Imatges de pÓgina

hundred and six guns afloat and twelve guns in battery-altogether three hundred and eighteen guns.

Sir James Saumarez hearing that Lenois was in this position, advanced against him from Cadiz with two ships of cighty guns, four of seventy-four guns, one frigate, and a lugger-in all five hundred and two guns. On his approach, Lenois, who was anchored in a line nearly north and south at some distance froin the shore, cut his cables, and ran into shoal water to prevent being doubled upon by the British line: this manœuvre at the same time entirely unmasked the fire of the batteries.

The Hannibal, one of the British seventy-fours, in attempting to close with the French admiral, touched the ground and could not be floated off. She, however, continued the fight with great abstinacy, even for a considerable time after she was deserted by her consorts. Not being able to double upon the French line, an attempt was made to assault the Green island battery, which, being badly served by the Spaniards, had nearly ceased firing.

But this attempt was anticipated by the arrival at the island of a party sent from the French frigate lying near; and the assault was defeated with the loss to the English of one boat sunk and another taken—the Frenchmen renewing with vigor the fire of the battery. At the north end of the line the French admiral was aided by seven gunboats, which took so active a part in the fight that five of them were sunk or rendered unserviceable. The St. Jacques battery being, however, served sluggishly by the Spaniards, the French sent a party from the Dessaix to impart greater activity and effect.

After the combat had continued about six hours, the British squadron drew off greatly damaged, leaving the Hannibal seventy-four alone and aground; and she, after suffering great loss, was obliged to strike. The French insist that the Pompie, an English ship of cighty guns, had struck her colors; but as they could not take possession, she drifted off and was towed away: it is believed slie was entirely dismasted.

We do not know the loss in the French squadron, but the killed, wounded, and missing in the English fleet amounted to three hundred and seventy-five men; being more than twelve men for every ten guns against them, and being twice as great in proportion as the English loss in the battle of Trafalgar.

In this battle of Algesiras there were five hundred and two English guns afloat acting against three hundred and six French guns afloat. As the English chose their own time for the attack and had the wind, it is only reasonable to fuppose that three hundred and six of the English guns were a match for the three hundred and six guns of the French vessels. This will leave one hundred and ninety-six English guns afloat, opposed to the twelve guns in the batteries ; or, reckoning one side only of each ship, it shows ninety-eight guns in the British fleet to have been overmatched by the twelve guns in the batteries.

There never was a more signal and complete discomfiture, and it will admit of no other explanation than that just given ; namely, that the two small batteries, one of five and the other of seven guns, partly eighteen and partly twenty-four pounders, more than compensated for the difference in favor of the British fleet of one hundred and ninety-six guns.

The Hannibal got aground, it is true ; but she continued to use her guns with the best effect until she surrendered; and even on the supposition that this ship was useless after she grounded, the British had still an excess of one hundred and twenty-two guns over the French fleet and batteries.

These batteries were well placed, and probably well planned and constructed, but there was nothing extraordinary about them; their condition before the fight was complained of by Admiral Lenois, and they were badly fought in the early part of the action; still the twelve guns on shore were found to be more than equivalent to two seventy-fours and one frigate.


thirty guns,

Battle of Fuenterabia.—This recent affair introduces steam batteries to our notice.

On the 11th of July, 1836, six armed steamers, together with two British and several Spanish gunboats, attacked the little town of Fuenterabia. The place is surrounded only by an old wall, and two guns of small calibre, to which, on the evening of the attack, a third gun of larger calibre . was added, formed the entire of its artillery. The squadron cannonaded this place during a whole day, and effected absolutely nothing beyond unroofing and demolishing a few poor and paltry houses, not worth, perhaps, the ammunition wasted in the attack. What may have been the number of guns and weight of metal which the assailants brought is unknown; though the superiority, independent of the superior weight of metal, must have been at least ten to one; but not the slightest military result was obtained.-(See United Service Journal, August, 1836, p. 531.)

