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 7 of 35)
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lines of defence sufficiently strong to resist all attempts at invasion.
But again the want of co-operation on the part of the government at
Paris, and the treason of his own generals, forced his second
abdication. If he had retained the command of the army, and the nation
had seconded his efforts, the allies would never have reached Paris. But
the new government presented the disgraceful spectacle of opening the
way for the enemies of their country. "France," said Napoleon, "will
eternally reproach the ministry with having forced her whole people to
pass under the Caudine-forks, by ordering the disbanding of an army that
had for twenty-five years been its country's glory, _and by giving up to
our astonished enemies our still invincible fortresses_."

History fully supports Napoleon's opinion of the great danger of
penetrating far into a hostile country to attack the capital, even when
that capital is without fortifications. The fatal effects of such an
advance, without properly securing the means of retreat, is exemplified
by his own campaign of 1812, in Russia. If, after the fall of Smolensk,
he had fortified that place and Vitepsk, which by their position closed
the narrow passage comprised between the Dnieper and the Dwina, he might
in all probability, on the following spring, have been able to seize
upon Moscow and St. Petersburg. But leaving the hostile army of
Tschkokoff in his rear, he pushed on to Moscow, and when the
conflagration of that city cut off his hopes of winter quarters there,
and the premature rigor of the season destroyed the horses of his
artillery and provision-trains, retreat became impossible, and the awful
fate of his immense army was closed by scenes of horror to which there
is scarcely a parallel in history. This point might be still further
illustrated by the Russian campaign of Charles XII., in 1708-9, the
fatal advance of the French army on Lisbon, in the Peninsular war, and
other examples of the same character.

Even single works sometimes effect the object of lines of
fortifications, and frustrate the operations of an entire army. Thus,
Lille suspended for a whole year the operations of Prince Eugene and
Marlborough; the siege of Landrecies gave Villars an opportunity of
changing the fortunes of the war; Pavia, in 1525, lost France her
monarch, the flower of her nobility, and her Italian conquests; Metz, in
1552, arrested the entire power of Charles V., and saved France from
destruction; Prague, in 1757, brought the greatest warrior of his age to
the brink of ruin; St. Jean d'Acre, in 1799, stopped the successful
career of Napoleon; Burgos, in 1812, saved the beaten army of Portugal,
enabled them to collect their scattered forces, and regain the
ascendancy; Strasburg has often been, the bulwark of the French against
Germany, saving France from invasion, and perhaps subjugation.

In nearly the language of Napoleon, (Memoirs, vol. IX.,) If Vienna had
been fortified in 1805, the battle of Ulm would not have decided the
fate of the war. Again, in 1809, if this capital had been fortified, it
would have enabled the Archduke Charles, after the disaster of Eckmuhl,
by a forced retreat on the left of the Danube, to form a junction with
the forces of General Hiller and the Archduke John.

If Berlin had been fortified in 1806, the army routed at Jena would have
rallied there and been joined by the Russians. If Madrid had been
strongly fortified in 1808, the French army, after the victories of
Espinosa, Tudela, Burgos, and Sommo-Sierra, would not have marched
towards that capital, leaving in rear of Salamanca and Valladolid, both
the English army of General Moore and the Spanish army of Romana. If
Moscow had been fortified in 1812, its conflagration would have been
avoided, for, with strong defensive works, and the army of Kutusoff
encamped on its ramparts, its capture would have been impossible.

Had not Constantinople been well fortified, the empire of Constantine
must have terminated in the year 700, whereas the standard of the
Prophet was not planted there until 1440. This capital was therefore
indebted to its walls for eight hundred years of existence. During this
period it was besieged fifty-three times, but only one of these sieges
was successful. The French and Venetians took it, but not without a very
severe contest.

