though in other garbs, and the same brief plot though slightly diversified by its interludes. Great, yet limited powers have been bestowed op man; but when he confides presumptuously in the strength which he thus attains, when the science which he derives from the study of second causes lulls him into a forgetfulness of the only Beginning of all wisdom, he is betrayed into an imbecility more lamentable than ignorance, and even the truth deceives bim.-But we must cease.—Thoughts are arising which we did not anticipate, and upon which we dare not dwell; for we pleased ourselves when we began to write these pages in carelessness and in sport. And the recollections of levity should be dispelled, before it is fitting that we should cherish the feelings which we are now imparting, not by our words, but by our silence. It was forbidden even to tread the pavement of the sanctuary with the sandals which had clothed the feet, when they bad walked in any paths except those contained in the hallowed precinct of the temple.

Art. IV.-1. Grundsälze der Strategie erläutert durch die Dar

stellung des Feldzugs von 1796 in Deutschland. 3 vol. 8vo.

Wien. 2. Principes de la Stratégie développés par la Relation de la Cam

pagne de 1796, en Allemagne ; outrage traduit de l'Allemand, et attribué à S. A. I. l'Archiduc Charles. Paris. 3 tomes, Sro.

1818. 3. Geschichte des Feldzuges von 1799 in Deutschland und in der

Schweitz. 2 vol. 8vo. 1819. Wien. mit Karten und Planen. ' I WISH, Dr. Slop, quoth my uncle Toby, you had seen what

prodigious armies we had in Flanders. A wish which, we doubt not, was re-echoed by every veteran of the old school in the evening of his days, when fighting over his fire-side the battles of his youth: for until of late years, when greater forces have been required to keep France and Frenchmen in awe than at any former period, the campaigns under King William and the Duke of Marlborough were referred to by every old soldier as the beau ideal of military prowess and exertion.

It was under those consummate generals that our troops first acquired that distinguished character which they have since maintained; and that such a degree of regularity and precision was given to the art of war, that the movements of hostile armies became more like a courteous and well-bred display of talent and enterprize, than the resolute and earnest attempts of men brought into the field for the slaughter of one another. After a summer spent in manæuvres, sometimes of no very decided kind, both parties retired into winter-quarters by mutual consent; if the



commander of an army sat down before a town, it became the object of enterprize for all the daring spirits enlisted in his cause; and the bad season passed with a degree of intercourse which softened exceedingly the asperities of war.

On portait,' says Hamilton in bis Memoirs of Grammont, 'quelque respect aux places de guerre, avant qu'une puissance, à laquelle rien ne peut résister, eût trouvé le moyen de les abymer par une grêle affreuse de bombes, et par le ravage de cent pièces de canon en batterie. Avant ces furieuses orages qui réduisent le gouverneur aux souter-" rains, et la garnison en poudre, de fréquentes sorties vivement repousseés, de vigoureuses attaques vallaimment soutenues, signalaient l'art des assiégeans, et le courage des assiégés, et par conséquent les sièges étaient d'une longueur raisonnable, et les jeunes gens avaient le tems d'y apprendre quelque chose.'

This practice, it must be acknowledged, had the effect of tracting the duration of hostilities to a very indefinite length, and the process, from its slowness, had its disadvantages. But fortified places were in those days looked upon as insurmountable bar-.. riers; and sieges could not be carried on in the depth of winter, when the ground was too hard for working in the trenches.

We have lived, however, to sce the notions of our forefathers on this subject completely exploded, and a total change introduced in the mode of making war. The restless energies of France, in her republican state, allowed no repose for her own troops or those of her enemies; and the daring and impetuous spirit of Buonaparte coinpleted the establishment of a system which has set all former rules and practice at defiance : fearlessly leaving behind him those strong places which a fortunate campaign would naturally reduce, he advanced to his object with a rapidity and a power which seldom failed of success; and regardless of the expenditure of human life which his projects night occasion, he taught his men to bivouac under every extremity of the season.

In balancing the comparative merits of these opposite modes of warfare, it will

, we believe, appear that, under the old system, the consumption of men by 'famine and the ague’ during the protracted operations of sieges and blockades, was fearfully great, and that, generally speaking, the most rapid mode of making war will prove the most humane; but in Buonaparte's hands men were mere niachines, and he sacrificed them without scruple.

'Never,' says the author of the “ Grundsätze," "had strategical advantages greater or more decided results than in the wars which marked the last of the 18th and the first of the 19th century, because the changes produced in the military art by the French Revolution demonstrated the possibility of moving greater masses of troops with more rapidity than had ever been done before. The facility of repairing strategical errors was at an end, the offensive gained a more decided



advantage over the defensive system, and the knowledge of tacties became, more than formerly, subordinate to the science of war. Hence it arose that campaigns of a few weeks duration produced results which could otherwise only have been expected from a series of wars; and places fortified, but not valuable in a scientific point of view (strategische), became useless, whilst others, which possessed this advantage, were enabled to resist the most vigorous attacks.'

In regard to celerity of movenient, the generals of the new school certainly possess a decided advantage: for though the march by which Marlborough brought up his troops before the battle of Blenheim was conducted with astonishing regularity and dispatch, as well as his celebrated advance along the Meuse, by which he so rapidly expelled the French from Belgium, yet these were exceptions to the general practice, and armies proceeded for the most part with a more measured and regular step. The French Revolution has not only taught our soldiers to maneuvre with greater rapidity, but instructed them also how to bring up with

greater masses of troops than were formerly employed; for although it is true that the immense number of men which Buonaparte, even in his most critical conjunctures, so wonderfully contrived to have at his disposal, will, in a great degree, account for the important victories which marked his career; yet it must be allowed that the same success has sometimes attended his arms when he has been met by forces upon the same gigautic scale as his own.