We will now turn to affairs of a similar character on our own coast.

In June, 1776, Sir Peter Parker, commanding a squadron of two ships of fifty guns, four of twenty-eight guns, two of twenty guns, and a bomb ketch-in all (according to their rate) two hundred and fifty-twoguns-attacked Fort Moultrie, in Charleston harbor, South Carolina.

It is stated that the fort mounted “about thirty pieces of heavy artillery.” Three of the smaller vessels were aground for a time during the action, and one of them could not be floated off, and was in consequence burned by the English. Deducting this vessel as not contributing to the attack, and supposing the other two were engaged but half the time, the English force may be estimated at two hundred guns; or reckoning one broadside only, at one hundred guns against

The English were defeated with great loss of life and injury to the vessels; while the fort suffered in no material degree, and lost but thirty men. The killed and wounded in the squadron were reported by the commodore to be two hundred and five; being for every ten guns employed against them more than sixty-eight men killed and wounded-a loss more than eleven times as great, in proportion to the opposing force, as the loss at the battle of Trafalgar.

In September, 1814, a squadron of small vessels, consisting of two ships and two brigs, mounting about ninety guns, attacked Fort Boyer, at the mouth of Mobile bay. A false attack was at the same time made by a party of marines, artillery, and Indians, on the land side. The fort was very small, and could not have mounted more than twenty guns on all sides, nor more than fifteen guns on the water fronts. The action continued between two and three hours, when one of the ships, being so injured as to be unmanageable, drifted ashore under the guns, and was abandoned and burned by the English; the other vessels retreated, after suffering severely.

There were ten men killed and wounded in the fort; the loss on the other part is not known.

The affair of Stonington, during the last war, affords another instance of successful defence by a battery. In this case there were only two guns (eighteenpounders) in a battery which was only three feet high, and without embrasures. The battery, being manned exclusively by citizen volunteers from the town, repelled a persevering attack from a sloop-of-war, causing serious loss and damage, but suffering none.

In order not to extend this branch of the report further, I beg leave to refer for a detailed account of the attack of the French, in 1838, on the castle of St. Juan d'Ulloa, to the document above referred to.-(House Doc. 206, 1st session, 26th Congress, p. 25.) For the same reason I abstain from introducing several other instances, which, though interesting and instructive, would not sensibly affect the argument.

In the fact quoted above there is no illustration of the effect of hot shot, except in the case of Gibraltar. In that attack the floating batteries were



made proof against cold shot, and, as was thought by the constructor, proof against hot shot also ; and so, indeed, for a time, it seemed. It was conceived that the hot shot, when buried deep in the closely jointed timbers, would scarcely communicate flame, and that it would not be difficult, by the use of the fireengines provided, to subdue so stifled a combustion.

By making these Hoating batteries impenetrable to shot, it was supposed they had been rendered equal in perfectly smooth water to land batteries, gun for gun. And so they might then have been, nearly, had the incombustibility of the latter been inparted to them. But now resistance to fire would not suffice; these floating batteries must either repel these horizontal shells from their bulwarks, or, if that be impossible, permit them to pass through both sides. Nothing can be better calculated to exhibit the tremendous effect of these shells than a vessel so thicksided as to stop every shell, allowing it to burst when surrounded by several feet of timber; and there can be no greater mistake than supposing that, by thickening the bulwarks of vessels-of-war, or fitting up steam-batteries with shot-proof sides, the effects of land batteries are to be annulled or in any material degree modified.

This branch of the subject will be summed up with the remark that the facts of history and the practice of all warlike nations are in perfect accordance with the conclusions of theory. The results that reason anticipated have occurred again and again. And so long as on the one side batteries are formed of earth and stone, and on the other, ships are liable to be swallowed up by the element our which they float, or to be deprived of the means by which they move-so long as they can be penetrated by solid shot, set on fire or blown up by hot shot, or torn piecemeal by shells, the same results must inevitably be repeated at each succeeding trial.