Paris has often owed its safety to its walls. In 885 the Normans
besieged it for two years without effect. In 1358 the Dauphin besieged
it in vain. In 1359 Edward, king of England, encamped at Montrouge,
devastated the country to its walls, but recoiled from before it, and
retired to Chartres. In 1429 it repulsed the attack of Charles VII. In
1464 the Count of Charlerois surrounded the city, but was unsuccessful
in his attacks. In 1472 it repulsed the army of the Duke of Bourgone,
who had already ravaged its precincts. In 1536, when attacked by Charles
V., it again owed its safety to its walls. In 1588 and 1589 it repulsed
the armies of Henry III. and Henry IV. In 1636 and several succeeding
years the inhabitants of Paris owed their safety to its walls. If this
capital had been strongly fortified in 1814 and 1815, the allied armies
would not have dared to attempt its investment.

But it is deemed unnecessary to further specify examples; the whole
history of modern warfare is one continued proof of the importance of
fortifications as a means of national defence, and as an auxiliary in
offensive military operations. Our illustrations have been mostly drawn
from European wars, but our own brief history, as will be shown
hereafter, is not without its proofs.

The use and importance of field-fortifications, intrenched camps, &c.,
as well as the class of military works called coast-defences, will be
discussed hereafter.[6]

[Footnote 6: The use of fortifications in the defence of states is
discussed by Ternay, Vauban, Cormontaigne, Napoleon, the Archduke
Charles, Jomini, Fallot, and, incidentally, by most of the military
historians of the wars of the French Revolution. The names of such
standard works as give the detailed arrangements of fortifications will
be mentioned hereafter.]



III. We have defined _logistics_ to be that branch of the military art
which embraces all the practical details of moving and supplying armies.
The term is derived from the title of a French general officer,
_(major-général des logis,)_ who was formerly charged with directing the
marches, encampments, and lodging of the troops. It has been still
further extended by recent military writers, and many of them now regard
logistics as a distinct and important branch of the art.

We shall here consider logistics as including the military duties
ordinarily attributed to the pay, subsistence, clothing, medical,
hospital, and transportation departments; in fine, of all the civil and
civico-military corps of the army. We shall therefore discuss under this
head, the preparation of all the necessary materials for fitting out
troops for a campaign and for putting them in motion; the regulating of
marches, convoys, the means of transport for provisions, hospitals,
munitions, and supplies of all kinds; the preparation and protection of
magazines; the laying out of camps and cantonments; in fine, every thing
connected with preparing, moving, and guarding the _impedimenta_ of an

The officers connected with this branch of service must consult with the
engineers in every thing relating to the defence of their depots,
magazines, camps, cantonments, communications, and the passage of
rivers, and in all that relates to their connection with the attack and
defence of places: but in all that relates to strategy and tactics they
must receive instructions directly from the chief of the staff of the
army, who will have the general direction of every thing connected with
logistics. Before commencing the operations of the campaign, or
beginning the execution of the plans decided upon at head-quarters,
this officer should satisfy himself respecting the condition of the
various materials belonging to the different departments of the
army; - the horses and horse equipments, carriages, caissons, ponton and
artillery equipages, siege equipages, moveable hospitals, engineer and
artillery utensils, clothing, and munitions of all kinds; he must supply
whatever may be wanting, and provide means for the transportation of
every thing.

_Subsistence_. - The art of subsisting troops during active operations in
a hostile country, is one of the most difficult subjects connected with
war; and it is a question well worthy of study, both for the statesman
and the warrior, how Darius and Xerxes, Philip and Alexander, in ancient
times - and the Greek emperors and the barbarians - and, later still, the
crusaders of the middle ages, contrived to support the immense masses of
men which they led to war.

Cæsar has said that war should be made to support war; and some modern
generals have acted upon this principle to the extreme of supporting
their armies entirely at the expense of the country passed over. Others
have adopted either in part or entirely the principle of regular

Louis XIV. and Frederick II. fought mostly on their own frontiers, and
followed the system of regular dépôts and supplies. But the
revolutionary armies of France made war without magazines, subsisting,
sometimes on the inhabitants, sometimes by requisitions levied on the
country passed over, and at others by pillage and marauding. Napoleon
found little difficulty in supporting an army of a hundred or a hundred
and twenty thousand men in Italy, Suabia, and on the rich borders of the
Rhine and the Danube; but in Spain, Poland, and Russia, the subject of
subsistence became one of extreme embarrassment.

