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

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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 16 of 35)
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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

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 16 of 35)