Imatges de pÓgina

is far less than that of education and discipline. Northern nations are said to be naturally more phlegmatic and sluggish than those of warmer climates; and yet the armies of Gustavus Adolphus, Charles XII, and Suwarrow have shown themselves sufficiently active and impetuous, while the Greeks, Romans, and Spaniards, in the times of their glory, were patient, disciplined, and indefatigable, notwithstanding the reputed fickleness of ardent temperaments.

While, therefore, the permanent military defences of a nation must be subordinate to its resources, position, and character, they can in no case be dispensed with. No matter how extensive or important the temporary means that may be developed as necessity requires, there must be some force kept in a constant state of efficiency, in order to impart life and stability to the system. The one can never properly replace the other ; for while the former constitutes the basis, the latter must form the main body of the military edifice which, by its strength and durability, will offer shelter and protection to the nation, or, if the architecture and materials be defective, crush and destroy in its fall.

The temporary means of defence may be classed as follows: 1st. An increase of the regular army and regular marine.

2d. The employment of irregular or militia forces, and the authorization of privateering, or a resort to “ marque and reprisal."

3d. An increase of military munitions and “ logistique,” and the use of temporary fortifications.

I. Much energy and enterprise will always be imparted to an army by the addition of new troops. The strength thus acquired is sometimes in a far greater ratio than the increase of numbers. But these new elements are of themselves far inferior to the old ones in discipline and steady courage and perseverance. No general can rely on the accuracy of their movements in the operations of a campaign, and they are exceedingly apt to fail him at the most critical moment on the field of battle. The same holds true with respect to sailors inexperienced in the discipline and duties of a man-of-war. There is this difference, however: an army obtains its recruits from men totally unaoquainted with military life, while a navy, in case of sudden increase, is mainly supplied from the merchant marine with professional sailors, who, though unacquainted with the use of artillery, &c., on shipboard, are familiar with all the other duties of sea life, and not unused to discipline. Moreover, raw seamen and mariners, from being under the immediate eye of their officers in time of action, and without the possibility of escape, fight much better than troops of the same character on land. If years are requisite to make a good sailor, surely an equal length of time is necessary to perfect the soldier; and no less skill, practice, and professional study, are required for the proper direction of armies than for the management of fleets. The relative hardships and dangers encountered by these two arms of defence are thus described by Napoleon, in his own memoirs : “ War by land destroys a greater number of men than maritime war, being more perilous. The sailor, in a squadron, fights only once in a campaign; the soldier fights daily. The sailor, whatever may be the fatigues and dangets attached to his element, suffers much less than the soldier; he never endures hunger and thirst; he has always with him his lodging, his kitchen, his hospital, and his medical stores. The naval forces in the service of France and England, where cleanliness is preserved by discipline, and where experience has taught all the measures to be adopted for the preservation of health, are less subject to sickness than land forces. Besides the dangers of battles, the sailor has to encounter those of storms; but art has so materially diminished the latter that they cannot be compared to those which occur upon land, and the popular insurrections, assassinations, and surprises by the enemy's light troops, to which the soldier is always exposed.”

Again, in the council of state, in 1802, to a remark of M. Thurguet, that "much longer time is required to form a sailor than a soldier; the latter may be

trained to all his duties in six months”-Napoleon replied: “There never was a greater mistake; nothing can be more dangerous than to propagate such opinions; if acted upon, they would speedily lead to the dissolution of our army. At Jemappe there were 50,000 French against 9,000 Austrians; during the first four years of the war, all the hostile operations were conducted in the most ridiculous manner. It was neither the volunteers nor the recruits who saved the republic; it was the 180,000 old troops of the monarchy, and the discharged veterans whom the revolution impelled to the frontiers. Part of the recruits deserted, part died; a small portion only remained, who, in process of time, formed good soldiers. Why have the Romans done such great things? Because six years' instruction were, with them, required to make a soldier.

A legion composed of 3,000 such men, was worth 30,000 ordinary troops. With 15,000 men, such as the guards, I would anywhere beat 40,000."