But after all, it may be urged that the general principle herein contended for, namely, the superiority of batteries in a contest with ships, might be admitted, and still it would remain to show that batteries constitute the kind of defence best adapted to our peculiar wants. This is true; and I will now proceed to consider, severally, the cases to which defence must be applied. It may be well, however, first to recall the general scope of the preceding argument. It has been contended that floating defences should not be relied on—not because they are actually incompetent to the duty, but because they cannot fulfil this duty unless provided in inordinate numbers, and at a boundless expense; and I have endeavored to show that this remark is generally true, whether the defensive fleet be made up of sea-going vessels, of Hoating batteries, or of steam batterics. I have next urged the point that properly planned and constructed batteries are an overmatch for vessels-of-war, even when greatly inferior to them in armament-sustaining the opinion by many striking examples, and explaining satisfactorily instances that have cast any doubt on such contests.

If the facts and reasoning presented do not convey the same strong convictions that sway my own mind, it must be because I have obscured rather than illustrated them; for it would seem to be impossible that facts could be more unexceptionable or reasons more beyond the reach of cavil. However that may be, I now leave them to candid and dispassionate revisal, and proceed to examine the mode of applying these defences to our own coasts.

It may be well to divide these into several distinct classes.

1. There will be all the smaller towns upon the coast, constituting a very nu merous class.

At the same time that no one of these, of itself, would provoke an enterprise of magnitude, it is still necessary to guard each and all against the lesser attacks.

A small vessel might suffice to guard against single vessels that would otherwise be tempted by the facility to burn the shipping and exact a contribution; but something more than this is necessary, since the amount of temptation held out by a number of these towns would be apt to induce operations on a

larger scale. It might often happen, moreover, that our own vessels-of-war would be constrained to take refuge in these harbors, and they should find cover from the pursuer.

Although the harbors of which we now speak afford every variety of form and dimension, there are few, or none, wherein one or two small forts and batteries camot be so placed as to command all the water that a ship-of-war can lie in, as well as the channel by which she must enter. While the circumstances of no two of them are so nearly alike as not to modify the defences to be applied to them severally, all should fulfil certain common conditions, namely : the passage into the harbors should be strongly commanded; the enemy should find no place after passing wherein he would be safe from shot and shells; and the works should be inaccessible to sudden escalade—that is to say, a small garrison should be able to repel such an assault. With works answering to these conditions, and of degrees of strength in accordance with the value of their respective trusts, this class of harbors may be regarded as secure. I cannot, however, here avoid asking what would be the mode of defence, if purely naval, of these harbors ? Suppose the circumstances are deemed to require the presence of a frigate, or a steam frigate, or an equivalent in gunboats; would not two hostile frigates or two steam frigates infallibly arrive in quest? Could there be devised a system more certain to result in the capture of our vessels and the submission of our towns?

2. Another class will consist of great establishments, such as larger cities, naval depots, &c., situated in harbors not of too great extent to admit of good defence at the entrance, and also at every successive point, so that an enemy could find no spot within which he could safely prepare for operations ulterior to the mere forcing an entrance.

In this class are to be found objects that are in every sense of the highest value. On the one hand, accumulations of military and naval material, and structure for naval accommodation that could not be replaced during a war,

a which are of indispensable necessity and of great cost; and on the other hand, the untold wealth of great cities. As these objects must be great in the eyes of the enemy-great for him to gain and for us to lose-corresponding efforts on his part must be looked for and guarded against. If he come at all, it will be in power; and the preparations on our part must be commensurate.

The entrance to the harbor and all the narrow passes within it must be occupied with heavy batteries; and if nature does not afford all the positions deemed requisite, some must, if practicable, be formed artificially. Batteries should succeed each other along the channel, so that the enemy may nowhere find shelter from effective range of shot and shells while within the harbor, even should he succeed in passing the first batteries. Provided the shores admit this disposition, and the defence be supplied with an armament numerous, heavy, and selected with reference to the effect on shipping, the facts quoted from history show that the defences may be relied on.

