Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont.

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side with forts and redoubts. The Treaty of 1814 caused her ouce more to pass under
the dominion of Austria.

Her port is the most considerable of the Austrian monarchy, and the seat of all
her navy; many new outworks, both upon the lagune islands and in its villages on
the mainland, have rendered it a fortress of the first class.

7. Turin, on the left hank of the Po, defended by a citadel, the only relic of its
former fortifications: has an arsenal, military school, etc., and one hundred and
fifteen thousand inhabitants. Taken by d'Harcourt in 1640; besieged in 1706 by the
French; besieged and taken from the French by the Russians in 1799; retaken by
the former in 1800, and retained by them until 1814.

8. Prince Eugene of Savoy, celebrated in the contests with Louis XIV of
France; born in 1663, at Paris; died at Vienna April 27, 1736, in the service of

Served in Hungary in 1683; 1691 delivered Coni, took Carmagnole; 1697 com-
manded the Imperial army ; defeated the Turks at Zentha; in War of Succession
marched into Italy with thirty thousand men; surprised Corpi, swept the Adige,
and beats Marshal Villeroy at Chiari ; 1702 surprises Cremona, but fails : defeated
by the Duke of Vendôme at Santa Vittoria and Luzzara; defeated in 1704 by the
French at Ilochstedt; defeated in 1705, in Lombardy. at Cassano, by the Puke of
Vendôme; relieves Turin in 1706: gained the Battle of Suae in 1707; wins the Battle
of Malplaquet, September 10, 1709, against Marshals De Villars and De Boufflei :
1712. takes Douai; beaten by Villars at Denain, in 1710; in 1717 he fought and
gained the Ball le of Belgrade against the Turks; in 1733 lost Philipsbourg.

9. Denain, a town on the river Scheldt.

10. Marshal Villars, born in 1653 at Lyons, others say at Moulins de Pierre;
died at Turin in 1734. Aide-de-camp to Marshal Bellefons; 1702, beats the Austrians
at Freilingen; takes Kehl in 1703, and gains the Battle of Ilochstedt; conquers the
fanatics of Languedoc in 1704; 1707, breaks the lines of Stollhofen ; dangerously
wounded at Malplaquet ; captures Denain, Marchieunes, Douai, Bouehain, Landau,
Fribourg, etc.; commands in Italy in 1733; took 1'isighitone, Milan, Novarra, Tor-
tona; marshal-general of the French armies.

11. The City of Paris is divided by the river Seine into two portions, besides
the islands. The southern portion is the less considerable and the most elevated ;
it forms a semicircle, of which the Seine is the diameter. It is protected on the
east by the river, gradually disappears to the south on a wide plateau, which, by its
blending with the plains of Beance, leaves the city on this side without defence;
on the west it may be turned by Saint-Denis, Argeriteuil, Saint-Germain, and Ver-
sailles. The northern portion is the larger and the more strategically important ;


liko the other, it forms a semicircle, of which the river is the diameter. It is cover-
ed on the west by the Seine from Sèvres to Saint-Denis; on the east by the Marne
from Saint-Mam to Lagny; and, lastly, on the north by a line of heights separating
the waters which fall into the Seine, near Saint-Denis, from those which How into it
or into the Marne between Saint-Clond and Lagny. This aeries of rising grounds, of
little elevation, at first runs along the Maine in undulating hills; it then sinks
down into a plain between between Rosny and Montreuil; rises again in the plateau
of Belleville; is lost in the plain of Saint-Denis; ascends into the high, steep, isolat-
ed mound forming tho Montmartre; again sinks into the plain of Batignolles; and
terminates in the gentle hills of Chaillot and of Passy, which border the Seine, and
at last disappears in the Bois de Boulogne.