II. While all confess the value and importance of a militia force as an aus. iliary and temporary means of defence, there are some who think it capable of competing with regulars in the open field, and others who, for the purpose of making political capital, loudly proclaim all other means of security to be superfluous, nay, dangerous and unconstitutional!

There are instances where disorganized and frantic mobs, animated by patriotie enthusiasm, have gained the most brilliant victories. Here, however, extraordinary circumstances supplied the place of order, and produced an equilibrium between forces that otherwise would have been very unequal; but, in almost every instance of this kind, the loss of the undisciplined army has been unnecessarily great, human life being substituted for skill and order. But victory, even with such a drawback, cannot often attend the banners of newly-raised and disorderly forces. If the captain and crew of a steamship knew nothing of navigation, and had never been at sea, and the engineer were totally unacquainted with his profession, could we expect the ship to cross the Atlantic in safety, and reach accurately her destined port? Would we trust our lives and the honor of our country to their care? Would we not say to them: first make yourself acquainted with the principles of your profession; the use of the compass, and the means of determining whether you direct your course upon a ledge of rocks or into a safe harbor? War is not, as some seem to suppose, a mere game of chance. Its principles constitute one of the sublimest of modern sciences; and the general who understands the art of rightly applying its rules, and possesses the means of carrying out its precepts, may be morally certain of success.

History furnishes abundant proofs of the impolicy of relying upon undisciplined forces in the open field. Almost every page of Napier's classic History of the Peninsular War contains striking examples of the useless waste of life and property by the Spanish militia, while with one-quarter as many regulars, at a small fractional part of the actual expense, the French might have been repelled at the outset, or have been driven, at any time afterwards, from the peninsula. At the beginning of the French revolution the regular army was abolished, and the citizen soldiery, who were established throughout the kingdom on the 14th of July, 1789, relied upon, exclusively, for the national defence. “But these 3,000,000 of national guards,” says Jomini, the great historian of the revolution, “though good supporters of the decrees of the assembly, were, nevertheless, useless for re-enforcing the army beyond the frontiers, and utterly incapable of defending their own firesides.” 'Yet no one can ever question their individual bravery and patriotism; for, when reorganized, disciplined, and properly directed, they put to flight the best troops in Europe. At the first outbreak of this revolution, the privileged classes of other countries, upholding crumbling institutions and rotten dynasties, rushed forth against the maddened hordes of French democracy. The popular power, springing upward by its own elasticity when the weight of political oppression was removed, soon became too wild and reckless to establish itself on any sure basis, or even to provide for its own protection. If the attacks of the enervated enemies of France were weak, so also feeble were her own efforts to resist these attacks. The republican armies repelled the ill-planned and ill-conducted invasion by the Duke of Brunswickbut it was by the substitution of human life for preparation, system, and skill; enthusiasm supplied the place of discipline; robbery produced military stores; and the dead bodies of her citizens formed epaulements against the enemy. Yet this was but the strength of weakness, the aimless struggle of a broken and disjointed government; and the new revolutionary power was fast sinking away before the combined opposition of Europe, when the great genius of Napoleon, with a strong arm and iron rule, seizing upon the scattered fragments, and binding them together in one consolidated mass, made France victorious, and seated himself on the throne of empire.

No people in the world ever exhibited a more general and enthusiastic patriotism than the Americans during the war of our own revolution; and yet our army received, even at that time, little or no support from the militia. The letters and reports of Washington, and his highest officers, are filled with proofs of this. The following brief extracts are from Washington's letters to the President of Congress, December, 1776:

“The saving in the article of stores, provisions, and in a thousand other things, by having nothing to do with the militia, unless in cases of extraordinary exigency, and such as could not be expected in the common course of events, would amply support a large army, which, well officered, would be daily improving, instead of continuing a destructive, expensive, and disorderly mob." * In my opinion, if any dependence is placed on the militia another year, Congress will be deceived. When danger is a little removed from them, they will not turn out at all. When it comes home to them, the well-affected, instead of flying to arms to defend themselves, are busily employed in removing their families and effects; whilst the disaffected are concerting measures to make their submission, and spread terror and dismay all around, to induce others to follow their example. Daily experience and abundant proofs warrant this information.”

