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 35 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 35 of 35)
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works in the hands of a brave and skillful garrison are susceptible of a
longer defence than was generally supposed. They were attacked as
field works never were before, and were defended as field works never
had been defended. The main difference between properly constructed
permanent fortifications (intended to resist a siege) and temporary
works, is that the latter seldom present an insuperable obstacle against
assault, while the former always do. In addition, permanent works
have a better command over the adjacent country, and are more carefully
and perfectly planned. The masonry walls, which render an assault
impossible, cannot be seen from the distance, and can be destroyed
only by establishing batteries on the crest of the glacis, or the
edge of the ditch; the earthen parapet alone being visible beyond that
point, they may, until the besiegers arrive there, be regarded in the
same light as field works, with the difference that the garrison are not
harassed by the necessity of being constantly prepared to repel an

"Now, in the siege of Sebastopol, the trenches of the besiegers
never reached the edge of the ditch; so that, had the fortification been
a permanent one, the most difficult, slow, and dangerous part of the
siege remained to be undertaken, viz., the crowning of the covered
way, the establishment of the breach batteries, the descent and passage
of the ditch, and the assault of the breach; in other words, at the
moment when the weakness of the temporary works became apparent and
fatal, the true strength of the permanent defences would have commenced
coming into play."

"Assuming the progress of the attack to have been as rapid as it was
under existing circumstances, the besiegers, on the 8th of September,
would not yet have been in a condition to crown the covered way, the
siege would certainly have extended into the winter; and it may even
be doubted whether the place would eventually have fallen, until the
allies were in sufficient force to invest the north as well as the

General Neil remarks: -

"Struck by the length of the siege of Sebastopol, certain foreign
officers have expressed the opinion that masonry-revetted scarps are not
of incontestable utility in fortified places."

"Sebastopol, a vast retrenched camp, defended by field fortifications
of strong profile, derived its principal strength from an armament
such as could only exist in an extensive maritime arsenal, and from a
large army which always preserved its free communications with the
interior of Russia."

"If the enceinte had been provided with good revetted scarps;
if it had been necessary to breach these, and subsequently have been
compelled to penetrate through difficult passages, in rear of which the
heads of our columns would have met an army, Sebastopol would have
been an impregnable fortress."

"When we compare, in effect, the works of attack at Sebastopol
with those of an ordinary siege, we will see that on the 8th of
September, 1855, the day of the last assault, we had only executed,
after the greatest effort, the besieging works which precede the
crowning of the covered way; we had not then, as yet, entered upon that
period of the works of a siege which is the most difficult and the most
murderous; and there was no occasion to engage ourselves in them, since
the ditches and parapets of the enceinte were not insurmountable, as the
sequel has proved."

"The difficulty consisted in conquering the Russian army upon a
position prepared long beforehand for its defence, quite as much as in
surmounting the material obstacle of the fortification."

"Our places of arms being established at thirty metres from the
besieged works, we were able to choose our own time for action, and to
throw ourselves unexpectedly upon the enemy when the fire of our
artillery had forced him to shelter himself, up to the last minute,
behind his numerous blindages; to have gone further would have been
inviting the initiative in the attack on the part of the Russian army."

"The absence of scarp walls, which would have secured the place
from escalade, did not exercise a less influence upon the defence;
for the besieged were compelled to keep permanently at the gorges
of the works, strong reserves, in readiness to repulse the assault,
which they saw themselves menaced with from the commencement of
the siege."

"Finally, it can be remarked, that these reserves, which were decimated
night and day by the concentric fire of our batteries, were able
to issue out from the enceinte through wide debouches, without having
to pass through the narrow defiles which are formed by the drawbridges
of revetted places; they were, then, a permanent threat for the
besiegers, who were exposed to seeing their trenches unexpectedly
invaded by the greater part of the Russian army."

"Neither side, consequently, was in a position analogous to that
which is presented in the siege of a fortified place, protected from
insult by good masonry scarps.'" (Note to page 443.)

And again, page 423, the same authority remarks:

"Now, it (the Russian army) is no longer able to escape from the
concentric fires of our batteries; for, _not being protected by masonry
scarps_, it is obliged constantly to keep united strong reserves, in
order to repulse the assault with which it is at every instant menaced'"


With regard to the subjects discussed in this chapter it will, perhaps,
be sufficient to remark that the Mexican war incontestably proved the
value of the West Point Military Academy; for the superior efficiency of
properly-educated officers over those who had been appointed from civil
life without any knowledge of the profession they were called upon to
practice, fully satisfied the country of the importance of that
institution, and even silenced the clamors of the few who refused to be

The recent abortive attempt to give efficiency to our navy by means of a
retired list, has, it is feared, destroyed for a time all hopes of
introducing this very necessary measure into our military service;
although it is very certain that without this we can never have our
system of promotion placed upon an effective and satisfactory basis,
which shall give efficiency to the army by rewarding merit, while it
prevents injustice by closing the avenues of political favoritism.