Such is the whole amount of what nature has provided for the defence of tho
metropolis of modern civilization; and yet, however inconsiderable these series of
heights may at first sight appear, they offer some military positions— as : 1. To the
north-east, the plateau de Belleville, about 460 feet high, and in extent from 328 to
1,040 yards; it is broken by hollows, and covered with woods, houses, and gardens,
and forms a steep acclivity close to the very walls of Paris, by the mound of Chau-
mont, 377 feet high ; Bagnolet and Charonne cover the débouches to the east, Ro-
niainville to the north, Pantin and Prés Saint-Gérvais to tho west, where it is far-
ther protected by the canal of the Ourcq. 2. To the north-west the hill of Mont-
martre. 427 feet high and 1,100 yards in extent, which looks down upon the walls of
Paris, and is steep on all sides except that toward the city, where the slope is
more gentle ; on tho east and west sides the quarries that have been hollowed out
of it render it inaccessible, and on tho north the village makes it a true redoubt.
It is so strong a position that, protected by artillery, it could never be taken but by
surprise. The heights of Montmartre and of Belleville are separated by the great
depression of the plain of Saint-Denis, an extensive and fertile field without undu-
lations, or trees, or houses, and which is covered on the west by the Seine, on
the east by the canal of Saint-Denis, a derivation from the canal of the Ourcq, and
which enters the Seine close to Saint-Denis, to tho south of which it passes. The
pli i eau of Belleville, the hill of Montmartre, and the plain of Saint-Denis are
thus the military positions which defend Paris on the east and north. Their impor-
tance was understood in 1814 by the Allies, who directed all their efforts against
these three points, and here that battle was fought which delivered up the capital of
France to the confederated armies of Europe. A similar disaster is no longer to be
apprehended; the focus of the greatest revolution which has ever happened in the
world is now secured from the attacks of feudal Europe,
Paris is fortified :

1. My a continuous rampart embracing both banks of the Seine, bastioned, and
having an escarpment of masonry of thirty-three feel high; this enoeùlfe encloses th«

Lot suburbs of Paris, and extends, on the right bank, beyond Bercy, Charonne,
Batignolles, Ternes, Passy, Autrui], and Point-dnJour; OD the left bank it is car-
ried beyond 7a*gjrard, Petit4fantroage, PetH-Gentilly, and Haison-Blanche.

2. By outworks that sure casemated, and of which the principal are the forts of
Charenton, Nogent, Etotny, Noisy, ELomalnrille, tl • n the banals of the
Ourcq and of Beint-Denis, and the fortifications "f Baint-Denis Itself, upon the right
bank; the forta of Blont-Valerj atrouge, B [Try, on
the left bank.

in the blase of oontinu d as of

Paris entirely. Nor did the period of hie reversée, from 1M2— 1S14, lead him to
protect the capital nf his empire H» BSTSf dreamed thai FtSAM "uld



ever become, as long as he wielded the power of his legions, the scone of war and de-
vastation. When, finally, in the latter part of the year 1813, his situation became
imminently critical, he turned his attention to the capital, but it was too late
Had Paris of 1814 been the Paris of 1864 it would have never been taken.

In the Confederate States we have no such central point as Paris is to France.
Richmond, it is true, has become of great importance, no less in a political than in
a military point of view, but it neither contains the whole military resources of the
Confederacy, nor would its loss dispirit our people as that of Paris did the French
in 1S14; but Richmond is so far of the utmost importance, that if the casualties of
war would wrench it from our grasp, wo hare not a single fortified point within
the Confederacy where we could fall back upon, reorganize, and concentrate at
leisure, before an enterprising enemy flushed with success.

It appears, then, to be a matter of the greatest urgency that we should establish
one or more large entrenched camps where, beforehand, we should concentrât o
provisions and material of war enough to sustain an army of one hundred thousand
men, with fortifications ready, and a haven of refuge at hand, when a day of reverses

There are several very strong and strategically important points both in South
Carolina and Georgia, which would make admirable large entrenched camps.

These entrenched camps could servo another useful purpose. The recruits from
several states might be concentrated there and instructed en masse ; the most
important military workshops, etc., could be there united, etc.

12. Siege. — Major-General Twemlow says :

u When the siege of a fortress or strong position is determined on, the first point
to be ascertained is the time in which it should be taken; the second, the force
requisite to effect the object ; the third, the reserves requisite to replace casualties
and supplies of all kinds ; the fourth, the strength of the covering army to prevent
reliefs and reinforcements.

"As regards the first and second points, time and force, they ought to admit of
calculation; if means adequate are not available, the siege should not bo un i> r-
taken ; the law of nations should forbid it, in the same manner as a blockade, with-
out a sufficient force to exact it, would not be legal. On the third point, it is clear
that, without resources of men, ammunition, stores, food, and requisites of every
description, the effective prosecution of a siege is impracticable. And, fourthly, we
have the recent example of Mooltan, that a strong place in an enemy's country
can not be invested without a covering army preponderant in the field.

