ページの画像
PDF
ePub

information collected by the second department of the General Etat-Major, relative to espionage; and the different accounts of the deserters and prisoners, together with the state of provisions and forage. . When the Quarter-Master-General has submitted his observations upon the nature of the camp or position that is to be occupied, the Chief of the Staff determines upon the disposition of the troops, that are to be encamped, and points out to the Quarter-Master-General where the different divisions of infantry and cavalry are to be placed; where the park of artillery is to be formed; where the Commissary's magazines are to be established; and where the hospitals should be situated. Any change, which might be made in the general disposition of the troops, should be instantly reported to him, and marked on the plan of the camp, or position, which is furnished by the Quarter-Master-General. The Chief of the Staff should be constantly occupied with informing himself of the strength of the enemy's army, and the description of troops of which it is composed; the camps of positions it occupies; where his magazines are established; the sources from which they are supplied; together with the talents and characters of the principal officers of his army. Before a general engagement, the Chief of the Staff ascertains, first, the actual position of the enemy, its strong and weak points, how its flanks are covered, and the nature of the posts and country extending beyond those flanks: then the enemy's force, and the number of troops which may possibly be engaged; an exact knowledge of which must be so necessary to determine upon the general disposition of the army. He then instructs the Adjutant and Quarter-Master Generals as to the measures which are to be taken, should the battle terminate in victory; or if unfortunately in a defeat, the points of ralliement for the divisions, and those for the rendezvous of the moveable hospitals, baggage, and stores. As the strength of an army, upon a day of battle, not only consists in the most perfect distribution of the different parts which compose it, according to the nature of the ground, but also in the most advantageous movements of those different parts from the order of battle, the Chief of the Staff is to be perfectly prepared with the most intelligent Staff Officers to direct such movements. He issues the orders to the Generals of Divisions relative to the disposition of their brigades for the attack, or the ground that is to be occupied and maintained against the enemy. * During the engagement, his post is near the Commander-in-Chief, who should have foreseen and informed the Chief of the Staff of the probable event. If successful, he takes the necessary measures to render the victory as decisive as possible, by ordering out strong detachments, to prevent the enemy from rallying; not allowing him a moment to recover breath, but pursuing him, and, if possible, converting his retreat into a complete route, attempting also to cut off some of his corps; and, if thought expedient by the Commander-in-Chief, the principal part of the army is to be prepared to follow as rapidly as possible. Should, however, the necessity of a retreat be anticipated, he instantly orders the reserve depots which have been placed in the rear of the second line, and also the brigades of artillery, to retire, with the exception of those which may be necessary to cover the retreat. He then directs the select

corps or detachments to move to the several commanding points which were previously determined on. When such measures have been taken, he issues special orders that the utmost attention shall be paid to the wounded.

From this concise detail of the duties of this General Officer, how very necessary must it appear, that he should recommend, for the formation of his Staff, the most active, intelligent, and zealous officers he can find !

He should establish a regular system for all his deputies, which ought to be adhered to most inviolably. All his arrangements should be formed with the greatest method, and his orders should be concise, clear, and simple.

As the Adjutant and Quarter-Master Generals may be considered as the deputies of the Chief of the Staff, they relieve him of that multiplicity of business, which at first appears above the intellect of any one individual : but how much more unreasonable, to expect that all those duties should be performed by a Commander-in-Chief, who ought to be occupied with the more important matters!

In the course of all the fortunate or unfortunate events of a campaign, and under every circumstance a Commander-in-Chief may find himself, an efficient Chief of the Staff should have expedients and resources to surmount all possible difficulties.

What a support must an officer, of the description here given, prove to a Commander-in-Chief, who, instead of having his mind harassed, and his attention divided, by all the minute details of an army, is alone occupied with his general plan, and has but to direct the movements for its execution.

Correspondence from the Theatre of War in the Peninsula.