All depots of provisions and other supplies for an army are denominated
_magazines_; these are divided into _principal, secondary,_ and
_provisional_. The first are usually on the base of operations; the
second, on the line of operations; and the last in the immediate
vicinity of the troops, and contain supplies for a few days only.

The system of _magazines_ is objected to by some, because it fetters the
movements of an army, and makes its military operations subordinate to
the means of supply. Moreover, as the movements of an army must be so
arranged as to cover these magazines, their establishment at given
points reveals to the enemy our plan of campaign.

On the other hand, the system of _requisitions_, either for immediate
supplies or for secondary magazines, gives far greater velocity and
impetuosity to an active army; and if it be so regulated as to repress
pillage, and be levied with uniformity and moderation, it may be relied
on with safety in well-cultivated countries; but in more barren and less
populous districts, an army without magazines, especially in case of a
prolonged stay or a forced retreat, will be exposed to great suffering
and loss, if not to total destruction.

Before commencing a campaign the general should make himself acquainted
with all the resources of the country to be passed over - determine the
amount of supplies which it may be necessary to take with him, and the
amount that can be obtained by requisitions; these requisitions being
levied in a uniform and legal manner, and through the existing local

In great wars of invasion it is sometimes impracticable, at least for a
time, to provide for the immense forces placed on foot, by any regular
system of magazines or of ordinary requisitions: in such cases their
subsistence is entirely intrusted to the troops themselves, who levy
contributions wherever they pass. The inevitable consequences of this
system are universal pillage and a total relaxation of discipline; the
loss of private property and the violation of individual rights, are
followed by the massacre of all straggling parties, and the ordinary
peaceful and non-combatant inhabitants are converted into bitter and
implacable enemies.

In this connection the war in the Spanish peninsula is well worthy of
study. At the beginning of this war Napoleon had to choose between
methodical operations, with provisions carried in the train of his army,
or purchased of the inhabitants and regularly paid for; and irregular
warfare, with forced requisitions - war being made to support war. The
question was thoroughly discussed.

On the one hand, by sacrificing three or four millions of francs from
the French treasury, he would have been able to support his troops
without requisitions, would have maintained good order and discipline in
his armies, and by the distribution of this money among a people poor
and interested, he would have made many partisans. He could then have
offered them, with a firm and just hand, the olive or the sword. But
then the drafts upon the French treasury, had the war been a protracted
one, would have been enormous for the support of an army of 200,000 men
in Spain. Moreover, the hostile and insurrectionary state of the local
authorities rendered regular and legal requisitions almost impossible;
and the want of navigable rivers, good roads, and suitable transport,
rendered problematical the possibility of moving a sufficient quantity
of stores in an insurrectionary country. Besides, no great detachments
could have been made to regulate the administration of the provinces, or
to pursue the insurgent corps into the fastnesses of the mountains. In
fine, by this system, he would have effected a military occupation of
Spain without its subjugation.

On the other hand, by marching rapidly against all organized masses,
living from day to day upon the local resources of the country, as he
had done in Italy, sparing his reserves for the occupation and
pacification of the conquered provinces; this mode promised more prompt
and decisive results than the other. Napoleon, therefore, determined to
adopt it for his active masses, employing the system of magazines and
regular requisitions so far as practicable. In favorable parts of the
country, Soult and Souchet, with smaller armies, succeeded in obtaining
in this way regular supplies for a considerable length of time, but the
others lived mainly by forced requisitions levied as necessity required.
This sometimes gave place to great excesses, but these were principally
the faults of subordinate officers who tolerated them, rather than of
Napoleon, who punished such breaches of discipline, when they were known
to him, with great severity. He afterwards declared that, "had he
succeeded he would have indemnified the great mass of the Spanish people
for their losses, by the sale of the hoarded wealth of the clergy, which
would have rendered the church less powerful, and caused a more just
division of property; thus the evil of the war would have been forgotten
in the happy triumph of public and private interest over the interest of
an ambitious and exclusive clergy."