13. Time Of Reducing Fortresses. — The expense and duration of resist-
ance of a front of fortification of e.vch of the systems, is as follows :

System. Probable expense. Duration of resistance.

Vaubaus first system $200,000 . 19 days.

" second and third 400,000 29 "

Cormontaigne 300,000 30 "

Coehorn 250,000 21 "

Bousmard and Chasseloup 1,000,000 34 "

Montalembert 1,500,000 80 "

Carnot 500,000 18 "

Mr. Ferguson's from 40,000 without casemates,

To 300,000 with them.


14. Some Practical Matters. — Bursting open Gates.— The simplest meth-
od is to suspend a bag of gunpowder, containing fifty to sixty pounds, near the
middle of the gate, upon a nail or gimlet, having a small piece of port-fire or Bick-
ford's fuse inserted in tho bottom. Leathern bags are best for this purpose, but
sand bags filled with powder, propped up and ignited, will demolish almost any
gate or barrier.

If, instead of being suspended, the powder should be placed at the bottom of
the gate, any spare time might be advantageously employed in heaping rubbish,
stones, or any other available heavy material, over it, as completely as time and
circumstances may admit.

Hurdles were much used by the ancients in their field-works, and are still
occasionally found serviceable for revetting, or for laying on wet ground alternate-
ly with beds of fascines. Layers of hurdles, covered with heath and ballast, were
extensively used by Stephenson in tho substructure of the Liverpool and Man-
chester railroad where it crosses the Chat Moss. In the trenches at Antwerp,
deluged with incessant rain, the French laid doublo tiers of fascines, and over
these a layer of strong hurdles, for the passage of artillery.

Hurdles for portability may be made six feet long by two feet nine inches broad,
weighing about fifty pounds when dry.

Revetments may be made by hurdle-work, by driving stout sticks along the face
of the slope to be revetted to a depth of about two feet in the ground at its base.
Branches are then woven in and out between these stakes, and vertical binders
applied, when the wattling is completed. Similar wattle-work is employed in
Flanders for revetting the submerged escarps of wet ditches.

Gabions. — Up to the year 1853 they were made of wicker-work, but in that year
it was proposed to make them of plain sheet-iron, when they were only required
for a temporary purpose, and of galvanized iron when required for permanent
use. They have since been made of various shapes and in various ways. At
Sebastopol, where there was a great want of them, the hay-bands were randed. as
It is called, round upright pickets, and they were used with good effect.

Moro recently a gabion was prepared by Sergeant-Major J. Jones, of the English
Royal Engineers, constructed with wrought-iron bands and twelve upright pick-
ets, which having been most favorably reported on by the Royal Engineer Perma-
nent Oommittee at Chatham, and the Ordnance Select Committee, Sir John
Burgoyne, I.G.F., in October, 1860, gtrve directions for the invention to be
adopted generally in the service, and included in the list of stores to accompany
armies in the field. The new gabion is formed of bauds of common or galvanized
sheet-iron, known as twenty-inch gauge, three and a half inches in width, fixed on
wooden pickets. The advantage it possesses over the old kind of wicker gabion,
hitherto in use by the royal engineers in the construction of their earth-works
and defences, are of the most striking character. The old description of gabion
occupies three men three hours in Baking; whureas, on a recent occasion, in the
presence of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge and staff, two sapperH
made one of the iron gabions in four and a half minutes. From experiments
made, it has been ascertained that one hundred men can inake five thousand four
hundred of these iron band gabions in nine hours: while the same number of
men in the same time would only make one hundred wicker ones. The chief
merits il Major Jones' gabions are that they are more pu table, inas-

much a» one hundred of his gabions require less room for stowage than six of the
wicker onos: and they are much lighter, eaefa weighing about twenty-nine pounds,
or thirty-one pounds less than the old kind ; they are much cheaper, costing com-


plete 5s. Id. each, or Is. Id. less than the preseut description ; more simple in their
construction, and more durable. Being of iron, they are. of course, incombustible;
and the bands are applicable to the construction of flying suspension-bridges,
hospital beds, ambulance litters, stabling and hutting for cavalry and infantry
troops on active service .

