for a given time, with a small number of
troops, every effort of a much larger force; fortifications should,
therefore, be regarded as the basis of a good system of defence." "It
should be a maxim of state policy in every country, to fortify, in time
of peace, all such points, and to arrange them with great care, so that
they can be defended by a small number of troops. For the enemy, knowing
the difficulty of getting possession of these works, will look twice
before he involves himself in a war." "Establishments which can secure
strategic advantages are not the works of a moment; they require time
and labor. He who has the direction of the military forces of a state,
should, in time of peace, prepare for war." "The proper application or
neglect of these principles will decide the safety or the ruin of the
state." "Fortifications arrest the enemy in the pursuit of his object,
and direct his movements on less important points;--he must either force
these fortified lines, or else hazard enterprises upon lines which offer
only disadvantages. In fine, a country secured by a system of defences
truly strategic, has no cause to fear either the invasion or the yoke of
the enemy; for he can advance to the interior of the country only
through great trouble and ruinous efforts. Of course, lines of
fortifications thus arranged cannot shelter a state against all reverses;
but these reverses will not, in this case, be attended by total ruin;
for they cannot take from the state the means nor the time for
collecting new forces; nor can they ever reduce it to the cruel
alternative of submission or destruction."

"Fortifications," says Jomini, "fulfil two objects of capital
importance,--1st. The protection of the frontiers; and 2d. Assisting the
operations of the army in the field." "Every part of the frontiers of a
state should be secured by one or two great places of refuge, secondary
places, and even small posts for facilitating the active operations of
the armies. Cities girt with walls and slight ditches may often be of
great utility in the interior of a country, as places of deposit, where
stores, magazines, hospitals, &c., may be sheltered from the incursions
of the enemy's light troops. These works are more especially valuable
where such stores, in order not to weaken the regular army by
detachments, are intrusted to the care of raw and militia forces." It is
not supposed that any system of fortifications can hermetically close a
frontier; "but, although they of themselves can rarely present an
absolute obstacle to the advance of the hostile army, yet it is
indisputable that they straiten its movements, change the direction of
its marches, and force it into detachments; while, on the contrary, they
afford all the opposite advantages to the defensive army; they protect
its marches, favor its debouches, cover its magazines, its flanks, and
its movements, and finally furnish it with a place of refuge in time of

These opinions were uttered, be it remembered, long since the period at
which modern military quacks date the downfall of fortifications as
inland defences, by men, too, who were not engineers, and consequently
had no professional predilections in favor of fortifications. The
Archduke Charles, as a general, knew no rival but Napoleon, and General
Jomini is universally regarded as the first military historian of the
age. The truth of their remarks on fortifications is most fully
confirmed by the military histories of Germany and France.

For a long period previous to the Thirty Years' War, its strong castles
and fortified cities secured the German empire from attacks from abroad,
except on its extensive frontier, which was frequently assailed, but no
enemy was able to penetrate to the interior till a want of union among
its own princes opened its strongholds to the Swedish conqueror; nor
then, did the cautious Gustavus Adolphus venture far into its
territories till he had obtained possession of all the military works
that might endanger his retreat.

Again, in the Seven Years' War, when the French neglected to secure
their foothold in Germany, by placing in a state of defence the
fortifications that fell into their power, the first defeat rendered
their ground untenable, and threw them from the Elbe back upon the Rhine
and the Mayne. They afterwards took the precaution to fortify their
positions, and to secure their magazines under shelter of strong places,
and, consequently, were enabled to maintain themselves in the hostile
country till the end of the war, notwithstanding the inefficiency of
their generals, the great reverses they sustained in the field, the
skill and perseverance of the enemy they were contending with, and the
weak and vacillating character of the cabinet that directed them.

But this system of defence was not so carefully maintained in the latter
part of the eighteenth century, for at the beginning of the French
Revolution, says Jomini, "Germany had too few fortifications; they were
generally of a poor character, and improperly located." France, on the
contrary, was well fortified: and although without armies, and torn in
pieces by domestic factions, (we here use the language of the Archduke,)
"she sustained herself against all Europe; _and this was because her
government, since the reign of Louis XIII_., _had continually labored to
put her frontiers into a defensive condition agreeably to the principles
of strategy_; starting from such a system for a basis, she subdued every
country on the continent that was not thus fortified; and this reason
alone will explain how her generals sometimes succeeded in destroying an
army, and even an entire state, merely by a strategic success."

This may be illustrated by reference to particular campaigns. In 1792,
when the Duke of Brunswick invaded France, she had no armies competent
to her defence. Their numbers upon paper were somewhat formidable, it is
true, but the license of the Revolution had so loosened the bonds of
discipline as to effect an almost complete disorganization. "It seemed,
at this period," says the historian, "as if the operations of the French
generals were dependent upon the absence of their enemies: the moment
they appeared, the operations were precipitately abandoned." But France
had on her eastern frontier a triple line of good fortresses, although
her miserable soldiery were incapable of properly defending them. The
several works of the first and second lines fell, one after another,
before the slow operations of a Prussian siege, and the Duke of
Brunswick was already advancing upon the third, when Dumourier, with
only twenty-five thousand men, threw himself into this line, and by a
well-conducted war of positions, placing his raw and unsteady forces
behind unassailable intrenchments, succeeded in repelling a disciplined
army nearly four times as numerous as his own. Had no other obstacle
than the French troops been interposed between Paris and the Prussians,
all agree that France must have fallen.

In the campaign, of 1793, the French army in Flanders were beaten in
almost every engagement, and their forces reduced to less than one half
the number of the allies. The French general turned traitor to his
country, and the National Guards deserted their colors and returned to
France. The only hope of the Republicans, at this crisis, was Vauban's
line of Flemish fortresses. These alone saved France. The strongholds of
Lille, Condé, Valenciennes, Quesnoy, Landrecies, &c., held the Austrians
in check till the French could raise new forces and reorganize their
army. "The important breathing-time which the sieges of these
fortresses," says an English historian, "afforded to the French, and the
immense advantage which they derived from the new levies which they
received, and fresh organization which they acquired during that
important period, is a signal proof of the vital importance of
fortresses in contributing to national defence. Napoleon has not
hesitated to ascribe to the three months thus gained the salvation of
France. It is to be constantly recollected that the Republican armies
were then totally unable to keep the field; that behind the frontier
fortresses there was neither a defensive position, nor a corps to
reinforce them; and that if driven from their vicinity, the capital was
taken and the war concluded."

In the following year, 1794, when France had completed her vast
armaments, and, in her turn, had become the invading power, the enemy
had no fortified towns to check the progress of the Republican armies;
which, based on strong works of defence, in a few weeks overran
Flanders, and drove the allies beyond the Rhine.

In the campaign of 1796, when the army of Moreau had been forced into a
precipitate retreat by the admirable strategic operations of the
Archduke Charles, the French forces owed their safety to the
fortifications on the Rhine. These works arrested the enemy's pursuit
and obliged him to resort to the tedious operations of sieges; and the
reduction of the French advanced posts alone, Kehl and Huninguen, poorly
as they were defended, employed all the resources of the Austrian army,
and the skill of their engineers, from early in October till late in
February. Kehl was at first assaulted by a force _four_ times as
numerous as the garrison; if the enemy had succeeded, he would have cut
off Moreau's retreat, and destroyed his army. Fortunately the place was
strong enough to resist all assaults; and Moreau, basing himself on the
fortresses of Alsace, his right covered by Huninguen, Neuf-Brisach, and
Béfort, and his left by the iron barrier of the Netherlands, effectually
checked the waves of Austrian success.

Let us now turn to the campaigns of Napoleon. In his first campaign in
Italy, 1796, the general was directed "to seize the forts of Savona,
compel the senate to furnish him with pecuniary supplies, and to
surrender the keys of Gavi, a fortress perched on the rocky height
commanding the pass of the Bocchetta." Setting out from Savona, he
crossed the mountains at a weak point between the Alps and the
Apennines, and succeeded in piercing the enemy's line of defence. The
king of Sardinia, jealous of Austrian influence, had refused to permit
the Austrian army to garrison his line of fortifications. Napoleon,
profiting by his victorious attitude, the mutual jealousy of Austria
and Sardinia, and the intrigues of his diplomatists, soon gained
possession of these important works. "_These Sardinian fortresses_," he
wrote to the Directory, "_at once put the Republicans in possession of
the keys of the Peninsula_." Basing himself on Coni, Mondovi, Ceva,
Gavi, and Alessandria, with Tortosa as his dépôt of magazines, he
advanced against Lombardy. Now basing himself on the Adda and Po, with
the fortress of Pizzighettone as the dépôt of his magazines, he advanced
upon the line of the Adige. Pechiera became his next dépôt, and he now
had four fortresses in echelon between him and his first dépôt of
magazines; and, after the fall of Mantua, basing himself on the Po, he
advanced against the States of the Church, making Ferrara and then
Ancona, his places of dépôt.

From the solid basis of the fortresses of Piedmont and Lombardy, "he was
enabled to turn his undivided attention to the destruction of the
Austrians, and thus commence, with some security, that great career of
conquest which he already meditated in the imperial dominions." In this
campaign of 1797, after scouring his base, he fortified Palma-Nuova,
Osapo, &c., repaired the old fortifications of Klagenfurth, and, as he
advanced, established, to use his own words, "a good _point d'appui_ at
every five or six marches."

Afterwards, when the Austrians had nearly wrested Italy from the weak
grasp of Napoleon's successors, the French saved their army in the
fortress of Genoa and behind the line of the Var, which had been
fortified with care in 1794-5. Numerous attempts were made to force this
line, the advanced post of Fort Montauban being several times assaulted
by numerous forces. But the Austrian columns recoiled from its murderous
fire of grape and musketry, which swept off great numbers at every
discharge. Again the assault was renewed with a vast superiority of
numbers, and again "the brave men who headed the column almost perished
at the foot of the intrenchment; and, after sustaining a heavy loss,
they were compelled to abandon the enterprise."

While the forces on the Var thus stayed the waves of Austrian success,
Massena, in the fortifications of Genoa, sustained a blockade of sixty,
and a siege of forty days, against an army five times as large as his
own; and when forced to yield to the stern demands of famine, he almost
dictated to the enemy the terms of the treaty. These two defences held
in check the _élite_ of the Austrian forces, while the French reserve
crossed the Alps, seized the important points of the country, and cut
off the Austrian line of retreat. "But even after the victory of
Marengo," says Napoleon, "I did not consider the whole of Italy
reconquered, until all the fortified places between me and the Mincio
should be occupied by my troops. I gave Melas permission to return to
Mantua, on condition of his surrendering all these fortresses."

He now directed Chasseloup de Laubat and his engineers to repair and
remodel the fortifications of Verona, Legnano, Pechiera, Mantua, the
line of the Adda, Milan, Alessandria,[5] Roco d'Aufo, Genoa, and several
smaller works; thus forming a quadruple line of defence against Austrian
aggression in Italy. These works were of great service to the French in
1805, enabling Massena with fifty thousand men to hold in check the
Archduke Charles with more than ninety thousand, while Napoleon's grand
army, starting from the solid base of the Rhine, traversed Germany and
seized upon the capital of Austria.

[Footnote 5: More than twenty millions of money were appropriated for
this place alone.]

The neglect of the Prussians to place their country in a state of
military defence, previous to declaring war against Napoleon in 1806,
had a most disastrous influence upon the campaign. Napoleon, on the
other hand, occupied and secured all the important military positions
which he had captured in the preceding campaign. "The Prussians," said
he, "made no preparations for putting into a state of defence the
fortifications on their first line, not even those within a few marches
of our cantonments. While I was piling up bastion upon bastion at Kehl,
Cassel, and Wesel, they did not plant a single palisade at Magdeburg,
nor put in battery a single cannon at Spandau." The works on the three
great lines of the Oder, the Elbe, and the Weser, had they been properly
repaired, garrisoned, and defended, were sufficient to have held in
check the French, even after the great victory of Jena, till the
newly-organized forces, acting in concert with the Russian army, could
re-establish the Prussian monarchy in its ancient greatness. Profiting
by the neglect of the Prussians, Napoleon seized upon the great
defensive works of the country, which, to his great joy, were readily
surrendered into his hands by the old and inefficient generals who
commanded them; and French garrisons were almost immediately established
in the fortresses of Stettin, Custrin, Glogau, Magdeburg, Spandau,
Hameln, Nieubourg, &c. "Spandau," said he in the 19th Bulletin, "is an
inestimable acquisition. In our hands it could sustain two months of
operations. But such was the general confusion, that the Prussians had
not even armed its batteries." The possession of these fortifications
inclined the scale at Eylau. All the historians of the war notice their
influence on the campaigns of Friedland and Tilsit.

These Prussian fortresses were retained by Napoleon at the treaty of
Tilsit. The campaign of 1809 proved the wisdom of this policy, as they
effectually prevented Prussia from joining Austria in rekindling the
flames of war. And again in 1813, these works might have produced a
decided influence on the campaign, had not the political perfidy of
Austria, and the treason of the French generals, prevented Napoleon from
profiting by the advantages of his position.

The influence of the fortifications of Spain upon the Peninsular
campaigns has often been alluded to by historians. Those works which had
been given up to Napoleon previous to the opening of hostilities,
contributed very much to the success of his arms; while those which had
been retained by Spain and her allies contributed in an equal degree to
fetter and embarrass his operations. Some of these, like Saragossa,
Tarragona, Gerona, Tortosa, &c. &c., with their broken walls and
defective armaments, kept the enemy in check for months; and, by
compelling the French to resort to the tedious operations of sieges, did
much to weaken the French power in the Peninsula.

The influence of the fortifications of the French frontiers in
furnishing a secure basis for the successful operations of Napoleon into
the enemy's territory, has already been noticed. If these fortresses of
France, after the disasters of 1812 and '13, failed to save the nation,
the cause must be sought for in the peculiar features of the invasion
itself, rather than any lack of military influence in the French
defences. As has been already remarked, a million of disciplined men,
under consummate leaders, were here assailing a single state,
impoverished by the fatal war in Russia,--torn in pieces by political
factions,--deserted by its sworn allies,--its fortresses basely betrayed
into the enemy's hands, and its military power paralyzed by the treason
of generals with their entire armies. Its only hope was in the
fortresses which had remained faithful; and Napoleon said at St. Helena,
that if he had collected together the garrisons of these few fortresses
and retired to the Rhine, he could have crushed the allies even after
their entrance into Paris. But political considerations prevented the

Again in 1815, Napoleon, even after the defeat of Waterloo, possessed
lines of defence sufficiently strong to resist all attempts at invasion.
But again the want of co-operation on the part of the government at
Paris, and the treason of his own generals, forced his second
abdication. If he had retained the command of the army, and the nation
had seconded his efforts, the allies would never have reached Paris. But
the new government presented the disgraceful spectacle of opening the
way for the enemies of their country. "France," said Napoleon, "will
eternally reproach the ministry with having forced her whole people to
pass under the Caudine-forks, by ordering the disbanding of an army that
had for twenty-five years been its country's glory, _and by giving up to
our astonished enemies our still invincible fortresses_."

History fully supports Napoleon's opinion of the great danger of
penetrating far into a hostile country to attack the capital, even when
that capital is without fortifications. The fatal effects of such an
advance, without properly securing the means of retreat, is exemplified
by his own campaign of 1812, in Russia. If, after the fall of Smolensk,
he had fortified that place and Vitepsk, which by their position closed
the narrow passage comprised between the Dnieper and the Dwina, he might
in all probability, on the following spring, have been able to seize
upon Moscow and St. Petersburg. But leaving the hostile army of
Tschkokoff in his rear, he pushed on to Moscow, and when the
conflagration of that city cut off his hopes of winter quarters there,
and the premature rigor of the season destroyed the horses of his
artillery and provision-trains, retreat became impossible, and the awful
fate of his immense army was closed by scenes of horror to which there
is scarcely a parallel in history. This point might be still further
illustrated by the Russian campaign of Charles XII., in 1708-9, the
fatal advance of the French army on Lisbon, in the Peninsular war, and
other examples of the same character.

Even single works sometimes effect the object of lines of
fortifications, and frustrate the operations of an entire army. Thus,
Lille suspended for a whole year the operations of Prince Eugene and
Marlborough; the siege of Landrecies gave Villars an opportunity of
changing the fortunes of the war; Pavia, in 1525, lost France her
monarch, the flower of her nobility, and her Italian conquests; Metz, in
1552, arrested the entire power of Charles V., and saved France from
destruction; Prague, in 1757, brought the greatest warrior of his age to
the brink of ruin; St. Jean d'Acre, in 1799, stopped the successful
career of Napoleon; Burgos, in 1812, saved the beaten army of Portugal,
enabled them to collect their scattered forces, and regain the
ascendancy; Strasburg has often been, the bulwark of the French against
Germany, saving France from invasion, and perhaps subjugation.

In nearly the language of Napoleon, (Memoirs, vol. IX.,) If Vienna had
been fortified in 1805, the battle of Ulm would not have decided the
fate of the war. Again, in 1809, if this capital had been fortified, it
would have enabled the Archduke Charles, after the disaster of Eckmuhl,
by a forced retreat on the left of the Danube, to form a junction with
the forces of General Hiller and the Archduke John.

If Berlin had been fortified in 1806, the army routed at Jena would have
rallied there and been joined by the Russians. If Madrid had been
strongly fortified in 1808, the French army, after the victories of
Espinosa, Tudela, Burgos, and Sommo-Sierra, would not have marched
towards that capital, leaving in rear of Salamanca and Valladolid, both
the English army of General Moore and the Spanish army of Romana. If
Moscow had been fortified in 1812, its conflagration would have been
avoided, for, with strong defensive works, and the army of Kutusoff
encamped on its ramparts, its capture would have been impossible.

Had not Constantinople been well fortified, the empire of Constantine
must have terminated in the year 700, whereas the standard of the
Prophet was not planted there until 1440. This capital was therefore
indebted to its walls for eight hundred years of existence. During this
period it was besieged fifty-three times, but only one of these sieges
was successful. The French and Venetians took it, but not without a very
severe contest.

Paris has often owed its safety to its walls. In 885 the Normans
besieged it for two years without effect. In 1358 the Dauphin besieged
it in vain. In 1359 Edward, king of England, encamped at Montrouge,
devastated the country to its walls, but recoiled from before it, and
retired to Chartres. In 1429 it repulsed the attack of Charles VII. In
1464 the Count of Charlerois surrounded the city, but was unsuccessful
in his attacks. In 1472 it repulsed the army of the Duke of Bourgone,
who had already ravaged its precincts. In 1536, when attacked by Charles
V., it again owed its safety to its walls. In 1588 and 1589 it repulsed
the armies of Henry III. and Henry IV. In 1636 and several succeeding
years the inhabitants of Paris owed their safety to its walls. If this
capital had been strongly fortified in 1814 and 1815, the allied armies
would not have dared to attempt its investment.

But it is deemed unnecessary to further specify examples; the whole
history of modern warfare is one continued proof of the importance of
fortifications as a means of national defence, and as an auxiliary in
offensive military operations. Our illustrations have been mostly drawn
from European wars, but our own brief history, as will be shown
hereafter, is not without its proofs.

The use and importance of field-fortifications, intrenched camps, &c.,
as well as the class of military works called coast-defences, will be
discussed hereafter.[6]

[Footnote 6: The use of fortifications in the defence of states is
discussed by Ternay, Vauban, Cormontaigne, Napoleon, the Archduke
Charles, Jomini, Fallot, and, incidentally, by most of the military
historians of the wars of the French Revolution. The names of such
standard works as give the detailed arrangements of fortifications will
be mentioned hereafter.]



III. We have defined _logistics_ to be that branch of the military art
which embraces all the practical details of moving and supplying armies.
The term is derived from the title of a French general officer,
_(major-général des logis,)_ who was formerly charged with directing the
marches, encampments, and lodging of the troops. It has been still
further extended by recent military writers, and many of them now regard
logistics as a distinct and important branch of the art.

We shall here consider logistics as including the military duties
ordinarily attributed to the pay, subsistence, clothing, medical,
hospital, and transportation departments; in fine, of all the civil and
civico-military corps of the army. We shall therefore discuss under this
head, the preparation of all the necessary materials for fitting out
troops for a campaign and for putting them in motion; the regulating of
marches, convoys, the means of transport for provisions, hospitals,
munitions, and supplies of all kinds; the preparation and protection of
magazines; the laying out of camps and cantonments; in fine, every thing
connected with preparing, moving, and guarding the _impedimenta_ of an

The officers connected with this branch of service must consult with the
engineers in every thing relating to the defence of their depots,
magazines, camps, cantonments, communications, and the passage of
rivers, and in all that relates to their connection with the attack and
defence of places: but in all that relates to strategy and tactics they
must receive instructions directly from the chief of the staff of the
army, who will have the general direction of every thing connected with
logistics. Before commencing the operations of the campaign, or
beginning the execution of the plans decided upon at head-quarters,
this officer should satisfy himself respecting the condition of the
various materials belonging to the different departments of the
army;--the horses and horse equipments, carriages, caissons, ponton and
artillery equipages, siege equipages, moveable hospitals, engineer and
artillery utensils, clothing, and munitions of all kinds; he must supply
whatever may be wanting, and provide means for the transportation of
every thing.

_Subsistence_.--The art of subsisting troops during active operations in
a hostile country, is one of the most difficult subjects connected with
war; and it is a question well worthy of study, both for the statesman
and the warrior, how Darius and Xerxes, Philip and Alexander, in ancient
times--and the Greek emperors and the barbarians--and, later still, the
crusaders of the middle ages, contrived to support the immense masses of
men which they led to war.

Cæsar has said that war should be made to support war; and some modern
generals have acted upon this principle to the extreme of supporting
their armies entirely at the expense of the country passed over. Others
have adopted either in part or entirely the principle of regular

Louis XIV. and Frederick II. fought mostly on their own frontiers, and
followed the system of regular dépôts and supplies. But the
revolutionary armies of France made war without magazines, subsisting,
sometimes on the inhabitants, sometimes by requisitions levied on the
country passed over, and at others by pillage and marauding. Napoleon
found little difficulty in supporting an army of a hundred or a hundred
and twenty thousand men in Italy, Suabia, and on the rich borders of the
Rhine and the Danube; but in Spain, Poland, and Russia, the subject of
subsistence became one of extreme embarrassment.

All depots of provisions and other supplies for an army are denominated
_magazines_; these are divided into _principal, secondary,_ and
_provisional_. The first are usually on the base of operations; the
second, on the line of operations; and the last in the immediate
vicinity of the troops, and contain supplies for a few days only.

The system of _magazines_ is objected to by some, because it fetters the
movements of an army, and makes its military operations subordinate to
the means of supply. Moreover, as the movements of an army must be so
arranged as to cover these magazines, their establishment at given
points reveals to the enemy our plan of campaign.

On the other hand, the system of _requisitions_, either for immediate
supplies or for secondary magazines, gives far greater velocity and
impetuosity to an active army; and if it be so regulated as to repress
pillage, and be levied with uniformity and moderation, it may be relied
on with safety in well-cultivated countries; but in more barren and less
populous districts, an army without magazines, especially in case of a
prolonged stay or a forced retreat, will be exposed to great suffering
and loss, if not to total destruction.

Before commencing a campaign the general should make himself acquainted
with all the resources of the country to be passed over--determine the
amount of supplies which it may be necessary to take with him, and the
amount that can be obtained by requisitions; these requisitions being
levied in a uniform and legal manner, and through the existing local

In great wars of invasion it is sometimes impracticable, at least for a
time, to provide for the immense forces placed on foot, by any regular
system of magazines or of ordinary requisitions: in such cases their
subsistence is entirely intrusted to the troops themselves, who levy
contributions wherever they pass. The inevitable consequences of this
system are universal pillage and a total relaxation of discipline; the
loss of private property and the violation of individual rights, are
followed by the massacre of all straggling parties, and the ordinary
peaceful and non-combatant inhabitants are converted into bitter and
implacable enemies.

In this connection the war in the Spanish peninsula is well worthy of
study. At the beginning of this war Napoleon had to choose between
methodical operations, with provisions carried in the train of his army,
or purchased of the inhabitants and regularly paid for; and irregular
warfare, with forced requisitions--war being made to support war. The
question was thoroughly discussed.

On the one hand, by sacrificing three or four millions of francs from
the French treasury, he would have been able to support his troops
without requisitions, would have maintained good order and discipline in
his armies, and by the distribution of this money among a people poor
and interested, he would have made many partisans. He could then have
offered them, with a firm and just hand, the olive or the sword. But
then the drafts upon the French treasury, had the war been a protracted
one, would have been enormous for the support of an army of 200,000 men
in Spain. Moreover, the hostile and insurrectionary state of the local
authorities rendered regular and legal requisitions almost impossible;
and the want of navigable rivers, good roads, and suitable transport,
rendered problematical the possibility of moving a sufficient quantity
of stores in an insurrectionary country. Besides, no great detachments
could have been made to regulate the administration of the provinces, or
to pursue the insurgent corps into the fastnesses of the mountains. In
fine, by this system, he would have effected a military occupation of
Spain without its subjugation.

On the other hand, by marching rapidly against all organized masses,
living from day to day upon the local resources of the country, as he
had done in Italy, sparing his reserves for the occupation and
pacification of the conquered provinces; this mode promised more prompt
and decisive results than the other. Napoleon, therefore, determined to
adopt it for his active masses, employing the system of magazines and
regular requisitions so far as practicable. In favorable parts of the
country, Soult and Souchet, with smaller armies, succeeded in obtaining
in this way regular supplies for a considerable length of time, but the
others lived mainly by forced requisitions levied as necessity required.
This sometimes gave place to great excesses, but these were principally
the faults of subordinate officers who tolerated them, rather than of
Napoleon, who punished such breaches of discipline, when they were known
to him, with great severity. He afterwards declared that, "had he
succeeded he would have indemnified the great mass of the Spanish people
for their losses, by the sale of the hoarded wealth of the clergy, which
would have rendered the church less powerful, and caused a more just
division of property; thus the evil of the war would have been forgotten
in the happy triumph of public and private interest over the interest of
an ambitious and exclusive clergy."

The following maxims on subsistence have the sanction of the best
military writers:

1st. Regular magazines should be formed, so far as practicable, for the
supplies of an army; the levying of requisitions being resorted to only
where the nature of the war, and the requisite rapidity of marches,
render these absolutely necessary to success.

2d. Dépôts should be formed in places strengthened by nature or art,
defended by small corps, or garrisons, and situated in positions least
liable to attack.

3d. All great dépôts should be placed on navigable rivers, canals,
railways, or practical roads, _communicating with the line of
operations_, so that they may be transported with ease and rapidity, as
the army advances on this line.

4th. An army should never be without a supply for ten or fifteen days,
otherwise the best chances of war may be lost, and the army exposed to
great inconveniences. Templehoff says that the great Frederick, in the
campaign of 1757, always carried in the Prussian provision-train _bread_
for _six_, and _flour_ for _nine days_, and was therefore never at a
loss for means to subsist his forces, in undertaking any sudden and
decisive operation. The Roman soldier usually carried with him
provisions for fifteen days. Napoleon says, "Experience has proved that
an army ought to carry with it a month's provisions, ten days' food
being carried by the men and baggage-horses and a supply for twenty days
by the train of wagons; so that at least four hundred and eighty wagons
would be required for an army of forty thousand men; two hundred and
forty being regularly organized, and two hundred and forty being
obtained by requisition. For this purpose there would be a battalion of
three companies for the military stores of each division, each company
having its establishment for forty wagons, twenty being furnished by the
commissariat, and twenty obtained by requisition. This gives for each
division one hundred and twenty wagons, and for each army, four hundred
and eighty. Each battalion for a provision-train should have two hundred
and ten men."

5th. An army, while actually in motion, can find temporary resources,
unless in a sterile country, or one already ravaged by war, or at the
season of the year when the old crops are nearly exhausted and the new
ones not ready for harvest; but, even supposing the army may in this way
be partially or wholly supplied, while in motion, it nevertheless
frequently happens that it may remain for some days in position, (as the
French at Austerlitz and Ulm;) a supply of hard bread for some ten days
will therefore be important to subsist the army till a regular
commissariat can be established.

6th. "Supplies of bread and biscuit," says Napoleon, "are no more
essential to modern armies than to the Romans; flour, rice, and pulse,
may be substituted in marches without the troops suffering any harm. It
is an error to suppose that the generals of antiquity did not pay great
attention to their magazines; it may be seen in Caesar's Commentaries,
how much he was occupied with this care in his several campaigns. The
ancients knew how to avoid being slaves to any system of supplies, or to
being obliged to depend on the purveyors; but all the great captains
well understood the art of subsistence."

_Forage_ is a military term applied to food of any kind for horses or
cattle,--as grass, hay, corn, oats, &c.; and also to the operation of
collecting such food. Forage is of two kinds, _green_ and _dry_; the
former being collected directly from the meadows and harvest-fields, and
the latter from the barns and granaries of the farmers, or the
storehouses of the dealers.

The animals connected with an army may be subsisted by regular
magazines, by forced requisitions, or by authorized _foraging_ [7] As
has already been remarked, it is not always politic, or even possible,
to provide regular magazines for the entire supplies of an army during
the active operations of a campaign. On account of the great expense and
difficulty of transporting forage, the general of an army is more
frequently under the necessity of resorting to requisitions, or forced
contributions as they are called, and to foraging, for the subsistence
of his animals, than to provide food for his men. Nor are requisitions
and foragings for this object so objectionable as in the other case,
being far less likely to produce general want and distress among the
non-combatant inhabitants.

[Footnote 7: This term is sometimes, though improperly, applied to the
operation of forcibly collecting food for the troops.]

The commanding officer of troops should always use his best endeavors to
obtain his forage by purchase of the inhabitants, or by requisitions on
the local authorities; and even where these means are impracticable, the
foraging parties should be strictly directed to make their levies with
uniformity and due moderation. Accurate accounts should be kept of the
kinds and quantities of all produce and other property taken, so that it
may be regularly distributed and accounted for. Under no circumstances
should individuals be permitted to appropriate to themselves more than
their _pro rata_ allowance. Foraging parties may sometimes attain their
object in a peaceful manner, by representing to the inhabitants the
nature of their instructions and the necessity of obtaining immediate
supplies. Even where no recompense is proposed, it may be well to offer
certificates to the effect that such articles have been taken for the
use of the army. These certificates, even when of no value in
themselves, frequently tend to appease excited passions and allay
insurrections. In defensive war, carried on in one's own country, it is
often necessary to seize upon private property and appropriate it to the
public service: in all such cases the certificates of the foraging
officers become proofs of individual claims against the government.

No foraging party should ever be sent out till after the country has
been properly reconnoitred. A good military escort and vanguard should
always accompany and precede the foragers, for protection against the
enemy's light cavalry and an insurgent militia. Trustworthy troops must
be placed in the villages and hamlets of the country to be foraged, in
order to prevent the foragers from engaging in irregular and
unauthorized pillage. Officers of the staff and administrative corps
are sent with the party to see to the proper execution of the orders,
and to report any irregularities on the part of the troops. In case any
corps engage in unauthorized pillage, due restitution should be made to
the inhabitants, and the expense of such restitution deducted from the
pay and allowances of the corps by whom such excess is committed. A few
examples of this kind of justice will soon restore discipline to the
army, and pacify the inhabitants of the country occupied.

Experience is the best guide in estimating the amount of hay or grain
that may be taken from a given field: the produce of an acre is, of
course, very different for different soils and climates. In distributing
the burdens to the several pack-horses and wagons employed in conveying
the forage to the army, it is important for the foraging officers to
know the relative weight and bulk of each article.

   Ordinary pressed hay in this country will average
   about .   12 lbs. per cubic foot.
   Wheat . . . weighs. .  60 lbs. per bushel.
   Rye . . . .  " . . . . 56 " "
   Maize or Indian corn . 56 " "
   Barley . . . " . . . . 50 " "
   Oats . . . . " . . . . 35 " "
   Meal, flour, and ground feed of all kinds, are purchased
   by the pound.

As it would be exceedingly dangerous to send forward the regular train
of the army for the conveyance of forage collected by these foraging
parties, the country wagons and pack-horses are usually pressed into
service for this purpose.

Troops of horse are sometimes sent into the vicinity of meadows and
grain-fields for temporary subsistence: in such cases the horses and
cattle may be farmed in the neighborhood, and the grass and grain
issued in regular rations, immediately as taken from the field; but in
no case should the animals be turned out to pasture.

In a country like ours, where large bodies of new and irregular forces
are to be suddenly called into the field in case of war, it is important
to establish very rigid rules in relation to forage and subsistence;
otherwise the operations of such troops must be attended with great
waste of public and private property, the want of means of subsistence,
the consequent pillage of the inhabitants, and a general relaxation of
discipline. Regular troops are far less liable to such excesses than
inexperienced and undisciplined forces.

_Marches_.--Marches are of two kinds: 1st. Route marches,--2d. Marches
within reach of the enemy. The former belong to the domain of strategy;
the latter to that of tactics; both, however, are connected with
logistics in every thing that concerns the means of their execution.

When an army is moving on a line of operations, it should be in as many
columns as the facility of subsistence, celerity of movement, the nature
of the roads, &c., may require. Large columns cannot move with the same
rapidity as smaller ones, nor can they be so readily subsisted. But when
an army is within striking distance of the enemy, concentration becomes
more important than celerity, and the forces must be kept in mass, or at
least within supporting distances of each other. We find only two
instances in the Seven Years' War, in which Frederick attempted attacks
by several columns at considerable distances from each other; and in
both these instances (at Torgau and at Namiest, against Laudon, during
the siege of Olmutz) he was unsuccessful. His usual mode was to bring
his columns near together as he approached the enemy, and to form his
troops into line at the moment of attack. Such was his order of march at
Prague, Kollin, Rosbach, Leuthen, Zornsdorf, and Kunersdorf. The
following is one of Frederick's orders respecting marches, (October 2d,

"The army will, as usual, march in three columns by lines. The first
column will consist of the first line; the second, of the second line;
and the third, of the reserve. The wagons, and hospital wagons, of
regiments, will follow their corps. The batteries of heavy calibre will
follow the infantry brigades to which they are assigned. On passing
woods, the regiments of cavalry will march between two infantry corps."

"Each column will have a vanguard of one light battalion and ten
squadrons of hussars or dragoons. They will be preceded by three wagons
carrying plank-bridges. The rear-guard is charged with taking up these
bridges after the army has defiled over them."

"The parks will be divided among the columns, to avoid the embarrassment
resulting from a great many wagons being together in a body."

"If any thing should happen to the second and third columns, the king
will be instantly apprized of it; he will be found at the head of the
first column. Should any thing occur to the rear-guard, the same will be
instantly communicated to Lieutenant-general Zeithen, who will be with
the rear-guard of the first column."

"The officers will take care that the soldiers march with equal step,
and that they do not stray to the right or left, and thus uselessly
fatigue themselves and lose their distances."

"When orders are given to form the line, the wagons will file out of the
columns to the left, and will march to be parked," &c.

The position of the baggage, when near the enemy, will depend on the
nature of the march. If the march be to the front, it will be in rear of
the column; if the march be by the flank, and the enemy be on the outer
flank, the baggage will be on the inner one, most remote from danger; if
the march be in retreat, the baggage will be in advance of the army. In
either case it should be strongly guarded.

It was in direct violation of this rule that General Hull, in the
campaign of 1812, on reaching the Miami of the Lake, (Maumee,) embarked
his baggage, stores, sick, convalescent, and "even the instructions of
his government and the returns of his army," on board the Cuyahoga
packet, and dispatched them for Detroit, while the army, with the same
destination, resumed its march by land. The result of thus sending his
baggage, stores, official papers, &c., _without a guard, and on the
flank nearest the enemy,_ was just what might have been anticipated:--in
attempting to pass the British post of Malden the whole detachment was
attacked and captured, "by a subaltern and six men, in a small and open

To prevent a surprise, detachments of light troops should be always
thrown out in front, on the flanks, and in rear of the column,
denominated from their position, _Advanced-Guard, Flankers,_ and
_Rear-Guard._ These scan the country which is to be passed over by the
column, watch the enemy's motions, and give notice of his approach in
time to allow the main force to choose a suitable field of battle, and
to pass from the order of march to that of combat. The strength and
composition of these detachments depend upon the nature of the ground,
and the character and position of the enemy. In case of an attack they
retire slowly, and on joining the main body, take their assigned
position in the line of battle.

In an open country the order of march presents but little difficulty;
but in a broken country, and especially in the vicinity of the enemy, a
march cannot be conducted with too many precautions. Before engaging in
a _defile_ it should be thoroughly examined, and sufficient detachments
sent out to cover the main body from attack while effecting the
passage. A neglect of these precautions has sometimes led to the most
terrible disasters.

In military operations very much depends upon the rapidity of marches.
The Roman infantry, in Scipio's campaigns in Africa, frequently marched
a distance of twenty miles in five hours, each soldier carrying from
fifty to eighty pounds of baggage. Septimius Severus, Gibbon states,
marched from Vienna to Rome, a distance of eight hundred miles, in forty
days. Cæsar marched from Rome to the Sierra-Morena, in Spain, a distance
of four hundred and fifty leagues, in twenty-three days!

Napoleon excelled all modern generals in the celerity of his movements.
Others have made for a single day as extraordinary marches as the
French, but for general activity during a campaign they have no rivals
in modern history. A few examples of the rapidity of their movements may
not be without interest.

In 1797 a part of Napoleon's army left Verona after having fought the
battle of St. Michaels, on the 13th of January, then marched all night
upon Rivoli, fought in the mountains on the 14th, returned to Mantua on
the 15th, and defeated the army of Provera on the morning of the
16th,--thus, in less than four days, having marched near fifty leagues,
fought three battles, and captured more than twenty thousand prisoners!
Well might he write to the Directory that his soldiers had surpassed the
much vaunted rapidity of Cæsar's legions.

In the campaign of 1800, Macdonald, wishing to prevent the escape of
Loudon, in a single day marched forty miles, crossing rivers, and
climbing mountains and glaciers.

In 1805 the grand French army broke up their camp at Boulogne, in the
early part of September, and in two weeks reached their allotted posts
on the Rhine, averaging daily from twenty-five to thirty miles.

During the same campaign the French infantry, pursuing the Archduke
Ferdinand in his retreat from Ulm, marched thirty miles a day in
dreadful weather, and over roads almost impassable for artillery.

Again, in the campaign of 1806, the French infantry pursued the
Prussians at the rate of from twenty-five to thirty miles per day.

In 1808 the advanced posts of Napoleon's army pursued Sir John Moore's
army at the rate of twenty-five miles a day, in the midst of winter.
Napoleon transported an army of fifty thousand men from Madrid to
Astorga with nearly the same rapidity, marching through deep snows,
across high mountains, and rivers swollen by the winter rains. The
activity, perseverance, and endurance of his troops, during these ten
days' march, are scarcely equalled in history.

In 1812, the activity of the French forces under Clausel was truly
extraordinary. After almost unheard-of efforts at the battle of
Salamanca, he retreated forty miles in a little more than twelve hours!

In 1814, Napoleon's army marched at the rate of ten leagues a day,
besides fighting a battle every twenty-four hours. Wishing to form a
junction with other troops, for the succor of Paris, he marched his army
the distance of seventy-five miles in thirty-six hours; the cavalry
marching night and day, and the infantry travelling _en poste_.

On his return from Elba, in 1815, his guards marched fifty miles the
first day after landing; reached Grenoble through a rough and
mountainous country, a distance of two hundred miles, in six days, and
reached-Paris, a distance of six hundred miles, in less than twenty

The marches of the allied powers, during the wars of the French
Revolution, were much less rapid than those of the armies of Napoleon.
Nevertheless, for a single day the English and Spaniards have made some
of the most extraordinary marches on record.

In 1809, on the day of the battle of Talavera, General Crawford, fearing
that Wellington was hard pressed, made a forced march with three
thousand men the distance of sixty-two miles in twenty-six hours!

The Spanish regiment of Romana, in their march from Jutland to Spain,
marched the extraordinary distance of fifty miles in twenty-one hours.

Cavalry, for a single day, will march a greater distance than infantry;
but for a campaign of several months the infantry will march over the
most ground. In the Russian campaign of Napoleon, his cavalry failed to
keep pace with the infantry in his forced march on Moskwa. But in the
short campaigns of 1805 and 1806, the cavalry of Murat displayed the
most wonderful activity, and effected more extraordinary results than
any mounted troops of modern ages.

The English cavalry, however, have made one or two short marches with a
rapidity truly extraordinary.

In 1803 Wellington's cavalry in India marched the distance of sixty
miles in thirty-two hours.

But the march of the English cavalry under Lord Lake, before the battle
of Furruckabad, is, if we can trust the English accounts, still more
extraordinary than any thing recorded of the Romans or the French--it is
said that he marched _seventy miles in twenty-four hours!!!_

As a general rule, troops marching for many days in succession will move
at the rate of from fifteen to twenty miles per day. In forced marches,
or in pursuit of a flying enemy, they will average from twenty to
twenty-five miles per day. And for only two or three days in succession,
with favorable roads, thirty miles per day may be calculated on. Marches
beyond this are unusual, and, when they do occur, are the result of
extraordinary circumstances.

_Convoy_.--A convoy consists of provisions, military munitions, &c.,
sent from one point to another, under the charge of a detachment of
troops, called an _escort_. When regular depots and magazines are
established, with proper relations to the line of operations, convoys
requiring particular escorts are seldom necessary, because the position
of the army will cover the space over which the magazines are to be
moved. But in the immediate vicinity of the enemy, or in a country whose
inhabitants are hostile or insurrectionary, precautions of this kind
should always be resorted to.

The size and composition of the escort must depend upon the nature of
the country and the imminence of the danger. The ground to be passed
over should be previously reconnoitred, and the line of march be taken
up only after the most satisfactory reports. When once put in motion,
the convoy should be thoroughly hemmed in by flankers, to give warning
to the escort of the approach of the enemy. Small parties of cavalry are
detached on all sides, but particularly in advance. The main body of the
escort is concentrated on the most exposed point of the convoy while the
other sides are guarded by subdivisions. In case of an attack by a large
party, the baggage wagons may be formed into a kind of defensive
field-work, which, with one or two pieces of light artillery, can in
this way resist a pretty strong effort to destroy or carry away the

As a general rule, it is better to supply the wants of an army by small
successive convoys than by periodical and large ones. Even should some
of the former be captured their loss would not be materially felt; but a
large periodical convoy offers so great a temptation to the enterprise
of the enemy, and is so difficult to escort, that he will venture much
to destroy it, and its loss may frustrate our plans of a siege or of an
important military operation. If the Prussian army, when besieging
Olmutz, had observed this rule, the capture of a convoy would not have
forced them to raise the siege and to retreat.

Napoleon estimates that an army of 100,000 men in position will require
the daily arrival of from four to five hundred wagon loads of

The difficulty of moving provisions, baggage, &c., in a retreat, is
always very great, and the very best generals have frequently failed on
this point. Indeed, the best concerted measures will sometimes fail,
amid the confusion and disorder consequent upon a retreat with an able
and active enemy in pursuit. In such a case, the loss of the
provision-trains in a sterile or unfriendly country may lead to the most
terrible disasters. We will allude to two examples of this kind: the
retreat of the English from Spain in 1809, and that of the French from
Russia in 1812.

When Sir John Moore saw that a retreat had become necessary to save his
army from entire destruction, he directed all the baggage and stores to
be taken to the rear, and every possible arrangement to be made for
their preservation and for the regular supplies of the army. But the
want of discipline in his troops, and more especially the want of a
proper engineer organization to prepare the requisite means for
facilitating his own marches, and impeding the enemy's pursuit,
prevented his plans from being fully carried into execution. Much
suffering and great losses were consequently inflicted upon his troops;
a large portion of his baggage and military stores was captured, and
even the treasure of his army, amounting to some 200,000 dollars, was
abandoned through the ignorance and carelessness of the escorting

In Napoleon's march into Russia, his plans had been so admirably
combined, that from Mentz to Moscow not a single estafette or convoy, it
is said, was carried off in this campaign; nor was there a day passed
without his receiving intelligence from France. When the retreat was
begun, (after the burning of Moscow,) he had six lines of magazines in
his rear; the 1st, at Smolensk, ten days' march from Moscow; those of
the 2d line at Minsk and Wilna, eight marches from Smolensk; those of
the 3d line at Kowno, Grodno, and Bialystok; those of the 4th line at
Elbing, Marienwerder, Thorn, Plock, Modlin, and Warsaw; those of the 5th
line at Dantzic, Bamberg, and Posen; those of the 6th line at Stettin,
Custrin, and Glogau. When the army left Moscow it carried with it
provisions sufficient for twenty days, and an abundance of ammunition,
each piece of artillery being supplied with three hundred and fifty
rounds; but the premature cold weather destroyed thirty thousand horses
in less than three days, thus leaving the trains without the means of
transportation or suitable escorts for their protection: the horrible
sufferings of the returning army now surpassed all description.

The officer selected to escort convoys should be a man of great
prudence, activity, and energy, for frequently very much depends upon
the safe and timely arrival of the provisions and military stores which
he may have in charge.

_Castrametation_.--Castrametation is, strictly speaking, the art of
laying out and disposing to advantage the several parts of the camp of
an army. The term is sometimes more extensively used to include all the
means for lodging and sheltering the soldiers during a campaign, and all
the arrangements for cooking, &c., either in the field or in winter
quarters. A camp, whether composed of tents or barracks, or merely
places assigned for bivouacking, must be divided and arranged in such a
way that the several divisions shall be disposed as they are intended to
be drawn up in order of battle; so that, on any sudden alarm, the troops
can pass from it promptly, and form their line of battle without
confusion. Suitable places must also be assigned for cooking, for
baggage, and for provisions, military stores, and ammunitions.

The extent of the color front of a camp depends much on the character of
the ground and the means of defence, but as a general rule, it should
never exceed the position which the army would occupy in the line of
battle. The different arms should be encamped in the same order as that
of battle; this order of course depending on the nature of the
battle-ground. A _corps d'armeé_ is composed of battalions of infantry,
squadrons of cavalry, batteries of artillery, and companies of engineer
troops, and the art of encampments consists in arranging each of these
elements so as to satisfy the prescribed conditions.

The choice of ground for a camp must be governed, 1st, by the general
rules respecting military positions, and, 2d, by other rules peculiar to
themselves, for they may be variously arranged in a manner more or less
suitable on the same position.

That the ground be suitable for defence, is the first and highest

It should also be commodious and dry: moist ground in the vicinity of
swamps and stagnant waters, would endanger the health of the army: for
the same reason it should not be subject to overflow or to become marshy
by heavy rains, and the melting of snow.

The proximity of good roads, canals, or navigable streams, is important
for furnishing the soldiers with all the necessaries of life.

The proximity of woods is also desirable for furnishing firewood,
materials for huts, for repairs of military equipments, for works of
defence, &c.

Good water within a convenient distance, is also an essential element in
the choice of ground for a camp; without this the soldiers' health is
soon undermined. The proximity of running streams is also important for
the purposes of washing and bathing, and for carrying off the filth of
the camp.

The camp should not be so placed as to be enfiladed or commanded by any
point within long cannon range; if bordering on a river or smaller
stream, there should be space enough between them to form in order of
battle; the communications in rear should offer the means of retreating
in case of necessity, but should not afford facilities to the enemy to
make his attack on that side.

If the camp is to be occupied for a considerable length of time, as for
_cantonments_ or _winter-quarters_, the greater must be the care in
selecting its position and in the arrangement for the health and comfort
of the soldiers. In the latter case, (of winter-quarters,) the
engineer's art should always be called in play to form intrenchments,
lines of abattis, inundations, &c., to render the position as difficult
of access to the enemy as possible.

A _bivouac_ is the most simple kind of camp. It consists merely of lines
of fires, and huts for the officers and soldiers. These huts may be made
of straw, of wood obtained from the forest, or by dismantling houses and
other buildings in the vicinity of the camp, and stripping them of their
timbers, doors, floors, &c. Troops may be kept in bivouac for a few
days, when in the vicinity of the enemy, but the exposure of the soldier
in ordinary bivouacs, especially in the rainy seasons or in a rigorous
climate, is exceedingly destructive of human life, and moreover leads to
much distress to the inhabitants of the country occupied, in the
destruction of their dwellings and the most common necessaries of life.
If the position is to be occupied for any length of time, the huts
should be arranged like tents, according to a regular system, and made
comfortable for the troops. Such should always be the system adopted in
camps of practice or manoeuvre, in cantonments, winter-quarters, or in
intrenched positions.

We have adopted in our service the system of encamping in tents. These
may do very well under the ordinary circumstances; but in the active
operations of a campaign they are exceedingly objectionable, as greatly
encumbering the baggage-trains. It would seem preferable to resort to
bivouacs for the temporary camp of a single night, and to construct a
regular system of huts where a position is to be occupied for any length
of time. This may be regarded as a general rule, but in certain
countries and climates, the tent becomes almost indispensable.

Napoleon's views on this subject are certainly interesting, if not
decisive of the question: "Tents," says he, "are not wholesome. It is
better for the soldier to bivouac, because he can sleep with his feet
towards the fire; he may shelter himself from the wind with a few boards
or a little straw. The ground upon which he lies will be rapidly dried
in the vicinity of the fire. Tents are necessary for the superior
officers, who have occasion to read and consult maps, and who ought to
be ordered never to sleep in a house--a fatal abuse, which has given
rise to so many disasters. All the European nations have so far followed
the example of the French as to discard their tents; and if they be
still used in camps of mere parade, it is because they are economical,
sparing woods, thatched roofs, and villages. The shade of a tree,
against the heat of the sun, and any sorry shelter whatever, against the
rain, are preferable to tents. The carriage of the tents for each
battalion would load five horses, who would be much better employed in
carrying provisions. Tents are a subject of observation for the enemies'
spies and officers of the staff: they give them an insight into your
numbers, and the position that you occupy; and this inconvenience occurs
every day, and every instant in the day. An army ranged in two or three
lines of bivouac is only to be perceived at a distance by the smoke,
which the enemy may mistake for the vapor of the atmosphere. It is
impossible to count the number of fires; it is easy, however, to count
the number of tents, and to trace out the position that they occupy."

The guarding of camps is a very important matter, and requires much

The _camp-guard_ consists of one or two rows of sentinels placed around
the camp, and relieved at regular intervals. The number of rows of
sentinels, and the distance between each man, will depend upon the
character of the ground and the degree of danger apprehended.

Detachments of infantry and cavalry, denominated picquets, are also
thrown out in front and on the flanks, which, in connection with the
camp-guards, serve to keep good order and discipline in and around the
camp, to prevent desertions, intercept reconnoitering parties, and to
give timely notice of the enemy's approach.

Still larger detachments, denominated _grand-guards_, are posted in the
surrounding villages, farm-houses, or small field-works, which they
occupy as outposts, and from which they can watch the movements of the
enemy, and prevent any attempts to surprise the camp. They detach
patrols, videttes, and sentries, to furnish timely notice of danger.
They should never be so far from the camp as to be beyond succor in case
of sudden attack. Outposts, when too far advanced, are sometimes
destroyed without being able to give notice of the enemy's approach.

In encamping troops in winter-quarters, it is sometimes necessary to
scatter them over a considerable extent of ground, in order to
facilitate their subsistence. In such a case, the arrangement of guards
requires the utmost care. A chain of advanced posts should be placed
several miles' distance from the line of camp; these posts should be
supported by other and larger detachments in their rear, and
concentrated on fewer points; and the whole country around should be
continually reconnoitered by patrols of cavalry.

The manner in which Napoleon quartered and wintered his army on the
Passarge, in 1806-7, furnishes a useful lesson to military men, both in
the matters of encampment and subsistence. An immense army of men were
here quartered and subsisted, in a most rigorous climate, with a not
over fertile soil, in the midst of hostile nations, and in the very face
of a most powerful enemy.

A Roman army invariably encamped in the same order, its troops being
always drawn up in the same battle array. A Roman staff-officer who
marked out an encampment, performed nothing more than a mechanical
operation; he had no occasion for much genius or experience. The form of
the camps was a square. In later times, they sometimes, in imitation of
the Greeks, made them circular, or adapted them to the ground. The camp
was always surrounded with a ditch and rampart, and divided into two
parts by a broad street, and into subdivisions by cross-streets and
alleys. Each tent was calculated to hold ten privates and a petty

In the middle ages, the form of the camp did not differ very essentially
from that of the Romans, the variation consisting principally in the
interior arrangements, these arrangements being made to correspond to
the existing mode of forming a line of battle. The details of this
system may be found in the military work of Machiavelli.

The art of fixing a camp in modern times is the same as taking up a line
of battle on the same position. Of all the projectile machines must be
in play and favorably placed. The position must neither be commanded,
out-fronted, nor surrounded; but on the contrary ought, as far as
possible, to command and out-front the enemy's position. But even in the
same position there are numerous modes of arranging an encampment, or of
forming a line of battle, and to select the best of these modes
requires great experience, _coup d'oeil_, and genius. In relation to
this point Napoleon makes the following remarks:--

"Ought an army to be confined to one single encampment, or ought it to
form as many as it has corps or divisions? At what distance ought the
vanguard and the flankers to be encamped? What frontage and what depth
ought to be given to the camp? Where should the cavalry, the artillery,
and the carriages be distributed? Should the army be ranged in battle
array, in several lines? And if it should, what space should there be
between those lines? Should the cavalry be in reserve behind the
infantry, or should it be placed upon the wings? As every piece has
sufficient ammunition for keeping up its fire twenty-four hours, should
all the artillery be brought into action at the beginning of the
engagement, or should half of it be kept in reserve?"

"The solution of these questions depends on the following
circumstances:--1st. On the number of troops, and the numbers of
infantry, artillery, and cavalry, of which the army is composed. 2d. On
the relation subsisting between the two armies. 3d. On the quality of
the troops. 4th. On the end in view. 5th. On the nature of the field.
And 6th. On the position occupied by the enemy, and on the character of
the general who commands them. Nothing absolute either can or ought to
be prescribed on this head. In modern warfare there is no natural order
of battle."

"The duty to be performed by the commander of an army is more difficult
in modern armies, than it was in those of the ancients. It is also
certain that his influence is more efficacious in deciding battles. In
the ancient armies the general-in-chief, at a distance of eighty or a
hundred toises from the enemy, was in no danger; and yet he was
conveniently placed, so as to have an opportunity of directing to
advantage all the movements of his forces. In modern armies, a
general-in-chief, though removed four or five hundred toises, finds
himself in the midst of the fire of the enemy's batteries, and is very
much exposed; and still he is so distant that several movements of the
enemy escape him. In every engagement he is occasionally obliged to
approach within reach of small-arms. The effect of modern arms is much
influenced by the situation in which they are placed. A battery of guns,
with a great range and a commanding position that takes the enemy
obliquely, may be decisive of a victory. Modern fields of battle are
much more extended than those of the ancients, whence it becomes
necessary to study operations on a large scale. A much greater degree of
experience and military genius is requisite for the direction of a
modern army than was necessary for an ancient one."

Figure 9 represents a camp (on favorable ground) of a grand-division of
an army, composed of two brigades or twelve battalions of infantry,
twelve squadrons of cavalry, five batteries of artillery, and three
companies of engineers.

Figure 10 represents the details of a camp of a battalion of infantry
composed of eight companies.

Figure 11 is the camp of a squadron of cavalry.

Figure 12 is the camp of two batteries of foot artillery, or two
companies of foot engineers.

Figure 13 is the camp of two batteries of mounted artillery, or two
companies of mounted sappers and pontoniers.

On undulating or broken ground the arrangement and order of the general
camp, as well as the details of the encampment of each arm, would admit
of much variation.[8]

[Footnote 8: There are many valuable remarks on the various subjects
comprised under the head of logistics, in the works of Jomini, Grimoard,
Thiebault, Boutourlin, Guibert, Laroche Amyon, Bousmard, Ternay,
Vauchelle, Odier, Audouin, Bardin, Chemevrieres, Daznan, Ballyet,
Dremaux, Dupre d'Aulnay, Morin, and in the published regulations and
orders of the English army.]



IV. Tactics.--We have defined tactics to be the art of bringing troops
into action, or of moving them in the presence of the enemy;--that is,
within his view, and within the reach of his artillery. This branch of
the military art has usually been divided into two parts: 1st. Grand
Tactics, or the tactics of battles; and 2d. Elementary Tactics, or
tactics of instruction.[9]

[Footnote 9: "It does not come within the view of this work to say any
thing of the merely mechanical part of the art; because it must be taken
for granted, that every man who accepts the command of an army knows at
least the alphabet of his trade. If he does not, (unless his enemy be as
ignorant as himself,) defeat and infamy await him. Without understanding
perfectly what are called _the evolutions_, how is it possible that a
general can give to his own army that order of battle which shall be
most provident and skilful in each particular case in which he may be
placed? How know which of these evolutions the enemy employs against
him? and, of course, how decide on a counter-movement which may be
necessary to secure victory or avoid defeat? The man who shall take the
command of an army without perfectly understanding this elementary
branch, is no less presumptuous than he who should pretend to teach
Greek without knowing even his letters. If we have such generals, let
them, for their own sakes, if not for their country's, put themselves
immediately to school."]

A _battle_ is a general action between armies. If only a small portion
of the forces are engaged it is usually denominated a _combat_, an
_affair_, an _action_, a _skirmish_, &c., according to the character of
the conflict. The art of combining and conducting battles of all
descriptions has been designated by the name of Grand Tactics.

Battles may be arranged into three classes; 1st. _Defensive_ battles, or
those given in a chosen position by an army waiting the attack of the
enemy. 2d. _Offensive_ battles, or those made by an army which attacks
the enemy in position. 3d. The _mixed_ or _unforeseen_ battles, given by
two armies meeting while on the march.

I. When an army awaits the attack, it takes its position and forms its
line of battle according to the nature of the ground and the supposed
character and strength of the enemy's forces. Such is usually the case
when an army wishes to cover a siege, protect a capital, guard dépôts of
provisions and military stores, or some important strategic point. The
general relations of positions with strategy and engineering have
already been considered; we will now discuss merely their relations to

The first condition to be satisfied by a tactical position is, that its
debouches shall be more favorable for falling on the enemy when he has
approached to the desired point, than those which the enemy can have for
attacking our line of battle. 2d. The artillery should have its full
effect upon all the avenues of approach. 3d. We should have good ground
for manoeuvring our own troops unseen, if possible, by the enemy. 4th.
We should have a full view of the enemy's manoeuvres as he advances to
the attack. 5th. We should have the flanks of our line well protected by
natural or artificial obstacles. 6th. We should have some means of
effecting a retreat without exposing our army to destruction.

It is very seldom that all these conditions can be satisfied at the same
time; and sometimes the very means of satisfying one, may be in direct
violation of another. A river, a forest, or a mountain, which secures a
flank of a line of battle, may become an obstacle to a retreat, should
the defensive forces be thrown back upon that wing. Again, the position
may be difficult of attack in front or on the wings, and at the same
time unfavorable for retreat. Such was Wellington's position at
Waterloo. The park of Hougomont, the hamlet of Haye Sainte, and the
marshy rivulet of Papelotte, were serious obstacles against the
attacking force; but the marshy forest of Soignies in rear, with but a
single road, cut off all hope of retreat.

II. According to the strategic relations of the contending forces in a
campaign, will it be determined whether we are to await the enemy, or to
seek him out and attack him wherever he may be found. We may sometimes
be obliged to make the attack at all hazards, for the purpose of
preventing the junction of two corps, or to cut off forces that may be
separated from the main body by a river, &c. As a general rule the
attacking force has a moral superiority over the defensive, but this
advantage is frequently more than counterbalanced by other conditions.

The main thing in an _offensive_ battle is to seize upon the decisive
point of the field. This point is determined by the configuration of the
ground, the position of the contending forces, the strategic object of
the battle; or, by a combination of these. For example, when one wing of
the enemy rests on a height that commands the remainder of his line,
this would seem the decisive point to be attacked, for its occupation
would secure the greatest advantages; but this point may be so very
difficult of access, or be so related to the strategic object as to
render its attack out of the question. Thus it was at the battle of
Bautzen: the left of the allies rested on the mountains of Bohemia,
which were difficult of attack, but favorable for defence; moreover,
their only line of retreat was on the right, which thus became the point
of attack for the French, although the topographical and tactical key of
the field was on the left.

III. It frequently happens in modern warfare that battles result from
the meeting of armies in motion, both parties acting on the offensive.
Indeed, an army that is occupying a defensive position may, on the
approach of the enemy, advance to meet him while on the march. Battles
of this kind may partake of the mixed character of offensive and
defensive actions, or they may be of the nature of a surprise to both
armies. To this class belong the battles of Rosbach, Eylau, Lutzen,
Luzzara, Abensberg, &c.

Surprises were much more common in ancient than in modern times, for the
noise of musketry and the roar of artillery, belonging to the posts or
wings assailed, will prevent any general surprise of an army. Moreover,
the division into separate masses, or _corps d'armée,_ will necessarily
confine the surprise to a part, at most, of the forces employed.
Nevertheless, in the change given to military terms, a surprise may now
mean only an unexpected combination of manoeuvres for an attack, rather
than an actual falling upon troops unguarded or asleep. In this sense
Marengo, Lutzen, Eylau, &c. are numbered with surprises. Benningsen's
attack on Murat at Zarantin in 1812 was a true surprise, resulting from
the gross negligence and carelessness of the king of Naples.

An _order of battle_ is the particular disposition given to the troops
for a determined manoeuvre on the field of battle. A _line of battle_ is
the general name applied to troops drawn up in their usual order of
exercise, without any determined manoeuvre; it may apply to defensive
positions, or to offensive operations, where no definitive object has
been decided on. Military writers lay down twelve orders of battle,
viz.: 1st. The simple parallel order; 2d. The parallel order with a
crotchet; 3d. The parallel order reinforced on one or both wings; 4th.
The parallel order reinforced on the centre; 5th. The simple oblique
order; 6th. The oblique order reinforced on the assailing wing; 7th. The
perpendicular order on one or both wings; 8th. The concave order; 9th.
The convex order; 10th. The order by echelon on one or both wings; 11th.
The order by echelon on the centre; 12th. The combined orders of attack
on the centre and one wing at the same time.

(Figure 14.)[10] The simple parallel order is the worst possible
disposition for a battle, for the two parties here fight with equal
chances, and the combat must continue till accident, superior numbers,
or mere physical strength decides the day; skill can have little or no
influence in such a contest.

[Footnote 10: In the plans, B is the army in position, and A the
attacking force arranged according to the different orders of battle. To
simplify the drawings, a single line represents the position of an army,
whereas, in practice, troops are usually drawn up in three lines. Each
figure represents a grand division of twelve battalions.]

(Figure 15.) The parallel order with a crotchet on the flank, is
sometimes used in a defensive position, and also in the offensive with
the crotchet thrown forward. Malplaquet, Nordlingen, Prague, and Kolin,
are examples of this order. Wellington, at Waterloo, formed the parallel
order with the retired crotchet on the right flank.

(Figure 16.) A line of battle parallel to the enemy's, if strongly
reinforced on one point, is according to correct principles, and may in
certain cases secure the victory; but it has many inconveniences. The
weak part of the line being too near the enemy, may, notwithstanding its
efforts to the contrary, become engaged, and run the risk of a defeat,
and thereby counterbalance the advantages gained by the strong point.
Moreover, the reinforced part of the line will not be able to profit by
its success by taking the enemy's line in flank and rear, without
endangering its connection with the rest of the line.

(Figure 17) represents the parallel order reinforced on the centre. The
same remarks are applicable to this as to the preceding.

These two orders were frequently used by the ancients: as at the battle
of Zama, for example; and sometimes by modern generals. Turenne employed
one of them at Ensheim.

(Figure 18) is the simple oblique order.

(Figure 19) is the oblique order, with the attacking wing reinforced.
This last is better suited for an inferior army in attacking a superior,
for it enables it to carry the mass of its force on a single point of
the enemy's line, while the weak wing is not only out of reach of
immediate attack, but also holds the remainder of the enemy's line in
check by acting as a reserve ready to be concentrated on the favorable
point as occasion may require.

The most distinguished examples under this order are the battles of
Leuctra and Mantinea, under the celebrated Epaminondas; Leuthen, under
Frederick; the Pyramids, Marengo, and Jena, under Napoleon.

(Figure 20.) An army may be perpendicular upon a flank at the beginning
of a battle, as was the army of Frederick at Rosbach, and the Russian
army at Kunersdorff; but this order must soon change to the oblique. An
attack upon both wings can only be made when the attacking force is
vastly superior. At Eylau, Napoleon made a perpendicular attack on one
wing at the same time that he sought to pierce the enemy's centre.

(Figure 21.) The concave order may be used with advantage in certain
cases, and in particular localities. Hannibal employed it at the battle
of Cannæ, the English at Crecy and Agincourt, and the Austrians at
Essling, in 1809.

(Figure 22.) The convex order is sometimes formed to cover a defile, to
attack a concave line, or to oppose an attack before or after the
passage of a river. The Romans formed this order at the battle of
Cosilinum; the French at Ramilies in 1706, at Fleurus in 1794, at
Essling in 1809, and at the second and third days of Leipsic in 1813,
and at Brienne in 1814.

(Figure 23.) The order by echelon on one wing may be frequently
employed with advantage; but if the echelon be made on both wings, there
is the same objection to its use as to the perpendicular order on both
wings. At Dresden, Napoleon attacked both wings at the same time; this
is the only instance in his whole history of a similar attack, and this
was owing to peculiar circumstances in the ground and in the position of
his troops.

(Figure 24.) The echelon order on the centre alone may be employed with
success against an army formed in a thin or too extended line of battle,
for it would be pretty certain to penetrate and break the line.

The echelon order possesses in general very great advantages. The
several corps composing the army may manoeuvre separately, and
consequently with greater ease. Each echelon covers the flank of that
which precedes it; and all may be combined towards a single object, and
extended with the necessary _ensemble_. At the battle of the Pyramids,
Napoleon formed the oblique order in echelon by squares. Portions of his
forces were arranged in echelon in some of his other battles.

(Figure 25.) The combined order in columns on the centre and one
extremity at the same time, is better suited than either of the
preceding for attacking a strong contiguous line. Napoleon employed this
order at Wagram, Ligny, Bautzen, Borodino, and Waterloo.

It is impossible to lay down, as a general rule, which of these orders
of battle should be employed, or that either should be exclusively
followed throughout the whole battle. The question must be decided by
the general himself on the ground, where all the circumstances may be
duly weighed. An order well suited to one position might be the worst
possible in another. Tactics is in this respect the very reverse of
strategy--the latter being subject to more rigid and invariable rules.

But whatever the plan adopted by the attacking force, it should seek to
dislodge the enemy, either by piercing or turning his line. If it can
conceal its real intentions, and deceive him respecting the true point
of attack, success will be more certain and decisive. A turning
manoeuvre may frequently be employed with advantage at the same time
with the main attack on the line. The operations of Davoust at Wagram,
and Richepanse at Hohenlinden, are good examples under this head. The
manoeuvre is, however, a difficult one, and unless executed with skill,
may lead to disasters like the turning manoeuvres of the Austrians at
Rivoli and Austerlitz, and of the French under Jourdan at Stackach, and
under Marmont at Salamanca.

We will now discuss the particular manner of arranging the troops on the
line of battle, or the manner of employing each arm, without entering,
however, much into the detailed tactics of formation and instruction.

We shall begin with _infantry_, as the most important arm on the

There are four different ways of forming infantry for battle: 1st, as
tirailleurs, or light troops; 2d, in deployed lines; 3d, in lines of
battalions, ployed on the central division of each battalion, or formed
in squares; 4th, in deep masses.

These different modes of formation are reduced to four separate systems:
1st, the thin formation of two deployed lines; 2d, a line of battalions
in columns of attack on the centre, or in squares by battalions; 3d, a
combination of these two, or the first line deployed, and the second in
columns of attack; and 4th, the deep formation of heavy columns of
several battalions. The tirailleurs are merely accessories to the main
forces, and are employed to fill up intervals, to protect the march of
the columns, to annoy the enemy, and to manoeuvre on the flanks.

1st. Formerly the line of battle for infantry was very generally that
of two deployed lines of troops, as shown in Fig. 26. But reason and
experience have demonstrated that infantry in this thin or light order,
can only move very slowly; that in attempting rapid movements it breaks
and exhibits great and dangerous undulations, and would be easily
pierced through by troops of a deeper order. Hence it is that the light
formation is only proper when the infantry is to make use of its fire,
and to remain almost stationary.

2d. If the formation of a line of battalions in columns of attack be
employed, the depth and mobility will depend upon the organization or
habitual formation of this arm.

In our service a battalion is supposed to be composed of ten companies,
each formed in three ranks. The two flank companies are designed for
tirailleurs. This would give a column of four divisions, and
consequently twelve files deep; and as only two of these files could
employ their fire, there would be much too large a portion of
non-combatants exposed to the enemy's artillery. In practice, however,
we employ the two-rank formation, which, if the flank companies be
detached, would give a column of attack eight files in depth, which is
not objectionable. If however, the flank companies should be present in
the battalion, the depth of the column would still be ten files.

In the French service, each battalion is composed of four divisions,
formed in either two or three ranks. The two-rank formation is the one
habitually employed. If all the companies be present, and the formation
in three ranks, the depth of column will be twelve files; if in two
ranks the depth will be eight, files. If the flank companies be
detached, the depth of column will be, for three ranks nine files, and
for two ranks six files. (Figs. 27 and 28.)

In the Russian service each, battalion has four divisions of three ranks
each. But the third rank is employed as tirailleurs, which gives a depth
of column of eight files. The employment of the third rank for
tirailleurs is deemed objectionable on account of the difficulty of
rallying them on the column. For this reason, the best authorities
prefer detaching an entire division of two companies.

The formation of squares is exceedingly effective in an open country,
and against an enemy who is superior in cavalry. Formerly very large
squares were employed, but they are now formed either by regiment or by
battalion. The former are deemed best for the defensive, and the latter
for offensive movements. The manner of arranging these is shown in
Figure 29.

3d. The mixed system, or the combination of the two preceding, has
sometimes been employed with success. Napoleon used this formation at
Tagliamento, and the Russians at Eylau. Each regiment was composed of
three battalions, the first being deployed in line, and the other two
formed in columns of attack by division in rear of the two extremities,
as shown in Fig. 30. It may in some cases be better to place the second
and third battalions in line with the first, and on the two extremities
of this battalion, in order to prolong the line of fire. The centre of
the line of each regiment would be less strong, however, than when the
two battalions by column are placed in rear of the other which is
deployed. This mixed system of formation has many advocates, and in
certain situations may be employed with great advantage.

