Thomas W. (Thomas Wallace) Knox.

Decisive battles since Waterloo : the most important military events from 1815 to 1887 online

. (page 1 of 36)
Online LibraryThomas W. (Thomas Wallace) KnoxDecisive battles since Waterloo : the most important military events from 1815 to 1887 → online text (page 1 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^rrd



BERKELEV

LIBRARY

UNIVtSSITY Of
CMIFORNIA








^










^^






SHIPS LIBRARY.






U. S. S. tjASSACHUSETTS






4—1759







DECISIVE BATTLES



WATERLOO



THE MOST IMPORTANT MILITARY EVENTS FROM



1815 TO 1887



THOMAS W. KNOX

AUTHOR OF

'Marco Polo for Boys and Girls," "Life of Robert Fulton and a History of Steam

Navigation," " The Boy Travellers in the Far East," five vols. ; " The Boy

Travellers in South America," " The Boy Travellers in the Russian

Empire," "The Young Nimrods," two vols. ; " The Voyage of

the Vivian," "Overland through Asia," " Backsheesh,"

"Underground," "John," "Camp-Fire and Cotton

Field," " How to Travel," " The Pocket

Guide around the World," etc., etc.



ILLUSTRATED

THIRD EDITION, REVISED AND WITH INDEX

NINTH IMPRESSION



190^4



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK AND LONDON

a:be "ff^nlcl^erbocfter ipress
1902





V- 'M



^\e^. ) ^ >S A A/




DECISIVE BATTLES



WATERLOO



tup: most important military events from



1815 TO 1887



THOMAS W. KNOX

AUTHOR or

'Marco Polo for Boys and Girls," "Life of Robert Fulton and a History of Steam

Navigation," " The Boy Travellers in the Far East," five vols. ; " The Boy

Travellers in South America," " The Boy Travellers in the Russian

Empire," "The Young Nimrods," two vols. ; " The Voyage of

the Vivian," "Overland through Asia," " Backsheesh,"

"Underground," "John," "Camp-Fire and Cotton

Field," " How to Travel," " The Pocket

Guide around the World," etc., etc.



illustrated

THIRD EDITION, REVISED AND WITH INDEX

NINTH IMPRESSION



19084



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK AND LONDON

?rbc Iknlcherbochcr press
1902



h^ fp



COPYRIGHT Br

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS



Ube 1kn(cl;erbocl!er g>ress, tHzv) if^ocbeHe, tPi, y*




036/

K7 '



PREFACE.



In 1852 Professor (afterwards Sir Edward) Creasy pub-
lished a book, which is Avell described by its title, " The
Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, from Marathon to
Waterloo." Professor Creasy's work has passed through
many editions, and has long since become a standard
authority among historical students. In the belief that
the decisive battles since Waterloo are worthy of record
in a similar form, the author has ventured to prepare the
volume, of which these lines are the preface.

Creasy justly says : " It is probable, indeed, that no
two historical inquirers would entirely agree in their lists
of the decisive battles of the world," and it is of course
still less likely that any unanimity of opinion could
be found among historical students of the present day
in the selection of the decisive battles since 181 5. There
is a wide difference of opinion concerning the battles
which assured English supremacy in India ; the battles
which decided the result of the civil war in America ; and
concerning those which have repeatedly changed the
political map of the valley of the Danube and the regions
contiguous to it. Several of the twenty-five battles which
are described in this volume could hardly be included if
the list were subjected to the crucial test of Hallam in
his comments upon the victory of Charles Martel, between
Tours and Poictiers, over the Saracens. In speaking of
that battle Hallam says: "It may justly be reckoned
among those few battles of which a contrary' event would
have essentially varied the drama of the world in all its
subsequent scenes." Thus while the victory of the Eng-



564



IV PREFACE.

