Page images
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

, go along with Ulv understood, repared to er ays calculated -n, and compe

earnest application and practice. But no science or art can be acquired or un-
derstood without both ; and the more carefully that study is pursued and the
more frequently it is practised, the more efficient will it be in the individual and
in the regular mass of individuals. But practice is above all requisite, careful,
frequent, constant, obstinately pursued practice.

But tbis is not yet a system.

We have exhibited the elementary branch of military instruction first, merely because it is the point at which every military body must commence; because this is what is now most wanted, and because while it is carrying into practical use, the general system containing all the purposes and uses of an eficient military establishment may in the mean time be prepared and digested.

Having treated so much on this subject, its importance will excuse the dis. cussion of it more at large. To the perfection of a military establishment for the V. States two things are essential.

The first is, that it should be such as to be equally applicable in its operation to the militia and to the army of the U. States, whenever the former are called forth.

The second, that every act and duty appertaining to the military establishment should be transacted by none other than men subject to military order, control, and responsibility, and liable to be put in motion or brought to account for delay or neglect in a military manner.

These two principles lead to the consideration of what would be an efficient military organization; and here we have a host of formidable enemies, ignorance, a disorderly mass ; indolence and idleness, hanging on the flanks; the steady habite of old prejudice ever alarmed for its patronage or its place; all immediately exclaim, would there not be great confusion produced by abrogating some duties and introducing others. We shall not skirmish with this motley and unmilitary groupe ; we shall come to the point. In considering the subject, it will be found that the present war department in fact corresponds with what is called the general staff in other countries; the president representing the commander in chief, the secretary at war chief of the staft. From this fact it will be perceived, that whatever improvements might take place in the system, it would at first consist only of defining and distributing the duties and details of service by the war department

After defining and arranging the various heads of service, they should of course be classed according to analogy or the dependency of one kind upon another; so that there would be several heads, under each of which the inferior branches of duty might be distributed. At the head of one of the superior branches should be placed a responsible officer, who would have the superintendance of all the duties, and the direction and control of all those placed in the execution of the subordinate branches; this officer to be responsible to the executive di. rectly in peace; and when the arrangements became necessarily distinct in the field, to become responsible to the commanding officer in the field. These heads of branches should be the efficient staff of the military institution, it is through the perfection of the organization of the staff, and the rigid responsibility for the due execution and for seeing all under them duly performed, that modern tactics is in an eminent degree indebted for its preeminency and its triumphs. Precision, promptitude, and provident foresight, are their invariable laws, and upon these being perfect depends all the success of modern military science; but it must be taken in connexion also with the disciplinary principles which go into action, where the same provident foresight, the same precision, and the same celerity of motion ensure success to all that is undertaken against any force, however numerous and brave, destitute of a system equally provident and combined in its operations.

To commence an efficient system we must take the outline upon the largest seale; that is, in preparing an establishment, of which the end is the defence of all the nation, we must not begin with a system which is only adapted to a peace; an assumption of this kind would render any military system nugatory. To form a system complete, it must be founded in its very nature on the suppo. sition of an actual war, This would no doubt be reversing the present order of things; since it is not to be concealer, that as it is at present constituted, the war department is utterly incompetent to conduct a war; but such as would leave the mind of a general officer, in case of actual war, to labor under a most

hands; and : ne motions are with dexterity nd the officer d, and the ad. his own plea. ositions of coig Banks and odes of which

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

vlege at the actice shat

oth to com attained by

hazardous and perplexing respansibility. Possibly economy may here take the alarm, we shall quiet thuis costly chimeu.

A peace establishment of the military department we conceive should be treated as the incident; forming and fixing the principles of the institution would not necessarily call for its immediate completion, or the appointment even of a single officer, or the expenditure of a single dollar more than at present; the duties and functions should be defined, but no additional officers employed until occasion called for them, that is war. It is necessary to offer these precautionary ideas to prevent misapprehension, and lest the idea of the formation of a system, that is a coherent and comprehensive regulation for the military department, should be mistaken for a wish to immediately organize an army and staff, and put them into pay. It is barely meant that during peace provision should be made against war, which we do not know how soon we may be involved in.....We shall therefore proceed.