“Short enlistments, and a mistaken dependence upon the militia, have been the origin of all our misfortunes and the great accumulation of our debt.” “The militia come in, you cannot tell how; go, you cannot tell when; and act, you cannot tell where; consume your provisions, exhaust your stores, and leave you at last at a critical moment."

These remarks of Washington will not be found too severe, if we remember the conduct of our militia in many an open field of the revolutionary war and of that of 1812.

But there is another side to this picture. We can point to the defence of Charleston, Mobile, New Orleans, Fort McHenry, Stonington, Niagara, and Plattsburg, in proof of what may be accomplished by militia, in connexion with fortifications. These examples most fully demonstrate the great value of a militia, when properly employed, as a defence against invasion. With fortifications, they constitute a grand military reserve, upon which we must always fall back in cases of pressing emergency. But we must not forget that, to call this force into the open field—to take the mechanic from his shop, the merchant from his counter, and the farmer from his plough, will necessarily be attended with an immense sacrifice of human life. The lives lost on the battle-field are not the only ones; militia, being unaccustomed to exposure, and unable to supply their own wants with certainty and regularity, contract diseases, which occasion, in every campaign, a most frightful mortality.

There is a vast difference in the cost of supporting regulars and a militia, as ours is now organized. The late Secretary of War, in a report to Congress, says that the expenses of the latter “invariably exceed those of the regular forces at least three hundred per cent.;" and that 55,000 militia were called into service during the Black Hawk and Florida wars, and that “30,000,000 of

2d. The navy:

dollars have been expended in these conflicts !" Facts like these should awaken us to the necessity of reorganizing and disciplining this arm of defence.

Privateers bear to the regular navy somewhat the same relation that the militia do to the regular army. In the war of 1812 they were of considerable advantage in capturing enemy vessels and destroying their commerce.

III. În reference to the influence of field fortifications, railroads, canals, &c. on the operations of a campaign, we will only remark that the vast changes which have been made since our last war, in the facilities of locomotion, render doubly imperative the duty of military preparation. Surrounded as our country is by disciplined forces, capable of striking at any moment a deadly blow at the prosperity of our large cities, our government cannot, but with the deepest guilt, neglect the means of averting such a calamity.

We may regard as permanent means of defence
1st. The army.
3d. Fortifications.

The first two of these could hardly be called permanent, if we were to regard merely their personnel or materiel; but, looking upon them as institutions or organizations, they present all the characteristics of durability. They are sometimes subjected to very great and radical changes. By the hot-house nursing of designing ambition or rash legislation, they may become overgrown and dangerous; or the storms of popular delusion may overthrow and apparently sweep them away ; but they will immediately spring up again in some form or other,

so deeply are they rooted in the organization of political institutions. I. The importance of maintaining a permanent military force has already been alluded to in speaking of the equilibrium of national power. An amy should always be kept within the limits of the nation's wants; but pity for a country which reduces it in numbers or support, so as to degrade its character or endanger its organization. “A government,” says one of the best historians of the age, “which neglects its army, under whatsoever pretext, is a government culpable in the eyes of posterity; for it is preparing humiliations for its flag and its country, instead of laying the foundation for its glory.”

On this point, Mr. B. F. Butler, formerly Acting Secretary of War, remarks: "Our experience, as an independent state, has clearly shown that a permanent force, large enough to keep in check our savage neighbors, to fulfil towards them our treaty stipulations, and to garrison our more important fortifications, and capable of furnishing a considerable body of instructed officers qualified to organize, in case of need, an efficient army, is indispensable to the preservatioa of peace on our borders and with other nations. The history of our relations with the Indian tribes, from its beginning to the present hour, is one continued proof of this remark; and for a long series of years the treatment we received from European powers was a most humiliating illustration of its truth. Twice we were compelled to maintain, by open war, our quarrel with the principal aggressors; and the last of these conflicts, from the causes which provoked it, as well as from its severity and length, well deserves the appellation sometimes given to it of a second war of independence. After many years of forbearance and negotiation, our claims in other cases were at length amicably settled; but, in one of the most noted of these cases, it was not without much delay and imminent hazard of war that the execution of the treaty was finally enforced. No one acquainted with these portions of our history can hesitate to ascribe much of the wantonness and duration of the wrongs we endured to a knowledge on the part of our assailants of the scantiness and inefficiency of our military and naval force.”

