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Military Correspondence. of the examination ?" &c.-In forming this idea, we must' suppose the commissioners to have been directed by just grounds, and a full view of the subject. The superintendants have given an opinion, “That the arrear accounts would occupy ten persons forty-five years.”—The points then to be considered are,
Ist, That, as a long period has elapsed since numbers of the accounts have been delivered in, should disallowances be made to any amount, are the parties forthcoming from whom this money is to be recovered ? and that many who may still be in existence cannot justly be answerable for charges made, year after year, owing to no objection from those who were expected to investigate them.
Secondly, whether the disallowances, which can fairly be recovered, will be equal to the expence of an additional establishment for their exainination.
Thirdly, as none but such gentlemen, who have been some years einployed on regimental accounts, and who have a thorough knowledge of the regulations existing at different periods, could beneficially investigate and settle the arrear, whether the department for the current accounts, would not be most materially injured by having the principals of the office thus engaged, and their places supplied by unexperienced gentleinen.
To these considerations are to be added, the cases of individuals interested in an early settlement.
I have canvassed, in my own mind, these several points, and after bestowing all the consideration on the subject which it requires, I cannot but conceive that a minute examination will be attended with great detriment to the public service, and to the revenue of the country. In making this declaration, I am to observe, that my opinion is in no respect singular, for I never heard the sentiments of gentlemen on the subject favourable to an exainination, and on account of the grounds herein alluded to.
Should it appear in this light to those ministers, who have, or may have the direction of the War Department, their object, I suppose, will be to seek out some method of superficial examination previous to passing the whole into warrant. If by that method errors escape detection, the public will be still greater gainers than if the accounts uudergo a minute investigation.
An intelligent gentleman, who delivered in 1807, to the Commissioners of Military Enquiry, a most able report, ou the imperfect system which was at that time practised in the examination of accounts, and who is now secretary to a military board, would not be at a loss, if called upon, in laying down a plap satisfactory to the public, and to interested individuals. I have lately heard of a plan for this purpose, suggested by a gentleman (a short time since secretary to a Noble Lord of distinguished literary talents), at present engaged in the war department. His plan
is for a cursory investigation, by tables of calculations, formed for each period of unsettled accounts, by gentlemen experienced in them. These calculations are proposed to be made on every subject, and thus at one view, in opening an account, the expence each regiment ought to have incurred may easily be discovered, according to station, &c. If any wide difference exists betwixt the charges allowed in the approved table of calculations, and those made in the accounts, a minute examination is recommended; but if otherwise, immediately to pass them into warrant.
I have no hesitation in declaring, that a systein laid down on the above grounds would meet the fullest approbation from the officers of the army, and from those whom a settlement most particularly concerns. Decisions on the accounts should be left at the discretion of experienced gentlemen; they, by having some knowledge of the previous accounts of a pay-master, or agent, are enabled to give a correct idea where a cursory examination is sufficient.
In a report on West India and barrack accounts, the commissioners have observed, that “ Confidence must be placed by the public somewhere, and a judicious selection of intelligent and respectable men, acting under the sanction of an oathi, affords the best, and indeed the only ground for such confidence." This remark most strongly applies to regimental accounts; and if discretionary powers, founded in the inanner therein mentioned, were invested in able and well informed gentlemen, with full liberty to employ a cursory examination where cases in their individual judgments may adınit, we may safely flatter ourselves, that both the public and persons concerned will be alike satisfied; the whole arrear in a short period investigated, and thus “ the disordered and disgraceful state in which the accounts of this great branch of public expenditure have been for so many years suffered to remain," put an end to.
ST. HUBERT. London, March 28, 1812.
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir, YOU would oblige some of your readers by pointing out some of the best narratives of the late Campaign in Portugal.
SIR,—THERE have been three narratives published-Captain Elliot's, Dr. Halliday's, and Captain Stothert's narrative of the Campaign of 1809, 10, and 11. We have frequently had occasion to express our approbation of Captain Elliot and Dr. Halliday; and we have only to add, that Captain Stothert's narrative is in no way inferior to them.