4th. The deep order of heavy columns of several battalions is
objectionable as an habitual formation for battle, inasmuch as it
exposes large masses of men to the ravages of artillery, and diminishes
the mobility and impulsion of an attack without adding greatly to its
force. Macdonald led a column of this kind at the battle of Wagram with
complete success, although he experienced enormous losses. But Ney's
heavy columns of attack at Waterloo failed of success, and suffered
terribly from the concentric fire of the enemy's batteries.

Whenever deep columns are employed, Jomini recommends that the
grand-division of twelve battalions should have one battalion on each
flank, (Fig. 31,) marching by files, in order to protect its flanks from
the enemy's attacks. Without this defence a column of twelve battalions
deep becomes an inert mass, greatly exposed to be thrown into disorder
or broken, as was the column of Fontenoy, and the Macedonian phalanx by
Paulus Emillus. A grand-division is sometimes arranged in two columns by
brigade, as is represented in Figure 32. These are less heavy than a
single column of grand-division by battalion, but are subject to nearly
the same objections.

All offensive operations on the field of battle require _mobility,
solidity_, and _impulsion_; while, on the other hand, all defensive
operations should combine _solidity_ with _the greatest possible amount
of fire_.

Troops in motion can make but little use of their fire-arms, whatever
may be their formation. If in very large masses, they move slower and
are more exposed; but the moral effect of these large moveable columns
is such, that they frequently carry positions without ever employing
their fire. The French columns usually succeeded against the Austrian
and Prussian infantry, but the English infantry could not so easily be
driven from their ground; hey also employed their fire to greater
advantage, as was shown at Talavera, Busaco, Fuente de Honore, Albuera
and Waterloo. The smaller columns and the mixed formation were always
most successful against such troops.

From these remarks we must conclude--1st. That the very thin as well as
the very deep formation is objectionable under ordinary circumstances,
and can seldom be employed with safety.

2d. That the attack by battalions in columns by division is the best for
carrying a position; the column should, however, be diminished in depth
as much as possible, in order both to increase its own fire and to
diminish its exposure to the fire of the enemy; moreover, it should be
well covered by tirailleurs and supported by cavalry.

3d. That the mixed formation of the first line deployed and the second
in columns of battalion by division is the best for defence.

4th. That either of the last two may be employed in the offensive or
defensive, according to the nature of the ground, the character of the
general, and the character and position of the troops. Squares are
always good against cavalry.

Troops should be habituated to all these formations, and accustomed to
pass rapidly from one to another in the daytime or at night. None,
however, but disciplined troops can do this: hence the great superiority
of regulars on the field of battle, where skilful manoeuvres frequently
effect more than the most undaunted courage.

The arm next in importance on the battle-field is _cavalry_. The
principal merit of this arm consists in its _velocity_ and _mobility_.
Cavalry has little solidity, and cannot of itself defend any position
against infantry; but in connection with the other arms, it is
indispensable for beginning a battle, for completing a victory, and for
reaping its full advantage by pursuing and destroying the beaten foe.

There are four different modes of forming cavalry, the same as for
infantry: 1st in deployed lines; 2d, a line of regiments in column of
attack on the centre; 3d, the mixed formation; and 4th, the deep
formation of several columns.

1st. The thin formation was deemed objectionable for infantry, on
account of its liability to be penetrated by cavalry. The same objection
does not hold so forcibly with respect to this latter arm; but full
lines are deemed less advantageous than lines deployed checker-wise or
in echelon. In either case the distance between the lines should be
sufficient to prevent the second line from coming in contact with the
first, in case the latter receives a slight check. This distance need
not be so great in lines deployed checker-wise, as when they are full,
or in echelon.

2d. The second system of formation, that is, a line of columns of attack
on the central division for infantry, is by battalion, but for cavalry,
by regiment. If the regiment is composed of eight squadrons, the column
will contain four lines, two squadrons forming a division; but if
composed of only six squadrons, the column will contain only three
lines, and consequently will be six files in depth. In either case the
distance between the lines should be that of a demi-squadron, when the
troops are drawn up in battle array; but when charging, the divisions
may close to a less distance.

3d. In forming a grand division of two brigades, by the third or mixed
system, two regiments may be deployed in the first line, and three
formed in columns of attack in rear of the flanks and centre, as is
shown in Fig. 33, the sixth being held in reserve. This formation is
deemed a good one.

4th. The fourth system, of deep columns of cavalry, is entirely unsuited
for the charge, and this formation can only be employed for troops drawn
up in reserve.

The flanks of lines or columns of cavalry are always much exposed, and
squadrons should therefore be formed in echelon on the right and left,
and a little in rear of the main body, in order to protect the flanks
from the attacks of the enemy's horse. Irregular cavalry is usually
employed for this purpose.

In the formation of a grand division in line of battle, care should be
taken not to give too great an extent to the command of the generals of
brigade. If the formation be in two lines, neither brigade should form
an entire line, but each should form a wing of the division, two
regiments of the same brigade being placed in rear of each other. This
rule is an important one, and should never be neglected.

It may also be laid down as a maxim, in the formation of cavalry on the
battle-field, that the first line after the charge, even if most
successful, may require reforming in rear of the second line, and that
this last should be prepared to act in the front line after the first
onset. The success of the battle frequently depends upon the charge of
the final reserve of cavalry on the flanks of lines already engaged.

It is on account of this frequent manoeuvring of the cavalry on the
battle-field, its reforming for repeated charges, that great bodies
deployed in full lines are principally objected to. They cannot be
handled with the facility and rapidity of columns of regiments by
divisions. The attack of Nansouty's cavalry, formed in this way, on the
Prussian cavalry, deployed in advance of Chateau-Thierry, in 1814, is a
good proof of this.

Cavalry may be brought to a charge--1st, in columns; 2d, in line; and
3d, in route, or at random, _(à la déban-dade.)_ These may also be
varied by charging either at a trot or a gallop. All these modes have
been employed with success. In a regular charge in line the lance offers
great advantages; in the melee the sabre is the best weapon; hence some
military writers have proposed arming the front rank with lances, and
the second with sabres, The pistol and the carabine are useless in the
charge, but may sometimes be employed with advantage against convoys,
outposts, and light cavalry; to fire the carabine with any effect, the
troop must be at a halt. In all charges in line, especially against
cavalry, the fast trot is deemed preferable to the gallop, on account of
the difficulty of keeping up the alignment when the speed is increased.
Lances are utterly useless in a melée, and in employing troops armed in
this way, it is of the greatest importance to keep them in order and in
line. In charging with the sabre against artillery the gallop may
sometimes be employed, for velocity here may be more important than

We will now consider the formation and use of _artillery_ on the field
of battle. It may be laid down as a fundamental principle, that the fire
of artillery should be directed on that part of the enemy's line which
we design to pierce; for this fire will not only weaken this point, but
will also aid the attack of the cavalry and infantry when the principal
efforts are directed towards the intended point.

In the defence, the artillery is usually distributed throughout the
whole line, on ground favorable for its fire; but the reserve should be
so placed that it can easily be brought to bear on the point where the
enemy will be most likely to direct his principal attack.

Artillery placed on a plain, or with ground slightly inclined in front,
and using the point-blank or ricochet fire, is the most effective; very
high points are unfavorable If possible, the concentric fire should be
employed against the enemy's columns of attack. The position of the
English artillery on the field of Waterloo, and the use of the
concentric fire, furnishes one of the best examples for the disposition
of this arm to be found in modern military history.

The proper use of artillery on the battle-field is against the enemy's
infantry and cavalry, consequently only a small part of it should be
employed to respond to the fire of the enemy's batteries; not more than
one third at most can be spared for this object.

If possible, batteries should be established so as to take the enemy's
line in flank, either by an oblique or enfilading fire. A direct fire
against columns of attack, with a few light pieces thrown out to take it
in flank at the same time, will always be advantageous. A direct and
flank fire was employed with success by Kleist against the column of Ney
at the battle of Bautzen; the French marshal was forced to change his

Batteries should always be well secured on the flanks, and constantly
sustained by infantry or cavalry. If attacked by cavalry, the artillery
should keep up its fire as long as possible, first with ball, and then
with grape when the enemy arrives within a suitable distance. The same
rule will apply to attacks of infantry, except that the fire of solid
shot at a great distance is much less effective than against mounted

The _engineer troops_ are employed on the field of battle principally by
detachments, acting as auxiliaries to the other arms. Each regiment of
infantry should have a detachment of sappers armed with axes to act as
pioneers, for the removal of obstacles that may impede its advance.
These sappers are of the utmost importance, for without them an entire
column might be checked and thrown into confusion by impediments which a
few sappers with their axes would remove in a very short time.
Detachments of engineer troops must also act in concert with the cavalry
and artillery for the same purpose as above. In establishing the
batteries of artillery, in opening roads for their manoeuvres, and in
arranging material obstacles for their defence, the axes, picks, and
shovels of the sappers are of infinite value. Fieldworks, bridges, and
bridge-defences, frequently have a decisive influence upon the result of
a battle, but as these are usually arranged previous to the action, they
will be discussed in another place. In the attack and defence of these
field-works, the engineer troops play a distinguished part. The
consideration of this part of the subject, though perhaps properly
belonging to the tactics of battles, will also be postponed to another

We will now discuss the employment of the combined arms on the field of

Before the French Revolution, all the infantry, formed by regiments and
brigades, was united in a single body and drawn up in two lines. The
cavalry was placed on the two flanks, and the artillery distributed
along the entire line. In moving by wings, they formed four columns, two
of cavalry and two of infantry: in moving by a flank, they formed only
two very long columns; the cavalry, however, sometimes formed a third
and separate column in flank movements, but this disposition was rarely

The French Revolution introduced the system of grand divisions composed
of the four arms combined; each division moved separately and
independently of the other. In the wars of the Empire, Napoleon united
two or more of these divisions into a _corps d'armée,_ which formed a
wing, the centre, or reserve of his grand army. In addition to these
divisions and _corps d'armée,_ he had large reserves of cavalry and
artillery, which were employed as distinct and separate arms.

If the forces be sufficiently numerous to fight by _corps d'armée,_ each
corps should have its own reserve, independent of the general reserve of
the army. Again, if the forces be so small as to act by grand divisions
only, each division should then have _its_ separate reserve.

An army, whether composed of separate corps or of grand divisions,
usually forms, on the field of battle, a centre, two wings, and a
reserve. Each corps or division acts by itself, with its infantry,
cavalry, artillery, and engineer troops. The reserve of cavalry may be
formed in rear of the centre or one of the wings. In small forces of
fifty or sixty thousand men, the cavalry may act with advantage on the
wings, in the manner of the ancients. If the reserve of this arm be
large enough to form three separate bodies, it may _itself_ very
properly be formed into a centre and wings. If it be formed into two
columns only, they may be placed in rear of the openings between the
centre and the wings of the main force. The reserve of artillery is
employed either to reinforce the centre or a wing, and in the defensive
is frequently distributed throughout the whole line of battle. In
offensive operations, it may be well to concentrate as much fire as
possible on the intended point of attack. The mounted artillery either
acts in concert with the cavalry, of is used to reinforce that arm; the
light-foot acts with the infantry, and the batteries of heavy calibre
are distributed along the line, or concentrated on some important point
where their fire may be most effectual. They reach the enemy's forces at
a distance, and arrest the impulsion of his attack. They may also be
employed to draw the fire of his artillery; but their movements are too
slow and difficult for a reserve.

The order of succession in which the different arms are engaged in a
battle, depends upon the nature of the ground and other accidental
circumstances, and cannot be determined by any fixed rules. The
following, however, is most frequently employed, and in ordinary cases
may be deemed good.

The attack is first opened by a cannonade; light troops are sent forward
to annoy the enemy, and, if possible, to pick off his artillerists. The
main body then advances in two lines: the first displays itself in line
as it arrives nearly within the range of grape-shot; the second line
remains in columns of attack formed of battalions by division, at a
distance from the first sufficient to be beyond the reach of the enemy's
musketry, but near enough to support the first line, or to cover it, if
driven back. The artillery, in the mean time, concentrates its fire on
some weak point to open a way for the reserve, which rushes into the
opening and takes the enemy in flank and rear. The cavalry charges at
the opportune moment on the flank of the enemy's columns or penetrates
an opening in his line, and cutting to pieces his staggered troops,
forces them into retreat, and completes the victory. During this time
the whole line of the enemy should be kept occupied, so as to prevent
fresh troops from being concentrated on the threatened point.

The following maxims on battles may be studied with advantage:--1st.
_General battles_ are not to be fought but under the occurrence of one
of the following circumstances: when you are, from any cause, decidedly
superior to the enemy; when he is on the point of receiving
reinforcements, which will materially effect your relative strength;
when, if not beaten or checked, he will deprive you of supplies or
reinforcements, necessary to the continuance or success of your
operations; and, generally, when the advantage of winning the battle
will be greater than the disadvantage of losing it.

2d. Whatever may be your reason for risking a general battle, you ought
to regard as indispensable preliminaries,--a thorough knowledge of the
ground on which you are to act; an ample supply of ammunition; the most
perfect order in your fire-arms; hospital dépôts regularly established,
with surgeons, nurses, dressings, &c., sufficient for the accommodation
of the wounded; points of rendezvous established and known to the
commanders of corps; and an entire possession of the passes in your own

3d. The battle being fought and _won_, the victory must be followed up
with as much alacrity and vigor, as though nothing had been gained,--a
maxim very difficult of observance, (from the momentary disobedience
which pervades all troops flushed with conquest,) but with which an
able general will never dispense. No one knew better the use of this
maxim than Napoleon, and no one was a more strict and habitual observer
of it.

4th. The battle being fought and _lost_, it is your first duty to do
away the _moral_ effect of defeat,--the want of that self-respect and
self-confidence, which are its immediate followers, and which, so long
as they last, are the most powerful auxiliaries of your enemy. It is
scarcely necessary to remark that, to effect this object,--to reinspire
a beaten army with hope, and to reassure it of victory,--we must not
turn our backs on an enemy, without sometimes presenting to him our
front also;--we must not confide our safety to mere flight, but adopt
such measures as shall convince him that though wounded and overpowered,
we are neither disabled nor dismayed; and that we still possess enough
both of strength and spirit to punish his faults, should he commit any.
Do you operate in a covered or mountainous country?--avail yourself of
its ridges and woods; for by doing so you will best evade the pressure
of his cavalry. Have you defiles or villages to pass?--seize the heads
of these, defend them obstinately, and make a show of fighting another
battle. In a word, let no error of your enemy, nor any favorable
incident of the ground, escape your notice or your use. It is by these
means that your enemy is checked, and your troops inspirited; and it was
by these that Frederick balanced his surprise at Hohenkirchen, and the
defeat of his plans before Olmutz. The movement of our own Washington,
after losing the battle of Brandywine, was of this character. He hastily
recrossed the Schuylkill with the professed intention of seeking the
enemy and renewing the combat, which was _apparently_ prevented only by
a heavy and incessant fall of rain. A rumor was now raised that the
enemy, while refusing his left wing, was rapidly advancing upon his
right, to intercept our passage of the river, and thus gain possession
of Philadelphia. This report justified a retreat, which drew from the
General repeated assurances, that in quitting his present position and
giving to his march a retrograde direction, it was not his object to
avoid, but to follow and to fight the enemy. This movement, though no
battle ensued, had the effect of restoring the confidence as well of the
people as of the army.[11]

[Footnote 11: There are innumerable works in almost every language on
elementary tactics; very few persons, however, care to read any thing
further than the manuals used in our own service. Our system of
infantry, cavalry, and artillery tactics is generally taken from the
French; and also the course of engineer instruction, so far as matured,
for sappers, miners, and pontoniers, is based on the French manuals for
the varied duties of this arm.

On Grand Tactics, or Tactics of Battles, the military and historical
writings of General Jomini abound in most valuable instructions.
Napoleon's memoirs, and the writings of Rocquancourt, Hoyer, Decker,
Okouneff, Roguiat, Jocquinot-de-Presle, Guibert, Duhesme, Gassendi,
Warnery, Baron Bohan, Lindneau, Maiseroy, Miller, and Ternay, are
considered as being among the best authorities.]



_Military Polity_.--In deciding upon a resort to arms, statesmen are
guided by certain general rules which have been tacitly adopted in the
intercourse of nations: so also both statesmen and generals are bound by
rules similarly adopted for the conduct of hostile forces while actually
engaged in military operations.

In all differences between nations, each state has a right to decide for
itself upon the nature of its means of redress for injuries received.
Previous to declaring open and public war, it may resort to some other
forcible means of redress, short of actual war. These are:--

1st. Laying an embargo upon the property of the offending nation.

2d. Taking forcible possession of the territory or property in dispute.

3d. Resorting to some direct measure of retaliation.

4th. Making reprisals upon the persons and things of the offending

It is not the present purpose to discuss these several means of redress,
nor even to enter into any examination of the rights and laws of public
war, when actually declared; it is intended to consider here merely such
military combinations as are resorted to by the state in preparation for
defence, or in carrying on the actual operations of a war.

In commencing hostilities against any other power, we must evidently
take into consideration all the political and physical circumstances of
the people with whom we are to contend: we must regard their general
character for courage and love of country; their attachment to their
government and political institutions; the character of their rulers and
their generals; the numbers, organization, and discipline of their
armies; and particularly the relations between the civil and military
authorities in the state, for if the latter be made entirely
subordinate, we may very safely calculate on erroneous combinations. We
must also regard their passive means of resistance, such as their system
of fortifications, their military materials and munitions, their
statistics of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, and especially
the geographical position and physical features of their country. No
government can neglect, with impunity, these considerations in its
preparations for war, or in its manner of conducting military

Napoleon's system of carrying on war against the weak, effeminate, and
disorganized Italians required many modifications when directed against
the great military power of Russia. Moreover, the combinations of Eylau
and Friedland were inapplicable to the contest with the maddened
guerrillas of Minos, animated by the combined passions of hatred,
patriotism, and religious enthusiasm.

Military power may be regarded either as absolute or relative: the
absolute force of a state depending on the number of its inhabitants and
the extent of its revenues; the relative force, on its geographical and
political position, the character of its people, and the nature of its
government. Its military preparations should evidently be in proportion
to its resources. Wealth constitutes both the apprehension and the
incentive to invasion. Where two or more states have equal means of war,
with incentives very unequal, an equilibrium cannot exist; for danger
and temptation are no longer opposed to each other. The preparation of
states may, therefore, be equal without being equivalent, and the
smaller of the two may be most liable to be drawn into a war without the
means of sustaining it.

The numerical relation between the entire population of a state, and the
armed forces which it can maintain, must evidently vary with the wealth
and pursuits of the people. Adam Smith thinks that a country purely
agricultural may, at certain seasons, furnish for war one-fifth, or even
in case of necessity one-fourth, of its entire population. A commercial
or manufacturing country would be unable to furnish any thing like so
numerous a military force. On this account small agricultural states are
sometimes able to bring into the field much larger armies than their
more powerful neighbors. During the Seven Years' War, Frederick
supported an army equal to one-twentieth of the entire Prussian
population, and at the close of this memorable contest one-sixth of the
males capable of bearing arms had actually perished on the field of

But the number of troops that may be brought into the field in times of
great emergency is, of course, much greater than can be supported during
a long war, or as a part of a permanent military establishment.
Montesquieu estimates that modern nations are capable of supporting,
without endangering their power, a permanent military force of about
one-hundredth part of their population. This ratio differs but little
from that of the present military establishments of the great European

Great Britain, with a population of about twenty-five millions, and a
general budget of $250,000,000, supports a military and naval force of
about 150,000 effective and 100,000 non-effective men, 250,000 in all,
at an annual expense of from seventy to eighty millions of dollars.

Russia, with a population of about seventy millions, supports an active
army of 632,000 men, with an immense reserve, at an expense of about
$65,000,000, out of a general budget of $90,000,000; that is, the
expense of her military establishment is to her whole budget as 7 to 10.

Austria, with a population of thirty-five millions, has an organized
peace establishment of 370,000, (about 250,000 in active service,) and
a reserve of 260,000, at an expense of $36,000,000, out of a general
budget of $100,000,000.

Prussia, with a population of about fifteen millions, has from 100,000
to 120,000 men in arms, with a reserve of 200,000, at an annual expense
of more than $18,000,000, out of a general budget of about $38,000,000.

France, with a population of near thirty-five millions, supports a
permanent establishment of about 350,000 men, at an expense of seventy
or eighty millions of dollars, out of a total budget of $280,000,000.
France has long supported a permanent military force of from
one-hundredth to one hundred-and-tenth of her population, at an expense
of from one-fourth to one-fifth of her whole budget. The following
table, copied from the "Spectateur Militaire," shows the state of the
army at six different periods between 1788 and 1842. It omits, of
course, the extraordinary levies of the wars of the Revolution and of
the Empire.


                    Budget.                    Army.
Dates. Population.                                             Remarks.

                    Of State.     Of the Army. Peace    War
                                              Estab.   Estab.
                    Livres.       Livres.      Men.     Men.
1788   24,000,000  500,000,000   100,000,000  180,000  360,000
                       Francs.       Francs.                   Ordinance of
1814   28,000,000  800,000,000   180,000,000  255,000  340,000 1814
                                                               Report of
1823   31,000,000  900,000,000   200,000,000  280,000  390,000 Minister
                                                               of War.
                                                               Report of
1830   32,000,000  1,000,000,000 220,000,000  312,000  500,000 Minister
                                                               of War.
1840   34,000,000  1,170,000,000 242,000,000  312 ,000   -     Budget of
1842   35,000,000  1,200,000,000 285,000,000  370,000  520,000 Expenses
                                                                of 1842.

From these data we see that the great European powers at the present day
maintain, in time of peace, military establishments equal to about
one-hundredth part of their entire population.

The geographical position of a country also greatly influences the
degree and character of its military preparation. It may be bordered on
one or more sides by mountains and other obstacles calculated to
diminish the probability of invasion; or the whole frontier may be wide
open to an attack: the interior may be of such a nature as to furnish
security to its own army, and yet be fatal to the enemy should he occupy
it; or it may furnish him advantages far superior to his own country. It
may be an island in the sea, and consequently exposed only to maritime
descents--events of rare occurrence in modern times.

Again, a nation may be placed between others who are interested in its
security, their mutual jealousy preventing the molestation of the weaker
neighbor. On the other hand, its political institutions may be such as
to compel the others to unite in attacking it in order to secure
themselves. The republics of Switzerland could remain unmolested in the
midst of powerful monarchies; but revolutionary France brought upon
herself the armies of all Europe.

Climate has also some influence upon military character, but this
influence is far less than that of education and discipline. Northern
nations are said to be naturally more phlegmatic and sluggish than those
of warmer climates; and yet the armies of Gustavus Adolphus, Charles
XII., and Suwarrow, have shown themselves sufficiently active and
impetuous, while the Greeks, Romans, and Spaniards, in the times of
their glory, were patient, disciplined, and indefatigable,
notwithstanding the reputed fickleness of ardent temperaments.

For any nation to postpone the making of military preparations till such
time as they are actually required in defence, is to waste the public
money, and endanger the public safety. The closing of an avenue of
approach, the security of a single road or river, or even the strategic
movement of a small body of troops, often effects, in the beginning,
what afterwards cannot be accomplished by large fortifications, and the
most formidable armies. Had a small army in 1812, with a well-fortified
depot on Lake Champlain, penetrated into Canada, and cut off all
reinforcements and supplies by way of Quebec, that country would
inevitably have fallen into our possession. In the winter of 1806-7,
Napoleon crossed the Vistula, and advanced even to the walls of
Königsberg, with the Austrians in his rear, and the whole power of
Russia before him. If Austria had pushed forward one hundred thousand
men from Bohemia, on the Oder, she would, in all probability, says the
best of military judges, Jomini, have struck a fatal blow to the
operations of Napoleon, and his army must have been exceedingly
fortunate even to regain the Rhine. But Austria preferred remaining
neutral till she could increase her army to four hundred thousand men.
She then took the offensive, and was beaten; whereas, with one hundred
thousand men brought into action at the favorable moment, she might,
most probably, have decided the fate of Europe.

"Defensive war," says Napoleon, "does not preclude attack, any more
than offensive war is exclusive of defence," for frequently the best way
to counteract the enemy's operations, and prevent his conquests, is, at
the very outset of the war, to invade and cripple him. But this can
never be attempted with raw troops, ill supplied with the munitions of
war, and unsupported by fortifications. Such invasions must necessarily
fail. Experience in the wars of the French revolution has demonstrated
this; and even our own short history is not without its proof. In 1812,
the conquest of Canada was determined on some time before the
declaration of war; an undisciplined army, without preparation or
apparent plan, was actually put in motion, eighteen days previous to
this declaration, for the Canadian peninsula. With a disciplined army of
the same numbers, with an efficient and skilful leader, directed against
the vital point of the British possessions at a time when the whole
military force of the provinces did not exceed three thousand men, how
different had been the result!

While, therefore, the permanent defences of a nation must be subordinate
to its resources, position, and character, they can in no case be
dispensed with. No matter how extensive or important the temporary means
that may be developed as necessity requires, there must be some force
kept in a constant state of efficiency, in order to impart life and
stability to the system. The one can never properly replace the other;
for while the former constitutes the basis, the latter must form the
main body of the military edifice, which, by its strength and
durability, will offer shelter and protection to the nation; or, if the
architecture and materials be defective, crush and destroy it in its

The permanent means of military defence employed by modern nations,

1st. An army; 2d. A navy; 3d. Fortifications.

The first two of these could hardly be called permanent, if we were, to
regard their _personnel_; but looking upon them as institutions or
organizations, they present all the characteristics of durability. They
are sometimes subjected to very great and radical changes; by the
hot-house nursing of designing ambition or rash legislation, they may
become overgrown and dangerous, or the storms of popular delusion may
overthrow and apparently sweep them away. But they will immediately
spring up again in some form or other, so deeply are they rooted in the
organization of political institutions.

Its army and navy should always be kept within the limits of a nation's
wants; but pity for the country which reduces them in number or support
so as to degrade their character or endanger their organization. "A
government," says one of the best historians of the age, "which neglects
its army, under whatever pretext, is a government culpable in the eyes
of posterity, for it is preparing humiliations for its flag and its
country, instead of laying the foundation for its glory."

One of our own distinguished cabinet ministers remarks, that the history
of our relations with the Indian tribes from the beginning to the
present hour, is one continued proof of the necessity of maintaining an
efficient military force in time of peace, and that the treatment we
received for a long series of years from European powers, was a most
humiliating illustration of the folly of attempting to dispense with
these means of defence.

"Twice," says he, "we were compelled to maintain, by open war, our
quarrel with the principal aggressors. After many years of forbearance
and negotiation, our claims in other cases were at length amicably
settled; but in one of the most noted of these cases, it was not without
much delay and imminent hazard of war that the execution of the treaty
was finally enforced. No one acquainted with these portions of our
history, can hesitate to ascribe much of the wantonness and duration of
the wrongs we endured, to a knowledge on the part of our assailants of
the scantiness and inefficiency of our military and naval force."

"If," said Mr. Calhoun, "disregarding the sound dictates of reason and
experience, we, in peace, neglect our military establishment, we must,
with a powerful and skilful enemy, be exposed to the most distressing

These remarks were made in opposition to the reduction of our military
establishment, in 1821, below the standard of thirteen thousand.
Nevertheless, the force was reduced to about six or seven thousand; and
we were soon made to feel the consequences. It is stated, in a report of
high authority, that if there had been two regiments available near St.
Louis, in 1832, the war with Black Hawk would have been easily avoided;
and that it cannot be doubted that the scenes of devastation and savage
warfare which overspread the Floridas for nearly seven years would also
have been avoided, and some thirty millions have been saved the country,
if two regiments had been available at the beginning of that

[Footnote 12: We may now add to these remarks, that if our government
had occupied the country between the Nueces and the Rio Grande with a
well-organized army of twelve thousand men, war with Mexico might have
been avoided; but to push forward upon Matamoras a small force of only
two thousand, in the very face of a large Mexican army was holding out
to them the strongest inducements to attack us. The temporary economy of
a few thousands in reducing our military establishment to a mere handful
of men, again results in a necessary expenditure of many millions of
dollars and a large sacrifice of human life.]

We must, in this country, if we heed either the dictates of reason or
experience, maintain in time of peace a skeleton military and naval
force, capable of being greatly expanded, in the event of danger, by
the addition of new troops.

Much energy and enterprise will always be imparted to an army or navy by
the addition of new forces. The strength thus acquired is sometimes in
even a far greater ratio than the increase of numbers. But it must be
remembered that these new elements are, of themselves, far inferior to
the old ones in discipline, steady courage, and perseverance. No general
can rely on the accuracy of their movements in the operations of a
campaign, and they are exceedingly apt to fail him at the critical
moment on the field of battle. The same holds true with respect to
sailors inexperienced in the discipline and duties of a man-of-war.
There is this difference, however: an army usually obtains its recruits
from men totally unacquainted with military life, while a navy, in case
of sudden increase, is mainly supplied from the merchant marine with
professional sailors, who, though unacquainted with the use of
artillery, &c., on ship-board, are familiar with all the other duties of
sea life, and not unused to discipline. Moreover, raw seamen and
marines, from being under the immediate eye of their officers in time of
action, and without the possibility of escape, fight much better than
troops of the same character on land. If years are requisite to make a
good sailor, surely an equal length of time is necessary to perfect the
soldier; and no less skill, practice, and professional study are
required for the proper direction of armies than for the management of

But some have said that even these skeletons of military and naval
forces are entirely superfluous, and that a brave and patriotic people
will make as good a defence against invasion as the most disciplined and
experienced. Such views are frequently urged in the halls of congress,
and some have even attempted to confirm them by historical examples.

There are instances, it is true, where disorganized and frantic masses,
animated by patriotic enthusiasm, have gained the most brilliant
victories. Here, however, extraordinary circumstances supplied the place
of order, and produced an equilibrium between forces that otherwise
would have been very unequal; but in almost every instance of this kind,
the loss of the undisciplined army has been unnecessarily great, human
life being substituted for skill and order. But victory, even with such
a drawback, cannot often attend the banners of newly raised and
disorderly forces. If the captain and crew of a steamship knew nothing
of navigation, and had never been at sea, and the engineer was totally
unacquainted with his profession, could we expect the ship to cross the
Atlantic in safety, and reach her destined port? Would we trust our
lives and the honor of our country to their care? Would we not say to
them, "First make yourselves acquainted with the principles of your
profession, the use of the compass, and the means of determining whether
you direct your course upon a ledge of rocks or into a safe harbor?" War
is not, as some seem to suppose, a mere game of chance. Its principles
constitute one of the most intricate of modern sciences; and the general
who understands the art of rightly applying its rules, and possesses the
means of carrying out its precepts, may be morally certain of success.

History furnishes abundant proofs of the impolicy of relying upon
undisciplined forces in the open field. Almost every page of Napier's
classic History of the Peninsular War contains striking examples of the
useless waste of human life and property by the Spanish militia; while,
with one quarter as many regulars, at a small fractional part of the
actual expense, the French might have been expelled at the outset, or
have been driven, at any time afterwards, from the Peninsula.

At the beginning of the French Revolution the regular army was
abolished, and the citizen-soldiery, who were established on the 14th of
July, 1789, relied on exclusively for the national defence. "But these
three millions of national guards," says Jomini, "though good supporters
of the decrees of the assembly, were nevertheless useless for
reinforcing the army beyond the frontiers, and utterly incapable of
defending their own firesides." Yet no one can question their individual
bravery and patriotism; for, when reorganized, disciplined, and properly
directed, they put to flight the best troops in Europe. At the first
outbreak of this revolution, the privileged classes of other countries,
upholding crumbling institutions and rotten dynasties, rushed forth
against the maddened hordes of French democracy. The popular power,
springing upward by its own elasticity when the weight of political
oppression was removed, soon became too wild and reckless to establish
itself on any sure basis, or even to provide for its own protection. If
the attacks of the enervated enemies of France were weak, so also were
her own efforts feeble to resist these attacks. The republican armies
repelled the ill-planned and ill-conducted invasion by the Duke of
Brunswick; but it was by the substitution of human life for preparation,
system, and skill; enthusiasm supplied the place of discipline; robbery
produced military stores; and the dead bodies of her citizens formed
_épaulements_ against the enemy. Yet this was but the strength of
weakness; the aimless struggle of a broken and disjointed government;
and the new revolutionary power was fast sinking away before the
combined opposition of Europe, when the great genius of Napoleon, with a
strong arm and iron rule, seizing upon the scattered fragments, and
binding them together into one consolidated mass, made France
victorious, and seated himself on the throne of empire.

No people in the world ever exhibited a more general and enthusiastic
patriotism than the Americans during the war of our own Revolution. And
yet our army received, even at that time, but little support from
irregular and militia forces in the open field. Washington's opinions on
this subject furnish so striking a contrast to the congressional
speeches of modern political demagogues, who, with boastful swaggers,
would fain persuade us that we require no organization or discipline to
meet the veteran troops of Europe in the open field, and who would hurry
us, without preparation, into war with the strongest military powers of
the world--so striking is the contrast between the assertions of these
men and the letters and reports of Washington, that it may be well for
the cool and dispassionate lover of truth to occasionally refresh his
memory by reference to the writings of Washington. The following brief
extracts are from his letters to the President of Congress, December,

"The saving in the article of clothing, provisions, and a thousand other
things, by having nothing to do with the militia, unless in cases of
extraordinary exigency, and such as could not be expected in the common
course of events, would amply support a large army, which, well
officered, would be daily improving, instead of continuing a
destructive, expensive, and disorderly mob. In my opinion, if any
dependence is placed on the militia another year, Congress will be
deceived. When danger is a little removed from them they will not turn
out at all. When it comes home to them, the well-affected, instead of
flying to arms to defend themselves, are busily employed in removing
their families and effects; while the disaffected are concerting
measures to make their submission, and spread terror and dismay all
around, to induce others to follow their example. Daily experience and
abundant proofs warrant this information. Short enlistments, and a
mistaken dependence upon our militia, have been the origin of all our
misfortunes, and the great accumulation of our debt. The militia come
in, you cannot tell how; go, you cannot tell when; and act, you cannot
tell where; consume your provisions, exhaust your stores, and leave you
at last, at a critical moment."

These remarks of Washington will not be found too severe if we remember
the conduct of our militia in the open field at Princeton, Savannah
River, Camden, Guilford Court-House, &c., in the war of the Revolution;
the great cost of the war of 1812 as compared with its military results;
the refusal of the New England militia to march beyond the lines of
their own states, and of the New-York militia to cross the Niagara and
secure a victory already won; or the disgraceful flight of the Southern
militia from the field of Bladensburg.

But there is another side to this picture. If our militia have
frequently failed to maintain their ground _when drawn up in the open
field_, we can point with pride to their brave and successful defence of
Charleston, Mobile, New Orleans, Fort McHenry, Stonington, Niagara,
Plattsburg, in proof of what may be accomplished by militia in
connection with fortifications.

These examples from our history must fully demonstrate the great value
of a militia when properly employed as a defence against invasion, and
ought to silence the sneers of those who would abolish this arm of
defence as utterly useless. In the open field militia cannot in general
be manoeuvred to advantage; whereas, in the defence of fortified places
their superior intelligence and activity not unfrequently render them
even more valuable than regulars. And in reading the severe strictures
of Washington, Greene, Morgan, and others, upon our militia, it must be
remembered that they were at that time entirely destitute of important
works of defence; and the experience of all other nations, as well as
our own, has abundantly shown that a newly-raised force cannot cope, _in
the open field_, with one subordinate and disciplined. Here _science_
must determine the contest. Habits of strict obedience, and of
simultaneous and united action, are indispensable to carry out what the
higher principles of the military profession require. New and
undisciplined forces are often confounded at the evolutions, and
strategic and tactical combinations of a regular army, and lose all
confidence in their leaders and in themselves. But, when placed behind a
breastwork, they even overrate their security. They can then coolly look
upon the approaching columns, and, unmoved by glittering armor and
bristling bayonets, will exert all their skill in the use of their
weapons. The superior accuracy of aim which the American has obtained by
practice from his early youth, has enabled our militia to gain, under
the protection of military works, victories as brilliant as the most
veteran troops. The moral courage necessary to await an attack behind a
parapet, is at least equal to that exerted in the open field, where
_movements_ generally determine the victory. To watch the approach of an
enemy, to see him move up and display his massive columns, his long
array of military equipments, his fascines and scaling-ladders, his
instruments of attack, and the professional skill with which he wields
them, to hear the thunder of his batteries, spreading death all around,
and to repel, hand to hand, those tremendous assaults, which stand out
in all their horrible relief upon the canvass of modern warfare,
requires a heart at least as brave as the professional warrior exhibits
in the pitched battle.

But we must not forget that to call this force into the open field,--to
take the mechanic from his shop, the merchant from his counter, the
farmer from his plough,--will necessarily be attended with an immense
sacrifice of human life. The lives lost on the battle-field are not the
only ones; militia, being unaccustomed to exposure, and unable to supply
their own wants with certainty and regularity, contract diseases which
occasion in every campaign a most frightful mortality.

There is also a vast difference in the cost of supporting regulars and
militia forces. The cost of a regular army of twenty thousand men for a
campaign of six months, in this country, has been estimated, from data
in the War-office, at a hundred and fifty dollars per man; while the
cost of a militia force, under the same circumstances, making allowance
for the difference in the expenses from sickness, waste of
camp-furniture, equipments, &c., will be two hundred and fifty dollars
per man. But in short campaigns, and in irregular warfare, like the
expedition against Black Hawk and his Indians in the Northwest, and
during the hostilities in Florida, "the expenses of the militia," says
Mr. Secretary Spencer, in a report to congress in 1842, "invariably
exceed those of regulars by _at least three hundred per cent_." It is
further stated that "_fifty-five thousand militia_ were called into
service during the Black Hawk and Florida wars, and that _thirty
millions of dollars have been expended in these conflicts_!" When it is
remembered that during these border wars our whole regular army did not
exceed twelve or thirteen thousand men, it will not be difficult to
perceive why our military establishment was so enormously expensive.
Large sums were paid to sedentary militia who never rendered the
slightest service. Again, during our late war with Great Britain, of
less than three years' duration, _two hundred and eighty thousand
muskets were lost,_--the average cost of which is stated at twelve
dollars,--making an aggregate loss, in muskets alone, _of three millions
and three hundred and sixty thousand dollars_, during a service of about
two years and a half;--resulting mainly from that neglect and waste of
public property which almost invariably attends the movements of
newly-raised and inexperienced forces. Facts like these should awaken us
to the necessity of reorganizing and disciplining our militia. General
Knox, when Secretary of War, General Harrison while in the senate, and
Mr. Poinsett in 1841, each furnished plans for effecting this purpose,
but the whole subject has been passed by with neglect.

Permanent fortifications differ in many of their features from either of
the two preceding elements of national defence. They are passive in
their nature, yet possess all the conservative properties of an army or
navy, and through these two contribute largely to the active operations
of a campaign. When once constructed they require but very little
expenditure for their support. In time of peace they withdraw no
valuable citizens from the useful occupations of life. Of themselves
they can never exert an influence corrupting to public morals, or
dangerous to public liberty; but as the means of preserving peace, and
as obstacles to an invader, their influence and power are immense. While
contributing to the economical support of a peace establishment, by
furnishing drill-grounds, parades, quarters, &c.; and to its efficiency
still more, by affording facilities both to the regulars and militia for
that species of artillery practice so necessary in the defence of water
frontiers; they also serve as safe dépôts of arms and the immense
quantity of materials and military munitions so indispensable in modern
warfare. These munitions usually require much time, skill, and expense
in their construction, and it is of vast importance that they should be
preserved with the utmost care.

Maritime arsenals and depots of naval and military stores on the
sea-coast are more particularly exposed to capture and destruction. Here
an enemy can approach by stealth, striking some sudden and fatal blow
before any effectual resistance can be organized. But in addition to
the security afforded by harbor fortifications to public property of the
highest military value, they also serve to protect the merchant
shipping, and the vast amount of private wealth which a commercial
people always collect at these points. They furnish safe retreats, and
the means of repair for public vessels injured in battle, or by storms,
and to merchantmen a refuge from the dangers of sea, or the threats of
hostile fleets. Moreover, they greatly facilitate our naval attacks upon
the enemy's shipping; and if he attempt a descent, their well-directed
fire will repel his squadrons from our harbors, and force his troops to
land at some distant and unfavorable position.

The three means of permanent defence which have been mentioned, are, of
course, intended to accomplish the same general object; but each has its
distinct and proper sphere of action, and neither can be regarded as
antagonistical to the others. Any undue increase of one, at the expense
of the other two, must necessarily be followed by a corresponding
diminution of national strength. We must not infer, however, that all
must be maintained upon the same footing. The position of the country
and the character of the people must determine this.

England, from her insular position and the extent of her commerce, must
maintain a large navy; a large army is also necessary for the defence of
her own coasts and the protection of her colonial possessions. Her
men-of-war secure a safe passage for her merchant-vessels, and transport
her troops in safety through all seas, and thus contribute much to the
acquisition and security of colonial territory. The military forces of
the British empire amount to about one hundred and fifty thousand men,
and the naval forces to about seven hundred vessels of war,[13] carrying
in all some fifteen thousand guns and forty thousand men. France has
less commerce, and but few colonial possessions. She has a great extent
of sea-coast, but her fortifications secure it from maritime descents;
her only accessible points are on the land frontiers. Her army and
navy, therefore, constitute _her_ principal means of defence. Her army
numbers some three hundred and fifty thousand men, and her navy about
three hundred and fifty vessels,[13] carrying about nine thousand guns
and thirty thousand men. Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, and other
continental powers, have but little commerce to be protected, while
their extensive frontiers are greatly exposed to land attacks: their
fortifications and armies, therefore, constitute their principal means
of defence. But for the protection of their own seas from the inroads of
their powerful maritime neighbor, Russia and Austria support naval
establishments of a limited extent. Russia has, in all, some one hundred
and eighty vessels of war, and Austria not quite half that number.[13]

[Footnote 13: These numbers include _all_ vessels of war, whether in
commission, building, or in ordinary.]

The United States possess no colonies; but they have a sea-coast of more
than three thousand miles, with numerous bays, estuaries, and navigable
rivers, which expose our most populous cities to maritime attacks. The
northern land frontier is two thousand miles in extent, and in the west
our territory borders upon the British and Mexican possessions for many
thousand miles more. Within these limits there are numerous tribes of
Indians, who require the watchful care of armed forces to keep them at
peace among themselves as well as with us. Our authorized military
establishment amounts to 7,590 men, and our naval establishment consists
of seventy-seven vessels of all classes, carrying 2,345 guns, and 8,724
men.[14] This is certainly a very small military and naval force for the
defence of so extended and populous a country, especially one whose
political institutions and rapidly-increasing power expose it to the
distrust and jealousy of most other nations.

[Footnote 14: Since these pages were put in the hands of the printer,
the above numbers have been nearly doubled, this increase having been
made with special reference to the present war with Mexico.]

The fortifications for the defence of our sea-coast and land frontiers
will be discussed hereafter.[15]

[Footnote 15: Jomini's work on the Military Art contains many valuable
remarks on this subject of Military Polity: also the writings of
Clausewitz, Dupin, Lloyd, Chambray, Tranchant de Laverne, and Rudtorfer.
Several of these questions are also discussed in Rocquancourt,
Carion-Nisas, De Vernon, and other writers on military history. The
several European Annuaires Militaires, or Army Registers, and the French
and German military periodicals, contain much valuable matter connected
with military statistics.]



The principal attacks which we have had to sustain, either as colonies
or states, from civilized foes, have come from Canada. As colonies we
were continually encountering difficulties and dangers from the French
possessions. In the war of the Revolution, it being one of national
emancipation, the military operations were more general throughout the
several states; but in the war of 1812 the attacks were confined to the
northern frontier and a few exposed points along the coast. In these two
contests with Great Britain, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Washington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans, being within
reach of the British naval power, and offering the dazzling attraction
of rich booty, have each been subjected to powerful assaults.

Similar attacks will undoubtedly be made in any future war with England.
An attempt at permanent lodgment would be based either on Canada or a
servile insurrection in the southern states. The former project, in a
military point of view, offers the greatest advantages, but most
probably the latter would also be resorted to for effecting a diversion,
if nothing more. But for inflicting upon us a sudden and severe injury
by the destruction of large amounts of public and private property, our
seaport towns offer inducements not likely to be disregarded. This mode
of warfare, barbarous though it be, will certainly attend a conflict
with any great maritime power. How can we best prepare in time of peace
to repel these attacks?

Immediately after the war of 1812 a joint commission of our most
distinguished military and naval officers was formed, to devise a system
of defensive works, to be erected in time of peace for the security of
the most important and the most exposed points on our sea-coast. It may
be well here to point out, in very general terms, the positions and
character of these works, mentioning only such as have been completed,
or are now in course of construction, and such as are intended to be
built as soon as Congress shall grant the requisite funds. There are
other works projected for some future period, but as they do not belong
to the class required for immediate, use, they will not be referred to.


Beginning at the northeastern extremity of our coast, we have, for
Eastport and Wiscasset, projected works estimated to carry about fifty
guns. Nothing has yet been done to these works.

Next Portland, with works carrying about forty or fifty guns, and Fort
Penobscot and batteries, carrying about one hundred and fifty guns.
These are only partly built.


Defences of Portsmouth and the vicinity, about two hundred guns. These
works are also only partly built.


Projected works east of Boston, carrying about sixty guns. These are not
yet commenced.

Works for defence of Boston Harbor carry about five hundred guns. These
are nearly three-quarters completed. Those of New Bedford harbor carry
fifty guns: not yet begun.


Newport harbor,--works carry about five hundred guns, nearly completed.


New London harbor, New Haven, and the Connecticut river. The first of
these nearly completed; the two latter not yet begun.


The works projected for the defence of New York harbor are estimated to
carry about one thousand guns. These works are not yet one-half


The works projected for the defence of the Delaware Bay and Philadelphia
will carry about one hundred and fifty guns. They are not one-quarter


Baltimore and Annapolis--these works will carry some two hundred and
fifty guns. The works for the Chesapeake Bay will carry about six
hundred guns; and those for the Potomac river about eighty guns. These
are more than one-half completed.


The works at Beaufort and Smithville carry about one hundred and fifty
guns. They are essentially completed.


The works for the defence of Charleston carry some two hundred guns.
They are one-half constructed.


The defences of Savannah carry about two hundred guns and are nearly
three-quarters finished.


The works projected for the defence of St. Augustine, Key West,
Tortugas, and Pensacola will carry some eight or nine hundred guns.
Those at St. Augustine and Pensacola are essentially completed, but
those at Key West and Tortugas are barely begun.


The works for the defence of Mobile will carry about one hundred and
sixty guns. These are nearly constructed.


The works for the defence of New Orleans will carry some two hundred and
fifty or three hundred guns; they are nearly completed.

The works north of the Chesapeake cost about three thousand dollars per
gun; those south of that point about six thousand dollars per gun. This
difference in cost is due in part to the character of the soil on which
the fortifications are built, and in part to the high prices paid in the
south for materials and workmanship.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having pointed out the character and condition of our system of
sea-coast defences, let us briefly examine how far these works may be
relied on as a means of security against a maritime descent.

To come to a proper conclusion on this subject, let us first examine the
three or four great maritime descents attempted by the English during
the wars of the French Revolution; a period at which the great naval
superiority of England over other nations, gave her the title of
_mistress of the seas_. Let us notice what have been the results of the
several attempts made by this power at maritime invasions, and the means
by which such attacks have been repelled.

In 1795, a maritime expedition was fitted out against Quiberon, at an
expense of eight millions of dollars. This port of the French coast had
then a naval defence of near thirty sail, carrying about sixteen
hundred guns. Lord Bridport attacked it with fourteen sail of the line,
five frigates, and some smaller vessels, about fifteen hundred guns in
all, captured a portion of the fleet, and forced the remainder to take
shelter under the guns of the fortifications of L'Orient. The French
naval defence being destroyed, the British now entered Quiberon without
opposition. This bay is said by Brenton, in his British Naval History,
to be "the finest on the coast of France, or perhaps in the world, for
landing an army." Besides these natural advantages in favor of the
English, the inhabitants of the surrounding country were in open
insurrection, ready to receive the invaders with open arms. A body of
ten thousand troops were landed, and clothing, arms, &c., furnished to
as many more royalist troops; but the combined forces failed in their
attack upon St. Barbe, and General Hoche, from his intrenchments, with
seven thousand men, held in check a body of eighteen thousand, penned
up, without defences, in the narrow peninsula. Reinforced by a new
debarkation, the allies again attempted to advance, but were soon
defeated, and ultimately almost entirely destroyed.

In 1799, the English and Russians made a descent upon Holland with
fourteen ships of the line and ten frigates, carrying about eleven
hundred guns and a great number of transports, with an army of
thirty-six thousand men. The Dutch naval defences consisted of eight
ships of the line, three fifty-four gun ships, eight forty-eight gun
ships and eight smaller frigates, carrying in all about twelve hundred
guns; but this force contributed little or nothing to the defence, and
was soon forced to hoist the hostile flag. The defensive army was at
first only twelve thousand, but the Republicans afterwards increased it
to twenty-two thousand, and finally to twenty-eight thousand men. But
notwithstanding this immense naval and military superiority, and the
co-operation of the Orange party in assisting the landing of their
troops, the allies failed to get possession of a single strong place;
and after a loss of six thousand men, were compelled to capitulate.
"Such," says Alison, "was the disastrous issue of the greatest
expedition which had yet sailed from the British harbors during the

In 1801, Nelson, with three ships of the line, two frigates, and
thirty-five smaller vessels, made a desperate attack upon the harbor of
Boulogne, but was repulsed with severe loss.

Passing over some unimportant attacks, we come to the descent upon the
Scheldt, or as it is commonly called, the Walcheren expedition, in 1809.
This expedition, though a failure, has often been referred to as proving
the expediency of maritime descents. The following is a brief narrative
of this expedition:--

Napoleon had projected vast fortifications, dock-yards, and naval
arsenals at Flushing and Antwerp for the protection of a maritime force
in the Scheldt. But no sooner was the execution of this project begun,
than the English fitted out an expedition to seize upon the defences of
the Scheldt, and capture or destroy the naval force. Flushing, at the
mouth of the river, was but ill-secured, and Antwerp, some sixty or
seventy miles further up the river, was entirely defenceless; the
rampart was unarmed with cannon, dilapidated, and tottering, and its
garrison consisted of only about two hundred invalids and recruits.
Napoleon's regular army was employed on the Danube and in the Peninsula.
The British attacking force consisted of thirty-seven ships of the line,
twenty-three frigates, thirty-three sloops of war, twenty-eight gun,
mortar, and bomb vessels, thirty-six smaller vessels, eighty-two
gunboats, innumerable transports, with over forty thousand troops, and
an immense artillery train; making in all, says the English historian,
"an hundred thousand combatants." A landing was made upon the island of
Walcheren, and siege laid to Flushing, which place was not reduced till
eighteen days after the landing; the attack upon the water was made by
seven or eight ships of the line, and a large flotilla of bomb vessels,
but produced no effect. The channel at the mouth of the river was too
broad to be defended by the works of Flushing, and the main portion of
the fleet passed out of reach of the guns, and ascended the Scheldt part
way up to Antwerp. But in the mean time, the fortifications of that
place had been repaired, and, after a fruitless operation of a whole
month in the river, the English were gradually forced to retreat to
Walcheren, and finally to evacuate their entire conquest.

The cost of the expedition was immense, both in treasure and in life. It
was certainly very poorly managed. But we cannot help noticing the
superior value of fortifications as a defence against such descents.
They did much to retard the operations of the enemy till a defensive
army could be raised. The works of Flushing were never intended to close
up the Scheldt, and of course could not intercept the passage of
shipping; but they were not reduced by the English naval force, as has
sometimes been alleged. Col. Mitchel, of the English service, says that
the fleet "kept up so tremendous a fire upon the batteries, that the
French officers who had been present at Austerlitz and Jena declared
that the cannonade in these battles had been a mere _jeu d'enfans_ in
comparison. Yet what was the effect produced on the defences of the
place by this fire, so formidable, to judge by the sound alone? The
writer can answer the question with some accuracy, for he went along the
entire sea-line the very day after the capitulation, and found no part
of the parapet injured so as to be of the slightest consequence, and
only one solitary gun dismounted, evidently by the bursting of a shell,
and which could not, of course, have been thrown from the line of
battle ships, but must have been thrown from the land batteries."[16]

[Footnote 16: The batteries constructed in the siege of this place were
armed with fifty-two heavy guns and mortars.]

But it may be said that although great naval descents on a hostile coast
are almost always unsuccessful, nevertheless a direct naval attack upon
a single fortified position will be attended with more favorable
results; and that our seaport towns, however fortified, will be exposed
to bombardment and destruction by the enemy's fleets. In other words,
that in a direct contest between ships and forts the former will have at
least an equal chance of success.

Let us suppose a fair trial of this relative strength. The fort is to be
properly constructed and in good repair; its guns in a position to be
used with effect; its garrison skilful and efficient; its commander
capable and brave. The ship is of the very best character, and in
perfect order; the crew disciplined and courageous; its commander
skilful and adroit; the wind, and tide, and sea--all as could be
desired.[17] The numbers of the garrison and crew are to be no more than
requisite, with no unnecessary exposure of human life to swell the lists
of the slain. The issue of this contest, unless attended with
extraordinary and easily distinguishable circumstances, would be a fair
test of their relative strength.

[Footnote 17: These conditions for a battery are easily satisfied, but
for the ship, are partly dependent on the elements, and seldom to be
wholly attained.]

What result should we anticipate from the nature of the contending
forces? The ship, under the circumstances we have supposed, can choose
her point of attack, selecting the one she may deem the most vulnerable;
but she herself is everywhere vulnerable; her men and guns are much
concentrated, and consequently much exposed. But in the fort the guns
and men are more distributed, a fort with an interior area of several
acres not having a garrison as large as the crew of a seventy-four-gun
ship. All parts of the vessel are liable to injury; while the fort
offers but a small mark,--the opening of the embrasures, a small part of
the carriage, and now and then a head or arm raised above the
parapet,--the ratio of exposed surfaces being not less than _twenty to
one_. In the vessel the guns are fired from an oscillating deck, and the
balls go at random; in the fort the guns are fired from an immoveable
platform, and the balls reach their object with unerring aim. There is
always more or less motion in the water, so that the ship's guns, though
accurately pointed at one moment, at the next will be thrown entirely
away from the object, even when the motion is too slight to be otherwise
noticed; whereas in the battery the guns will be fired just as they are
pointed; and the motion of the vessel will merely vary to the extent of
a few inches the spot in which the shot is received. In the fort the men
and guns are behind impenetrable walls of stone and earth; in the vessel
they are behind frail bulwarks, whose splinters are equally destructive
with the shot. The fort is incombustible; while the ship may readily be
set on fire by incendiary projectiles. The ship has many points exposed
that may be called vital points. By losing her rudder, or portions of
her rigging, or of her spars, she may become unmanageable, and unable to
use her strength; she may receive shots under water, and be liable to
sink; she may receive hot shot, and be set on fire: these damages are in
addition to those of having her guns dismounted and her people killed by
shots that pierce her sides and scatter splinters from her timbers;
while the risks of the battery are confined to those mentioned
above--namely, the risk that the gun, the carriage, or the men may be

The opinions of military writers, and the facts of history, fully
accord with these deductions of theory. Some few individuals mistaking,
or misstating, the facts of a few recent trials, assert that modern
improvements in the naval service have so far outstripped the progress
in the art of land defence, that a floating force is now abundantly able
to cope, upon equal terms, with a land battery. Ignorant and superficial
persons, hearing merely that certain forts had recently yielded to a
naval force, and taking no trouble to learn the real facts of the case,
have paraded them before the public as proofs positive of a new era in
military science. This conclusion, however groundless and absurd, has
received credit merely from its novelty. Let us examine the several
trials of strength which have taken place between ships and forts within
the last fifty years, and see what have been the results.

In 1792 a considerable French squadron attacked Cagliari, whose
fortifications were at that time so dilapidated and weak, as scarcely to
deserve the name of defences. Nevertheless, the French fleet, after a
bombardment of three days, was most signally defeated and obliged to

In 1794 two British ships, "the Fortitude of seventy-four, and the Juno
frigate of thirty-two guns," attacked a small town in the bay of
Martello, Corsica, which was armed with one gun in barbette, and a
garrison of thirty men. After a bombardment of two and a half hours,
these ships were forced to haul off with considerable damage and loss of
life. The little tower had received no injury, and its garrison were
unharmed. Here were _one hundred and six guns_ afloat against _one_ on
shore; and yet the latter was successful.

In 1797 Nelson attacked the little inefficient batteries of Santa Crux,
in Teneriffe, with eight vessels carrying four hundred guns. But
notwithstanding his great superiority in numbers, skill, and bravery, he
was repelled with the loss of two hundred and fifty men, while the
garrison received little or no damage. A single ball from the land
battery, striking the side of one of his vessels, instantly sunk her
with near a hundred seamen and marines!

In 1798, a French flotilla of fifty-two brigs and gunboats, manned with
near seven thousand men, attacked a little English redoubt on the island
of Marcou, which was armed with two thirty-two-pounders, two
six-pounders, four four-pounders, and two carronades, and garrisoned
with two hundred and fifty men. Notwithstanding this great disparity of
numbers, the little redoubt sunk seven of the enemy's brigs and
gunboats, captured another, and forced the remainder to retreat with
great loss; while the garrison had but one man killed and three wounded.

In 1801, the French, with three frigates and six thousand men, attacked
the poorly-constructed works of Porto Ferrairo, whose defensive force
was a motley garrison of fifteen hundred Corsicans, Tuscans, and
English. Here the attacking force was _four_ times as great as that of
the garrison; nevertheless they were unsuccessful after several
bombardments and a siege of five months.

In July of the same year, 1801, Admiral Saumarez, with an English fleet
of six ships of the line and two smaller vessels, carrying in all five
hundred and two guns, attacked the Spanish and French defences of
Algesiras. Supposing the floating forces of the contending parties to be
equal, gun for gun, (which is certainly a very fair estimate for the
attacking force, considering the circumstances of the case,) we have a
French land-battery of only twelve guns opposed by an English floating
force of one hundred and ninety-six guns. Notwithstanding this
inequality of nearly _seventeen_ to _one_, the little battery compelled
the superior naval force to retreat with great loss.

Shortly after this, the French and Spanish fleets attacked the same
English squadron with a force of nearly _three_ to _one_, but met with a
most signal defeat; whereas with a land-battery of only _one_ to
_seventeen_, the same party had been victorious. What proof can be more
decisive of the superiority of guns on shore over those afloat!

In 1803 the English garrison of Diamond Rock, near Port Royal Bay, with
only one hundred men and some fifteen guns, repelled a French squadron
of two seventy-four-gun ships, a frigate, and a brig, assisted by a land
attack of two hundred troops. There was not a single man killed or
wounded in the redoubt, while the French lost fifty men! The place was
afterwards reduced by famine.

In 1806 a French battery on Cape Licosa, of only two guns and a garrison
of twenty-five men, resisted the attacks of a British eighty-gun ship
and two frigates. The carriage of one of the land-guns failed on the
second shot, so that, in fact, only _one_ of them was available during
the action. Here was _a single piece of ordnance_ and a garrison of
_twenty-five men,_ opposed to a naval force of _over one hundred and
fifty guns_ and about _thirteen hundred men._ And what effects were
produced by this strange combat? The attacking force lost _thirty-seven_
men killed and wounded, the eighty-gun ship was much disabled, while the
fort and garrison escaped entirely unharmed! What could not be effected
by force was afterwards obtained by negotiation.

In 1808 a French land-battery of only _three_ guns, near Fort Trinidad,
drove off an English seventy-four-gun ship, and a bomb-vessel.

In 1813 Leghorn, whose defences were of a very mediocre character, and
whose garrison at that time was exceedingly weak, was attacked by an
English squadron of six ships, carrying over three hundred guns, and a
land force of one thousand troops. The whole attempt was a perfect

"In 1814, when the English advanced against Antwerp," says Colonel
Mitchell, an English historian, "Fort Frederick, a small work of only
two guns, was established in a bend of the Polder Dyke, at some distance
below Lillo. The armament was a long eighteen-pounder and a five and a
half inch howitzer. From this post the French determined to dislodge the
English, and an eighty-gun ship dropped down with the tide and anchored
near the Flanders shore, about six hundred yards from the British
battery. By her position she was secured from the fire of the
eighteen-pounder, and exposed to that of the howitzer only. As soon as
every thing was made tight her broadside was opened; and if noise and
smoke were alone sufficient to ensure success in war, as so many of the
moderns seem to think, the result of this strange contest would not have
been long doubtful, for the thunder of the French artillery actually
made the earth to shake again; but though the earth shook, the single
British howitzer was neither dismounted nor silenced; and though the
artillery-men could not, perfectly exposed as they were, stand to their
gun while the iron hail was striking thick and fast around, yet no
sooner did the enemy's fire slacken for a moment than they sprang to
their post, ready to return at least one shot for eighty. This
extraordinary combat lasted from seven o'clock in the morning till near
twelve at noon, when the French ship, having had forty-one men killed
and wounded, her commander being in the list of the latter, and having
besides sustained serious damage in her hull and rigging, returned to
Antwerp without effecting any thing whatever. The howitzer was not
dismounted, the fort was not injured,--there being in fact nothing to
injure,--and the British had only one man killed and two wounded."

It is unnecessary to further specify examples from the wars of the
French Revolution; the whole history of these wars is one continued
proof of the superiority of fortifications as a maritime frontier
defence. The sea-coast of France is almost within stone's throw[18] of
the principal British naval depots; here were large towns and harbors,
filled with the rich commerce of the world, offering the dazzling
attraction of rich booty. The French navy was at this time utterly
incompetent to their defence; while England supported a maritime force
at an annual expense of near _ninety millions of dollars._ Her largest
fleets were continually cruising within sight of these seaports, and not
unfrequently attempting to cut out their shipping. "At this period,"
says one of her naval historians, "the naval force of Britain, so
multiplied and so expert from long practice, had acquired an intimate
knowledge of their (the French) harbors, their bays and creeks; her
officers knew the depth of water, and the resistance likely to be met
with in every situation." On the other hand, these harbors and towns
were frequently stripped of their garrisons by the necessities of
distant wars, being left with no other defence than their fortifications
and militia. And yet, notwithstanding all this, they escaped unharmed
during the entire contest. They were frequently attacked, and in some
instances the most desperate efforts were made to effect a permanent
lodgment; but in no case was the success at all commensurate with the
expense of life and treasure sacrificed, and no permanent hold was made
on either the maritime frontiers of France or her allies. This certainly
was owing to no inferiority of skill and bravery on the part of the
British navy, as the battles of Aboukir and Trafalgar, and the almost
total annihilation of the French marine, have but too plainly proven.
Why then did these places, escape? We know of no other reason, than that
_they were fortified_; and that the French knew how to defend their
fortifications. The British maritime expeditions to Quiberon, Holland,
Boulogne, the Scheldt, Constantinople, Buenos Ayres, &c., sufficiently
prove the ill-success, and the waste of life and treasure with which
they must always be attended. But when her naval power was applied to
the destruction of the enemy's marine, and in transporting her land
forces to solid bases of operations on the soil of her allies, in
Portugal and Belgium, the fall of Napoleon crowned the glory of their

[Footnote 18: Only eighteen and a half miles across the Channel at the
narrowest place.]

Let us now examine the several British naval attacks on our own forts,
in the wars of the Revolution and of 1812.

In 1776 Sir Peter Parker, with a British fleet of nine vessels, carrying
about two hundred and seventy[19] guns, attacked Fort Moultrie, in
Charleston harbor, which was then armed with only twenty-six guns, and
garrisoned by only three hundred and seventy-five regulars and a few
militia. In this contest the British were entirely defeated, and lost,
in killed and wounded, two hundred and five men, while their whole two
hundred and seventy guns killed and wounded only thirty-two men in the
fort. Of this trial of strength, which was certainly a fair one, Cooper
in his Naval History, says:--"It goes fully to prove the important
military position that ships cannot withstand forts, when the latter are
properly armed, constructed, and garrisoned. General Moultrie says only
thirty rounds from the battery were fired, and was of opinion that the
want of powder alone prevented the Americans from destroying the

[Footnote 19: These vessels _rated_ two hundred and fifty-four guns, but
the number actually carried is stated to have been two hundred and

In 1814 a British fleet of four vessels, carrying ninety-two guns,
attacked Fort Boyer, a small redoubt, located on a point of land
commanding the passage from the Gulf into the bay of Mobile. This
redoubt was garrisoned by only one hundred and twenty combatants,
officers included; and its armament was but twenty small pieces of
cannon, some of which were almost entirely useless, and most of them
poorly mounted "in batteries hastily thrown up, and leaving the gunners
uncovered from the knee upward," while the enemy's land force, acting in
concert with the ships, consisted of twenty artillerists with a battery
of two guns, and seven hundred and thirty marines, Indians, and negroes.
His ships carried five hundred and ninety men in all. This immense
disparity of numbers and strength did not allow to the British military
and naval commanders the slightest apprehension "that four British
ships, carrying ninety-two guns, and a land force somewhat exceeding
seven hundred combatants, could fail in reducing a small work mounting
only twenty short carronades, and defended by a little more than a
hundred men, unprovided alike with furnaces for heating shot, or
casements to cover themselves from rockets and shells." Nevertheless,
the enemy was completely repulsed; one of his largest ships was entirely
destroyed, and 85 men were killed and wounded on board the other; while
our loss was only eight or nine. Here a naval force of _five_ to _one_
was repelled by the land-battery.

Again, in 1814, a barbette battery of one four-pounder and two
eighteen-pounder guns at Stonington, repelled a British fleet of one
hundred and thirty-four guns. During the engagement the Americans
exhausted their ammunition, and spiked their eighteen-pounders, and only
one of them was afterwards used. Two of the enemy's ships, carrying one
hundred and twelve guns, were engaged during the whole time of attack,
and during much of this time bombarded the town from a position beyond
reach of the land-battery. They were entirely too far off for the
four-pounder gun to be of any use. Supposing the two eighteen-pounders
to have been employed during the whole action, and also all the guns of
the fleet, _one_ eighteen-pounder on land must have been more than
equivalent to _sixty-seven_ guns afloat, for the ships were so much
injured as to render it necessary for them to withdraw. The British loss
was twenty killed, and more than fifty wounded. Ours was only two killed
and six wounded.[20]

[Footnote 20: Perkins says two killed and six wounded. Holmes says six
wounded, but makes no mention of any killed.]

The fleet sent to the attack of Baltimore, in 1814, consisted of forty
sail, the largest of which were ships of the line, carrying an army of
over six thousand combatants. The troops were landed at North Point,
while sixteen of the bomb-vessels and frigates approached within reach
of Fort McHenry, and commenced a bombardment which lasted twenty-five
hours. During this attack, the enemy threw "fifteen hundred shells, four
hundred of which exploded within the walls of the fort, but without
making any impression on either the strength of the work or the
garrison," and the British were compelled to retire with much loss.

In 1815, a squadron of British ships, stationed off the mouths of the
Mississippi, for the purpose of a blockade, ascended the river as high
as Fort St. Philip, which is a small work capable of an armament of only
twenty guns in all. A heavy fire of shot and shells was continued with
but few and short pauses for nine days and nights, but making no
impression either on the fort or garrison, they retreated to their
former position at the mouth of the river.

There is but a single instance in the war of 1812, where the enemy's
vessels succeeded in reducing a fort; and this has sometimes been
alluded to, by persons ignorant of the real facts of the case, as a
proof against the ability of our fortifications to resist naval attacks.
Even if it were a case of decided failure, would this single exception
be sufficient to overthrow the weight of evidence on the other side? We
allude to the reduction of the so-called Fort Washington by the British
fleet that ascended the Potomac in 1814, to assist in the disgraceful
and barbarous operation of burning the capitol and destroying the
archives of the nation. Fort Washington was a very small and inefficient
work, incorrectly planned by an incompetent French engineer; only a
small part of the fort was then built, and it has not yet been
completed. The portion constructed was never, until very recently,
properly prepared for receiving its armament, and at the time of attack
could not possibly have held out a long time. But no defence whatever
was made. Capt. Gordon, with a squadron of eight sail, carrying one
hundred and seventy-three guns, under orders "to ascend the river as
high as Fort Washington, and try upon it the experiment of a
bombardment," approached that fort, and, upon firing a single shell,
which did no injury to either the fort or the garrison, the latter
deserted the works, and rapidly retreated. The commanding officer was
immediately dismissed for his cowardice. An English naval officer, who
was one of the expedition, in speaking of the retreat of the garrison,
says: "We were at loss to account for such an extraordinary step. The
position was good and the capture would have cost us at least fifty men,
and more, had it been properly defended; besides, an unfavorable wind
and many other chances were in their favor," &c. The fleet ascended the
river to Alexandria, but learning soon afterwards that batteries were
preparing at White House and Indian Head to cut off its retreat, it
retired, in much haste, but not without injury.

Some have also pretended to find in modern European history a few
examples contradictory of the relative power which we have here assigned
to ships and forts. Overlooking the numerous and well-authenticated
examples, where forts of small dimensions and of small armament have
repelled large fleets, they would draw their conclusions from the four
or five instances where fleets have gained (as was at first supposed) a
somewhat doubtful victory over forts. But a careful and critical
examination of the facts in these cases, will show that even these are
no exceptions to the general rule of the superiority of guns ashore over
guns afloat.

The only instances where it has ever been pretended by writers of any
note, that ships have gained advantage, are those of the attack on
Copenhagen in 1801; the passage of the Dardanelles, in 1807; the attack
on Algiers, in 1816; the attack on San Juan d'Ulloa, in 1838; and the
attack on St. Jean d'Acre, in 1840.

Let us examine these examples a little in detail:--

_Copenhagen_.--The British fleet sent to attack Copenhagen, in 1801,
consisted of fifty-two sail, eighteen of them being line-of-battle
ships, four frigates, &c. They sailed from Yarmouth roads on the 12th of
March, passed the Sound on the 30th, and attacked and defeated the
Danish line on the 2d of April.

The Sound between Cronenberg and the Swedish coast is about two and a
half miles wide, (vide Fig. 34.) The batteries of Cronenberg and
Elsinore were lined with one hundred pieces of cannon and mortars; but
the Swedish battery had been much neglected, and then mounted only six
guns. Nevertheless, the British admiral, to avoid the damage his
squadron would have to sustain in the passage of this wide channel,
defended by a force scarcely superior to a single one of his ships,
preferred to attempt the difficult passage of the Belt; but after a few
of his light vessels, acting as scouts, had run on rocks, he returned to
the Sound.