lish at Prome in Burmah, described in the second chapter
of this book, was " the beginning of the end " of the Bur-
mese kingdom, it by no means follows that their complete
defeat would have forever kept them outside the bounda-
ries of that semi-barbarous country. It might have
delayed the conquest for several, perhaps many, years,
but would not have prevented it. Similar comments
might be made concerning the capture of Silistria by the
Russians in 1829, the battle of Gujerat twenty years
later, the battle of Sedan in 1870, and the conquest of
Khiva in 1873. The American Civil War will doubtless
lead to criticism of the battles selected as decisive ; it
would be difficult to find in any group of the men who
participated in that gigantic struggle perfect accord of
opinion as to the relative importance of the battles that
were fought between 1861 and 1865 for the preservation
or destruction of the Union. The author's reasons for
his selections will be found at the end of the chapter
wherein each battle is described.

In the preparation of this volume the author has exam-
ined a vast amount of military and other history, and is
indebted for his material to the works of many previous
writers. Of some of the battles described he had personal
knowledge, and he has been able to inspect certain of the
battle-fields referred to in the narrative. Among the
works his obligations to which he desires to acknowledge
may be mentioned the following : —

" A View of South America and Mexico " (Anonymous) ;
Soldan's " Historia del Peru Independente " ; " Journals of
Lord Cochrane in South America " ; Phayre's " Narrative
of the Burmese War " ; Histories of India by Malcolm,
Mill, Kaye, Wilson, Elphinstone, and others; Alison's
" History of Europe " ; Lady Bourcher's " Despatches of
Admiral Codrington " ; Histories of Greece by Grote,
Cox, and others ; Count Von Moltke's " Russians in Bul-
garia and Roumelia " ; Chesney's " Russo-Turkish Cam-
paigns of 1828-29"; Poltevin's "Prise de la Citadelle



PREFACE. V

d'Anvers " ; Ripley's "History of the War with Mex-
ico " ; Bancroft's " History of the Pacific States of North
America"; Malleson's "Decisive Battles of India," and
" History of the Indian Mutiny " : Wright's " Northwest-
ern Provinces of India"; M'Ghee's "How We Got to
Pekin " ; Oliphant's "Lord Elgin's Mission to China";
Bordstaedt and Dwyer's " Franco-German War " ; Mark-
ham's " War between Peru and Chili " ; Gaffaret's " His-
toire d' Algerie " ; King's " Europe in Storm and Calm " ;
Delord's " Histoire du Second Empire " ; Sturmer's
" Der Tod des Grafen Diebitsch " ; Schuyler's " Turkes-
tan " ; MacGahan's " Fall of Khiva " ; Marvin's " Rus-
sians at the Gates of Herat " ; Boulger's " Central Asian
Questions"; and Russell's " War in the Crimea." Har-
pers and the Century Magazines deserve acknowledg-
ment, and so do the files of the New York Tribune,
London Daily News, London Times, Illnstrated London
News, London GrapJiic, Augsbiirger Allgemeine Zeitung,
and other newspapers. The ofificial records of the Amer-
ican Civil War have been examined, together with numer-
ous volumes of an unof^cial character. In describing the
battle of Gettysburg the author has thought best to rely
mainly upon "The History of the Civil War in America,"
by the Comte de Paris. In so doing he has hoped to avoid
the charge of partiality, which has been brought against
nearly every other of the numerous writers on the subject.
The battles here described possess an interest for the
student of military tactics and strategy. The book has,
however, for its further purpose, the idea of presenting
an outline survey of the history of the Nineteenth Cen-
tury, considered from the point of view of its chief
military events. It is the author's hope that the result of
his labors may help to make clear the character and rela-
tive importance of these events, and to indicate their
influence in shaping the history of our own times.

T. W. K.

New York, April, 1887.




CONTENTS.