SIR,—THE following Extract, translated from a work entitled
Zuge zu einim Gemæhlde des Russischen Reichs,” may probably interest your readers. If worthy insertion in the Military Chronicle, it is at your service. With sincere wishes of success, I am, Sir, Yours, &c.
J. C. It is hardly possible to ascertain the effective strength of the Russian army. The official returns prove little or nothing ; they indicate, it is true, the number it should be, but they do not state the number it actually is. Many regiments have not the fourth, or even the half of their establishment. Hence it is clear, that not only the number of those who take the field varies considerably every month, but that it is very hard to say how many of the troops do not march ; for the Colonels themselves often disguise the true state of their regiments, in order that they may draw the pay' of absentees of non-effectives.
The sudden diminution in the number of recruits is frequently exceeding great. Whenever 100,000 men are raised within three months, the one half generally perish of disease, or are lost to the service through other casualties. In the ordinary levies of 20,000 men, the loss is less in proportion by full one half, as, independent of other causes, more regard is paid to the age and to the constitution of the individual selected for the arıny. But the fatigue of the march, the immoderate use of brandy, the bad diet of hospitals, and the severity of discipline, are certain of destroying greater numbers than are in other European countries lost in a similar way. Previous, however, to proceeding further, I will make a few remarks on this subject.
In Russia it is often impossible to avoid marching the recruits 1000 miles before they reach their destination. Such long journies, on some persons, must produce unhappy effects, and the immoderate use of brandy, to wbich the Russian poor are unaccustomed, adds still more to these dangerous consequences. Your readers will no doubt be some wha: surprized to hear of an author speak of the abuse of strong liquors, inasmuch as the lower -order of Russians are generally considered as addicted to drunkenness; but such an idea is erroneous, and is easily proved so.
If the word drunkard means a man fond of drink, the term certainly suits the major part of the labouring class in Russia; but it is a mistaken notion that they habitually gratify their partiality to spirituous liquors. In the first instance, the sale of brandy is in Russią a mono• poly of the crown, and is couisequently retailed at such a very dear rate, that few persons can afford to make it a common drink; in the second place, the inns in many districts are so rarely met with, that the peasants must journey many leagues before they can procure a glass of brandy.
(To be continued.)
Elements of the Art of War.
ELEMENTS OF THE ART OF WAR.
ART OF WAR.-PART FOURTH.
CONDUCT AND MANAGEMENT OF AN ARMY THROUGH ALL TILE OPERA
TIONS OF A CAMPAIGN, BY GENERAL COUNT TURPIN.
CONTINUATION OF CHAPTER 11.
IN a mountainous country, such places should be avoided as are subject to be overflowed, either by the melting of the snow, or by torrents, which at some seasons appear no more than trifling rivulets, but whichi, at others, swell and carry off every thing they meet with in their way : of this nature were those mentioned by M. Fenquieres *, which he found near the rock that he attacked and took in 1690, from the Badouais. Situations in the neighbourhood of woods are generally to be feared, because the enemy may set them on fire, and the flames be communicated to the camp. The general ought also to satisfy himself with regard to the nature of the springs, which may agree very well with the inhabitants, but prure very unwholesome to strangers : such, according to the reports of the French, is the pature of the springs in many parts of Italy. The water belonging to certain streams or rivers will be pernicious, while that belonging to the fuuntains and wells in the same country will be very wholesome and salotary.
The reader may see in Vegetias, Santa-Cruz, Montécuculli, and Puységur, tbe kiud of order necessary to be observed in a camp, whether intrenched or not; it is impossible to use too many precautions for its security ; they depend upon the general's ability, and upon the discipline he causes to be observed.