(Continued from page 272.] Portugal, 10th April, 1813.—THE time of year generally allotted to the re-establishment of military discipline being arrived, (the spring months) we are beginning to break up. The Marquis has issued his orders and directions for the practice of the manquvres he judges to be most essential.-In pursuance to this order we are all at work.-The Noble Lord having furnished the general outline, leaves it to the Generals of Divisions to enforce the execution of the orders, according to their own discretion: that produces particular opinions, which are given as guides to the Generals of Brigades. These gentlemen bave all something left to the guidance of their own judgment, which is issued to the Commanders of Regiments and Corps, to whom falls the most material part of the whole, the immediate drill of their battalions ; for if the component parts of a brigade are perfect, the brigade is perfect; and if brigades are perfect, the division is perfect: the incompetency therefore of any one battalion disfigures the whole machine, as does the unsteadiness of one man destroy the appearance of a battalion. It therefore falls upon a certain number of officers to advance the machine progressively towards its perfection. Now as the Lieutenant-General of Division gives his directions for the practice of the whole, very much depends on his temper and judgment; how far lie considers the state of health of the men, and to what extent he admits that consideration to interfere with or impede the discipline of the corps : the lives, therefore, and health of the men of a division, is now left to the discretion and judgment of the Lieutenant-General of the division, as far as what relates to him as Commander of the division. Such power I believe, generally, to be delegated to very safe hands perhaps there may be instances where it might be more advantageously placed, for prudence, judgment, temper, and information are not the certain attendant attributes of runk: how cautiously, therefore, should a Commander select the persons on whom his power, his capability, his chance of success depends. I will suppose a young, violent, ignorant, hot-beaded, inexperienced officer is entrusted with the controul of a division ; must it not be expected that every misfortune will follow; that instead of meeting such a body in the field the Commander-in-Chief, from the strength of numbers, had every right to tell upon, be finds a miserable division, incompetent brigades, weak battalions, officers disgusted, and hospitals crowded. This imbecility, this incompetency, this ignorance, violence, rashness, and inexperience, may also be found in Brigade Generals, as well as officers commanding battalions, particularly among those who have recently arrived in the Peninsula': unaware of the mode of conducting troops, occasioned by the heat of climate, and other causes, they often are red-hot martinets, and lose both temper and character, because they, considering themselves all-sufficient, overlook the causes that necessarily occasion certain relaxations, and deviations from Dundas. To what cause are we to attribute the astonishing diminution of numbers that appeared in certain battalions very soon after their landing at Lisbon ? Was it sudden change of climate ? Certainly not in respect to one regiment that landed 1300 men from Gibraltar; again similar distress did not result to all the regiments that came from Great-Britain: it seemed more from the effect of bad management-the enormous weight a soldier is obliged to march under the long, repeated, and distressing marches made to get them to the army, so harass the men, that under those circumstances it has been frequently ascertained more than one-third, generally half, and often two-thirds of the original numbers, are left behind on the road. It requires very cautious attention, and progressive practice to fit a young soldier to undergo the fatigues of a long march, the heat of climate, and bearing sixty pounds weight, at the least, on his shoulders : that men can be brought to do this is sufficiently proved; but all depends on the mode adopted. At this moment the army is recovering its strength and vigour, but as the weather advances in heat, great care must be taken that in the practice of field-exercises too much is not required from men lately recovered from diseases: great care must be taken to prevent the mania of drill from undoing all that the medical officers have effected; unfortunately, mounted officers, exempt from the inconvenience of labouring under heary barthens-from the fatigues of pedestrian exertion in intense heat, do not enter into the distresses of the men ; and either to evince their zeal, their service, activity, or for their own particular amusement, keep driving on with field exercise, heedlessly incautious of the mischief they are doing, until the melancholy state of hospitals miserably proves their indiscretion-until the pallid countenances and debilitated bodies of their men point out their rash, inconsiderate, and reprehensible conduct. Medical men are certainly the most competent judges of the constitution, strength, and power of the soldier; and it is the bounden duty of all officers to consult and respect their opinions. It will hardly be credited what the soldier undergoes and effects in this country__successive marches of fifteen or twenty miles under a scorching sun, carrying nearer seventy than forty pounds weight on his shoulders, and this done patiently, but good-humouredly : parched with thirst, choaked and begrimed with sweat and dust, still the noble fellow perseveres, and perhaps when at the close of a heavy, tedious march, his spirits are at once renovated, his exhausted strength is invigorated, if there is a prospect of engaging the enemy-every distress slumbers in the hope of glorious achievement.-How incumbent is it then for officers who witness such gallant conduct-how imperative is it their duty to mitigate their sufferings--to promote their interests--to shield them from unnecessary distresses to consult and increase their comforts--to watch over them in sickness, and to guard their health Let this be the practice, and our Noble Chief will find an army ready to execute his plans, gain laurels for themselves, and heap honours on his head.

25th May, 1813.- THE 1st, 3d, 4th, 6th, and 7th divisions are encamped with their right on Miranda-de-Douro.Sir Thomas Graham is at Miranda.Lord Wellington and General Hill's divisions at Salamanca.-Sir Thomas Graham inspected üs yesterday evening, and we are to advance on the 27th. There are very few Frenchmen in the troops of uur enemy; and I therefore think that we shall issue a proclamation to the Germans and Dutch, offering to send them home, which might be very beneficial. It is evident, from the depots and hospitals being established on the frontiers of Portugal, Lord Wellington has no expectation of again retiring on that country.-We are most comfortably tented, and have plenty of provisions. Various are the reports respecting the amount of the enemy's force. Ours is 60,000; and I am convinced the Marquis would not divide his army on the Douro if the enemy were in very great strength.

Extracts from Army Regulations, General Orders,

and Courts-Martial.

(Continued from p. 272.]