CHAPTER. PAGE

I. Battle of Ayacucho — 1824 . . . i

II. Battle of Prome — 1825 .... 17

III. Battle of Navarino — 1827 ... 29

IV. Siege of Silistria — 1829 .... 47
V. Battle of Staoueli and Fall of Algiers

— 1830 64

VI. Capture of Antwerp and Liberation of

Belgium — 1832 77

VII. Capture of the City of Mexico — 1847 . 91

VIII. Battle of Gujerat — 1849 .... 117
IX. Capture of the Malakoff and the Redan,

AND Fall of Sebastopol — 1855 . . 133

X. LUCKNOW AND CaWNPORE 1857-8 . . 154

XI. Capture of the Peiho Forts and Pekin

— 1858-60 177

XII. Battle of Solferino — 1859 . . . 197

XIII. Battle between the Monitor and the

Merrimac — 1862 210

XIV. Battle of Gettysburg — 1863 . . . 230
XV. Siege and Fall of Vicksburg — 1863 . . 260

XVI. Battle of Five Forks and Lee's Surren-
der — 1865 289

XVII. Battle of Koeniggratz (Sadowa) — 1866 . 308

XVIII. Battle of Gravelotte — 1870 . . . 325



vm



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER. PAl^B

XIX. Battle and Fall of Sedan — 1870 . . 344

XX. Fall of Khiva — 1873 365

XXI. Fall of Plevna — 1877 . ' . . . 382

XXII. Capture of Geok Tepe— 1881 . . .415

XXIII. Battle of Miraflores — 1881 , , . 431

XXIV. El Obeid — Annihilation of Hicks Pasha's

Army — 1883 ...... 450

XXV. Fall of Khartoum — 1885 . . . .465




^^ss


^S^R


^^^T^fc^^^




^^^^^^^g


B


^


vf^^^^C^S


fjK^-^'l


^S



MAPS AND PLANS.



Outline Map of Spanish America

Battle of Ayacucho .

Outline Map of British Burmah

Turkey in Europe

Navarino, Battle Plan

Silistria, Siege Plan .

Outline Map of Algeria

Plan of the Fortifications of the City of Algiers,

Plan of Fortifications of Antwerp and Vicinity

Plan of the Gates (Vera Cruz)

Siege of Vera Cruz

Valley of Mexico

Battle of Churubusco . . ,

Battle of Moling del Rey

Storming of Chapultepec

Outline Map of the Punjaub ....
Battle of Gujerat ......

Plan of Sebastopol ,

Attack on the Malakoff

Lines of Attack on the Malakoff and the Redan

Sketch Plan of the Redan ....

Position at Cawnpore .

Siege of Lucknow

River Pei-Ho

Forts on River Pei-Ho.

Engaging the Takoo Forts



r\Gt
Fr^ntispiea

II



17
29

41
51
65
67
79
97>
95
97
103

105
III
119
127
133

141
147
157
171
179

183
189



MAPS AND PLANS.



Sketch Map of Northern Italy

Battle of Solferino

Plans of the Monitor and the Merrimac

Scene of the Battle between the Monitor

THE Merrimac ....
Monitor and Merrimac in Action
Gettysburg, Campaign Map
Positions at Gettysburg, Second of July
Positions at Gettysburg, Third of July
ViCKSBURG, Campaign Map No. i
ViCKSBURG, Campaign Map No. 2
ViCKSBURG, Siege Lines
Siege of Petersburg
Battle of Five Forks
Routes of March on Koeniggratz
Battle of Koeniggratz
Sketch Map of Region (Gravelotte)
Battle op Gravelotte, Positions, Morning
Battle of Gravelotte, Positions, Evening

Region about Sedan

Battle of Sedan, Positions Morning
Battle of Sedan, Positions Afternoon
Map of Territory around Khiva
First Battle of Plevna . . ...
Defence and Blockade of Plevna
Last Sortie from Plevna ....
Outline Map of Changes in Europe
Outline Map of Changes in Asia
Expedition on Geok-Tepe ....
Battle of Miraflores. ....

Campaign of El Obeid. Sketch of Territory
Country from Korti to Khartoum ,



AND



199

205
213

221
223

237
245
255
365
273
283

293

311
321

325
335
339
347
353
361

365
391
403
407
409

413
419

433
451
467




DECISIVE BATTLES SINCE
WATERLOO.