In the time of Louis XIII.' says Hamilton, de grands hommes commandaient de petites armées, et ces armées faisaient de grandes choses. But in these days a little army, like a little learning, is a dangerous thing,' and it is curious to observe, on examining the history of some of the most important expeditions, and of the greatest battles upon record, how much the military efforts of the world have increased of late years.

We of course do not admit into our calculation the undisciplined hosts which the East at various periods has poured forth; they have in all ages, from the time of Xerxes to the present day, far exceeded in number the armies of Europe ; nor can the swarms from the north, which inundated the southern provinces of this quarter of the globe, fairly be taken into the account; we speak only of warfare between civilized nations; and in examining the greatest enterprizes of antiquity we shall find that Alexander conquered Asia with 50,000 men; that Hannibal had only 50,000 men at the battle of Cannæ; that Epaminondas commanded at Leuctra a force not exceeding 6000 men ; and that the number of those assembled in the armies of Cæsar and Pompey to fight for


the empire of the world at Pharsalia is stated to have been under 70,000 men.

If we turn, on the other hand, to modern times, we may observe (as might be expected indeed) a progressive increase in the military preparations. The Duke of Marlborough bad at Malplaquet 120,000 men under his orders, and the force opposed to him is represented to have been of equal magnitude : and without entering into statements which may be disputed, or attempting an enumeration of the numbers actually brought into the field at the several tremendous conflicts which took place during the last war, it will be sufficient for our purpose to remark, that Buonaparte acknowledges to have had at Wagram 180,000 men, and 1000 pieces of cannon, and that at Borodino each army mustered upwards of 150,000 strong.

Although of high birth and parentage, (for the Archduke Charles of Austria is now acknowledged to be their author,) we believe the works before us are little known in this country. Few give their attention to the German language, and fewer still care to undertake a long treatise on tactics. The earliest of these publications, and that which we shall in the first instance advert to, was for some time supposed to be written either by General Bellegarde or General Meyer. Copies were sent over to the Prince Regent and the Duke of Wellington, and a translation was begun, which has never been completed. In Paris, however, one has appeared, although it bardly deserves the name ; for a few notes of little importance, attributed to General Jomini, by no means counterbalance errors so numerous as to require an apology in the preface from the editors themselves.

Of those generals who have given to the world any relation of their own achievements, there is no one from whose works instruction as well as amusement may not be derived. We peruse Xenoplion's account of his famous retreat, with all that anxiety and interest which belongs for the most part to fiction alone; Cæsar, in like manner, carries us along with him through all the details of the difficult wars in which he was engaged; and Frederic the Great, in his Memoirs, shews the hand of a master, whether he describes political or military affairs. We have instauced the most celebrated of those who have exhibited in their own persons that rare combination, talents both for command and literary attainments. The Archduke's work will be found of less general interest, being more exclusively professional, if such a term may be here employed; but still it is a very curious and valuable production; and conclusions drawn by one who commanded armies of such magnitude as the empire entrusted to his Imperial Highness, when affairs were conducted on so extensive a scale, during a period so fertile in

important important events, cannot fail of being both useful and instructive to posterity.

The art of war is one of those sciences which no theory, no application of fixed and established principles can possibly teach: it is one thing to write from experience of the past, and another to acquire a facility of directing operations by a servile adherevce to the maxims of others. The rules which the Archduke has laid down for the guidance of military men are clearly defined, and not only mathematically demonstrated in the diagrams which he has given, but exemplified by a minute detail of the campaign in the year 1796. This theory and these principles had already been enlarged upon both by Bulow and Jomini, in two* works which have obtained considerable celebrity. The Archduke, however, has perhaps the advantage in having adopted a more condensed and applicable mode of reasoning; and although he may appear, like all other German writers on military subjects, too much inclined to consider war as a game, where success may be obtained by an accurate attention to certain rules; yet there is sufficient proof that he allows its due weight to the ascendancy of talent fitted for command. He who plays chiefly by rule must often be embarrassed by the occurrence of a case for which his manual furnishes him with no precedent; and hence the danger of much theoretical knowledge, when not accompanied with the requisite experience and readiness of application.

According to M. Bulow's system, for instance, the several columns of an army when on the advance should be conducted like radii to a common centre, or point of attack, from which, when retreating, they must always diverge; and the whole art of war is thus reduced by him into these concentric and eccentric movements.

If we turn, on the other hand, to General Jomini's voluminous treatise, we shall gather, as the result of all which he has laid down, that the art of war, as exemplified by Buonaparte, consists in the proper application of three combinations : viz.

1. The art of disposing the lines of operation in the most advantageous manner.

2. That of bringing forward large bodies of men with the greatest possible rapidity against the most important point of the main line of operations, or that which is incidental or simultaneous in its movements, &c.

3. The art of combining the simultaneous employment of the greatest part of the force which a general has under his command against the most important point of the enemy's line in the field of battle.

Systéme He Guerre Moderne; par Général Bulow. Traité de Grande Tactique ; par Général Jomini.


« ElőzőTovább »