Mantlets. — Captain Tyler, English Royal Engineers, in an admirable lecture,
delivered on the 16th of April, 1858, before the Council of the United Service
Institution, recommends the use of mantlets in sapping operations. " This
method would," he says, "hare the great advantage of enabling the workmen to
place several gabions at a time instead of one only : of enabling them to work in
larger numbers and in greater security; aud, what is more important than all, of
enabling them to carry the trench forward with much greater rapidity. These
mantlets need not be very portable, nor need they be capable of being moved
rapidly ; all that is necessary is that they should be musket-proof, about six feet
high by two feet five inches broad ; should be placed on wheels, and should be
movable slowly in any desired direction, each by one man. They ought also to
be furnished each with a couple of loop-holes for the purpose of observation, »s
well as to enable its occupant to fire, when necessary, toward his front, without
exposing himself."

A writer in Blackwood's Magazine, December, 1859, in giving an account of the
bloody and disastrous fight in the Peiho river, June 25, 1859, alludes to a striking
innovation in Chinese warfare, by an ingenious aud successful application of
mantlets in the defence of the Takeu forts, and adds :

" These mantlets would be quite worthy of imitation in our own fortifications,
and the cleverness with which they are worked deserves all praise. Ilad they
been fitted to the upper port or embrasure-sill, any accident to the lanyard would
have caused them to fall down and block up the gun-port, so that they would have
to be blown away to enable the gun to work ; but placed as they were, by attach-
ing the lanyards to the gun-carriage, as the piece recoiled it closed its own mant-
let, and if the lines were shot away the mantlet merely fell down, and left the
gun to fight in an ordinal embrasure.

" They were of stout wood, covered externally with a wattling of rattans, so as to
be rifle-proof. The mantlet worked on hinges, or rollers, fitted to the outer and
lower edge of the embrasures, and was triced up and lowered down by means of
lines leading upward through the parapet on each side of the gun. When closed
up, the casemated embrasures were not easily detected in the smoke of action, and
the gun was loaded and laid point-blank before being run out. Directly all was
ready, down went the mantlet, out ran the gun. a shot was fired into the mass of
vessels, and as the gun recoiled the mantlet went up again with such expedition
that our men required sharp eyes to detect which of the enemy's embrasures was
firing, and ought next to be silenced."

Parallels. — The distance of the first parallel varies according to the range of
grape and musketry. At Sobastopol the first parallel was constructed at three
times the usual distance from the works, namely, 1,800 yards.

Screens of Cloth or CARTAS. — "Screens might bo so useful on many occasions of
both attack and defence" of fortresses. " that it is surprising they havo not been
oftener employed." Sir J. Jones mentions somewhere, that "At Badajos the
British engineers extended a canvas screen to cover an unfinished boyeau; and
the French, mistaking it for an earthen parapet, suffered tho excavation to be
completed without molestation. Similar screens were used at Gibraltar," during
the siege in 1781, " to mask a thorough repair of the batteries overlooking the


neutral ground. They are reoammended also by Albert Durer and Maggi, in tbeir
treatises on fortification."

The paragraph above, marked with inverted commas, is an extract from Lieut.
Yule's work on Fortification, published in 1851. Albert Durer, to whose treatise
it refers, and who recommends the use of screens, published a book on fortification
in the year 1527 ; and Maggi's writings on the same subject were printed in the
sixteenth century. So that the application of such a mode of shelter or conceal-
ment in the attack or defence of fortresses is known to bo of early date. Yet, on
one occasion, a reference to its utility being made in an assemblage chiefly com-
posed of naval and military officers, seems to have excited a little merriment.