CHAPTER I.

BATTLE OF AYACUCHO — 1 824.

The Napoleonic wars that terminated with the battle
of Waterloo reduced the nations of Europe to a state of
exhaustion, and for a considerable period thereafter there
was little occupation for the soldier. England, France,
Spain, Germany, and Russia were engaged in repairing
the ravages of war, and by common consent there was a
truce to arms and a halt in the work of organized destruc-
tion- But the wings of Peace, outstretched over Europe,
were folded on the other side of the Atlantic, throughout
all the vast region known as Spanish America. Mexico,
Peru, Chili, and the other trans-Atlantic provinces of Spain
sought to sever their connection with the Old World ;
one by one they achieved their independence through a
series of wars that deluged the land with blood and
threatened to leave it an uninhabited waste.

The final battle of the South American wars of inde-
pendence was fought at Ayacucho, Peru, December 9,
1824. Let us first glance at the events which led up to
that sanguinary conflict, and then consider the occur-
rences of the day which saw the Spanish power in Amer-
ica broken forever.



2 DECISIVE BATTLES SINCE WATERLOO.

It is a curious circumstance that the South American
revolutions had their beginning in the intense loyalty of
the people of the Spanish-American colonies, and partic-
ularly of the United States of Colombia, for their king.
In 1808 the armies of Napoleon were overrunning Spain ;
Ferdinand VII. \vas compelled to abdicate the throne,
and Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, was pro-
claimed King of Spain and the Indies. Agents were im-
mediately sent, in the name of the new king, to announce
to the American colonies the abdication of Ferdinand and
the elevation of Joseph to the throne. Joseph shrewdly
promised to the viceroys and captains-general throughout
the colonies, that they should retain their places, provided
they acquiesced in the new order of things and induced
the people to accept it. But though the ofificials were
resigned to the situation, the people were not ; they pub-
licly burned the proclamations of King Joseph, expelled
his agents, and insulted all Frenchmen then living in the
colonies, so that most of them fled for safety.

In July, 1808, a French brig arrived at La Guayra, the
port of Caraccas, with intelligence of recent events in
France and Spain, including the abdication of Ferdinand
and the accession of Joseph Bonaparte. The captain of
the brig proceeded to Caraccas with despatches to the cap-
tain-general, and soon after his arrival the news from the
Old World became known among the people. An En-
glish officer who was there at the time writes as follows:.

The city was immediately in arms, 10,000 of its inhabitants
surrounded the residence of the captain-general and demanded
the proclamation of Ferdinand the Seventh as their king, which
he promised the next day. But this would not satisfy them ;
they proclaimed him that evening by heralds, in form, through-
out the city, and placed his portrait, illuminated, in the gallery
of the town-house.

The French were first publicly insulted in the coffee-house
from which they were obliged to withdraw, and the French



BATTLE OF AYACUCHO. 3

captain left Caraccas, privately, about eight o'clock that night,
escorted by a detachment of soldiers, and so saved his life,
for, about ten o'clock, his person was demanded of the govern-
or by the populace, and when they learned that he was gone,
three hundred men followed him to put him to death.

About the same time a French brig arrived at Buenos
Ayres with an envoy from Napoleon carrying despatches
to Liniers, the viceroy, who issued a proclamation an-
nouncing the events which had occurred in Spain, and ad-
vising the people to submit to the authority of Joseph
Bonaparte. The proclamation was coldly received by the
people; the governor of Monte Video accused Liniers of
disloyalty, disregarded his proclamation, established a
j'unta^ or governing body for his province, and withdrew
it altogether from the authority of Liniers.