The military system may be said to consist of two principal branches, milio tary operations, and subsistence, both of wbich must be within the full and ample command of the chief of an army. These two branches become the objects of duty distributed among the staff; which unfolds another important truth, that every officer who has the provision, or charge of procuring supplies of subsistence or clothing, should be responsible in a military manner for the execution of his duty, and liable to military penalties for the abuse or the neglect of that duty. This is a most important consideration; and it is apprehended the scandalous state of the clothing of the army of the U States, which has been gradually becoming worse for several years past, is a strong exemplification of this necessity. There should not be a single officer of the war department, unless perhaps the accounting officers, who should be exempt from military control, in order to assure a due exercise of their duty between the public and the military establishment ; as it would be in the power of men intrusted with the provision of clothing or subsistence at any time.... to betray the army to an enemy.

The beginning should be with the organization of the general staff, and this should be adapted, for the reasons given, to a state of war. The secretary of the war department being in fact the chief of the staff, the rest of the staff should consişt of an able practical general officer, a capable chief officer of the artillery, an effective chief officer of the engineers, a vigilant and experienced quarter-master general, and an intelligent and experienced adjutant general, with one or two commissioned officers, as the service might require, attached to each of these seve. ral officers as aids, who should execute under a board of war the details of duty; these superior officers, with others called in, should constitute this council or board for the regulation of all the military details; appoint inspectors of reviews ; and such other persons as miglat be required to aid in the service, such as sure geons, draftsmen, &c. They should divide their duties into the military and the administrative, and have cognizance and control over every branch, always subject to tļie chief of the staff or secretary at war ; they should assemble and delic berate, and their consultations and measures, lowever minute, with their reasonings or objections, should be daily recorded; and these consultations should, whenever required, be presented to the secretary at war, to the president, or to congress when called for.

The military branch should be distributed under the heads following.....


1. This should comprehend a topographical establishment; the prepa.

ration of complete maps and surveys of our own country; and a classification of the surface of the Union into districts of equal portions of three, five, or nine parts; and these again into lesser districts; designating all the passes, roads, rivers, &c, in each, with descriptive

memoirs and references to cach. 2. The police of arinies. 3. Military exercises or discipline. 4. Military operations, marchings, and encampments. 5. Movements of troops by water. 6. Military chronology, or daily and other returns, of duties, actions,

retreats, &c. &c.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


1. Pay, receipts, and expenditures, or the treasury branch.
2. Clothing, equipments, arms.
3. Provisions, meat, bread, grain, liquors, fuel.
4. Forage, hay, oats, straw, corn.
5. Hospitals and magazines.

6. Carriages and horses for stores and artillery,
Such is the outline of a military system adapted to the circumstarces and ne,
cessities of the U. States. On a superficial glance, to timid or unreflecting men,
this may appear to be surrounded with difficulties insuperable ; there will be dis-
cordant opinions, envy, jealousy, folly will devise objections; no two men may
concur, however equal and able; the objects are themselves tuo numerous and
complex for any one man to prepare in time or in a satisfactory manner; the pro-
position itself will be said to arise from interested motives; from some lust of
place or profit; it will require resolution to resist prejudice ; and the requisite
firmness to decide may not be found.

We shall close this part of our essay by stating generally, that whenever there shall appear a disposition to adopt this or any such system, means can be pointed out by which the insuperable difficulties shall be made appear easy to be overcome; discordant opinions reconciled and brought spontaneously to concur. rence; envy, folly, and jealousy will be allowed to prey upon themselves, without danger of annoyance to the plan; the variety of the objects can be made subservient to renderthem more simple, practicable, and effective; and instead of the merit being ascribed to any one man, every officer in the army and the militia if they choose shall have an opportunity of laying his claim to a participation in the plan.

If the observations thrown out in this preface are well founded, the necessity of a work of this kind will be immediately perceived. Let it not however be imagined, says major James, that a WIilitary Dictionary ought exclusively to belong to a camp or barrack, or be found in the closets or libraries of military men alone. The arts and sciences are so intimately connected together, that they eventually borrow language and resources from each other, and go hand in hand from the senate to the field, from the pulpit to the bar, and from the desk of the historian to the bureau of the statesman or politician.