He then tried to negotiate a peaceful passage, threatening, however, a
declaration of war if his vessels should be fired upon. It must be
remembered that at this time England was at peace with both Denmark and
Sweden, and that no just cause of war existed. Hence, the admiral
inferred that the commanders of these batteries would be loath to
involve their countries in a war with so formidable a power as England,
by commencing hostilities, when only a free passage was asked. The
Danish commander replied, that he should not permit a fleet to pass his
post, whose object and destination were unknown to him. He fired upon
them, as he was bound to do by long-existing commercial regulations, and
not as an act of hostility against the English. The Swedes, on the
contrary, remained neutral, and allowed the British vessels to lie near
by for several days without firing upon them. Seeing this friendly
disposition of the Swedes, the fleet neared their coast, and passed out
of the reach of the Danish batteries, which opened a fire of balls and
shells; but all of them fell more than two hundred yards short of the
fleet, which escaped without the loss of a single man.

The Swedes excused their treachery by the plea that it would have been
impossible to construct batteries at that season, and that, even had it
been possible, Denmark would not have consented to their doing so, for
fear that Sweden would renew her old claim to one half of the rich
duties levied by Denmark on all ships passing the strait. There may have
been some grounds for the last excuse; but the true reason for their
conduct was the fear of getting involved in a war with England. Napoleon
says that, even at that season, a few days would have been sufficient
for placing a hundred guns in battery, and that Sweden had much more
time than was requisite. And with a hundred guns on each side of the
channel, served with skill and energy, the fleet must necessarily have
sustained so much damage as to render it unfit to attack Copenhagen.

On this passage, we remark:--

1st. The whole number of guns and mortars in the forts of the Sound
amounted to only one hundred and six, while the fleet carried over
seventeen hundred guns; and yet, with this immense superiority of more
than _sixteen_ to _one_, the British admiral preferred the dangerous
passage of the Belt to encountering the fire of these land-batteries.

2d. By negotiations, and threatening the vengeance of England, he
persuaded the small Swedish battery to remain silent and allow the fleet
to pass near that shore, out of reach of Cronenberg and Elsinore.

3d. It is the opinion of Napoleon and the best English writers, that if
the Swedish battery had been put in order, and acted in concert with the
Danish works, they might have so damaged the fleet as to render it
incapable of any serious attempt on Copenhagen.

We now proceed to consider the circumstances attending the attack and
defence of Copenhagen itself. The only side of the town exposed to the
attack of heavy shipping is the northern, where there lies a shoal
extending out a considerable distance, leaving only a very narrow
approach to the heart of the city, (Fig. 35) On the most advanced part
of this shoal are the Crown-batteries, carrying in all eighty-eight
guns.[21] The entrance into the Baltic between Copenhagen and Salthorn,
is divided into two channels by a bank, called the Middle Ground, which
is situated directly opposite Copenhagen. To defend the entrance on the
left of the Crown-batteries, they placed near the mouth of the channel
four ships of the line, one frigate, and two sloops, carrying in all
three hundred and fifty-eight guns. To secure the port and city from
bombardment from the King's Channel, (that between the Middle Ground and
town,) a line of floating defences were moored near the edge of the
shoal, and manned principally by volunteers. This line consisted of old
hulls of vessels, block-ships, prames, rafts, &c., carrying in all six
hundred and twenty-eight guns--a force strong enough to prevent the
approach of bomb-vessels and gunboats, (the purpose for which it was
intended,) but utterly incapable of contending with first-rate ships of
war; but these the Danes thought would be deterred from approaching by
the difficulties of navigation. These difficulties were certainly very
great; and Nelson said, beforehand, that "the wind which might carry him
in would most probably not bring out a crippled ship." Had the Danes
supposed it possible for Nelson to approach with his large vessels, the
line of floating defences would have been formed nearer Copenhagen, the
right supported by batteries raised on the isle of Amack. "In that
case," says Napoleon, "it is probable that Nelson would have failed in
his attack; for it would have been impossible for him to pass between
the line and shore thus lined with cannon." As it was, the line was too
extended for strength, and its right too far advanced to receive
assistance from the battery of Amack. A part of the fleet remained as a
reserve, under Admiral Parker, while the others, under Nelson, advanced
to the King's Channel. This attacking force consisted of eight ships of
the line and thirty-six smaller vessels, carrying in all eleven hundred
guns, (without including those in the six gun-brigs, whose armament is
not given.) One of the seventy-four-gun ships could not be brought into
action, and two others grounded; but, Lord Nelson says, "although not in
the situation assigned them, yet they were so placed as to be of great
service." This force was concentrated upon _a part_ of the Danish line
of floating defences, the whole of which was not only inferior to it by
three hundred and eighty-two guns, but so situated as to be beyond the
reach of succor, and without a chance of escape. The result was what
might have been expected. Every vessel of the right and centre of this
outer Danish line was taken or destroyed, except one or two small ones,
which cut and run under protection of the fortifications. The left of
the line, being supported by the Crown-battery, remained unbroken. A
division of frigates, in hopes of providing an adequate substitute for
the ships intended to attack the batteries, ventured to engage them, but
"it suffered considerable loss, and, in spite of all its efforts, was
obliged to relinquish this enterprise, and sheer off."

[Footnote 21: Some writers say only sixty-eight or seventy; but the
English writers generally say eighty-eight. A few, (apparently to
increase the brilliancy of the victory,) make this number still

The Danish vessels lying in the entrance of the channel which leads to
the city, were not attacked, and took no material part in the contest.
They are to be reckoned in the defence on the same grounds that the
British ships of the reserve should be included in the attacking force.
Nor was any use made of the guns on shore, for the enemy did not advance
far enough to be within their range.

The Crown-battery was _behind_ the Danish line, and mainly masked by it.
A part only of its guns could be used in support of the left of this
line, and in repelling the direct attacks of the frigates, which it did
most effectually. But we now come to a new feature in this battle. As
the Danish line of floating defences fell into the hands of the English,
the range of the Crown-battery enlarged, and its power was felt. Nelson
saw the danger to which his fleet was exposed, and, being at last
convinced of the prudence of the admiral's signal for retreat, "made up
his mind to weigh anchor and retire from the engagement." To retreat,
however, from his present position, was exceedingly difficult and
dangerous. He therefore determined to endeavor to effect an armistice,
and dispatched the following letter to the prince-regent:

"Lord Nelson has directions to spare Denmark when no longer resisting;
but if the firing is continued on the part of Denmark, Lord Nelson must
be obliged to set on fire all the floating batteries he has taken,
without the power to save the brave Danes who have defended them."

This produced an armistice, and hostilities had hardly ceased, when
three of the English ships, including that in which Nelson himself was,
struck upon the bank. "They were in the jaws of destruction, and would
never have escaped if the batteries had continued their fire. They
therefore owed their safety to this armistice." A convention was soon
signed, by which every thing was left _in statu quo_, and the fleet of
Admiral Parker allowed to proceed into the Baltic. Edward Baines, the
able English historian of the wars of the French Revolution, in speaking
of Nelson's request for an armistice, says: "This letter, which
exhibited a happy union of policy and courage, was written at a moment
when Lord Nelson perceived that, in consequence of the unfavorable state
of the wind, the admiral was not likely to get up to aid the enterprise;
that _the principal batteries_ of the enemy, and the ships at the mouth
of the harbor, _were yet untouched;_ that two of his own division had
grounded, and others were likely to share the same fate." Campbell says
these batteries and ships "_were still unconquered._ Two of his
[Nelson's] own vessels were grounded and exposed to a heavy fire;
others, if the battle continued, might be exposed to a similar fate,
while he found it would be scarcely practicable to bring off the prizes
under the fire of the batteries."

With respect to the fortifications of the town, a chronicler of the
times says they were of no service while the action lasted. "They began
to fire when the enemy took possession of the abandoned ships, but it
was at the same time the parley appeared." The Danish commander,
speaking of the general contest between the two lines, says: "The
Crown-battery did not come at all into action." An English writer says
distinctly: "The works (fortifications) of Copenhagen were absolutely
untouched at the close of the action." Colonel Mitchel, the English
historian, says: "Lord Nelson never fired a shot at the town or
fortifications of Copenhagen; he destroyed a line of block-ships,
prames, and floating batteries that defended the sea approach to the
town; and the Crown Prince, seeing his capital exposed, was willing to
finish by armistice a war, the object of which was neither very popular
nor well understood. What the result of the action between Copenhagen
and the British fleet might ultimately have been, is therefore
altogether uncertain. THE BOMBARDMENT OF COPENHAGEN BY NELSON, as it is
generally styled, is therefore, like most other oracular phrases of the
day, a mere combination of words, without the slightest meaning."

The British lost in killed and wounded nine hundred and forty-three men;
and the loss of the Danes, according to their own account, which is
confirmed by the French, was but very little higher. The English,
however, say it amounted to sixteen or eighteen hundred; but let the
loss be what it may, it was almost exclusively confined to the floating
defences, and can in no way determine the relative accuracy of aim of
the guns ashore and guns afloat.

The facts and testimony we have adduced, prove incontestably--

1st. That of the fleet of fifty-two sail and seventeen hundred guns sent
by the English to the attack upon Copenhagen, two ships carrying one
hundred and forty-eight guns were grounded or wrecked; seven ships of
the line, and thirty-six smaller vessels, carrying over one thousand
guns, were actually brought into the action; while the remainder were
held as a reserve to act upon the first favorable opportunity.

2d. That the Danish line of floating defences, consisting mostly of
hulls, sloops, rafts, &c., carried only six hundred and twenty-eight
guns of all descriptions; that the fixed batteries supporting this line
did not carry over eighty or ninety guns at most; and that both these
land and floating batteries were mostly manned and the guns served by

3d. That the fixed batteries in the system of defence were either so
completely masked, or so far distant, as to be useless during the
contest between the fleet and floating force.

4th. That the few guns of these batteries which were rendered available
by the position of the floating defences, repelled, with little or no
loss to themselves, and some injury to the enemy, a vastly superior
force of frigates which attacked them.

5th. That the line of floating defences was conquered and mostly
destroyed, while the fixed batteries were uninjured.

6th. That the fortifications of the city and of Amack island were not
attacked, and had no part in the contest.

7th. That, as soon as the Crown-batteries were unmasked and began to
act, Nelson prepared to retreat, but, on account of the difficulty of
doing so, he opened a parley, threatening, with a cruelty unworthy of
the most barbarous ages, that, _unless the batteries ceased their fire
upon his ships, he would burn all the floating defences with the Danish
prisoners in his possession;_ and that this armistice was concluded just
in time to save his own ships from destruction.

8th. That, consequently, the battle of Copenhagen cannot be regarded as
a contest between ships and forts, or a triumph of ships over forts:
that, so far as the guns on shore were engaged, they showed a vast
superiority over those afloat--a superiority known and confessed by the
English themselves.

_Constantinople_.--The channel of the Dardanelles is about twelve
leagues long, three miles wide at its entrance, and about three-quarters
of a mile at its narrowest point. Its principal defences are the outer
and inner castles of Europe and Asia, and the castles of Sestos and
Abydos. Constantinople stands about one hundred miles from its entrance
into the Sea of Marmora, and at nearly the opposite extremity of this
sea. The defences of the channel had been allowed to go to decay; but
few guns were mounted, and the forts were but partially garrisoned. In
Constantinople not a gun was mounted, and no preparations for defence
were made; indeed, previous to the approach of the fleet, the Turks had
not determined whether to side with the English or the French, and even
then the French ambassador had the greatest difficulty in persuading
them to resist the demands of Duckforth.

The British fleet consisted of six sail of the line, two frigates, two
sloops, and several bomb-vessels, carrying eight hundred and eighteen
guns, (besides those in the bomb-ships.) Admiral Duckforth sailed
through the Dardanelles on the 19th of February, 1807, with little or no
opposition. This being a Turkish festival day, the soldiers of the
scanty garrison were enjoying the festivities of the occasion, and none
were left to serve the few guns of the forts which had been prepared for
defence. But while the admiral was waiting on the Sea of Marmora for the
result of negotiations, or for a favorable wind to make the attack upon
Constantinople, the fortifications of this city were put in order, and
the Turks actively employed, under French engineers and artillery
officers, in repairing the defences of the Straits. Campbell, in his
Naval History, says:--"Admiral Duckforth now fully perceived the
critical situation in which he was placed. He might, indeed, succeed,
should the weather become favorable, in bombarding Constantinople; _but
unless the bombardment should prove completely successful in forcing
the Turks to pacific terms, the injury he might do to the city would not
compensate for the damage which his fleet must necessarily sustain. With
this damaged and crippled fleet, he must repass the Dardanelles, now
rendered infinitely stronger than they were when he came through them_."

Under these circumstances the admiral determined to retreat; and on the
3d of April escaped through the Dardanelles, steering midway of the
channel, with a favorable and strong current. "This escape, however,"
says Baines, "was only from destruction, but by no means from serious
loss and injury. * * * * In what instance in the whole course of our
naval warfare, have ships received equal damage in so short a time as in
this extraordinary enterprise?" In detailing the extent of this damage,
we will take the ships in the order they descended. The first had her
wheel carried away, and her hull much damaged, but escaped with the loss
of only three men. A stone shot penetrated the second, between the poop
and quarter deck, badly injured the mizzen-mast, carried away the wheel,
and did other serious damage, killing and wounding twenty men. Two shot
struck the third, carrying away her shrouds and injuring her masts; loss
in killed and wounded, thirty. The fourth had her mainmast destroyed,
with a loss of sixteen. The fifth had a large shot, six feet eight
inches in circumference, enter her lower deck; loss fifty-five. The
sixth, not injured. The seventh, a good deal damaged, with a loss of
seventeen. The eighth had no loss. The ninth was so much injured that,
"had there been a necessity for hauling the wind on the opposite tack,
she must have gone down:" her loss was eight. The tenth lost twelve. The
eleventh was much injured, with a loss of eight--making a total loss in
repassing the Dardanelles, of one hundred and sixty-seven; and in the
whole expedition two hundred and eighty-one, exclusive of two hundred
and fifty men who perished in the burning of the Ajax.

Such was the effect produced on the British fleet, sailing with a
favorable wind and strong current past the half-armed and half-manned
forts of the Dardanelles. Duckforth himself says, that "had he remained
before Constantinople much longer--till the forts had been completely
put in order--no return would have been open to him, and the unavoidable
sacrifice of the squadron must have been the consequence." Scarcely had
the fleet cleared the Straits, before it (the fleet) was reinforced with
eight sail of the line; but, even with this vast increase of strength,
the English did not venture to renew the contest. They had effected a
most fortunate escape. General Jomini says that if the defence had been
conducted by a more enterprising and experienced people, the expedition
would have cost the English their whole squadron.

Great as was the damage done to the fleet, the forts themselves were
uninjured. The English say their own fire did no execution, the shot in
all probability not even striking their objects--"the rapid change of
position, occasioned by a fair wind and current, preventing the
certainty of aim." The state of the batteries when the fleet first
passed, is thus described in James's Naval History: "Some of them were
dilapidated, and others but partially mounted and poorly manned." And
Alison says: "They had been allowed to fall into disrepair. The castles
of Europe and Asia, indeed, stood in frowning majesty, to assert the
dominion of the Crescent at the narrowest part of the passage, but their
ramparts were antiquated, their guns in part dismounted, and such as
remained, though of enormous calibre, little calculated to answer the
rapidity and precision of an English broadside."

Much has been said because the fortifications of the Dardanelles did
not hermetically seal that channel, (an object they were never expected
to accomplish, even had they been well armed and well served;) but it is
forgotten, or entirely overlooked, that twelve _Turkish line-of-battle
-ships, two of them three-deckers, with nine frigates, were with their
sails bent and in apparent readiness, filled with troops, and lying within
the line of fortifications; and yet this naval force effected little or
nothing against the invaders._ It is scarcely ever mentioned, being
regarded of little consequence as a means of defence; and yet the number
of its guns and the expense of its construction and support, could hardly
have fallen short of the incomplete and half-armed forts, some of which
were as ancient as the reign of Amurath!

_Algiers._--The following narrative of the attack on Algiers, in 1816,
is drawn from the reports of the English and Dutch admirals, and other
official and authentic English papers.

The attack was made by the combined fleets, consisting of five sail of
the line, eighteen or twenty frigates and smaller vessels, besides five
bomb-vessels and several rocket-boats, carrying in all about one
thousand guns. The armament of some of the smaller vessels is not given,
but the guns of those whose armaments are known, amount to over nine
hundred. The harbor and defences of Algiers had been previously surveyed
by Captain Warde, royal navy, under Lord Exmouth's direction; and the
number of the combined fleet was arranged according to the information
given in this survey--just so many ships, and no more, being taken, as
could be employed to advantage against the city, without being
needlessly exposed. Moreover, the men and officers had been selected and
exercised with reference to this particular attack.

From the survey of Captain Warde, and the accompanying map, it appears
that the armament of all the fortifications of Algiers and the vicinity,
counting the water fronts and the parts that could flank the shore, was
only two hundred and eighty-four guns of various sizes and descriptions,
including mortars. But not near all of these could act upon the fleet as
it lay. Other English accounts state the number of guns actually opposed
to the fleet at from two hundred and twenty to two hundred and thirty.
Some of these were in small and distant batteries, whereas nearly all
the fleet was concentrated on the mole-head works. (Fig. 36.) Supposing
only one broadside of the ships to have been engaged, the ratio of the
forces, as expressed by the number of guns, must have been about as 5 to
2. This is a favorable supposition for the ships; for we know that
several of them, from their position and a change of anchorage, brought
both broadsides to bear; moreover, at no one time could _all_ the guns
of the water fronts of the batteries bear on the attacking ships. The
Algerine shipping in the harbor was considerable, including several
vessels of war, but no use was made of them in defence, and nearly all
were burnt. The attacking ships commanded some of the batteries, and
almost immediately dismounted their guns. The walls of the casemated
works were so thin as to be very soon battered down. Most of the
Algerine guns were badly mounted, and many of them were useless after
the first fire. They had no furnaces for heating shot, and, as "they
loaded their guns with loose powder, put in with a ladle," they could
not possibly have used hot shot, even had they constructed furnaces. The
ships approached the forts, and many of them anchored in their intended
position, without a shot being fired from the batteries. The action
commenced at a quarter before three, and did not entirely cease till
half-past eleven. The ships then took advantage of the land breeze, and,
by warping and towing off, were able to get under sail and come to
anchor beyond reach of the land-batteries. Negotiations were again
opened, and the Dey surrendered the Christian slaves and yielded to the
terms of the treaty.

During the contest, the fleet "fired nearly one hundred and eighteen
tons of powder, and fifty thousand shot, (weighing more than five
hundred tons of iron,) besides nine hundred and sixty thirteen and
ten-inch shells, (thrown by the bomb-vessels,) and the shells and
rockets from the flotilla." The vessels were considerably crippled, and
their loss in killed and wounded amounted to eight hundred and
eighty-three. The land batteries were much injured, and a large part of
their guns dismounted. Their loss is not known; the English confess they
could obtain no account of it, but suppose it to have been very great.
This seems more than probable; for, besides those actually employed in
the defence, large numbers of people crowded into the forts to witness
the contest. So great was this curiosity, that, when the action
commenced, the parapets were covered with the multitude gazing at the
manoeuvres of the ships. To avoid so unnecessary and indiscriminate a
slaughter, Lord Exmouth (showing a humanity that does him great credit)
motioned with his hand to the ignorant wretches to retire to some place
of safety. This loss of life in the batteries, the burning of the
buildings within the town and about the mole, the entire destruction of
their fleet and merchant vessels anchored within the mole and in the
harbor, had a depressing effect upon the inhabitants, and probably did
more than the injuries received by the batteries in securing an
honorable conclusion to the treaty. We know very well that these
batteries, though much injured, _were not silenced_ when Lord Exmouth
took advantage of the land breeze and sailed beyond their reach. The
ships retired--1st, because they had become much injured, and their
ammunition nearly exhausted; 2d, in order to escape from a position so
hazardous in case of a storm; and 3d, to get beyond the reach of the
Algerine batteries. Lord Exmouth himself gives these as his reasons for
the retreat, and says, "the land wind saved me many a gallant fellow."
And Vice-admiral Von de Capellan, in his report of the battle, gives the
same opinion: "_in this retreat_" says he, "which, from want of wind and
the damage suffered in the rigging, was very slow, _the ships had still
to suffer much from the new-opened and redoubled fire of the enemy's
batteries_; at last, the land breeze springing up," &c. An English
officer, who took part in this affair, says: "It was well for us that
the land wind came off, or we should never have got out; and God knows
what would have been our fate, had we remained all night."

The motives of the retreat cannot, therefore, be doubted. Had the Arabs
set themselves zealously at work, during the night, to prepare for a new
contest, by remounting their guns, and placing others behind the ruins
of those batteries which had fallen,--in other words, had the works now
been placed in hands as skilful and experienced as the English, the
contest would have been far from ended. But (to use the words of the
Board of Defence) Lord Exmouth relied on the effects produced on the
people by his dreadful cannonade; and the result proves that he was
right. His anxiety to clear the vessels from the contest shows that
there was a power still unconquered, which he thought it better to leave
to be restrained by the suffering population of the city, than to keep
in a state of exasperation and activity by his presence. What was this
power but an unsubdued energy in the batteries?

The true solution of the question is, then, not so much the amount of
injury done on the one side or the other--particularly as there was on
one side a city to suffer as well as the batteries--as the relative
efficiency of the parties when the battle closed. All political
agitation and popular clamor aside, what would have been the result had
the fight been continued, or even had Lord Exmouth renewed it next
morning? These are questions that can be answered only on conjecture;
but the manner the battle ended certainly leaves room for many doubts
whether, had the subsequent demands of Lord Exmouth been rejected, he
had it in his power to enforce them by his ships; whether, indeed, if he
had renewed the fight, he would not have been signally defeated. On the
whole, we do not think that this battle, although it stands pre-eminent
as an example of naval success over batteries, presents an argument to
shake the confidence which fortifications, well situated, well planned,
and well fought, deserve, as the defences of a seaboard.

We cannot help regarding these conclusions as just, when we reflect upon
all the circumstances of the case. The high character, skill, and
bravery of the attacking force; their immense superiority in number of
guns, with no surplus human life to be exposed; the antiquated and
ill-managed works of defence, the entire want of skill of the Algerine
artillerists, and the neglect of the ordinary means of preparation; the
severe execution which these ill-served guns did upon the enemy's
ships,--an execution far more dreadful than that effected by the French
or Dutch fleets in their best-contested naval battles with the ships of
the same foe,--from these facts, we must think that those who are so
ready to draw from this case conclusions unfavorable to the use of
land-batteries as a means of defence against shipping, know but little
of the nature of the contest.

An English historian of some note, in speaking of this attack,
says:--"It is but little to the purpose, unless to prove what may be
accomplished by fleets against towns exactly so circumstanced, placed,
and governed. Algiers is situated on an amphitheatre of hills, sloping
down towards the sea, and presenting therefore the fairest mark to the
fire of hostile ships. But where is the capital exactly so situated that
we are ever likely to attack? And as to the destruction of a few
second-rate towns, even when practicable, it is a mean, unworthy species
of warfare, by which nothing was ever gained. The severe loss sustained
before Algiers must also be taken into account, because it was inflicted
by mere Algerine artillery, and was much inferior to what may be
expected from a contest maintained against batteries manned with
soldiers instructed by officers of skill and science, not only in
working the guns, but in the endless duty of detail necessary for
keeping the whole of an artillery material in a proper state of
formidable efficiency."

_San Juan d'Ulloa._--The following facts, relative to the attack on San
Juan d'Ulloa by the French, in 1838, are drawn principally from the
report of a French engineer officer who was one of the expedition.

The French fleet consisted of four ships, carrying one hundred and
eighty-eight guns, two armed steamboats, and two bomb-ketches with four
large mortars. The whole number of guns, of whatever description, found
in the fort was one hundred and eighty-seven; a large portion of these,
however, were for land defence. (Fig. 37.)

When the French vessels were towed into the position selected for the
attack, "it was lucky for us," says the French officer in his report,
"that the Mexicans did not disturb this operation, which lasted nearly
two hours, and that they permitted us to commence the fire." "We were
exposed to the fire of one twenty-four-pounder, five sixteen-pounders,
seven twelve-pounders, one eight-pounder, and five eighteen-pounder
carronades--_in all nineteen pieces only_." If these be converted into
equivalent twenty-four-pounders, in proportion to the weight of the
balls, the whole nineteen guns will be _less than twelve twenty-four
pounders_. This estimate is much too great, for it allows three
eight-pounders to be equal to one twenty-four-pounder, and each of the
eighteen-pounder carronades to be three quarters the power of a long
twenty-four-pounder; whereas, at the distance at which the parties were
engaged, these small pieces were nearly harmless. Two of the powder
magazines, from not being bomb-proof, were blown up during the
engagement, by which three of the nineteen guns on the water front of
the castle were dismounted; thus reducing the land force to _an
equivalent of ten twenty-four-pounders_. The other sixteen guns were
still effective when abandoned by the Mexicans. The cannonade and
bombardment continued about six hours, eight thousand two hundred and
fifty shot and shells being fired at the fort by the French. The
principal injury received by the work was from the explosion of the
powder magazine. But very few guns were dismounted by the fire of the
French ships, and only three of these on the water front. The details of
the condition of the ships and fort are given in the report of the
French officer,[22] but it is unnecessary to repeat them here.

[Footnote 22: Vide also House Doc. No. 206, twenty-sixth Congress, first

In general terms, it appears from the above-mentioned report, that the
number of guns actually brought into action by the floating force,
(counting only one broadside of the ship,) amounted to _ninety-four
guns, besides four heavy sea-mortars_; that the whole number so employed
in the fort was only _nineteen, including the smallest calibres_; that
these guns were generally so small and inefficient, that their balls
would not enter the sides of the ordinary attacking frigates; the
principal injury sustained by the castle was produced by the explosion
of powder magazines injudiciously placed and improperly secured; that
the castle, though built of poor materials, was but slightly injured by
the French fire; that the Mexicans proved themselves ignorant of the
ordinary means of defence, and abandoned their works when only a few of
their guns had been dismounted; that notwithstanding all the
circumstances in favor of the French, their killed and wounded, in
proportion to the guns acting against them, was upwards of _four times_
as great as the loss of the English at the battle of Trafalgar!

_St. Jean d'Acre_.--The narratives of the day contained most exaggerated
accounts of the English attack on St. Jean d'Acre; now, however, the
principal facts connected with this attack are fully authenticated. For
the amount of the fleet we quote from the British official papers, and
for that of the fort, from the pamphlet of Lieutenant-colonel
Matuszewiez. These statements are mainly confirmed by the narratives,
more recently published, of several English and French eye-witnesses.

The fortifications were built of poor materials, antiquated in their
plans, and much decayed. Their entire armament amounted to only two
hundred guns, some of which were merely field-pieces. The water fronts
were armed with one hundred cannon and sixteen mortars, those of the
smaller calibre included. (Fig. 38.) When approached by the British
fleet, the works were undergoing repairs, and, says Commodore Napier,
"were fast getting into a state of preparation against attack."

The British fleet consisted of eight ships of the line, carrying six
hundred and forty-six guns; six frigates, carrying two hundred and
thirty-six guns; four steamers, carrying eighteen guns; and two or three
other vessels, whose force is not given. "Only a few guns," says Napier,
"defended the approach from the northward," and most of the ships came
in from that direction. The western front was armed with about forty
cannon; but opposed to this were six ships and two steamers, carrying
about five hundred guns. Their fire was tremendous during the
engagement, but _no breach was made_ in the walls. The south front was
armed in part by heavy artillery and in part by field-pieces. This front
was attacked by six ships and two steamers, carrying over two hundred
guns. The eastern front was armed only with light artillery; against
this was concentrated the remainder of the fleet, carrying about two
hundred and forty guns. The guns of the works were so poorly mounted,
that but few could be used at all; and these, on account of the
construction of the fort, could not reach the ships, though anchored
close by the walls. "Only five of their guns," says Napier, "placed in a
flanking battery, were well served, and never missed; but they were
pointed too high, and damaged our spars and rigging only." The stone was
of so poor a quality, says the narrative of Colonel Matuszewiez, that
the walls fired upon presented on the exterior a shattered appearance,
but they were nowhere seriously injured. In the words of Napier, "_they
were not breached, and a determined enemy might have remained secure
under the breastworks, or in the numerous casemates, without suffering
much loss_." The accidental explosion of a magazine within the fort,
containing six thousand casks of powder, laid in ruins a space of sixty
thousand square yards, opened a large breach in the walls of the
fortifications, partially destroyed the prisons, and killed and wounded
a thousand men of the garrison. This frightful disaster, says the French
account, hastened the triumph of the fleet. The prisoners and
malefactors, thus released from confinement, rushed upon the garrison at
the same time with the mountaineers, who had besieged the place on the
land side. The uselessness of the artillery, the breaches of the fort,
the attacks of the English, all combined to force the retreat of the
garrison, "in the midst of scenes of blood and atrocious murders."

We will close this account with the following extract of a speech of the
Duke of Wellington, in the House of Lords, Feb. 4, 1841: "He had had,"
he said, "a little experience in services of this nature; and he thought
it his duty to warn their lordships, on this occasion, that they must
not always expect that ships, however well commanded, or however gallant
their seamen might be, were capable of commonly engaging successfully
with stone walls. He had no recollection, in all his experience, except
the recent instance on the coast of Syria, of any fort being taken by
ships, excepting two or three years ago, when the fort of San Juan
d'Ulloa was captured by the French fleet. This was, he thought, the
single instance that he recollected, though he believed that something
of the sort had occurred at the siege of Havana, in 1763. The present
achievement he considered one of the greatest of modern times. This was
his opinion, and he gave the highest credit to those who had performed
such a service. It was, altogether, a most skilful proceeding. He was
greatly surprised at the small number of men that was lost on board the
fleet; and, on inquiring how it happened, he discovered that it was
because the vessels were moored within one-third of the ordinary
distance. The guns of the fortress were intended to strike objects at a
greater distance; and the consequence was, that the shot went over the
ships that were anchored at one-third the usual distance. By that means,
they sustained not more than one-tenth of the loss which they would
otherwise have experienced. Not less than five hundred pieces of
ordnance were directed against the walls, and the precision with which
the fire was kept up, the position of the vessels, and, lastly, the
blowing up of the large magazine--all aided in achieving this great
victory in so short a time. He had thought it right to say thus much,
because he wished to warn the public against supposing that such deeds
as this could be effected every day. He would repeat that this was a
singular instance, in the achievement of which undoubtedly great skill
was manifested, but which was also connected with peculiar
circumstances, which they could not hope always to occur. It must not
therefore be expected, as a matter of course, that all such attempts
must necessarily succeed."

Having completed our examination of the ability of land batteries to
cope, gun for gun, with a naval force, let us consider, for a few
moments, the objection which is sometimes made to the use of
fortifications for the defence of the sea-coast, viz.: _that our
maritime cities and arsenals can be better and more economically secured
by a home squadron_.

We have already alluded to the impossibility of substituting one means
of defence for another. The efficiency of the bayonet can in no way
enable us to dispense with artillery, nor the value of engineer troops
in the passage of rivers, and the attack and defence of forts, render
cavalry the less necessary in other operations of a campaign. To the
navy alone must we look for the defence of our shipping upon the high
seas; but it cannot replace fortifications in the protection of our
harbors, bays, rivers, arsenals, and commercial towns.

Let us take a case in point. For the defence of New York city, it is
deemed highly important that the East River should be closed to the
approach of a hostile fleet at least fifteen or twenty miles from the
city, so that an army landed there would have to cross the Westchester
creek, the Bronx, Harlem river, and the defiles of Harlem
heights--obstacles of great importance in a judicious defence. Throg's
Neck is the position selected for this purpose; cannon placed there not
only command the channel, but, from the windings of the river, sweep it
for a great distance above and below. No other position, even _in_ the
channel itself, possesses equal advantages. Hence, if we had only naval
means of defence, it would be best, were such a thing possible, to place
the floating defences themselves on this point. Leaving entirely out of
consideration the question of relative _power, position_ alone would
give the superior efficiency to the fort. But there are other
considerations no less important than that of position. Fort Schuyler
can be garrisoned and defended in part by the same militia force which
will be employed to prevent the march of the enemy's army on the city.
On the other hand, the crews of the floating defences must be seamen;
they will consequently be of less value in the subsequent land
operations. Moreover, forts, situated as this is, can be so planned as
to bring to bear upon any part of the channel a greater number of guns
than can be presented by any hostile squadron against the corresponding
portion of the fort. This result can be obtained with little difficulty
in narrow channels, as is done in most of the other works for the
defence of New York, the works for Boston, Newport, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, &c., and an approximation
to it is not incompatible with the defence of the broader estuaries,
like the Chesapeake.

But we will suppose that there are no such points of land, in the inlets
to our harbors, and that we rely for defence upon a naval force
exclusively. Let us leave out of consideration the security of all our
other harbors and our commerce on the high seas, and also the importance
of having at command the means of attacking the enemy's coast, in the
absence of his fleet. We take the single case of the attack being made
on New York harbor, and that our whole fleet is assembled there. Now, if
this fleet be equal in number to the enemy, the chances of success may
be regarded as equal; if inferior, the chances are against us--for an
attacking force would probably be of picked men and of the best
materials. But here the consequences of victory are very unequal: the
enemy can lose his squadron only, while we put in peril both our
squadron and the objects it is intended to defend. If we suppose our own
naval force superior to that of the enemy, the defence of this harbor
would in all respects be complete, provided this force never left the
harbor. But, then, all the commerce of the country upon the ocean must
be left to its fate; and no attempt can be made to react offensively
upon the foe, unless we can control the chances of finding the enemy's
fleets within his ports, and the still more uncertain chance of keeping
him there; the escape of a single vessel being sufficient to cause the
loss of our harbor.

These remarks are based upon the supposition that we have but the single
harbor of New York; whereas Portland, Portsmouth, Boston, Newport, the
Delaware, the Chesapeake, Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola, Mobile, New
Orleans, and numerous other places, are equally open to attack, and
therefore must be equally defended, for we know not to which the enemy
will direct his assaults. If he come to one of these in the absence of
our fleet, his object is attained without resistance; or, if his whole
force be concentrated upon one but feebly defended, we involve both
fleet and harbor in inevitable ruin. Could our fleet be so arranged as
to meet these enterprises?

"As it cannot be denied that the enemy can select the point of attack
out of the whole extent of coast, where is the prescience that can
indicate the spot? And if it cannot be foretold, how is that ubiquity to
be imparted that shall always place our fleet in the path of the
advancing foe? Suppose we attempt to cover the coast by cruising in
front of it, shall we sweep its whole length--a distance scarcely less
than that which the enemy must traverse in passing from his coast to
ours? Must the Gulf of Mexico be swept, as well as the Atlantic; or
shall we give up the Gulf to the enemy? Shall we cover the southern
cities, or give them up also? We must unquestionably do one of two
things--either relinquish a great extent of coast, confining our
cruisers to a small portion only, or include so much that the chances
of intercepting an enemy would seem to be out of the question."

"On the practicability of covering a small extent of coast by cruising
in front of it--or, in other words, the possibility of anticipating an
enemy's operations, discovering the object of movements of which we get
no glimpse and hear no tidings, and seeing the impress of his footsteps
on the surface of the ocean--it may be well to consult experience."

The naval power of Spain under Philip II. was almost unlimited. With the
treasures of India and America at his command, the fitting out of a
fleet of one hundred and fifty or two hundred sail, to invade another
country, was no very gigantic operation. Nevertheless, this naval force
was of but little avail as a coast defence. Its efficiency for this
purpose was well tested in 1596. England and Holland attacked Cadiz with
a combined fleet of one hundred and seventy ships, which entered the Bay
of Cadiz without, on its approach to their coast, being once seen by the
Spanish navy. This same squadron, on its return to England, passed along
a great portion of the Spanish coast without ever meeting with the
slightest opposition from the innumerable Spanish floating defences.

In 1744, a French fleet of twenty ships, and a land force of twenty-two
thousand men, sailed from Brest to the English coast, without meeting
with any opposition from the superior British fleet which had been sent
out, under Sir John Norris, on purpose to intercept them. The landing of
the troops was prevented by a storm, which drove the fleet back upon the
coast of France to seek shelter.

In 1755, a French fleet of twenty-five sail of the line, and many
smaller vessels, sailed from Brest for America. Nine of these soon
afterwards returned to France, and the others proceeded to the gulf of
St. Lawrence. An English fleet of seventeen sail of the line and some
frigates had been sent out to intercept them; but the two fleets passed
each other in a thick fog, and all the French vessels except two reached
Quebec in safety.

In 1759, a French fleet, blockaded in the port of Dunkirk by a British
force under Commodore Bogs, seizing upon a favorable opportunity,
escaped from the enemy, attacked the coast of Scotland, made a descent
upon Carrickfergus, and cruised about till February, 1760, without
meeting a single British vessel, although sixty-one ships of the line
were then stationed upon the coasts of England and France, and several
of these were actually in pursuit.

In 1796, when the French attempted to throw the army of Hoche into
Ireland, the most strenuous efforts were made by the British navy to
intercept the French fleet in its passage. The Channel fleet, of near
thirty sail of the line, under Lord Bridport, was stationed at Spithead;
Sir Roger Curtis, with a smaller force, was cruising to the westward;
Vice-admiral Colpoys was stationed off Brest, with thirteen sail of the
line; and Sir Edward Pellew (afterwards Lord Exmouth) watched the
harbor, with a small squadron of frigates. Notwithstanding this triple
floating bulwark, as it was called--one fleet on the enemy's coast, a
second in the Downs, and a third close on their own shores--the French
fleet of forty-four vessels, carrying a land force of twenty-five
thousand men, reached Bantry Bay in safety! This fleet was eight days on
the passage, and three more in landing the troops; and most of the
vessels might have returned to Brest in safety, had it not been for
disasters by storms, for only _one_ of their whole number was
intercepted by the vast naval force which England had assembled for that
express object. "The result of this expedition," says Alison, "was
pregnant with important instructions to the rulers of both countries.
To the French, as demonstrating the extraordinary risks which attend a
maritime expedition, in comparison with a land campaign; the small
number of forces which can be embarked on board even a great fleet; and
the unforeseen disasters which frequently, on that element, defeat the
best concerted enterprises. To the English, as showing that _the empire
of the seas does not always afford security against invasion;_ that, in
the face of superior maritime forces, her possessions were for sixteen
days at the mercy of the enemy; and that neither the skill of her
sailors nor the valor of her armies, but the fury of the elements, saved
them from danger in the most vulnerable part of their dominions. While
these considerations are fitted to abate the confidence in invasion,
they are calculated, at the same time, to weaken an overweening
confidence in naval superiority, and to demonstrate that _the only base
upon which certain reliance can be placed_, even by an insular power,
_is a well-disciplined army and the patriotism of its own subjects_."

Subsequent events still further demonstrated the truth of these remarks.
In the following year, a French squadron of two frigates and two sloops,
passed the British fleets with perfect impunity, destroyed the shipping
in the port of Ilfracombe, and safely landed their troops on the coast
of Wales. Again, in 1798, the immense British naval force failed to
prevent the landing of General Humbert's army in the bay of Killala;
and, in the latter part of the same year, a French squadron of nine
vessels and three thousand men escaped Sir J.B. Warren's squadron, and
safely reached the coast of Ireland. As a further illustration, we quote
from the report of the Board of National Defence in 1839.

The Toulon fleet, in 1798, consisting of about twenty sail of the line
and twenty smaller vessels of war, and numerous transports, making in
all, three hundred sail and forty thousand troops, slipped out of port
and sailed to Malta. "It was followed by Nelson, who, thinking correctly
that they were bound for Egypt, shaped his course direct for Alexandria.
The French, steering towards Candia, took the more circuitous passage;
so that Nelson arrived at Alexandria before them, and, not finding them
there, returned, by way of Caramania and Candia, to Sicily, missing his
adversary in both passages. Sailing again for Alexandria, he found the
French fleet at anchor in Aboukir bay, and, attacking them there,
achieved the memorable victory of the Nile. When we consider the
narrowness of the sea; the numerous vessels in the French fleet; the
actual crossing of the two fleets on a certain night; and that Nelson,
notwithstanding, could see nothing of the enemy himself, and hear
nothing of them from merchant vessels, we may judge of the probability
of waylaying our adversary on the broad Atlantic."

"The escape of another Toulon fleet in 1805; the long search for them in
the Mediterranean by the same able officer; the pursuit in the West
Indies; their evasion of him among the islands; the return to Europe;
his vain efforts subsequently, along the coast of Portugal, in the bay
of Biscay, and off the English channel; and the meeting at last at
Trafalgar, brought about only because the combined fleets, trusting to
the superiority that the accession of several reinforcements had given,
were willing to try the issue of a battle--these are instances, of the
many that might be cited, to show how small is the probability of
encountering upon the ocean an enemy who desires to avoid a meeting, and
how little the most untiring zeal, the most restless activity, the most
exalted professional skill and judgment, can do to lessen the adverse
chances. For more than a year Nelson most closely watched his enemy, who
seems to have got out of port as soon as he was prepared to do so, and
without attracting the notice of any of the blockading squadron. When
out, Nelson, perfectly in the dark as to the course Villeneuve had
taken, sought for him in vain on the coast of Egypt. Scattered by
tempests, the French fleet again took refuge in Toulon; whence it again
put to sea, when refitted and ready, joining the Spanish fleet at Cadiz."

"On the courage, skill, vigilance, and judgment, acceded on all hands to
belong in a pre-eminent degree to the naval profession in this country,
this system of defence relies to accomplish, against a string of
chances, objects of importance so great that not a doubt or misgiving as
to the result is admissible. It demands of the navy to do perfectly, and
without fail, that which, to do at all, seems impossible. The navy is
required to know the secret purposes of the enemy, in spite of distance,
and the broken intercourse of a state of war, even before these purposes
are known to the leader who is to execute them; nay, more, before the
purpose itself is formed. On an element where man is but the sport of
storms, the navy is required to lie in wait for the foe at the exact
spot and moment, in spite of weather and seasons; to see him in spite of
fogs and darkness."

"Finally, after all the devices and reliances of the system are
satisfactorily accomplished, and all the difficulties subdued, it
submits to the issue of a single battle, on equal terms, the fate of the
war, having no hope or reserve beyond."

"The proper duty of our navy is, not coast or river defence; it has a
more glorious sphere--that of the _offensive_. In our last war, instead
of lying in harbor, and contenting themselves with keeping a few more of
the enemy's vessels in watch over them than their own number--instead of
leaving the enemy's commerce in undisturbed enjoyment of the sea, and
our commerce without countenance or aid, they scattered themselves over
the wide surface of the ocean, penetrated to the most remote seas,
everywhere acting with the most brilliant success against the enemy's
navigation. And we believe, moreover, that in the amount of the enemy's
property thus destroyed, of American property protected or recovered,
and in the number of hostile ships kept in pursuit of our scattered
vessels, ships evaded if superior, and beaten if equal--they rendered
benefits a thousand-fold greater, to say nothing of the glory they
acquired for the nation, and the character they imparted to it, than any
that would have resulted from a state of passiveness within the harbors.
Confident that this is the true policy as regards the employment of the
navy proper, we doubt not that it will in the future be acted on, as it
has been in the past; and that the results, as regards both honor and
advantage, will be expanded commensurately with its own enlargement. In
order, however, that the navy may always assume and maintain that active
and energetic deportment, in offensive operations, which is at the same
time so consistent with its functions, and so consonant with its spirit,
we have shown that it must not be occupied with mere coast defence."

A few remarks on the relative cost of ships and forts, and the economy
of their support, and we will close this discussion. We do not regard
this question, however, as a matter of any great importance, for it can
seldom be decisive in the choice of these two means of defence. No
matter what their relative cost may be, the one cannot often be
substituted for the other. There are some few cases, however, where this
might be taken into consideration, and would be decisive. Let us
endeavor to illustrate our meaning. For the defence of New York city,
the Narrows and East River must be secured by forts; ships cannot, in
this case, be substituted. But let us suppose that the _outer_ harbor of
New York furnishes no favorable place for the debarkation of troops, or
that the place of debarkation is so far distant that the troops cannot
reach the city before the defensive forces can be prepared to repel
them. This outer harbor would be of great importance to the enemy as a
shelter from storms, and as a place of debarkation or of rendezvous
preparatory to a forcible passage of the Narrows; while to us its
possession would not be absolutely essential, though very important.
Strong fortifications on Sandy Hook, and one of the shoals, might
probably be so constructed as to furnish a pretty sure barrier to the
entrance of this outer harbor; on the other hand, a naval force
stationed within the inner harbor, and acting under the protection of
forts at the Narrows, might also furnish a good, though perhaps less
certain protection for this outer roadstead. Here, then, we might well
consider the question of relative cost and economy of support of the
proposed fortifications, and of a home squadron large enough to effect
the same object, and to be kept continually _at home_ for that special
purpose. If we were to allow it to go to sea for the protection of our
commerce, its character and efficiency as a _harbor_ defence would be
lost. We can therefore regard it only as a local force--fixed within the
limits of the defence of this particular place--and our estimates must
be made accordingly.

The average durability of ships of war in the British navy, has been
variously stated at seven and eight years in time of war, and from ten
to twelve and fourteen years in time of peace. Mr. Perring, in his
"Brief Inquiry," published in 1812, estimates the average durability at
about eight years. His calculations seem based upon authentic
information. A distinguished English writer has more recently arrived at
the same result, from estimates based upon the returns of the Board of
Admiralty during the period of the wars of the French Revolution. The
data in our own possession are less complete; the appropriations for
_building_ and _repairing_ having been so expended as to render it
impossible to draw any accurate line of distinction. But, in the returns
now before us, there are generally separate and distinct amounts of the
_timbers_ used for these two purposes; and consequently, so far as this
(the main item of expense) is concerned, we may form pretty accurate

According to Edge, (pp. 20, 21,) the average cost of timber, for hulls,
masts, and yards, in _building_ an English 74 gun ship, is £61,382. Let
us now compare this cost of timber for _building_, with that of the same
item for _repairs_, for the following fifteen ships, between 1800 and
1820. The list would have been still further enlarged, but the returns
for other ships during some portion of the above period are imperfect:

       Name of Ship.    |No. of| When | Repaired from |  Cost.
                        |Guns. |built.|               |
   Vengeance,...........|  74  |  --  |  1800 to 1807 | £84,720
   Ildefonso,...........|  74  |  --  |  1807 to 1808 |  85,195
   Scipio,..............|  74  |  --  |  1807 to 1809 |  60,785
   Tremendous,..........|  74  |  --  |  1807 to 1810 | 135,397
   Elephant,............|  74  |  --  |  1808 to 1811 |  67,007
   Spencer,.............|  74  | 1800 |  1809 to 1813 | 124,186
   Romulus,.............|  74  |  --  |  1810 to 1812 |  73,141
   Albion,..............|  74  | 1802 |  1810 to 1813 | 102,295
   Donegal,.............|  74  |  --  |  1812 to 1815 | 101,367
   Implacable,..........|  74  |  --  |  1813 to 1815 |  59,865
   Illustrious,.........|  74  | 1803 |  1813 to 1816 |  74,184
   Northumberland,......|  74  |  --  |  1814 to 1815 |  59,795
   Kent,................|  74  |  --  |  1814 to 1818 |  88,357
   Sultan,..............|  74  | 1807 |  1816 to 1818 |  61,518
   Sterling Castle,.....|  74  |  --  |  1816 to 1818 |  65,280

This table, although incomplete, gives for the above fifteen ships,
during a period of less than twenty years, the cost of _timber alone_
used in their repair, an average of about $400,000 each. More timber
than this was used, in all probability, upon the same vessels, and paid
for out of the funds appropriated "for such as may be ordered in course
of the year to be repaired." But the amount specifically appropriated
for timber for these fifteen ships, would, in every twelve or fifteen
years, equal the entire _first cost_ of the same items. If we add to
this amount, the cost of labor required in the application of timber to
the operations of repair, and take into consideration the expense of
other materials and labor, and the decayed condition of many of the
ships at the end of this period, we should not be surprised to find the
whole sum _expended_ under these heads to equal the first cost, even
within the minimum estimate of seven years. The whole cost of timber
used for hulls, masts, and yards, in building between 1800 and 1820, was
£18,727,551; in repairs and "ordinary wear and tear," £17,449,780;
making an annual average of $4,560,158 for building timber, and
$4,273,371 for that used in repairs. A large portion of the vessels
_built_ were intended to replace others which had been lost, or were so
decayed as to be broken up.

But it may be well to add here, the actual supplies voted for the
sea-service, and for wear and tear, and the extraordinary expenses in
building and repairing of ships from 1800 to 1815.

        |        | For the wear|Ext. Expenses| For entire   |
        |  Year  | and tear of |for building,| sea-service. |
        |        |    Ships.   |repairing,&c.|              |
        |  1800  | £4,350,000  |   £772,140  | £13,619,079  |
        |  1801  |  5,850,000  |    933,900  |  16,577,037  |
        |  1802  |  3,684,000  |    773,500  |  11,833,571  |
        |  1803  |  3,120,000  |    901,140  |  10,211,378  |
        |  1804  |  3,900,000  |    948,520  |  12,350,606  |
        |  1805  |  4,680,000  |  1,553,690  |  15,035,630  |
        |  1806  |  4,680,000  |  1,980,830  |  18,864,341  |
        |  1807  |  5,070,000  |  2,134,903  |  17,400,337  |
        |  1808  |  5,070,000  |  2,351,188  |  18,087,544  |
        |  1809  |  3,295,500  |  2,296,030  |  19,578,467  |
        |  1810  |  3,295,500  |  1,841,107  |  18,975,120  |
        |  1811  |  3,675,750  |  2,046,200  |  19,822,000  |
        |  1812  |  3,675,750  |  1,696,621  |  19,305,759  |
        |  1813  |  3,549,000  |  2,822,031  |  20,096,709  |
        |  1814  |  3,268,000  |  2,086,274  |  19,312,070  |
        |  1815  |  2,386,500  |  2,116,710  |  19,032,700  |

It appears from this table that the appropriations for the service,
during the first fifteen years of the present century, amounted to a
little less than _ninety millions_ of dollars per annum; and for the
wear and tear of ships, and "the extraordinary expenses in building and
repairing ships, &c.," the annual appropriations amounted to near
_thirty millions_.

Our own naval returns are also so imperfect that it is impossible to
form any very accurate estimate of the relative cost of construction and
repairs of our men-of-war. The following table, compiled from a report
of the Secretary of the Navy, in 1841, (Senate Doc. No. 223, 26th
Congress,) will afford data for an approximate calculation:--

   Name of       No.   Total Cost     When       Cost of    Repaired
   Ship.         of    of building,   completed. Repairs,   between.
                 Guns. exclusive of              exclusive
                       armament,                 of
                       stores,                   ordnance,
                       &c. &c.                   &c. &c.
   Delaware,     74     $543,368 00   1820     $354,132 56  1827 and 1838
   N. Carolina,  74      431,852 00   1825      317,628 92  1824 and 1836
   Constitution, 44      302,718 84   1797      266,878 34  1833 and 1839
   United States 44      299,336 56   1797      571,972 77  1821 and 1841
   Brandywine,   44  [23]299,218 12   1825  [23]377,665 95  1826 and 1838
   Potomac,      44  [23]231,013 02   1822  [23] 82,597 03  1829 and 1835
   Concord,      20      115,325 80   1828       72,796 22  1832 and 1840
   Falmouth,     20       94,093 27   1827      130,015 43  1828 and 1837
   John Adams,   20      110,670 69   1829      119,641 93  1834 and 1837
   Boston,       20       91,973 19   1825      189,264 37  1826 and 1840
   St. Louis,    20      102,461 95   1828      135,458 75  1834 and 1839
   Vincennes,    20      111,512 79   1826      178,094 81  1830 and 1838
   Vandalia,     20       90,977 88   1828       59,181 34  1832 and 1834
   Lexington,    20?     114,622 35   1826       83,386 52  1827 and 1837
   Warren,       20?      99,410 01   1826      152,596 03  1830 and 1838
   Fairfield,    20      100,490 35   1826       65,918 26  1831 and 1837
   Natches,[24]  20?     106,232 19   1827      129,969 80  1829 and 1836
   Boxer,        10       30,697 88   1831       28,780 48  1834 and 1840
   Enterprise,   10       27,938 63   1831       20,716 59  1834 and 1840
   Grampus,      10       23,627 42   1821       96,086 36  1825 and 1840
   Dolphin,      10       38,522 62   1836       15,013 35  1839 and 1840
   Shark,        10       23,627 42   1821       93,395 84  1824 and 1839

[Footnote 23: Returns incomplete.]

[Footnote 24: Broken up in 1840.]

It appears from the above table, that the cost of constructing ships of
the line is about $6,600 per gun; of frigates, $6,500 per gun; of
smaller vessels of war, a little less than $5,000 per gun: making an
average cost of vessels of war to be _more than six thousand dollars per
gun._ And the expense of repairs for these vessels is _more than seven
per cent. per annum_ on their first cost.

We have as yet had but little experience in the use of war-steamers. The
Fulton, four guns, built in 1838-'39, cost three hundred and
thirty-three thousand seven hundred and seventy dollars and
seventy-seven cents; the Mississippi and Missouri, ten guns each, built
in 1841, cost about six hundred thousand dollars a piece; making an
average cost for war-steamers of _over sixty thousand dollars per gun._
The cost of repairs of steam ships will be much greater than those for
vessels of war; but we have not yet had sufficient experience to
determine the exact amount. It has been estimated, however, by competent
judges, that when kept, the expense of repairs will at least equal
twelve per cent. of the first cost. The expense of keeping them in
commission is enormously great. "Their engines," says the Secretary of
the Navy, in his annual report in 1842, "consume so much fuel as to add
enormously to their expenses; and the necessity that they should return
to port, after short intervals of time, for fresh supplies, renders it
impossible to send them on any distant service. They cannot be relied on
as cruisers, and are altogether too expensive for service in time of
peace. I have therefore determined to take them out of commission, and
substitute for them other and less expensive vessels."

The average cost of permanent fortifications is but _little more than
three thousand dollars per gun_. And it must be obvious, from the nature
of the materials of which they are constructed, that the expense of
their support must be inconsiderable. It is true that for some years
past a large item of annual expenditure for fortifications has been
under the head of "repairs;" but much of this sum is for alterations and
enlargements of temporary and inefficient works, erected anterior to the
war of 1812. Some of it, however, has been for actual repairs of decayed
or injured portions of the forts; these injuries resulting from the
nature of the climate, the foundations, the use of poor materials and
poor workmanship, and from neglect and abandonment. But if we include
the risk of abandonment at times, it is estimated, upon data drawn from
past experience, that _one-third of one per cent. per annum_, of the
first cost, will keep in perfect repair any of our forts that have been
constructed since the last war.

But it is unnecessary to further discuss this question We repeat what
has already been said, no matter what may be the relative cost of ships
and forts, the one, as a general thing, cannot be substituted for the
other. Each has its own sphere of action, and each will contribute, in
its own way, to the national defence; and any undue increase of one, at
the expense of the other, will be attended by a corresponding diminution
of national power.[25]

[Footnote 25: For further information concerning our system of sea-coast
defences, the reader is referred to House Doc. 206, twenty-sixth
Congress, second session; Senate Doc. 85, twenty-eighth Congress, second
session; and to the annual reports of the Chief Engineer.]



In discussing engineering as a branch of the military art, we spoke of
the use of fortifications on land frontiers, and their influence on the
strategic operations of a campaign. A brief notice was also given of the
different systems that have been proposed for arranging these defensive
works. Let us now apply this discussion to our northern frontier.

The principle laid down by Napoleon and Jomini, "that fortifications
should always be constructed on important strategic points," is
undoubtedly the correct one: but how to determine these points is a
question that will often perplex the patience and try the skill of the
engineer; yet determine them he must, or his fortifications will be
worse than useless; for a fort improperly located, like a cannon with
its fire reversed on its own artillerists, will be sure to effect the
destruction of the very forces it was designed to protect.

The selection of positions for fortifications on our northern frontier
must have reference to three distinct classes of objects, viz.: the
security, _first_, of the large frontier towns, where much public and
private property is exposed to sudden dashing expeditions of the foe,
made either on land or by water; _second_, of lake harbors, important as
places of refuge and security to our own ships, or to the enemy's fleets
while engaged in landing troops or furnishing supplies to an invading
army; _third_, of all strategic points on the probable lines of
offensive or defensive operations. These objects are distinct in their
nature, and would seem to require separate and distinct means for their
accomplishment; nevertheless, it will generally be found that positions
selected with reference to one of these objects equally fulfil the
others, so intimately are they all connected. To determine the strategic
points of a probable line of military operations is therefore the main
thing to be attended to in locating fortifications. That such points of
maximum importance are actually marked out by the peaceful or hostile
intercourse of nations cannot be doubted.

The _relative_ importance of cities and towns is less varied by the
fluctuations of commerce on a land frontier than on the sea-coast. The
ever-changing system of "internal improvements," by furnishing new
highways and thoroughfares for the transportation of the products of
manufacturers and agriculture, either continually varies the relative
standing of the seaports already opened, or opens new ones for the
exportation of these products, and the importation of foreign articles
received in exchange. But these "internal improvements" are seldom
carried so far as to connect together two separate and distinct
countries, and consequently the principal places on the dividing line
usually retain their relative importance, no matter how often they may
have declined during times of hostility, or again flourished with the
increased commercial intercourse which results from peace. The principal
European places of traffic near the frontiers have remained the same for
ages, and in all probability ages hence the great frontier marts will be
nearly the same as at present. This stability of rank among border towns
is not confined to commercial influence; the same holds true with
respect to that established by intercourse of a hostile character.
Military history teaches us that lines of hostile operations, and the
fields upon which the principal battles between any two countries have
been fought, are nearly the same, no matter how remote the periods of
comparison. These points and lines, so important in commerce as well as
in war, result from the natural features of the ground, and we ought
therefore to expect that they would be as little liable to sudden
changes as the character of the earth itself.

From these remarks it will readily be perceived that there are three
distinct methods of determining the strategic points between this
country and Canada: 1st, by an examination of the topography of the two
countries; 2d, by tracing out the main channels of commercial
intercourse; 3d, by reviewing the lines of their military operations.
The last method is the least liable to error, and perhaps is the most
easily understood, inasmuch as it is sometimes difficult to point out
the precise degree of connection between prospective military lines and
the channels of commerce, or to show why these two have a fixed relation
to the physical features of the country. In the present instance,
moreover, this method furnishes ample data for the formation of our
decision, inasmuch as the campaigns between this country and Canada have
been neither few in number nor unimportant in their character and

In tracing out the main features of the early wars upon our northern
frontier, it must be borne in mind that nearly the same portion of
country which is now possessed by the English, was then occupied by the
French, and that the English possessions in North America included the
present Middle and Northern States. At the period of the American
revolution the French and English had completely changed ground, the
armies of the former operating in the "States," while the English were
in possession of Canada.

The first expedition to be noticed against that portion of the country,
was conducted by Samuel Argall, who sailed from Virginia in 1613, with a
fleet of eleven vessels, attacked the French on the Penobscot, and
afterwards the St. Croix.

In 1654, Sedgwick, at the head of a small New England army, attacked the
French on the Penobscot, and overrun all Arcadia.

In 1666, during the contest between Charles II. and Louis XIV., it was
proposed to march the New England troops across the country by the
Kennebec or Penobscot, and attack Quebec; but the terrors and
difficulties of crossing "over rocky mountains and howling deserts" were
such as to deter them from undertaking the campaign.

In 1689, Count Frontenac, governor of Canada, made a descent into New
York to assist the French fleet in reducing that province. His line of
march was by the river Sorrel and Lake Champlain. An attack upon
Montreal by the Iroquois soon forced him to return; but in the following
January a party of French and Indians left Montreal in the depth of a
Canadian winter, and after wading for two and twenty days, with
provisions on their backs, through snows and swamps and across a wide
wilderness, reached the unguarded village of Schenectady. Here a
midnight war-whoop was raised, and the inhabitants either massacred or
driven half-clad through the snow to seek protection in the neighboring

In 1690, a congress of the colonies, called to provide means for the
general defence, assembled at New York, and resolved to carry war into
Canada: an army was to attack Montreal by way of Lake Champlain, and a
fleet to attempt Quebec by the St. Lawrence. The former advanced as far
as the lake, when the quarrels of the commanding officers defeated the
objects of the expedition. The Massachusetts fleet of thirty-four
vessels, (the largest carrying forty-four guns each,) and two thousand
men, failed to reduce Quebec, though the defences of that place were
then of the slightest character, and armed with only twenty-three guns.

In 1704, and again in 1707, Port Royal was attacked by costly
expeditions fitted out by the eastern colonies; and again, in 1709, a
land force of fifteen hundred men advanced against Montreal by Lake
Champlain; but nothing of importance was effected by either expedition.

In 1711, Lord Bolingbroke planned the conquest of Canada. The land
forces, numbering five thousand men in all, were separated into two
distinct armies, the one sent against Detroit, and the other against
Montreal by Lake Champlain; while a fleet of fifteen ships of war, forty
transports, and six store-ships, carrying a land force of six thousand
five hundred men, was to attack Quebec. The maritime expedition failed
to reach its destination, and after losing a part of the fleet and more
than a thousand men in the St. Lawrence, this part of the project was
abandoned. Nor was any thing important accomplished by either division
of the land forces.

The same plan of campaign was followed in 1712. An army of four thousand
men marched against Montreal by Lake Champlain, but on hearing of the
failure of the naval expedition and of the concentration of the French
forces on the river Sorel, they retired towards Albany.

The next expedition of any importance was the naval one of 1745 against
Louisburg. For the attack of this place the colonies raised about four
thousand men, and one hundred small vessels and transports, carrying
between one hundred and sixty and two hundred guns. They were afterwards
joined by ten other vessels carrying near five hundred guns. This
attacking force now, according to some of the English writers, consisted
of six thousand provincials, and eight hundred seamen, and a combined
naval force of near seven hundred guns. The troops landed, and laid
siege to the town. The garrison of the fortifications of Louisburg
consisted of six hundred regulars and one thousand Breton militia, or,
according to some writers, of only twelve hundred men in all. The
armament of these works was one hundred and one cannon, seventy-six
swivels, and six mortars. Auxiliary to the main works were an
island-battery of thirty twenty-two-pounders, and a battery on the main
land armed with thirty large cannon. Frequent attempts were made to
storm the place, but the most persevering efforts were of no avail, many
of the New Englanders being killed and wounded, and their boats
destroyed, while the garrison remained unharmed. At length, after a
siege of forty-nine days, want of provisions and the general
dissatisfaction of the inhabitants, caused the garrison to surrender.
When the New Englanders saw the strength of the works, and the slight
impression which their efforts had produced, they were not only elated
but greatly astonished at their success. It should be noticed, that in
the above attack the number of guns in the fleet was almost _three_
times as great as that of all the forts combined; and yet the _naval_
part of the attack was unsuccessful. The besieging army was more than
_four_ times as great as all the garrisons combined; and yet the place
held out forty-nine days, and at last was surrendered through the want
of provisions and the disaffection of the citizens. This place was soon
afterwards restored to the French.

We see that, thus far in these wars, the English were vastly superior in
strength and numbers, yet the result of the several campaigns was
decidedly in favor of the French, who not only retained their
possessions in the North, but extended their jurisdiction to the mouth
of the Mississippi, and laid claim to the whole country west of the
Alleghany mountains. This success must be attributed, not to any
superiority of the Canadians in bravery, but to the higher military
character of their governors, _and more especially to their
fortifications_, which were constructed in situations most judiciously
selected, to influence the Indians and facilitate incursions into the
English colonies. The French pursued interior and central lines, while
the English followed exterior and divergent lines. The disparity of
numbers was always very great. At the beginning of the eighteenth
century, the whole population of the colonies amounted to upwards of one
million of souls, while that of both Canada and Louisiana did not exceed
fifty-two thousand. But the French possessions, though situated at the
extremities of a continent and separated by an almost boundless
wilderness, were nevertheless connected by a line of military posts,
strong enough to resist the small arms that could then be brought
against them. This fort-building propensity of the French became a
matter of serious alarm to the colonies, and in 1710 the legislature of
New York especially protested against it in an address to the crown.
While the military art was stationary in England, France had produced
her four great engineers--Errard, Pagan, Vauban, and Cormontaigne; and
nowhere has the influence of their system of military defence been more
strikingly exhibited than in the security it afforded to the Canadian
colony, when assailed by such vastly superior British forces. Still
further accessions were now made to these English forces by large
reinforcements from the mother country, while the Canadians received
little or no assistance from France; nevertheless they prolonged the war
till 1760, forcing the English to adopt at last the slow and expensive
process of reducing all their fortifications. This will be shown in the
following outline of the several campaigns.

Very early in 1755, a considerable body of men was sent from Great
Britain to reinforce their troops in this country. These troops were
again separated into four distinct armies. The _first_, consisting of
near two thousand men, marched to the attack of Fort Du Quesne, but was
met and totally defeated by one-half that number of French and Indians.
The _second_ division, of fifteen hundred, proceeded to attack Fort
Niagara by way of Oswego, but returned without success. The _third_, of
three thousand seven hundred men, met and defeated Dieskau's army of
twelve hundred regulars and six hundred Canadians and Indians, in the
open field, but did not attempt to drive him from his works at
Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The _fourth_, consisting of three thousand
three hundred men and forty-one vessels, laid waste a portion of Nova
Scotia; thus ending the campaign without a single important result. It
was commenced under favorable auspices, with ample preparations, and a
vast superiority of force; _but this superiority was again more than
counterbalanced by the faulty plans of the English, and by the
fortifications which the French had erected, in such positions as to
give them a decided advantage in their military operations._ Washington
early recommended the same system of defence for the English on the
Ohio; and, after Braddock's defeat, advised "the erection of small
fortresses at convenient places to deposit provisions in, by which means
the country will be eased of an immense expense in the carriage, and it
will also be a means of securing a retreat if we should be put to the
rout again."

But this advice of Washington was unheeded, and the campaign of 1756 was
based upon the same erroneous principles as the preceding one. The
_first_ division, of three thousand men, was to operate against Fort Du
Quesne; the _second_, of six thousand men, against Niagara; the _third_,
of ten thousand men, against Crown Point; and a _fourth_, of two
thousand men, was to ascend the Kennebec river, destroy the settlements
on the Chaudiere, and, by alarming the country about Quebec, produce a
diversion in favor of the third division, which was regarded as the main
army, and was directed along the principal line of operations. The
entire French forces at this time consisted of only three thousand
regulars and a body of Canadian militia. Nevertheless, the English, with
forces nearly _six times_ as numerous, closed the campaign without
gaining a single advantage.

We here see that the French, with very inferior forces, still continued
successful in every campaign, uniformly gaining advantage over their
enemy, and gaining ground upon his colonies. By the possession of Forts
William Henry, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point, they completely commanded
Lake George and Lake Champlain, which afforded the shortest and easiest
line of communication between the British colonies and Canada. By means
of their forts at Montreal, Frontenac, Detroit, &c., they had entire
dominion of the lakes connecting the St. Lawrence with the Mississippi,
and Canada with Louisiana; moreover, by means of Fort Du Quesne and a
line of auxiliary works, their ascendency over the Indians on the Ohio
was well secured. But experience had at length taught the English
wherein lay the great strength of their opponents, and a powerful effort
was now to be made to displace the French from their fortresses, or at
least to counterbalance these works by a vast and overwhelming
superiority of troops.

In 1757, a British fleet of fifteen ships of the line, eighteen
frigates, and many smaller vessels, and a land force of twelve thousand
effective men, were sent to attempt the reduction of the fortifications
of Louisburg; but they failed to effect their object.

In 1758 the forces sent against this place consisted of twenty ships of
the line and eighteen frigates, with an army of fourteen thousand men.
The harbor was defended by only five ships of the line, one fifty-gun
ship, and five frigates, three of which were sunk across the mouth of
the basin. The fortifications of the town had been much neglected, and
in general had fallen into ruins. The garrison consisted of only two
thousand five hundred regulars, and six hundred militia. Notwithstanding
that the number of guns of the British fleet exceeded both the armaments
of the French ships and of all the forts, these British ships did not
risk an attack, but merely acted as transports and as a blockading
squadron. Even the French naval defence, and the outer works commanding
the harbor, were reduced by the temporary land-batteries which Wolfe
erected; and the main work, although besieged by an inequality of forces
of nearly _five_ to _one_, held out for two months, and even then
surrendered through the fears and petitions of the non-combatant
inhabitants, and not because it had received any material injury from
the besiegers. The defence, however, had been continued long enough to
prevent, for that campaign, any further operations against Canada. The
whole number of the English land forces in this campaign was computed at
fifty thousand men, of which more than forty thousand were in the field.
The _first_ division, of nine thousand men, was directed against Fort Du
Quesne, whose garrison did not exceed as many hundred. The _second_
division, of sixteen thousand effective troops, proceeded against
Ticonderoga and Crown Point; while a detachment of three thousand men
captured Fort Frontenac, then garrisoned by only one hundred and ten
men. The whole force of the French amounted to only five thousand; the
English attempted to drive them from their works by storm, but were
repulsed with a loss of near two thousand men, while their opponents
were scarcely injured. The _third_ division acted, as has just been
stated, in concert with the naval force against Louisburg.

In 1759, the _western_ division of the English army, consisting of a
strong body of Indians, and five thousand troops, wasted the whole
season in reducing Fort Niagara, which was garrisoned by only six
hundred men. The _central_ column of thirteen thousand men was
sufficiently successful to enable it to winter at Crown Point. The
_eastern_ division of eight thousand men under Wolfe ascended the St.
Lawrence with a fleet of twenty-two ships, thirteen frigates, and
fourteen sloops, and smaller vessels, carrying one thousand nine hundred
and ninety guns, and five thousand five hundred and ninety seamen. The
naval defence of Quebec consisted of eight frigates, carrying two
hundred and ten guns; the land forces numbered about nine thousand, and
the fortifications were armed with ninety-four guns and five mortars,
only a part of which could be brought to bear upon the anchorage ground.
Several attempts were made by the combined forces to carry these works,
but they proved equally unsuccessful. Although the English fleet carried
_twenty times_ as many guns as the forts, their inability to reduce
these works was acknowledged. The siege had continued for two months,
and still the fortifications were uninjured. General Wolfe himself
distinctly stated, that, in any further attempt to carry the place, the
"guns of the shipping could not be of much use;" and the chief engineer
of the expedition gave it as his opinion, that "the ships would receive
great damage from the shot and bombs of the upper batteries, without
making the least impression upon them." Under these circumstances it was
finally determined to endeavor to decoy Montcalm from his works, and
make him risk a battle in the open field. In an evil hour, the French
consented to forego the advantages of their fortifications, and the
contest was finally decided on the plains of Abraham, with forces nearly
equal in number. Both Wolfe and Montcalm fell in this battle, but the
former on the field of victory; and five days afterwards the inhabitants
of Quebec, weakened and dispirited by their losses, surrendered the
town, although its fortifications were still unharmed.