The Mexican war also most abundantly proved that our objections to the
system of military appointment were well founded, and it is hoped that
the more recent abuses of that system will call public attention to the
necessity of a change; for if military office continue to be conferred
for partisan services, it will soon destroy the integrity as well as the
efficiency of our army.


Figs. 1, 2, 3. - Used to illustrate the strategic relations of the armies
A and B.

Fig. 4. - Line of operations directed against the extremity of the
enemy's line of defence, as was done by Napoleon in the Marengo

Fig. 5. - Napoleon's plan of campaign in 1800, for the army of the Rhine,
and the army of reserve.

Fig. 6 shows the plan adopted by Napoleon in the campaign of 1800, to
preserve his communications.

Fig. 7 illustrates the same thing in the campaign of 1806.

Fig. 8. - Interior and central line of operations.

Fig. 9 represents a camp of a grand division of an army. The distance
from the front row of tents to the line of camp-guards should be from
350 to 400 feet; thence to the line of posts, from 150 to 200 feet;
thence to the line of sentinels, from 100 to 200 feet. In many cases,
the line of posts between the camp-guards and sentinels may be dispensed
with. The distance between battalions will be from 50 to 100 feet; and
the same between squadrons and batteries.

Fig. 10. - Details of encampment for a battalion of infantry. The width
of company streets will depend upon the strength of a company, and will
be so arranged that the front of the camp shall not exceed the length of
the battalion, when drawn up in line of battle. This width will be from
50 to 100 feet. The distance between the tents of each row will be 2 or
3 feet; the distance between the tents of one company and those of
another, from 4 to 6 feet.

Fig. 11 is the camp of a squadron of cavalry. A single company encamping
alone, would be arranged in the same way as an entire squadron. The
horses are picketed in two lines parallel to the tents, and at a
distance from them of about 12 feet. The forage is placed between the
tents. A squadron of two companies will occupy a front of about 180
feet. The fires, or company kitchens, should be 50 or 60 feet in rear of
the non-commissioned officers' tents.

Fig 12 is the camp of two batteries of foot artillery, or two companies
of foot engineers.

[The plan of encampment for artillery, as given in the "Instruction of
U.S. Field Artillery, horse and foot," may be employed where a single
battery encamps by itself, or where only the skeleton of companies is
maintained; but it will be found exceedingly inconvenient, where a full
battery, with a large train, encamps on the same line with other troops.
The plan we have given is that which is employed in most European

Fig. 13. - In this plan for mounted artillery and engineers, the fires
are so arranged as to expose the ammunition as little as possible to the
sparks from the kitchens.

Fig. 14. - Simple parallel order of battle.

15. - Parallel order, with a crochet on the flank.

16. - Parallel order, reinforced on a wing.

17. - Parallel order, reinforced on the centre.

18. - Simple oblique order.

19. - Oblique order, reinforced on the assailing wing.

20. - Perpendicular order.

21. - Concave order.

22. - Convex order.

23. - Order by echelon on a wing.

24. - Order by echelon on the centre.

25. - Combined order of attack.

26. - Formation of infantry by two deployed lines.

27, 28. - - Arrangements corresponding to depth of column.

29. - Formation by squares.

30. - Mixed formation of three battalions.

31. - Deep formation of heavy columns.

32. - Formation in columns by brigade.

33. - Formation of two brigades of cavalry, by the mixed system.

34. - Passage of the Sound by the British fleet, in 1807.

35. - Attack on Copenhagen.

36. - Attack on Algiers.

37. - Attack on San Juan d'Ulloa.

38. - Attack on St. Jean d'Acre.

39. - Plan of a regular bastioned front of a fortification.

40. - Section of do. do.

41. - Tenaillons.

Fig. 42. - Demi-tenaillons, with a bonnet.

43. - A horn-work.

44. - A crown-work.

45. - A redan.

46. - A lunette.

47. - A mitre or priest-cap.

48. - A bastioned fort.

49. - Vertical section of a field intrenchment.

50. - Simple sap.

51. - Flying sap.

52. - Full sap.

53. - Crater of a military mine.

54. - Plan of the attack of a regular bastioned work.













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 35 of 35)