Of the Method of escorting Conroys. THE conducting of convoys is one of the most important and most difficult of all military operations. Iu the escort assigned them, and the vumber of horse and foot of which this escort is composed, the general ought to be guided by the distance of the town from whence they set out; the dangers to which they are exposed from the different parties they may meet ; the distance and strength of the enemy; and the extent and nature of the country they have to travel over, whether an open or a mountainous one; the number of waggons, and the quality of the conFoye, whether they consist of money, or ammunition for war or provision; aná whether they are extraordinary or daily. When escorts are too numerous, the troops are fatigued, and no end answered; and when they are too weak, they are liable to be beaten. M. de Puységur observes, that it is as dangerous to give an escort of two thousand men to a convoy where only a thousand are requisite, as to gire but five hundred to one where a thousand are absolutely necessary; in the first place, the troops are uonecessarily fatigued, and in the sccond, the convoy is exposed to the danger of being carried off.
All these considerations suppose the general to be a man whose natural parts are matured by experience, and who is sensible that, without a thorough kuowledge Elements of the Art of War.
* Mem. de Feuquieres, cb. 84. POL. IV. No. 19.
of the country, the foundation of all conduct, it will be impossible to make a proper disposition of troops. If a general is ignorant of the places most proper to form ambuscades ; of those wbere there are bridges and fords ; of the passes which are most dangerous, aud those which will favour the enemy's approach, in order to attack, and whether in head, Aank, or rear, he acts but as chance directs, aud his dispositions will have no meaning, either with respect to the situation of places, or the nature of the ground; the orders will be ill executed, the erolutions performed without exactness; and the disposition of the troops will be faulty; the separate bodies being, consequently, unable to sustain and assist each other, will soon be beaten and dispersed, and the convoy carried off.
The general officer cominanding the convoy ought, for its security, to distribute bis troops after such a manner that they may be a mutual assistance to it. The choice of the troops to form the escort is undetermined, as it is by the nature of the country their quality should be decided. In mountainous and woody coun. tries, only infantry, hussars, or dragoons, can be made use of; the hussars or dragoons are to march in the front and on the Aanks, to scour the woods, examine the avenues, and make sure of the defiles : in an open country, the escort should be composed of infantry, cavalry, hussars, or dragoons. But whatever may be the nature of the country, the convoy ought never to advance without first sending out detachments to reconnoitre at a distance.
If the couvuy marches through a mountainous country, a large body of cavalry Fould not only be useless, but also an embarrassment, as it would be unable to act, except with great difficulty ; whereas in an open country, cavalry is very serviceable. In any kiud of country a kind of convoy can be escorted with infantry, especially wben the enemy can only act with his; but as in an open country, it is necessary for the infantry to be supported, the cavalry must be used for that pur. pose ; in a mountainous country, iofantry can carry on war alone,
In this last case, the officer commanding the escort ouglit to place a body of in. fantry at the head, another in the centre, and a third at the rear-guard ; to distribute small bodies at proper distances on the right and left, and he should be particularly careful to possess bimself of the heights; the hussars must be distributed to the advanced and rear-guards ; and, in order to be more certain that every part hath been strictly examined, as the conroy advances, notwithstanding the hussars of the advanced guard have already scoured the avenues, woods, valleys, villages, and hollows, the hussars belonging to the rear guard should again look into those places, to see whether any thing bath escaped the notice of the advanced guard : these precautions are never without their use, and do not in the least retard the march of the convoy.
The small detachments should advance as far as possible into the country, with. out exposing themselves to the danger of being cut off, the busears with pistol or musquetoon, and the dragoons with their carbine in hand, in order, that if they should meet the enemy, they inay, by firing, give the officer commanding the escort notice of it, sq.that he may have time to make his dispositions for defending and preserving the convey. The convoy may continue marching on, till the enemy is discovered; but on tbe first notice of him, it must stop, and the officers belonging to the convoy should park their waggons ; or, if the ground will not admit of that; they shuuld cause them to keep very close together, and double them up with the. distance of four paces, which should be filled with infantry, between each waggon. By this movcinent the length of the ground taken up by the waggons will be contracted, the troops will be brought closer together, and will form a stronger and beavier body, capable of assisting each other with more ease.