Mr. Ferguson, in his " Portsmouth Protected," says : « One of the objections
made to my system was, that it would be easy to place a few riflemen in pits or in
the nearest parallel, and that they could easily keep down the fire of the place by
killing any man who ventured to approach the guns. There did not appear to me
any difficulty in avoiding this danger, and, consequently, when the discussion at
the Royal United Service Institution came on, I took with me a few yards of
baize, with two or three iron rods, and showed how I would propose to stick them
along the crest of Ihe parapet, and to hook on the green baize, letting it drop
down across the embrasures in front of the guns. The baize was full of slits,
through which the besieged could see or fire without the possibility of their being
seen by the besiegers. This unorthodox expedient was received with 'great
laughter,' aud afforded an excellent opportunity for criticism during the following
three nights. When we entered Sebastopol we found curtains of rope hung up,
exactly as I proposed, across the embrasure, and rope wound round the guns so as to
stop the hole in the curtain through which the gun was fired. This rope-cloth, if
I may so call it, was rifle-bullet proof, and would probably stop grape, while round
shot would pass through without doing it much injury. There can be no doubt
that the maintenance of the fire till so late a period was mainly owing to this expe-
dient. The question is, whether was the Russian expedient or mine the best?
Theirs was expensive and cumbersome, difficult to apply in all circumstances, and
If once damaged not easy to repair; mine was light and cheap, available every-
where, and replaced in a moment if knocked over. It is true it would not stop a
ball ; but blind fire from rifles is a very innocent amusement, and as the parties fired
at were invi«ible there was but little to fear from this cau&e. Experience only can
decide which modification was the best, but with all due deference to the Russian?,
I am inclined to think the lighter mode will be found most generally applicable."
On the occasion of the English asiault of the works on the Peiho, the embra-
sures and guns of the Chinese batteries were effectually screened by mantlets and
matting from tbe observation of the attacking gunboats, until the opening of a
well-directed and most destructive fire disclosed them.

Captain Tyler, English Royal Engineers, reviving the subject of screens or cur-
tains, in a lecture at the Royal United Service Institution in April, 1858, a-.-;
" It is evident that mere screens of canvas, or other suitable material, would be of
greal ate 111 temporarily obstructing the view of the besieged, and hiding from
them the movements and projects of the besiegers for a sufficient time to enabl-
the latter to throw up parapets of a more permanent Datura. <uch temporary
screens might be made to cover a cojim.I. «able spare, very much greater than that
required for the operations of the besiegers, and, like false attacks, they might be
erected for the purpose of misleading the garrison, in places where they would
serve no other object."





Its true base the legitimacy of consumption — Confusion under Directory — One
hundred and fifty thousand men not existing — Corps should provide for them-
selves — Responsibility of chiefs — Messes of economy — Their importance.

Men congregated in bodies have wants ; the talent to satisfy them
with order, economy, and intelligence, forms the science of administra-

The basis of a good administration is the care bestowed upon the
economy and lawfulness of the consumption of ariny stores of all kinds.
Wherever inspections are thorough, and where the effective and the pres-
ent for duty are stated precisely and frequently, we find the elements of
order; because great abuses less often consist in an increased cost of
consumed articles, than in consumptions wbich have not taken place,
and which are yet charged for.

In the times of the Directory, the French military administration
was in a great state of confusion, and the First Consul hastened, upon
his accession to power, to create a new corps, charged with inspections,
to establish order.

He gave to this corps an exalted position, which was justified by great
zeal on its part. At the expiration of six months more than one hun-
dred and fifty thousand men who did not exist, but for the greater num-
ber of whom provisions, pay, and clothing were issued, were struck from
the rolls.

The administrative system varies with the countries ; all are suscep-
tible of good results, when the effective and the present underarms are
precisely stated. I will only observe that (in my opinion, at least)
great advantages are derived from giving to troops the liberty of sup-
plying themselves as much as possible. Since the efficiency of troops
always depends upon a good administration, chiefs of corps should not
only be responsible to a great extent, but should also be invested with
great powers ; their operations should be watched, but they ought to
have the direction. If soldiers know that their commander is charged
alone with the responsibility, their zeal will be better guaranteed. Colo-
nels who transgress must be exemplarily punished, but the glory of suc-
cess should alone belong to them.

The formation of economical messes in corps has been forbidden in
France, and a profound error thereby been committed. The congrega-
tion of soldiers in messes has always its advantages, and the skilful
and intelligent chief of a corps can and must always insist upon econo-
my, without depriving his soldiers of the enjoyment of any of their


rights. If they are proscribed, they will not the less be formed ; and
not being openly avowed, the continued formation of them bears a cul-
pable and mysterious character. If, on the contrary, they are not only
authorized, but even ordered, and left to the disposition of the chief of
corps to institute them to the advantage of the regiment, in accidental

Online LibraryAuguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de MarmontThe spirit of military institutions → online text (page 12 of 33)