The following maxims on subsistence have the sanction of the best
military writers:

1st. Regular magazines should be formed, so far as practicable, for the
supplies of an army; the levying of requisitions being resorted to only
where the nature of the war, and the requisite rapidity of marches,
render these absolutely necessary to success.

2d. Dépôts should be formed in places strengthened by nature or art,
defended by small corps, or garrisons, and situated in positions least
liable to attack.

3d. All great dépôts should be placed on navigable rivers, canals,
railways, or practical roads, _communicating with the line of
operations_, so that they may be transported with ease and rapidity, as
the army advances on this line.

4th. An army should never be without a supply for ten or fifteen days,
otherwise the best chances of war may be lost, and the army exposed to
great inconveniences. Templehoff says that the great Frederick, in the
campaign of 1757, always carried in the Prussian provision-train _bread_
for _six_, and _flour_ for _nine days_, and was therefore never at a
loss for means to subsist his forces, in undertaking any sudden and
decisive operation. The Roman soldier usually carried with him
provisions for fifteen days. Napoleon says, "Experience has proved that
an army ought to carry with it a month's provisions, ten days' food
being carried by the men and baggage-horses and a supply for twenty days
by the train of wagons; so that at least four hundred and eighty wagons
would be required for an army of forty thousand men; two hundred and
forty being regularly organized, and two hundred and forty being
obtained by requisition. For this purpose there would be a battalion of
three companies for the military stores of each division, each company
having its establishment for forty wagons, twenty being furnished by the
commissariat, and twenty obtained by requisition. This gives for each
division one hundred and twenty wagons, and for each army, four hundred
and eighty. Each battalion for a provision-train should have two hundred
and ten men."

5th. An army, while actually in motion, can find temporary resources,
unless in a sterile country, or one already ravaged by war, or at the
season of the year when the old crops are nearly exhausted and the new
ones not ready for harvest; but, even supposing the army may in this way
be partially or wholly supplied, while in motion, it nevertheless
frequently happens that it may remain for some days in position, (as the
French at Austerlitz and Ulm;) a supply of hard bread for some ten days
will therefore be important to subsist the army till a regular
commissariat can be established.

6th. "Supplies of bread and biscuit," says Napoleon, "are no more
essential to modern armies than to the Romans; flour, rice, and pulse,
may be substituted in marches without the troops suffering any harm. It
is an error to suppose that the generals of antiquity did not pay great
attention to their magazines; it may be seen in Caesar's Commentaries,
how much he was occupied with this care in his several campaigns. The
ancients knew how to avoid being slaves to any system of supplies, or to
being obliged to depend on the purveyors; but all the great captains
well understood the art of subsistence."

_Forage_ is a military term applied to food of any kind for horses or
cattle, - as grass, hay, corn, oats, &c.; and also to the operation of
collecting such food. Forage is of two kinds, _green_ and _dry_; the
former being collected directly from the meadows and harvest-fields, and
the latter from the barns and granaries of the farmers, or the
storehouses of the dealers.

The animals connected with an army may be subsisted by regular
magazines, by forced requisitions, or by authorized _foraging_ [7] As
has already been remarked, it is not always politic, or even possible,
to provide regular magazines for the entire supplies of an army during
the active operations of a campaign. On account of the great expense and
difficulty of transporting forage, the general of an army is more
frequently under the necessity of resorting to requisitions, or forced
contributions as they are called, and to foraging, for the subsistence
of his animals, than to provide food for his men. Nor are requisitions
and foragings for this object so objectionable as in the other case,
being far less likely to produce general want and distress among the
non-combatant inhabitants.

[Footnote 7: This term is sometimes, though improperly, applied to the
operation of forcibly collecting food for the troops.]