The French, in this campaign, had relinquished all idea of opposing the
enemy in the open field, and confined their efforts to retard the
advance of the English till France could send troops to their relief;
but no such relief came, and when the campaign of 1760 opened, the
little French army was concentrated at Montreal. As the English
divisions advanced, one by Oswego, one by Lake Champlain, and the third
by Quebec, they afforded to the French a fine opportunity for the
strategic movement from a centre against converging lines; but the
garrison was too weak to hope for success in either direction, and
therefore awaited the enemy within their works. Montreal, being but
slightly fortified, was soon reduced, and with it fell the French
empire erected in this country at infinite labor and expense.

At the first outbreak of the American Revolution, it was so obviously
important to get possession of the military works commanding the line of
Lake Champlain, that expeditions for this purpose were simultaneously
fitted out by Massachusetts and Connecticut. The garrisons of these
works were taken by surprise. This conquest, says Botta, the able and
elegant historian of the Revolution, "was no doubt of high importance,
but it would have had a much greater influence upon the course of the
whole war, if these fortresses, _which are the bulwarks of the
colonies_, had been defended in times following, with the same prudence
and valor with which they had been acquired."

In the campaign of 1775, an army of two thousand seven hundred and
eighty-four effective men, with a reserve of one thousand at Albany,
crossed the lake and approached the fortress of St. John's about the 1st
of September. The work was garrisoned by only about five or six hundred
regulars, and some two hundred militia. This was the only obstacle to
prevent the advance of our army into the very heart of Canada; to leave
it unreduced in rear would cut off all hope of retreat. Allen had
already made the rash and foolish attempt, and his whole army had been
destroyed, and he himself made prisoner. The reduction of this place was
therefore deemed absolutely necessary, but was not effected till the 3d
of November, and after a long and tedious siege. This delay decided the
fate of the campaign; for, although Montreal fell immediately
afterwards, the season was so far advanced that a large portion of our
troops, wearied with their sufferings from cold and want of clothing,
now demanded their discharge. The eastern division, of one thousand men
under Arnold, crossing the country by the Kennebeck and Chaudiere,
through difficulties and suffering almost unparalleled, arrived
opposite Quebec on the 9th of November. The place was at this time
almost without defence, and, had Arnold possessed a suitable pontoon
equipage, it might easily have been taken by surprise. But by the time
that the means for effecting a passage could be prepared, and a junction
could be effected between the two American armies, Quebec was prepared
to sustain their attack. The result of that attack is too well known to
require a repetition here.

Early the next season it was deemed necessary to withdraw the American
army from Canada. This retreat of undisciplined troops, in the presence
of vastly superior numbers of the enemy, would have been extremely
hazardous had it not been effected on a line of forts which were held by
our own troops. As it was we sustained no considerable loss.

Carleton pursued on rapidly, to co-operate with General Howe, who was
now lying at New York with over one hundred ships and about thirty-five
thousand troops; but he received a decided check from the guns of
Ticonderoga, and retired again to Canada.

By the British plan of campaign in 1777, the entire force of their
northern army was to concentrate at Albany. One division of fifteen
hundred men, including Indians, advanced by Oswego, Wood Creek, and the
Mohawk; but Fort Stanwix, with a garrison of only six hundred men,
arrested their progress and forced them to return. Another, leaving New
York, ascended the Hudson as far as Esopus; but its progress was so much
retarded by the small forts and water-batteries along that river, that
it would have been too late to assist Burgoyne, even if it could
possibly have reached Albany. The principal division of the enemy's
army, numbering about nine thousand men, advanced by the Champlain
route. Little or no preparations were made to arrest its progress. The
works of Ticonderoga were so out of repair as to be indefensible on the
flanks. Its garrison consisted of only fifteen hundred continental
troops, and about as many militia, over whom the general had no control.
Their supply of provisions was exhausted, and only one man in ten of the
militia had bayonets to their guns. Under these circumstances it was
deemed best to withdraw the garrison six days after the investment.
Burgoyne now advanced rapidly, but with so little precaution as to leave
his communications in rear entirely unprotected. Being repulsed by the
American forces collected at Saratoga, his line of supplies cut off by
our detached forts, his provisions exhausted, his troops dispirited, and
his Indian allies having deserted him, retreat became impossible, and
his whole army was forced to capitulate. This campaign closed the
military operations on our northern frontier during the war of the

We now come to the war of 1812. In the beginning of this war the number
of British regulars in the Canadas did not exceed three thousand men,
who were scattered along a frontier of more than nine hundred miles in
extent. In the whole of Upper Canada there were but seven hundred and
twenty men, and at Montreal, Three Rivers, and on the whole line of the
Sorel the whole defensive force amounted to only thirteen hundred and
thirty men, and the garrison of Quebec was so small, that no detachment
could be made without great inconvenience and danger. The fortifications
of Isle aux Noix, then emphatically the key of central Canada, was
without a garrison during nearly the whole of the first campaign. Under
these circumstances an American force of fifteen hundred or two thousand
men marching rapidly from Albany, might readily have broken the enemy's
line of defence, and cut off all Upper Canada from supplies and
reinforcements from England by way of Quebec. Let us see what course was

On the 1st of June an army of two thousand men was collected at Dayton,
in Ohio, placed under the command of an imbecile old officer of the
Revolution, and directed by Detroit against the Canadian Peninsula. The
dilatory march, absurd movements, and traitorous surrender of Hull's
army to a British force of three hundred regulars and four hundred
militia, are but too well known. Another American army of about ten
thousand men was afterwards raised in the west; the main division of
this army under Harrison marched by three separate routes to invade
Canada by way of Malden; but they failed to reach their destination, and
wintered behind the river Portage. The Eastern army was collected at
Albany in the early part of the summer and placed under the command of
General Dearborn, another old officer of the Revolution. Instead of
pushing this force rapidly forward upon the strategic line of Lake
Champlain, the general was directed to divide it into three parts, and
to send one division against the Niagara frontier, a _second_ against
Kingston, and a _third_ against Montreal. These orders were dispatched
from Washington the 26th of June, nearly a month after Hull had begun
his march from Dayton. Dearborn's army, on the first of September,
consisted of six thousand five hundred regulars and seven thousand
militia--thirteen thousand five hundred in all: six thousand three
hundred for the Niagara frontier, two thousand two hundred at Sacketts
Harbor, and five thousand for Lake Champlain. Even with this absurd plan
of campaign and faulty division of the forces, we might have succeeded
if the general had acted with energy, so exceedingly weak were the
Canadian means of defence; but instead of taking advantage of his
superiority in numbers and the favorable circumstances of the time, he
entered into an armistice with the British general, and his whole army
of thirteen thousand five hundred men lay inactive till the 13th of
October, when the absurd project of crossing the Niagara at Lewiston
failed, because the New-York militia had _constitutional scruples_
against crossing a river so long as the enemy were on the other side.
The Lake Champlain column, consisting of three thousand regulars and two
thousand militia, a considerable portion of which had been collected as
early as the first of August, had in four months advanced as far as La
Cole river, a distance of about two hundred miles from Albany. The
unimportant action at this place terminated the campaign, and the army
of the North returned to winter-quarters.

All the early part of the campaign of 1813, on the northern frontier,
was spent in a war of detachments, in which our troops captured Fort
George and York, and repelled the predatory excursions of the enemy. In
these operations our troops exhibited much courage and energy, and the
young officers who led them, no little skill and military talent. But
nothing could have been more absurd than for a general, with superior
forces in the vicinity of an enemy, to act only by detachments at a time
when his opponents were daily increasing in number. This useless war of
outposts and detachments was continued till July, when General Dearborn
was recalled, and General Wilkinson, another old officer of the
Revolution, put in his place. It was now determined to make a push for
Montreal, with the combined forces of the Northern army. Wilkinson, with
8,000 men, descended the St. Lawrence, but did not reach Prescott till
the 6th of November, thus affording to the English plenty of leisure to
prepare for his reception. Hampton, another old officer of the
Revolution, ascended Lake Champlain with another column of 4,000 men,
but refused to form any co-operation with Wilkinson, and after the
unimportant combat of Chrystler's Field, the whole army again retired
to winter-quarters.

In the mean time the army of the West, under Harrison, who was assisted
by the military skill and science of McCrea and Wood, and the bravery of
Croghan and Johnson, held in check the British and Indians; and the
battle of the Thames and the victory of Lake Erie formed a brilliant
termination to the campaign in that quarter. Had such victories been
gained on the Montreal or eastern portion of the frontier, they would
have led to the most important results.

The plan of operations for the campaign of 1814 was of the same diverse
and discordant character as before. But the command of the troops had
now fallen into the hands of young and energetic officers, and Brown,
assisted by such men as Wood, McCrea, Scott, Ripley, Miller, soon gained
the victories of Fort Erie, Chippewa, and Lundy's Lane; while McComb and
McDonough drove back the enemy from the line of Lake Champlain. With
these operations terminated the Northern campaign of 1814, the last
which has been conducted on that frontier.

Let us now turn to the system of works projected for the defence of this

The first works are at the Falls of St. Mary, on the western extremity
of the line.

The second works are at Mackinaw.

The third works are at the foot of Lake Huron.

The fourth works are near Detroit.

The fifth works are near Buffalo.

The sixth works are at the mouth of the Niagara river.

The seventh works are at Oswego.

The eighth works are at Sacketts Harbor.

The ninth works are below Ogdensburg.

The tenth works are at Rouse's Point.

The eleventh works are near the head-waters of the Kennebec or the

The twelfth works are at Calais, on the St. Croix.

All these works are small, and simple in their character, well
calculated to assist the operations of armed forces in the field, but
incapable of resisting a protracted siege. They are entirely different
in their character from those on the coast, the latter being intended
principally for the use of our citizen-soldiery, in the defence of our
seaport towns, while the former are intended merely as auxiliaries to
the operations of more disciplined troops.

This system of defence for our Northern frontier has been much commented
on by men professing some knowledge of the military art, and various
opinions have been advanced respecting its merits. Some have thought
that more and larger works should be placed on the western extremity of
this line; others attach by far the greatest importance to the central
or Montreal portion of the frontier; while others, again, attach a
higher value to the eastern extremity of the line.

These last would have us concentrate our main forces on the head-waters
of the Kennebec and the Penobscot, and then advance upon Quebec, a
distance of some 250 miles, along the isolated carriage-road, through
the valley of the Chaudiere. Here is only a single road, but little
travelled, and penetrating a wide and almost uninhabited wilderness.
General Jomini says emphatically, that _a line of operations should
always offer two or three roads for the movement of an army in the
sphere of its enterprises_,--an insuperable objection to the Kennebec
route, except as a diversion to the main attack. But there are still
stronger objections to this route, than its want of feasibility for the
transportation of the main army; for even should that army succeed in
reaching Quebec in safety, the expedition would be entirely without
military results, unless that fortress could be immediately reduced,--a
contingency which would be extremely doubtful under the most favorable
circumstances; and even should we be ever so fortunate in our
operations, the siege of such a place would occupy a considerable length
of time. It would be throwing our forces along the most difficult line
of operations, against the strongest point in the enemy's line of
defence, and making the success of the whole plan depend upon the
contingency of a reduction, in a few days, of one of the strongest
fortresses in the world. What principle in military science would
justify such a plan of campaign? We are fully aware of the great
advantages to be derived from the reduction of Quebec; and we are also
aware of the great difficulties to be encountered in any attempt to
accomplish that object. It may, and probably will ere long, be made to
surrender to our arms; but it would be utter folly to base our military
operations on the contingency of a short and successful siege. By
advancing upon Montreal by the Lake Champlain route, we could cut off
the Canadian forces in the West from all reinforcements; and then, as
circumstances might direct, could besiege Quebec, or attack the enemy in
the field, or perhaps, manoeuvring as the French did at the siege of
Mantua, accomplish both objects at the same time.

We have seen that it was one of Napoleon's maxims that _an army should
choose the shortest and most direct line of operations, which should
either pierce the enemy's line of defence, or cut off his communications
with his base_. It is the opinion of men of the best military talent in
our army that the Lake Champlain line satisfies all these conditions at
the same time;--that it is the most direct, most feasible, and most
decisive line which can be pursued in case of operations against Canada;
and that it is indispensable to success in war that this line be well
fortified in time of peace. All agree that the St. Lawrence above
Quebec constitutes the _key_ point of the enemy's defence, and the
_objective_ point towards which all our operations should be directed.
To reach this point, all our Boards of Engineers have deemed it best to
collect our troops at Albany and advance by Lake Champlain, a distance
of only two hundred miles. Besides the advantages of a good water
communication the whole distance for the transportation of military
stores, there are several roads on each side, all concentrating on this
line within our own territory. It has already been shown by the brief
sketch of our northern wars, that this line has been the field of strife
and blood for _fifteen campaigns_. Nature has marked it out as our
shortest and easiest line of intercourse with Canada, both in peace and
war. Military diversions will always be made on the eastern and western
extremities of this frontier, and important secondary or auxiliary
operations be carried on by the eastern and western routes; but until we
overthrow the whole system of military science as established by the
Romans, revived by Frederick and practised and improved by Napoleon, the
_central and interior line_, under all ordinary circumstances, will
furnish the greatest probabilities of success.

If the line of Lake Champlain is, as we have endeavored to show, the
most important line in the north; its security by fortifications is a
matter of the greatest interest. The works recommended by the Board,
consist of a single fort, costing $600,000, at Rouse's Point, on the
extreme frontier, and unfortified dépôts at Plattsburg and Albany. But
is this sufficient to accomplish the object? If the hostile army should
pass the extreme frontier barrier, what is to retard his advance,--what
defensive works are to protect the débouché of the Northern canal, or
even to save the great central dépôt? We know of no foreign engineer who
has recommended less than _three_ lines of fortifications for the
security of a land frontier; and Napoleon, the Archduke Charles, and
General Jomini, agree in recommending at least this number of lines.
There may be circumstances that render it unnecessary to resort to a
three-fold defence throughout the whole extent of our northern frontier;
but upon our main line of communication with Canada,--a line of maximum
importance both to us and to the enemy, we know of no reason for
violating the positive rules of the art,--rules which have been
established for ages; and sanctioned by the best engineers and greatest
generals of modern times.

Ticonderoga has more than once stayed the waves of northern invasion;
and we know of no change in the art of war, or in the condition of the
country, that renders less important than formerly the advantages of an
intermediate point of support between Albany and the Canadian lines.
Indeed it would seem that the connection of the Hudson with the lake by
the northern canal had even increased the value of such a point.

It would seem, moreover, that the great value of a central dépôt near
Albany would warrant a resort to the best means of security which can be
afforded by defensive works. Here we already have one of our largest
arsenals of construction; here are to be located magazines for the
collection and deposit, in time of peace, of gunpowder; here, in time of
war, is to be formed the grand military dépôt for our whole northern
armies; and here is the point of junction of the lines of communication
of our northern and eastern states, and the great central rallying point
where troops are to be collected for the defence of our northern
frontier, or for offensive operations against Canada. Such a place
should never be exposed to the _coup-de-main_ of an enemy. The chance
operations of a defensive army are never sufficient for the security of
so important a position. We do not here pretend to say what its defences
should be. Perhaps strong _têtes-de-pont_ on the Mohawk and Hudson
rivers, and detached works on the several lines of communication, may
accomplish the desired object; perhaps more central and compact works
may be found necessary. But we insist on the importance of securing this
position by _some_ efficient means. The remarks of Napoleon, (which have
already been given,) on the advantages to be derived from fortifying
such a central place, where the military wealth of a nation can be
secured, are strikingly applicable to this case.

But let us look for a moment at what is called the _western_ plan of
defence for our northern frontier.

Certain writers and orators of the western states, in their plans of
military defence, would have the principal fortifications of the
northern frontier established on Lake Erie, the Detroit river, the St.
Clair, and Lake Huron; and the money proposed for the other frontier and
coast works, expended in establishing military and naval dépôts at
Memphis and Pittsburg, and in the construction of a ship-canal from the
lower Illinois to Lake Michigan,--for the purpose of obtaining the naval
control of the northern lakes.

It is said that British military and steam naval forces will ascend the
St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario; that to counteract these operations we
must build an opposition steam-navy at Pittsburg and Memphis, and
collect out troops on the Ohio and Mississippi, ascend the Mississippi
and Illinois, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and the Georgian Bay, cross
over to the Ottawa by French river and Lake Nipissing, or Moon river and
the Muskago, then descend the Ottawa river to Montreal. But as there
might be some difficulty in conveying their war-steamers over some
twelve or fifteen portages between the Georgian Bay and the Ottawa, and
as the upper waters of that river are not navigable by such craft, it
has, by some of the military writers before alluded to, been deemed
preferable to descend Lake Huron, St. Clair river and lake, run the
gauntlet past the British forts on the Detroit, descend Lake Erie and
the Niagara[26] into Lake Ontario, so as to meet the English as they
come steaming up the St. Lawrence!

[Footnote 26: How they are to pass the Falls was not determined either
by Harry Bluff or the Memphis Convention.]

It is agreed upon all sides that the British must first collect their
forces at Quebec, and then pass along the line of the St. Lawrence and
Lake Ontario to reach the Niagara and Detroit frontiers. Our boards of
engineers have deemed it best to collect troops on the Champlain line,
and, by penetrating between Montreal and Quebec, separate the enemy's
forces and cut off all the remainder of Canada from supplies and
reinforcements from England. But it has been discovered by certain
western men that to cut the _trunk_ of a tree is not the proper method
of felling it: we must climb to the _top_ and pinch the buds, or, at
most, cut off a few of the smaller limbs. To blow up a house, we should
not place the mine under the foundation, but attach it to one of the
shingles of the roof! We have already shown that troops collected at
Albany may reach the great strategic point on the St. Lawrence by an
easy and direct route of _two hundred miles_; but forces collected at
Pittsburg and Memphis must pass over a difficult and unfrequented route
of _two thousand miles_.

Our merchant marine on the lakes secures to us a naval superiority in
that quarter at the beginning of a war; and our facilities for
ship-building are there equal if not superior to any possessed by the
enemy. The only way, therefore, in which our ascendency on the lakes can
be lost, is by the introduction of steam craft from the Atlantic. The
canals and locks constructed for this object will pass vessels of small
dimensions and drawing not over eight and a half feet water.

How are we to prevent the introduction of these Atlantic steamers into
our lakes? Shall we, at the first opening of hostilities, march with
armed forces upon the enemy's line of artificial communication and blow
up the locks of their ship-canals, thus meeting the enemy's marine at
the very threshold of its introduction into the interior seas; or shall
we build opposition steam-navies at Pittsburg and Memphis, some two
thousand miles distant, and then expend some forty or fifty millions[27]
in opening an artificial channel to enable them to reach Lake Ontario,
after its borders have been laid waste by the hostile forces? Very few
disinterested judges would hesitate in forming their opinion on this

[Footnote 27: The construction of the Illinois ship-canal, for vessels
of eight and a half feet draught, is estimated at fifteen millions; to
give the same draught to the Mississippi and lower Illinois, would
require at least ten millions more; a ship canal of the corresponding
draught around Niagara Falls, will cost, say, ten millions; the navy
yard at Memphis, with docks, storehouses, &c., will cost about two
millions, and steamers sent thence to the lakes will cost about fifty
thousand dollars per gun. On the other hand, the military defences which
it is deemed necessary to erect in time of peace for the security of the
Champlain frontier, will cost only about two thousand dollars per gun;
the whole expenditure not exceeding, at most, two millions of dollars!

It is not to be denied that a water communication between the
Mississippi and the northern lakes will have great commercial
advantages, and that, in case of a protracted war, auxiliary troops and
military stores may be drawn from the valley of the Mississippi to
assist the North and East in preventing any great accessions to the
British military forces in the Canadas. We speak only of the policy of
expending vast sums of money on this _military_ (?) _project_, to the
neglect of matters of more immediate and pressing want. We have nothing
to say of its character as a _commercial project_, or of the ultimate
military advantages that might accrue from such a work. We speak only of
the present condition and wants of the country, and not of what that
condition and those wants may be generations hence!]

[Footnote 28: There are no books devoted exclusively to the subjects
embraced in this chapter; but the reader will find many remarks on the
northern frontier defences in the histories of the war of 1812, in
congressional reports, (vide House Doc. 206, XXVIth Congress, 2d
session; and Senate Doc., No. 85, XXVIIIth Congress, 2d session,) and in
numerous pamphlets and essays that have appeared from the press within
the last few years.]



By the law of the 12th of December, 1790, on the organization of the
public force of France, the Army was defined, "A standing force drawn
from the public force, and designed to act against external enemies."
[_Une force habituelle extraite de la force publique, et destinée
essentiellement à agir contre les ennemis du dehors_.]

In time of peace, the whole organized military force of the State is
intended when we speak of _the army_; but in time of war this force is
broken up into two or more fractions, each of which is called an _army_.
These armies are usually named from the particular duty which may be
assigned to them--as, _army of invasion, army of occupation, army of
observation, army of reserve, &c._; or from the country or direction in
which they operate--as, _army of the North, of the South, of Mexico, of
Canada, of the Rhine, &c._; or from the general who commands it--as, the
_army of Soult, army of Wellington, army of Blücher, &c._

All modern armies are organized on the same basis. They are made up of a
Staff and Administrative departments, and four distinct arms--Infantry,
Cavalry, Artillery, and Engineers; each having distinct duties, but all
combining to form one and the same military body. In the actual
operations of a campaign, these forces are formed into _corps d'armée_,
each _corps d'armée_ being composed of two or more _grand-divisions_;
each grand-division, of two or more _brigades_; and each brigade, of
several _companies, squadrons_, or _batteries_.

In speaking of an army in the field, it is sometimes supposed to be
divided into two classes of men--the _Staff_ and _the line_. We here
include in the first class--

All officers, of whatever arm, above the rank of colonel;

All officers of the staff corps of whatever grade, and

All officers attached to the staff as aides, &c.;

All officers of the administrative departments;

All officers of artillery and engineer staffs;

The corps of geographical or topographical engineers, and

The guards.

In the second class are included all troops, of whatever arm, which
belong to the active army, in infantry, cavalry, artillery, and
engineers. All troops on detached service, such as recruiting, guarding
posts and depots, escorting convoys, &c., as well as all sedentary
corps, garrisons of fortified places, &c., are not regarded in this
classification as composing any part of the _line_ of the army.

_Troops of the line_ is a term applied only to such troops as form the
principal line on the battle-field, viz:--The heavy infantry and heavy
cavalry. These are technically called _infantry of the line_, and
_cavalry of the line_. In this sense of the term, light infantry, light
cavalry or dragoons, artillery, and engineers, are not classed as troops
of the _line_. But this distinction is now pretty much fallen into
disuse, and the division of an army into Staff and Administrative
departments, and four arms of service--Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and
Engineers--is now regarded as the most convenient, from being precise
and definite in its meaning.

The _general staff_ of an army includes all general officers of the
army, and such officers of lower grades as are attached to this general
duty, instead of serving with troops, or on special administrative duty.
The general officers are--1st, the _generalissimo_, or commander-in
-chief; 2d, _generals_, or marshals, as they are called in
France, or field-marshals and generals of infantry and cavalry, as they
are called in England and the northern states of Europe; 3d,
_lieutenant-generals_; 4th, _generals of division_, or major-generals,
as they are called in England; 5th, _generals of brigade_, or
brigadier-generals, as they are sometimes called;--colonels, majors,
captains, lieutenants, ensigns, and cornets or cadets, are also either
attached to the staff, or form a part of the _staff corps_. The titles
of "adjutant-general," and of "inspector-general," are given to staff
officers selected for these special services, either in the general
staff or in the several _corps d'armée_. No special rank is attached to
these offices themselves, and the grade of those who hold them is fixed
by some special rule, or by their general rank in the army.

In the war of the Revolution, Washington held the rank of General, and
in 1798 the rank of Lieutenant-general. In the war of 1812, the highest
grade held by any of our officers was that of General of Division, or
Major-general, as it was called. The highest grade in our army at the
present time is called Major-general--a title that properly belongs, not
to the general of an army, but to the chief of staff. Hamilton had this
title when chief of Washington's staff; Berthier and Soult when chief of
Napoleon's staff, the former till the close of the campaign of 1814, and
the latter in the Waterloo campaign. General Jomini first greatly
distinguished himself as chief of Ney's staff, and afterwards on the
staff of the Emperor of Russia. Other generals have owed much of their
success to the chiefs of their staff:--Pichegru to Regnier, Moreau to
Dessoles, Kutusof to Toll, Barclay to Diebitsch, and Blücher to
Sharnharst and Gneisenau.

The _generalissimo_ or commander-in-chief of an army is the person
designated by the law of the land to take charge of the organized
military forces of the state. In this country the President, through his
Secretary of War, exercises this general command. In England, Wellington
acts in the capacity of commander-in-chief of all the British military
forces. In France, the Minister of War, under the king, has this general
direction. In other European services, some prince of the blood, or
distinguished general, exercises the functions of generalissimo.

An active army in the field should be commanded by a _general_, or, as
is done in some European countries, by a marshal. These may be regarded
as of assimilated rank.

A _corps d'armée_ should, be commanded by a _Lieutenant-general_. This
rule is almost universal in Europe. The number of marshals in France
under Napoleon was so great, that officers of this grade were often
assigned to _corps d'armée_.

A grand division of an army should be commanded by a _General of
Division_. In England, the assimilated grade is that of major-general,
and in France at the present time, the younger lieutenant-generals, or
the _maréchaux-de-camp_, command divisions.

A brigade should be commanded by a _Brigadier-general_. At the present
time in the French service, _maréchaux-de-camp_ act as commanders of

The several _corps d'armée_ are designated by numbers, 1st, 2d, 3d, &c.,
and in the same way the several divisions in each _corps d'armée_, and
the several brigades in each division.

When the number of troops are placed on a war footing, each _corps
d'armée_ ordinarily contains from twenty to thirty thousand men.

The command of these several _corps d'armée_, divisions, and brigades,
is taken by the officers of the corresponding grades according to
seniority of rank, and without reference to arms, unless otherwise
directed by the generalissimo, who should always have the power to
designate officers for special commands.

The _chief of staff_ of an army is usually selected from the grade next
below that of the general commanding, and receives the title, for the
time being, which is used to designate this special rank. In some
European armies, and formerly in our own service, this officer was
called major-general. In France, if the generalissimo commands in
person, a marshal is made chief of staff with the temporary title of
_major-général_; but if a marshal commands the army, a lieutenant
-general or _maréchal-de-camp_ becomes chief of staff with the
title of _aide-major-général_. The chiefs of staff of _corps d'armée_
and of divisions, are selected in precisely the same way.

The position assigned by the commanding general for the residence of his
staff, is denominated the _General Head-Quarter of the army_; that of a
_corps d'armée_ staff, the _Head-Quarters of_ [1st or 2d, &c.] _corps
d'armée_; that of a division, the _Head-Quarters of_ [1st or 2d, &c.]
_division_, [1st or 2d, &c.] _corps d'armée_.

The petty staffs of regiments, squadrons, &c., consisting of an
adjutant, sergeant-major, &c., are especially organized by the
commandants of the regiments, &c., and have no connection whatever with
the general staff of an army. Of course, then, they are not embraced in
the present discussion.

The subordinate officers of the staff of an army, in time of war, are
charged with important and responsible duties connected with the
execution of the orders of their respective chiefs. But in time of
peace, they are too apt to degenerate into fourth-rate clerks of the
Adjutant-general's department, and mere military dandies, employing
their time in discussing the most unimportant and really contemptible
points of military etiquette, or criticising the letters and dispatches
of superior officers, to see whether the wording of the report or the
folding of the letter exactly corresponds to the particular regulation
applicable to the case. Such was the character given to the first staff
of Wellington, and a similar class of men composed the staff of the army
of Italy when it was abolished by Napoleon and a new one formed in its
place. There are also some officers of this stamp in our own service,
but they are regarded by the army with universal contempt. The staff of
our army requires a new and different organization, and should be
considerably enlarged.

The following is the composition of a regularly organized general staff
in the French service, for an army of forty or fifty thousand men
divided into two _corps d'armée_ and a reserve.

1st. The marshal (or general) commanding-in-chief; and one colonel or
lieutenant-colonel, one major, three captains and three subalterns, as

2d. A lieutenant-general as chief-of-staff, with the title of
_major-general_, assisted by one colonel or lieutenant-colonel, three
majors, five captains, and one subaltern, as aides-de-camp.

3d. Three lieutenant-generals, commanding the _corps d'armée_ and
reserve. Each of these will be assisted by aides in the same way as the
_major-general_, and each will also have his regularly-organized staff
of _corps d'armée_, with a general of division or general of brigade as

4th. Six or nine generals commanding divisions, each having his own
distinct and separately organized staff. In the French army, the staff
of an officer commanding a division is composed of one colonel, two
majors, three captains, and six subalterns.

5th. Twelve or more generals of brigade, each having one captain, and
one subaltern for aides.

6th. There is also attached to the staff of the general-in-chief of the
army, the commandants of artillery and engineers, with several
subordinates, inspector-generals, and the ranking officers of each of
the administrative departments, with their assistants.

The generals select their aides and assistants from the staff corps, or
from either of the four arms of service.

The troops of these arms may be distributed as follows:

   52 battalions of infantry,                            35,000 men.
   42 squadrons of horse,      .         .                6,500  "
   13 batteries of artillery, (4 mounted and 9 foot,) .   2,500  "
    5 companies of sappers, 2 of pontoniers,[29] and 1 of artificers,
        .          .          .          .          .     1,500  "
                                                         45,500  "

[Footnote 29: One bridge-equipage is required for each _corps d'armée_.]

If we add to these the staff, and the several officers and employés of
the administrative departments, we have an army of nearly fifty thousand

This, it will be remembered, is the organization of an army in the
field; in the entire military organization of a state, the number of
staff officers will be still higher.

In 1788, France, with a military organization for about three hundred
and twenty thousand men, had eighteen marshals, two hundred and
twenty-five lieutenant-generals, five hundred and thirty-eight
_maréchaux-de-camp_, and four hundred and eighty-three brigadiers. A
similar organization of the general staff was maintained by Napoleon. At
present the general staff of the French army consists of nine marshals,
(twelve in time of war;) eighty lieutenant-generals in active service,
fifty-two in reserve, and sixty two _en retraite_--one hundred and
ninety-four in all; one hundred and sixty _maréchaux-de-camp_ in active
service, eighty-six in reserve, and one hundred and ninety _en
retraite_--four hundred and thirty-six in all. The officers of the
staff-corps are: thirty colonels, thirty lieutenant-colonels, one
hundred majors, three hundred captains, and one hundred lieutenants.
Those of other European armies are organized on the same basis.

It will be seen from these remarks that the organization of our own
general staff is exceedingly defective, and entirely unsuited to the
object for which it is created. We have two brigadier-generals for the
command of two brigades, and one general of division, with the title of
major-general, who acts in the fourfold capacity of general commanding
the army, lieutenant-general, general of division, and chief of staff of
the army. But as it is impossible with this number to maintain a proper
organization, the President (with the advice and consent of the Senate)
has, from time to time, increased this number to three major-generals,
and nine brigadier-generals, and numerous officers of staff with lower
grades. Nearly all these officers are detached from their several
regiments and corps, thus injuring the efficiency of regiments and
companies; and we have in our service, by this absurd mode of supplying
the defects of our system of organization by brevet rank, the anomaly
of _officers being generals, and at the same time not generals; of
holding certain ranks and grades, and yet not holding these ranks and
grades!_ Let Congress do away this absurd and ridiculous system, and
establish a proper and efficient organization of the general staff, and
restore the grades of general and lieutenant-general. In the war of
1812, instead of resorting to a proper organization when an increase of
the general staff was required, we merely multiplied the number of
major-generals and generals of brigade by direct appointment, or by
conferring brevet rank. It is now conceded that there never was a more
inefficient general staff than that with which our army was cursed
during the war; and the claims of brevet rank have ever since been a
source of endless turmoils and dissatisfaction, driving from the army
many of its noblest ornaments.

In the event of another war, it is to be hoped that Congress will not
again resort to the ruinous system of 1812. Possibly it may by some be
objected to the creation of generals, lieutenant-generals, &c., that it
increases the expense of the army and the number of its officers. This
need not be. The number, pay, &c., may remain the same, or nearly the
same, as at present. But by increasing the grades you avoid in a
considerable measure the difficulties of seniority claims and brevet
rank--the principal curses of our present system. If we merely increase
the number of each existing grade, giving a part of these rank above
their name and office, we merely multiply evils. But we will leave this
subject for the present, and recur to the general discussion of staff

The following remarks of Jomini on the importance of the staff of an
army are worthy of attention. "A good staff," says he, "is, more than
all, indispensable to the constitution of an army; for it must be
regarded as the nursery where the commanding general can raise his
principal supports--as a body of officers whose intelligence can aid
his own. When harmony is wanting between the genius that commands, and
the talents of those who apply his conceptions, success cannot be sure;
for the most skilful combinations are destroyed by faults in execution.
Moreover, a good staff has the advantage of being more durable than the
genius of any single man; it not only remedies many evils, but it may
safely be affirmed that it constitutes for the army the best of all
safeguards. The petty interests of coteries, narrow views, and misplaced
egotism, oppose this last position: nevertheless, every military man of
reflection, and every enlightened statesman, will regard its truth as
beyond all dispute; for a well-appointed staff is to an army what a
skilful minister is to a monarchy--it seconds the views of the chief,
even though it be in condition to direct all things of itself; it
prevents the commission of faults, even though the commanding general be
wanting in experience, by furnishing him good councils. How many
mediocre men of both ancient and modern times, have been rendered
illustrious by achievements which were mainly due to their associates!
Reynier was the chief cause of the victories of Pichegru, in 1794; and
Dessoles, in like manner, contributed to the glory of Moreau. Is not
General Toll associated with the successes of Kutusof? Diebitsch with
those of Barclay and Witgenstein? Gneisenau and Muffling with those of
Blücher? Numerous other instances might be cited in support of these

"A well-established staff does not always result from a good system of
education for the young aspirants; for a man may be a good mathematician
and a fine scholar, without being a good warrior. The staff should
always possess sufficient consideration and prerogative to be sought for
by the officers of the several arms, and to draw together, in this way,
men who are already known by their aptitude for war. Engineer and
artillery officers will no longer oppose the staff, if they reflect that
it will open to them a more extensive field for immediate distinction,
and that it will eventually be made up exclusively of the officers of
those two corps who may be placed at the disposal of the commanding
general, and who are the most capable of directing the operations of

"At the beginning of the wars of the Revolution," says this able
historian elsewhere, "in the French army the general staff, which is
essential for directing the operations of war, had neither instruction
nor experience." The several adjutant-generals attached to the army of
Italy were so utterly incompetent, that Napoleon became prejudiced
against the existing staff-corps, and virtually destroyed it, drawing
his staff-officers from the other corps of the army. In his earlier
wars, a large portion of staff duties were assigned to the engineers;
but in his later campaigns the officers of this corps were particularly
required for the sieges carried on in Germany and Spain, and
considerable difficulty was encountered in finding suitable officers for
staff duty. Some of the defects of the first French staff-corps were
remedied in the latter part of Napoleon's career, and in 1818 it was
reorganized by Marshal Saint-Cyr, and a special school established for
its instruction.

Some European nations have established regular staff-corps, from which
the vacancies in the general staff are filled; others draw all their
staff-officers from the corps of the army. A combination of the two
systems is preferred by the best judges. Jomini recommends a regular
staff-corps, with special schools for its instruction; but thinks that
its officers should be drawn, at least in part, from the other corps of
the army: the officers of engineers and artillery he deems, from their
instruction, to be peculiarly qualified for staff duty. The policy of
holding double rank at the same time in the staff and in the corps of
the army, as is done in our service, is pronounced by all competent
judges as ruinous to an army, destroying at the same time the character
of the staff and injuring the efficiency of the line.

The following remarks on the character and duties of general-officers of
an army, made at the beginning of the war of 1812, are from the pen of
one of the ablest military writers this country has yet produced:--

"Generals have been divided into three classes,--_Theorists_, who by
study and reflection have made themselves acquainted with all the rules
or maxims of the art they profess; _Martinets_, who have confined their
attention merely to the mechanical part of the trade; and _Practical
men_, who have no other or better guide than their own experience, in
either branch of it. This last description is in all services, excepting
our own, the most numerous, but with us gives place to a fourth class,
viz., men destitute alike of _theory_ and of _experience_."

"Self-respect is one thing, and presumption another. Without the former,
no man ever became a good officer; under the influence of the latter,
generals have committed great faults. The former is the necessary result
of knowledge; the latter of ignorance. A man acquainted with his duty
can rarely be placed in circumstances new, surprising, or embarrassing;
a man ignorant of his duty will always find himself constrained to
_guess_, and not knowing how to be right by _system_, will often be
wrong by _chance_."

"These remarks are neither made nor offered as applying exclusively to
the science of war. They apply to all other sciences; but in these,
errors are comparatively harmless. A naturalist may amuse himself and
the public with false and fanciful theories of the earth; and a
metaphysician may reason very badly on the relations and forms of matter
and spirit, without any ill effect but to make themselves ridiculous.
Their blunders but make us merry; they neither pick pockets, nor break
legs, nor destroy lives; while those of a general bring after them evils
the most compounded and mischievous,--the slaughter of an army--the
devastation of a state--the ruin of an empire!"

"In proportion as ignorance may be calamitous, the reasons for acquiring
instruction are multiplied and strengthened. Are you an _honest_ man?
You will spare neither labor nor sacrifice to gain a competent knowledge
of your duty. Are you a man of _honor_? You will be careful to avoid
self-reproach. Does your bosom glow with the holy fervor of
_patriotism_? You will so accomplish yourself as to avoid bringing down
upon your country either insult or injury."

"Nor are the more selfish impulses without a similar tendency. Has
_hunger_ made you a soldier? Will you not take care of your bread! Is
_vanity_ your principle of action? Will you not guard those mighty
blessings, your epaulets and feathers! Are you impelled by a love of
_glory_ or a love of _power_? And can you forget that these coy
mistresses are only to be won by intelligence and good conduct?"

"But the _means_ of instruction, say you, where are they to be found?
Our standing army is but a bad and ill-organized militia, and our
militia not better than a mob. Nor have the defects in these been
supplied by Lycées, Prytanées, and Polytechnic schools. The morbid
patriotism of some, and the false economy of others, have nearly
obliterated every thing like military knowledge among us."

"This, reader, is but one motive the more for reinstating it. Thanks to
the noble art of printing! you still have _books_ which, if _studied_,
will teach the art of war."

"_Books_! And what are they but the dreams of pedants? They may make a
Mack, but have they ever made a Xenophon, a Cæsar, a Saxe, a Frederick,
or a Bonaparte? Who would not laugh to hear the cobbler of Athens
lecturing Hannibal on the art of war?"

"True; but as you are not Hannibal, listen to the cobbler. Xenophon,
Cæsar, Saxe, Frederick, and Napoleon, have all thought well of books,
and have even composed them. Nor is this extraordinary, since they are
but the depositories of maxims which genius has suggested, and
experience confirmed; since they both enlighten and shorten the road of
the traveller, and render the labor and genius of past ages tributary to
our own. _These_ teach most emphatically, that the secret of successful
war is not to be found in mere _legs_ and _arms_, but in the _head_ that
shall direct them. If this be either ungifted by nature, or uninstructed
by study and reflection, the best plans of manoeuvre and campaign avail
nothing. The two last centuries have presented many revolutions in
military character, all of which have turned on this principle. It would
be useless to enumerate these. We shall quote only the greatest and the
last--_The troops of Frederick!_ How illustrious under him! How
contemptible under his successors! Yet his system was there; his double
lines of march at full distance; his oblique order of battle; his simple
lines of manoeuvre in the presence of an enemy; his wise conformation of
an _état-major;_--all, in short, that distinguished his practice from
that of ordinary men, survived him; but the head that truly comprehended
and knew how to apply these, died with Frederick. What an admonition
does this fact present for self-instruction,--for unwearied
diligence,--for study and reflection! Nor should the force of this be
lessened by the consideration that, after all, unless nature should
have done her part of the work,--unless to a soul not to be shaken by
any changes of fortune--cool, collected, and strenuous--she adds a head
fertile in expedients, prompt in its decisions, and sound in its
judgments, no man can ever merit the title of a _general_."

The celebrated Marshal Saxe has made the following remarks on the
necessary qualifications to form a good general. The most indispensable
one, according to his idea, is valor, without which all the rest will
prove nugatory. The next is a sound understanding with some genius: for
he must not only be courageous, but be extremely fertile in expedients.
The third is health and a robust constitution.

"His mind must be capable of prompt and vigorous resources; he must have
an aptitude, and a talent at discovering the designs of others, without
betraying the slightest trace of his own intentions; he must be,
_seemingly_, communicative, in order to encourage others to unbosom, but
remain tenaciously reserved in matters that concern his own army; he
must, in a word, possess activity with judgment, be able to make a
proper choice of his officers, and never deviate from the strictest line
of military justice. Old soldiers must not be rendered wretched and
unhappy by unwarrantable promotions, nor must extraordinary talents be
kept back to the detriment of the service on account of mere rules and
regulations. Great abilities will justify exceptions; but ignorance and
inactivity will not make up for years spent in the profession."

"In his deportment he must be affable, and always superior to
peevishness or ill-humor; he must not know, or at least seem not to
know, what a spirit of resentment is; and when he is under the necessity
of inflicting military chastisement, he must see the guilty punished
without compromise or foolish humanity; and if the delinquent be from
among the number of his most intimate friends, he must be doubly severe
towards the unfortunate man. For it is better, in instances of
correction, that one individual should be treated with rigor (by orders
of the person over whom he may be supposed to hold some influence) than
that an idea should go forth in the army of public justice being
sacrificed to private sentiments."

"A modern general should always have before him the example of Manlius;
he must divest himself of personal sensations, and not only be convinced
himself, but convince others, that he is the organ of military justice,
and that what he does is irrevocably prescribed. With these
qualifications, and by this line of conduct, he will secure the
affections of his followers, instill into their minds all the impulses
of deference and respect; he will be feared, and consequently obeyed."

"The resources of a general's mind are as various as the occasions for
the exercise of them are multiplied and checkered: he must be perfectly
master of the art of knowing how to support an army in all circumstances
and situations; how to apply its strength, or be sparing of its energy
and confidence; how to post all its different component parts, so as not
to be forced to give or receive battle in opposition to settled plans.
When once engaged, he must have presence of mind enough to grasp all the
relative points of disposition and arrangement, to seize favorable
moments for impression, and to be thoroughly conversant in the infinite
vicissitudes that occur during the heat of a battle; on a ready
possession of which its ultimate success depends. These requisites are
unquestionably manifold, and grow out of the diversity of situations and
the chance medley of events that produce their necessity."

"A general to be in perfect possession of them, must on the day of
battle be divested of every thought, and be inaccessible to every
feeling, but what immediately regards the business of the day; he must
reconnoitre with the promptitude of a skilful geographer, whose eye
collects instantaneously all the relative portions of locality, and
feels his ground as it were by instinct; and in the disposition of his
troops he must discover a perfect knowledge of his profession, and make
all his arrangements with accuracy and dispatch. His order of battle
must be simple and unconfused, and the execution of his plan be as quick
as if it merely consisted in uttering some few words of command; as,
_the first line will attack! the second will support it! or, such a
battalion will advance and support the line._"

"The general officers who act under such a general must be ignorant of
their business indeed, if, upon the receipt of these orders, they should
be deficient in the immediate means of answering them, by a prompt and
ready co-operation. So that the general has only to issue out directions
according to the growth of circumstances, and to rest satisfied that
every division will act in conformity to his intentions; but if, on the
contrary, he should so far forget his situation as to become a
drill-sergeant in the heat of action, he must find himself in the case
of the fly in the fable, which perched upon a wheel, and foolishly
imagined that the motion of the carriage was influenced by its
situation. A general, therefore, ought on the day of battle to be
thoroughly master of himself, and to have both his mind and his eye
riveted to the immediate scene of action. He will by these means be
enabled to see every thing; his judgment will be unembarrassed, and he
will instantly discover all the vulnerable points of the enemy. The
instant a favorable opening offers, by which the contest may be decided,
it becomes his duty to head the nearest body of troops, and, without any
regard to personal safety, to advance against the enemy's line. [By a
ready conception of this sort, joined to a great courage, General
Dessaix determined the issue of the battle of Marengo.] It is, however,
impossible for any man to lay down rules, or to specify with accuracy
all the different ways by which a victory may be obtained. Every thing
depends upon a variety of situations, casualties of events, and
intermediate occurrences, which no human foresight can positively
ascertain, but which may be converted to good purposes by a quick eye, a
ready conception, and prompt execution."

"Prince Eugene was singularly gifted with these qualifications,
particularly with that sublime possession of the mind, which constitutes
the essence of a military character."

"Many commanders-in-chief have been so limited in their ideas of
warfare, that when events have brought the contest to issue, and two
rival armies have been drawn out for action, their whole attention has
devolved upon a straight alignment, an equality of step, or a regular
distance in intervals of columns. They have considered it sufficient to
give answers to questions proposed by their aides-de-camp, to send
orders in various directions, and to gallop themselves from one quarter
to another, without steadily adhering to the fluctuations of the day, or
calmly watching for an opportunity to strike a decisive blow. They
endeavor, in fact, to do every thing, and thereby do nothing. They
appear like men whose presence of mind deserts them the instant they are
taken out of the beaten track, or reduced to supply unexpected calls by
uncommon exertions; and from whence, continues the same sensible writer,
do these contradictions arise? from an ignorance of those high
qualifications without which the mere routine of duty, methodical
arrangement, and studied discipline must fall to the ground, and defeat
themselves. Many officers spend their whole lives in putting a few
regiments through a regular set of manoeuvres; and having done so, they
vainly imagine that all the science of a real military man consists in
that acquirement. When, in process of time, the command of a large army
falls to their lot, they are manifestly lost in the magnitude of the
undertaking, and, from not knowing how to act as they ought, they remain
satisfied with doing what they have partially learned."

"Military knowledge, as far as it regards a general or
commander-in-chief, may be divided into two parts, one comprehending
mere discipline and settled systems for putting a certain number of
rules into practice; and the other originating a sublimity of conception
that method may assist, but cannot give."

"If a man be born with faculties that are naturally adapted to the
situation of a general, and if his talents do not fit the extraordinary
casualties of war, he will never rise beyond mediocrity."

"It is, in fact, in war as it is in painting, or in music. Perfection in
either art grows out of innate talent, but it never can be acquired
without them. Study and perseverance may correct ideas, but no
application, no assiduity will give the life and energy of action; these
are the works of nature."

"It has been my fate (observes the Marshal) to see several very
excellent colonels become indifferent generals. I have known others, who
have distinguished themselves at sieges, and in the different evolutions
of an army, lose their presence of mind and appear ignorant of their
profession, the instant they were taken from that particular line, and
be incapable of commanding a few squadrons of horse. Should a man of
this cast be put at the head of an army, he will confine himself to mere
dispositions and manoeuvres; to them he will look for safety; and if
once thwarted, his defeat will be inevitable, because his mind is not
capable of other resources."

"In order to obviate, in the best possible manner, the innumerable
disasters which must arise from the uncertainty of war, and the greater
uncertainty of the means that are adopted to carry it on, some general
rules ought to be laid down, not only for the government of the troops,
but for the instruction of those who have the command of them. The
principles to be observed are: that when the line or the columns
advance, their distances should be scrupulously observed; that whenever
a body of troops is ordered to charge, every proportion of the line
should rush forward with intrepidity and vigor; that if openings are
made in the first line, it becomes the duty of the second instantly to
fill up the chasms."

"These instructions issue from the dictates of plain nature, and do not
require the least elucidation in writing They constitute the A, B, C of
soldiers. Nothing can be more simple, or more intelligible; so much so,
that it would be ridiculous in a general to sacrifice essential objects
in order to attend to such minutiæ. His functions in the day of battle
are confined to those occupations of the mind, by which he is enabled to
watch the countenance of the enemy; to observe his movements, and to see
with an eagle's or a king of Prussia's eye, all the relative directions
that his opponents take. It must be his business to create alarms and
suspicions among the enemy's line in one quarter, while his real
intention is to act against another; to puzzle and disconcert him in his
plans; to take advantage of the manifold openings which his feints have
produced, and when the contest is brought to issue, to be capable of
plunging with effect upon the weakest part, and carrying the sword of
death where its blow is certain of being mortal. But to accomplish these
important and indispensable points, his judgment must be clear, his mind
collected, his heart firm, and his eyes incapable of being diverted,
even for a moment, by the trifling occurrences of the day."

The _administrative service_ of an army is usually divided into several
distinct departments, as--

   Pay department.
   Subsistence    "
   Clothing       "
   Medical        "}
                   } These in our service are united.
   Hospital       "
   Barrack        "}These in our service are combined
   Fuel           "}in one, called the Quartermaster's
   Transportation "}department
   Recruiting     "
   Military Justice, or Court Martial department.

It was intended to enter into the history, organization, and use of each
of these civico-military departments of an army; but our limits are such
as to preclude any thing like so detailed a discussion as would be
necessary for a proper understanding of the subject. We therefore pass
from the staff directly to the _line_ or rather the four principal arms
of an army organization.[30]

[Footnote 30: Of works that treat directly of staff organization and
duties, those of Grimoard, Thiébault, Boutourlin, Labaume, are esteemed
among the best. The writings of Jomini, Napoleon, Rocquancourt,
Vauchelle, Odier, Scharnhorst, also contain much valuable information on
this subject. The following list of books may be referred to for further
information on the subjects alluded to in this chapter:

_Aide-Mémoire des officiers généraux et supérieurs et des capitaines._

_Précis de l'art de la guerre._ Jomini.

_Mémoires de Napoléon._ Montholon et Gourgaud.

_Cours élémentaire d'art et d'histoire militaires._ Rocquancourt.

_Cours élémentaire d'administration militaire._ Vauchelle.

_Droite élémentaire d'art militaire, &c._ Gay de Vernon.

_Annuaire militaire historique, &c._ Sicard.

_Cours abrégé d'administration militaire._ Bernier.

_Cours d'administration militaire, &c._ Odier.

_De l'administration de l'armée d'Espagne._ Odier.

_De l'organization de la force armée en France._ Carion-Nisas.

_Elémens de l'art militaire, &c._ Cugnot.

_Mémoires sur la guerre._ Feuquiéres.

_Cours d'art militaire et d'histoire._ Jacquinot de Presle.

_Cours d'art militaire._ Fallot.

_Théorie de l'officier supérieur._ Léorier.

_Histoire de l'administration de la guerre._ Audouin.

_Instructions diverses a l'usage de l'école d'application du corps royal

_Handbuch für offiziere, &c._ Scharnhorst.

Having omitted all discussion of the several departments of the
administrative service of an army organization, it is not deemed
necessary to give the names of books of reference on the subjects of
pay, courts-martial, medicinal and hospital departments, &c., &c.]



_Infantry_.--Infantry constitutes, in active service, by far the most
numerous portion of an army; in time of peace its duties are simple,
and, in most countries, of little comparative importance; but in our
country the continually recurring difficulties on the Indian frontiers,
render this arm peculiarly necessary and important, even in time of
general peace. From the nature of infantry service--no peculiar
technical knowledge (we speak of the privates and officers of the lower
grades) being so absolutely indispensable as in the other arms--the
soldier may in a short time be trained and instructed in his duties. For
this reason the ratio of infantry in a peace establishment is ordinarily
much less than in active service, this arm being always capable of great
expansion when occasion requires.

[Footnote 31: In discussing our own organization, it may be well to
compare it with the armies of some of the principal nations of Europe.
Our limits will not allow us to go very much into details, nor to make a
comparison with more than a single European power. We shall select
France, inasmuch as her army organization has served as a model for the
rest of Europe, and is still, in some respects, superior to most

In the early periods of society, and in countries where horses abounded,
men have usually preferred fighting on horseback; but civilization and a
more thorough acquaintance with war has always increased the importance
of infantry.

The Hebrews, and also the Egyptians, employed this arm almost
exclusively. The Asiatics generally employed both infantry and cavalry,
but with the Greeks the _infantry_ was the favorite arm. Even their
kings and generals usually fought on foot. The Romans conquered the
world mainly with their infantry. This arm was also considered of the
greatest importance by the ancient Germans and Gauls; but the migration
of the Huns and other Mongolic tribes mounted on small and fleet horses,
and the acquaintance formed by the Franks of northern Spain with the
Moors, who were mounted on beautiful horses from Arabia and the plateau
of Asia, introduced a taste for cavalry in western Europe. This taste
was still further cultivated under the feudal system, for the knights
preferred fighting on horseback to serving on foot. During the crusades
the infantry fell into disrepute. But the invention of gunpowder changed
the whole system of warfare, and restored to infantry its former

"The Romans," says Napoleon in his Memoirs, "had two infantries; the
first, lightly armed, was provided with a missile weapon; the second,
heavily armed, bore a short sword. After the invention of powder two
species of infantry were still continued: the arquebusiers, who were
lightly armed, and intended to observe and harass the enemy; and the
pikemen, who supplied the place of the heavy-armed infantry. During the
hundred and fifty years which have elapsed since Vauban banished lances
and pikes from all the infantry of Europe, substituting for them the
firelock and bayonet, all the infantry has been lightly armed......
There has been since that time, properly speaking, only one kind of
infantry: if there was a company of chasseurs in every battalion, it was
by way of counterpoise to the company of grenadiers; the battalion being
composed of nine companies, one picked company did not appear
sufficient. If the Emperor Napoleon created companies of voltigeurs
armed like dragoons, it was to substitute them for those companies of
chasseurs. He composed them of men under five feet in height, in order
to bring into use that class of the conscription which measured from
four feet ten inches to five feet; and having been until that time
exempt, made the burden of conscription fall more heavily on the other
classes. This arrangement served to reward a great number of old
soldiers, who, being under five feet in height, could not enter into the
companies of grenadiers, who on account of their bravery, deserved to
enter into a picked company: it was a powerful incentive to emulation to
bring the giants and pigmies into competition. Had there been men of
different colors in the armies of the emperor, he would have composed
companies of blacks and companies of whites: in a country where there
were cyclops or hunchbacks, a good use might be made of companies of
cyclops, and others of hunchbacks."

"In 1789, the French army as composed of regiments of the line and
battalions of chasseurs; the chasseurs of the Cevennes, the Vivarais,
the Alps, of Corsica, and the Pyrenees, who at the Revolution formed
half brigades of light infantry; but the object was not to have two
different sorts of infantry, for they were raised alike, instructed
alike, drilled alike; only the battalions of chasseurs were recruited by
the men of the mountainous districts, or by the sons of the
garde-chasse; whence they were more fit to be employed on the frontiers
of the Alps and Pyrenees; and when they were in the armies of the North,
they were always detached, in preference, for climbing heights or
scouring a forest; when these men were placed in line, in a battle, they
served very well as a battalion of the line, because they had received
the same instructions, and were armed and disciplined in the same
manner. Every power occasionally raises, in war-time, irregular corps,
under the title of free or legionary battalions, consisting of foreign
deserters, or formed of individuals of a particular party or faction;
but that does not constitute two sorts of infantry. There is and can be
but one. If the apes of antiquity must needs imitate the Romans, it is
not light-armed troops that they ought to introduce, but heavy-armed
soldiers, or battalions armed with swords; for all the infantry of
Europe serve at times as light troops."

Most European nations, for reasons probably similar to those of
Napoleon, keep up this nominal division of _infantry of the line_ and
_light infantry_; but both are usually armed and equipped alike, and
both receive the same organization and instruction. The light infantry
are usually made up from the class of men, or district of country, which
furnishes the greatest number of riflemen and sharpshooters. In France,
the light infantry is best supplied by the hunters of the Ardennes, the
Vosges, and the Jura districts; in Austria, by the Croates and Tyrolese;
in Prussia, by the "försters," or woodsmen; and in Russia, by the
Cossacks. Our own western hunters, with proper discipline, make the best
tirailleurs in the world.

Light infantry is usually employed to protect the flanks of the main
army, to secure outposts, to reconnoitre the ground, secure avenues of
approach, deceive the enemy by demonstrations, and secure the repose of
the other troops by patrolling parties. They usually begin a battle, and
afterwards take their places in the line, either on the flanks, or in
the intervals between the larger bodies. The battle of Jena furnishes a
good example of the use of French light infantry; and at the battle of
Waterloo, the Prussian tirailleurs were exceedingly effective in
clearing the ground for the advance of Blücher's heavy columns. The
attack of Floh-hug by Augereau, of Vierzehn Heilegen by Suchet, of
Iserstaedt by Desjardins, are models well worthy of study.

The infantry of the line acts in masses, and, on the field of battle,
constitutes the principal fighting force. Its formations and the manner
of engaging it have already been discussed under the head of tactics.

The importance of infantry is due, in considerable part, to the fact
that it can be used everywhere--in mountains or on plains, in woody or
open countries, in cities or in fields, on rivers or at sea, in the
redoubt or in the attack of the breach; the infantry depends only on
itself, whereas the other arms must depend in a considerable degree on
the efficiency of their materials and the will and strength of brute
force; and when the snows of Russia or the deserts of Egypt deprive
their animals of the means of sustenance, they become perfectly useless.

Foot-soldiers, in olden times, were armed with a spear and sometimes
with a sword, arrows, lance, and sling. At present they are armed with
a gun and bayonet, and sometimes with a sword. In some European
services, a few of the foot-soldiers are armed with a pike. Some of the
light troops used as sharpshooters carry the rifle, but this weapon is
useless for the great body of infantry. The short-sword is more useful
as an instrument for cutting branches, wood, &c., than for actual
fighting. The infantry have no defensive covering, or at least very
little. The helmet or cap serves to protect the head, and the shoulders
are somewhat defended by epaulets. It has often been proposed in modern
times to restore the ancient defensive armor of the foot-soldier; but
this would be worse than useless against fire-arms, and moreover would
destroy the efficiency of these troops by impeding their movements. The
strength of this arm depends greatly upon its discipline; for if calm
and firm, a mass of infantry in column or in square is almost

The bayonet was introduced by Vauban in the wars of Louis XIV., and
after the years 1703 and '4, the pike was totally suppressed in the
French army. This measure was warmly opposed by Marshal Montesquieu, and
the question was discussed by him and Marshal Vauban with an ability and
learning worthy of these great men. The arguments of Vauban were deemed
most conclusive, and his project was adopted by the king.

This question has been agitated by military writers in more recent
times, Puységur advocating the musket, and Folard and Lloyd contending
in favor of restoring the pike. Even in our own service, so late as the
war of 1812, a distinguished general of the army strongly urged the use
of the pike, and the fifteenth (and perhaps another regiment) was armed
and equipped in part as _pikemen_; but experience soon proved the
absurdity of the project.

Napoleon calls the infantry the _arm of battles_ and the _sinews of the
army_. But if it be acknowledged, that, next to the talent of the
general-in-chief, the infantry is the first instrument of victory, it
must also be confessed that it finds a powerful support in the cavalry,
artillery, and engineers, and that without these it would often be
compromised, and could gain but a half success.

The French infantry is divided into one hundred regiments of three
battalions each, a battalion being composed of seven companies. There
are also several other battalions of chasseurs, zuaves, &c., being
organized especially for service in Africa, and composed in part of
native troops.

In our own army we have eight regiments of infantry, each regiment
forming a single battalion of ten companies. The flank companies are
intended for light infantry.

In all properly organized armies the infantry constitutes from
three-fourths to four-fifths of the entire active force in the field,
and from two-thirds to three-fourths, say about seven-tenths of the
entire military establishment. In time of peace this proportion may be
slightly diminished.

_Cavalry._--The use of cavalry is probably nearly as old as war itself.
The Egyptians had cavalry before the time of Moses, and the Israelites
often encountered cavalry in their wars with their neighbors, though
they made no use of this arm themselves until the time of Solomon.

The Greeks borrowed their cavalry from the Asiatics, and especially from
the Persians, who, according to Xenophon, held this arm in great
consideration. After the battle of Platea, it was agreed by assembled
Greece that each power should furnish one horseman to every ten
foot-soldiers. In Sparta the poorest were selected for this arm, and the
cavalry marched to combat without any previous training. At Athens the
cavalry service was more popular, and they formed a well-organized corps
of twelve hundred horsemen. At Thebes also this arm had consideration in
the time of Epaminondas. But the cavalry of Thessaly was the most
renowned, and both Philip and Alexander drew their mounted troops from
that country.

The Romans had made but little progress in this arm when they
encountered the Thessalians, who fought in the army of Pyrrhus. They
then increased their cavalry, but it was not numerous till after their
wars with the Carthaginians. Scipio organized and disciplined the Roman
cavalry like that of the Numidians. This arm was supplied from the ranks
of the richest citizens, and afterwards formed an order intermediary
between the Senate and the people, under the name of _knights_.

At a later period, the cavalry of the Gauls was particularly good. The
Franks were without cavalry when they made their first irruption into
Gaul. Under the reign of Childeric I. we see for the first time the
"cavaliers francs" figure as a part of the national forces. At the
battle of Tours the cavalry and infantry were in the proportion of one
to five, and under Pepin and Charlemagne their numbers were nearly
equal. Under Charles the Bald armies were composed entirely of cavalry,
and during the middle ages the knights disdained the foot service, and
fought only on horseback.

After the introduction of artillery, cavalry was still employed, though
to little advantage. Gustavus Adolphus was the first to perceive the
real importance of this arm in modern warfare, and he used it with great
success. But it was left for Seidlitz to perfect it under the direction
of Frederick the Great.

Marshal Saxe very justly remarked, that cavalry is the "_arme du
moment,_" for in almost every battle there are moments when a decisive
charge of cavalry will gain the victory, but if not made at the instant
it may be too late. The efficiency of cavalry depends upon the moral
impression which it makes on the enemy, and is greater in proportion to
the size of the mass, and the rapidity of its motion. This last quality
enables a commander to avail himself immediately of a decisive moment,
when the enemy exposes a weak point, or when disorder appears in his
ranks. But this requires a bold and active spirit, which shrinks not
from responsibility, and is able to avail itself with quickness and
decision of every opportunity. If it be remembered that it is essential
that this _coup d'oeil_, so rare and so difficult to acquire, be
accompanied by a courage and vigor of execution which nothing can shake,
we shall not be astonished that history furnishes so few good cavalry
generals, and that this arm so seldom does such execution as it did
under Frederick and Napoleon, with Seidlitz and Murat as commanders.

The soldier gains great _velocity_ by the use of the horse in war; but
in other respects he is the loser. The great expense and care required
of the cavalier to support his horse; the difficulty experienced in
surmounting ordinary obstacles, and in using his fire-arms to advantage,
are all prejudicial to success.

The unequal size of the horse, and the great diversity in his strength
and breed, have rendered it necessary to divide this arm into _light_
and _heavy_ cavalry, and a mixed class called _dragoons_. The heavy
cavalry is commonly used in masses where _force_ is mainly requisite;
the lighter troops are used singly and in small detachments, where
rapidity of movement is most desired.

The _heavy_ cavalry are divided into carabiniers, cuirassiers, and
sometimes lancers. The two latter are frequently united, the cuirassiers
being armed with the lance. These troops are seldom used for scouts,
vanguards, and convoys; but are frequently employed to sustain the light
cavalry. Their main duty is "_to appear on the field of battle and make
the decisive charges_."

The _light_ cavalry is composed of chasseurs, or troopers, hussars, and
lancers. The latter, when composed of large men and mounted on heavy
horses, are attached to the heavy cavalry.

The _dragoons_ were formerly a mixed body of horse and foot, but it
being found impossible to unite these two distinct arms in one, and the
attempt having destroyed the usefulness of the body to act in either
capacity, the term was applied to a mixed kind of cavalry between the
heavy and the light horse. In more recent wars they have also been
instructed as infantry and employed as foot-soldiers, till horses could
be found in the enemy's country with which to mount them. But we believe
there is no instance in more modern wars in which they have been
employed at the same time in both capacities.

This term is, very improperly, applied to all our cavalry; and some of
the congressional wiseacres have recently experimented on one of our
so-called regiments of _dragoons_, by dismounting it one year, selling
its horses at auction, and changing its arms and equipments, and again,
the next year, purchasing new horses, arms, and equipments for
remounting it; and all this for _economy!_

The Roman cavalry at first wore a round shield and helmet, the rest of
their body being nearly uncovered. Their arms were a sword and long thin
javelin, or lance, with an iron head. They afterwards reduced the shield
to a much smaller size, and made square, and their lance was greatly
increased in size and length, and armed at both ends. In other respects
they were armed in the same way as infantry. The use of the lance and
the shield at the same time, of course rendered both nearly worthless.
The Roman cavalry was superior to that of their enemies, except,
perhaps, the light cavalry of the Parthians.

The heavy armor which was sometimes worn by the ancients, like the _gens
d'armes_ of the middle ages, rendered them greatly inferior to infantry
in a close engagement. Tigranes, king of Armenia, brought an army of one
hundred and fifty thousand horse into the field, against the Roman
general Lucullus, who had only about six thousand horse and fifteen
thousand foot. But the Armenian cavalry, called _cataphratti_ were so
overburdened with armor, that when they fell from their horses they
could scarcely move or make any use of their arms. They were routed by a
mere handful of Roman infantry.

The modern cavalry is much lighter, and, by dispensing with armor,
shields, &c., it can move with much greater rapidity. A modern cavalry
horse carries a weight of from two hundred and fifty to three hundred
pounds, viz.:

                                                Heavy      Light
                                               cavalry.   cavalry.

   The rider,       .       .       .       .    160      140 lbs.
   His arms and equipments, .       .       .     55       40
   His horse equipments,    .       .       .     60       45
   Two days' rations of provisions and grain,     25       25
                                                 300      250

The horse moves per minute--

   At a walk,              from 110 yards to 120
   At a trot,                   220          240
   At a gallop,                 330          360

But on a march over the ordinary average of good and bad roads, cavalry
will walk about one hundred yards per minute, and at an easy trot, two

An ordinary day's march for cavalry is about thirty miles, but on a
forced march this arm can march fifty miles within the twenty-four
hours. A single horseman, or a small detachment, can easily exceed this

"Light cavalry," says Napoleon, in his Memoirs, "ought to reconnoitre
and watch the motions of the enemy, considerably in advance of the army;
it is not an appendage to the infantry: it should be sustained and
protected especially by the cavalry of the line. Rivalry and emulation
have always existed between the infantry and cavalry: light cavalry is
indispensable to the vanguard, the rearguard, and the wings of the army;
it, therefore, cannot properly be attached to, and forced to follow the
movements of any particular corps of infantry. It would be more natural
to attach it to the cavalry of the line, than to leave it in dependence
upon the infantry, with which it has no connection; but it should be
independent of both."

"If the light cavalry is to form vanguards, it must be organized into
squadrons, brigades, and divisions, for the purpose of manoeuvring; for
that is all vanguards and rearguards do: they pursue or retreat by
platoons, form themselves into several lines, or wheel into column, or
change their position with rapidity for the purpose of outfronting a
whole wing. By a combination of such evolutions, a vanguard, of inferior
numbers, avoids brisk actions and general engagements, and yet delays
the enemy long enough to give time for the main army to come up, for the
infantry to deploy, for the general-in-chief to make his dispositions,
and for the baggage and parks to file into their stations. The art of a
general of the vanguard, or of the rear-guard, is, without hazarding a
defeat, to hold the enemy in check, to impede him, to compel him to
spend three or four hours in moving a single league: tactics point out
the methods of effecting these important objects, and are more necessary
for cavalry than for infantry, and in the vanguard, or the rear-guard,
than in any other position. The Hungarian Insurgents, whom we saw in
1797, 1805, and 1809, were pitiful troops. If the light troops of Maria
Theresa's times became formidable, it was by their excellent
organization, and, above every thing, by their numbers. To imagine that
such troops could be superior to Wurmser's hussars, or to the dragoons
of Latour, or to the Archduke John, would be entertaining strange ideas
of things; but neither the Hungarian Insurgents, nor the Cossacks, ever
formed the vanguards of the Austrian and Russian armies; because to
speak of a vanguard or a rear-guard, is to speak of troops which
manoeuvre. The Russians considered a regiment of Cossacks who had been
trained worth three regiments untrained. Every thing about these troops
is despicable, except the Cossack himself, who is a man of fine person,
powerful, adroit, subtle, a good horseman, and indefatigable; he is born
on horseback, and bred among civil wars; he is in the field, what the
Bedouin is in the desert, or the Barbet in the Alps; he never enters a
house, never lies in a bed; and he always changes his bivouac at sunset,
that he may not pass a night in a place where the enemy may possibly
have observed him."

"Two Mamelukes kept three Frenchmen at bay, because they were better
armed, better mounted, and better exercised; they had two pairs of
pistols, a _tromblon_, a carbine, a helmet with a visor, a coat of mail,
several horses, and several men on foot to attend them. But a hundred
French did not fear a hundred Mamelukes; three hundred were more than a
match for an equal number; and one thousand would beat fifteen hundred:
so powerful is the influence of tactics, order, and evolutions! Murat,
Leclerc, and Lasalle, cavalry generals, presented themselves to the
Mamelukes in several lines: when the latter were upon the point of
outfronting the first line, the second came to its assistance on the
right and left; the Mamelukes then stopped, and wheeled, to turn the
wings of this new line: this was the moment seized for charging them;
they were always broken."

"The duty of a vanguard, or a rear-guard, does not consist in advancing
or retiring, but in manoeuvring. It should be composed of a good light
cavalry, supported by a good reserve of cavalry of the line, by
excellent battalions of foot, and strong batteries of artillery: the
troops must be well trained; and the generals, officers, and soldiers,
should all be equally well acquainted with their tactics, each according
to his station. An undisciplined troop would only embarrass the
advanced guard."

"It is admitted that for facility in manoeuvring, the squadron should
consist of one hundred men, and that every three or four squadrons
should have a superior officer."