We have a few words to say on certain parts of the work. The French phrases are adopted for their usefulness in reading, and often even in political reading: the words and phrases in the language of the East Indies, are adopted from the English Dictionary, in which however there were some errors which the editor of this work was enabled to correct, and to give more accurate explanations to many. Some subjects which might with more propriety be placed under one letter are placed under another; the course of reading which the edi. tor commenced cotemporaneous with the preparation of the three first letters, not affording the illustrations until the letter to which they properly belonged had been printed. Thus under Valor will be found much of what would properly come under Courage ; and under Topographical what would properly' belong to Depot. There are several similar instances.

Should the disposition be manifested to cultivate the knowlege of military subjects generally, the editor proposes at some future day to publish gen. Grin. oard's treatise on the Stuff of armies ; the French Regulations for Cavalry of 1898; and the most modern and celebrated works on Tactics, the treatise of Jomini, the 4th volume of which was published in the beginning of 1810. All these works are already translated and ready to be put to press; beside a Dictionary of all the military actions recorded in ancient and modern bistory which is now in great forwardness.

Military men who may be desirous of adding to the stock of useful and correct knowlege, will obligé by pointing out any defects or errors, or recommending any additions that are pertinent to the nature of this work, addressed to the compiler.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

JULY 4, 1810.

[ocr errors]






ABATIS, in a military sense, is form. In the parabola, the abscissa is a third

ed by cutting down many entire proportional to the parameter and the trees, the branches of which are turned ordinate. towards an enemy, and as much as pos. In the ellipsis, the square of the ordisible entangled one into a other. They nate is equal to the rectangle under the are made either before redoubts, or other parameter and abscissa?, lessened by anoworks, to render the attacks difficult, or ther rectangle under the said abscissa, and sometimes along the skirts of a wood, to a fourth proportional to the axis, the prevent an enemy from getting possession parameter, and the abscissa. of it. In this case the trunks serve as a In the hyperbola, the squares of the breast- work, behind which the troops : ordinates are as the rectangles of the ada are posted, and for that reason should be scissa by another line, compounded of the so disposed, that the parts may, if pos-abscissa and the transverse axis, sible, flank' each other.

But it must be remembered, that the ABLECTI, in military antiquity, a two proportions relating to the ellipsis choice or select part of the soldiery in the and hyperbola, the origin of the abscissas, Roman armies, picked out of those called or punt from whence they began to be extraordinarii.

reckoned, is supposed to be the vertex of ABOLLA, in military antiquity, all the curve, or, which amounts to the same Warm kind of garment, generally lined or thing, the point where the axis meets it; doubled, used both by the Greeks and for if the origin of the abscissa be taken Romans, chiefly out of the city, in fol- ll from the centre, as is often done, the lowing the camp.

above proportions will not be true ABORD, Fr. attack, onset,

ABSENT, a term used in military S'ABOUCHER, Fr. to parley.

It forms a part of regimental ABOUT, a technical word to express reports, to account for the deficiency otany the movement, by which a body of troops given number of officers or soldiers; and changes its front or aspect, by facing ac- is usually distinguished under two prin. cording to any given word of command. cipal heads, viz.

Righe ABOUT, is when the soldier com- ABSENT with leave, officers with per. pletely changes the situation of his permission, or non-commissioned officers and son, by a semi.circular movement to the soldiers on furlough. right.

ABSENT without leave. Men who deLeft About, is when the soldier changes sert are trequently reported absent without the situation of his person by a semi-cir- leave, for the specific purpose of bringing cular movement to the left.

their crime unier regiinen al cognizance, . ABREAST, a term formerly used to and to prevent them from being tried express any number of men in front. At capitally, for desertion. present they are determined by Files. 'ABSOLUTE Gravity, in philosophy,

ABRI, Fr, shelter, cover. Erre all is the whole force by which a body, shell, l'abri, to be under cover, as of a wood, or slot, is impellei towards the centre. hillock, &c.

See GRAVITY. ABSCISSA, in military matbematics, ABSOLUTE Number, in Algebra, is the signifies any part of the diameter or axis known quantity which possesses entirely of a curve, contained between its vertex one side of the equation. Thus, in the or some other tixed point, and the inter- lsquai.on, *.* + 10%, = 64, the number section of the ordinate.

64, possessing entirely one side of the


« PreviousContinue »