Abstract of a Bill for the more speedy and effectual Trial and

Punishment of Offences committed by Soldiers detached in the Peninsula of Spain and Portugal. WHEREAS, owing to the frequent change of place of Armies serving in the Peninsula of Spain and Portugal, and to other circumstances, great delay and difficulty frequently occur in proceeding to trial and punisbment for acts of violence and plunder committed against the persons and property of the inhabitants and residents of such countries, which encourage the commission of such crimes; and it would tend to the prevention of such offences, and the enforcing due discipline, order, and good conduct, it grcater facility should be given to the bringing to trial immediately and on the spot, any persons belonging to such armies who nray be accused or suspected of plunder, robbery, house-breaking, or the 'malicious burning or destroying of houses, out-houses, or other buildings, murder, rape, or any act of violence, stealing, or any other crime or crimes, offence or offences.

Clause 1. Empowers Commanding Officers to assemble Courts Martial for trying Offenders in certain cases.

2. Courts-Martial so assembled, may try and punish Offenders. .

3. Officers commanding Stations may, on complaints made to them, assemble Courts-Martial; but that no Sentence shall be executed under the authority of this Act, until the General commanding in chief shall have approved and confirmed the same.

4. Empowers Courts-Martial to summon and examine Witnesses, who shall be liable to be punished for perjury; and that Sentences under the authority of this Act, shall, after such approval and confirmation, be valid.

REDUCTION OF VOLUNTEER CORPS. (CIRCULAR.)-Whitehall, 17th March, 1813.-My Lord, I HAVE it in command from the Prince Regent, to acquaint your Lordship, that, as the establishment of the Local Militià precludes the necessity of continuing, under present circumstances, the services of the greater part of the volunteer infantry of Great Britain, and consequently the propriety of subjecting the country to the expence of further maintaining the whole of this force; His Royal Highness deems it expedient that the volunteer infantry of the county of Essex, should, after the 24th instant, be released from their military engagements.

It is with the utmost satisfaction that I discharge the additional duty, which the commands of the Prince Regent have imposed upon me on this occasion, of requesting that your Lordship will convey to the commanding officers of the several volunteer corps of infantry in the county of Essex, and through them, to all the commissioned and noncommissioned officers and privates of the corps, those assurances of the high sense entertained by His Royal Highness, of the loyalty and patriotism which they have so zealously and constantly manifested in the cause and service of their country, and by which they have established a just claim to its lasting remembrance and gratitude.—I have the honour to be, &c. Sid Mouth.

His Majesty's Lieutenant of the County of

Head-quarters, Freynada, March 14, 1813–The various Orders which have been issued at different times by the Commander of the Forces, to prevent the misconduct and outrages committed by the soldiers of the army, on their marches through the country, have been generally occasioned, immediately by some disaster that had occurred, and by the fall of one or more soldiers, in contests with the inhabitants, for the protection of that property of which the soldiers were desirous of depriving them.

“The Commander of the Forces, therefore, trusted that his repeated Orders on this subject would have been obeyed, and particularly as they contain directions for the adoption of a line of conduct applicable to every case that can occur, which, if adopted, must prove a remedy for the evil, and must prevent the outrages complained of, and their consequent misfortunes.

“Ensign Ross, of the 92d, was brought before a Court Martial for neglect of those orders; and for which crime the General Court Martial, of which the Hon. Colonel O'Callaghan is President, have sentenced that he should be reprimanded; and he is hereby reprimanded accordingly.

“The Commander of the Forces trusts, however, that the Officers of the Army will consider the object of the Orders, the neglect of which is now under consideration, and will find motives for attending to them, in their desire to save the lives of their men, which might be wanting in the example before them, in the consequences of a neglect of those Orders.”

GAZETTES,

Military Dispatches, Promotions, &c. in the Army. (Regularly continued from page 293.)

The LONDON GAZETTE.---Published by Authority.
From SATURDAY, April 17, to Tuesday, April 20, 1813.

JP'ar-Office, April 20, 1813. 1st Regiment of Dragoon Guards—George Quicke, Gent, to be Cornet, by purchase, vice Brooke, promoted. Commission dated April 15, 1813. 6th do.—William Stewart, Gent. to be Cornet, by purchase, vice Hay, promoted. Dated April 15, 1813. 18th Regiment of Light Dragoons—Cornet Robert Curtis to be Lieutenant, without purchase. Dated April 15, 1813. 19th do.—Lieutenant Colin Anderson to be Captain of a Troop, by purchase, vice Bacon, who retires. Dated April 15, 1813.-Cornet John Hammersley to be Lieutenant, by purchase, vice Anderson. Dated April 15, 1813. Staff Corps of Cavalry—Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel George Scovell, from the 57th Foot, to be Major-Commandant. Dated April 15, 1813.-Lieutenant Lewis

« 前へ次へ »