"It is not advisable for all the cavalry of the line to wear cuirasses:
dragoons, mounted upon horses of four feet nine inches in height, armed
with straight sabres, and without cuirasses, should form a part of the
heavy cavalry; they should be furnished with infantry-muskets, with
bayonets: should have the _shakot_ of the infantry, pantaloons covering
the half-boot-buskin, cloaks with sleeves, and portmanteaus small enough
to be carried slung across the back when the men are on foot. Cavalry of
all descriptions should be furnished with fire-arms, and should know how
to manoeuvre on foot. Three thousand light cavalry, or three thousand
cuirassiers, should not suffer themselves to be stopped by a thousand
infantry posted in a wood, or on ground impracticable to cavalry; and
three thousand dragoons ought not to hesitate to attack two thousand
infantry, should the latter, favored by their position, attempt to stop

"Turenne, Prince Eugene of Savoy, and Vendome, attached great importance
to dragoons, and used them successfully. The dragoons gained great glory
in Italy, in 1796 and 1797. In Egypt and in Spain, during the campaigns
of 1806 and 1807, a degree of prejudice sprung up against them. The
divisions of dragoons had been mustered at Compiegne and Amiens, to be
embarked without horses for the expedition of England, in order to serve
on foot until they should be mounted in that country. General Baraguay
d'Hilliers, their first inspector, commanded them; he had them equipped
with gaiters, and incorporated with them a considerable number of
recruits, whom he exercised in infantry manoeuvres alone. These were no
longer cavalry regiments: they served in the campaign of 1806 on foot,
until after the battle of Jena, when they were mounted on horses taken
from the Prussian cavalry, three-fourths of which were unserviceable.
These combined circumstances injured the dragoons; but in 1813 and 1814
their divisions acquired honor in rivalling the cuirassiers. Dragoons
are necessary for the support of light cavalry in the vanguard, the
rear-guard, and the wings of an army; cuirassiers are little adapted for
van and rearguards: they should never be employed in this service but
when it is requisite to keep them in practice and accustom them to war."

Napoleon further recommends that light cavalry be divided into two
kinds, chasseurs or troopers, and light horse; and the heavy to be
composed of dragoons and cuirassiers; the troopers to be mounted on
horses of 4 ft 6 in.; light cavalry on horses of 4 ft. 7 or 8 in.;
dragoons on horses of 4 ft. 9 in.; and cuirassiers on horses of 4 ft. 10
or 11 in.; which employ horses of all kinds for mounting the troops.

All cavalry must receive the same instruction; and all should be
capable, in case of need, of performing any of the duties of mounted
troops. The shock is the principal effect produced by this arm;
therefore, the greater the velocity the greater must be this effect,
provided the troops can be kept in mass. But it is found, by experience,
that it is impossible to preserve them in line when put to the height of
their speed. The best authorities therefore prefer, as we have said
elsewhere, the charge at the trot, or at any rate the gallop should not
be taken up till within a very short distance of the enemy. The charge
of a compact mass at a trot is much greater than that of a wavering one
at a gallop.

On the field of battle the cavalry of the line is considered as the arm
of the shock, to break through any corps that may be in opposition; but
it is unable of itself to resist a shock, and therefore should on no
account wait to receive the charge of another body of mounted troops. It
was on this account that Frederick directed his cavalry officers, under
the severest penalties, never to receive a charge, but always to meet
the attacking force half way. This is the only mode of preventing

A good infantry can always sustain itself against the charges of
cavalry. At the battle of Auerstedt, in 1806, Davoust ordered the
divisions of Gudin to form squares to resist the Prussian cavalry,
which, by means of a fog, had gained a most advantageous position.
Blücher led his cavalry in repeated and impetuous charges, but all was
in vain; the French infantry presented a front of iron. At the combat of
Krasnoi, in 1812, the cavalry of Grouchy, Nansonty, and Bordesoult,
attacked and overthrew the dragoons of Clarkof, but the Russian infantry
under Neveroffskoi sustained itself against the repeated charges of
vastly superior numbers of these French horse. At the battle of Molwitz,
the grenadiers sustained the charges of the enemy's cavalry, although
the cavalry of the great Frederick had already been completely

But when the infantry is engaged with the infantry of the enemy, the
charges of cavalry are generally successful, and sometimes decide the
fate of the battle, as was the case at Rosbach, Zornsdorf, Wurtsburg,
Marengo, Eylau, Borodino, &c.

Cavalry may also be very efficacious against infantry in wet weather,
when the rain or snow renders it impossible for the foot soldiers to use
their fire-arms to advantage, as was the case with the corps of
Augereau, at Eylau, and with the Austrian left, at the battle of
Dresden. Again, if the infantry be previously weakened, or thrown into
disorder by the fire of batteries. The charge of the Russian cavalry at
Hohenfriedberg, in 1745, is a remarkable example of this kind.

Cavalry should always be immediately sustained in its efforts either by
infantry or other bodies of horse; for as soon as the charge is made,
the strength of this arm is for a time exhausted, and, if immediately
attacked, defeat becomes inevitable. The charge of the cavalry of Ney on
Prince Hohenlohe at the battle of Jena, and of the French horse on Gossa
at Leipsic, are fine examples of the successful charges of cavalry when
properly sustained. Kunnersdorf and Waterloo are examples of the
disastrous consequences of leaving such charges without support.

The choice of the field of battle is sometimes such as to render cavalry
almost useless. Such was the case at the battle of Cassano, between the
Duke of Vendome and the Prince Eugene. The field was so cut up by the
Adda and the canals of Rittorto and Pendina, that Prince Eugene could
make no use of his horse. If, when master of the bridge of Rittorto, he
had been able to charge the French with a body of cavalry, there had
been no doubt of his complete success.

After a battle, and in the pursuit of a flying enemy, cavalry is
invaluable. If Napoleon had possessed a suitable number of mounted
troops, with an able commander, at the battles of Lutzen and Ligny, the
results of these victories had been decisive; whereas they were really
without consequence. On the other hand, the Prussian army in 1806, after
the battle of Jena, and Napoleon's army in 1815 at Waterloo, were
completely cut to pieces by the skilful use of cavalry in the pursuit of
a defeated and dispirited foe.

The want of good cavalry was severely felt in the war of the American
Revolution. Had Washington possessed a few good squadrons of horse, his
surprise and defeat in the lines of Brooklyn, and the consequent loss of
New York, had never taken place. The efficient employment of a few good
squadrons of cavalry might readily have prevented the defeat at
Bladensburg, and the loss of the capitol, in 1814.

In a well-organized army, the cavalry should be from one-fourth to
one-sixth of the infantry, according to the nature of the war.[32]

[Footnote 32: To gain a competent knowledge of the duties connected with
the two arms of service mentioned in this chapter, the officer should
make himself thoroughly acquainted with Scott's System of Infantry
Tactics, for the United States' Infantry, or at least with Major
Cooper's abridged edition of Infantry Tactics, and with the system of
Cavalry Tactics, adopted in our army; also with the directions for the
use of these two arms in a campaign, and their employment on the
battle-field, given in the writings of Jomini, Decker, Okouneff,
Rocquancourt, and Jacquinot de Presle.]

The following books may be referred to for further information
respecting the history, organization, use, and instruction of infantry
and cavalry:--

_Essai général de tactique._ Guibert.

_Considérations générales sur l'infanterie française,_ par un général en
rétraite. A work of merit.

_De l'infanterie,_ par l'auteur de l'histoire de l'expédition de Russie.

_Histoire de la guerre de la peninsule._ Foy. This work contains many
interesting and valuable remarks on the French and English systems of
tactics, and particularly on the tactics of Infantry.

_Cours d'art et d'histoire militaires._ Jacquinot de Presle.

_Art de la guerre._ Rogniat.

_Instruction destinée aux troupes légères,_ &c., redigée sur une
instruction de Frederick II. à ses officiers.

_English Infantry Regulations._

_Ordonnance_ (French) _pour l'exercice et les manoeuvres de
l'infanterie,_ par le commission de manoeuvres.

_Aide-mémoires des officiers généraux et supérieurs, et des capitaines._

_Essai sur l'histoire générale de l'art militaire._ Carion-Nisas.

_Histoire de la milice française._ Daniel.

_Cours élémentaire d'art et d'histoire militaires._ Rocquancourt.

_Traité élémentaire d'art militaire,_ &c. Gay de Vernon.

_Introduction à l'étude de l'art de la guerre._ La Roche-Amyou.

_Tactique des trois armes._ Decker.

_Examen raisonné des trois armes,_ &c. Okouneff.

The last two are works of great merit. The writings of Okouneff,
however, are very diffuse.

_Instruction pour le service de l'infanterie légère._ Guyard.

_Instruction de l'infanterie,_ &c. Schauenbourg.

_Traité de tactique._ Ternay et Koch.

_Mécanism des manoeuvres de guerre de l'infanterie polonaise._

_Traité sur l'infanterie légère._ Beurmann.

_English Cavalry Regulations._

_Ordonnance_ (French) _sur l'exercice et les évolutions de la

_Les troupes à cheval de France,_ &c. De Bourge.

_Avant-postes de cavalerie légère._ Brack. The author served with
distinction under Lassale, Colbert, Maison, Pujol, and Excelmans.

_Réflexions sur l'emploi de la cavalerie,_ &c. Caraman.

_Observations sur l'ordonnance, &c., de la cavalerie._ Dejean.

_Tactique de la cavalerie._ Itier.

_Eléments de tactique pour la cavalerie,_ par Mottin de la Balme. A work
of rare merit.

_De l'emploi de la cavalerie à la guerre._ Schauenbourg.

_Rémarques sur la cavalerie._ Warnery. This work has long enjoyed a high
reputation among the cavalry officers of the European services. The
Paris edition is enriched with notes by a French general officer.

_Nachrichten und Betrachtungen über die Thaten und Schicksale der
Reiterei,_ &c. This work discusses the operations of cavalry in the
campaigns of Frederick the Great and of Napoleon, down to the battle of
Lutzen in 1813.

_Examen du livret provisoire,_ &c. Marbot.

_Le Spectateur Militaire,_ contains many essays by cavalry officers on
the various questions connected with the organization and use of this

_Die Gefechtslehre der beiden verbundenen Waffen-Kavallerie und
reitenden Artillerie._ Decker.

_Manuel de l'officier._ Ruhle de Lilienstern.

_Aide-mémoire, à l'usage des officiers de cavalerie._

_Journal de l'infanterie et de la cavalerie._

_Traité de tactique pour les officiers d'infanterie et de cavalerie._

_Histoire des exploits et des vicissitudes de la cavalerie prussienne._



_Artillery_.--Previous to the invention of gunpowder in the thirteenth
century, the machines of war were divided between two classes of
military men, the engineers (_engignours_, as they were called in the
middle ages) and the artillery, (_artilliers_, as they were formerly
called,) the latter being particularly charged with the management of
the lighter and more portable projectile machines, such as the balistas
and arco-balistas, which were used for throwing different kinds of
arrows--_flêches, viretons, carreaux, matras_, &c., while the former
managed the battering-rams, cranes, helipoles, &c. And, indeed, for a
long time after the discovery of gunpowder, this distinction was kept
up, and the artillery retained all the more ordinary projectile
machines, while the engineers constructed and managed the more ponderous
weapons of attack and defence. But the new artillery was gradually
introduced, without, however, immediately displacing the old, and there
were for a time, if we may be allowed the expression, _two_ artilleries,
the one employing the old projectile machines, and the other those of
the new invention. The latter were called _canoniers_, to distinguish
them from the former, who still retained the name of _artilliers_.

The first cannon were invented in the early part of the fourteenth
century, or, perhaps, among the Arabs as early as the middle of the
thirteenth century, but they were not much known in Europe till about
1350. Cannon are said to have been employed by the Moors as early as
1249, and by the French in 1338. The English used artillery at the
battle of Crecy in 1346. Both cannon and the ancient projectile machines
were employed at the siege of Aiguillon in 1339, at Zara in 1345, at
Rennes in 1357, and at Naples in 1380. At this last siege the ancient
balista was employed to throw into the castle of Naples barrels of
infectious matter and mutilated limbs of prisoners of war. We read of
the same thing being done in Spain at a later period.

Cannon in France were at first called _bombards_ and _couleuverines_,
but were afterwards named from certain figures marked on them, such as
_serpentines, basilisks, scorpions,_&c. In the infancy of the art they
were made small, weighing only from twenty to fifty pounds, and were
mounted on small moveable carriages. This species of fire-arms became
quite numerous about the beginning of the fifteenth century. They were
followed by heavier pieces, used in the attack and defence of towns.
This siege artillery continued to be increased in dimensions till,
towards the latter part of the fifteenth century, they reached such an
enormous size as to be almost useless as a military machine. Louis XI.
had an immense piece constructed at Tours, in 1770, which, it was said,
carried a ball from the Bastille to Charenton, (about six miles!) Its
caliber was that of five hundred pounds. It was intended for experiment,
and burst on the second discharge. The famous culverin of Bolduc was
said to carry a ball from that city to Bommel. The culverin of Nancy,
made in 1598, was more than twenty-three feet in length. There is now an
ancient cannon in the arsenal at Metz of about this length, which
carries a ball of one hundred and forty pounds. Cannon balls were found
at Paris as late as 1712, weighing near two hundred pounds, and from
twelve to sixteen inches in diameter. At the siege of Constantinople in
1453, there was a famous metallic bombard which threw stone balls of an
incredible size; at the siege of Bourges in 1412, a cannon was used
which, it was said, threw stone balls "of the size of mill-stones." The
Gantois, under Arteville, made a bombard fifty feet in length, whose
report was heard at a distance of ten leagues!

The first cannon were made of wood, and covered with sheet-iron, or
embraced by iron rings: longitudinal bars of iron were afterwards
substituted for the wooden form. Towards the end of the fourteenth
century, brass, tin, copper, wrought and cast iron, were successively
used for this purpose. The bores of the pieces were first made in a
conical shape, and it was not until a much later period that the
cylindrical form was introduced.

In the wars between the Spaniards and Moors in the latter part of the
fifteenth century, very great use was made of artillery in sieges and
battles. Ferdinand the Catholic had at this time, probably, a larger
artillery train than any other European power. The Spanish cannon,
generally very large, were composed of iron bars about two inches in
breadth, held together by bolts and rings of the same metal. The pieces
were firmly attached to their carriages, and incapable of either
horizontal or vertical movement. The balls thrown by them were usually
of marble, though sometimes of iron. Many of the pieces used at the
siege of Baza, in 1486, are still to be seen in that city, and also the
cannon balls then in use. Some of the latter are fourteen inches in
diameter, and weigh one hundred and seventy-five pounds. The length of
the cannon was about twelve feet. These dimensions are a proof of a
slight improvement in this branch of military science, which was,
nevertheless, still in its infancy. The awkwardness of artillery at this
period may be judged of by its slowness of fire. At the siege of
Zeteuel, in 1407, five "bombards," as the heavy pieces of ordnance were
then called, were able to discharge only forty shot in the course of a
day; and it is noticed as a remarkable circumstance at the siege of
Albahar, that two batteries discharged one hundred and forty balls in
the course of the twenty-four hours!

In the Italian wars between France and Spain, in the beginning of the
sixteenth century, the difficulty of moving the heavy cannon then in use
was so great that only a very small number of pieces were brought upon
the battle-field. At the battle of Cerignola, in 1503, the number of
cannon in the French army was only thirteen. Indeed, during the greater
part of this century, four or five pieces were considered sufficient for
an ordinary army in the field, and many agreed to the doctrine of
Machiavelli, that the only legitimate use of artillery was in the attack
and defence of places. But in the wars of Henry IV. of France, this arm
of service was again increased, and the troops which this king destined
against the house of Austria had an artillery train of fifty pieces.
Great improvements were also made about this period in the manufacture
of powder, and all kinds of fire-arms. Sully gave greater development
to this arm of service, improving its materials, and increasing its
efficiency. Then, as at most other periods, the French were in advance
of most other nations in artillery.

It was near the close of the sixteenth or the beginning of the
seventeenth century, that the heavy and ill-shaped artillery began to
give place to more wieldy and useful pieces. A certain M. de Linar
demonstrated, in the latter part of the sixteenth century, that cannon
twelve feet in length would give a greater range than those seventeen
feet in length, the calibre being the same; but some years elapsed
before advantage was taken of this discovery. In 1624, Gustavus Adolphus
caused experiments to be made to verify this point, and, on being
convinced of its truth, caused his batteries to be furnished with
shorter and lighter pieces. This great king introduced, about the same
time, a new and lighter kind of artillery, made of sheet iron and
leather. Each piece had its chamber formed of thin metal and embraced by
strong iron rings; over these was placed a form of hardened leather,
which was again encircled with rings and held compactly together. These
pieces were mounted on light carriages, so that two men could easily
manoeuvre them. It was said that they would fire from eight to ten
rounds without requiring repairs. Gustavus made use of them in all his
military operations from 1628 to the time of his death. They did him
excellent service on numerous occasions; being so very light they could
be easily transported, and, on the field of battle, their movements
could be made to conform to the movements of his troops.

As cannon and small arms were gradually introduced into general use,
various inventions and improvements were proposed and introduced from
time to time. Cannon were constructed with two or more barrels; some
were arranged for being loaded in the breech, and others at the mouth of
the piece; two pieces were sometimes connected by horizontal timbers,
which revolved about a vertical axis, so that the recoil of one piece
would bring the other into battery; and various other arrangements of
this description, which have recently been revived and some of them
patented as new inventions. The small arms employed at this period were
much the same as those used at the present day, except the matchlock,
which afterwards gave place to flint-locks. Arms of this description
were sometimes made to be loaded at the breach, and guns with two,
three, and even as many as eight barrels, were at one time in fashion.
In the _Musée de l'Artillerie_ at Paris may be found many arms of this
kind, which have been reproduced in this country and England as new
inventions. In this Museum are two ancient pieces, invented near the end
of the sixteenth or the beginning of the seventeenth century, which very
nearly correspond with _Colt's patent_, with the single exception of the

[Footnote 33: It is not to be inferred that the modern _improvements_
(as they are called) are copied from the more ancient _inventions_. Two
men of different ages, or even of the same age, sometimes fall upon the
same identical discovery, without either's borrowing from the other.]

The _materiel_ of artillery employed in modern warfare is divided into
two general classes: 1st. _Siege Artillery_, or such as is employed in
the attack and defence of places. 2d. _Field Artillery_, or such as is
used in battle, or in the field-operations of an army.

1. _Siege Artillery_ is composed of _mortars, large howitzers, Paixhan
guns_ or _Columbiads_,[34] and _all cannon_ of _a large calibre._ In our
service this class of ordnance includes the twelve, eighteen,
twenty-four, thirty-two, and forty-two-pounder guns, the eight, ten, and
thirteen-inch mortars, the sixteen-inch stone mortar, the
twenty-four-pounder coehorn mortar, the twenty-four-pounder carronade,
and the eight, ten, and twelve-inch howitzers.

[Footnote 34: These pieces were first invented by Colonel Bomford, of
the U.S. army, and used in the war of 1812. The dimensions of these guns
were first taken to Europe by a young French officer, and thus fell into
the hands of General Paixhan, who immediately introduced them into the
French service. They were by this means first made known to the rest of
Europe, and received the name of the person who introduced them into the
European services, rather than that of the original inventor. All these
facts are so fully susceptible of proof, that Europeans now acknowledge
themselves indebted to us for the invention; even General Paixhan gives
up all claim to originality in his gun, and limits himself to certain
improvements which he introduced. The original gun, which was invented
by Colonel Bomford, and whose dimensions were carried to General Paixhan
in France, is now lying at the ordnance dépôt, in New York harbor.]

All these, except the smaller mortars, are made of cast iron. This
substance is less tenacious than wrought iron or bronze, and the cannon
made of it are, on this account, much heavier than of the other
materials; but for the naval service, and the attack and defence of
fortifications, the weight required to secure the necessary strength is
not very objectionable. Wrought iron and bronze are much more expensive
and less durable. Moreover, the difficulty of forging wrought iron in
masses of sufficient size has been such as to prevent its being brought
into general use for artillery. Numerous attempts have been made, at
different periods, to construct large guns of this material, but none
have yet been successful. Improvements which are now making in the
manufacture of wrought iron, may render this the preferable material for
the smaller pieces of artillery; but the best informed military men deem
it objectionable for the heavier cannon, both on account of its cost and
the imperfection of its manufacture. Even should the latter objection be
removed, its cost must prevent its general application to the
construction of siege artillery. Charlatans in military science, both in
this country and in Europe, bring this subject up every fifteen or
twenty years as a new _invention_, and flaming notices of the
_improvement_, and predictions of the revolution it is to effect in the
art of war, are circulated in the newspapers to "gull" a credulous
public; and after some fifty or one hundred thousand dollars have been
squandered on some court-favorite, the whole matter ends in the
explosion of the "_improvement_," and probably the destruction of the
"_inventor_," and perhaps also of his spectators. Let us be distinctly
understood on this subject. There may be _inventions_ and _improvements_
in the manufacture of wrought iron, but there is nothing _new_ in its
_application_ to the construction of cannon, for it has been used for
this purpose as long ago as the first invention of the art.

2. _Field Artillery_ is composed of the smaller guns and howitzers. In
our service this class of cannon includes the six and twelve-pounder
guns, and the twelve and twenty-four-pounder howitzers. All these are
now made of bronze. This material is more expensive than cast-iron, but
its superior tenacity renders it more useful where great weight is
objectionable. Improvements in the manufacture of cast iron may render
it safe to employ this metal in the construction of field-pieces. It is
also possible the wrought iron may be forged in masses large enough, and
the cost be so reduced as to bring it into use for field-pieces. It is
here important to combine strength with lightness, and additional
expense may very properly be incurred to secure this important object.

The _projectiles_ now in use are solid shot, shells, strap-shot, case or
canister-shot, grape-shot, light and fire-balls, carcasses, grenades,
and rockets.

_Solid shot_ are now almost invariably made of cast iron,[35] formed in
moulds of sand or iron. This projectile is used under almost every
circumstance, whether in the battle-field or in the attack and defence
of places, and is the only one that is effectual against the stone walls
of forts. _Hot shot_ are used against shipping and wooden structures of
every description. Red-hot balls were first employed by the king of
Poland, in 1575, but, on account of the difficulty of heating them with
rapidity, and the danger of loading the piece with them, this kind of
projectile was not in general use till a much later period. It was at
first supposed that the expansion of the metal would be so great, when
heated to a red or white heat, as to prevent the ball from entering the
piece; it is found, however, that the windage is still sufficient for
loading with facility. These red-hot balls are principally used to fire
wooden buildings, ships, and other combustible matter. They are
therefore much used as a projectile for coast defence, and all
fortifications on the seaboard should be provided with furnaces and
grates, arranged so as to heat them with facility and rapidity.

[Footnote 35: In Mexico, where iron is scarce, copper is used for shot
and shells; but it is a poor substitute.]

There are several kinds of _hollow-shot_ and _shells_, called _bombs,
howitzes, grenades_, &c. They are made of cast iron, and usually in a
spherical shape, the cavity being concentric with the exterior surface.
The cavity was formerly made eccentric with the exterior, under the
belief that the heavier side would always strike first. The rotary
motion of the shell during its flight rendered this precaution of no
use. Fire is communicated to the combustible matter within the shell by
means of a fuse, which is so regulated that the explosion shall take
place at the desired moment. Hollow-shot are used with advantage to
destroy ordinary buildings, ships, earthwork, and thin walls of masonry;
they, however, are of little avail in breaking the massive walls of
well-constructed forts. Howitzes and grenades are particularly effective
against cavalry and columns of infantry, and are much employed on the
battle-field; they are also much used in the attack and defence of

We find that as early as 1486 the Spaniards made use of a projectile
similar to the modern bomb. "They threw from their engines large
globular masses, composed of certain inflammable ingredients mixed with
gunpowder, which, scattering long trains of light," says an eye-witness,
"in their passage through the air, filled the beholders with dismay, and
descending on the roofs of edifices, frequently occasioned extensive
conflagration." In the siege of Constantinople by Mahomet II., shells
were used, and also mortars of enormous size. In 1572 Valturus proposed
to throw, with a kind of mortar, "globes of copper filled with powder."
In 1588, an artificer of Venloo burned Wachtendeck by throwing bombs
into the place. A similar attempt had just been made at Berg-op-Zoom.
The use of this projectile became quite common in France under Louis
XIII. Howitzes were not much used till the seventeenth century. They are
of German origin, and the howitzer first bore the name of _hausmitz_.

The _strap-shot_ consists of a round ball attached to a _sabot_ of the
same calibre, by means of two strips of tin passing over the shot at
right angles, and fastened to a third, which is soldered around the
sabot. One end of the sabot is arranged for attaching it to the
cartridge, the other being hollowed out to receive the shot. The
supposed advantages of this arrangement are, 1st, a diminution of the
windage; 2d, the gun may be loaded with greater rapidity; and, 3d, the
cartridge is transported with greater safety.

The _case_ or _canister-shot_ is prepared by filling a tin canister with
grape-shot or musket-balls, and attaching it to the cartridge by means
of a sabot. There being two sizes of grape-shot, and one of
musket-balls, we have three kinds of canister-shot calculated to reach
at different distances. The three sizes of shot are frequently mixed in
the same canister. This projectile is particularly effective against
lines of infantry and cavalry, when the distance is short.

The _grape-shot_ is composed of small balls arranged round an upright
pin attached to a plate of wood or iron. The concave cast-iron plate is
preferable, as it increases the range of the shot. The balls are covered
with canvass, and thoroughly confined by a quilting of strong twine.
This shot is used for the same purposes as the canister.

_Light_ and _fire-balls_ are formed of an oval case of sacking, filled
with combustible matter, and attached to a culot of cast-iron. The whole
is covered with a net of spun-yarn. Light-balls are used to light up our
own works, and are not armed; fire-balls being employed to light up the
works or approaches of an enemy, it is necessary to arm them with
pistol-barrels, in order to prevent, any one from extinguishing them.
When made of very combustible materials, and used for setting fire to
wooden structures, they are denominated _incendiary balls_.

_Carcasses_ are employed for the same purpose as incendiary balls; they
are of two kinds: 1st, the _shell-carcass_; and, 2d, the _ribbed-carcass_.
The first is composed of a spherical shell, cast with five fuse-holes, one
being at the top, and the other four in a plane perpendicular to this and
at right angles with each other; the shell is filled with matter highly
combustible. The second is formed of iron ribs connected by iron straps,
and attached at the ends to culots of the same material, the whole being
filled with combustible composition. This is more expensive than the shell
carcass, and cannot be fired with as great accuracy; it is now seldom used.
Carcasses may be armed in the same manner as fire-balls.

_Smoke_ and _suffocating balls_ are used to drive an enemy from
galleries and mines. They are thrown by hand.

The _personnel_ of the French artillery was for a long time retained,
together with the engineers, under the general direction of the "Grand
Master of Cross-bows." In 1420 the master-general of artillery was made
independent of the grand-master of cross-bows; but previous to the reign
of Louis XIV., the artillery troops had no organization as a separate
corps. In 1668 six companies of _canoniers_ were created, and soon after
two companies of _bombardiers_. In 1693 the first regiment of fusiliers
was changed into a _royal regiment of artillery_, and both the canoniers
and bombardiers were eventually incorporated with it. The staff of
artillery, towards the close of this reign, was composed of one
grand-master, sixty lieutenants, sixty commissaries, and eighty
_officiers-pointeurs_. In 1721 the artillery was divided into five
battalions and stationed at Metz, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Perpignan, and
La Fère, where they established schools of theory and practice. In 1756
the artillery was organized into seven regiments, each regiment having
its own separate school. This organization continued without any
remarkable change till the Revolution.

During the earlier campaigns of the French Revolution it is impossible
to trace out the changes that took place in army organization, every
thing was then so irregular and confused, the troops of different arms
being frequently united together. In the campaign of 1792 there were
some six or seven regiments of foot artillery, and ten companies of
horse. This arm was greatly increased during the subsequent campaigns,
and its organization was completely remodelled by Napoleon on his
elevation to the head of the government. The _personnel_ of the
artillery was then composed of a general staff, nine regiments of foot
and six of horse. In 1815 it was reduced to eight regiments of foot and
four of horse.

The _personnel_ of artillery in modern army organization is divided into
four classes: the _staff, guards, artificers,_ and _troops_.

I. The _Staff_, or _Ordnance_, as it is called in our service, is
charged with the construction of all the materials of artillery, and the
collection of powder and military stores. As the lives of persons using
these materials, and, in a considerable degree, the success of war,
depend upon the nature and quality of the stores thus manufactured and
collected, it is obvious that the members of this branch of the
artillery service should possess high and peculiar qualifications. In
the French army the artillery staff is composed of two hundred and
eighty-three officers of different grades: also twenty-four officers of
the general staff are attached to this service. In our army the
_ordnance_ is composed of twenty-eight officers of different grades.

II. _Artillery-guards._--These in our service are divided into two
classes: 1st. _Military Store-keepers._ 2d. _Ordnance Sergeants._ Both
are alike charged with the care and preservation of the artillery
property and stores at the several garrisons, arsenals, and magazines.
In our army we have fifty-eight of these guards, viz: fifteen
commissioned military store-keepers, and forty-three ordnance sergeants.
We seldom have more than this number of permanent posts; each one can
therefore be supplied with an artillery guard for the care of the
artillery stores. In the French service there are three hundred and
fifteen of these artillery guards; they are divided into three classes.

III. _Artificers._--This class of men are employed in the construction
and repairs of military materials. In most of our arsenals and armories
it is thought to be best to employ unenlisted workmen, by the piece or
contract. Nevertheless a limited number of enlisted men of this
description are found to be both useful and necessary. We have three
hundred and thirty of these in our army, viz: two hundred and fifty
enlisted "ordnance men," and eighty "artificers" attached to the
regiments. In the French army they have for the service of the arsenals
and establishments, one hundred and forty-nine "ouvriers," and twelve
"artificers;" there are also three hundred and sixty "ouvriers" and
seventeen "armuriers" attached to the corps of artillery, making in all
five hundred and thirty-eight.

IV. _Artillery Troops._--Artillery, as an arm of service, is divided in
the same manner as its _materiel_; the _field_-artillery being intended
for field service, and the garrison or _siege_-artillery, for the attack
and defence of places. The troops of the artillery corps of a modern
army usually do duty either in the field, or in sieges, or garrison, as
occasion may require. When employed in the service of a campaign,
artillery is usually divided into two classes: 1st. _Foot_ Artillery;
and 2d. _Horse_ Artillery.

In the early history of artillery, as has already been shown, but few
pieces were ever brought upon the battle-field. Charles VIII. crossed
the Alps with a pretty large train; but a part of these were hand-guns,
and but very few of the larger pieces were ever brought into battle;
indeed, it was then thought that this arm would be of little use except
in sieges. At the battle of Gravelines the army of Philip II. had only
seventeen pieces of artillery; and at the battle of Ivry the French had
only four pieces of cannon, and two culverins: the army of the League
had also only four pieces. At the battle of Moncontour the opposing
armies had but eight pieces each.

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden not only improved the character of
artillery, but also gave to it great development as an arm of service.
At the battle of Bréetenfield he had one hundred pieces of artillery,
great and small, and at the camp of Nuremberg he numbered about three
hundred. This king also made a more skilful use of his cannon by uniting
them more in mass than had been done by his predecessors; his system was
nevertheless very imperfect. In the disposition of this arm on the field
of battle, a vast improvement was made by Condé, Turenne, and Prince
Eugene of Savoy. Frederick the Great also made great use of this arm,
and was the first to introduce horse artillery. This mode of using
field-pieces has peculiar properties which in many circumstances render
it an invaluable arm. The promptness and rapidity of its movements
enable it to act with other troops without embarrassing them. The French
soon introduced into their army the improvements made by the king of
Prussia, and in 1763 the celebrated Gribeauval appeared. He improved the
form of the cannon and greatly diminished the weight of field artillery,
giving it an organization which has been but slightly changed since his

The successive improvements in artillery have for a long time
constituted a prominent feature in war. The power of this arm to throw
projectiles to a great distance, and to overturn and destroy opposing
obstacles, renders it a necessary arm on the battle-field, and a strong
barrier and safeguard of states. It is an essential element in all army

In our army we have four regiments of artillery, forming the basis of
forty batteries. In the French service there are fourteen regiments,
forming the basis of two hundred and six field batteries.

The term _battery_, when applied to artillery as an arm of service,
refers to a permanent organization of a certain number of cannon, with
the men and other accessaries required to serve them. This is the unit
of force in this arm. The regimental organization is a mere nominal
arrangement, for in actual service artillery acts by batteries, and
never by regiments. Its strength is therefore invariably estimated by
the number of its batteries.

A battery is ordinarily composed of six pieces, two of them being
howitzers. The lighter batteries would, in our service, be formed of
six-pounder guns and twelve-pounder howitzers; and the heavier of
twelve-pounder guns and twenty-four-pounder howitzers. These heavy
batteries would usually form the reserve. Each piece being attended by
its caisson, this formation would give twelve carriages to each battery,
six for the guns and six for the caissons. The extra caissons form a
part of the reserve, and move with the train. In some foreign services a
battery is composed of eight pieces with their caissons.

This arm admits of three formations--_in column, in battle_, and _in
battery_. In column it ordinarily moves by sections of two pieces, each
piece being followed or preceded by its caisson. Columns of
half-batteries are sometimes formed, and also columns of single pieces;
but the latter ought never to be employed except in cases of necessity
in passing a narrow defile, and at a distance from the enemy.

In order of battle, the pieces are drawn up in line, their caissons
forming a second line, at the distance of a few paces.

When in order of battery, the pieces are formed in the same way as for
battle, except that the guns are directed towards the enemy and prepared
for firing.

The movements and manoeuvres of foot artillery correspond with those of
infantry, and of mounted artillery with those of cavalry, a battery
being regarded as a battalion or squadron, of which the pieces form the
platoons. Mounted batteries can seldom move with greater rapidity than
the trot, except in cases of emergency, and even then the gallop can be
kept up only for a very short time; but this is of no great importance,
as the batteries never accompany cavalry in the charge.

The French and German writers discuss artillery as employed in battle,
under two distinct heads--1st, as an arm of preparation, and 2d, as an
arm of succor.

I. As an arm of preparation it serves, 1st, to protect the deploying of
the other troops; 2d, to disorganize the enemy's masses, and to
facilitate the action of infantry and cavalry, by weakening the intended
points of attack; 3d, to force an enemy to evacuate a position by
overthrowing obstacles with which he has covered himself; 4th, to keep
up the action till the other troops can be prepared to strike the
decisive blow.

The force of this arm depends upon the rapidity and accuracy of its
fire; rash valor is therefore far less desirable in artillery than
skill, patience, and cool courage. Artillery always acts at a distance,
and in mass; single pieces are seldom employed, except to cover
reconnoitring parties, or to sustain the light infantry in a skirmish.
Mounted batteries sometimes approach within two or three hundred yards
of the enemy's infantry; but this is only done with a strong support of
other troops, and to prepare the way for a charge of cavalry. The
batteries do not accompany the charge, but they should always follow up
and complete the success; mounted batteries are particularly useful in
pursuit. If Murat, in 1812, had accompanied his attacks upon
Neveroffskoi's retreating columns of sixty thousand infantry by two or
three batteries of mounted artillery, the whole column must have been
captured or destroyed.

Artillery, on the field of battle, is very liable to allow its fire to
be drawn, and its projectiles wasted, while the enemy is at too great a
distance to be reached. It is a very common thing in a battle, to employ
two or three pieces of heavy calibre at the beginning of the fight, in
order to provoke the opposing batteries to open their fire before the
proper time. The waste of material is not the only loss attending this
error; the troops are fatigued and disheartened, while the courage and
confidence of their opponents are always revived by a weak and
inaccurate fire. To avoid such an error the commanding officer of a
battery of artillery should be perfectly familiar with the effective
ranges of his pieces, and accustomed to form a correct estimate of
distances. For this purpose the eye should be frequently practised in
time of peace in estimating the ranges for different calibres.

The effective range of a 12-pounder field-piece

   is about .     .     .     .     .     .       1000 yds.
   "      "      "      "    6     "      "        800  "
   "      "      "      "    24    "     howitzer, 600  "
   "      "      "      "    12    "      "        500  "
   "      "      "      "    grape and case shot is
   from .     .     .     .     .     .     300 to 500  "

Even at these distances the aim is usually so inaccurate that a large
portion of the projectiles are lost. In the attack on Spires, a whole
column of artillery expended its fire while at a distance of 900 yards
from the enemy, who, of course, received little or no injury. In firing
from fortifications, the aim is far more accurate, and the artillery may
therefore be employed to advantage as soon as the enemy comes within the
longest range.

II. As an arm of succor, the artillery serves, 1st, to give impulsive
force to the attacking columns; 2d, to assist in arresting, or at least
in retarding, the offensive movements of an enemy; 3d, to protect the
avenues of approach, and to defend obstacles that cover a position; and,
4th, to cover a retrograde movement.

Mounted artillery is, like cavalry, much the most effective in attack;
but batteries of foot are better calculated for defence. The cannoniers
are so armed as to be capable of defending their pieces to the last
extremity; they therefore cannot be easily captured by opposing columns
of infantry. "As to pretending to rush upon the guns," says Napoleon,
"and carry them by the bayonet, or to pick off the gunners by musketry,
these are chimerical ideas. Such things do sometimes happen; but have we
not examples of still more extraordinary captures by a _coup de main?_
As a general rule, there is no infantry, however intrepid it may be,
that can, without artillery, march with impunity the distance of five or
six hundred toises, against two well-placed batteries (16 pieces) of
cannon, served by good gunners; before they could pass over two-thirds
of the way, the men would be killed, wounded, or dispersed. * * * * A
good infantry forms, no doubt, the sinews of an army; but if it were
required to fight for a long time against a very superior artillery, its
good quality would be exhausted, and its efficiency destroyed. In the
first campaigns of the wars of the Revolution, what France had in the
greatest perfection was artillery; we know not a single instance in
which twenty pieces of cannon, judiciously placed, and in battery, were
ever carried by the bayonet. In the affair at Valmy, at the battles of
Jemmapes, Nordlingen, and Fleurus, the French had an artillery superior
to that of the enemy, although they had often only two guns to one
thousand men; but that was because their armies were very numerous. It
may happen that a general, more skilful in manoeuvring, more expert than
his adversary, and commanding a better infantry, may obtain successes
during a part of a campaign, although his artillery may be far inferior
to that of his opponent; but on the critical day of a general
engagement, his inferiority in point of metal will be severely felt."

History furnishes us numerous examples of the use of artillery in
protecting avenues of approach:--such as the defile of Köesen at the
battle of Auerstedt; the avenues between the redoubts of Pultowa, &c.,

When an army is forced to retreat, it covers its rear by that portion of
its cavalry and mounted artillery which has suffered least during the
battle. By placing the squadrons of horse and the light batteries in
echelon, the retiring column may be well protected. The artillery, by
using the prolonge, may also continue its retreat while in battery and
firing. It was in this way that at the battle of Albuera, in 1811, the
French artillery on the left wing held in check the right and centre of
the Anglo-Spaniards till the army effected its retreat; the artillery
then retired in echelons, by batteries and fractions of batteries, under
the protection of the cavalry.

We have already discussed, under the general head of tactics, the
position and use of artillery on the battle-field a few additional
remarks must suffice.

As a general rule, batteries should be placed in positions from which
they can employ their fire to advantage, and also be free to move in any
direction that the progress of the battle may require. Advantage should
always be taken of natural or artificial obstacles, such as hedges,
clumps of trees, logs, mounds of earth, &c., to cover and conceal the
guns till the moment they open their fire. Elevated positions are,
contrary to the common opinion, generally unfavorable, for artillery
cannot fire to advantage at any considerable angle of depression. The
slopes in front should be of considerable length, otherwise the balls
would do very little execution upon that portion of the column of attack
which occupied the valley. The ground should also be smooth, for if
rough the balls will either bury themselves in the earth, or ricochet at
a high angle of deflection, thus destroying a considerable part of the
effect of the fire. The counterforts or spurs of hills are favorable for
artillery, as they enable it to see, with an enfilading fire, the slopes
of the principal range. Batteries should seldom be placed so as to fire
over other troops, for they will not only be intimidated by this fire,
but also exposed to the opposing fire of the enemy's artillery. A large
number of pieces should never be crowded into the same place, but an
interval should be left between the guns of forty or fifty feet,
according to the locality. The most favorable position for this arm in
ordinary ground, is in the intervals between the regiments or brigades
of the line, and far enough in advance of this line not to draw upon the
other troops the fire of the enemy's artillery. The flanks of the line
are also favorable for the action of this arm.

Sometimes artillery has been employed to form a part of the line of
battle; but such instances are exceptions, and can never be comprised in
general rules. Whenever this disposition has been made, it has resulted
from the defective character of the other arms, or from some peculiar
circumstance in the battle which enabled a bold and skilful commander to
deviate from the ordinary rules of tactics. Such was the case with
Napoleon at Wagram. In Saxony, in 1813, he was several times obliged to
substitute his artillery to supply the want of other arms.

In the defence and attack of field-works, and in the passage of rivers,
artillery plays an important and indispensable part; but it here becomes
an auxiliary to the dispositions of the engineers, or at least acts in
concert with that arm.

The troops of artillery, in all well-regulated army organizations,
should equal about two-thirds of the cavalry, or one-seventh of the

[Footnote 36: To qualify himself for the duties connected with his arm
of service, the artillery officer must make himself thoroughly
acquainted with--.

_The Instruction for United States Field Artillery, horse and foot;

Capt. Anderson's Instruction for Garrison Artillery;

Kinsley's Notes on Pyrotechny;

Knowlton's Notes on Gunpowder_,&c.; and

The writings of Thiroux and Piobert on theoretical and practical
instruction, and the writings of Jomini, Decker, and Okotmeff, on the
use of this arm on the field of battle.

The following list of books of reference may be of use to those who wish
to make themselves perfectly familiar with all the branches of

_Histoire général de l'artillerie_. Brunet.

_L'artillerie à cheval dans les combats de cavalerie_. Par un officier
de l'artillerie Prussienne.

_Considérations et experiences sur le tir des obus à bulles_. Bormann.
_Essai sur les obusiers_. Dusaert.

_Essai sur l'organisation de l'artillerie_. Le Bourg.

_Traité sur l'artillerie_, (traduit de l'Allemand.) Rouvroy.

_Bombardier Français_. Bélidor.

_Mémoires d'artillerie_. St. Rémy.

_Essai sur l'usage de l'artillerie dans la guerre de campagne et celle
de siége_. Dupuget.

_Mémoires sur les nouveaux systèmes d'artillerie_. St. Aubin.

_Treatise on Artillery_. Müller.

_Artificial Fire-Works_. Jones.

_Table de tir les canons et obusiers_. Lombard.

_On Gunpowder_. Antoni.

_Recherches sur l'artillerie en général_. Texier de Norbec.

_Déscription de l'art de fabriquer les canons_. Monge.

_Procédés de la fabrication des armes blanches_. Vandermonde.

_Manuel de l'artilleur_. Durtubie.

_Traité du mouvement des projectiles_. Lombard.

_Treatise on Artillery_. Scheel. (Translated from the German.)

_Traité pratique des feux d'artifice_. Morel.

_Manuel du canonnier marin_. Cornibert.

_New Principles of Gunnery_. Robins.

_Mémoires sur la fabrication des armes portatives_. Cotty.

_Recherches sur la poudre_. Cossigny.

_Supplement_. Cossigny.

_Fabrication de la poudre_. Renaud.

_American Artillerist's Companion_. Toussard.

_Tables des portées des canons et canonades de la marine_. Cornilwert.

_Traité d'artifices de guerre_. Bigot.

_Traité élémentaire de la fabrication des bouches à feu_. Dartein.

_Traité de l'art de fabriquer la poudre à canon_. Bottée et Riffault.

_L'art du salpétrier_. Bottée et Riffault.

_Dictionary of Artillery_. Hoyer. (German.)

_New Experiments on Gunnery_. Hutton--(Hutton's Tracts.)

_Des bois propres au service des Arsenaux_. Herbin de Halles.

_Instruction sur le service de l'artillerie_. Hulot.

_Manoeuvres de force_. Bigot.

_Balistique_. Obenheim.

_Treatise on Artillery_. German. Scharnhorst. (Translated into French,

_Essai sur l'art de pointer_. Poumet.

_Réflexions sur la fabrication des bouches à feu_. Lamartillière.

_Mémoire sur la planchette du canonnier_. Obenheim.

_Aide-Mémoire_. Gassendi.

_Observations on the use of Artillery at the sieges of Badajos, St.
Sebastian, &c_.

_Treatise on Artillery_. Lallemand.

_Elémens de pyrotechnie_. Ruggieri.

_Nouvelle force maritime_. Paixhans.

_Dictionnaire d'artillerie_. Cotty.

_Recherches balistiques_. Coste.

_Poudres fulminantes_. Vergnaud.

_Manuel de la métallurgie du fer_. Culman.

_Pyrotechnic militaire,_ (traduit de l'Allemand, par R. de Peretsdorff.)

_Journal des Sciences Militaires_.

_Pyrotechny_. Cutbush.

_Traité élémentaire d'artillerie_. Decker.

_Fusées de guerre_. Montgery.

_Documens sur la matière à canons_. Hervé.

_Observations sur le nouveau système d'artillerie_. Allix.

_Système d'artillerie de campagne_. Allix.

_Pocket Gunner_. Adye.

_On the Rocket System_. Congreve.

_Essai sur l'art des fontes_. Serres.

_Receuil de Mémoires sur la poudre à canon_. Proust.

_Mémorial de l'artilleur marin_. Michel.

_Observations sur le nouveau système de l'artillerie_. Poumet.

_Mémorial d'artillerie_.

_British Gunner_. Spearman.

_Régles de pointage à bord des vaisseaux_. Montgery.

_Manuel du maître de forges_. Landrin.

_Naval Gunnery_. Douglass.

_Métallurgie du fer_ (traduit de l'Allemand, par Culman.) Karsten.

_Aide-Mémoire à l'usage des officers d'artillerie_. (Strasbourg.)

_Traité de l'organisation et de la tactique de l'artillerie,_ (traduit
de l'Allemand par Peretsdorff.) Grewenitz.

_Supplement au dictionnaire d'artillerie_. Cotty.

_Memoir on Gunpowder_. Braddock.

_Manuel de l'armurier_. Paulin-Desormeaux.

_Journal des armes spéciales_.

_Cours sur le service des officiers dans les fonderies_. Serres.

_Expériences sur la fabrication et la durée des bouches à feu en fer et
bronze,_ (traduit de l'Allemand par Peretsdorff.) Meyer.

_Applications du fer aux constructions de l'artillerie_. Thierry.

_Aide-Mémoire d'art militaire_. Lebas.

_Mémorial à l'usage de l'armée Belge_.

_Instructions and Regulations for the service and management of heavy
ordnance in the British service_.

_Experiences sur les principes du tir,_ faites à Metz, en 1834.

_Traité d'artillerie théorique et pratique_. Piobert.

_Aide-Mémoire à l'usage des officiers d'artillerie,_ (avec approbation
du comité d'artillerie.)

_Manuel d'artillerie à l'usage des officiers de la République
Helvétique._ Bonaparte, (Napoleon Louis.)

_Expériences comparatives entre des bouches à feu en fonte de fer,
d'origine Franzaise, Anglaise et Suédoise,_ faites à Gavres, en 1836.

_Expériences faites à Brest en_ 1831, _sur les canons._ Paixhans.

_Essai sur l'organisation de l'artillerie._ Le Bourg.

_Expériences sur des projectiles creux,_ faites en 1829, '30, '31.

_Instruction pratique sur l'emploi des projectiles,_ (traduit de
l'Allemand par Peretsdorff.) Decker.

_Effects of heavy ordnance as applied to ships of war._ Simmons.

_Expériences sur les poudres de guerre,_ faites à Esquerdes, en 1832,
'33, '34, and '35. Maguin.

_Cours d'artillerie à l'usage des sous-officiers._ De Crépy.

_Instruction théorique et pratique d'artillerie,_ à l'usage des élèves
de St. Cyr. Thiroux.

_Cours sur le service des officiers d'artillerie dans les forges._

_Manuel historique de la technologie des armes à feu,_ (traduit de
l'Allemand par M. Rieffel.) Meyer.

_Formules rélatives aux effets du tir sur affût._ Poisson.

_Manuel de l'artificer._ Vergnaud.

_Etat actuel de l'artillerie de campagne de toutes les puissances de
l'Europe,_ (traduit par Mazé; Ire partie, Artillerie Anglaise.) Jacobi.
(Six other parts have been published in German, containing descriptions
of the French, Belgian, Hessian, Wirtemburg, Nassau, and Swedish

_Introduction à l'étude de l'artillerie._ Madelaine.

_Cours sur le service des officiers d'artillerie dans les fonderies.
Description de la fabrication des bouches ù feu à la fonderie royale de
Liège._ Huguenin.

_Poudre ù canon._ Timmerhans.

_Procédés de fabrication dans les forges,_ (extrait du cours sur le
service des officiers dans les forges.)

_Renseignements sur le matériel de l'artillerie navale de la Grande
Bretagne._ Zeni et des Hays.

_Théorie des affûts et des voitures de l'artillerie._ Migout et Bergery

_Artillerist's Manual._ Griffith.

_Handbuch für die K.K. Oesterreichische Artillerie Offiziere,_ (manual
for the Austrian artillery officers.)

_Sammlung von Steindruckzeichnungen der Preussischen Artillerie,_ _mit
Erläuterungen_, (collection of plates of the Prussian artillery, with
explanatory text.)

_Histoire des fusées de guerre._

_Ordnance Manual_, for the use of the officers of the United States

_Experiments on Gunpowder_. Capt. Mordecai.

_Pyrotechny_, for the use of the Cadets at the United States Military
Academy. Kinsley.

_Notes on Gunpowder, Percussion Powder, Cannon, and Projectiles_. Lt.



_Engineers_.--The term _engineer_ is derived from the unclassical Latin
word _ingenium_, which was applied both to a _machine_ and the _mind_ or
_skill_ of the person who devised or constructed it.

It was Philip Augustus, say the French writers, who first introduced
engineers (_engigneurs_, or _engignours_, as they were called) into
France, and restored the art of sieges. The engineers of that age were
seldom charged with the construction of works of military defence, but,
like Archimedes at Syracuse, and Longinus at Palmyra, they directed
their attention principally to devising implements of war and the most
effective manner of using them. Engines of war were at that time divided
between the _engigneurs_ and the _artilliers_; the former being charged
with the heavier machines, and the latter with the smaller weapons used
for throwing projectiles. After the invention of gunpowder, the old
battering-rams, cranes, helipoles, &c., disappeared, and with them the
_engigneurs_, or masters of engines. The new inventions were united with
the few old projectile machines that remained in the artillery, and the
engineers were for a time left almost without employment. The revival of
the art of fortification was very slow, and the modern system scarcely
began to be developed till near the sixteenth century.

We must omit for the present giving even an outline of the history of
military engineering, and pass to the troops of this arm, as
constituting an essential element of an army organization. The subject
of fortification, and the history of its various changes, will be
examined in the next chapter.

The engineers, in modern army organization, constitute the fourth arm of
service, as, compared with artillery, their relative numbers are about
as two to three. They are divided in the same manner as the artillery,
viz.:--1st, the staff; 2d, guards, or fort-keepers; 3d, artificers; and
4th, the troops.

I. The officers constituting the staff of this corps are charged in time
of peace with planning, constructing, and repairing all fortifications
and other defensive works; the construction and preparation of all
military materials, and stores connected with this arm; and (in our
service) with the disbursements of money connected with these
operations: in time of war they are charged with the attack and defence
of military works, the laying out and construction of field defences,
redoubts, intrenchments, roads, &c.; in the attack they form a part of
the vanguard, to remove obstructions; and in retreat they form a part
of the rear-guard, to erect obstacles, destroy roads, bridges, &c., so
as to retard an enemy's pursuit.

From the important character of these duties as connected with the means
essential to a national defence, and the vast amount of money expended
in these operations, it is evident that a high order of acquirements
should be deemed necessary to qualify one to perform the duties of a
military engineer. This officer requires a knowledge of chemistry, to
guide his choice of materials for mortars, cements, and mastics; of
mineralogy and geology, for selecting stone; of botany, for timber and
the means of preventing its decay; of mathematics, in laying out his
work and calculating the thickness and stability of his walls,
embankments, &c.; of mechanical philosophy, in constructing his
machinery; of military engineering, in his plans of fortifications; and
of all the higher branches of military science, in selecting positions
for these works, such that they shall have the proper relations to the
means of national defence, and to the grand operations of armies in the
field. The avenues to appointment to this corps are guarded, in most
European armies, with special care, to prevent the influence of money,
politics, or family connections; and in our own army it is now specified
by law of Congress, that the vacancies shall be filled only from the
most distinguished graduates of the military academy. Formerly our
service suffered most severely from the employment of incompetent
persons, introduced through political influence from civil life, and
foreign charlatans, the refuse of European armies. Many of our earlier
military works (as will be mentioned hereafter) were modelled upon
systems for a long time discarded by the profession in Europe, and even
some of those which have been constructed within the last thirty years
are made of such wretched materials and workmanship, that they are
already crumbling into ruins. While the existing laws and regulations
seem well calculated to prevent the recurrence of similar abuses and
errors, it nevertheless can be shown that the organization of this arm
of our service requires modifications and extensions to give it the
requisite degree of efficiency, and to economize the public

The wars of Louis XIV. first led to a regular military organization, and
a regular system of defence. In these wars the engineers received great
development, and have ever since occupied a prominent position as parts
of an army organization. We therefore find in all the great sieges and
battles of this era a large and continually increasing number of
engineers and engineer troops, this force being gradually augmented as
the true principles of war became better understood, and as the wants of
the service required. Even in the earliest of these battles we find the
engineers taking a prominent and distinguished part. In the war of 1688,
twenty-four engineers were killed and wounded at the siege of
Philipsbourg, eighteen at Namur, eight at Huy, ten at Charleroi, eight
at Ath, thirty at Barcelona, &c. Such losses were good proofs of the
usefulness of these officers, and before this war was closed, their
number was increased to six hundred; and in 1706 the army contained
eight brigades of engineers and four companies of miners.

The engineer corps being partially disbanded in the early part of the
French Revolution, great difficulty was experienced in reorganizing it
and in finding competent men to supply the places of those who had been
driven into exile or sacrificed during the reign of terror. Energy and
activity, combined with republican zeal, could supply the place of skill
in the other arms, but the science of the engineer could not be acquired
in a day.

In 1799, the staff of the engineer corps consisted of four hundred and
forty-nine officers, without including the general officers, commanding
departments, or those connected with the engineer troops. The same
organization was continued in 1804. The engineer staff of the French
army now numbers four hundred and thirty-two officers. We have in our
service forty-three engineer officers, for staff duty, who are now
engaged in the construction and repairs of some sixty or seventy
fortifications, and other works of a civil and military character.

II. _Engineer Guards_, or _Fort-Keepers_, are a class of men charged
with the general care of forts, and all public property deposited in the
several engineer dépôts and garrisons, and in the public works during
their construction.

There are five hundred and fifty of these "_gardes du Genie_" in the
French army, who rank next the sub-lieutenants of engineers, and are
assimilated with the sub-lieutenants of infantry in the hospitals,
marches, &c. _In our service we have no engineer guards or

This defect in our organization has been the cause of serious
inconvenience, and the consequent waste of public property. The expense
of hiring civil agents for this purpose has more than trebled the cost
of supporting a suitable number of non-commissioned guards to maintain
the good order and efficiency of our forts, in the absence of engineer
officers, and to preserve and keep in repair the military implements and
stores connected with this department of the army. It has already been
shown that we have fifty-eight of these guards for the artillery
service, and it really seems somewhat singular that the engineers, with
a much greater amount of public property in their charge, are allowed no
assistants of this kind.

III. _Engineer artificers_ are a class of men employed in the practical
operations of constructing forts and other military defences, and in
making and repairing all the implements used by the engineer troops in
the operations of sapping and mining, in crossing rivers, in
constructing field-defences, and in the attack and defence of

As very few new fortifications are now required in France, the services
of engineer artificers are less necessary and important than in our
service, where large sums of money are annually expended upon military
defences, There are, however, in the French army a corps of engineer
artificers, consisting of eight officers and a cadre of fifty-four
non-commissioned officers, with a variable number of privates, organized
into two companies. _But in our army we have no regular engineer
artificers!_ In our artillery service we have three hundred and thirty
enlisted artillery artificers. If these are useful and necessary to the
artillery service, which no one doubts, for still stronger reasons would
it be advantageous to the public service to employ at least an equal
number of enlisted engineer artificers on our fortifications; for the
annual expenditure of public money is here much greater than in the
corresponding branch of the artillery service.

IV. _Engineer troops_ are divided into three classes--1st, _sappers and
pioneers_; 2d, _miners_; and 3d, _pontoniers_.

In the French army of 1799, there were four battalions of sappers,
consisting of 120 officers and 7,092 men. In 1804, Napoleon organized
five battalions of these troops, consisting of 165 officers and 8,865
men. Even this number was found insufficient in his campaigns in Germany
and Spain, and he was obliged to organize an additional number of
sappers from the Italian and French auxiliaries. The pioneers were then
partly attached to other branches of the service. There is, at present,
in the French army a considerable number of sappers or pioneers detached
for the service of the infantry regiments, three companies of
_sapeurs-conducteurs_, and forty-two companies of _sapeurs_. In the
French army of 1799, there were six companies of miners, consisting of
24 officers and 576 men. In 1804, Napoleon increased these troops to
nine companies, containing 36 officers and 864 men. The present French
peace establishment contains six companies of miners, organized much the
same as under Napoleon. In the French army of 1799 there were two
regiments of pontoniers, of 38 officers and 960 men. But this number was
found too small in the remaining campaigns, and the deficiency was
temporarily supplied by organizing sailors for these duties. In the
present French army organization, there are eleven companies of
pontoniers, forming a regiment of sixty-three officers.

_We have in our service no sappers, miners, or pontoniers_, and, in case
of war, would be found without the means of executing any military
works, or performing any military operation which would require engineer

In the preliminary stages of army organization under Louis XIV.,
infantry troops were detailed as sappers, and instructed in these duties
by the engineers. This irregularity of service soon caused difficulties
and losses, and the evils springing from it were so great, that Vauban
urged the propriety of a separate organization. In 1670 he officially
recommended to the king to establish a regiment of twelve hundred
sappers and _ouvriers_, and in a subsequent report on the value of these
troops, used the following language: "They would be useful in peace as
well as in war, and would be the means of saving much in all
fortifications where they should be employed. In fact, I have not the
least doubt that they would save annually to the king much more than
their pay. I assert all I have said on this subject with as much
confidence as if I had seen the result; and I can, with the same
certainty, add, that this small troop will be the means of saving large
numbers of good engineers and brave officers and soldiers, from the
stern necessity to which we are reduced of exposing, almost always, the
laborers and those who support them; which necessity would not arise
had we at command a sufficient number of this kind of workmen well
instructed. To such a degree have I felt the necessity of sappers, at
every siege at which I have been present, that I have always had reason
to repent of not having more urgently solicited the creation of this

Such are the views of the greatest of military engineers, a man who
fought one hundred and forty battles, conducted fifty-eight sieges, and
built or repaired three hundred fortifications. His anticipations of the
usefulness of engineer troops were fully realized, and they have ever
since received the most careful attention, and now form, as has just
been shown, one of the most important and efficient arms in the French
service. The fortifications constructed by the engineers, as organized
by Vauban, have ever since constituted one of the principal elements of
the French military power.

In the wars of Napoleon there are innumerable instances in illustration
of the delays and disasters attending the operations of armies not
supplied with engineer troops; and, on the other hand, the advantages
resulting from their services when properly organized and instructed. We
have already pointed out the influence which the fortifications in the
hands of the French exerted on the results of these wars, and the fatal
consequences to the Allies of neglecting these works of national
defence. Every student of military history will immediately call to mind
the influence of Savona, Coni, Mondovi, Ceva, Govi, Alessandria,
Tortona, Pizzighitone, Peschiera, Mantua, Palma-Nuova, Osopo,
Klagenfurth, &c., in the campaigns of 1796-7; of Genoa, Port Bard, the
fortifications of the Var, Ulm, Ingoldstadt, &c., in 1800; of Milan,
Turin, Mantua, Roco d'Aufo, Genoa, Alessandria, &c., in 1805; the
importance of Kehl, Cassel, Wesel, &c., to the French in 1806, and the
fatal consequences to the Prussians in that campaign, of their total
and culpable neglect of their own fortifications.

All military historians speak of the influence of fortifications in the
Peninsular campaigns: those which had been given up to Napoleon previous
to the opening of hostilities, contributed very much to the success of
his arms, while those which were retained by Spain and her allies,
contributed in an equal degree to hamper and embarrass his operations.
Some of these, like Saragossa and Tarragona, with their broken walls and
defective armaments, kept the enemy in check some sixty days each, and
did much to weaken the French power in the Peninsula.

Temporary or field-fortifications also had an important influence here.
The lines of Torres-Vedras, the field-works of Ronda, the intrenched
camps of the Pyrenees, Bayonne, Toulouse, &c., are examples under this
head. In fact, field-works played a most important part in all of
Napoleon's wars. We might mention the redoubt of Montenotte, the
intrenchments at Milesimo, the batteries of Lobau, the field-defences of
Hougomont, La Haye-Sainte, and Papelotte at Waterloo, and numerous other
cases equally striking. Just before the battle of Waterloo, Wellington
employed some eighteen thousand peasants and two thousand horses, under
the direction of British officers of engineers. In speaking of these
defences, Colonel Pasley says: "It may be easily conceived that to have
directed such a great body of workmen to proper advantage, by means of a
few officers of engineers, would have been impossible, but for the
system adopted of subdividing the various works among the
non-commissioned officers and privates of the engineer troops, each of
whom was made responsible for laying out the details of his own portion,
and for the direction of a party of from twenty to one hundred men, or
even more, according to circumstances."

But to return to the Peninsular war. These campaigns exhibit in strong
colors the advantages derived, on the one side, from a well-organized
engineer corps, and the losses, delays, and defects suffered on the
other, until the defects of the organization were remedied. Napoleon
entered Spain with a well-appointed army, and soon, through strategy and
well-directed force, gained possession of the important fortresses of
the Peninsula; seizing in this way the strategic routes and important
geographical points, he was enabled to retain possession of the country
for eight years, in spite of the numerous forces arrayed against him,
the absence of himself and his best generals in Germany, and the great
inefficiency of Joseph and of many of his generals. These fortifications
were old, and of strength inferior to modern works of defence, but it
required years and the expenditure of millions in blood and treasure to
expel from the country those who had possession of them.

For the first five years of this war the English struggled with a most
imperfect army organization.[37] When "the first serious siege," says
Napier, was undertaken by the British army, "to the discredit of the
English government, no army was ever so ill provided with the means of
prosecuting such an enterprise. The engineer officers were exceedingly
zealous; and many of them were well versed in the theory of their
business. But the ablest trembled when reflecting on their utter
destitution of all that belonged to real service. Without a corps of
sappers and miners, without a single private who knew how to carry on an
approach under fire, they were compelled to attack fortresses defended
by the most warlike, practised, and scientific troops of the age."

[Footnote 37: In a letter dated February 11th, 1812, Wellington wrote
to the Secretary of State as follows:--"I would beg leave to suggest to
your lordship the expediency of adding to the engineer establishment a
corps of sappers and miners. It is inconceivable with what disadvantages
we undertake any thing like a siege for want of assistance of this
description. There is no French _corps d'armée_ which has not a
battalion of sappers and a company of miners; but we are obliged to
depend for assistance of this description upon the regiments of the
line; and although the men are brave and willing, they want the
knowledge and training which are necessary. Many casualties among them
consequently occur, and much valuable time is lost at the most critical
period of the siege."]

"The best officers and finest soldiers were obliged to sacrifice
themselves in a lamentable manner, to compensate for the negligence and
incapacity of a government, always ready to plunge the nation into war,
without the slightest care of what was necessary to obtain success. The
sieges carried on by the British in Spain were a succession of
butcheries; because the commonest materials, and the means necessary to
their art, were denied the engineers." Colonel J.T. Jones writes in
nearly the same terms of the early sieges in the Peninsula, and with
respect to the siege of Badajos, adds in express terms, that "a body of
sappers and miners, and the necessary fascines and gabions, would have
rendered the reduction of the work certain."[38] Soon after this siege a
body of engineer troops arrived from England, but their number was
insufficient, and Wellington, having learned by sad experience the
importance of engineer troops, ordered a body of two hundred volunteers
to be detached from the line, "and daily instructed in the practice of
sapping, making and laying fascines and gabions, and the construction of
batteries, &c." The siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, which immediately followed
this organization, was conducted with greater skill and success than any
other till nearly the close of the war; and all military writers have
attributed this result to the greater efficiency of the engineer force
engaged in the siege. This arm was now gradually increased, and the last
year of the war the engineer force with the English army in the field
consisted of seventy-seven officers, seven assistant-engineers and
surveyors, four surgeons and assistants, one thousand six hundred and
forty-six sappers, miners, artificers, &c., one thousand three hundred
and forty horses and one hundred and sixty carriages.

[Footnote 38: Colonel Pasley states that only _one and a half yards of
excavation_, per man, was executed _in a whole night_, by the untrained
troops in the Peninsular war; whereas an instructed sapper can easily
accomplish this _in twenty minutes_, and that it has been done by one of
his most skilful sappers, at Chatham, _in seven minutes!_]

During all this time the French furnished their armies in Spain with
well-organized engineer forces. We have endeavored to form a comparison
of the number of French engineers and artillerists employed on these
peninsular sieges. But from the loose manner in which these details are
usually given by historians, it is almost impossible to distinguish
between the two. Both are not unfrequently given under the same head,
and when a distinction is apparently kept up, only the engineer _staff_
is mentioned under the head of engineers--the sappers, miners,
artificers, the train, &c., all being put down as artillery. In the
following table we have endeavored to arrange them as is done in our own
army. The trains of both arms are left out, for frequently that of one
arm performed the duties of the other. Moreover, in our service a
portion of these duties of engineer and artillery trains is performed by
the quartermaster's department. For those who wish to know the exact
organization of the French engineer train, we give it as it existed in
1811, viz.:--seven troops, each troop consisting of three officers, one
hundred and forty-one non-commissioned officers and privates, two
hundred and fifty horses, and fifty wagons, conveying five thousand two
hundred and seventy intrenching tools, one thousand seven hundred
cutting tools, one thousand eight hundred and two artificers' tools, two
hundred and fifty-three miners' tools, and eight thousand three hundred
and eighteen kilogrammes' weight of machinery and stores, each article
being made to a particular pattern. The pioneers in Spain acted
sometimes with one arm and sometimes with the other, and we have
assigned them accordingly in the table. The pontoniers, however, in our
service are included with the engineers; we have therefore put them, in
our table, in the same column with the engineers.

                |   Engineer    |Artillery staff,|  Total    |  Total of
                |staff, sappers,| horse and foot |    of     | artillery
                |    miners,    |   artillery,   |engineers, |staff, horse
                | pontoniers,   | ouvriers, and  | sappers,  |  and foot
                |and pioneers.  |   pioneers.    |  miners,  |artillery,
Name of Siege.  |________________________________|pontoniers,|ouvriers,
                |       |       |       |        |    and    |     and
                |Offic. | Men.  |Offic. | Men.   | pioneers. | pioneers.
Saragossa,      |   86  | 1189  |   90  |  1276  |    1275   |    1360
Rosas,          |   21  |  211  |   --  |   --   |     232   |     461
Girona,         |   54  |  603  |   62  |  1299  |     657   |    1361
Astorga,        |    7  |   91  |   17  |   427  |      98   |     444
Lerida,         |   15  |  316  |   11  |   208  |     331   |     219
Meguinenza,     |   31  |  278  |   --  |   --   |     312   |     136
1st Ciudad      |       |       |       |        |           |
Rodrigo,        |   34  |  441  |   --  |   --   |     475   |    1019
Almeida,        |   34  |  489  |   --  |   --   |     523   |    1019
Tortosa,        |   43  |  429  |   32  |   381  |     472   |     413
Tarragona,      |   50  |  681  |   46  |   701  |     731   |     747
Olivensa,       |   10  |  106  |   --  |   --   |     116   |     186
1st Badajos,    |   25  |  707  |   41  |   699  |     732   |     740
Tarifa,         |   12  |  235  |   17  |   148  |     247   |     165
Peniscola,      |   13  |  138  |    9  |   183  |     151   |     192
2d Ciudad       |       |       |       |        |           |
Rodrigo,        |    3  |   12  |    8  |   160  |      15   |     168
2d Badajos,     |    9  |  256  |   --  |   --   |     265   |     268
Burgos,         |    4  |  124  |    3  |   126  |     128   |     129
Castio Udiales, |    5  |   68  |    8  |   197  |      73   |     205
St. Sebastian,  |   13  |  248  |    7  |   166  |     261   |     173

From this table it appears that the ratio of the two arms at these
sieges, making the comparison on the basis of our own organization, is
about the same as for the present French army in Algeria, or a little
more than five of engineers to six of artillery.

Thus far we have spoken of the field-operations of engineer troops in
connection with fortifications, alluding only incidentally to the use of
military bridges and the passage of rivers. In the early wars of the
French Revolution the want of pontoniers was severely felt, and from the
deficiency of this branch of service, the operations of the French
generals were on several occasions very much restricted. The evil was
afterwards remedied in a great degree by the introduction of several
battalions of ponioniers in the regular army organization. On many
occasions, during his wars, did Napoleon feel and acknowledge the
importance of these troops; but on none, perhaps, was this importance
more clearly shown than in the passage of the Beresina during his
retreat from Moscow with the wreck of his army. The Russians had cut the
bridge of Borisow and taken position in great strength on the right bank
of the river, both at this point and below; the French, wearied with
long and difficult marches, destitute of artillery, provisions, and
military stores, with a wide and deep river in front, and a powerful
enemy on their flank and rear, benumbed by the rigors of a merciless
climate, and dispirited by defeat--every thing seemed to promise their
total destruction. "General Eblé," says an English general officer, in
his remarks on this retreat, "who, from the beginning of the campaign,
had made all the arrangements for the equipment and construction of
military bridges, was specially charged with the important duty of
providing for the passage of this river; and he discharged that duty
with a degree of forecast and ability to which certainly Napoleon owed
his escape and the wreck of his army its safety. General Eblé had begun
to prepare, at Smolensko, for the difficulties which he foresaw in this
operation. He formed, with every care, a train sufficient for the
transport of all the tools and stores that might be required; and,
further to provide against casualties and accidents, every man belonging
to the companies of pontoniers was obliged to carry from Smolensko a
tool or implement of some kind, and a proportion of nails: and fortunate
was it for the army that he did so; for such was the difficulty in
getting through the carriages containing stores, that only two
forge-wagons and six caissons of tools and nails could be preserved. To
these the general added a quantity of iron-work taken from the wheels of
carriages that were abandoned on the march. Much was sacrificed to bring
off these valuable materials for making clamps and fastenings, but, as
Segur observes, that exertion '_sauva l'armée_.'"