İn a report on this subject, Mr. Calhoun says: “The organization of the army ought to be such as to enable the government, at the commencement of hostilities, to obtain a regular force, adequate to the emergencies of the country, properly organized and prepared for actual service. It is thus only that we can be in the condition to meet the first shocks of hostilities with unyielding firmness, and to press on an enemy while our resources are yet unexhausted. But if, on the other hand, disregarding the sound dictates of reason and experience, we should in peace neglect our military establishment, we must, with a powerful and skilful enemy, be exposed to the most distressing calamities."

In another able report to Congress, in 1818, Mr. Calhoun demonstrated that great danger would result from reducing the then existing military establishment, which was in all near 13,000 men. Nevertheless, this reduction took place in 1821, and we were soon made to suffer the consequences. It is stated, on high authority, “that if there had been two regiments in position at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, in 1832, the war with Black Hawk, which cost the country $3,000,000, would have been easily avoided; and it cannot be doubted that the scenes of devastation and savage warfare, which overspread the Floridas for nearly seven years, would have been avoided, and millions saved, if two regiments had been available."

Congress, though late, became convinced of the impolicy of departing from the organization recommended by Mr. Calhoun, and in the successive acts of 1833, 1836, and 1838, restored the number to about 12,000. But the Congress of 1842–43 have again reduced the aggregate number to between 7,000 and 8,000.

A singular feature of this reduction was, that while it discharged, without the power of re-enlisting them, the veteran non-commissioned officers and privates of the last war, the raw recruits had to be retained—thus depriving the army of its very best material.

II. Our remarks on the duty of government to support an army are equally applicable to the support of the navy. It, too, has important duties both in peace and in war, and its healthful organization should be attended to with zealous care. But it also has had its vicissitudes within the last few years.

The personnel of the navy, however, has escaped much more fortunately than that of the army. Its organization has been somewhat improved, and its numbers and support left untouched.

The pay proper of the navy (including marines) for the fiscal year of 1843 is $2,917,280 15; that of the army, for the same period, is $1,313,370. The appropriations made for the support of the navy (including marines) for the fiscal year of 1843, including pay, provisions, arms, fuel, clothing, commutation, hospital stores, transportation, increase, repairs, &c., of ships, repairs and improvement of docks, navy yards, and arsenals, instruments, clerks, printing, and other contingencies, amount in all to $5,586,757. The whole appropriation for the army, for the same period, including pay, provisions, arms, clothing, fuel, quarters, commutation, transportation of troops and supplies, forage, horses, building and repairs of quarters, parade grounds, camps, armories, arsenals, the manufacture of cannon for the army and fortifications, and arms for the militia, the collection of materials for powder, &c., clerks, instruments, printing, postage, and other contingencies, amount in all to $3,965,768 60.

III. Permanent fortifications differ in many of their features from either of the two preceding elements of defence. They are passive in their nature, yet possess all the conservative properties of an army or navy, and, through these two, contribute largely to the active operations of a campaign. When once constructed they require but little expenditure for their support. In time of peace they withdraw no valuable citizens from the useful occupations of life. Of themselves they can never exert an influence dangerous to public liberty; but as the means of preserving peace, and as obstacles to an invader, their influence and

power are immense. While contributing to the economical support of a peace establishment by furnishing drill grounds, parades, quarters, &c., and to its efficiency still more by affording facilities both to the regulars and militia for that species of artillery practice so necessary in the defence of water frontiers,

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