ページの画像
PDF
ePub

have patents in their pockets, and bring in a few additional pounds to the revenue. I could wish ministers would seriously reflect, particularly at this moment, which is of most consequence, the lives and health of their fellow creatures, or the income these people bring in. Let them also recollect, that when they grant these patents, ignorant as they must be of the medicine’s good or bad qualities, they take the responsibility upon themselves, as to their application. If these quacks must be supported, at least let the Medical Officers of the army and navy be supported also. Were they put down, there would then be opportunities of employment for the gentlemen of the army and navy; and instead of hearing every day of the numberless melancholy accidents caused by these patent engines of destruction, we should have those peculiar advantages which must always arise from extensive knowledge and experience. I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, March 17, 1813. Decius. .

[ocr errors]

CHARACTER OF THE SPANISH TROOPS.
BY CAPTAIN T. H. cooper.

THE Spanish army bears strong marks of the weakness and defects of its government. A Spanish regiment, when drawn up in line with the troops of any other service, looks like an assemblage of beggars. These beggars are, nevertheless, the descendants of those men who once domineered over Europe, and conquered America. They might still return to what they originally were, if they had the same leaders. The Spaniards are, perhaps, indebted to their ignorance for having preserved their national character, in spite of their change of sovereigns and the corruption of their government. They have the same ground-work of elevation of mind, pride, and courage. As to military matters, the Spaniards are still as backward as in the year 1740. Military seience has remained stationary amongst them from that period; their manoeuvres and regulations are what those of others were sixty years ago. Their troops are neither disciplined nor instructed; their pay is very uncertain, and the maintenance and appearance of their soldiers detestable, with the exception of the Spanish and Walloon Guards. The Spanish are naturally slow and indolent, but capable of retaining and continuing to act upon any given impression. There are no troops more sober, more patient under hardships, and more submissive to their officers. The affection or attachment, however, which the latteracquire, does not proceed from the care they take of the soldiers; the officers are regardless of them, for the soldiers have little or nothing to do except with the Serjeant-Major; he is the person who directs the company. Their constancy and courage are the same as in the wars of Italy and Flanders, but disorder and negligence render these military qualifications useless. The Spanish soldier is driven into scenes of disorder and rapine by wretchedness and misery. At a siege they have, during the night, undone the trenches and the works that covered them, in order to steal the earth bags, and sell them for a few pence. The phlegmatic character of the Spaniards, which prevents their passions from being readily roused, keeps them, when once excited, in a longer state of duration. To see the dejected and rueful countenance of a Spanish regiment, as it marches silently into action, one would suppose it to be the effect of fear, when, in fact, it is nothing but the habitual disposition of the individuals. The people of several provinces in Spain are singularly proper for a war of stratagem, and for contests among mountains. The Miqueletti were famous in this species of warfare, and are still well calculated to make excellent regular troops or light infantry. Their cavalry was in great repute during the wars of Spain and Italy. Their horses and horsemen possess the same properties; their mien is superior to that of the infantry; but as military science has not made the same progress among them as in other nations, they are still inferior, on this head, to other cavalry. The kind of horses in use among them is rather that of the Dragoons and Hussars, than of the heavy horse; but activity and speed being the principal qualities of cavalry, the Spaniards are more susceptible of these qualities in their own country than elsewhere, because the change of climate, and difference of nourishment, affect their horses. As to the men, in general, they are as capable of serving in warm countries as in those of a more northern direction; while, on the other hand, the inhabitants of the north decay and perish in warm climates. The Spanish Cannoneers have as much address as those in other services, as well as an equal degree of coolness and firmness; but the listlessness and ignorance which pervade all parts of their administration, (although the Cannoneers may be as good in Spain as elsewhere,) prevent the corps of artillery and engineers from making any progress. The artillery is clumsy, heavy, and badly kept up. Few officers in the Spanish service occupy the situations they ought. The court, not having solid favours to bestow, gives military rank to those who are importunate, These imaginary promotions are full of inconveniences to real service. The regular promotion is very slow; and an officer, who has no interest at court, must expect to moulder away in subaltern situations. The Spanish army is capable of being brought to excellence sooner, and with more facility, than many others; because it possesses, within itself, courage, high points of honour, a spirit of subordination, and firmness in undergoing hardships: at present it is every where in a motorious state of inferiority, which is calculated to degrade and humble a nation at once brave, haughty, and, naturally fitted for war.

MILITARY ESSAY.

[Continued from page 271.]

THE GENERAL-IN-CHIEF OF THE STAFF.
BY A Field officer.

AS the fate of a campaign may, in a great measure, be decided by the ability or incapacity with which the duties of this General Officer are performed, it is assumed that besides profound knowledge of his profession, of tactics, and of men, he is possessed of activity and general talents. General Thiebault, in his work upon a Divisionary Etat-Major, remarks, that “there are few duties so little understood as those of the General-inChief of the Staff, although this Oificer is the very person who may have it in his power to be the most useful or injurious to the army."---He is responsible for all the operations of his deputies; by him all the reconnoissances the marches, and the forage are verified; by him all the orders of the Commander-in-Chief are signed; and his orders are considered as of equal value with those of the Commander-in-Chief. The principal duties of the Chief of the Staff may be classed under six distinct heads. The first relates to the general plan of the campaign, and to a perfect knowledge of the resources of the country which is the theatre of war. Under the second are embraced the camps and the positions to which the army might move; together with the most eligible places connected with those camps and positions, with the establishment of magazines. The third includes the subsistence and stores for the army, and an ample knowledge of the resources of the Commissary-General. The fourth relates to the Medical Department, and to the arrangements made by the Inspector-General of Hospitals for the care of the sick and wounded. - The fifth, to the disposition and movements of the divisions, troops, or detachments which compose the army, and to the orders of such dispositions and movements. The sixth, to the dispositions, movements, and force of the corps, which compose the enemy's army, as well as to a knowledge of the characters and talents of their Generals.