But it is not always in the possession of a thing that we are most
likely to appreciate its utility; the evils and inconveniences resulting
from the want of it not unfrequently impress us most powerfully with its
importance and the advantages to be derived from its possession. A few
examples of this nature, drawn from military history, may be
instructive. We need not go back to the disastrous passage of the
Vistula by Charles XII., the failure of Marlborough to pass the Dyle,
and Eugene to cross the Adda in 1705, nor of the three unsuccessful
attempts of Charles of Lorraine to cross the Rhine in 1743. The wars
following the French Revolution are sufficiently replete with useful
instruction on this subject.[39]

[Footnote 39: Before recurring to these, it might be useful to give one
example, as it is often referred to, in the campaign of 1702. It was
deemed important for the success of the campaign to attack the Prince of
Baden in his camp at Friedlingen. Accordingly, a bridge was thrown
across the Rhine at Huningen, the passage effected, and the victory
gained. But Villars was several times on the point of losing all for
want of a sufficient ponton equipage. Having but a _single_ bridge, the
passage was necessarily slow; the artillery and stores were frequently
interrupted by the infantry hurrying to the field of battle; disorder
ensued, and the whole movement was retarded; Villars could bring only a
small part of his artillery into action, and towards the close of the
battle the infantry were in want of ammunition: moreover, the whole
operation had nearly failed from the attempt of the enemy to destroy
this bridge, but the skill of the French pontoniers saved it. We here
remark, 1st, the passage secured to Villars an important victory; 2d,
from having an inefficient bridge-equipage his whole army was placed in
great peril, and the operation had nearly failed; 3d, if the Prince of
Baden had possessed a skilful corps to oppose that of Villars, this
single bridge would have been destroyed, and the army cut to pieces;
4th, the skill of the little corps of French pontoniers saved the
bridge, and of consequence, the army.]

In 1794 so great was the disorder in the direction of affairs, that the
boats of the bridges across the Wahal and the Rhine were disposed of for
commercial purposes; and in the beginning of 1795, says Jomini, "the
conquerors of Belgium and Holland had not even a bridge equipage, at a
time too when the success of the campaign depended solely on the means
of crossing a river." A few boats were procured from the Wahal and the
Meuse, and others manufactured in the forests of the Moselle; but "these
operations consumed precious time, and _four months_ thus passed away in
preparations." Even after other things were all ready, the army was
obliged to wait thirty days for the arrival of boats for ponton bridges;
during this delay the Austrians strengthened their position, and with
very little exertion they might easily have prevented the passage.

In 1796, profiting by the errors of the former campaigns, the French
collected more suitable bridge equipages, and the two armies passed the
Rhine at Neuweid and Kehl without loss or delay. The latter of these
passages has often been referred to as a model for such operations, and
certainly does credit to the general who directed it. But Moreau's
bridge equipage having been destroyed during this disastrous campaign,
his operations the following year were considerably delayed in preparing
a new one, and even then he was under the necessity of seizing all
private boats that could be found within reach; but the difficulty of
collecting and using boats of all sizes and descriptions was so great as
entirely to defeat his plan of surprising the enemy on the opposite
bank of the river. The necessity of co-operating with Hoche admitted of
no further delay, and he was now obliged to force his passage in the
open day, and in face of the enemy. Undertaken under such circumstances,
"the enterprise was extremely sanguinary, and at one time very
doubtful;" and had it failed, "Moreau's army would have been ruined for
the campaign."

Napoleon's celebrated passage of the Po, at Placentia, shows plainly how
important it is for a general to possess the means of crossing rivers.
"I felt the importance of hastening the enterprise in order not to allow
the enemy time to prevent it. But the Po, which is a river as wide and
deep as the Rhine, is a barrier difficult to be overcome. We had no
means of constructing a bridge, and were obliged to content ourselves
with the means of embarkation found at Placentia and its environs.
Lannes, chief of brigade, crossed in the first boats, with the advanced
guard. The Austrians had only ten squadrons on the other side, and these
were easily overcome. The passage was now continued without
interruption, but very slowly. _If I had had a good ponton-equipage, the
fate of the enemy's army had been sealed; but the necessity of passing
the river by successive embarkations saved it."_

In the campaign of 1799, the Archduke attempted to pass the Aar, and
attacked the French on the opposite side, but for want of suitable
equipage his operation was delayed till the enemy had collected
sufficient forces to intercept the passage; he was now obliged to enter
into a stipulation for a suspension of hostilities, and to withdraw his

The operations of the French in the campaign of 1800, led to the most
glorious results, but their execution was attended with the greatest
difficulties. The passage of the Alps was greatly facilitated by the
ability of the chief engineer, Marescot, and the skill of the troops
under his command; and the facility of passing rivers afforded Napoleon
by his pontoniers, had an important influence upon the success of the
campaign. "The army of the reserve had many companies of pontoniers and
sappers; the pontons of course could not be taken across the St.
Bernard, but the pontoniers soon found materials on the Po and Tesin for
constructing bridge equipages." Moreau's army in the same year profited
well by his pontoniers, in the passages of the Inn, the Salza, the
Traun, the Alza, &c., and in the pursuit of the Austrian army--a pursuit
that has but a single parallel example in modern history.

The facility with which Napoleon crossed rivers, made forced marches,
constructed redoubts, fortified depots, and grasped the great strategic
points of the enemy in the campaign of 1805, resulted from the skilful
organization of his army, and the efficiency given to the forces
employed in these important operations. The engineer staff of the French
army at this period, consisted of four hundred and forty-nine officers,
and there were four battalions of sappers, of one hundred and twenty
officers and seven thousand and ninety-two men; six companies of miners,
of twenty-four officers and five hundred and seventy-six men; and two
regiments of pontoniers, of thirty-eight officers and nine hundred and
sixty men. On the contrary, the enemy's neglect of these things is one
of the most striking of the many faults of the war, and his ill-directed
efforts to destroy the great wooden bridge across the Danube, and the
successful operations of the French sappers in securing it, formed one
of the principal turning points in the campaign.

The same organization enabled the French to perform their wonderfully
rapid and decisive movements in the Prussian campaign of 1806, and the
northern operations of 1807.

In 1809, Napoleon's army crossed, with the most wonderful rapidity, the
Inn, the Salza, the Traun, and other rivers emptying into the Danube,
and reached Vienna before the wonder-stricken Austrians could prepare
for its defence. It was then necessary for the French to effect a
passage of the Danube, which was much swollen by recent rains and the
melting snow of the mountains. Considering the depth and width of the
river, the positions of the enemy, and his preparations to oppose a
passage, with the disastrous consequences that would result to the
French from any failure in its execution; taking all these things into
consideration, Jomini pronounced it "one of the most hazardous and
difficult of all the operations of War." Here the fate of the army
depended, apparently, upon the skill and efficiency of the engineers and
pontoniers, and nobly did they discharge the trust reposed in them. When
the pontons failed, tressel-bridges were substituted, and even
fifty-four enormous boats were put in requisition. So skilfully were
these operations conducted, that Napoleon's immense army crossed over in
safety, directly in the face of a superior enemy, and the same day
fought the memorable battle of Esling. Forced to retire before numbers
vastly superior to his own, Napoleon concentrated his forces on the
island of Lobau, and intrenched his position. Surrounded by the broad
and deep channel of the Danube, and watched by numerous and skilful
enemies, it required the most constant activity and the greatest good
fortune to effect a passage. Here the skill and efficiency of the
engineers shone conspicuously; a number of bridges were thrown across
the river in the face of the Austrians, and against obstacles almost
insurmountable; the whole French army passed in safety, and soon put the
finishing stroke to that brilliant campaign. So high an estimate did
Napoleon attach to the construction of these bridges, that, when the
passage was completed, he offered to place Bertrand, the constructing
engineer, though of comparatively low rank, at the head of the French
_corps du genie_.

On many occasions during the retreat in 1812-13, from the Beresina to
the left of the Rhine, across the Niemen, the Vistula, the Oder, the
Elbe, and the numerous other rivers which divide that immense country,
the French derived vast advantages from the experience and skill of
their engineers and pontoniers, several times whole corps escaping
through their means from the grasp of their pursuers. When, however, the
disasters of this retreat had absorbed most of the material of the army,
and had sadly thinned the ranks of men of skill and experience, they
sustained many severe, and, in other circumstances, unnecessary losses.
Of this character we may mention the passage of the Elster by the bridge
of Lindnau, where, through the ignorance and carelessness of those
charged with the mines, and through the want of suitable bridge
arrangements, thousands of brave men were buried in the muddy waters of
this small river. So sensibly did Napoleon feel this want of bridge
equipages, in the winter of 1813-14, that he addressed to his minister
of war, on this subject, the following remarkable words: "If I had had
pontons, I should have already annihilated the army of Schwartzenberg,
and closed the war; I should have taken from him eight or ten thousand
wagons, and his entire army in detail; but for want of the proper means
I could not pass the Seine." Again, on the 2d of March he wrote: "If I
had had a bridge equipage this morning, Blücher's army had been lost."
Whoever will examine the details of the operations of this campaign,
will be convinced of the full force of these remarks.

In Spain in 1808, Sir John Moore, in order to assist the native forces,
had penetrated so near the army of Napoleon, that retreat became
exceedingly difficult, and he was several times on the point of being
lost. The English army was at this time very deficient in engineer
troops, and Moore suffered much for want of miners to destroy bridges,
and pontoniers to construct new ones. In order to cover his retreat and
impede the advance of the French, the commander-in-chief, says Napier,
"directed several bridges to be destroyed, but the engineers [for want
of miners and miner's tools] failed of success in every attempt."

In Soult's retreat, in 1809, he crossed the Duero at Oporto, and
destroyed the bridges so as to cut off the pursuit of Wellington. But
while Soult, deceived by treachery in his own corps, neglected to guard
the river with proper vigilance, Wellington collected boats at different
points, crossed over his army, surprised the French, and, had it not
been for the singular delay and indecision of General Murray, would most
certainly have forced the entire army to capitulate; as it was, his
operation produced a decided influence on the campaign, and effected the
safety of Beresford's corps. Soult destroyed his artillery and baggage,
and hastily retreated through the mountain passes; but his army was
again arrested at the river Cavado, and placed on the very brink of
destruction, when the brave and skilful Dulong succeeded in effecting a
passage at the Ponte Nova; the same daring officer opened, on the same
day, a way for the further escape of the French across the Misarella by
the Saltador.

In the pursuit of Massena, in 1810, it was important to the English to
cross the Guadiana, and attack the French before Badajos could be put in
a state of defence. Beresford was directed by Wellington to pass this
river at Jerumina, where the Portuguese had promised to furnish pontons;
but they neglected to fulfil their engagement, and the army had to wait
till Capt. Squire, an able and efficient officer of engineers, could
construct other means for effecting a passage. Every thing was done
that genius could devise and industry execute; nevertheless, the
operations of the army were greatly delayed--"_a delay,_" says the
historian, "_that may be considered as the principal cause of those long
and bloody operations which afterwards detained Lord Wellington more
than a year on the frontiers of Portugal._"

We might prolong these remarks by discussing the passages of the Ceira
and Alva, and their influence on the pursuit of Massena; Wellington's
passage of the Tagus, and his retreat from Burgos in 1812; the passage
of the Adour and Garonne in 1814; and the failure of the mines to blow
up the bridges of Saltador, Alcantara, &c.; but a sufficient number of
examples, it is believed, has already been adduced to show the advantage
of maintaining a properly organized and instructed body of sappers,
miners, and pontoniers, and the fatal results attending the want of such
troops, as a component part of an army organization.

It has already been remarked that the infantry of an army must always
form the basis of the apportionment; and by the general rule laid down
by military writers, the cavalry should be from one-fourth to one-sixth
of the infantry, according to the character of the war; the artillery
about two-thirds of the cavalry, or one-seventh of the infantry; and the
engineers from one-half to three-fourths of the artillery,--say about
two-thirds. The staff and administrative corps must vary according to
the nature of the organization, and the character of the theatre of war.
The former ought to be from two to five in a thousand, and the latter
from twenty-five to seventy-five,[40] as a general rule. These ratios
would give for a good army organization;

   Staff, about  ................................... 5
   Administrative service--pay, medical, commissary,
   quarter-master, &c. .............................65
   Infantry, ......................................650
   Cavalry, .......................................130
   Artillery, ......................................90
   Engineers, ......................................60
                       Total, ...................1,000

In a broken country, and against savage and undisciplined foes, like the
Indians in this country, the natives opposed to the English in India, to
the French in Algeria, or to the Russians in Circassia, the cavalry,
artillery, and engineers would be diminished, and the infantry and
administrative corps proportionably increased; the former because light
troops are always preferable against an undisciplined foe, and the
latter because of the difficulty of moving and procuring supplies in new
and uncultivated countries. The French forces in Algeria, in 1844,
amounted to about sixty thousand men, in the following proportion:--

   Staff, ...................................4.7
   Administrative, &c., ...................112.3
   Infantry, ..............................687.3
   Cavalry, ................................86.6
   Artillery, ..............................61.2
   Engineers, ..............................47.9
                                            1000 men.

[Footnote 40: This supposes the teamsters, wagon-masters,
hospital-servants, &c., to be enlisted men, and not persons hired for
the occasion as is done in our army.]

In small peace establishments the relative proportion of infantry and
cavalry should be much less than when prepared for the field, because
troops for these two arms can be much more readily formed in case of
emergency, than for those which require more scientific information, and
technical skill and instruction. The staff and engineers are evidently
the most difficult to be formed in case of war, and next to these the
artillery and administrative corps.

In this country we can maintain, in time of peace, only the framework of
an army, looking to our citizen soldiery to form, in case of need, the
great mass of our military force. This is the starting point in our
military system, and the basis of our army organization. Let us see
whether this principle is carried out in practice.

For every thousand men in our present organization[41] we have,

   For the staff,        2
   Administrative,      20[42]
   Infantry,           513
   Cavalry,            150
   Artillery,          310
   Engineers,            5

[Footnote 41: These numbers are the real rather than the _nominal_
proportions, many of our officers being called _staff_, who properly
belong to one of the other classes.]

[Footnote 42: Much of the administrative duty in our army is done by
unenlisted men, or by soldiers detached from their companies. Where such
is the case, the ratio of this branch of the service ought to be no
higher than is represented above.]

We see from this table, that while our artillery is nearly six times as
numerous as in ordinary armies, our staff is less by one-half, and our
engineers not more than one-half what ought to be their proportion in a
war establishment. To this excess of artillery over infantry and cavalry
in our army in time of peace there is no objection, inasmuch as the
latter could be more easily expanded in case of war than the artillery.
But for a still stronger reason our staff and engineers should also be
proportionally increased, instead of being vastly diminished, as is
actually the case.

Experience in the first campaigns of the American Revolution strongly
impressed on the mind of Washington the absolute necessity of forming a
regular and systematic army organization. But so difficult was it to
obtain properly instructed engineers, that he was obliged to seek his
engineer officers in the ranks of foreign adventurers, and to make
drafts from the other arms of service, and have them regularly
instructed in the duties of engineer troops, and commanded by the
officers of this corps. An order, in his own handwriting, giving the
details of this temporary arrangement, is dated March 30th, 1779. Until
men are enlisted for the purpose, companies of sappers and miners shall
be formed by drafts from the line. "The duties of the companies of
sappers and miners," he continues, "shall be under the direction of the
engineers, to construct field-works of every kind, and all works
necessary for the attack or defence of places, as circumstances may
require. On a march in the vicinity of an enemy, a detachment of the
companies of sappers and miners shall be stationed at the head of the
column, directly after the vanguard, for the purpose of opening and
mending the roads, and removing obstructions," &c. &c.

The great difficulties encountered by Washington in instructing his
inexperienced forces in the more difficult branches of the art, made him
the more earnest, in after years, to impress on us how important it was
for us _In peace to prepare for war._ The preparation here meant is not
the keeping up, in time of peace, of a large standing army, ever ready
to take the field; but rather the formation of a small body, educated
and practised in all the scientific and difficult parts of the
profession; a body which shall serve as the _cadre_ or framework of a
large army, capable of imparting to the new and inexperienced soldiers
of the republic that skill and efficiency which has been acquired by
practice. How far have we accomplished this object, and what will be the
probable operations in case of another contest with a European power?
New and inexperienced troops will be called into the field to oppose a
veteran and disciplined army. From these troops we shall expect all the
bravery and energy resulting from ardent patriotism and an enthusiastic
love of liberty. But we cannot here expect much discipline, military
skill, or knowledge of the several branches of the military art. The
peaceful habits of our citizens tend but little to the cultivation of
the military character. How, then, are we to oppose the hostile force?
Must human blood be substituted for skill and preparation, and dead
bodies of our citizens serve as epaulements against the inroads of the
enemy? To some extent, we fear it must be the case; but not entirely so,
for government has not altogether neglected to make preparation for such
an event. Fortifications have been planned or erected on the most
important and exposed positions; military materials and munitions have
been collected in the public arsenals; a military school has been
organized to instruct in the military sciences; there are regularly kept
up small bodies of infantry and cavalry, weak in numbers, but capable of
soon making good soldiers of a population so well versed as ours is in
the use of the musket and the horse; an artillery force, proportionally
much larger, is also regularly maintained, with a sufficient number of
men and officers to organize and make good artillery-men of citizens
already partially acquainted with the use of the cannon. But an
acquaintance with infantry, cavalry, and artillery duties is not the
only practical knowledge requisite in war. In the practical operations
of an army in the field, rivers are to be crossed, bridges suddenly
erected and suddenly destroyed, fieldworks constructed and defended,
batteries captured and destroyed; fortifications are to be put in order
and defended, or to be besieged and recaptured; trenches must be opened,
mines sprung, batteries established, breaches made and stormed;
trous-de-loup, abattis, palisades, gabions, fascines, and numerous other
military implements and machinery are to be constructed. Have our
citizens a knowledge of these things, or have we provided in our
military establishment for a body of men instructed and practised in
this branch of the military art, and capable of imparting to an army the
necessary efficiency for this service? Unfortunately this question must
be answered in the negative; and it is greatly to be feared that the
future historian will have to say of us, as Napier has said of the
English:--"_The best officers and soldiers were obliged to sacrifice
themselves in a lamentable manner, to compensate for the negligence and
incapacity of a government always ready to plunge the nation into a war,
without the slightest care of what was necessary to obtain success.
Their sieges were a succession of butcheries; because the commonest
materials, and the means necessary to their art, were denied the

[Footnote 43: The subjects discussed in this chapter are also treated by
most authors on Military Organization and Military History, and by the
several writers on Military Engineering. Allent, Vauban, Cormontaigne,
Rocquancourt, Pasley, Douglas, Jones, Belmas, Napier, Gay de Vernon, may
be referred to with advantage. Pasley, Douglas, Jones, and Napier, speak
in the strongest terms of the importance of engineer troops in the
active operations of a war, and of the absolute necessity of organizing
this force in time of peace. A list of books of reference on Military
Engineering will be given at the close of the following chapters.

While these pages are passing through the press, Congress has authorized
the President to raise _one company_ of engineer troops! This number is
altogether too small to be of any use in time of war.]



_Fortification_ is defined,--the art of disposing the ground in such a
manner as to enable a small number of troops to resist a larger army the
longest time possible. If the work be placed in a position of much
importance, and its materials be of a durable character, it is called
permanent; if otherwise, it receives the appellation of _field_, or
_temporary_. Fieldworks are properly confined to operations of a single
campaign, and are used to strengthen positions which are to be occupied
only for a short period. Generally these works are of earth, thrown up
by the troops in a single day. They are intimately connected with a
system of permanent fortifications, but from the facility of their
construction, no provision need be made for them before the actual
breaking out of war. Indeed, they could not well be built before
hostilities commenced, as their locality in each case must be determined
by the position of the hostile forces.

Having already described the general influence of permanent
fortifications as a means of national defence, we shall here speak
merely of the principles of their construction. It is not proposed to
enter into any technical discussion of matters that especially belong
to the instruction of the engineer, but merely to give the nomenclature
and use of the more important parts of a military work; in a word, such
general information as should belong to officers of every grade and
corps of an army.

The first species of fortification among the ancients was of course very
simple, consisting merely of an earthen mound, or palisades. A wall was
afterwards used, and a ditch was then added to the wall. It was found
that a straight wall could be easily breached by the enemy's
battering-rams; to remedy this evil, towers were built at short
intervals from each other, forming a broken line of salient and
re-entering parts. These towers or salient points gradually assumed a
shape approximating to the modern bastion.

After the invention of gunpowder and the application of cannon to the
attack and defence of places, it became necessary to arrange earthen
ramparts behind the thin walls of the ancient works, for the reception
of the new artillery. Moreover these walls were soon found inadequate to
resist the missiles of the besiegers, and it became necessary to replace
them by parapets of earth. In order to cover the retaining walls of
these parapets from the besieging batteries, it was also found to be
necessary to lower these walls as much as possible, and to raise the
counterscarps. The traces or plans of the works, however, received no
material change till about the close of the fifteenth century.

It is not known who first changed the ancient towers into bastions. Some
attribute it to an Italian, and with considerable show of reason, for a
bastion was built at Turin as early as 1461. Achmet Pacha, it is said,
fortified Otranto in this way, in 1480, but whether the system was
previously known among the Turks cannot be determined. Others attribute
the invention to Ziska, the celebrated leader of the Hussites. It is
most probable that the transition from the tower to the bastion was a
very gradual one, and that the change was perfected in several countries
at about the same time.

Fortifications, like other arts and sciences, greatly flourished in
Italy under the Medicis, and that country furnished Europe with its most
skilful engineers. Catharine of Medicis introduced into France many of
her countrymen, distinguished in this profession; among these may be
named Bellamat, Bephano, Costritio, Relogio, Vorganno, the two Marini,
Campi, and Hieronimo, who built several important places and directed
the sieges of others. These able foreigners were rivalled by some
distinguished French engineers, who laid the foundation of the "_corps
du Genie_" which has since become a school of military instruction for
the world. Among the early French engineers may be distinguished
Lafontaine De Serré, Feuquières, and St. Remy. Pedro Navarro had been
appointed a member of this corps, but his attention was more specially
directed to mining, and we do not learn that he distinguished himself in
the construction of any fortification.

In Germany, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, Albert Durer
distinguished himself as a writer on fortification; his book is
remarkable as containing the germs of many of the improvements which
were made by those who followed him. This is the more to be wondered at
as he was not a professed engineer. After him followed Spekel, a native
of Strasburg, who died in 1589. His writings are valuable as showing the
state of the art at that time, and the changes which he himself
introduced. He was an engineer of much practical knowledge and
experience, having assisted at the sieges of Malta, Golletta, Vienna,
Jula, Nicosia, Famagusta, &c.

The first French engineer who wrote on fortification was Errard de
Bar-le-Duc, who published near the close of the sixteenth century. As an
engineer, he was rivalled by Chatillon, a man of distinguished merit.
Errard fortified Amiens, built a part of the castle of Sedan, and a
portion of the defences of Calais. Under the reign of Louis XIII.,
Desnoyers, Deville, Pagan, and Fabre were greatly distinguished. Deville
published in 1628. He was a man of much learning and experience; but he
is said to have adopted, both in his theory and practice, the principles
of the Italian school, with most of its errors. Pagan began his military
career while young, and became _maréchal de champ_ at the age of 38,
when, having the misfortune to become blind, he was compelled to
relinquish his brilliant hopes. He was the ablest engineer of his age,
and was also greatly distinguished in other branches of science. In his
plans he inclined to the Dutch rather than the Italian school of
fortification. He published in 1645.

At the close of the sixteenth century, the Dutch had been forced to
resort to military defences to protect themselves against the
aggressions of the Spaniards. As the Dutch were inferior in other
military means, fortification became one of the vital resources of the
country. Their works, however, thrown up in much haste, were in many
respects defective, although well adapted to the exigencies of the time.
Freytag, their principal engineer, wrote in 1630. Some of his
improvements were introduced into France by Pagan. He was preceded by
Marolois, (a cotemporary of Pagan,) who published in 1613.

In Germany, Rimpler, a Saxon, wrote on fortification in 1671. He was a
man of great experience, having served at the sieges of Candia,
Phillipsburg, Bonn, Riga, Bremen, Dansburg, Bommeln, &c. He fell at the
siege of Vienna in 1683. His writings are said to contain the groundwork
of Montalembert's system.

In Italy, after the time of Tartaglia, Marchi, Campi, &c., we find no
great improvement in this art. Several Italians, however, distinguished
themselves as engineers under the Spaniards. The fortifications of
Badajos are a good example of the state of the art in Italy and Spain a
that epoch. The citadel of Antwerp, built by two Italian engineers,
Pacciotti and Cerbelloni, in 1568, has become celebrated for the siege
it sustained in 1832.

The age of Louis XIV. effected a great revolution in the art of
fortification, and carried it to such a degree of perfection, that it
has since received but slight improvement. The years 1633 and 1634 are
interesting dates in the history of this art, as having given birth
respectively to Vauban and Coehorn. The former was chief engineer of
France under Louis XIV., and the latter held a corresponding position
under the Dutch republic. Coehorn's ideas upon fortification are
conceived with an especial view to the marshy soil of his own country,
and, although well suited to the object in view, are consequently of
less general application than those of his more distinguished
cotemporary and rival. The best specimens of his mode of construction
that exist at the present day, are the fortresses of Manheim,
Bergen-op-Zoom, Nimiguen, and Breda.

Coehorn was followed in Holland by Landsberg, an able and practical
engineer, who to much reading added extensive experience, having himself
served at sixteen sieges. His system was in many respects peculiar, both
in trace and relief; it dispensed with the glacis, and all revertments
of masonry. His plans could be applied only to marshy soils. The first
edition of his work was published in 1685.

But the career of Vauban forms the most marked and prominent era in the
history of fortification; it constitutes the connecting link between the
rude sketches of the earlier engineers, and the well-established form
which the art has since assumed. In his earlier works we find many of
the errors of his predecessors; but a gradual change seems to have been
wrought in his mind by reflection and experience, and these faults were
soon remedied and a new and distinct system developed. Vauban has left
no treatise upon his favorite art, and his ideas upon fortification have
been deduced from his constructions, and from detached memoirs left
among his papers. The nature of his labors, and the extent of his
activity and industry, may be imagined from the fact that he fought one
hundred and forty battles, conducted fifty-eight sieges, and built or
repaired three hundred fortifications. His memoirs, found among his
manuscript papers, on various military and political subjects, are
numerous, and highly praised even at the present day. But his beautiful
and numerous constructions, both of a civil and military character, are
real monuments to his genius. The best illustrations of his principles
of fortification occur at Lille, Strasbourg, Landau, Givet, and
Neuf-Brisack. His writings on mines, and the attack and defence of
places, are, by the profession, regarded as classic. His improvements in
the existing method of attack gave great superiority to the arms of his
countrymen, and even enabled him to besiege and capture his rival
Coehorn, in his own works. He died in 1707, and was soon succeeded by

The latter did not attempt the introduction of any new system, but
limited himself to improving and perfecting the plans of his illustrious
predecessors. His improvements, however, were both extensive and
judicious, and are sufficient to entitle him to the place he holds as
one of the ablest military engineers the world has ever produced. His
works on the subject of fortification, besides being elegantly written,
contain the most valuable information of any works we have. His most
admired constructions are to be found at Metz, Thionville, and Bitche.
The beautiful crown works of Billecroix, at Metz, are perfect models of
their kind. Cormontaigne died in 1750.

Cotemporary with him were Sturin and Glasser. The former deviated but
slightly from the systems of his predecessors, but the latter invented
several ingenious improvements which gave him great reputation.

Next follows Rosard, a Bavarian engineer; and Frederick Augustus, king
of Poland, who devoted himself particularly to this art. The former
casemated only the flanks of his works, but the latter introduced
casemate fire more extensively than any one who had preceded him.

In France, Belidor and De Filey published about the middle of the last
century. They were both able engineers but their systems were inferior
to that of Cormontaigne.

In 1767 De la Chiche introduced a system of fortification in many
respects original. He raised his covered-ways so as to conceal all his
masonry, and casemated a great portion of his _enceinte_. For exterior
defence, he employed direct fire from his barbettes, and curvated fire
from his casemates; the direct fire of the latter secured his ditches.

Next to De la Chiche follows Montalembert, who published in 1776. He was
a man of much experience and considerable originality, but of no great
ability as an engineer. Most of his ideas were derived from De la Chiche
and the German school of Rimpler. His plans have generally been rejected
by his own countrymen, but they still have advocates among the Germans.

General Virgin, a distinguished Swedish engineer, wrote in 1781. His
idea of strongly fortifying the smaller towns to the comparative neglect
of the larger cities, constitutes one of the principal novelties in his

In 1794, Reveroni devised a system in which the casemates of
Montalembert were employed, but his guns were so arranged as to be
employed in barbette while the besiegers were at a distance, and
afterwards to be used for casemated fire. The casemate gun-carriage,
which formed a part of his invention, was ingenious, but never much
employed in practice.

Bousmard, a French emigrant, published in 1790. He adopted the general
trace of Vauban, but introduced modifications in the details essentially
different from those of Cormontaigne. Some of these modifications are
very valuable improvements, while others are of a more doubtful
character. Bousmard is, on the whole, a very able writer, and his works
should be found in the library of every military engineer.

Carnot's celebrated treatise was published in 1810. He was evidently a
man of genius, and during his career at the head of the War Department
of France, numerous and very important improvements were made in the
several branches of the military art, and especially in strategy. His
work on fortification exhibits much originality and genius, but it is
doubtful whether it has very much contributed to the improvement of this
art. His ideas have been very severely, and rather unfairly criticised
by the English, and particularly by Sir Howard Douglas.

Chasseloup de Laubat early distinguished himself as an engineer of much
capacity and talent. He followed Napoleon in nearly all his campaigns,
and conducted many of his sieges. He remodelled the fortifications of
Northern Italy and of the Lower Rhine. He published in 1811. The
improvements which he introduced are numerous and valuable, and he
probably contributed more to advance his art, and to restore the
equilibrium between attack and defence, than any other engineer since
Cormontaigne. After the fall of Napoleon and the partition of his
empire, the allies mutilated or destroyed the constructions of
Chasseloup, so that, it is believed, no perfect specimen of his system

The cotemporaries of Chasseloup were mostly engaged in active field
service and sieges, and few had either leisure or opportunity to devote
themselves to improvements in permanent fortification.

Choumara published in 1827. His system contains much originality, and
his writings give proof of talent and genius. He has very evidently more
originality than judgment, and it is hardly probable that his system
will ever be generally adopted in practice.

The Metz system, as arranged by Noizet, as a theoretical study, is
undoubtedly the very best that is now known. It, however, requires great
modifications to suit it to different localities. For a horizontal site,
it is probably the most perfect system ever devised. It is based on the
system of Vauban as improved by Cormontaigne, and contains several of
the modifications suggested by modern engineers. It is applied in a
modified form to the new fortifications of Paris.

Baron Rohault de Fleury has introduced many modifications of the
ordinary French system in his new defences of Lyons. We have seen no
written account of these works, but from a hasty examination in 1844,
they struck us as being too complicated and expensive.

The new fortifications of Western Germany are modifications of Rempler's
system, as improved by De la Chiche and Montalembert. It is said that
General Aster, the directing engineer, has also introduced some of the
leading principles of Chasseloup and Carnot.

The English engineers have satisfied themselves with following in the
track of their continental neighbors, and can offer no claims to

Of the system of fortification now followed in our service we must
decline expressing any opinion; the time has not yet arrived for
subjecting it to a severe and judicious criticism. But of the system
pursued previous to 1820, we may say, without much fear of
contradiction, that a worse one could scarcely have been devised.
Instead of men of talent and attainments in military science, most of
our engineers were then either foreigners, or civilians who owed their
commissions to mere political influence. The qualifications of the
former were probably limited to their recollection of some casual visit
to two or three of the old European fortresses; and the latter probably
derived all their military science from some old military book, which,
having become useless in Europe, had found its way into this country,
and which they had read without understanding, and probably without even
looking at its date. The result was what might have been anticipated--a
total waste of the public money. We might illustrate this by numerous
examples. A single one, however, must suffice. About the period of the
last war, eight new forts were constructed for the defence of New York
harbor, at an expense of some two millions of dollars. Six of these were
_circular_, and the other two were _star forts_--systems which had been
discarded in Europe for nearly two thousand years! Three of these works
are now entirely abandoned, two others are useless, and large sums of
money have recently been expended on the other three in an attempt to
remedy their faults, and render them susceptible of a good defence.
Moreover, a number of the works which were constructed by our engineers
before that corps was made to feel the influence of the scientific
education introduced through the medium of the Military Academy--we say,
a considerable number of our fortifications, constructed by engineers
who owed their appointment to political influence, are not only wrong
in their plans, but have been made of such wretched materials and
workmanship that they are already crumbling into ruins.

A fortification, in its most simple form, consists of a mound of earth,
termed, the _rampart_, which encloses the space fortified; a _parapet_,
surmounting the rampart and covering the men and guns from the enemy's
projectiles; a _scarp wall,_ which sustains the pressure of the earth of
the rampart and parapet, and presents an insurmountable obstacle to an
assault by storm; a wide and deep _ditch_, which prevents the enemy from
approaching near the body of the place; a _counterscarp wall_, which
sustains the earth on the exterior of the ditch; a _covered way_, which
occupies the space between the counterscarp and a mound of earth called
a _glacis_, thrown up a few yards in front of the ditch for the purpose
of covering the scarp of the main work.

The work by which the space fortified is immediately enveloped, is
called the _enceinte_, or _body of the place_. Other works are usually
added to the enceinte to strengthen the weak points of the
fortification, or to lengthen the siege by forcing the enemy to gain
possession of them before he can breach the body of the place: these are
termed _outworks_, when enveloped by the covered way, and _advanced
works_, when placed exterior to the covered way, but in some way
connected with the main work; but if entirely beyond the glacis, and not
within supporting distance of the fortress, they are called _detached

In a bastioned front the principal outwork is the _demi-lune_, which is
placed in front of the curtain; it serves to cover the main entrance to
the work, and to place the adjacent bastions in strong re-enterings.

The _tenaille_ is a small low work placed in the ditch, to cover the
scarp wall of the curtain and flanks from the fire of the besieger's
batteries erected along the crest of the glacis.

The _places of arms_, are points where troops are assembled in order to
act on the exterior of the work. The _re-entering places of arms_, are
small redans arranged at the points of junction of the covered ways of
the bastion and demi-lune. The _salient places of arms_ are the parts of
the covered way in front of the salients of the bastion and demi-lune.

Small permanent works, termed _redoubts_, are placed within the
demi-lune and re-entering places of arms for strengthening those works.
Works of this character constructed within the bastion are termed
_interior retrenchments;_ when sufficiently elevated to command the
exterior ground, they are called _cavaliers._

_Caponniers_ are works constructed to cover the passage of the ditch
from the tenaille to the gorge of the demi-lune, and also from the
demi-lune to the covered way, by which communication may be maintained
between the enceinte and outworks.

_Posterns_ are underground communications made through the body of the
place or some of the outworks.

_Sortie-passages_ are narrow openings made through the crest of the
glacis, which usually rise in the form of a ramp from the covered way,
by means of which communication may be kept up with the exterior. These
passages are so arranged that they cannot be swept by the fire of the
enemy. The other communications above ground are called _ramps, stairs,_

_Traverses_ are small works erected on the covered way to intercept the
fire of the besieger's batteries.

_Scarp_ and _counterscarp_ galleries are sometimes constructed for the
defence of the ditch. They are arranged with loop-holes, through which
the troops of the garrison fire on the besiegers when they have entered
the ditch, without being themselves exposed to the batteries of the

In sea-coast defences, and sometimes in a land front for the defence of
the ditch, embrasures are made in the scarp wall for the fire of
artillery; the whole being protected from shells by a bomb-proof
covering over head: this arrangement is termed a _casemate_.

Sometimes double ramparts and parapets are formed, so that the interior
one shall fire over the more advanced; the latter in this case is called
_a faussebraie_.

If the inner work be separated from the other it is called a
_retrenchment_[44] and if in addition it has a commanding fire, it is
termed, as was just remarked, a _cavalier_.

[Footnote 44: The term _retrenchment_ implies an interior work, which is
constructed within or in rear of another, for the purpose of
strengthening it; the term _intrenchment_, on the contrary, implies an
independent work, constructed in the open field, without reference to
any other adjoining work.]

The _capital_ of a bastion is a line bisecting its salient angle. All
the works comprehended between the capitals of two adjacent bastions is
termed a _front_: it is taken as the unit in permanent fortification.

Fig. 39 represents the ground plan of a modern bastioned front, of a
regular and simple form, on a horizontal site.

   _A, A, A_--Is the enceinte, or body
             of the place.
   _B_--The bastions.
   _C_--The main ditch.
   _D_--The covered ways.
   _E_--The re-entering places of arms.
   _F_--The salient places of arms.
   _G_--The demi-lune.
   _H_--The demi-lune ditch.
   _J_--The demi-lune redoubt.
   _L_--The ditch of the demi-lune
   _M_--The redoubt of the re-entering
             places of arms.
   _N_--The ditches of the redoubts.
   _O_--The tenaille.
   _P_--The double caponier.
   _a_--The traverses.
   _b_--The sortie-passages.
   _d_--Cut in the demi-lune to flank
              the redoubt of the re-entering
              place of arms.

Fig. 40 represents a section through the line _mn'_ of the preceding

   _A_--Is the rampart.
   _B_--The parapet.
   _C_--The ditch.
   _D_--The scarp wall.
   _E_--The counterscarp wall.
   _F_--The glacis.
   _G_--The covered way.
   _H_--The terre-plain.
   _J_--The parade.

Sometimes half embrasures are cut in the earthen parapet of a fort, so
as to sink the gun below the crest, and thus more effectually cover the
men from the enemy's fire.

But guns in embrasure have a far less extended field of fire than when
mounted in barbette; moreover, the embrasures present openings through
which an enemy may penetrate in an assault. Owing to these objections,
they are employed only for the protection of particular points; that is,
where it is important to cover the artillerists from the enemy's fire,
or where the guns are to be used merely to protect a ditch, or to
enfilade a road, &c. The bottom of the embrasure is called the _sole_,
the sides are called _cheeks_, and the mass of earth between two
embrasures, the _merlon_. Embrasures may be made either direct or
oblique, according as the fire is required to be perpendicular or
oblique to the parapet.

A _coverport_ is a small outwork of any convenient form, erected
immediately in front of a gateway, to screen it from the enemy's fire.

A _counterguard_ is a more extensive work, constructed in front of a
part of the fortress itself, or of some other outwork of greater
importance, which it is intended to cover. These are sometimes called
_coverfaces_, from their situation and object; but the former term is
most commonly used.

Sometimes outworks, called _tenaillons_, consisting of one long and one
short face, are placed on each side of the demi-lune of a front of
fortification, for the purpose of prolonging the siege. (Fig. 41.)

Small, or _demi_-tenaillons, are frequently so arranged as to cover only
one-half of the demi-lune, and then a _bonnet_ constructed in front of
the salient of the demi-lune. (Fig.42.) In this case the bonnet is
flanked by the short faces of the demi-tenaillons; these short faces are
themselves flanked by the demi-lune, while the bastions flank the long

A _horn-work_ consists of a front of fortification, and two wings
resting on the faces of bastions of a front of the fortress. It
sometimes has also a demi-lune or bonnet, as in the case of
demi-tenaillons. (Fig. 43.)

A _crown-work_ consists of two fronts of fortification, and two wings.
(Fig. 44.) It is sometimes made _double_, and even _triple_.

These works are also employed as advanced works, and placed entirely in
front of the glacis. They have generally been added to a fortress for
the purpose of occupying some important piece of ground not included
within the limits of the main work. They may be constructed with covered
ways, and sometimes it may be found advantageous to secure them by

A _detached work_ may be made in any form deemed best suited to the
site. Being but remotely connected with the fortress, the latter will
exercise but slight influence on the character of its plan or
construction. They are usually of limited extent and slight relief,
partaking much of the nature of field-works.[45]

[Footnote 45: The general principles of permanent fortification may be
best learned from the writings of Cormontaigne, St. Paul de Noizet, and
Laurillard-Fallot. A list of valuable books of reference on the several
branches of military engineering will be given at the close of the next



_Field-Engineering_ includes the making of military reconnaissances,
temporary fortifications, and military roads; the planning and
construction of military bridges; the attack and defence of military
works;--in fine, all the various duties of engineer troops, either in
the operations of a campaign, or in the dispositions on the

_Military reconnaissance._--By this term is meant an examination of a
portion of the theatre of war, to ascertain its military character and
resources. If the examination be made of a large district of country,
and for an entire campaign, the reconnaissance is _general_; if made for
collecting detailed information respecting a proposed line of march, the
passage of a river, the position of an enemy, &c., it is termed

In making a general reconnaissance, great care should be taken to
collect accurate information respecting the general topography of the
country; the character of the mountains, forests, and water-courses; the
nature of the roads, canals, and railways; the quality of the soil, and
the amount of provisions and forage it produces; the population and
character of the cities, towns, and villages, the commercial and
manufacturing resources of every part of the country, and the means of
transportation to be found in each district. The plan of military
operations will be based on the information thus obtained, and any
serious error in the reconnaissance may involve the results of the
campaign, and even the fate of the war.

In a special reconnaissance, not only accurate but minute information
will be required: the character of the roads must be given in detail;
the nature of the water-courses, their depth and velocity; the position
and character of bridges, and fords;--in fine, a full description of all
obstacles to be encountered, and the means that can be made available
for overcoming these obstacles.

A reconnoitring officer may usually derive much valuable information
from the published maps and descriptions of the country to be examined;
additional matters of detail may be obtained from woodsmen, hunters, and
fishermen; and also from the innkeepers and local authorities of the
district. But the officer should always verify this information, so far
as practical, by personal examination. In making a reconnaissance in the
vicinity of an enemy, he must be supported by a strong escort of mounted
troops, and in all his operations the greatest precaution will be
requisite to ensure success.

Some simple instrument, such as a pocket sextant, or compass, will be
sufficient to enable the reconnoitring officer to measure, with
considerable accuracy, the height of mountains, the width of streams,
&c., and an ordinary scale and dividers will enable him to make a
suitable military sketch.

_Temporary Fortification._--It has been stated in the preceding chapter
that temporary fortifications are properly confined to the operations of
a single campaign, and are used to strengthen positions which are to be
occupied only for a short period; and that they are usually made of
earth, thrown up by the troops in a single day. Temporary
fortifications, as a part of field-engineering, may therefore be
regarded rather as an _arm_ than an _art_. The principles of their
construction are derived, of course, from the theory of permanent
fortification, but in applying these principles to practice in the
field, much greater latitude is allowed than in the exact scientific
arrangement of permanent works.

The purpose of field-works (or intrenchments, as they are commonly
called) is to arrest, or at least to impede, the march of the attacking
foe; to shelter the defensive troops from the missive weapons of the
assailants, and to detain them in a position where they will be exposed
to the fire of the defensive force. The numerical and positive strength
of the assailed may be much less than that of the assailant, and yet an
equilibrium exist; the material obstacles compensating for the
difference in numbers. Intrenchments, though inert masses, must
therefore be regarded as most valuable and important accessaries in the
defence of a position.

Intrenchments consist either of _lines_ of works made to cover extended
positions, or of _detached_ works designed simply to defend the ground
they occupy. The former generally present a front against the enemy in
but one direction, while the latter are usually closed on all their

The following figures have been employed for the plan of simple
intrenchments, viz.: the polygon, redan, lunette, mitre, star-fort, and

_Square_ or _polygonal redoubts_ are the most common forms given to
field-works, on account of the ease of their construction. But they have
many defects. There is a sector without fire in front of each salient,
and the ditches are without protection. The latter objection also holds
good against all circular works.

The _redan_ (Fig. 45) is frequently used to cover a point in rear, as a
bridge, a ford, or a defile. When used alone, its gorge should be closed
by palisades. Its ditches are unprotected.

The _lunette_ (Fig. 46) has nearly the same defects as the redan.

The _mitre_, or _priest-cap,_ (Fig. 47,) may be employed with advantage
when a cross-fire is required on the capital of the work. The
_star-fort_ has all the defects, without the merit of simplicity, which
belong to the polygonal redoubt.

The _bastion-fort_ (Fig. 48) more fully satisfies the conditions of a
good defence than any other plan; but it is less simple and easy of
execution. It is usually composed of four or five fronts, but it may be
applied to a polygon of any number of sides.

For the details of the construction of these several works, we must
refer to the special treatises on field-fortification.

Lines of intrenchments may be made either continuous or with intervals.
In adopting either plan, the engineer should avail himself of all the
natural obstacles presented by the position, so as to diminish the labor
of erecting artificial means of defence.

The simplest arrangement for a continuous intrenchment is the
_cremaillière_ or indented line. When applied to an irregular site, or
used to connect together distant and detached works, the indented line
may be regarded as a good disposition. Mitres and redans, connected by
straight curtains, are sometimes employed, as also a combination of
large and small redans, forming alternate salient and re-entering
angles. A continuous line of bastions is preferable to any other
arrangement, when there is plenty of time for their construction.

Lines with intervals are frequently formed of alternate lunettes and
square redoubts. Other detached works may be employed in the same way.
This manner of intrenching a position has several advantages, with
disciplined troops. The first shock of the assailant is sustained by the
detached works, and when he attempts to penetrate in the intervals, his
flanks become exposed to a deadly cross fire. These intervals also allow
the assailed to act on the offensive, by charging the enemy at the
opportune moment. But with raw and militia forces it will be safer to
resort to continuous lines. If cavalry form any part of the defensive
force, it will be absolutely necessary to leave intervals through which
these troops may charge.

A vertical section of all intrenchments is of the same general form; the
dimensions will, of course, vary with the nature of the soil, and the
time and means employed in their construction. The minimum dimensions
that can be used with any considerable advantage are given in Fig. 49.

In laying out field-works advantage should be taken of all available
artificial obstacles, such as hedges, walls, houses, outbuildings, &c. A
thickset hedge may be rendered defensible by throwing up against it a
slight parapet of earth. Stone fences may be employed in the same way.
Walls of masonry may be pierced with loop-holes and arranged for one or
two tiers of fire. The walls of houses are pierced in the same manner,
and a projecting wooden structure, termed a _machicoulis gallery_, is
sometimes made from the floor of the second story, to enable the
assailed to fire down upon their opponents. This arrangement is
frequently employed to advantage in wooden blockhouses against a savage
foe; but it is of little avail when exposed to the fire of artillery.
Some have proposed galleries of this description in permanent works of
masonry, but the project is too obviously absurd to merit discussion.

In addition to the parapet of an intrenchment, a good engineer will
always find time and means for constructing other artificial obstacles,
such as trous-de-loup, abattis, palisades, stockades, fraises,
chevaux-de-frise, crows'-feet, mines, &c.

_Trous-de-loup_ are pits dug in the earth in the form of an inverted
truncated cone, some six feet in diameter, and about the same number of
feet in depth. They are usually placed a few yards in front of the
ditch, and concealed by some slight covering.

_Abattis_ are tops and large limbs of trees arranged along the glacis of
a work; the ends of the branches are lopped off and sharpened.

_Palisades_ are stakes some eight or ten feet long, with one end
fastened in the ground and the other made sharp. They are placed in
juxtaposition and connected together by horizontal riband-pieces. This
arrangement is frequently placed at the foot of the counterscarp. When
the timbers are large and the work is intended as a part of a primary
defence, it is called a _stockade_; when the stakes are placed at the
foot of the scarp, either horizontally or inclined, they receive the
name of _fraises_.

A _cheval-de-frise_ consists of a horizontal piece of timber armed with
wooden or iron lances, which project some eight or ten feet. It is much
employed against cavalry, and on rocky soils serves as a substitute for

_Crows'-feet_ are small wooden or iron forms filled with sharp spikes.
They are thrown, with their points upward, on ground which is to be
passed over by cavalry.

_Mines_ are sometimes used in connection with intrenchments, but more
commonly in the attack and defence of permanent works. They will be
noticed further on.

Fieldworks which are to be occupied for a considerable length of time
will usually have their steeper slopes revetted, and be arranged with
scarp and counterscarp, galleries, traverses, blindages, &c. Such works
hold an intermediary rank between temporary and permanent fortification.

As examples of the importance of field fortifications and of the manner
of organizing them, the reader is referred to the celebrated battle of
Fontenoy, in 1745, where the carefully-arranged intrenchments of Marshal
Saxe enabled the French to repel, with immense destruction, the attacks
of greatly superior numbers; to the battle of Fleurus, in 1690, where
the Prince of Waldeck exposed himself to a most disastrous defeat "by
neglecting the resources of fortification and other indispensable
precautions;" to the battle of Malplaquet, in 1709, where Marshal
Villars, by neglecting to occupy and intrench the farm that closed the
passage between the woods of Sars and Lanière, exposed himself to a
disastrous defeat; to the operations of 1792, where General Custine, by
neglecting to intrench the heights that covered Bingen, as the engineers
had recommended, exposed himself to those terrible disasters which
forced him to a precipitate retreat; to the works of Wervike, which, by
a vigorous resistance on the 10th of September, 1793, saved the Dutch
army from total destruction; to the intrenched camp of Ulm, in 1800,
which for six weeks held in check the victorious army of Moreau; to the
intrenched lines of Torres Vedras, in 1810, which saved from destruction
the English army of Wellington; to the field-defences of Hougomont,
which contributed so much to the victory of Waterloo, &c.

_Military communications._--The movements of armies are always much
embarrassed by forests, marshes, and water-courses, and nothing
contributes more to the dispatch of military operations than the means
of opening practical and easy communication through these various

It is not necessary here to enter into any detailed discussion of the
manner of constructing military communications through forests or
marshes. In a new country like ours, where almost every one has had some
experience in road-making, no very great technical knowledge is required
for the construction of temporary works of this character; but much
professional skill and experience will be requisite for the engineers
who make the preliminary reconnaissances, and fix the location of these

Water-courses may be crossed by means of fords, on the ice, or by
ferries and bridges. When temporary bridges or ferries are constructed
by the army in the field, they are classed under the general head of
_military bridges_, or more properly, _pontoniering_.

Where the depth of the stream is not great, the current slight, and the
bottom smooth and hard, the passage may be effected by _fording_. If the
bottom be of mud, or large stones, the passage will be difficult and
dangerous, even where the depth and current are favorable. Under
favorable circumstances infantry can ford a stream where the depth is
not greater than four feet; cavalry to a depth of four or five feet; but
artillery, and engineer trains, cannot go to a depth of more than two
and a half feet, without greatly exposing their ammunition and military
stores The fords should be accurately staked out before the passage is
attempted, and ropes ought to be stretched across the stream, or cavalry
and small boats stationed below, to prevent the loss of life.

Ice may be crossed by infantry, in small detachments. Its strength may
be increased by covering it with boards, or straw, so as to distribute
the weight over a greater surface. By sprinkling water over the straw,
and allowing it to freeze, the mass may be made still more compact. But
large bodies of cavalry, and heavy artillery, cannot venture on the ice
unless it be of great thickness and strength. An army can never trust,
for any length of time, to either fords or ice; if it did a freshet or a
thaw would place it in a most critical state. Military bridges will,
therefore, become its only safe reliance for keeping open its

Military bridges are made with trestles, rafts, boats, and other
floating bodies. Rope bridges are also sometimes resorted to by troops
for passing rivers.

_Trestle bridges_ are principally used for crossing small streams not
more than seven or eight feet in depth: they also serve to connect
floating bridges with the shore, in shallow water. The form of the
trestle is much the same as that of an ordinary _carpenter's horse,_
i.e., a horizontal beam supported by four inclined legs. These trestles
are placed in the stream, from twelve to twenty feet apart, and
connected by string-pieces, (or _balks_ as they are termed in technical
language,) which are covered over with plank. The action of the current
against the bridge may be counteracted by anchors and cables, or by
means of boxes or baskets attached to the legs of the trestles, and
filled with stones. A more substantial form may be given to the bridge
by substituting for the trestles, piles, or the ordinary framed supports
so much used in the newer parts of our country.

For examples of the use of bridges of this description we would refer to
Caesar's celebrated bridge across the Rhine; the passage of the Scheldt
in 1588 by the Spaniards; the passage of the Lech in 1631 by Gustavus
Adolphus; the passage of the Danube in 1740 by Marshal Saxe; the great
bridge across the Var during Napoleon's Italian campaigns; the passage
of the Lech in 1800 by Lecourbe; the bridges across the Piava, the
Isonso, &c., in the subsequent operations of the army in Italy; the
celebrated passage of the Danube at the island of Lobau in 1809; the
passage of the Agueda in 1811 by the English; the passages of the Dwina,
the Moscowa, the Dneiper, the Beresina, &c., in the campaign of 1812;
the repairing of the bridge near Dresden, and the passage of the Elbe in
1813, &c.

_Rafts_ formed of timbers, casks, barrels, &c., are frequently used as
military bridges. They may be made to bear almost any weight, and will
answer for the passage of rivers of any depth and width, provided the
current be not rapid.

Where the bridge is to be supported by rafts made of solid timbers,
these timbers should be first placed in the water, to ascertain their
natural position of stability, and then the larger ends cut away on the
under side, so as to present the least possible resistance to the action
of the current. They are afterwards lashed together by strong rope or
withe lashing, or fastened by cross-pieces let into the timbers, and
held firm by bolts, or wooden pins. These rafts are kept in place by
anchors and cables placed up and down stream. The roadway is formed in
nearly the same manner as for a bridge supported on trestles. Empty
casks, and other floating bodies, may be substituted in place of logs in
the construction of rafts.

For examples of the use of rafts in the construction of military
bridges, we would refer to the passage of the Seine in 1465 by Count
Charolais; the passage of the Meuse in 1579, by Alexander Farnése; the
passage of the Vistula in 1704, the Borysthenese in 1709, and the Sound
in 1718, by Charles XII.; the passage of the Adige in 1796; the passage
of the Po in 1807; and the subsequent military operations in the Spanish

Military bridges are frequently made of _boats_, and the ordinary
river-craft found in the vicinity of the intended passage. Flat-bottomed
boats are the most suitable for this purpose, but if these cannot be
obtained, keel boats will serve as a substitute. When these water-craft
are of very unequal sizes, (as is frequently the case,) two smaller
ones may be lashed together to form a single support; they can be
brought to the same level by means of stone ballast. The gunwales must
be suitably arranged for supporting the balks, or else frameworks should
be erected for this purpose from the centre of the boat. The arrangement
of the roadway, anchors, &c., is the same as before.

A _bridge-equipage_ made to follow an army in its movements in the
field, is generally composed of light skiffs or batteaux, and the
necessary timbers, planks, anchors, &c., for forming the roadway, and
keeping the bridge in its position. All these articles are constructed
especially for this purpose. All the wood-work should be of tough and
well-seasoned timber, so as to impose no unnecessary weight on the wagon
trains. The bateaux should also be made of strong and light materials.
For convenience in transportation, these boats are sometimes made with
hinges so as to fold up. The ribs are usually of oak, and the sides and
bottom of pine. Instead of plank, a covering of tin, copper,
India-rubber, &c., has sometimes been substituted. Floating supports of
this character are often made in compartments, so as to prevent their
sinking when injured by the enemy's projectiles. Indian-rubber pontons
may be folded up into a small space, and their slight weight renders
them convenient for transportation.

On navigable streams a part of the bridge resting on one or two bateaux
should be so arranged that it can be shipped out of its place, forming a
_draw_ for the passage of river-craft. Indeed, it would be well, even
where the river is not navigable, to form a draw for the passage of
trees, and other floating bodies, sent down by the enemy against the

An ordinary bridge-equipage of bateaux, or light pontons, for crossing a
river of from three to four hundred yards in width, and of moderate
current, will require a train of from sixty to eighty wagons.[46] Under
favorable circumstances, and with a well-instructed corps of pontoniers,
the bridge may be thrown across the river, and prepared for the passage
of an army in a few hours at most.[47] After the troops have passed
over, the bridge may be taken up, and replaced on the wagons in from a
quarter to half an hour.

[Footnote 46: The number of wagons in a ponton train will be greatly
diminished if it be found that Indian-rubber boats may be used as
supports for the bridge. The engineer department of our army are making
experiments to determine this point.]

[Footnote 47: In 1746, three bridges of bateaux were thrown across the
Po, near Placentia, each fifteen hundred feet in length, and entirely
completed in eight hours. In 1757, two bridges of bateaux were thrown
across the Rhine, at Wesel, in half an hour; again, in the same year, a
third bridge was thrown across this river near Dusseldorf, in six hours.
In 1841, Col. Birago, of the Austrian army, arrived on the bank of the
Weisgerben arm of the Danube, with his bridge-equipage, at a round trot,
and immediately began the construction of his bridge, without any
previous preparation or examination. In less than three-quarters of an
hour the bridge was completed, and three loaded four-horse wagons passed
over on a trot, followed by a column of infantry.]

The following examples will serve to illustrate the use of different
kinds of boat-bridges in military operations:--the passage of the Rhine,
in 1702, by Villars; the passage of the Dnieper and the Bog, in 1739, by
the Russians; the passage of the Danube, in 1740, by Marshal Saxe; the
passage of the Rhine, near Cologne, in 1758, by the Prince of Clermont;
the passage of the Rhine, in 1795, by Jourdan; the passage of the Rhine,
at Kehl, in 1796, by Moreau; and again the same year, at Weissenthurn,
and at Neuwied, by Jourdan; the bridges across the Rhine, at the sieges
of Kehl and Huninguen, in 1797; the passage of the Limmat, in 1799, by
Massena; the passages of the Mincio, the Adige, the Brenta, the Piava,
&c., in 1800; the passages of these rivers again in 1805; the passages
of the Narew, in 1807, by the Russians; the several passages of the
Danube, in 1809, by the French and Austrian armies; the passages of the
Tagus and Douro, in 1810, by the English; the passages of the Niemen,
the Dwina, the Moskwa, and the Beresina, in 1812, by the French; and of
the great rivers of Germany and France, in 1813 and 1814.

A floating body, propelled from one bank to the other by the current of
the stream, is termed a _flying-bridge._ The usual mode of establishing
a ferry of this kind, is to attach the head of the boat by means of a
cable and anchor to some point near the middle of the stream. By
steering obliquely to the current, the boat may be made to cross and
recross at the same point. A single passage may be made in the same way,
by the action of the current without the cable and anchor, but the boat
in this case will be carried some distance down the stream. Rowboats are
employed for crossing over infantry by successive debarkations; but this
process is too slow for the passage of a large force; it may very well
be resorted to as auxiliary to other means.

Steam craft are so common at the present day on all navigable streams,
that an army in the field will frequently be able to avail itself of
this means of passing the larger rivers. But, in a hostile country, or
in one already passed over by the enemy, it will not be safe to rely
with confidence upon obtaining craft of this character. A well-organized
army will always carry in its train the means of effecting a certain and
speedy passage of all water-courses that may intercept its line of

Flying-bridges or rowboats were employed in the passage of the Dwina, in
1701, by the Swedes; the passage of the Po, in 1701, by Prince Eugene;
the passage of the Rhine, at Huninguen, in 1704; Jourdan's passage of
the Rhine in 1795; Moreau's passage in 1796; the sieges of Kehl and
Huninguen in 1797; Massena's passage of the Limmat, and Soult's passage
of the Linth, in 1799; the passage of the Rhine, at Lucisteig in 1800;
the passage of the Po, by the French, just before the battle of Marengo;
and others in Italy, Germany, and Spain, in the subsequent campaigns of

Military bridges have sometimes been formed of ropes, cables stretched
across the stream, and firmly attached at each end to trees, or posts
let into the earth. If the shore is of rock, rings with staples let into
the stone form the best means for securing the ends of the main ropes.
Plank are laid on these cables to form the roadway. The ropes forming
the "side-rail" of the bridge are passed over trestles at each shore,
and then fastened as before. Short vertical ropes attach the main
supports to these side ropes, in order that they may sustain a part of
the weight passing over the bridge. Constructions of this character are
fully described in Douglas's Essay on Military Bridges. For example, see
the passage of the Po, near Casal, in 1515, by the Swiss; the bridge
thrown over the Clain by Admiral Coligni, at the siege of Poitiers, in
1569; the operations of the Prince of Orange against Ghent and Bruges,
in 1631; the passage of the Tagus, at Alcantara, in 1810, by the
English; the bridge constructed across the Zezere, by the French, in
1810; the bridge thrown across the Scarpe, near Douai, in 1820; the
experiments made at Fêre in 1823, &c.

The passage of a river in the presence of an enemy, whether acting
offensively or in retreat, is an operation of great delicacy and danger.
In either case the army is called upon to show the coolest and most
determined courage, for its success will depend on its maintaining the
strictest discipline and good order.

In the case of a retreat the bridge should be covered by field
intrenchments, called a _tête de pont_, and defended by a strong guard.
If the river be of moderate width, the enemy may be kept at a distance
by heavy batteries on the opposite shore. As soon as the passage is
effected by the main body, the bridge, if permanent, will be blown up,
or otherwise destroyed by the miners, and if floating, will be swung
round to the other shore. The rear-guard will pass over in rowboats, or
the end pontons detached for that purpose. An army retreating in the
face of an enemy should never rely upon one single bridge, no matter
what may be its character: for the slightest accident happening to it
might expose the whole army to inevitable destruction.

The passage of a river by main force, against an enterprising and active
enemy on the opposite shore, is always an operation of the greatest
difficulty, and not unfrequently accompanied with the most bloody

The most effectual method of accomplishing this object is by stratagem.
Demonstrations are made at several points at the same time: bodies of
troops are thrown across, after nightfall, in rowboats or by
flying-bridges, to get possession of the opposite bank. The vanguard of
light cavalry may cross by swimming. The pontoniers should have their
bridge equipage in readiness near the intended point of passage, so that
it can be thrown across with the greatest possible rapidity, while the
advanced guards are still able to keep the enemy at a distance. Under
favorable circumstances the pontoniers will have the bridge in readiness
for the passage of the army before the enemy can collect his troops upon
the threatened point.

Cannon-balls and hollow shot are the most effectual means for destroying
an enemy's bridge when our batteries can be planted within reach. When
this cannot be done, we must resort to fire-boats, floating rafts, &c.,
to accomplish our object. Operations of this kind carried on in the
night, are most likely to succeed.

To protect bridges from the action of these floating bodies, stockades,
or floating chevaux-de-frise are constructed across the stream at some
distance above the bridge; strong cables, or chains stretched directly
across the river, or with an angle up stream, may be used in place of
stockades, or in conjunction with them. Guards should be stationed above
the bridge, with boats, ropes, grapnels, &c., for the purpose of
arresting all floating bodies and drawing thorn ashore, or directing
them safely through the _draw_ in the bridge arrangement.

The troops especially charged with the construction and management of
the various kinds of military bridges, are denominated _pontoniers_. The
duties of these troops are arduous and important, and, in a country like
ours, intersected by numerous water-courses, the success of a campaign
will often depend upon their skill and efficiency.

_Sapping_.--This is a general term applied to the operations of forming
trenches, along which troops may approach a work without being exposed
to the fire of the besieged.

In addition to the ordinary sapping-tools, such as shovels, picks,
gabion-forks, &c., used in constructing trenches, there will also be
required a considerable amount of sapping materials, such as gabions,
fascines, sap-fagots, sandbags, &c.

The _gabion_ is a cylindrical basket of twigs, about two feet in
diameter, and some three feet in length, and without a bottom. It is
made by driving into the ground, in a circular form, a number of small
pickets about an inch in diameter, and of the length required for the
gabion. Twigs are wattled between the pickets like ordinary basket-work,
and fastened at the ends by withs or packthread. Gabions are used in
forming saps, batteries, blindages, powder-magazines, and in revetting
the steep slopes of field-works.

The _fascine_ is a bundle of twigs closely bound up, from nine to twelve
inches in diameter, and from ten to fifteen or twenty feet in length.
The largest are sometimes called _saucissons_. In making a fascine,
straight twigs about the thickness of a man's finger are laid side by
side, and firmly compressed together by a strong rope or chain attached
to the extremities of two levers. While held in this position the twigs
are firmly bound together by withs or cords. Fascines are used in
constructing trenches, batteries, &c., and for filling up wet ditches.

The _sap-fagot_ is a strong fascine about ten inches in diameter and two
feet in length, with a picket inserted through the middle. It is used in
the double sap in connection with gabions.

_Sand-bags_ are usually made of coarse canvass. When filled with earth
they are some six or eight inches in diameter, and from eighteen inches
to two feet in length. From their perishable nature, they are used only
when other materials cannot be procured, and where it is important to
place the troops speedily under cover from the enemy's fire.

Bales of wool, cotton, hay, straw, &c., may be employed in sapping for
the same purposes as the above materials, when they can be procured in
sufficient quantity. Pork and flour barrels, which are usually in
abundance in a camp, are frequently filled with sand and used for
forming magazines, blindages, &c., in field-works.

A trench constructed in ordinary soil beyond the range of the enemy's
grape, is called a _simple sap_, or ordinary trench. The earth is thrown
up on the side towards the place besieged, so as to form a kind of
parapet to cover the men in the trench. The labor is here executed under
the supervision of engineer soldiers, by working parties detached from
the other arms. Fig. 50 represents a vertical section of a simple sap.

When within range of the enemy's grape, the _flying sap_ is resorted to
in order to place the workmen speedily under cover. In this operation,
gabions are placed in juxtaposition on the side towards the besieged
work, and filled with all possible speed by the workmen. Three rows of
fascines are usually placed on the top of the gabions to increase the
height. The most difficult part of the flying sap is executed by
engineer troops, and the trench is completed by the ordinary working
parties. Fig. 51 represents a section of this sap.

The _full-sap_ is employed when the works of the besiegers are within
range of musketry, or when the grape fire of the besieged is so deadly
that the flying sap can no longer be used. This is a difficult
operation, and unless executed with great care and by well-instructed
engineer troops, the construction of the trench will be attended with an
immense loss of life. The work must be executed under cover of a
_sap-roller,_ which is a cylindrical mass of fascines, wool, or cotton,
some two feet in diameter. On very smooth ground a ball-proof shelter on
wheels might be used as a substitute. The sap-roller being placed along
the line of the trench so as to cover the sapper in front, who is armed
with a musket-proof headpiece and cuirass, this sapper commences the sap
by placing a gabion on the line of the proposed trench and fills it with
earth, working on his hands and knees. Having filled the first gabion,
he pushes forward the sap-roller and places a second one next the first,
stopping the open joint between the two with a stop-fagot. The second
gabion being filled in the same manner as the first, others are
successively established. When the first sapper has advanced a few feet,
he is followed by a second, also in defensive armor, who increases the
excavation and embankment; this sapper is then followed in the same way
by a third and a fourth, after which the trench will be sufficiently
advanced to be turned over to the ordinary workmen. The sap-fagots may
be removed when the embankment becomes thick enough to resist grape.
Fig. 52 represents a plan and section of a full-sap.

When the direction of the trench is such that the men are exposed on
both sides, it will be necessary to throw up an embankment both to the
right and left. This operation is called the _double sap,_ and is
executed by two parties of sappers, working side by side. In this sap it
will be necessary to frequently change the direction of the trench, or
to throw up traverses, in order to cover the men at a distance from the
sap-roller. Wing-traverses, on the side of the trench which is least
exposed, some times serve the same purpose as a double sap.

_Mines_.--By _mining_, as a military term, we understand the operations
resorted to for the demolition, with powder, of a military structure of
any description. The term _mine_ is applied both to the excavation
charged with powder for the purpose of producing an explosion, and to
the communications which lead to this excavation.

The place in which the charge of powder is lodged is called the
_chamber_, the communication by which this place is reached the
_gallery_, and the excavation made by the explosion is termed the

The form of the crater caused by an explosion in ordinary soils is
assumed to be a truncated cone, the diameter, _c d_, (Fig. 53,) of the
lower circle being one-half the diameter, _a b_, of the upper circle.
This form has never been ascertained to be exactly correct, but the
theoretical results deduced from a mathematical discussion of this
figure have been fully verified in practice. The radius, _p b_, of the
upper circle is termed the _crater radius_; the line _o p_, drawn from
the centre of the charge perpendicular to the surface where the
explosion takes place, is termed the _line of least resistance_; the
line _o b_, drawn from the centre of the powder to any point in the
circumference of the upper circle, is termed the _radius of explosion_.

When the crater radius is equal to the line of least resistance, the
mine is termed _common_; when this radius is greater than the line of
least resistance, the mine is termed _overcharged_; and when the radius
is less, _undercharged_. A mine of small dimensions, formed by sinking a
shaft in the ground, is termed a _fougasse_. The term _camouflet_ is
applied to a mine used to suffocate the enemy's miner, without producing
an explosion. Small mines made in rock or masonry, merely for the
purpose of excavation, without any considerable external explosion, are
called _blasts_.

From experiments made on common mines, whose line of least resistance
did not exceed fifteen feet, it has been ascertained that the tenacity
of the earth is completely destroyed around the crater to a distance
equal to the crater radius, and that empty galleries would be broken in
at once and a half that distance. It has also been proved by experiment,
that the crater radius in overcharged mines may be increased to six
times the line of least resistance, but not much beyond this; that
within this limit the diameter of the crater increases nearly in the
ratio of the square roots of the charge; and that empty galleries may be
destroyed by overcharged mines at the distance of four times the line of
least resistance.

By means of the deductions of physico-mathematical theory, and the
results of experiments, rules have been determined by which the miner
can calculate, with much accuracy, the charge necessary to produce a
required result in any given soil.

In the earlier stages of the history of this art, mines were only used
to open breaches and demolish masses of masonry; but in later times they
have been employed as important elements in the attack and defence of

An isolated wall, only two or three feet thick, may readily be
demolished by exploding one or two casks of powder placed in contact
with its base. If the wall be five or six feet thick, the charges should
be placed under the foundation. For walls of still greater thickness it
will be best to open a gallery to the centre of the wall, a foot or two
above its base, and place the powder in chambers thus excavated.
Revetment walls may be overturned by placing the charges at the back of
the wall, about one-third or one-quarter of the way up from the base. If
placed too near the base, a breach will be made in the wall without
overturning it.