The commanding officer of troops should always use his best endeavors to
obtain his forage by purchase of the inhabitants, or by requisitions on
the local authorities; and even where these means are impracticable, the
foraging parties should be strictly directed to make their levies with
uniformity and due moderation. Accurate accounts should be kept of the
kinds and quantities of all produce and other property taken, so that it
may be regularly distributed and accounted for. Under no circumstances
should individuals be permitted to appropriate to themselves more than
their _pro rata_ allowance. Foraging parties may sometimes attain their
object in a peaceful manner, by representing to the inhabitants the
nature of their instructions and the necessity of obtaining immediate
supplies. Even where no recompense is proposed, it may be well to offer
certificates to the effect that such articles have been taken for the
use of the army. These certificates, even when of no value in
themselves, frequently tend to appease excited passions and allay
insurrections. In defensive war, carried on in one's own country, it is
often necessary to seize upon private property and appropriate it to the
public service: in all such cases the certificates of the foraging
officers become proofs of individual claims against the government.

No foraging party should ever be sent out till after the country has
been properly reconnoitred. A good military escort and vanguard should
always accompany and precede the foragers, for protection against the
enemy's light cavalry and an insurgent militia. Trustworthy troops must
be placed in the villages and hamlets of the country to be foraged, in
order to prevent the foragers from engaging in irregular and
unauthorized pillage. Officers of the staff and administrative corps
are sent with the party to see to the proper execution of the orders,
and to report any irregularities on the part of the troops. In case any
corps engage in unauthorized pillage, due restitution should be made to
the inhabitants, and the expense of such restitution deducted from the
pay and allowances of the corps by whom such excess is committed. A few
examples of this kind of justice will soon restore discipline to the
army, and pacify the inhabitants of the country occupied.

Experience is the best guide in estimating the amount of hay or grain
that may be taken from a given field: the produce of an acre is, of
course, very different for different soils and climates. In distributing
the burdens to the several pack-horses and wagons employed in conveying
the forage to the army, it is important for the foraging officers to
know the relative weight and bulk of each article.

Ordinary pressed hay in this country will average
about . 12 lbs. per cubic foot.
Wheat . . . weighs. . 60 lbs. per bushel.
Rye . . . . " . . . . 56 " "
Maize or Indian corn . 56 " "
Barley . . . " . . . . 50 " "
Oats . . . . " . . . . 35 " "
Meal, flour, and ground feed of all kinds, are purchased
by the pound.

As it would be exceedingly dangerous to send forward the regular train
of the army for the conveyance of forage collected by these foraging
parties, the country wagons and pack-horses are usually pressed into
service for this purpose.

Troops of horse are sometimes sent into the vicinity of meadows and
grain-fields for temporary subsistence: in such cases the horses and
cattle may be farmed in the neighborhood, and the grass and grain
issued in regular rations, immediately as taken from the field; but in
no case should the animals be turned out to pasture.

In a country like ours, where large bodies of new and irregular forces
are to be suddenly called into the field in case of war, it is important
to establish very rigid rules in relation to forage and subsistence;
otherwise the operations of such troops must be attended with great
waste of public and private property, the want of means of subsistence,
the consequent pillage of the inhabitants, and a general relaxation of
discipline. Regular troops are far less liable to such excesses than
inexperienced and undisciplined forces.

_Marches_. - Marches are of two kinds: 1st. Route marches, - 2d. Marches
within reach of the enemy. The former belong to the domain of strategy;
the latter to that of tactics; both, however, are connected with
logistics in every thing that concerns the means of their execution.

When an army is moving on a line of operations, it should be in as many
columns as the facility of subsistence, celerity of movement, the nature
of the roads, &c., may require. Large columns cannot move with the same
rapidity as smaller ones, nor can they be so readily subsisted. But when
an army is within striking distance of the enemy, concentration becomes
more important than celerity, and the forces must be kept in mass, or at
least within supporting distances of each other. We find only two
instances in the Seven Years' War, in which Frederick attempted attacks
by several columns at considerable distances from each other; and in

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 7 of 35)