In spite of the efforts of the viceroys and other officials
to convince the colonies that every thing was quiet in
Spain, it became known among the people that the penin-
sula was in a state of insurrection against the authority
of Joseph Bonaparte, that in some provinces he was
openly defied, and provincial juntas had assumed the
management of affairs. The one at Seville proclaimed
itself the supreme junta of Spain and the Indies, and sent
deputies to the colonies requiring an acknowledgment
of its authority. In order to secure this acknowledg-
ment it announced that it was recognized and obeyed
throughout Spain, which was far from being the case. At
the same time the junta of the Asturias opposed that of
Seville ; the regency of Ferdinand claimed to have su-
preme authority ; and to complicate matters still further
Joseph Bonaparte had been proclaimed king. There were

^ Junta in Spanish means an association, and is usually applied to a body
of persons combined for any civil or political object. It formerly referred
more particularly to assemblies of representatives of the people meeting
without authority of the sovereign, but has latterly been extended to those
of the most strictly legal character.



4 DECISIVE BATTLES SINCE WATERLOO.

therefore four kinds of authorities to which the colonies
were required to give allegiance ; they were ready to
recognize any proper authority of Spanish origin, and \\ hile
they differed as to their proper course between the various
juntas, they were all agreed in their hatred for the French.

The efforts of the viceroys and their subordinates to
secure colonial allegiance to Joseph Bonaparte led to col-
lisions between the populace and the authorities in several
cities, and finally to open warfare. Owing to the dis-
orders in Spain there was no central power which the
colonies could respect, and this circumstance led to the
formation of juntas of their own. The first was in Quito
in 1809, but it was suppressed by the viceroy ; the second
was at Santa Fe de Bogota in the same year, and many of
its members were imprisoned and afterwards massacred
in cold blood. Similar scenes were enacted in other parts
of the colonies, and tended greatly to weaken the authority
of the mother country. Naturally the colonists asked the
question, " What will become of us if Spain falls completely
under the domination of Fraiace ? " The discussion of the
question naturally led to independence, and it is easy to
see how a struggle which began in extreme loyalty to
Ferdinand VII. and the government he represented, could
develop into a battle for complete independence. From
1808 to 18 12 the French armies gained ground in Spain.
There was little hope of a restoration of the Spanish
power and the expulsion of the Bonapartes, and long be-
fore the disasters of Napoleon in Russia, and the con-
sequent retreat of the French from Spain, the colonies
were on the high road to absolute freedom from the yoke
of their mother country.

The government of Joseph Bonaparte adopted repres-
sive measures towards the colonies ; troops were sent to
awe the people into submission, the province of Caraccas
was declared in blockade, and the colonial rulers were
ordered to enforce obedience at whatever cost. After the



BATTLE OF AYACUCHO. 5

retirement of the French from Spain, the regency, which
succeeded to Joseph Bonaparte, and after it the restored
king, Ferdinand VII., continued the same measures,
totally ignoring the loyalty which the colonies had origi-
nally displayed at the beginning of the French occupation.
Nothing remained for the colonies but a war for inde-
pendence, a war which terminated, as already mentioned,
with the battle of Ayacucho, sixteen years after the first
outbreak at Caraccas.

The story of the South American war of independence
would fill many volumes. Juntas were established in
Caraccas, Buenos Ayres, Santiago, and other South Ameri-
can cities widely separated from each other, during 1810,
and the repressive measures adopted by the colonial
authorities only added to the vigor of the movement. In
Buenos Ayres the viceroy was deposed, and the powers of
government were assumed by a junta acting in the name
of the deposed and captive king, Ferdinand VII. From
Buenos Ayres the disturbance extended to Chili, where
another junta deposed the viceroy and assumed the
reins of government ; about the same time there was an
insurrection in Upper Peru (now called Bolivia) and later
another in Peru. From a state of tranquillity, in 1808,
the whole of South America was in a condition of open
or partial revolt in less than four years, with the single
exception of Brazil.

Brazil was a colony of Portugal, not of Spain. In 1807,
when Napoleon declared war against Portugal, its king,
John VI., fled to Brazil, accompanied by many courtiers
and followed by numerous emigrants. After the fall of
Napoleon in 181 5, Brazil was raised to the rank of a king-
dom ; John assumed the title of King of Portugal, Al-
garve, and Brazil, and on the 26th of February, 1821, he
proclaimed the constitution. A revolutionary movement
took place in the following April ; Brazil was proclaimed
an independent empire ; it adopted a constitution in 1824,



6 DECISIVE BATTLES SINCE WATERLOO.

and its independence was acknowledged in 1825. Its
transition from a colony of a European government to an
independent state was far less turbulent than that of its
neighbors.