To demolish a bridge of masonry the powder should be lodged in chambers
excavated in the centre of the piers. When there is not time for
excavating these chambers in the piers, a trench may be cut over the key
of the arch, in which the powder is placed and exploded; or, the casks
of powder may be suspended immediately under the arch, with the same
results. Where a saving of powder is of consequence, small chambers may
be excavated in the haunches of the arch, and the mine carefully
_tamped_ before firing it.

Bridges of wood may be destroyed by suspending casks of powder under the
principal timbers, or attaching them to the supports.

Palisading, gates, doors, &c., may be destroyed in the same way, by
suspending casks or bags of powder against their sides; or still more
effectually, by burying the charges just beneath their base.

To demolish a tower, magazine, or house, of masonry, place charges of
powder under the piers and principal walls of the building. In wooden
structures the powder should be placed under, or attached to the
principal supports. Where time is wanting to effect these arrangements,
a building may be blown down by placing a large mass of powder in the
interior. The powder may be economized, in this case, by putting it in a
strong case, which should be connected with the walls of the building on
all sides by wooden props.

Special treatises on military mining contain full instructions for
regulating the size and position of the charge for the various cases
that may be met with in the practical operations of field-engineering.

As applied to the attack and defence of a fortified place, mines are
divided into two general classes--_offensive_ and _defensive_ mines. The
former are employed by the besiegers to overthrow the scarps and
counterscarps of the place, to demolish barriers, palisades, walls, and
other temporary means of defence, and to destroy the mines of the
besieged. The latter are employed by the opposite party to blow up the
besiegers' works of attack, and to defend the passage of ditches against
an assault. Small mines called _fougasses_ may be employed for the last
named object. The _shell-fougasse_ is composed of a wooden box filled
with one or more tiers of shells, and buried just below the surface of
the earth. Sometimes a quantity of powder is placed under the shells, so
as to project them into the air previous to their explosion. The _stone
fougasse_ is formed by making a funnel-shaped excavation, some five or
six feet deep, and placing at the bottom a charge of powder enclosed in
a box, and covered with a strong wooden shield; several cubic yards of
pebbles, broken stone, or brickbats, are placed against the shield, and
earth well rammed round, to prevent the explosion from taking place in
the wrong direction. These mines are fired by means of powder hose, or
by wires connected with a galvanic battery.

The defensive mines employed to blow up the besiegers' works, are
generally common mines with the lines of least resistance seldom greater
than fifteen feet. All the main galleries and principal branches of
mines for a permanent fortification are constructed at the same time
with the other portions of the work, leaving only the secondary
branches, chambers, &c., to be made during the siege. For the general
arrangement of these galleries, and the precautions necessary for their
protection from the operations of the besiegers, reference must be made
to treatises specially devoted to the discussion of this subject.

Mines can seldom be employed with advantage in works of slight relief,
and liable to an assault. But if judiciously arranged in the plan of
their construction, and well managed during the operations of the siege,
they contribute very materially to the length of the defence.

_Attack and defence_.--This subject admits of two natural divisions:
1st, of intrenchments, and 2d, of permanent works.

I. Intrenchments maybe attacked either by _surprise_, or by _open
force_. In either case the operations should be based on exact
information of the strength of the works and the number and character of
the garrison--information that can be obtained from spies, deserters,
and prisoners, and confirmed by examinations or reconnaissances made by
officers of engineers. By these means a pretty accurate knowledge may be
obtained of the natural features of the ground exterior to the works;
their weak and strong points; and their interior arrangements for

In an attack by surprise, the troops should consist of a storming party
and a reserve of picked men. The attacking column is preceded by a
company of sappers armed with axes, shovels, picks, crowbars, &c.; bags
of powder are also used for blowing down gates, palisades, &c. All the
operations must be carried on with the utmost dispatch. The time most
favorable for a surprise is an hour or two before day, as at this moment
the sentinels are generally less vigilant, and the garrison in a
profound sleep; moreover, the subsequent operations, after the first
surprise, will be facilitated by the approach of day. Under certain
circumstances, it may be advisable to make false attacks at the same
time with the true one, in order to distract the attention of the
garrison from the true point of danger. But false attacks have, in
general, the objection of dividing the forces of the assailants as well
as of the assailed. In all attacks by surprise, secrecy is the soul of
the enterprise.

In an open assault, if artillery be employed, the troops should be drawn
up in a sheltered position, until the fire of the works is silenced, and
breaches effected in the parapet. But if the bayonet alone be resorted
to, the troops are immediately brought forward at the beginning of the
assault. The attack is begun by a storming party of picked men: they are
preceded, as before, by a body of sappers, provided with necessary means
for removing obstacles, and followed by a second detachment of
engineers, who will widen the passages, and render them more accessible
to the main body of troops who now advance to the assistance of the
storming party. If the assailants should be arrested at the counterscarp
by obstacles which must be removed before any farther progress can be
made, the infantry troops of the detachment display and open a fire upon
the assailed, in order to divert their fire from the sappers. A few
pieces of light artillery, on the flanks of the column, may sometimes be
employed for this purpose with great advantage.

The storming party should always be provided with scaling-ladders,
planks, fascines, &c., for crossing the ditch, and mounting the scarp.
If the counterscarp be revetted with masonry, the troops must either
descend by ladders, or fill up the ditch with fascines, bales of straw,
bundles of wool, &c.: if not revetted, a passage for the troops into the
ditch will soon be formed by the shovels of the sappers. When the ditch
is gained, shelter is sought in a dead angle till the means are prepared
for mounting the scarp, and storming the work. If the scarp be of earth
only, the sappers will soon prepare a passage for the escalade; but if
revetted with masonry, the walls must be breached with hollow shot, or
scaled by means of ladders.

In the defence, the strictest vigilance should be at all times exerted
to guard against a surprise: sentinels are posted on all the most
commanding points of the work; all the avenues of approach are most
thoroughly guarded; and patroles are constantly scouring the ground in
all directions. At night all these precautions are redoubled. Light and
fire-balls are thrown out in front of the work to light up the ground,
and discover the movements and approach of the enemy. Each man should
have his particular post assigned to him, and be thoroughly instructed
in the duties he will have to perform. All auxiliary arrangements, such
as palisades, abattis, &c., should be defended with the utmost
obstinacy; the longer the enemy is held in check by these obstacles, the
longer will he be exposed to the grape and musketry of the main work.
When he assaults the parapet, he will be opposed by the bayonet in front
and a well-aimed fire in flank. While in the ditch, or as he mounts the
scarp, hollow projectiles, incendiary preparations, stones, logs, &c.,
will be rolled down upon his head. But when the assaulting column has
gained the top of the scarp, the bayonet forms the most effective means
of resistance.

The measures resorted to in the attack and defence of the larger class
of field-works, will necessarily partake much of the nature of the
operations employed in the attack and defence of permanent

II. The attack and defence of a fortress may be carried on either by a
regular siege, or by irregular operations and an assault. The latter
plan has sometimes been adopted when the works of the place were weak
and improperly defended; where the time and means were wanting for
conducting a regular siege; or where the assailants were ignorant of the
means proper to be resorted to for the reduction of the fortress. Such
operations, however, are usually attended by an immense sacrifice of
human life, and the general who neglects to employ all the resources of
the engineer's art in carrying on a siege, is justly chargeable with the
lives of his men. In the siege of Cambrai, Louis XIV., on the
solicitation of Du Metz, but contrary to the advice of Vauban, ordered
the demi-lune to be taken by assault, instead of waiting for the result
of a regular siege. The assault was made, but it was unsuccessful, and
the French sustained great losses. The king now directed Vauban to take
the demi-lune by regular approaches, which was done in a very short
time, and with a loss of _only five men!_ Again, at the siege of Ypres,
the generals advised an assault before the breaches were ready. "You
will gain a day by the assault," said Vauban, "but you will lose a
thousand men." The king directed the regular works to be continued, and
the next day the place was taken with but little loss to the besiegers.

But a work may be of such a character as to render it unnecessary to
resort to all the works of attack which would be required for the
reduction of a regular bastioned fort, on a horizontal site. For
example: the nature of the ground may be such as to enable the troops to
approach to the foot of the glacis, without erecting any works whatever;
of course, all the works up to the third parallel may in this case be
dispensed with without any violation of the rules of a siege. Again, the
point of attack may be such that the other parts of the place will not
flank the works of approach; here a single line of _boyaux_ and short
parallels may be all-sufficient.

But for the purpose of discussion, we will here suppose the place
besieged to be a regular bastioned work on a horizontal site, (Fig.

The operations of the siege may be divided into three distinct periods.

1st. The preliminary operations of the attack and defence previous to
the opening of the trenches.

2d. The operations of the two parties from the opening of the trenches
to the establishment of the third parallel.

3d. From the completion of the third parallel to the reduction of the

_First period._ The object of the _investment of the place_ is to cut
off all communication between the work and the exterior, thus preventing
it from receiving succors, provisions, and military munitions, and also
to facilitate a close reconnoissance of the place by the engineers, who
should always accompany the investing corps, and pursue their labors
under its protection. This corps should be composed chiefly of light
troops--cavalry, light infantry, horse artillery, "brigades of engineers
and mounted sappers,"--who march in advance of the besieging army, and,
by a sudden movement, surround the work, seize upon all the avenues of
approach, and carry off every thing without the work that can be of
service either to the garrison or to the besiegers. To effect this
object, the enterprise must be conducted with secrecy and dispatch.

The investing corps is now distributed around the work in the most
favorable positions for cutting off all access to it, and also to
prevent any communication with the exterior by detachments from the
garrison, and even single individuals are sent out to give intelligence
to a succoring army or to reconnoitre the operations of the besieging
corps. These posts and sentinels, called the _daily cordon_, are placed
some mile or mile and a half from the work, and beyond the reach of the
guns. But in the night-time these posts are insufficient to accomplish
their object, and consequently as soon as it is dark the troops move up
as close to the work as possible without being exposed to the fire of
musketry. This arrangement constitutes the _nightly cordon_.

By the time the main army arrives the reconnoissance will be
sufficiently complete to enable the chief engineer to lay before the
general the outline of his plan of attack, so as to establish the
position of his depots and camp. These will be placed some two miles
from the work, according to the nature of the ground. As they occupy a
considerable extent of ground around the work, it will generally be
necessary to form intrenchments strong enough to prevent succors of
troops, provisions, &c., from being thrown into the place, and also to
restrain the excursions of the garrison. The works thrown up between the
camp and besieged place are termed the _line of countervallation_, and
those on the exterior side of the camp form the _line of
circumvallation_. These lines are generally about six hundred yards
apart. It is not unusual in modern warfare to dispense with lines of
circumvallation, (except a few detached works for covering the parks of
the engineers and artillery,) and to hold the succoring army in check by
means of an opposing force, called the _army of observation_.

The measures of defence resorted to by the garrison will, of course, be
subordinate, in some degree, to those of attack. As soon as any danger
of an investment is apprehended, the commanding general should collect
into the place all the necessary provisions, forage, military munitions,
&c., to be found in the surrounding country; all useless persons should
be expelled from the garrison; a supply of timber for the works of the
engineers and artillery, fascines, gabions, palisades, &c., prepared;
all ground within cannon range around the work levelled; hedges and
trees cut down; holes filled up; temporary buildings demolished or
burnt; and all obstacles capable of covering an enemy and interrupting
the fire of the work, removed.

During this period the engineer troops and working parties detached from
the other arms will be most actively employed. As soon as the investing
corps makes its appearance, bodies of light troops are thrown out to cut
off reconnoitring parties, and, if possible, to draw the enemy into
ambush. To facilitate these exterior operations, and to prevent a
surprise, several guns of long range are placed on the salients of the
bastions and demi-lunes, and others, loaded with grape, in the
embrasures of the flanks, so as to sweep the ditches. About one-third of
the garrison may be employed in exterior operations, and the other
two-thirds in arranging the means of defence in the interior.

_Second period._--As soon as the engineers have completed their
reconnaissances and determined on the front of attack, and all the other
preparations are made, the general will direct the opening of the
trenches. The ground being previously marked out, battalions of light
troops, termed _guards of the trenches_, as soon as it is dark, are
placed about thirty yards in front of the first parallel, (A. Fig. 54,)
with smaller sections, and sentinels about the same distance further in
advance. These guards lie down, or otherwise conceal themselves from the
fire of the work. The engineer troops and detachments of workmen being
first marched to the dépôts and supplied with all the necessary tools
for carrying on the work, now commence their labors under the protection
of these guards. By daybreak the construction of the first parallel, and
the trenches connecting it with the dépôts, will be sufficiently
advanced to cover the men from the fire of the place; the guards will
therefore be withdrawn, and the workmen continue their labors during the
day to give the trenches the proper size and form.

The _parallels_ are the long lines of trench which envelop the besieged
work, and serve both as covered ways for the circulation of the
besiegers, and as means of defence against sorties from the garrison;
they are therefore arranged with banquettes for musketry fire. The
boyaux are trenches run in a zigzag direction along the capitals of the
front of attack, and are intended exclusively for the circulation of the
troops; they have no banquettes. The first parallel is about six hundred
yards from the place, and consequently beyond the reach of grape. It is
constructed by the _simple sap_. After the first night, the guards,
instead of advancing in front of the work, are placed in the trenches.

The second parallel (B) is made some three hundred or three hundred and
fifty yards from the place, and being much exposed to grape, the
_flying-sap_ is employed in its construction. Batteries (H) are
established between the first and second parallels to silence the fire
of the demi-lunes of the collateral bastions, and others (I) near the
second parallel, to enfilade the faces of the front of attack. These are
armed in part with mortars and in part with heavy siege-pieces.

The works are now gradually pushed forward to the third parallel, (C),
which is constructed about sixty yards from the salients of the place.
As the operations of the besiegers are here greatly exposed to musketry
fire, the trenches are constructed by the _full-sap_. The third
parallel, having to contain the guards of the trenches, and being of
less development than the two preceding, is made much wider. The second
parallel now contains the reserve, and the first parallel becomes the
dépôt of materials. _Demi-parallels_ (G) are frequently established
between the second and third, to be occupied by detachments of guards.

The operations of defence during this period are so directed as to
harass the workmen in the trenches and retard the advance of the works
of attack. Garrison pieces of long range and large howitzers are brought
forward on the salients of the bastions and demi-lunes of attack, so as
to fire in ricochet along the capitals on which the boyaux must be
pushed: light and fire-balls are thrown out as soon as it becomes dark,
to light up the ground occupied by the besiegers, thus exposing them to
the fire of the work and to the attacks of the sortie parties. These
parties are composed of light troops who charge the guards and compel
the workmen to abandon their sapping tools and stand upon the defence.
They are most effective when the besiegers commence the second parallel,
as the guards in the first parallel are not so immediately at hand to
protect the workmen. When the sortie detachment has driven these workmen
from the trenches, instead of pursuing them into the first parallel, it
will display itself in battle order to cover the engineer troops, (who
should always accompany the detachment in this enterprise,) while they
fill up the trenches and destroy the implements of the besiegers. When
the guards of the trenches appear in force, the detachment will retire
in such a way, if possible, as to draw the enemy within range of the
grape and musketry of the collateral works. These sorties, if
successful, may be frequently repeated, for they tend very much to
prolong the siege. The best time for making them is an hour or two
before day, when the workmen and guards are fatigued with the labors of
the night. While the besiegers are establishing their enfilading
batteries, a strong fire of solid shot and shells will be concentrated
on the points selected for their construction. The garrison will also
labor during this period to put the work into a complete state of
defence: constructing all necessary palisadings, traverses, blindages,
barriers; and strengthening, if necessary, the covering of the

_Third period._--After the completion of the third parallel, the
crowning of the covered way may be effected by storm, by regular
approaches, or (if the work is secured by defensive mines) by a
subterranean warfare.

In the first case stone mortar-batteries are established in front of the
third parallel, which, on a given signal, will open their fire in
concert with all the enfilading and mortar batteries. When this fire has
produced its effect in clearing the outworks, picked troops will sally
forth and carry the covered way with the bayonet, sheltering themselves
behind the traverses until the sappers throw up a trench some four or
five yards from the crest of the glacis, high enough to protect the
troops from the fire of the besieged. It may afterwards be connected
with the third parallel by boyaux.

When the covered way is to be crowned by regular approaches, a _double
sap_ is pushed forward from the third parallel to within thirty yards of
the salient of the covered way; the trench is then extended some fifteen
or twenty yards to the right or left, and the earth thrown up high
enough to enable the besiegers to obtain a plunging fire into the
covered way, and thus prevent the enemy from occupying it. This mound of
earth is termed a _trench cavalier_, (O). Boyaux are now pushed forward
to the crowning of the covered way and the establishing of breach
batteries, (J). Descents are then constructed into the ditches, and as
soon as these batteries have made a breach into the walls of the
bastions and outworks, the boyaux are pushed across the ditches and
lodgments effected in the breaches. The demi-lune is first carried; next
the demi-lune redoubt and bastion; and lastly, the interior
retrenchments and citadel. In some cases the breaches are carried by
assault, but the same objection is applicable here as in the storming of
the covered way; _time is gained, but at an immense expense of human

If the place is defended by mines it will be necessary for the
besiegers to counteract the effects of these works by resorting to the
slow and tedious operations of a subterranean warfare. In this case a
fourth trench is formed in front of the third parallel; shafts are sunk
in this, about six yards apart, for establishing overcharged mines; as
soon as the galleries of the besieged are destroyed by the explosion of
these mines, the covered way is attacked by storm; other mines are
established on the _terre-plain_ of the covered way to destroy the
entrance to the galleries, and thus deprive the besieged of the use of
their entire system of mines.

The measures of defence during this period must embrace every thing
calculated to retard the works of the besiegers. This may be most
effectually accomplished by maintaining a constant fire of grape and
musketry on the heads of the sap, and throwing grenades, shells, &c.,
into the trenches, to harass and destroy the workmen. As the musketry
fire of the besiegers now becomes very destructive to the artillerists
at the guns, strong musket-proof blinds are arranged to mask the mouths
of the embrasures when the guns are not in battery, and also sloping
blindages to cover the men when serving at the pieces. The possession of
the outworks should be disputed inch by inch, and when the besiegers
have reached the ditch of the body of the place, sorties, and every
species of projectile, should be employed to drive off the sappers, and
to retard the construction of their works. In fine, all the resources of
the engineer's art should be put in requisition for the defence of the
breach, and the final assault should be vigorously resisted by the
bayonet, and by a well-sustained fire from all the collateral works.

With respect to the relative strength of the opposing forces it may be
well to remark, that if the fortress is properly constructed the
garrison will be able to resist a besieging army _six times_ as numerous
as itself. Such is the estimate of the best engineers.[48]

[Footnote 48: A good knowledge of the several subjects discussed in this
chapter may be derived from the writings of Vauban, Cormontaigne, and
Noizet de St. Paul, on the attack and defence of places and field
fortification; the several _manuels_ used in the French service on
sapping, mining, and pontoniering; Col. Pasley's experiments on the
operations of a siege, sapping, mining, &c.; Douglas's work on military
bridges; Macauley's work on field fortification; and Professor Mahan's
_Treatise on Field Fortification._ This last is undoubtedly the very
best work that has ever been written on field fortification, and every
officer going into the field should supply himself with a copy.

The following are recommended as books of reference on subjects
discussed in the three preceding chapters.

_Mémorial pour la fortification permanente et passagère._ Cormontaigne.

_Défense des places._ Cormontaigne.

_Attaque des places._ Cormontaigne.

_Attaque des places._ Vauban.

_Traité des mines._ Vauban.

_Mémorial pour la castrametation et la fortification passagère._

_Exercice sur les fortifications._ Davigneau.

_Mémorial de l'officier du genie._ A periodical of rare merit,
containing most valuable military and scientific matter. It is conducted
by officers of the French corps of engineers. It has already reached its
fourteenth number, each number forming a volume.

_Traité complet de fortification._ Noizet de St. Paul.

_Traité d'art militaire et de la fortification._ Gay de Vernon.

_Art de la guerre._ Rogniat.

_Essai général de fortification, &c._ Bousmard.

_Aide-mémoire portatif à l'usage des officiers du génie._ Laisné. A very
valuable and useful book.

_Aide-mémoire de l'ingénieur militaire._ Grivet.

_Cours d'art militaire._ Laurillard Fallot.

_Cours de fortification, &c._ Lavart.

_Le livre de la guerre._ Perrot.

_Journaux des siéges dans la péninsule._ Belmas.

_Journal of Sieges in Spain._ John Jones.

Both of the above are works of great value.

_Cours d'art militaire et de fortification militaire._ François.

_Architettura militare._ Marchi.

_Essai sur la fortification._ Baltard.

_La fortification._ Bar-le-Duc.

_Elémens de fortification._ Bellaire.

_La science des ingénieurs._ Bélidor.

_L'art universel des fortifications._ Bitainvieu.

_Nouvelle manière de fortifier les places._ Blondel.

_Les sept siéges de Lille._ Brun Lavaine.

_Défense des places fortes._ Carnot.

_Mémoire sur la fortification._ Carnot.

_Défense de Saragosse._ Cavallero.

_Mémoires sur la fortification._ Choumara.

_Nouvelle fortification._ Coehorn.

_Théorie de la fortification._ Cugnot.

_Des fortifications,_ &c. &c. Darçon.

_Relation de la defense de Dantzik._ D'Artois.

_Les fortifications._ Deville.

_Péribologie._ Dilich.

_De la fortification permanente._ Dufour. A work of merit.

_Essai sur la défense des états par les fortifications._ Duviviet.

_Attaque et défense des places du camp de St. Omer.

_L'école de la fortification._ Fallois.

_Introduction à la fortification._ De Fer.

_Précis de la défense de Valenciennes._ Ferrand.

_Traité théorique,_ &c. Foissac-Latour.

_Examen detaillé,_ &c. Foissac-Latour.

_Les ouvrages militaires de Fosse.

_Instruction sur la fortification,_ &c. Gaillard.

_Mémoires pour l'attaque et défense d'une place._ Goulon.

_Siége of Peschiera._ Henin.

_Journal du siége de Philisbourg.

_Précis du siége de Dantzick._ Kirgener.

_Deuxième défense de Badajos._ Lamare.

_Fortification, et l'attaque et défense des places._ Lebloud.

_OEuvres de Lefebvre.

_L'architecture des forteresses._ Mandar.

_Traité sur l'art des siéges._ Mazeroy.

_La sûreté des états par le moyen des forteresses._ Maigret.

_Défense d'Ancone._ Mangourit.

_Fortification._ Marolois.

_Siege de Turin._ Mengin.

_Recherches sur l'art défensif,_ &c. Michaloz.

_La fortification de campagne,_ &c. Miller.

_L'art défensif,_ &c. Montalembert.

_Journaux des siéges de Flandre.

_Relations des siéges en Europe,_ &c, Musset-Fathay. A very valuable and
interesting work.

_Relation du siége de Metz.

_Relation du siége d'Anvers.

_Les siéges de Jaffa et de St. Jean d'Acre.

_Les siéges de Saragosse et de Tortose._ Rogniat.

_Siége de Dantzick._ Sainte-Susanne.

_Mémoire sur la fortification permanente.--_Séa.

_Le siége de Constantine._

_Elémens de fortification._ Trincano.

_Des places fortes._ Valazé.

_Essay on Military Bridges._Douglas. A valuable work.

_Guide du pontonier._ Drieu.

_Mémoire sur la guerre souterraine._ Contèle.

_Traité des mines._ Etienne.

_Traité de l'art du mineur._ Geuss.

_Traité de fortification souterraine._ Gillot.

_Traité pratique et théorique des mines._ Lebrun.

_Nouveau traité des mines,_ &c. Prudhomme.

_Manuel du sapeur._ Used in the French service.

_Manuel du mineur._ " ""

_Manuel du pontonier. " ""

_Essay on Field Fortifications._ Pleydell.

_Elements of Field Fortifications._ Lochee.

_Rélation du siége de Grave et Mayence._

_Siéges de Génes._ Thiébault.

_Traité de fortification souterraine._ Mouze.

_Militairische Mittheilungen._ Xilander.

_Die Befestigung der Statten._ Hauser.

_Abhandlung über die Befestigungskunst,_&c. Hauser

_Versuch über die Verschanzungskunst._ Muller.

_Course of Elementary Fortification. _Pasley. This is a work of much
detail--useful, no doubt, to an uneducated engineer soldier, but to an
officer at all acquainted with his profession, it must seem ridiculously

To the above list might be added a long list of books on that branch of
the engineer's art called _constructions_; but as this part of the
profession is, in some degree, common both to the civil and military
engineer, it is not deemed necessary to include works of this character
in a list of books strictly military.]



With the Romans, six years' instruction was required to make a soldier;
and so great importance did these ancient conquerors of the world attach
to military education and discipline, that the very name of their army
was derived from the verb _to practise._

Modern nations, learning from experience that military success depends
more upon skill and discipline than upon numbers, have generally adopted
the same rule as the Romans; and nearly all of the European powers have
established military schools for the education of their officers and the
instruction of their soldiers.

France, which has long taken the lead in military science, has six
military schools for the instruction of officers, containing in all more
than one thousand pupils, and numerous division and regimental schools
for the sub-officers and soldiers.

Prussia maintains some twelve general schools for military education,
which contain about three thousand pupils, and also numerous division,
brigade, garrison, and company schools for practical instruction.

Austria has some fifty military schools, which contain in all about four
thousand pupils.

Russia has thirty-five engineer and artillery technical schools, with
about two thousand pupils; twenty-five military schools for the
noblesse, containing eight thousand seven hundred pupils; _corps
d'armee_ schools, with several thousand pupils; regimental schools, with
eleven thousand pupils; and brigade-schools, with upwards of one hundred
and fifty-six thousand scholars;--making in all about two hundred
thousand pupils in her military schools!

England has five military schools of instruction for officers, number of
pupils not known; a military orphan school, with about twelve thousand
pupils; and numerous dépôt and regimental schools of practice.

The smaller European powers--Belgium, Sardinia, Naples, Spain, Portugal,
Denmark, Sweden, Wurtemberg, Bavaria, Baden, have each several military
schools, with a large number of pupils.

It is seen from these statistics, that the European powers are not so
negligent in educating their officers, and in instructing and
disciplining their soldiers, as some in this country would have us

Washington, Hamilton, Knox, Pickering, and others, learning, by their
own experience in the war of the American revolution, the great
necessity of military education, urged upon our government, as early as
1783, the importance of establishing a military academy in this country,
but the subject continued to be postponed from year to year till 1802.
In 1794, the subaltern grade of _cadet_ was created by an act of
Congress, the officers of this grade being attached to their regiments,
and "furnished at the public expense with the necessary books,
instruments, and apparatus" for their instruction. But this plan of
educating young officers at their posts was found impracticable, and in
his last annual message, Dec. 7th, 1796, Washington urged again, in
strong language, the establishment of a military academy, where a
regular course of military instruction could be given. "Whatever
argument," said he, "may be drawn from particular examples,
superficially viewed, a thorough examination of the subject will evince
that the art of war is both comprehensive and complicated; that it
demands much previous study; and that the possession of it in its most
improved and perfect state is always of great moment to the security of
a nation."

The subject was however postponed from time to time, till March, 1802,
when a bill was passed establishing the _Military Academy_. It was at
first on a small scale, and its course of instruction meager and
deficient. It gradually became enlarged, but lingered along, with no
great improvement, till 1817, when Capt. Patridge was dismissed from the
superintendency, and Col. Thayer put in charge. From this period we date
the commencement of the success and reputation which the Military
Academy has since enjoyed.

This institution, as now organized, consists of one cadet from each
congressional district, and a few at large, making an average of two
hundred and thirty-seven. The course of instruction is four years, after
which time the cadet is sent to his regiment or corps, with higher rank
if there are vacancies, but if there are no vacancies, he goes as a
cadet, with the brevet rank of the next higher grade.

The examination for admission to the institution is a very limited one,
being confined to the elementary branches of an English education.

The annual course at the academy is divided into two distinct periods,
the first extending from June till September, and the second from
September to the following June. During the first period, the cadets
leave their barracks and encamp in tents, and are made subject to the
police and discipline of an army in time of war. In addition to the
thorough and severe course of practical exercises and drills in the
different arms during these three summer months of each year, they are
made to perform the same tours of guard-duty, night and day, as is
required of the common soldier in time of actual war. This continues
till the first of September of each year, when the cadets return to
their barracks, and for the remaining nine months devote themselves to
the prescribed course of scientific and military studies, intermixed
with military exercises and practical operations in the laboratory and
on the field.

To test the progress of the cadets in their studies, there are held
semi-annual public examinations. These examinations are strict and
severe, and all who fail to come up to the fixed standard are obliged to
withdraw from the institution, to allow some one else from the same
district to make the trial.

During their course of studies the cadets, as warrant-officers of the
army, draw pay barely sufficient to defray their necessary expenses. The
allowance to each is twenty-six dollars per month, but none of this is
paid to the cadet, but is applied to the purchase of books, fuel,
lights, clothing, board, &c.

This institution furnishes each year to the army about forty subaltern
officers, thoroughly instructed in all the theoretical and practical
duties of their profession. After completing this course, the cadet is
usually promoted from the grade of warrant-officer to that of a
commissioned officer, and is immediately put on duty with his regiment
or corps.

This system of appointment to the army has produced the most
satisfactory results, and has received the commendation of our best
military men, and the approbation of all our presidents and most able
statesmen. Nevertheless, it has occasionally met with strong opposition;
this opposition springing in part from a want of proper information
respecting the character and working of the system, and in part from the
combined efforts of those who from negligence or incapacity have failed
to pass their examinations for promotion, and of those who, from a
conscious want of qualifications or merit, feel assured that they cannot
obtain commissions in the army so long as this system of merit, as fixed
by examination, shall exist. Hence the effort to destroy the Military
Academy and to throw the army entirely open to _political_ appointment.

Several legislative bodies, acting under these combined influences, have
passed resolutions, giving various objections to the Military Academy,
and recommending that it be abolished. The objections made by the
legislatures of Tennessee, Ohio, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine,
are mostly founded on false information, and may be readily answered by
reference to the official records of the War-office. But it is not the
present object to enter into a general discussion of the charges against
that institution, except so far as they are connected with the
importance of military education, and the rules of military appointment
and promotion.

It has been alleged by many of the opponents of the West Point Academy,
that military instruction is of little or no advantage to a
general;--that in the wars of Napoleon, and in the American Revolution,
and the American war of 1812, armies were generally led to victory by
men without a military education, and unacquainted with military
science;--and that in the event of another war in this country, we must
seek our generals in the ranks of civil life, rather than among the
graduates of our Military Academy.

The objection here made to military education will hold with equal
force against education in any other profession. We sometimes find men
who have become eminent in the pulpit and at the bar, or in medicine and
the sciences, without ever having enjoyed the advantages of an education
in academic or collegiate halls, and perhaps even without that
preliminary instruction usually deemed necessary for professional
pursuits. Shall we therefore abolish all our colleges, theological
seminaries, schools of law and medicine, our academies and primary
schools, and seek for our professional men among the uneducated and the
ignorant? If professional ignorance be a recommendation in our generals,
why not also in our lawyers and our surgeons? If we deem professional
instruction requisite for the care of our individual property and
health, shall we require less for guarding the honor and safety of our
country, the reputation of our arms, and the lives of thousands of our

But in reality, were not these men to whom we have alluded eminent in
their several professions _in spite of,_ rather than _by means of_ their
want of a professional education? And have not such men, feeling the
disadvantages under which they were forced to labor, been almost without
exception the advocates of education in others?

But is it true that most of the generals of distinction in the more
recent wars were men destitute of military education,--men who rose from
the ranks to the pinnacle of military glory, through the combined
influence of ignorance of military science and contempt for military
instruction? Let us glance at the lives of the most distinguished of the
generals of the French Revolution, for these are the men to whom
reference is continually made to prove that the Military Academy is an
unnecessary and useless institution, the best generals being invariably
found in the ranks of an army, and _not_ in the ranks of military
schools. Facts may serve to convince, where reasoning is of no avail.

Napoleon himself was a pupil of the military schools of Brienne and
Paris, and had all the advantages of the best military and scientific
instruction given in France.

Dessaix was a pupil of the military school of Effiat, with all the
advantages which wealth and nobility could procure. Davoust was a pupil
of the military school of Auxerre, and a fellow-pupil with Napoleon in
the military school of Paris. Kleber was educated at the military school
of Bavaria. Eugene Beauharnais was a pupil of St. Germain-en-Loye, and
had for his military instructor the great captain of the age. His whole
life was devoted to the military art. Berthier and Marmont were both
sons of officers, and, being early intended for the army, they received
military educations. Lecourbe had also the advantages of a military
education before entering the army. Pichegru and Duroc were pupils of
the military school of Brienne. Drouet was a pupil of the artillery
school. Foy was first educated in the college of Soissons, and
afterwards in the military schools of La Fère and Chalons. Carnot,
called the "Organizer of French victory," received a good early
education, and was also a pupil of the engineer school of Mézières.

Several of the distinguished French generals at first received good
scientific and literary educations in the colleges of France, and then
acquired their military instruction in the subordinate grades of the
army; and by this means, before their promotion to responsible offices,
acquired a thorough practical instruction, founded on a basis of a
thorough preliminary education. Such was Suchet, a pupil of the college
of Lisle-Barbe; Lannes, a pupil of the college of Lectoure; and Mortier,
who was most carefully educated at Cambrai; Lefebvré and Murat were both
educated for the church, though the latter profited but little by his
instruction; Moreau and Joubert were educated for the bar; Massena was
not a college graduate, but he received a good preliminary education,
and for several years before he entered the army as an officer, he had
enjoyed all the advantages afforded by leisure and affluent
circumstances; Ney, though poor, received a good preliminary education,
and entered a notary's office to study a profession. Hoche was destitute
of the advantages of early education, but, anxious to supply this
deficiency, he early distinguished himself by his efforts to procure
books, and by his extraordinary devotion to military studies. By several
years devoted in this way to professional studies and the practical
duties of a subordinate grade in the army, Hoche acquired a military
knowledge which early distinguished him among the generals of the French
Revolution. Soult and Gouvion-Saint-Cyr, being of parents in limited
circumstances, had not the advantages of extensive education, but close
and diligent application, an ardent ambition, and strong and powerful
intellect, combined with long years of service in the practical
operations of the field, at length enabled these men to overcome all
obstacles, and force their way to the higher walks of their professions.
But both knew from experience the advantages of military instruction,
and the importance of professional education in the army, and they have
consequently both been the warmest friends and strongest advocates of
the military schools of France.

The Polytechnic School was established too late to furnish officers for
any of the earlier wars of Napoleon; but in his last campaigns he began
to reap the advantages of an institution which had been under his
fostering care, and Bertrand, Dode, Duponthon, Haxo, Rogniat, Fleury,
Valazé, Gourgaud, Chamberry, and a host of other distinguished young
generals, fully justified the praises which the emperor lavished on his
"_poulet aux oeufs d'or"_--the hen that laid him golden eggs!

In our own revolutionary war, Generals Washington, Hamilton, Gates,
Schuyler, Knox, Alexander, (Lord Stirling,) the two Clintons, the Lees,
and others, were men of fine education, and a part of them of high
literary and scientific attainments; Washington, Gates, Charles Lee, the
Clintons, and some others, had considerable military experience even
before the war: nevertheless, so destitute was the army, generally, of
military science, that the government was under the necessity of seeking
it in foreigners--in the La Fayettes, the Kosciuskos, the Steubens, the
De Kalbs, the Pulaskis, the Duportails--who were immediately promoted to
the highest ranks in our army. In fact the officers of our scientific
corps were then nearly all foreigners.

But, say the opponents of the Academy, military knowledge and education
are not the only requisites for military success; youthful enterprise
and efficiency are far more important than a mere acquaintance with
military science and the military art: long service in garrison,
combined with the indolent habits acquired by officers of a
peace-establishment, so deadens the enterprise of the older officers of
the army, that it must inevitably result, in case of war, that military
energy and efficiency will be derived from the ranks of civil life.

We are not disposed to question the importance of youthful energy in the
commander of an army, and we readily admit that while seeking to secure
to our service a due degree of military knowledge, we should also be
very careful not to destroy its influence by loading it down with the
dead weights of effete seniority. But we do question the wisdom of the
means proposed for supplying our army with this desired efficiency.
Minds stored with vast funds of professional knowledge, and the rich
lore of past history; judgments ripened by long study and experience;
with passions extinguished, or at least softened by the mellowing
influence of age--these may be best suited for judges and statesmen, for
here there is time for deliberation, for the slow and mature judgment of
years. But for a general in the field, other qualities are also
required. Not only is military knowledge requisite for _directing_ the
blow, but he must also have the military energy necessary for _striking_
that blow, and the military activity necessary for parrying the attacks
of the enemy. A rapid _coup d'oeil_ prompt decision, active movements,
are as indispensable as sound judgment; for the general must _see_, and
_decide_, and _act_, all in the same instant. Accordingly we find that
most great generals of ancient and modern times have gained their
laurels while still young.

Philip of Macedon ascended the throne at the age of twenty-two, and soon
distinguished himself in his wars with the neighboring states. At the
age of forty-five he had conquered all Greece. He died at forty-seven.

Alexander the Great had defeated the celebrated Theban band at the
battle of Cheronea, and gained a military reputation at the age of
eighteen. He ascended the throne of his father Philip before twenty, and
at twenty-five had reached the zenith of his military glory, having
already conquered the world. He died before the age of thirty-two.

Julius Caesar commanded the fleet sent to blockade Mitylene, where he
greatly distinguished himself before the age of twenty-two. He soon
after held the important offices of tribune, quæstor, and edile. He had
completed his first war in Spain, and was made consul at Rome before the
age of forty. He twice crossed the Rhine, and conquered all Gaul, and
had twice passed over to Britain, before the age of forty-five; at
fifty-two he had won the field of Pharsalia, and attained the supreme
power. He died in the fifty-sixth year of his age, the victor of five
hundred battles, and the conqueror of a thousand cities.

Hannibal joined the Carthaginian army in Spain at twenty-two, and was
made commander-in-chief at twenty-six. Victorious in Spain and France,
he crossed the Alps and won the battle of Cannæ before the age of

Scipio Africanus, (the elder,) at the age of sixteen distinguished
himself at the battle of Ticinus; at twenty was made edile, and soon
after pro-consul in Spain; at twenty-nine he won the great battle of
Zama, and closed his military career. Scipio Africanus (the younger)
also distinguished himself in early life; at the age of thirty six he
had conquered the Carthaginian armies and completed the destruction of

Gengis-Khan succeeded to the domain of his father at the age of
thirteen, and almost immediately raised an army of thirty thousand men,
with which he defeated a numerous force of rebels, who had thought to
take advantage of his extreme youth to withdraw from his dominion. He
soon acquired a military reputation by numerous conquests, and before
the age of forty had made himself emperor of Mogul.

Charlemagne was crowned king at twenty-six, conquered Aquitania at
twenty-eight, made himself master of France and the greater part of
Germany at twenty-nine, placed on his brows the iron crown of Italy at
thirty-two, and conquered Spain at thirty-six.

Gonsalvo de Cordova, the "great captain," entered the army at fifteen,
and before the age of seventeen had acquired a brilliant military
reputation, and was knighted by the king himself on the field of battle;
at forty-one he was promoted over the heads of older veterans and made
commander-in-chief of the army in Italy.

Henry IV. of France was placed at the head of the Huguenot army at the
age of sixteen, at nineteen he became king of Navarre; at forty he had
overthrown all his enemies, placed himself on the throne of France, and
become the founder of a new dynasty.

Montecuculi, at the age of thirty-one, with two thousand horse, attacked
ten thousand Swedes and captured all their baggage and artillery; at
thirty-two he gained the victory of Triebel, at forty-nine defeated the
Swedes and saved Denmark, and at fifty-three defeated the Turks at the
great battle of St. Gothard. In his campaigns against the French at a
later age, he made it his chief merit, "not that he conquered, but that
he was not conquered."

Saxe entered the army at the early age of twelve, and soon obtained the
command of a regiment of horse; at twenty-four he became
_maréchal-de-camp_, at forty-four marshal of France, and at forty-nine
gained the celebrated victory of Fontenoy. He died at the age of

Vauban entered the army of Condé as a cadet at the age of seventeen, at
twenty was made a lieutenant, at twenty-four he commanded two companies,
at forty-one was a brigadier, at forty-three a _maréchal-de-camp_, and
at forty-five commissaire-général of all the fortifications of France.
At the age of twenty-five he had himself conducted several sieges, and
had assisted at many others.

Turenne entered the army before the age of fourteen; he served one year
as a volunteer, four years as a captain, four years as a colonel, three
years as a major-general, five years as a lieutenant-general, and became
a marshal of France at thirty-two. He had won all his military
reputation by the age of forty.

Prince Maurice commanded an army at the age of sixteen, and acquired his
military reputation in very early life. He died at fifty-eight.

The great Condé immortalized his name at the battle of Rocroi, in which,
at the age of twenty-two, he defeated the Spaniards. He had won all his
great military fame before the age of twenty-five.

Prince Eugene of Savoy was a colonel at twenty-one, a
lieutenant-field-marshal at twenty-four, and soon after, a
general-field-marshal. He gained the battle of Zenta at thirty-four, and
of Blenheim at forty-one. At the opening of the war of 1733, he again
appeared at the head of the army at the advanced age of sixty-nine, but
having lost the vigor and fire of youth, he effected nothing of

Peter the Great of Russia was proclaimed czar at ten years of age; at
twenty he organized a large army and built several ships; at twenty-four
he fought the Turks and captured Asoph; at twenty-eight he made war with
Sweden; at thirty he entered Moscow in triumph after the victory of
Embach, and the capture of Noteburg and Marienburg; at thirty-one he
began the city of St. Petersburg; at thirty-nine he was defeated by the
Turks and forced to ransom himself and army. His latter years were
mostly devoted to civil and maritime affairs. He died at the age of

Charles the XII. of Sweden ascended the throne at the age of fifteen,
completed his first successful campaign against Denmark at eighteen,
overthrew eighty thousand Russians at Narva before nineteen, conquered
Poland and Saxony at twenty-four, and died at thirty-six.

Frederick the Great of Prussia ascended the throne at twenty-eight, and
almost immediately entered on that career of military glory which has
immortalized his name. He established his reputation in the first
Silesian war, which he terminated at the age of thirty. The second
Silesian war was terminated at thirty-three; and at forty-three, with a
population of five millions, he successfully opposed a league of more
than one hundred millions of people.

Prince Henry of Prussia served his first campaign as colonel of a
regiment at sixteen; at the age of thirty-one he decided the victory of
Prague, and the same year was promoted to the command of a separate
army. The military reputation he acquired in the Seven Years' War was
second only to that of Frederick.

Cortes had effected the conquest of Mexico, and completed his military
career, at the age of thirty-six.

Sandoval, the most eminent of his great captains, died at the age of
thirty-one. He had earned his great renown, and closed his military
achievements, before the age of twenty-five.

Pizarro completed the conquest of Peru at thirty-five, and died about

Lord Clive began his military career at twenty-two, and had reached the
zenith of his military fame at thirty-five; he was raised to the peerage
at thirty-six, and died at fifty.

Hastings began his military service at about twenty-five, and became
governor of Bengal at forty.

Napoleon was made a lieutenant at seventeen, a captain at twenty,
_chef-de-bataillon_ at twenty-four, general of brigade at twenty-five,
and commander-in-chief of the army of Italy at twenty-six. All his most
distinguished generals were, like him, young men, and they seconded him
in his several campaigns with all the energy and activity of youthful
valor and enthusiasm.

Dessaix entered the army at fifteen; at the opening of the war he
quickly passed through the lower grades, and became a general of brigade
before the age of twenty-five, and a general of division at twenty-six;
he died before the age of thirty-two, with a reputation second only to
that of Napoleon.

Kleber did not enter the army till later in life, but he quickly passed
through the subordinate grades, and was made a general of brigade at
thirty-eight, a general of division at forty, and general-in-chief of
an army at forty-one: he died at forty-six. On his death, and in
Napoleon's absence, Ménau, aged and inefficient, succeeded by right of
seniority to the command of the army of Egypt. Its utter ruin was the
almost immediate consequence.

Massena first entered the army at seventeen, but soon married a rich
wife, and retired to civil life. He returned to the army at the opening
of the revolution, and in two years, before the age of thirty-five, was
promoted to the rank of general of division. He immediately acquired
that high reputation which he sustained through a long career of
military glory.

Soult became a sub-lieutenant at twenty-two, a captain at twenty-four;
the following year he passed through the several grades of
_chef-de-bataillon_, colonel, and general of brigade, and became general
of division at twenty-nine.

Davoust was a sub-lieutenant at seventeen, a general of brigade at
twenty-three, and general of division at twenty-five.

Eugene Beauharnais entered the army at a very early age. He became
_chef-de-bataillon_ at nineteen, colonel at twenty-one, general of
brigade at twenty-three, and Viceroy of Italy at twenty-five. He soon
proved himself one of Napoleon's ablest generals. At twenty-eight he
commanded the army of Italy, and at thirty-one gained great glory in the
Russian campaign, at the head of the fourth _corps d'armée._

Gouvion-Saint-Cyr enured the army at the beginning of the Revolution,
and passing rapidly through the lower grades, became a general of
brigade at twenty-nine, and a general of division at thirty.

Suchet became a _chef-de-bataillon_ at twenty, general of brigade at
twenty-five, major-general of Brune's army at twenty-seven, and general
of division and of a _corps d'armée_ at twenty-eight.

Oudinot became a captain at twenty-three, _chef-de-bataillon_ at
twenty-four, general of brigade at twenty-five, and general of division
at twenty-eight.

Ney was a captain at twenty-three, adjutant-general at twenty-six,
general of brigade at twenty-seven, and general of division at

Lannes was a colonel at twenty-seven, general of brigade at
twenty-eight, and very soon after general of division.

Joubert became adjutant-general at twenty-five, general of brigade at
twenty-six, general of division at twenty-eight, and general-in-chief of
the army of Italy at twenty-nine. He died at thirty.

Victor was a _chef-de-bataillon_ at twenty-seven, general of brigade at
twenty-nine, and general of division at thirty-two.

Murat was a lieutenant at twenty, and passing rapidly through the lower
grades, he became a general of brigade at twenty-five, and a general of
division at twenty-seven.

Mortier was a captain at twenty-three, adjutant-general at twenty-five,
general of brigade at thirty, and general of division at thirty-one.

Macdonald was a colonel at twenty-seven, a general of brigade at
twenty-seven, and a general of division at thirty.

Marmont was a captain at twenty-one, _chef-de-bataillon_ at twenty-two,
general of brigade at twenty-four, inspector general at twenty-seven,
and general-in-chief of an army at thirty-two.

Bernadotte was a colonel at twenty-eight, general of brigade at
twenty-nine, and general of division at thirty.

Lefebvre was made a captain at the organization of the army in 1793; he
became a general of brigade at thirty-eight, and general of division at

Bessières entered the army at twenty-six, became a colonel at thirty,
general of brigade at thirty-two, and general of division at
thirty-four. He died at forty-seven.

Duroc was a captain at twenty-three, _chef-de-bataillon_ at twenty-six,
colonel and _chef-de-brigade_ at twenty-seven, and general of division
at thirty. He died at forty-one.

This list might be still further extended with the same results, but
names enough have been given to show that the generals who assisted
Napoleon in his immortal campaigns were all, with scarcely an exception,
_young men_, still burning with the fires of youthful ardor and
enthusiasm. The grade of marshal was not created till after Napoleon
became emperor. On ascending the throne of the empire, he nominated to
this rank eighteen of the most distinguished generals of France. Some of
these were generals of the earlier wars of the Revolution, and had never
served under him. Others were younger men, several being only
thirty-four, thirty-five, and thirty-six years of age. The mean age of
all was forty-four. He afterwards made seven more marshals, whose mean
age was forty-three. These appointments, however, were regarded as
rewards for _past_ services, rather than as a grade from which service
was expected, for several of the older marshals were never called into
the field after their promotion.

Having noticed the ages of the principal generals who commanded in the
armies of Napoleon, let us look for a moment at those who opposed him.
In the campaign of 1796 the enemy's forces were directed by Beaulieu,
then nearly eighty years of age; Wurmser, also an octogenarian, and
Alvinzi, then over seventy: these had all three distinguished themselves
in earlier life, but had now lost that youthful energy and activity so
essential for a military commander.

In the campaign of 1800 the general-in-chief of the Austrian forces was
Melas, an old general, who had served some fifty years in the army; he
had distinguished himself so long ago as the Seven Years' War, but he
had now become timid and inefficient, age having destroyed his energy.

In the campaign of 1805 the French were opposed by Kutusof, then sixty,
and Mack, then fifty-three; the plan of operations was drawn up by still
more aged generals of the Aulic council.

In the campaign of 1806 the French were opposed by the Duke of
Brunswick, then seventy-one, Hohenlohe, then sixty, and Mollendorf,
Kleist, and Massenbach, old generals, who had served under the great
Frederick,--men, says Jomini, "exhumed from the Seven Years'
War,"--"whose faculties were frozen by age,"--"who had been buried for
the last ten years in a lethargic sleep."

In the campaign of 1807 the French were opposed by Kamenski, then eighty
years of age, Benningsen, then sixty, and Buxhowden, then fifty-six. The
Allies now began to profit by their experience, and in 1809 the Austrian
army was led by the young, active, skilful, and energetic Archduke
Charles; and this campaign, although the commander-in-chief was somewhat
fettered by the foolish projects of the old generals of the Aulic
council, and thwarted by the disobedience of his brother, was
nevertheless the most glorious in the Austrian annals of the wars of the

At the opening of the campaign of 1812 the Emperor Alexander, young,
(only thirty-five,) active, intelligent, and ambitious, had remodelled
his army, and infused into it his own energy and enthusiastic love of
glory. He was himself at its head, and directed its operations. Kutusof
was for a short time the nominal commander-in-chief, and exhibited an
activity unusual at his age, but he was surrounded by younger
generals--Barclay-de-Tolley, and Miloradowich, then forty-nine,
Wintzengerode, then forty-three, Schouvalof, then thirty-five, and the
Archduke Constantine, then thirty-three,--generals who, at the heads of
their corps, and under the young emperor and his able staff of young
officers, in the two succeeding campaigns, rolled back the waves of
French conquest, and finally overthrew the French empire. Wellington,
who led the English in these campaigns, was of the same age as Napoleon,
and had been educated at the same time with him in the military schools
of France. The Austrians were led by Schwartzenburg, then only about
thirty, and the Prussians by Yorck, Bulow, and Blücher. The last of
these was then well advanced in life, but all his movements being
directed by younger men,--Scharnhorst and Gneisenau,--his operations
partook of the energy of his able chiefs of staff.

In the campaign of 1815, Napoleon was opposed by the combinations of
Wellington and Gneisenau, both younger men than most of his own
generals, who, it is well known, exhibited, in this campaign, less than
in former ones, the ardent energy and restless activity which had
characterized their younger days. Never were Napoleon's, plans better
conceived, never did his troops fight with greater bravery; but the
dilatory movements of his generals enabled his active enemies to parry
the blow intended for their destruction.

In the American war of 1812, we pursued the same course as Austria,
Prussia, and Russia, in their earlier contests with Napoleon, _i.e._, to
supply our armies with generals, we dug up the Beaulieus, the Wurmsers,
the Alvinzis, the Melases, the Macks, the Brunswicks, and the Kamenskis
of our revolutionary war; but after we had suffered sufficiently from
the Hulls, the Armstrongs, the Winchesters, the Dearborns, the
Wilkinsons, the Hamptons, and other veterans of the Revolution, we also
changed our policy, and permitted younger men--the Jacksons, the
Harrisons, the Browns, the McReas, the Scotts,[49] the Ripleys, the
Woods, the McCombs, the Wools, and the Millers--to lead our forces to
victory and to glory. In the event of another war, with any nation
capable of opposing to us any thing like a powerful resistance, shall we
again exhume the veterans of former days, and again place at the head of
our armies respectable and aged inefficiency; or shall we seek out
youthful enterprise and activity combined with military science and
instruction? The results of the war, the honor of the country, the glory
of our arms, depend, in a great measure, upon the answer that will be
given to this question.

[Footnote 49: Scott had acquired his military reputation, and attained
the rank of major-general at twenty-eight.]

But it may be asked, how are we to secure this combination of military
instruction and military energy; how are we to fill the higher grades of
our army with young and active men possessing due military instruction
and talent? The question is not a difficult one, and our government can
easily attain the desired object, if it will only set at work honestly,
disregarding all party prejudices and the mercenary and selfish
interests of its own members and advisers. Other governments have
pointed out to us the way. It is this: let _merit_ be the main test for
all appointments and promotions in the army. Let one or more of the
subordinate grades be thrown open to the youth of the whole country,
without distinction as to birth, or wealth, or politics; let them be
kept on probation in this subordinate grade, and be thoroughly
instructed in all that relates to the military profession; after strict
examination let them be promoted to the vacancies in the higher grades
as rapidly as they shall show themselves qualified for the duties of
those grades, merit and services being here as elsewhere the only tests.

The first part of this rule is already accomplished by the Military
Academy. One young man is selected from each congressional district, on
an average, once in about two years, the selection being made by the
representative of the district; these young men are made warrant
officers in the army, and sent to a military post for instruction;
frequent and strict examinations are instituted to determine their
capacity and fitness for military service; after a probation of a
certain length of time, the _best_ are selected for commission in the
army, relative rank and appointments to corps being made strictly with
reference to merit; birth, wealth, influence of political friends--all
extraneous circumstances being excluded from consideration. What can be
more truly and thoroughly democratic than this? What scheme can be
better devised to supply our army with good officers, and to exclude
from the military establishment the corrupting influence of party
politics, and to prevent commissions in the army from being given to
"the sons of wealthy and influential men, to the almost total exclusion
of the sons of the poor and less influential men, regardless alike of
qualifications and of merit?"

Unfortunately for the army and for the country this system ends here,
and all further advancement is made by mere seniority, or by executive
favoritism, the claims of merit having but little or no further
influence. Indeed, executive patronage is not infrequently permitted to
encroach even upon these salutary rules of appointment, and to place
relatives and political friends into the higher ranks of commissioned
officers directly from civil life, "regardless alike of qualifications
and of merit," while numbers "of sons of the poor and less influential
men," who have served a probation of four or five years in military
studies and exercises, and have proved themselves, in some thirty
examinations made by competent boards of military officers, to be most
eminently qualified for commissions, are passed by in utter neglect! Our
army is much more open to this kind of favoritism and political
partiality, than that of almost any of the governments of Europe, which
we have been accustomed to regard as aristocratic and wholly unfriendly
to real merit.

In the Prussian service, in time of peace, the government can appoint no
one, even to the subordinate grade of ensign, till he has followed the
courses of instruction of the division or brigade-school of his arm, and
has passed a satisfactory examination. And, "no ensign can be promoted
to a higher grade till after his promotion has been agreed to by the
superior board or commission of examiners at Berlin, and his name has
been placed on the list of those whose knowledge and acquirements
(_connaissances_) render them qualified (_aptes_) for the responsible
duties of their profession. The nomination to the grade of
second-lieutenant is not, even after all these conditions are fulfilled,
left to the choice of the government. When a vacancy occurs in this
grade, the subaltern officers present to the commandant of the regiment
a list of three ensigns who have completed their course of study; the
commandant, after taking the advice of the superior officers of the
regiment, nominates the most meritorious of these three to the king, who
makes the appointment." The government can appoint to the engineers and
artillery only those who have been instructed as _élèves_ in the Berlin
school of cadets and the school of artillery and engineers, and these
appointments must be made in the order in which the pupils have passed
their final examination. In these corps the lieutenants and second
captains can be promoted to a higher grade only after they have passed a
satisfactory examination. No political influence, nor even royal
partiality, can interfere with this rule.

Even in the arbitrary monarchies of Austria and Russia it is deemed
necessary to subject all military appointments and promotions, in the
peace establishments, to certain fixed rules. In the Austrian army all
sub-lieutenants must be taken from the military schools, or the
specially-instructed corps of cadets and imperial guards; from this
grade to that of captain all promotions are made by the commandants of
regiments and corps on the advice of the other superior officers. Above
the grade of captain all nominations for promotion are made to the
emperor by the Aulic Council, in the order of seniority of rank, except
the claims of superior merit interfere. "In the Russian army," says
Haillot, "no one, not even a prince of the imperial family, can reach
the grade of officer till he has satisfactorily passed his several
examinations, or finished the severe novitiate to which the cadets in
the corps are subjected." Promotion below the grade of colonel is made
partly by seniority, and partly by merit; above that grade, by selection

In the British service, rank in the line of the army is obtained by
purchase, and the higher grades are in this way filled with young men of
energy and enterprise; but this efficiency is gained by injustice to the
poor man, who is without the means of purchasing rank. In some respects
it is preferable to our ruinous system of exclusive seniority and
executive favoritism, but far more objectionable than that based on
merit. Wellington has recently said that the system of exclusive
seniority would soon utterly destroy the efficiency of the army, by
preventing young men from reaching the higher grades. "At first," says
an officer of some distinction in the British navy, in speaking of
promotions in that arm of service, "it certainly looks very hard to see
old stagers grumbling away their existence in disappointed hopes; yet
there can be little doubt that the navy, and, of course, the country at
large, are essentially better served by the present system of employing
active, young, and cheerful-minded officers, than they ever could be by
any imaginable system by seniority. It must not be forgotten, indeed,
that at a certain stage of the profession, the arrangement by which
officers are promoted in turn is already made the rule, and has long
been so: but, by a wise regulation, it does not come into operation
before the rank of post-captain be attained. Antecedent to this point,
there must occur ample opportunities of weeding out those persons, who,
if the rule of mere seniority were adopted, would exceedingly embarrass
the navy list." We fully agree with this writer respecting the evils of
a system of exclusive seniority, but not respecting the best means of
remedying these evils. In England, where the wealthy and aristocratic
classes govern the state, they may very well prefer a system of military
appointment and promotion based exclusively on wealth and political
influence; but in this country we are taught to consider _merit_ as a
claim much higher than wealth, or rank, or privilege.

The various changes in the rules of appointment and promotion in the
French service, and the various results of these changes, both on the
character of the army and the welfare of the state, are so instructive
that we regret that our limits will not allow us to enter into a full
discussion of them. We can give only a very brief outline.

Previous to the Revolution, military appointment and promotion were
wholly subject to the rules of nobility, certain grades in the army
belonging of right to certain grades of the _noblesse_; merit and
service being excluded from consideration. But the constituent assembly
changed this order of things, and established the rule that
three-fourths of the sub-lieutenants be appointed by selection, _after a
concours_, and the other quarter be appointed from the sub-officers,
alternately by seniority and selection, without _concours_; the captains
and lieutenants by seniority; the colonels and lieutenant-colonels
two-thirds by seniority and one-third by selection; _maréchaux-de-camp_
and lieutenant-generals one-half by seniority and one-half by selection.
In 1793 the grades were still further opened to selection, and in the
turbulent times that followed, a part of them were even thrown open to
election by the soldiers. But in 1795 the combined system of merit and
seniority, with certain improvements, was restored. In 1796 and the wars
that followed, _merit_ was the only qualification required, and
Bonaparte, Moreau, and other young generals were actually placed in
command of their seniors in rank. Military talent and military services,
not rank, were the recognised claims for promotion, the _baptism of
blood_, as it was called, having equalized all grades. Bonaparte, in
leaving Egypt, paid no attention to seniority of rank, but gave the
command to Kleber, who was then only a general of brigade, while Menou
was a general of division. Everybody knows that on the death of Kleber,
General Menou succeeded in the command; and that Egypt, saved by the
_selection_ of Kleber, was lost by the _seniority_ of Menou.

Napoleon formed rules for promotion, both for peace and war, based on
merit. His peace regulations were much the same as the system of 1795;
his field regulations, however, from the circumstances of the times,
were almost the only ones used. The following extract from the
_Reglement de Campagne_ of 1809, (title XX.,) gives the spirit of this
system:--"The next day after an action the generals of brigade will
present to the generals of division the names of all such as have
distinguished themselves in a particular manner; the generals of
division will immediately report these to the commander-in-chief, and
also the names of the generals and superior officers whose conduct has
contributed most to secure success, so that the general-in-chief may
immediately inform his majesty."

On the restoration of the Bourbons there were also restored many of the
ancient privileges and claims of rank by the officers of the _maison
militaire du roi,_ and court favoritism was substituted for merit and
service. But the revolution of 1830 produced a different order of
things. "The laws now regulate military promotion; the king can appoint
or promote only in conformity to legal prescriptions; and even in the
exercise of this prerogative, he is wise enough to restrain himself by
certain fixed rules, which protect him from intrigues, and from the
obsessions of persons of influence, and of party politicians." Would
that the same could always be said of the executive of this country in
making appointments and promotions in the army.

The existing laws and regulations of the French service differ slightly
for different corps, but the general rule is as follows: No one can be
appointed to the grade of officer in the army who has not graduated at
one of the military schools, or has not served at least two years as a
sub-officer in a _corps d'armée_. In time of peace, no one can be
promoted to the rank of lieutenant, captain, or major, (_chef-d'escadron_
and _chef-de-bataillon_,) till he has served two years in the next
lower grade; no one can be made lieutenant-colonel till he has served four
years, nor be made colonel till he has served three years, in the next
lower grade; no one can be made _maréchal-de-camp_, lieutenant-general,
or marshal of France, till he has served two years in the next lower
grade. These numbers are all diminished one half in time of war. For the
grades of first-lieutenant and captain, two-thirds of the promotions are
by seniority, and one-third by selection; for the _chef-de-bataillon_
and _chef-d'escadron_, one-half by seniority and one-half by selection;
for all the other grades by selection only. In time of war, one-half of the
promotions to the grades of first-lieutenant and captain are filled by
selection, and all the promotions to other grades in this way. For
promotion by selection, a list of the authorized candidates for each
grade is made out every year by inspectors, and boards of examiners
appointed _ad hoc_, and the name, qualifications, and particular claim
are given of each officer admitted to the _concours_. The
recommendations of these inspectors and examiners are almost invariably
followed by the government in its selections. This combined system of
seniority and merit secures a gradual promotion to all, and at the same
time enables officers of great talents and acquirements to attain the
higher grades while still young and efficient. Merit need not,
therefore, always linger in the subaltern grades, and be held
subordinate to ignorance and stupidity, merely because they happen to be
endowed with the privileges of seniority. Moreover, government is
precluded from thrusting its own favorites into the higher grades, and
placing them over the heads of abler and better men.

If such a system of appointment were introduced into our army, and fixed
by legal enactments, and no one were allowed to receive a commission
till he had either distinguished himself in the field, or had passed an
examination before a board of competent officers, we are confident that
better selections would be made in the appointments from civil life than
have been within the last ten years by the present system of political
influence. It would scarcely be possible to make worse selections.[50]
And if the combined system of seniority and examination were pursued in
promoting the subalterns already in service, it certainly would produce
less injustice, and give greater efficiency to the army, than the
present one of exclusive seniority and brevet rank, obtained through
intrigue and political influence, or high military appointments bestowed
as a reward for dirty and corrupt party services. As a military maxim,
_secure efficiency, by limiting the privileges of rank; exclude
favoritism, by giving the power of selection to boards of competent
officers, totally independent of party politics_. Such a system has been
for some time pursued in the medical department of our army; it has
produced the most satisfactory results; stupidity, ignorance, and aged
inefficiency have been _overslaughed_, and will soon entirely disappear
from that corps; they have been replaced by young men of activity,
talent, character, intelligence, and great professional skill. Is it
less important to have competent military officers to command where the
lives of thousands, the honor of our flag, the safety of the country
depend upon their judgment and conduct, than it is to have competent
surgeons to attend the sick and the wounded?

[Footnote 50: To show the working of this system of political
appointments, we would call attention to a single fact. On the formation
of an additional regiment of dragoons in 1836, _thirty_ of its officers
were appointed from civil life, and only _four_ from the graduates of
the Military Academy. Of those appointed to that regiment from civil
life, _twenty-two_ have already been dismissed or resigned, (most of the
latter to save themselves from being dismissed,) and only _eight_ of the
whole _thirty_ political appointments are now left, their places having
been mainly supplied by graduates of the Military Academy.

In case of another increase of our military establishment, what course
will our government pursue? Will it again pass by the meritorious young
officers of our army,--graduates of the Military Academy,--who have
spent ten or twelve of the best years of their life in qualifying
themselves for the higher duties of their profession, and place over
their heads civilians of less education and inferior character--men
totally ignorant of military duties, mere pothouse politicians, and the
base hirelings of party,--those who screech the loudest in favor of
party measures, and degrade themselves the most in order to serve party
ends?--and by thus devoting the army, like the custom-house and
post-office, to political purposes, will it seek to increase that vast
patronage of the executive which is already debasing individual
morality, and destroying the national character? Should any
administration of the government be so unmindful of the interests and
honor of the country as to again pursue such a course, it is to be hoped
that the sword of political justice will not long slumber in its

We wish to call particular attention to this subject. It deserves
attention at all times, but at the present moment it more especially
demands a close and candid consideration. The higher grades of our peace
establishment are now filled with men so far advanced in life that, in
case of an increase of the army, many of them must undoubtedly be
either passed over, or put on a retired list. Sooner or later some
change of this kind will undoubtedly be made. It is demanded by the good
of service, even in time of peace; and in time of war, it will be
absolutely necessary to the success of our arms.[51] But the great
danger is that the change may be made for the worse--that all the
appointments and promotions to the higher grades will be made through
political influence, thus converting the army and navy into political
engines. Let proper measures be taken to prevent so dangerous a result;
let executive patronage in the army be limited by wholesome laws, like
those in France and Prussia; and let military merit and services, as
determined by boards of competent military officers, be the only
recognised claims to appointment and promotion, thus giving to the poor
and meritorious at least an equal chance with the man of wealth and the
base hireling of party. In actual service the system of exclusive
seniority cannot exist; it would deaden and paralyze all our energies.
Taking advantage of this, politicians will drive us to the opposite
extreme, unless the executive authority be limited by wholesome laws,
based on the just principles of _merit_ and _service_.

[Footnote 51: Even at the present moment, in ordering troops to Texas,
where immediate and active service is anticipated, it is found necessary
to break up regiments and send only the young and efficient officers
into the field, leaving most of the higher officers behind with mere
nominal commands. Very many of the officers now in Texas are acting in
capacities far above their nominal grades, but without receiving the
rank, pay, and emoluments due to their services.]

But the importance of maintaining in our military organization a
suitable system of military instruction is not confined to the
exigencies of our actual condition. It mainly rests upon the absolute
necessity of having in the country a body of men who shall devote
themselves to the cultivation of military science, so as to be able to
compete with the military science of the transatlantic powers. It is not
to be expected that our citizen soldiery, however intelligent,
patriotic, and brave they may be, can make any very great progress in
military studies. They have neither the time nor opportunities for such
pursuits, and if they can acquire a practical acquaintance with
elementary tactics--the mere alphabet of the military art--it is as much
as can reasonably be expected of them. As a general rule, the militia
are individually more capable and intelligent than the men who compose a
regular army. But they must of necessity be inferior in practical
professional knowledge.

Technical education is necessary in every pursuit of life. It is
possible that the lawyer may succeed in some particular cases without a
knowledge of law, but he will probably have few clients if he remain
ignorant of the laws and precedents that govern the courts. The
unlearned chemist may succeed in performing some single experiment, but
his progress will be slow and uncertain if he neglect to make himself
familiar with the experiments and discoveries of his predecessors.

Learning, when applied to agriculture, raises it from a mere mechanical
drudgery to the dignity of a science. By analyzing the composition of
the soil we cultivate, we learn its capacity for improvement, and gain
the power to stimulate the earth to the most bountiful production. How
different the results attending the labors of the intelligent
agriculturist, guided by the lamp of learning, from those of the
ignorant drudge who follows the barren formula of traditional precepts!
As applied to manufactures and the mechanical arts, learning develops
new powers of labor, and new facilities for subsistence and enjoyment.
Personal comforts of every kind are greatly increased, and placed within
the reach of the humbler classes; while at the same time the "appliances
of art are made to minister to the demands of elegant taste, and a
higher moral culture." As applied to commerce, it not only greatly
increases the facilities for the more general diffusion of civilization
and knowledge, but is also vastly influential in harmonizing the
conflicting interests of nations.

Nor is learning less humanizing and pacific in its influence when
applied to the military art. "During the dark ages which followed the
wreck of the Roman power, the military science by which that power had
been reared, was lost with other branches of learning. When learning
revived, the military art revived with it, and contributed not a little
to the restoration of the empire of mind over that of brute force. Then,
too, every great discovery in the art of war has a life-saving and
peace-promoting influence. The effects of the invention of gunpowder are
a familiar proof of this remark; and the same principle applies to the
discoveries of modern times. By perfecting ourselves in military
science, paradoxical as it may seem, we are therefore assisting in the
diffusion of peace, and hastening on the approach of that period when
swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning-hooks."


Since the first edition of this work was published, two important wars
have been commenced and terminated--that between the United States and
the Republic of Mexico, and that between Russia and the Western Powers
of Europe--and another is now being waged between France and Austria,
upon the old battle fields of Northern Italy. In issuing a new edition
of these Elements of Military Art and Science, it is deemed proper to
refer to these wars, and to apply the principles here discussed to the
military operations carried on in Mexico and in the Crimea. It is
proposed to do this in the form of Notes to the several Chapters. The
war in Italy being still undetermined, and the details of the several
battles which have already been fought being but imperfectly known, it
is obviously improper to attempt to criticize their strategic character
or tactical arrangement.


NEW YORK, _July_, 1859.


In the invasion of Mexico, the United States formed four separate
armies, moving on _four distinct lines of operation:_ 1st. The "Army of
the West," under General Kearny, moving from St. Louis on New Mexico and
California; 2d. The "Army of the Centre," under General Wool, moving
from San Antonio de Bexar on Chihuahua; 3d. The "Army of Occupation," on
the Rio Grande, under General Taylor, moving from Corpus Christi on
Matamoras, Monterey, and Saltillo; and 4th. The "Main Army," under
General Scott, moving from Vera Cruz on the capital of Mexico.

