Henry Wager Halleck.

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 online

. (page 1 of 35)
Online LibraryHenry Wager HalleckElements 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 → online text (page 1 of 35)
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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., ¬І1. 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

Online LibraryHenry Wager HalleckElements 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 → online text (page 1 of 35)