The revolution continued with varying success for more
than a decade, but with the advantages decidedly in favor
of the revolutionists. The progress towards independence
was retarded by dissensions among the revolutionists,
which frequently threatened to restore the royalist power;
ambitions and jealousies too often obscured patriotism,
and in many instances they led to open or secret assas-
sination. This was the case in Buenos Ayres, Chili, and
Peru to a very marked degree, and only to a minor extent
in other parts of the revolted country. On several occa-
sions assistance to beleaguered garrisons or to armies in
the field was deliberately refused or withheld, for no other
reason than personal ill-feeling between general and
other of^cers who were engaged in a common cause of
patriotism.

West of the Andes the progress of the revolution was
less encouraging than in the countries to the eastward.
The royalists were practically in full control of Peru and
Chili in the early years of the insurrection, and in the lat-
ter country they had banished many of the leading patri-
ots to the island of Juan Fernandez, and were exercising
extreme tyranny over all the people. Early in 18 17 Gen-
eral San Martin, Governor of Mendoza, and an active pa-
triot of Buenos Ayres, conceived the design of crossing
the Andes with an army of liberation to assist the Chilian
patriots. Nearly a year was spent in organizing the army
and collecting the necessary materials and transportation.
The passage of the Andes by San Martin was a more dif-
ficult matter than that of Napoleon over the Alps*; it was
accomplished in thirteen days, with a loss of a few men
and of five thousand horses and mules, and was followed
by the battle of Chacabuco, in which the royalists were



BATTLE OF AYACUCHO. J

completely defeated. A junta was immediately formed
at Santiago, and the dictatorship was offered to San Mar-
tin, who declined it.

The royalist army of Chili fled to Talcahuano, and after
receiving reinforcements from the viceroy at Lima, re-
sumed the offensive. It encountered the patriot army on
the plains of Maypu, April 5, 1818, and the encounter
resulted in one of the most sanguinary battles on record,
when the number of men engaged is considered. Out of
eight thousand men comprising the Spanish army, two
thousand were killed or wounded, and three thousand cap-
tured. The general escaped with a portion of his cavalry,
but all the baggage, artillery, military chests, and supplies
fell into the hands of the patriots. The loss of the latter
was one thousand killed and wounded, out of an aggre-
gate of about seven thousand. The victory gave inde-
pendence to Chili, and turned attention towards Peru.
Steps were immediately taken to aid the Peruvians to gain
their independence, and for this purpose an army and a
naval force was organized.

Lord Cochrane, an English naval officer, arrived in Chili
in November, 1818, and was immediately appointed to the
command of the Chilian squadron. Great exertions were
made, and in the course of a year many captures were
effected, though not without some losses by the Chilian
squadron. On the 20th of August, 1820, a combined land
and naval expedition left Valparaiso for Pisco, about one
hundred miles south of Peru, where the land forces were
disembarked. The squadron proceeded to Callao, where
a Spanish frigate of forty guns with two sloops-of-war and
fourteen gun-boats were lying under the protection of the
batteries. On the night of November 5th, Lord Cochrane
succeeded in capturing the frigate, and this exploit was
practically the termination of the Spanish naval power in
the Pacific, so far as offensive measures were concerned.

An armistice of the land forces was made by request of



8 DECISIVE BATTLES SINCE WATERLOO.

the viceroy, but nothing came of it. The independent army
moved leisurely to the north of Lima, remaining for weeks
and sometimes months in camp engaged in recruiting and
in the dissemination of liberal ideas, and also in cutting off



Online LibraryThomas W. (Thomas Wallace) KnoxDecisive battles since Waterloo : the most important military events from 1815 to 1887 → online text (page 1 of 36)