The Army of the West, under General Kearny, moved upon a separate and
distinct line of operations, having no strategic relations to the other
three; its objects were the conquest and occupation of New Mexico and
Upper California. The first was readily accomplished; but the general
then detached so large a force to operate on Chihuahua after the
diversion of Wool's column, that his expedition to California must have
utterly failed without the assistance of the naval forces in the

The lines of Taylor and Wool were evidently ill chosen, being so distant
as to afford the enemy an opportunity to take a central position between
them. Fortunately Wool proceeded no further than Monclova, and then
turned off to occupy Parras, thus coming under the immediate command of
General Taylor. The latter fought the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de
la Palma, and sustained the siege of Fort Brown; then crossing the Rio
Grande at Matamoras, he captured Monterey, and, forming a junction with
Wool, defeated the army of Santa Anna at Buena Vista. This battle ended
the campaign, which, however brilliantly conducted, was entirely without
strategic results.

Scott landed his army near the Island of Sacrificios without opposition,
and immediately invested Vera Cruz, which surrendered after a short
siege and bombardment. Having thus secured his base, he immediately
advanced to the city of Puebla, meeting and defeating the army of Santa
Anna at Cerro Gordo. Remaining some time at Puebla to reinforce his
army, he advanced into the valley of Mexico, and after the brilliant
victories of Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec,
captured the city and terminated the war.

With respect to the double line of operations of Taylor and Scott it may
be sufficient to remark, that Santa Anna, from his central position,
fought, with the same troops, the battles of Buena Vista and Cerro
Gordo. It should also be remarked, that the line of operations of the
army of the Rio Grande was not approved by either Scott or Taylor, nor,
it is believed, by any other officer of our army. Scott's line of
operations, however, was truly strategic, and in turning the Mexican
flank by Lake Chalco and the Pedregal, he exhibited the skill of a great

The war in the Crimea, from the limited extent of the theatre of
operations, afforded but little opportunity for the display of strategic
skill on either side. Nevertheless, the movements of both parties, prior
to the investment and siege of Sebastopol, are fair subjects for
military criticism with respect to the plans of operation.

When the allies landed their troops at the Old Fort, three plans were
open for the consideration of the Russian general: 1st. To destroy or
close the harbors of Balaklava, Kamiesch, Kazatch and Strelitzka, and,
garrisoning Sebastopol with a strong force, to occupy with the rest of
his army the strong plateau south of the city, and thus force the allies
to besiege the strong works on the north. 2d. Having closed the harbors
on the south, and secured Sebastopol from being carried by the assault
of any detachment of the allies, to operate on their left flank,
annoying and harassing them with his Cossacks, and thus delay them many
days in the difficult and precarious position which they would have
occupied. 3d. To advance with his whole force and offer them battle at
the Alma. The last and least advantageous of these plans was adopted,
and as the garrison of Sebastopol, during the battle, consisted of only
four battalions and the sailors of the fleet, it might, considering the
weakness of its works, have been easily carried by a detachment of the
allied forces.

For the allies at the Alma two plans presented themselves: 1st. To turn
the Russian left, cut him off from Sebastopol, and occupy that city in
force. 2d. To turn the Russian right, and, throwing him back upon
Sebastopol, cut him off from all external succor. Neither plan was fully
carried out. The column of General Bosquet turned the Russian left and
decided his retreat; but no strategic advantage was taken of the
victory. The battle was fought on the 20th of September, and by noon of
the 26th the allies had only advanced to the Balbeck, a distance of a
little more than ten miles in six days! On the 27th they regained their
communication with the fleet at Balaklava, without attempting to occupy
Sebastopol, and having exposed themselves to destruction by an
ill-conducted flank march. Fortunately for the allies, the Russians
failed to avail themselves of the advantages which the enemy had thus
gratuitously afforded. The fleet having entered the open harbor of
Balaklava, the allies now commenced the labor of landing and moving up
their siege material and of opening their trenches, while the Russians
prepared their fortifications on the south of Sebastopol for resisting
the operations of that gigantic siege which stands without a parallel in


In the war between the United States and Mexico, the latter had no
fortifications on her land frontiers, and, with the single exception of
Vera Cruz, her harbors were entirely destitute of defensive works. The
Americans, therefore, had no obstacles of this kind to overcome on three
of their lines of operation; and, when Scott had reduced Vera Cruz, his
line of march was open to the capital. Moreover, nearly every seaport on
the Gulf and Pacific coast fell into our hands without a blow. Had the
landing of Scott been properly opposed, and Vera Cruz been strongly
fortified and well defended, it would have been taken only after a long
and difficult siege. Moreover, had the invading army encountered strong
and well-defended fortifications on the line of march to Mexico, the war
would, necessarily, have been prolonged, and possibly with a different

The Russian fortifications in the Baltic prevented the allies from
attempting any serious operations in that quarter, and those in the
Black Sea confined the war to a single point of the Heracleidan
Chersonese. Had Russia relied exclusively upon her fleet to prevent a
maritime descent, and left Sebastopol entirely undefended by
fortifications, how different had been the result of the Crimean war.

This subject will be alluded to again in the Notes on Sea-coast
Defences, and Permanent Fortifications.


The war in Mexico exhibited, in a striking manner, our superiority over
the enemy in this branch of the military art. No army was better
supplied than ours in all matters of subsistence, clothing, medical and
hospital stores, and in means of transportation. Two points, however,
are worthy of remark in this connection: 1st. The great waste of
material, which resulted from the employment of raw troops under short
enlistments, and commanded by officers appointed from civil life, who
were without experience and destitute of military instruction; and, 2d.
The immense expense of transportation, which was due in part to the
above cause and in part to the employment, in the administrative
departments, of civilians who were utterly ignorant of the rules and
routine of military service. This war was conducted on the system of
magazines and provisions carried in the train of the army, or purchased
of the inhabitants and regularly paid for, forced requisitions being
seldom resorted to, and then in very moderate quantities. The wisdom of
this plan was proved by the general good order and discipline of our
troops, and the general good-will of the non-combatant inhabitants of
the country which was passed over or occupied by the army.

The war in the Crimea proved most conclusively the vast superiority of
the French administrative system over that of the English--of the
military over a civil organization of the administrative corps of an
army. The French troops before Sebastopol were regularly, cheaply, and
abundantly supplied with every requisite of provisions, clothing,
munitions, medical stores, military utensils, and hospital and camp
equipages; while the English army, notwithstanding an immense
expenditure of money, was often paralyzed in its operations by the want
of proper military material, and not unfrequently was destitute of even
the necessaries of life.

Instead of profiting by this lesson, the recent tendency of our own
government has been (especially in supplying the army in Utah) to
imitate the sad example of the English, and to convert the supplying of
our armies into a system of political patronage to be used for party
purposes. If fully carried out, it must necessarily result in the ruin
of the army, the robbery of the treasury, and the utter corruption of
the government.


The war in Mexico, from the small number of troops engaged, and the
peculiar character of the ground in most cases, afforded but few
opportunities for the display of that skill in the tactics of battle
which has so often determined the victory upon the great fields of
Europe. Nevertheless, the history of that war is not without useful
lessons in the use which may be made of the several arms in the attack
and defence of positions. The limit assigned to these Notes will admit
of only a few brief remarks upon these battles.

The affairs of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma properly constitute only
a single battle. In the first, which was virtually a cannonade, the
lines were nearly parallel, and Arista's change of front to an oblique
position during the engagement, was followed by a corresponding movement
on the part of General Taylor. Being made sensible of the superiority of
the American artillery, the Mexican general fell back upon the Ravine of
Resaca de la Palma, drawing up his troops in a concave line to suit the
physical character of the ground. The Americans attacked the whole line
with skirmishers, and with dragoons supported by light artillery, and
the charge of a heavy column of infantry decided the victory. General
Taylor's operations at Monterey partook more of the nature of an attack
upon an intrenched position than of a regular battle upon the field. No
doubt Worth's movement to the right had an important influence in
deciding the contest, but the separation of his column from the main
body, by a distance of some five miles, was, to say the least, a most
hazardous operation. The Mexicans, however, took no advantage of the
opening to operate between the separate masses into which the American
army was divided. The loss which the Mexicans inflicted upon us resulted
more from the strength of their position than from any skilful use of
their defensive works. In the battle of Buena Vista, the efforts of
Santa Anna were principally directed to turning the American left. If he
had concentrated his masses more upon the centre at the plateau, the
success gained in the early part of the contest would probably have been
decisive. The American right at La Angostura was made almost
inaccessible by the deep ravines in its front, and the skilful use made
of the artillery from this point enabled General Taylor to gain the
victory, even after his left had been completely turned, and a portion
of the volunteers had actually fled from the field.

The manner in which Scott handled his troops in the various battles on
his line of march from Vera Cruz to the capital, proved him to be one of
the best generals of the age. At Cerro Gordo he so completely turned
Santa Anna's left as to cut off his line of retreat, and nearly
destroyed his army, the general himself barely escaping capture. The
turning of Valencia's position by the village of San Geronimo, at the
battle of Contreras, and the charge by Riley's columns of infantry, were
movements well planned and admirably executed, as were also the rapid
pursuit of Santa Anna to Churubusco, and the flank and rear attacks by
the brigades of Pierce and Shields. The victory of Molino del Rey was
mostly won with the musket, without very material assistance from heavy
artillery, and was one of the most brilliant but dearly bought
achievements of the war. The assault upon Chapultepec was preceded by a
long and heavy cannonade, which produced a decided moral effect upon the
enemy and greatly facilitated the assault.

With respect to the battles of the Crimean war, only that of the Alma is
subject to the tactical criticism of ordinary battles; those of
Balaklava, Inkerman, and the Tchernaya, were of the nature of sorties
made to prevent an assault of the unfinished works of defence, and to
prolong the operations of the siege. They must therefore be judged as
such, and not according to the ordinary rules applicable to contests in
the open field. At the battle of the Alma the Russians were attacked in
position, the two lines of battle being nearly parallel. According to
the original plan of attack, the Turks and Bosquet's division was to
turn the Russian left, while the main attack was made upon the centre.
But, on account of the division of command in the allied army, there was
no concert of action. The heavy column of Bosquet probably decided the
victory, although the battle was general throughout the whole line. The
English army advanced in columns of brigades at deploying distances, its
right connected with the French, and its left protected by a line of
skirmishers, of cavalry and horse artillery. With respect to the
formation and use of troops in the other battles, it may be remarked
that the charge of the English light cavalry at Balaklava was apparently
without necessity or object, and led to its inevitable destruction. In
the battle of Inkerman the Russians directed their main attack upon the
English right and centre, with false attacks upon the French left and
towards Balaklava. But these false attacks, as is usual in such cases,
were not conducted with sufficient energy and decision, and Bosquet was
thus enabled to perceive the real intentions of the enemy upon the
English portion of the line and move to its assistance. Moreover, the
main body of the Russians moved in too heavy and unwieldy masses, which
exposed them to terrible losses, and rendered impossible a rapid and
effective deployment of their numerical force. The same criticism is
applicable to their formation at the battle of the Tehernaya.


On the invasion of Mexico by the United States, the former republic had
a large army of tolerably good troops, though badly officered, still
worse equipped, and almost destitute of proper military stores; but she
was entirely wanting in two important elements of national
defence--fortifications and a navy. Her weakness was shown by the rapid
and easy conquest of almost the entire country.

We have already remarked that the fortifications of Russia confined the
theatre of war to a single point of the Crimea, and limited the military
operations of the allies to the prolonged and only partially successful
siege of Sebastopol.


Allusion has already been made to the weakness of Mexico, resulting from
her want of sea-coast defences, as shown by the war between that
republic and the United States. This would have been still more manifest
had she possessed any thing like a commercial marine, exposed to capture
by our naval forces. As it was, the Mexican war afforded not a single
contest between ships and forts, no opposition being made to the
occupation of Mexican ports by our naval force. The only coast defence,
the castle of San Juan d'Ulica was not attacked, but after the
bombardment and capture of Vera Cruz, it surrendered without a blow.

The Crimean war, on the contrary, exhibited in a most marked degree the
importance of a well-fortified sea-coast. Notwithstanding the immense
force of the combined fleets of England and France, no naval attack was
made upon either Cronstadt or Sebastopol, and the large naval force of
Russia proved utterly useless as a defence against a maritime descent.
There was, indeed, a simulachre of a "naval cannonade" on the latter
place on the 17th of October, 1854, intended as a diversion of the
attention and strength of the garrison from the land side, where the
real struggle for predominance was going on between the besieged and the
besiegers. The inutility of this attempt was so manifest that no
serious naval attack was undertaken, notwithstanding that the allies
were ready to bring to bear upon the antiquated and ill-armed Russian
works the most powerful naval armaments the world had ever seen.

The results of this "simulachre of a naval cannonade," as it has been
called, is worthy of note. The details are taken from Major Barnard's
able pamphlet on "The Dangers and Defences of New York," and Commander
Dahlgren's interesting and valuable work on "Shells and Shell Guns."

"The allied fleet consisted of 14 French, 10 British, and 2 Turkish
ships-of-the-line (some few of which had auxiliary steam power), and a
number of side-wheel steamers to tow these; and carried in all about
2,500 guns. It was opposed by about 280 guns from the works. The fleet
kept itself (in general) at a respectable distance (from 1500 to 2000
yards); too far to inflict any material injury with its armament
(32-pounders, with a moderate proportion of 8-inch shell-guns) upon the
works;--too far to receive much from the inefficient armament of the
Russian works."

"The only exception to this remark applies to the detached English
squadron under Sir Edmund Lyons, consisting of the _Agamemnon_,
_Sanspareil_, _London_, _Arethusa_, and _Albion_, the first-named of
which vessels took a position at 750 or 800 yards from Fort Constantine,
while the others stretched along at about the same distance from Fort
Constantine, the 'Wasp Tower,' and 'Telegraph Battery.' Dahlgren describes
the result as follows:--"

"The _Agamemnon_ was very seriously maltreated, though not to such an
extent as to impair her power of battery or engine. She was on fire
several times; was struck by 240 shot or shells; and, singular to say,
only lost 29, while her second, just by, lost 70 men. The _Albion_
suffered still more, and in an hour was towed out crippled, and on fire
in more than one place, with a loss of 81 men. The crews of the _London_
and _Arethusa_, fared rather better, but the ships nearly as ill; and
they too remained in station but a little time after the _Albion_. The
_Queen_ was driven off soon after she got into her new position, in
great danger; and the _Rodney_ had the bare satisfaction of getting
aground and afloat after experiencing some damage."

"The value of the small works on the cape and bluffs, was clearly
defined in these results; being above the dense cloud of smoke that
enveloped the ships and the lower forts, their aim was not embarrassed,
while the seamen labored under the difficulty of firing, with an
inconvenient elevation, at objects that they saw but seldom, and then
but dimly and briefly. As a consequence, three line-of-battle ships and
a frigate were driven off very shortly and in great peril, and a fourth
badly cut up; while the _Agamemnon_ lay opposed to one of the heaviest
sea-forts with two tiers of casemates, and at the end of five-hours came
off with comparatively little loss."

"Whatever superiority of effect the batteries on the heights may have
had (and we have so few details about these works that we can draw no
sure conclusion from this mere naked statement of damages received by
the vessels), it evidently was not for want of being _hit_ often enough
(smoke or no smoke), that the _Agamemnon_ escaped with so little injury.
She 'was struck by 240 shot and shells;' and it is only due to the
inefficiency of the projectiles by which she was struck, that she was
not destroyed."

"With respect to the damages received by Fort Constantine, Dahlgren

"The distance of the _Agamemnon_ and _Sanspareil_ from Fort
Constantine (17th October, 1854), was assumed to be about 800 yards;
Lord Raglan states it to have been rather less. These two ships could
bring to bear about 87 guns, and the firing from them probably lasted
some four hours. There can be no doubt that it inflicted much damage,
for the Russian Commander-in-chief-admits it in his official report; but
not sufficient to impair the strength of the masonry, and far short of
effecting a breach in it."

"At Bomarsund, the results were rather different:--Three 32-pounders of
42 cwt. (guns of inferior weight), were landed from a ship's spar deck,
and placed in battery at 950 yards from the North Tower--the masonry of
good quality and 6-1/2 feet thick. In eight hours, the wall between two
embrasures was cut through from top to bottom, offering a practicable
breach, to effect which 487 shot and 45 shells were fired, being at the
rate of one round from the battery in rather less than a minute; or,
from each gun, one in 2-3/4 minutes. The Tower surrendered."

"It seems almost incredible that three pieces should be able to
accomplish fully that which eighty-seven pieces utterly failed to do,
the distances from the object being alike--particularly when it is
considered that many of the latter were of greater calibre, and most of
them employed much heavier charges where the calibres were similar. The
guns of the ship, if fired at the same rate as those of the battery,
which was not unusually rapid (one round in two and three-fourth
minutes), would have discharged some seven thousand seven hundred shot
and shells in the course of the four hours, supposing no interruption; a
number which, if properly applied, would appear, from the results of
three guns, to have been sufficient to breach the wall of the fort in
fourteen places; whereas they did not effect a single breach, which is
abundant proof of the lack of accuracy. They must either have been
dispersed over the surface of the fort, or else missed it altogether,
and this could have been due only to a want of the precision which was
attained by the battery. The constantly preferred complaint of motion in
the ships was not to be urged, because on the day of cannonading
Sebastopol, there was scarcely a breath of wind, and the ships were too
large to be easily moved by the swell, unless very considerable. That
the fort did no greater damage to the ships than it received from them,
proves no more than that its fire was quite as illy directed, and the
calibres too low. It is said that the _Agamemnon_ was struck in the hull
by two hundred and forty shot and shells, which must have been but a
small portion of what was fired, though sufficient to be decisive, if,
as already observed, the calibre had been heavier."

Here, then, a number of projectiles thrown from the ships, which were
sufficient, had they been thrown from a land battery, according to the
result at Bomarsund, to produce fourteen practicable breaches, failed
not only to produce a single breach, but even "to impair the strength of
the masonry."

The reason of this is obvious. That degree of precision of fire by which
a breach is effected by a land battery is utterly unattainable from a
floating structure, for the motion of the water, even in the calmest
days, is quite sufficient to prevent accuracy of aim at an object at a
distance, as in this case, of seven and eight hundred yards.

With respect to the action of the shot and shells upon the _Agamemnon_,
it is to be remarked that we have as yet had no fair trial of the power
of the fire of modern shell-guns of large calibre from land batteries
against ships of war. The Russians had some of them in their fleet, and
at Sinope, with their shell-guns, they blew up two Turkish frigates _in
fifteen minutes_. It does not appear that in the Crimean war they had
yet provided their fortifications with the modern armaments, for where
shells were thrown from their sea-coast batteries, they were in every
instance of inferior calibre.

With respect to the naval attack upon Kinburn, which has been referred
to as showing the importance of floating batteries as an auxiliary to
ships in reducing harbor defences, we have no official reports of the
Russians from which to derive accurate information of the strength of
the works attacked. Dahlgren, drawing his information from the official
accounts of the "English and French admirals," describes the works and
their location is follows:--

"The Boug and the Dnieper issue into a large basin, formed partly by
the projection of the main shore, partly by a long narrow strip of
Sand-beach, which continues from it and takes a north-westerly direction
until it passes the promontory of Otchakov, where it terminates, and
from which it is separated by the channel, whereby the waters of the
estuary empty into the Black Sea."

"The distance between the spit or extremity of this tongue and the
Point of Otchakov, or the main shore opposite, is about two miles; but
the water is too shoal to admit of the passage of large vessels of war,
except in the narrow channel that runs nearest to the spit and its
northern shore. Here, therefore, are placed the works designed to
command the entrance. They are three in number. Near the extreme point
of the spit is a covered battery built of logs, which are filled in and
overlaid with sand,--pierced for eighteen guns, but mounting only ten."

"Advancing further along the beach is a circular redoubt, connected
with the spit battery by a covered way. This work, built of stone, and
riveted with turf, is open, and said to be the most substantial of the
three; it has eleven cannon, and within is a furnace for heating shot."

"Further on, and where the beach has widened considerably, is Fort
Kinburn, a square bastioned work, extending to the sea on the south, and
to the waters of the estuary on the north. It is casemated in part,
though but few of these embrasures were armed,--its chief force being in
the pieces _en barbette, _and some nine or ten mortars. The masonry,
though solid, is represented by an eye-witness not to be bomb-proof, and
so dilapidated by age that the mortar was falling out from the
interstices, leaving the stone to disintegrate. The interior space was
occupied by ranges of wooden buildings, slightly constructed and
plastered over."

"This fort is said to be armed with sixty pieces. The English admiral
states, that all three of the works mounted eighty-one guns and mortars.
The calibres are not given officially, but stated in private letters to
be 18-pounders and 32-pounders."

"The above description will quite justify the further remark as to
these works:--"

"They were inferior in every respect, and manifestly incapable of
withstanding any serious operation by sea or land. The main fort was
particularly weak in design, and dilapidated; all of them were
indifferently armed and garrisoned."

"So much for the works. As to the character of the armament brought to
the assault, the same authority says:--"

"The allied force was admirably adapted to the operation, embracing
every description of vessel, from the largest to the smallest, and all
propelled by steam. There were screw-liners, and like vessels of
inferior class, side-wheel steamers, screw gunboats, floating-batteries,
mortar-vessels, etc., each armed in what was considered the most
approved manner. And this truly formidable naval force carried
_besides_ 'some thousand troops' on board, all designed to attack these
'dilapidated' works of Kinburn."

"Without going into the particulars, we simply give Dahlgren's account
of the affair:--"

"The French floating-batteries (_Devastation, Lave_, and _Tonnante_)
steamed in to make their first essay, anchoring some six or seven
hundred yards off the S.E. bastion of Fort Kinburn, and at 9.20 opened
fire, supported by the mortar-vessels, of which six were English, by the
gunboats, five French and six English, and by the steamer _Odin_, 16."

"The heavy metal of the floating-batteries (said to be twelve
50-pounders on the broadside of each) soon told on the walls of the
fort; and the vertical fire was so good that the French admiral
attributed to it, in great part, the speedy surrender of the place. The
gunboats also made good ricochet practice, which was noticed to be
severe on the barbette batteries."

"The Russian gunners, in nowise daunted by this varied fire, plied
their guns rapidly in return, directing their attention chiefly to the
floating-batteries, which were nearest."

"Exactly at noon, the admirals steamed in with the _Royal Albert _, 121,
_Algiers_, 91, _Agamemnon_, 90, and _Princess Royal_, 90, with the four
French liners in close order, taking position in line, ranging N.W. and
S.E., about one mile from the fort, in twenty-eight feet water."

"At the same time, a squadron of steam-frigates, under Rear-Admirals
Stewart and Pellion, dashed in through the passage to the basin, opening
fire on the spit and central batteries in passing, and anchoring well
inside of Fort Nicholaiev and Otchakov. The attack seaward was completed
by the _Acre_, 100, _Curaçoa_, 30, _Tribune_, 30, and _Sphynx_, 6,
opening on the central battery; while the _Hannibal_, 91, _Dauntless_,
24, and _Terrible_, 21, assailed that on the spit. To this storm of shot
and shells, the Russians could not reply long. In the spit battery, the
sand falling through between the logs, displaced by shot and shells,
choked the embrasures, and blocked up the guns. In the fort, the light
wooden buildings were in flames at an early hour; then the walls began
to crumble before the balls which came from every quarter, front, flank,
and rear; and as the guns were disabled successively, the return became
feeble, until few were in condition to be fired, the central redoubt
alone discharging single guns at long intervals. The Russian commander,
however, made no sign of surrender; but the admirals, seeing that his
fire had ceased, and further defence was unavailing, hoisted the white
flag at 1.35 P.M., upon which the works were given up on honorable

"The garrison consisted of about fourteen hundred men; their loss is
differently stated,--the French admiral says eighty wounded,--another,
forty-three killed and one hundred and fourteen wounded."

"The English suffered the least, having but two men wounded; besides
two killed and two wounded in the _Arrow_, by the bursting of her two
68-pounder Lancaster guns."

"The superiority of the allied vessels in number and calibre of
ordnance was very decided; they must have had at least six hundred and
fifty pieces in play, chiefly 32-pounders, and 8-inch shell guns, with a
fair proportion of 68-pounders and mortars, besides the 50-pounders of
the French floating batteries. To which the Russians could only reply
with eighty-one cannon and mortars, and no guns of heavier calibre than
32-pounders, while many were lower. The great disparity in offensive
power was not compensated to the works by the advantage of commanding
position, the Russian fort and redoubt being upon nearly the same level
with the ships' batteries, and also very deficient in proper strength.
On the other hand, the depth of water did not allow the liners to
approach nearer than one mile; and thus their fire was by no means so
intense as it would have been at shorter range."

"This was the sole occasion in which the floating batteries had an
opportunity of proving their endurance; which was the question of most
importance, as no one could doubt the effect of long 50-pounders, or
68-pounders, when brought within a few hundred yards of masonry, and
able to retain the steadiness indispensable to a breaching fire."

"No siege operation had ever embraced batteries of such power, for
though the English had employed long 68-pounders at Sebastopol, yet the
distance from the objects exceeded a thousand yards; and the
concentration of fire, so far as any opinion can be formed from the
published statements, was far inferior to that of the thirty-six
50-pounders, in the broadsides of the three batteries anchored in close

"They were hulled repeatedly by shot; one of them (the _Devastation_),
it is said, sixty-seven times, without any other effect on the stout
iron plates than to dint them, at the most, one and a half
inches,--still, there were ten men killed and wounded in this battery by
shot and shell which entered the ports,--and the majority of damage to
the French personnel (twenty-seven men) occurred in the three

Major Barnard, in commenting upon this affair, says that it "proves
nothing, unless it be, that dilapidated, and ill-designed, and
ill-constructed works, armed with inferior calibres, cannot contend
against such an overwhelming array of force as was here displayed. * * *
The Fort of Kinburn surrendered, _not because_ it was breached--not
because the defenders were so far diminished by their losses as to be
unable to protract the contest,--but simply because the guns and
gunners, exposed in all possible ways, were put hors-du-combat, and the
calibres (of the guns in Kinburn) were incapable of doing any great
damage to the vessels, at the distance they were stationed."

The guns in the low _open_ batteries were exposed to a ricochet and
vertical fire, to which latter the French admiral attributed, in good
part, the surrender of the place. The buildings behind the batteries,
built of wood, "slightly constructed and plastered over," were set on
fire, and the heat and smoke must have rendered the service of the guns
almost impracticable. Nevertheless, out of a garrison of 1,400, only 157
were killed and wounded--a very small loss under all the circumstances.
If the works had been well-constructed casemates, covering the men from
the ricochet and vertical fires and the sharpshooters of the troops who
invested the land fronts, the loss of the garrison would have been still
less; and if they had been armed with heavier projectiles, much greater
damage would have been inflicted upon the attacking force.

With respect to the use of floating-batteries in this case, Commander
Dahlgren very judiciously remarks:--

   "The use that can be made of floating-batteries, as auxiliaries in
   attacking shore-works, must depend on further confirmation of their
   asserted invulnerability. It may be that the performance at Kinburn
   answered the expectation of the French emperor as regards offensive
   power, for that is a mere question of the battering capacity of the
   heaviest calibres, which is undoubted; but the main issue, which
   concerns their endurance, cannot be settled by the impact of 32-pounder
   shot, fired at 600 and 700 yards. Far heavier projectiles will in future
   be found on all seaboard fortifications; and the ingenuity of the
   artillerist may also be exerted more successfully than at Kinburn.
   Still, it is not to be doubted that the floating-battery is a formidable
   element in assailing forts, even if its endurance falls short of
   absolute invulnerability; and the defence will do well to provide
   against its employment."

The works at Bomarsund were taken by means of _land-batteries_, which
breached the exposed walls of the towers and main works. An auxiliary
fire was opened upon the water front by the fleet, but it produced very
little effect. But after the work had been reduced, an experimental
firing was made by the _Edinburgh_, armed with the largest and most
powerful guns in the British navy.

In speaking of the effects of the siege batteries upon the walls of
Bomarsund, and the experimental fire of the _Edinburgh_, Sir Howard
Douglas remarks:--

   "This successful operation (of the land batteries) is very generally,
   but erroneously, stated to have been effected by the fire of the ships,
   and it is even strongly held up as a proof of what ships can do, and
   ought to attempt elsewhere."

   "But the results of the experimental firing at the remnant of the
   fort, which, unless the previous firing of the ships during the attack
   was absolutely harmless, must have been somewhat damaged, and moreover
   shaken by the blowing-up of the contiguous portions, do not warrant
   this conclusion, even should the attacking ships be permitted, like
   the _Edinburgh_, to take up, quietly and coolly, positions within 500
   yards, and then deliberately commence and continue their firing, without
   being fired at! The firing of the _Edinburgh_, at 1,060 yards, was
   unsatisfactory. 390 shot and shells were fired, from the largest and
   most powerful guns in the British navy (viz., from the Lancaster gun
   of 95 cwt., with an elongated shell of 100 lbs.;--from 68-pounders of 95
   cwt., and 32-pounders of 56 cwt., solid shot guns;--from 10-inch shell
   guns of 84 cwt., with hollow shot of 84 lbs.;--from 8-inch shell guns of
   65 and 60 cwt., with hollow shot of 56 lbs.), and did but little injury
   to the work. At 480 yards, 250 shot, shells, and hollow shot were fired.
   A small breach was formed in the facing of the outer wall, of extremely
   bad masonry, and considerable damage done to the embrasures and
   other portions of the wall; but no decisive result was obtained--no
   practicable breach formed, by which the work might be assaulted,
   taken, and effectually destroyed, although 640 shot and shells (40,000
   lbs. of metal) were fired into the place, first at 1,060, and then at
   480 yards."

Surely, this "naval attack," taken in connection with the true facts of
the capture of Kinburn, the abortive attempt of the British fleet in the
Pacific upon the Russian works of Petropauloski, is not calculated to
affect the well established opinion of the ability of forts to resist
maritime attacks.

Few are now disposed to dispute the general superiority of guns ashore
over guns afloat; but some think that works of masonry are incapable of
resisting the heavy and continuous fire which may now be brought against
it by fleets and floating-batteries, and would therefore extend the area
of the works and rely mainly upon earthen parapets, with guns in
barbette. This conclusion they form from the results of the maritime
attack on Kinburn, and of the land-batteries on Bomarsund.

Major Barnard, in his valuable work on "The Dangers and Defences of New
York," draws a very different conclusion from these attacks, and
contends that they abundantly prove the capability of well-constructed
stone masonry to resist the fire of ships and floating-batteries, if the
latter are opposed by proper armaments in the forts; moreover, that they
proved the superiority of casemated forts over low open batteries, with
guns in barbette, in covering the garrison from the effects of a
vertical and ricochet fire. Unquestionably the masonry at Bomarsund was
poorly constructed; nevertheless, the fire of the shipping produced very
little effect upon it. It is also equally certain that Kinburn Was
taken, not by a breaching fire, but mainly by the effects of vertical
and ricochet fires.

With respect to our own system of sea-coast defences, it may be
remarked, that, since this chapter was written, the works mentioned
therein as having been commenced, have been gradually advanced towards
completion, and that the acquisition of Texas and California, and the
settlement of Oregon and Washington Territory, by greatly extending our
line of maritime defence, have rendered necessary the fortification of
other points. It should also be noted that while the value and necessity
of these works are generally admitted, and while the general outline of
the system is almost universally approved, many are of the opinion that
the increased facilities for naval attacks, and the immense power of
modern maritime expeditions, like that upon Sebastopol, render it
necessary to more strongly fortify the great naval and commercial ports
of New York and San Francisco--one the _key point_ of the Atlantic, and
the other of the Pacific coast. Perhaps the system adopted by our Boards
of Engineers may be open to the objection that they have adopted _too
many_ points of defence, without giving sufficient prominence to our
great seaports, which are necessarily the strategic points of coast
defence. However this may have been _at the time the system was
adopted_, there can be no question that the relative strength of the
works designed for the different points of our coast does not correspond
to _the present_ relative importance of the places to be defended, and
the relative temptations they offer to an enemy capable of organizing
the means of maritime attack. On this subject we quote from the work of
Major Barnard:--

   "While the means of maritime attack have of late years assumed
   a magnitude and formidableness not dreamed of when our defensive
   system was planned, and our country has so increased in population,
   wealth and military resources, that no enemy can hope to make any
   impression by an invasion of our territory,--our great maritime places
   like New York, have, on the other hand, increased in even greater
   proportion, in every thing that could make them objects of attack."

   "The works deemed adequate in former years for the defence of
   New York could not, therefore, in the nature of things, be adequate at
   the present day."

   "The recent war of England and France against Russia may illustrate
   my meaning; for it has taught us what to expect were either of
   these nations to wage war against the United States."

   "No invasion of territory, no attempt at territorial conquest was
   made, or thought of; for it was well foreseen that no decisive results
   would flow from such means. The war consisted exclusively in attacks
   upon maritime places--great seaports--seats of commercial and naval
   power. Such places, by their vast importance to the well-being and
   prosperity of a nation--by the large populations and immense amount
   of wealth concentrated in them, and by their exposure to maritime
   attack, offer themselves at once as points at which the most decisive
   results may be produced. Cronstadt, Sebastopol, Sweaborg, Kinburn,
   Odessa, Kertch, Petropauloski, and other places of less note, were in
   succession or simultaneously objects of attack; while such as the first
   named became, indeed, the true seats of war."

   "Around Sebastopol assailed and assailant gathered their resources,
   and on the result of the arduous struggle may be said to have
   turned the issue of the war. Had it not been so decided _there_,
   Cronstadt would have been the next field of combat,--for which, indeed,
   the allies had made the most enormous preparations."

   "Is it not _certain_ that in future all war of maritime powers against
   the United States, will take a similar course? All territorial invasion
   being out of the question, it is against our _great_ seaports and
   strategic points of coast defence--such as New York, New Orleans, and
   San Francisco--pre-eminently New York,--that an enemy will concentrate
   his efforts. Against these he will prepare such immense armaments,
   --against these he will call into existence special agencies of attack,
   which (unless met by an inexpugnable defensive system) shall _insure_

   "The mere defense of the city against _ordinary fleets_, is no longer
   the question; but _through the defensive works to be here erected, the
   nation is to measure its strength against the most lavish use of the
   resources of a great maritime power, aided by all that modern science
   and mechanical ingenuity in creating or inventing means of attack, can
   bring against them_; in short, in fortifying New York, _we are really
   preparing the battle-field on which the issue of future momentous
   contests is to be decided_."

A few, however, object to the system at present adopted, on the ground
that casemated works do not offer sufficient resistance to ships and
floating-batteries, and that earthen works, covering a greater area,
will accomplish that object much more effectually, while their longer
land fronts will be more difficult of reduction by siege.

It cannot be doubted that earthen batteries, with guns in barbette, can,
as a general rule, be more easily taken by assault, that they are more
exposed to vertical and ricochet firing, and more expose their gunners
to be picked off by sharpshooters. Moreover, they give but a very
limited fire upon the most desirable point, as the entrance to a harbor.
On the other hand, it has not been proved that masonry-casemated works,
when properly constructed and properly armed, will not effectually
resist a naval cannonade, whether from ships or floating-batteries. The
results of recent wars, and of the West Point experiments by General
Totten, would seem to prove them abundantly capable of doing this.
Against such proofs the mere _ad captandum_ assertion of their
incapacity can have but little weight--certainly not enough to justify
the abandonment of a system approved by the best military authorities
of this country and Europe, and sanctioned by long experience.

Major Barnard, in speaking of the capacity of masonry casemated forts to
resist the fire of a hostile armament, and of the propriety of
abandoning them for earthen batteries in our system of Coast Defences,
uses the following forcible language:--"When we bear in mind that the
hostile 'floating batteries,' of whatever description, will themselves
be exposed to the most formidable projectiles that can be thrown from
shore batteries,--that when they choose to come to 'close quarters,' to
attempt to breach, _their_ 'embrasures' present openings through which
deluges of grape, canister, and musket balls can be poured upon the
gunners; and consider what experience has so far shown, and reason has
taught us, with regard to the casemate,--we need not be under
apprehension that our casemated works will be battered down; nor doubt
that they will, as they did in Russia, answer the important purposes for
which they were designed."

"It only remains to show the _necessity_ of such works. It, in general,
costs much less to place a gun behind an earthen parapet, than to build
a masonry structure covered with bomb-proof arches, in which to mount
it. All authorities agree that an open barbette battery (Grivel's very
forcible admission has been quoted), on a low site, and to which vessels
can approach within 300 or 400 yards, is utterly inadmissible. It may
safely be said, that in nine cases out of ten, the sites which furnish
the efficient raking and cross fires upon the channels, are exactly of
this character; and indeed it very often happens that there are _no

"When such sites _are_ found, it rarely happens that they afford room
for sufficient number of guns in open batteries. Hence the necessity of
putting them tier above tier, which involves, of course, the casemated
structure. Such works, furnishing from their lower tier a low, raking
fire, and (if of several tiers) a plunging fire from their barbettes,
offer as favorable emplacements for guns as can be contrived, and afford
to their gunners a degree of security quite as great as _can_ be given
to men thus engaged."

"On subjects which have a mere speculative importance, there is no
danger in giving rein to speculation; but on those of such real and
intense practical importance as the security against hostile aggression
of the great city and port of New York, it is not admissible to set
aside the experience of the past, or the opinions of the best minds who
have devoted themselves to such subjects. A means of defence, sanctioned
by its being confided in to protect the great ports of Europe--which
_has_ protected the great ports of Russia against the most formidable
naval armament that ever floated on the ocean, has a claim upon our
confidence which mere criticism cannot diminish; and a claim to be
adhered to in place of all new 'systems,' until time and trial shall
have _necessitated_ (not merely justified) the change."

"If, then, we refer to the practice of other nations, to find what has
been judged necessary for the defence of important ports,--to
experience, to find how such defensive systems have stood the test of
actual trial,--we may draw useful conclusions with regard to what is now
required to defend New York. We shall find at _Sebastopol_--a narrow
harbor, which owed its importance to its being the great naval dépôt of
Russia on the Black Sea--an array of 700 guns, about 500 of which were
placed in five 'masonry-casemated' works (several of them of great
size), and the remainder in open batteries. These defensive works
fulfilled their object, and sustained the attack of the allied fleet, on
the 17th of October, 1854, without sensible damage."

"The facility with which seaports are attacked by fleets--the enormous
preparations required--the great risks encountered in landing a
besieging army on the coast of a formidable enemy (while, for protection
against the _former_ species of attack, costly works are necessary, and
against the latter, field works and men can, in emergency, afford
protection), naturally caused the Russians to make these water defences
their _first_ object. Yet, though almost unprotected on the land side,
Sebastopol resisted, for a whole year, an attack on that quarter; and
illustrated how, with plenty of men and material, an energetic and
effectual _land defence_ may be improvised, where the _sea defence_ is
provided for, as thoroughly as it was at that place."

"Let Cronstadt be another example. Great as was the importance of its
defence to Russia, it was not greater,--it was by no means _as great_,
as that of New York to our own country. This port, and military and
naval dépôt, was defended (in its main approach) by upwards of 600 guns,
500 of which were mounted in five 'masonry-casemated' works; the
remainder in an open barbette battery, which enfiladed the main channel.
This number is formidable in itself; yet the same number mounted in New
York harbor would not afford anything like such a formidable defence as
was found at Cronstadt, owing to its great area, and long line of
approach, compared with the latter."

"_These works fulfilled their object._ They protected the great port and
dépôt of Cronstadt and the capital of the empire from invasion. For two
successive years did the mighty armaments of France and England
threaten; but they were overawed by the frowning array of 'casemated
castles' which presented itself, and declined the contest."

"Let us turn our eyes now to the great naval dépôt of France. After the
almost incredible expenditure lavished here, in creating a harbor facing
the shores of her great rival, England, and an equally profuse
expenditure in providing all that constitutes a great naval dépôt, we
may suppose that the best means, without regard to cost, which the
science of man could devise, would be employed here to make this great
seat of naval power secure against the formidable means of attack
possessed by the great maritime power most likely to be the assailant.
The means there employed are (so far as regards mere _harbor_ defence)
precisely the same (viz., casemated works in several tiers, combined
with open batteries where the locations are favorable); and the
application of means is the same as we have found so successful in
Russia,--the same which constitute the system of harbor defence of New

Captain McClelland, in his official report to the War Department, on the
siege of Sebastopol, uses language equally strong and pertinent:--

   "The permanent defences of Sebastopol against an attack by water,
   although inferior in material and the details of construction to our own
   most recent works, proved fully equal to the purpose for which they
   were intended. Indeed, the occurrences on the Pacific, the Baltic, and
   the Black Sea, all seem to establish beyond controversy, the soundness
   of the view so long entertained by all intelligent military men, that
   well constructed fortifications must always prove more than a match for
   the strongest fleet."

   "It is deemed that a calm consideration of the events so hastily and
   imperfectly narrated in the preceding pages must lead all unprejudiced
   persons among our countrymen to a firm conviction on two vital points:"

   "1st. That our system of permanent coast defences is a wise and
   proper one, which ought to be completed and armed with the least
   possible delay."

   "2d. That mere individual courage cannot suffice to overcome the
   forces that would be brought against us, were we involved in an European
   war, but that it must be rendered manageable by discipline, and
   directed by that consummate and mechanical skill which can only be
   acquired by a course of education, instituted for the special purpose,
   and by long habit."

   "In the day of sailing-vessels the successful siege of Sebastopol
   would have been impossible. It is evident that the Russians did not
   appreciate the advantages afforded by steamers, and were unprepared
   to sustain a siege."

   "This same power of steam would enable European nations to disembark
   upon our shores even a larger force than that which finally encamped
   around Sebastopol. To resist such an attack, should it ever be
   made, our cities and harbors must be fortified, and those fortifications
   must be provided with guns, ammunition, and instructed artillerists.
   To repel the advance of such an army into the interior, it is not enough
   to trust to the number of brave but undisciplined men that we can
   bring to bear against it. An invading army of 15,000 or 20,000 men
   could easily be crushed by the unremitting attacks of superior numbers;
   but when it comes to the case of more than 100,000 disciplined
   veterans, the very multitude brought to bear against them works its
   own destruction; because, if without discipline and instruction, they
   cannot be handled, and are in their own way. We cannot afford a Moscow

   "Our regular army never can, and, perhaps, never ought to be, large
   enough to provide for all the contingencies that may arise, but it
   should be as large as its ordinary avocations in the defence of the
   frontier will justify; the number of officers and non-commissioned
   officers should be unusually large, to provide for a sudden increase;
   and the greatest possible care should be bestowed upon the instruction
   of the special arms of the artillery and engineer troops. The militia
   and volunteer system should be placed upon some tangible and effective
   basis; instructors furnished them from the regular army, and all
   possible means taken to spread sound military information among them.
   In the vicinity of our sea-coast fortifications, it would be well to
   provide a sufficient number of volunteer companies with the means of
   instruction in heavy artillery, detailing officers of the regular
   artillery for instructors."

On this subject of instructing our volunteers and militia in the use of
sea-coast batteries, we add the following quotation from Major Barnard's

   "One of the main causes of inefficiency in coast batteries, which
   has given color to the idea that they may be passed, or even _attacked_
   with impunity, I conceive to be the want of _skill_ and _care_ in the
   use of the guns. The result is a prodigious smoke, and a prodigious
   throwing away of balls, and very little damage done. This has been,
   however, by no means a _peculiarity_ of coast defences. The same system
   of random firing has hitherto prevailed, both in the use of small arms
   in land and of heavy ordnance in sea battles; nor has it occurred
   apparently to even the greatest masters of the art of war, to ask why,
   for one man wounded, or for one effective shot in a vessel's hull, so
   many thousands of shot should be thrown uselessly into the air."

   "But this question is _now_ asked, both in the use of the soldier's
   rifled musket, and in the management of ships' guns, as well as of
   artillery of all kinds."

   "It is at last discovered that it is of more importance to teach the
   soldier to direct his piece with accuracy of aim, than to perform
   certain motions on parade with the precision of an automaton. The same
   idea is now infused into all the departments of military and naval
   science, and is a _necessary_ result of the recent great
   improvements in the construction of arms. In short, the truth has at
   last become apparent that the old-fashioned system of random firing,
   though perhaps like the 'charge of the six hundred' at Balaklava, 'bien
   magnifique, _n'est pas la guerre_.'"

   "It is of the utmost importance that we should apply this principle
   to the management of our sea-coast batteries, and give it a practical
   effect. The _volunteers_ of our cities will constitute _mainly_, in
   time of war, the gunners of our forts and manipulators of our sea-coast
   guns. In time of war, they will probably be exercised in these duties.
   But it is most desirable that we should have at _all times_ a body of
   gunners, practised in these exercises. The result would be, not only to
   give to our _citizens_, as well as citizen-soldiers, confidence in the
   defences provided for their security, but it would disseminate military
   knowledge, and an intelligent idea of the bearing and objects of the
   different defensive works. To carry out this idea, it would be
   desirable that there should be at each considerable seaport town, a
   sufficient garrison of _artillery_ troops to aid in the instruction
   of the volunteers. In the present condition of the army _this_ cannot
   be hoped; but perhaps it might, at least, be found practicable to detail
   an artillery officer or two for the purpose."


The author has seen nothing since this chapter was written to induce him
to change the views therein expressed with respect to the superior
strategic importance of the line of Lake Champlain, both as a line of
military operations, and as a line of defence. The mutual commercial
interests of the United States and the Canadas render a war between the
two countries less probable than formerly; nevertheless, such an event
is by no means impossible, and common prudence should induce us to
prepare in the best possible manner for such a contingency.


Since these chapters were written, several important changes have been
made in our army organization. The rank of Lieutenant-General (at
least, by brevet) has been revived, the staff, administrative corps,
infantry and cavalry have been increased, and a company of engineer
troops organized. But this company is mainly employed at West Point for
instruction of the cadets in the several branches of military
engineering, and thus serves to supply a deficiency long felt in the
system of education at the Military Academy. The want, however, of
troops of this arm for the construction, care, and preservation of our
permanent fortifications, and for the general duties of field
engineering, still remains to be supplied. Of all the arms of military
organization, this one most requires instruction in time of peace; it
cannot be supplied at the moment a war is declared.

In speaking of our present army organization, as compared with those of
the different European powers which he was sent to examine and report
upon, Captain McClelland says:--

   "Our force of artillery is large in proportion to the other arms of
   service, while the number of our engineer troops is ridiculously and
   shamefully small; it is, therefore, more than probable that in any
   future siege it will be easy for the artillery to construct their own
   batteries, while the engineers will be sufficiently burdened by the
   construction of the other works of attack; we have now, at last, the
   germ of an artillery school of practice; I would then suggest, for the
   consideration of the Secretary, the propriety of causing the artillery
   to construct their own batteries. The position and armament of siege
   batteries should be determined by consultation between the engineers and
   the artillery, the former having the preponderating voice, in order to
   secure the necessary harmony and connection between all parts of the
   works of attack. This change," he says, "will require to be introduced
   into the artillery manual and course of instruction everything in
   relation to the preparation of the fascines, gabions, platforms, and
   magazines, the dimensions of batteries, manner of arranging, working
   parties, etc."

With regard to the suggestion of Captain McClellan, it is sufficient to
remark, that it seeks to remedy one evil by introducing another equally
as great and equally as objectionable. The defect in our present army
organization is that one of its arms is too small for the duties which,
from the very nature of military service, naturally and properly belong
to it; and it surely is no remedy for this defect to permanently
transfer a part of these duties to another arm. As well might it be
said, if our artillery force were "ridiculously and shamefully small" in
proportion to the infantry and cavalry, that the field batteries should
be permanently transferred to those arms, and that light artillery
tactics should be comprised in our infantry and cavalry manuals.

There are certain duties which the military experience of ages has shown
to properly and almost necessarily belong to each particular arm of an
army organization, and every attempt to make one branch perform the
appropriate duties of another has invariably destroyed its efficiency
for either service. Suppose our medical corps were "ridiculously and
shamefully small" in proportion to our pay department, shall our
paymasters perform the duties of surgery, and be instructed in the use
of the scalpel and amputating instruments! This is, perhaps, an extreme
case, but it serves to illustrate the principle.

The defect referred to by Captain McClelland, and which has so often
been pointed out by our best military men, cannot be obviated by any
transfer or assignment, whether temporary or permanent, of the
appropriate duties of one corps to another. Indeed, such a measure would
only tend to make this defect permanent, and to convert a temporary into
a lasting evil. It can readily be remedied by legislative action, but in
no other way. The executive action suggested would be deprecated by all.
Moreover, the evil is now so obvious and so generally admitted, that
there can be little doubt that Congress will soon perceive the
importance of applying the only proper and effective remedy.


Although the general principles of the plan and arrangement of a
permanent fortification, as established by the great masters of this
branch of military science, remain the same; nevertheless, the vast
improvements which have, within the last few years, been made in
projectiles, require some changes in the details of defensive works of
this character. These changes consist mainly in an increased thickness
of stone and earthen parapets and of the covering of magazines, in the
arrangement of embrasures, and in protecting the garrison from an
enemy's sharpshooters. The introduction of heavier siege guns, and of
heavier ordnance on ships of war, and especially on those propelled by
steam, require much larger ordnance in forts designed for the defence of
harbors. In the Russian war, Sweaborg was made to suffer from a distant
bombardment which left her fortifications intact. These modifications in
the arrangements and armaments of forts are absolutely necessary in
order to restore the relative power of defence against the improvements
made in the means of attack. They can very easily be introduced without
changing the form or general character of the works, and they are really
so very essential that, without them, a fort constructed 25 or 30 years
ago, and well suited to the then existing state of the military art,
will be likely to offer no very considerable resistance to modern siege
batteries or well organized maritime attacks.

Some have gone much further in their estimate of the effect produced by
the increased size and force of military projectiles, and boldly assert
that masonry works of strong relief can no longer be used, and that the
increased range of small arms requires an entire change of the bastioned
front, with lines more extended.

With respect to the effect of the increased range of small arms, it is
very natural that a superficial observer should adopt the opinion that
this improvement must be followed by an extension of the lines of a
defensive military work; but a close study of the subject will probably
lead to a different conclusion. Such at least is the opinion of the
ablest military engineers of Europe. The lines of the bastioned front
now generally in use, were really too long for a good defence with the
arms in use at the time it was adopted; and, in theory, the "rampart
gun" was to be relied upon for the defence of certain exposed points.
But this weapon is no longer in use; its place, however, is better
supplied by the increased range of the musket and rifle. The latter
weapon is almost invaluable for defending the approaches to a permanent

With respect to the breaching of stone masonry by siege batteries, it
has long been an established principle that all masonry exposed to the
fire of land batteries should be masked by earthen works. The neglect of
this rule caused the fall of Bomarsund. Those who so readily draw, from
the results of that siege, the inference that the present mode of
fortifying land fronts must be abandoned, exhibit their ignorance of
military engineering. The facts do not justify their conclusions.

With respect to sea fronts, which can be reached only by guns afloat,
the case is very different. They are usually casemates of masonry, not
masked by earthen works. Whether the increased efficiency of projectiles
thrown by ships and floating batteries now require a resort to this mode
of protecting masonry on the water fronts of fortifications, is a
question well worthy of discussion. This subject has already been
alluded to in the Note on Sea-coast Defences, and it is there shown that
no facts have yet been developed which require or authorize any change
in our present system.


As Mexico had no permanent fortifications to be besieged, the war in
that country afforded very little practice in that branch of engineering
which is connected with the attack and defence of permanent works,
particularly sapping and mining. The only operation resembling a siege
was the investment and bombardment of Vera Cruz, and it is worthy of
remark that if General Scott had stormed that place, weak as it was, he
must have lost a large number of his men, while from his trenches and
batteries he reduced it with scarcely the sacrifice of a single life.

Nor did either party in this war make much use of field works in the
attack and defence of positions. Nevertheless, no one can read the
history of the war without appreciating the important influence which
Fort Brown had upon General Taylor's defence of the left bank of the Rio
Grande. Again if we compare our loss in other Mexican battles with that
which the Americans sustained in their attacks upon Monterey,
Churubusco, Molino del Key, and Chapultepec,--places partially secured
by field works--we shall be still more convinced of the value of
temporary fortifications for the defence of military positions, although
it was manifest that the Mexicans neither knew how to construct nor how
to defend them.

Nor was there much practice in this war in the use of military bridges,
for, with the exception of the Rio Grande, our armies had no important
rivers to cross. We must not, however, omit to note the important fact
that General Taylor was unable to take advantage of the victories of
Palo Alto and Resacade La Palma to pursue and destroy the army of
Arista, _because_ he had no pontoon equipage to enable him to follow
them across the Rio Grande. It should also be remarked that even a very
small bridge equipage would have been of very great use in crossing
other streams and ravines during the operations of this war. One of our
cavalry officers writes:--

   "On our march from Matamaras to Victoria and Tampico, in 1846
   and 1847, we had infinite difficulty in bridging boggy streams (there
   being no suitable timber), and in crossing ravines with vertical banks;
   a few ways of the Birago trestles would have saved us many days and
   a vast amount of labor. In the operations in the valley of Mexico, our
   movements, checked as they so often were by impassable wet ditches
   and sometimes by dry ravines, would have been rendered so much more
   free and rapid by the use of the Birago trestles, that our successes
   could have been gained at far less cost, and probably with more rapidity
   than they were."

With regard to military reconnaissance, the splendid achievements of Lee
and others connected with the operations of General Scott, proved the
value and importance of this particular branch of field engineering.

But field engineering, as a branch or arm of the military service,
received its greatest development and most brilliant application in the
Crimean war, particularly in the siege of Sebastopol, and the measures
resorted to by General Todtleben to defend that place against the attack
of superior forces.

A brief sketch of these defensive works may be of interest to the

When the allies reached Balaklava, Sebastopol was defended on the south
side only by a loop-holed wall about four feet and a half thick, and
from eighteen to twenty feet high, and a semicircular redoubt with two
stories of loop-holes, and five guns in barbette. These works would have
afforded some protection against a _coup-de-main_ by infantry and
cavalry, but could have offered no very considerable obstacle to a
combined attack of these arms with artillery.

The Russian engineer commenced his operations for strengthening this
position by occupying the most important points in his line of defence
with detached field works of sufficient relief to resist an assault, and
generally closed at the gorge. These works were afterwards connected by
re-entering lines of a weaker profile, which served to enfilade the
ravines and to flank the advanced works. The old wall was strengthened
with earth, and rifle-pits for sharpshooters were constructed at a
considerable distance in front.

The most important points of the main line of defence were: 1st. The
Flag-staff Bastion. 2d. The Central Bastion. 3d. The Malakoff. 4th. The
Redan. 5th. The little Redan. The command of the first was about fifteen
feet, its ditch thirty feet wide and from twelve to fifteen feet deep. A
portion of the scarp was provided with palisades some ten feet high. The
construction of the Central Bastion was similar to that of the
Flag-staff, but weaker in profile. The relief of the other works was
still less. The command of the Malakoff was about fourteen feet, its
ditch eighteen feet wide and twelve feet deep. The thickness of parapet
in these works was generally about eighteen feet, and the bombproofs
were covered with timber eighteen inches thick and six feet of earth.
The loop-holed walls connecting these works were covered by a rampart
and parapet, or entirely replaced by a simple parapet. Many of the
embrasures were revetted with the common boiler iron ships' water-tanks
filled with earth. The same material was sometimes used for traverses.
Rope mantelets were used to protect the artillerists at the pieces from
rifle balls and small grape. Great attention was given to the
construction of bombproofs to cover the men from vertical firing. These
were sometimes under the rampart and the second line of defence (where
there was one), often under special traverses, or entirely under ground,
and occasionally excavated in the solid rock. Some had fireplaces and
chimneys, and were well ventilated. Interior slopes were revetted with
gabions, crowned by fascines and sand bags. Gabions were also employed
to repair the damage caused by the enemy's artillery. Abattis, military
pits, caltrops and spikes, stuck through planks, and explosive machines
were employed in front of different parts of the defences. Mines were
resorted to in front of the Flag-staff Bastion to retard the French
approaches. They were made in rocky soil with craters from twelve to
fifteen feet deep. The Russian counter-approaches generally consisted of
fleches, united by a simple trench.

Captain McClelland, one of our officers sent to the Crimea, from whose
valuable Report most of the foregoing details are gathered, adds the
following remarks upon these works of defence:--

   "From the preceding hasty and imperfect account of the defences
   of Sebastopol, it will appear how little foundation there was for
   the generally-received accounts of the stupendous dimensions of the
   works, and of new systems of fortifications brought into play. The
   plain truth is, that these defences were simple temporary fortifications
   of rather greater dimensions than usual, and that not a single new
   principle of engineering was developed. It is true, that there were
   several novel minor details, such as the rope mantelets, the use of
   iron tanks, etc., but the whole merit consisted in the admirable
   adaptation of well-known principles to the peculiar locality and
   circumstances of the case. Neither can it be asserted that the plans
   of the various works were perfect. On the contrary, there is no
   impropriety in believing that if Todtleben were called upon to do
   the same work over again, he would probably introduce better close
   flanking arrangements."

   "These remarks are not intended to, nor can they, detract from the
   reputation of the Russian engineer. His labors and their results will
   be handed down in history as the most triumphant and enduring monument
   of the value of fortifications, and his name must ever be placed in the
   first rank of military engineers. But, in our admiration of the
   talent and energy of the engineer, it must not be forgotten that the
   inert masses which he raised would have been useless without the skilful
   artillery and heroic infantry who defended them. Much stronger places
   than Sebastopol have often fallen under far less obstinate and
   well-combined attacks than that to which it was subjected. There can be
   no danger in expressing the conviction that the siege of Sebastopol
   called forth the most magnificent defence of fortifications that has
   ever yet occurred."

We will now pass to the works of attack. When the allies decided that
the works of Sebastopol could not be carried by a simple cannonade and
assault, but must be reduced by a regular siege, the first thing to be
considered was to secure the forces covering the siege works from
lateral sorties and the efforts of a relieving army. The field works
planned for this purpose were not of any great strength, and many of
them "were only undertaken when a narrow escape from some imminent
danger had demonstrated their necessity." The French line of defence
consisted of eight pentagonal redoubts, connected by an infantry
parapet. The English seemed to attach but little importance to field
works for the defence of their position; the terrible slaughter at
Inkerman was the natural consequence of this neglect.

In describing the engineering operations of the allies at this siege.
Captain McClelland says:--

   "In regard to the detailed execution of the French attacks, little or
   nothing novel is to be observed. Even when coolly examining the
   direction of their trenches, after the close of the siege, it was very
   rare that a faulty direction could be detected; they always afforded
   excellent cover, and were well defiladed; in some cases the excavation
   of the double direct sap was carried to the depth of six and a half feet
   in the solid rock! The execution of many of the saps and batteries was
   worthy of a school of practice. In the parallels, bombproofs were
   provided as temporary hospitals, offices for the generals on duty, etc.
   They did not use the sapper armor. The use of the sap-roller was
   often attempted, but it could be employed only during the latter part of
   the attack upon the Malakoff, when the fire of the Russian artillery was
   nearly extinguished by the mortars; before that, as soon as a sap-roller
   was placed in position--some thirty guns would be brought to bear
   upon it, the result being its immediate destruction. It may justly be
   said of the French approaches, that they admirably carried into practice
   their system of sapping. The technical skill and patient courage
   evinced by their officers and men in pushing forward such excellent
   approaches, under a most deadly fire, is worthy of all commendation, and
   is such as might have been expected from the antecedents of their
   corps of engineers."

   "With regard to the English, the case was different; it seemed as
   if they systematically abandoned the excellent system taught and
   perfected with so much care at Chatham. Whenever the ground was
   difficult, their trenches generally ceased to afford shelter; a
   shallow excavation in the rock, and a few stones thrown up in front,
   appeared to be all that was considered necessary in such cases. They
   were often faulty in direction as well as in profile, being not
   unfrequently badly defiladed, or not gaining ground enough and
   entirely too cramped; nor were they pushed as close to the Redan as
   they ought to have been before giving the assault. In too many
   cases the expression '_tâtonnement_ of the French would seem
   to convey the best idea of their operations. Their batteries, however,
   were very well constructed. The magazines, platforms, etc., were
    usually similar to those adopted at Chatham, although
   unnecessary deviations were sometimes complained of. They
   employed neither armor nor the full sap, sometimes the half-full, but
   generally the flying-sap were employed."

It may also be added, that, at the time of the assault, the French
approaches had been pushed to the distance of thirty-two paces of the
counterscarp of the Malakoff, while the English had scarcely reached
within two hundred and twenty-five yards of the ditch of the Redan.

This description of the operations of the English at the siege of
Sebastopol carries the professional reader directly back to their sieges
in the Spanish Peninsula. It certainly is very strange that a great
nation leading the van of civilization should, after such experience,
have neglected to provide its army with a proper number of engineer
officers and engineer troops, well instructed in the peculiar and
difficult duties of that arm. What excuse can ever be offered for
substituting human life for professional skill in the operations of a
siege, when that skill may so readily be acquired in time of peace, and
is always so necessary an element of a good military organization!

While every one admits that the siege of Sebastopol proved the immense
importance of fieldworks against land attacks, some would conclude from
the operations of that siege that good earthen works of a large
development are better suited for the defence of a large city than
permanent fortifications with masonry revetments, and which will
necessarily have a less extended line of fire and less capacity for men
and military stores. We quote the remarks of Captain McClelland on this
point, and also make a short extract from the recently published Journal
of the siege of Sebastopol by General Niel.

Captain McClelland says:--

   "This would seem to be the proper place to notice a popular fallacy,
   which, for a time at least, gained extensive credence. It was, that the
   siege of Sebastopol proved the superiority of temporary (earthen)
   fortifications over those of a permanent nature. It is easy to show that
   it proved nothing of the kind; but that it only proved that temporary
   works in the hands of a brave and skillful garrison are susceptible of a
   longer defence than was generally supposed. They were attacked as
   field works never were before, and were defended as field works never
   had been defended. The main difference between properly constructed
   permanent fortifications (intended to resist a siege) and temporary
   works, is that the latter seldom present an insuperable obstacle against
   assault, while the former always do. In addition, permanent works
   have a better command over the adjacent country, and are more carefully
   and perfectly planned. The masonry walls, which render an assault
   impossible, cannot be seen from the distance, and can be destroyed
   only by establishing batteries on the crest of the glacis, or the
   edge of the ditch; the earthen parapet alone being visible beyond that
   point, they may, until the besiegers arrive there, be regarded in the
   same light as field works, with the difference that the garrison are not
   harassed by the necessity of being constantly prepared to repel an

   "Now, in the siege of Sebastopol, the trenches of the besiegers
   never reached the edge of the ditch; so that, had the fortification been
   a permanent one, the most difficult, slow, and dangerous part of the
   siege remained to be undertaken, viz., the crowning of the covered
   way, the establishment of the breach batteries, the descent and passage
   of the ditch, and the assault of the breach; in other words, at the
   moment when the weakness of the temporary works became apparent and
   fatal, the true strength of the permanent defences would have commenced
   coming into play."

   "Assuming the progress of the attack to have been as rapid as it was
   under existing circumstances, the besiegers, on the 8th of September,
   would not yet have been in a condition to crown the covered way, the
   siege would certainly have extended into the winter; and it may even
   be doubted whether the place would eventually have fallen, until the
   allies were in sufficient force to invest the north as well as the

General Neil remarks:--

   "Struck by the length of the siege of Sebastopol, certain foreign
   officers have expressed the opinion that masonry-revetted scarps are not
   of incontestable utility in fortified places."

   "Sebastopol, a vast retrenched camp, defended by field fortifications
   of strong profile, derived its principal strength from an armament
   such as could only exist in an extensive maritime arsenal, and from a
   large army which always preserved its free communications with the
   interior of Russia."

   "If the enceinte had been provided with good revetted scarps;
   if it had been necessary to breach these, and subsequently have been
   compelled to penetrate through difficult passages, in rear of which the
   heads of our columns would have met an army, Sebastopol would have
   been an impregnable fortress."

   "When we compare, in effect, the works of attack at Sebastopol
   with those of an ordinary siege, we will see that on the 8th of
   September, 1855, the day of the last assault, we had only executed,
   after the greatest effort, the besieging works which precede the
   crowning of the covered way; we had not then, as yet, entered upon that
   period of the works of a siege which is the most difficult and the most
   murderous; and there was no occasion to engage ourselves in them, since
   the ditches and parapets of the enceinte were not insurmountable, as the
   sequel has proved."

   "The difficulty consisted in conquering the Russian army upon a
   position prepared long beforehand for its defence, quite as much as in
   surmounting the material obstacle of the fortification."

   "Our places of arms being established at thirty metres from the
   besieged works, we were able to choose our own time for action, and to
   throw ourselves unexpectedly upon the enemy when the fire of our
   artillery had forced him to shelter himself, up to the last minute,
   behind his numerous blindages; to have gone further would have been
   inviting the initiative in the attack on the part of the Russian army."

   "The absence of scarp walls, which would have secured the place
   from escalade, did not exercise a less influence upon the defence;
   for the besieged were compelled to keep permanently at the gorges
   of the works, strong reserves, in readiness to repulse the assault,
   which they saw themselves menaced with from the commencement of
   the siege."

   "Finally, it can be remarked, that these reserves, which were decimated
   night and day by the concentric fire of our batteries, were able
   to issue out from the enceinte through wide debouches, without having
   to pass through the narrow defiles which are formed by the drawbridges
   of revetted places; they were, then, a permanent threat for the
   besiegers, who were exposed to seeing their trenches unexpectedly
   invaded by the greater part of the Russian army."

   "Neither side, consequently, was in a position analogous to that
   which is presented in the siege of a fortified place, protected from
   insult by good masonry scarps.'" (Note to page 443.)

And again, page 423, the same authority remarks:

   "Now, it (the Russian army) is no longer able to escape from the
   concentric fires of our batteries; for, _not being protected by masonry
   scarps_, it is obliged constantly to keep united strong reserves, in
   order to repulse the assault with which it is at every instant menaced'"


With regard to the subjects discussed in this chapter it will, perhaps,
be sufficient to remark that the Mexican war incontestably proved the
value of the West Point Military Academy; for the superior efficiency of
properly-educated officers over those who had been appointed from civil
life without any knowledge of the profession they were called upon to
practice, fully satisfied the country of the importance of that
institution, and even silenced the clamors of the few who refused to be

The recent abortive attempt to give efficiency to our navy by means of a
retired list, has, it is feared, destroyed for a time all hopes of
introducing this very necessary measure into our military service;
although it is very certain that without this we can never have our
system of promotion placed upon an effective and satisfactory basis,
which shall give efficiency to the army by rewarding merit, while it
prevents injustice by closing the avenues of political favoritism.

The Mexican war also most abundantly proved that our objections to the
system of military appointment were well founded, and it is hoped that
the more recent abuses of that system will call public attention to the
necessity of a change; for if military office continue to be conferred
for partisan services, it will soon destroy the integrity as well as the
efficiency of our army.


Figs. 1, 2, 3.--Used to illustrate the strategic relations of the armies
A and B.

Fig. 4.--Line of operations directed against the extremity of the
enemy's line of defence, as was done by Napoleon in the Marengo

Fig. 5.--Napoleon's plan of campaign in 1800, for the army of the Rhine,
and the army of reserve.

Fig. 6 shows the plan adopted by Napoleon in the campaign of 1800, to
preserve his communications.

Fig. 7 illustrates the same thing in the campaign of 1806.

Fig. 8.--Interior and central line of operations.

Fig. 9 represents a camp of a grand division of an army. The distance
from the front row of tents to the line of camp-guards should be from
350 to 400 feet; thence to the line of posts, from 150 to 200 feet;
thence to the line of sentinels, from 100 to 200 feet. In many cases,
the line of posts between the camp-guards and sentinels may be dispensed
with. The distance between battalions will be from 50 to 100 feet; and
the same between squadrons and batteries.

Fig. 10.--Details of encampment for a battalion of infantry. The width
of company streets will depend upon the strength of a company, and will
be so arranged that the front of the camp shall not exceed the length of
the battalion, when drawn up in line of battle. This width will be from
50 to 100 feet. The distance between the tents of each row will be 2 or
3 feet; the distance between the tents of one company and those of
another, from 4 to 6 feet.

Fig. 11 is the camp of a squadron of cavalry. A single company encamping
alone, would be arranged in the same way as an entire squadron. The
horses are picketed in two lines parallel to the tents, and at a
distance from them of about 12 feet. The forage is placed between the
tents. A squadron of two companies will occupy a front of about 180
feet. The fires, or company kitchens, should be 50 or 60 feet in rear of
the non-commissioned officers' tents.

Fig 12 is the camp of two batteries of foot artillery, or two companies
of foot engineers.

[The plan of encampment for artillery, as given in the "Instruction of
U.S. Field Artillery, horse and foot," may be employed where a single
battery encamps by itself, or where only the skeleton of companies is
maintained; but it will be found exceedingly inconvenient, where a full
battery, with a large train, encamps on the same line with other troops.
The plan we have given is that which is employed in most European

Fig. 13.--In this plan for mounted artillery and engineers, the fires
are so arranged as to expose the ammunition as little as possible to the
sparks from the kitchens.

Fig. 14.--Simple parallel order of battle.

15.--Parallel order, with a crochet on the flank.

16.--Parallel order, reinforced on a wing.

17.--Parallel order, reinforced on the centre.

18.--Simple oblique order.

19.--Oblique order, reinforced on the assailing wing.

20.--Perpendicular order.

21.--Concave order.

22.--Convex order.

23.--Order by echelon on a wing.

24.--Order by echelon on the centre.

25.--Combined order of attack.

26.--Formation of infantry by two deployed lines.

27, 28.--- Arrangements corresponding to depth of column.

29.--Formation by squares.

30.--Mixed formation of three battalions.

31.--Deep formation of heavy columns.

32.--Formation in columns by brigade.

33.--Formation of two brigades of cavalry, by the mixed system.

34.--Passage of the Sound by the British fleet, in 1807.

35.--Attack on Copenhagen.

36.--Attack on Algiers.

37.--Attack on San Juan d'Ulloa.

38.--Attack on St. Jean d'Acre.

39.--Plan of a regular bastioned front of a fortification.

40.--Section of do.    do.


Fig. 42.--Demi-tenaillons, with a bonnet.

43.--A horn-work.

44.--A crown-work.

45.--A redan.

46.--A lunette.

47.--A mitre or priest-cap.

48.--A bastioned fort.

49.--Vertical section of a field intrenchment.

50.--Simple sap.

51.--Flying sap.

52.--Full sap.

53.--Crater of a military mine.

54.--Plan of the attack of a regular bastioned work.













*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Elements of Military Art and Science - Or, Course Of Instruction In Strategy, Fortification, Tactics Of Battles, &C.; Embracing The Duties Of Staff, Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, And Engineers; Adapted To The Use Of Volunteers And Militia; Third Edition; With Critical Notes On The Mexican And Crimean Wars." ***

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