The Commander-in-Chief confides alone to the Chief of the Staff the general plan of the campaign, and he is instantly informed of all the events which might probably change it. He is supposed to be sufficiently acquainted with the theatre of war, and with the history of the campaigns which have been there carried on, to enable him to discuss the plans which he proposes to the Commander-in-Chief in the most detailed manner. He should fully comprehend and be able to take in at one view, the general plan of operations, and be capable of distinguishing with precision between great, but still surmountable difficulties, and absolute impossibilities.---Exclusive of a general knowledge of the country where operations are to be carried on, he should possess a more detailed one, to enable him to direct a levy of contributions, if necessary, and to have horses or mules, and carriages, provided. He ought to have a perfect knowledge of the principal camps and positions throughout the country, whether offensive or defensive; and his choice should be determined less by their local strength than by their connection with what relates to magazines for forage and provisions. This talent, which most proves the genius of a General, should be particularly distinguished in the Chief of the Staff: for let particular tactics be ever so perfect, no movement can possibly be combined or executed without a thorough knowledge of posts, positions, and country. The Chief of the Staff proposes the camp, or position, to the Commander-in-Chief, who decides, after having made a most accurate inspection of the advantages or inconveniences which might attend either. Unless a Chief of the Staff is possessed of all this necessary information, though partial advantages may be gained in the field, yet it is impossible to be completely successful. The Chief of the Staff instructs the Commissary-General in every thing relative to all the necessary supplies of the army: he arranges with him the marching of every species of convoy; the places where the magazines are to be established; and also the provinces from which provisions may be drawn. The Chief of the Staff might find it expedient to have magazines established where they might not possibly be wanted, from the intention of concealing an operation; for it may be sometimes necessary to deceive even the Commissary-General. He should likewise be furnished, at certain specified periods, with a state of the quantities of provisions and forage that are to be relied on; the proportion provided by the country; what part has been furnished by government; and finally, what part may be required from various distant sources, for all the supplies of the army. It should be the duty of the Chief of the Staff to hold a conference with the Inspector-General of Hospitals, the chief Staff Surgeon, and the Staff Physician, relative to the erection of hospitals; and he should be assured that nothing is wanting for their information, in the supply of stores, or in the article of medicine, surgical instruments, apothecaries' apparatus, and hospital utensils. Nothing should escape his vigilance. The InspectorGeneral should be required to select purveyors for the hospitals in the rear, of known humanity and integrity; otherwise the lives of many brave men may be sacrificed by negligence or rapacity. Directions are given by the Chief of the Staff, that the purveyors or contractors for hospitals, who provide cooks and clerks of the infirmaries, have registers kept of the sick, and assist in the visits made by the General Officers.

It further belongs to the Chief of the Staff to visit in person the hospitals of the army, at certain periods, in order to be assured that the necessary duties towards the sick and wounded are strictly performed. As the duties of the surgeons aud physicians of an army are at times highly laborious and extensive, they cannot be supposed to occupy themselves minutely with the subordinate details relating to attendance on the sick and wounded; yet such inspections being extremely necessary to the comfort and speedy recovery of those in hospital, the Chief of the Staff might reasonably think it expedient to direct that an officer from the sixth department of the General Etat-Major should be selected, to superintend those minor, yet essential details, and to report accordingly. The Chief of the Staff is supposed to be perfectly informed of the nature of the camps to which the army might find it necessary to march; and the moment he perceives that the enemy is enabled to act upon the flanks, or communications of the camp or position * occupied by the army, he prepares to abandon it as no longer tenable. He is also informed of the columns of march that should be opened, under various circumstances; together with the communications that should be kept up, to facilitate the operations. He has measures taken to get possession of those posts which cover a country abounding in provisions, in order to take advantage of them, as well as to prevent their being rendered available to the enemy. It is his duty to have tables formed of the different corps upon the frontiers, of those which arrive, and those occupying the various posts or places in the interior. Distinct columns should mark their route, their haltingplaces, and the exact time of their arrival at the army, or the different points to which they may be detached, that supplies might be every where provided. He should know how to calculate, with the greatest accuracy, the time required for a march, or movement of any kind, with a given number of troops; and he should be perfectly acquainted with the environs of the different camps or positions, to enable him to decide on the posts, which it might be necessary to occupy for their protection. He is to be prepared, at all times, to communicate to the Commanderin-Chief the position of the troops; the particular instructions given to the Generals of Divisions, or officers commanding detached corps, and also the

* There are two ways of forcing an enemy from a position---by ageneral attack, or by acting upon his flanks, his communications, or his line of operations, At the battle of Talavera the French attempted both ways. They failed in the first, by a most brilliant victory gained by the British army; but a corps of theirs moving towards one of the flanks of the army, rendered the position, after the battle, very critical.

In 1797, when the Duke of York assaulted the strongly-entrenched camp at Famar, near Bouchain, and completely routed the enemy's army, the scattered remains of which were collected, and withdrawn to the strong camp of Caesar, near Cambray, this position was certainly a good one, till the fall of Valenciennes, when the Duke was enabled to march a large body of cavalry, supported by horse artillery; and after forcing all the strong posts upon the Scheldt, turned the enemy's flank, and cut off his principal communications, reducing him to the necessity of fighting or retiring.

« 前へ次へ »