If the mere passing under sail with a leading wind and tide one or even two sets of batteries, and then carrying on operations out of the reach of these or any other, were all, the enemy might perhaps accomplish it; but the present supposition is, that with this class his ulterior proceedings, and finally his returo, are to be subject to the incessant action of the defences.

3. This brings us to consider a third class, consisting of establishments of importance situated at a distance up some river or bay, there being intermediate space too wide to be commanded from the shores. In such cases the defence must be concentrated upon the narrow passes, and must, of course, be appor tioned in arinament to the value of the objects covered. When the value is not very great, a stout array of batteries at the best positions would deter an enemy from an attempt to force the passage, since his advantage, in case of suce ss, would not be commensurate with any imminent risk. But with the more valuable establishments it might be otherwise. The consequence of success might justify all the risk to be encountered in rapidly passing in face of batteries, however powerful. This condition of things requires peculiar precautions under any systein of defence. If, after having occupied the shores in the narrow places in the best manner with batteries, we are of opinion that the temptation may induce the enemy, notwithstanding, to run the gauntlet, the obstruction of the passage must be resorted to. By this is not meant the permanent obstruction of the passage; such a resort, besides the great expense, might entail the ruin of the channel. The obstruction is meant to be the temporary closing by heavy floating masses.

There is no doubt that a double line of rafts, each raft being of large size and anchored with strong chains, would make it impossible to pass without first removing some of the obstructions; and it might clearly be made impossible to effect this removal under the fire of batteries. Such obstructions need not be resorted to until the breaking out of a war, as they could then be speedily formed should the preparation of the enemy be of a threatening nature.

There would be nothing in these obstructions inconsistent with our use of part of the channel, since two or three of the rafts might be kept out of line, ready to move into their places at an hour's notice.

The greatest danger to which these obstructions would be exposed would be from explosive vessels, and from these they might be protected by a boom or a line of smaller rafts in front.

From what has just been said, it will be perceived that when the inducements are such as to bring the enemy forward in great power, and efficient batteries can be established only at a few points, we are not then to rely on them exclusively. In such a case the enemy should be stopped by some physical impediments, and the batteries must be strong enough to prevent his removing these impediments; and also to prevail in a cannonade, should the enemy undertake to silence the works. Not to encumber this report with details in relation to these channel obstructions, I beg leave to refer for thein to the same document 206, page 34.

It may be repeated here that such expedients need not be resorted to, except to cover objects of the highest importance and value, such as would induce an enemy to risk a large expedition. For objects of less importance batteries would afford ample protection. It will be remembered that this last power is, when once established in any position, a constant quantity, and although it should be incompetent to effect decisive results when diffused over a large Heet, may be an overmatch for any small force upon which it should be concentrated. At the same time, therefore, that there is the less liability to heavy attack, there will be in the batteries the greater capacity of resistance to others.

It must not be urged, as a reproach to fortifications, that in the case we are considering they are obliged to call in aid from other sources, so long as these aids are cheap, efficient, and of easy resort. By the mode suggested the defence will undoubtedly be complete, every chance of success being on the side of the defence; that is to say, if any confidence is to be placed in the lessons of experinee. How, on the other hand, will the same security be attained by naval ineans? Only, as before shown, by keeping within the harbor a fleet or squadron, or whatever it may be, which shall be at all times superior to the enemy in number of guns.

In a naval defence there will be no advantage in obstructions of any sort, for there can be no lessening of the array of guns in consequence of such obstruction, because if these obstructions are under the fire of the floating defences, the enemy will first subdue that fire and then remove the obstructions at his leisure. if thic fire proves too powerful for the enemy, the obstructions will have been unnecessary, and will serve only to shut up our own fleet, preventing the prompt pursuit of a beaten foe.

4. There is a fourth class, consisting of harbors, or rather bays or estuaries, of


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