Page images

the stepping-stones, whilst feeling for his moustachios, and swearing at the commissariat, is knocked into the mud by a Turk carrying a sack of corn ; the riding-whip descends with a thwack upon the corn sack, eliciting a patient " Dur, Johnnie, dur," from the Turk. The splay feet of camels, with rum barrels slung across their back, raise jets of mud ; the ambulance driver leaves his wagon outside the town and goes into a grog store to enquire whereabouts the "Truelove Transport" is lying—the foam that falls from his mules' mouths into the mud is mixed with blood; the bow-ropes of the transports rise and fall in the mud across the road ; Maltese seated on the splinter-bar of their flat, cross-barred carts, who have been placidly looking on at the block-up at the bridge, keeping their feet warm by kicking the hocks of their mules, now pause to talk to their countryman, who is leaning over the gaily decorated stern of the St. Fiorenzo, and are violently pulled off and shaken in the mud by indignant commissariat officers, who have just sent off some lean kine to the front, and shrug their shoulders when informed that some of their ponies have lost their shoes in coming down from the front, but the ponies must go up again through the mud. Artillery stripped wagons take up their forage reverse in the main thoroughfare, and the men on the footboards hold on to the sacks and trusses as they wait to lash up somewhere where the mud is not quite so deep ; burying parties of Turks leave the town carrying bodies, for which graves will be scraped on the muddy hill sides. Stores and provisions of all kinds are landed in the mud throughout the day, yet the army still calls out for more; teams of artillery horses rest before dragging a gun through the mud at the Col; little horse artillery drivers, with a pair of horses harnessed as tandem in a trench cart, have to get off their perch at the top of the barrels of pork, and, after knotting the traces of the shaft horse and tying up the forage cord reins round the pad, walk through the mud, as the leader will jib round and feel for his leading-rein; the wagons of the French equipages militaires are brought down for shot and shell; the stout Normandy horses seem to enjoy plashing through the mud, for the drivers, sitting carelessly on their saddles, guide them with their hand-whips, as the reins are hanging loosely on their rough manes, or employ their whips to give a cheerful crack, accompanied with a warning tiens-la bas, as the wagon-wheels sinking into some rut larger than usual splash from head to foot those sickly English soldiers who have just taken up their loads with a willing sigh, and whose officer is hurrying them on so as to be in time for the trenches; one or two of them will probably sink in the mud on their way up, as the financial reformers, who lead the John Bull rushes at the redcoats, gave us no Land Transport Corps in the hard times. Grey horses, which but a few weeks ago bore brave hearts to battle, and whose hoofs had trampled on a nation's chivalry, sink in the mud under the weight of a bag of biscuit, but they have still strength to carry that suffering soldier who feebly grasps the mane, yet he lately raised a cheer on the Alma's heights, the echo of which shall only cease with the name of Englishman. Two sailors easily raise the stretcher containing the once stalwart frame of a frost-bitten guardsman ; yet he fought in the Sand-bag Battery, and almost wishes that he had died there before the hard times began.

No. VI.—" Nine Bells."

One—two—three—four—five—six—seven—eight bells, not eight bells that vibrate through the air with a cheerful jar, but eight deep solemn bells, and the ninth bell proclaims that the cholera is on board, and that the mighty hand of the blue pestilence has smitten down a strong man in his strength. The flag hoisted half-mast high clings to the gaff, and does not flutter its gay colours in the air, but the beautiful Union Jack lies still and motionless, shrouding the form of a soldier whose death is swallowed up in no earthly victory; at the sound of the trumpet the men range themselves noiselessly on the quarter-deck, their chakos raised in the air screen their heads from the sun, which, in all its glory, shines down upon the glory of the sea; we want no strains of music to solemnise our thoughts, for they are all of death, who is here in all his terrors; our feet rise and fall to no dead march; no soldier leaning on his musket covers his eyes as death passes by ; there is no funeral cortege, no sword is borne upon the coffin; there are no drooping plumes, no charger clothed in sable panoply champs restlessly the bit; death is not veiled with the clash of arms, no ringing volleys proclaim that we meet around the grave of one who lived to die for his country; the sea rippling against the bows seems calling for its dead; there is no hollow sound of falling earth; we see no upturned grass, which in the morning was green and was withered in the evening; but the distant mountains tell us that the spirit has gone to render its account to One who was our refuge before ever the mountains were brought forth, and He says that the soldier's last enemy who shall be destroyed is death. The oar blades that have been pointing to heaven fall into the sea, but why do they row so far away, when no spot on the ocean will retain a trace of the soldier's grave?

• • * • •

Hope deferred maketh all hearts sick, as we lie at anchor in Balts- chik Bay. P. D.

The Admiralty.—The following changes have taken place recently at the Admiralty, Whitehall:—Mr. C. II. Pennell has been appointed Chief Clerk, in room of Mr. Dyer, who has been superannuated upon a pension of i.'8.')5 a-year. Mr. Barrow, late the Senior Clerk, has retired upon a pension of £530, and Mr. Midlane has also resigned, but his retiring pension has not yet been settled. Mr. J. N. H. Houghton, who was under orders to leave, we are happy to learn, remains. Messrs. Jackson and Amedroz are promoted to he Seuior Clerks—the latter "Acting.'' Mr. Graves is confirmed, and Mr. Bedford to be acting, to the Second-Class. Mr. Slapylton, private secretary to Mr. Osborne, has resigned that appointment, and has lieen succeeded by Mr. Graves, late the private secretary to Mr. Pbinn, who is succeeded hy -Mr. C. N. Kempe. Mr. Giffard, late Secretary to the Transport Board, returns to his former posi tion.




The Victoria Ckoss.—A supplemental list of the recipients of this decoration will shortly be issued, but will be limited to four officers, selected from an immense number of aspirants; his Royal Highness the Commander-in-chief being determined to adhere to the letter of the warrant, and only award the cross for a distinct act of valour.

Royal Military College, Sandhurst. — Colonel Prosser retires immediately from Sandhurst. It is reported that his successor as Lieut.-Governor will be Colonel Rochfort Scott, now Assistant Quartermaster-General at Manchester.

The Admiralty.—Mr. Phinn has resigned the post of Assistant Secretary, and is succeeded by Mr. Romaine. It is said that Mr. Osborne will proceed as Secretary to Ireland.

The Legion Of Honour And French War Medal. — Among our military intelligence will be found complete lists of the additional recipients of these truly honourable decorations, together with the official reports of the services of the several non-commissioned officers and soldiers who have obtained the French medal.

The Chinese War.—The Chinese are carrying on the war in a guerilla way of their own—burning, assassinating, and poisoning; and Rajah Brooke has shown us how they are to be dealt with. But, meanwhile, our authorities seem to have fallen asleep; or, like General the Hon. Thomas Ashburnham, C.B., have caught the Malta fever. First, we were told the war was over, and the troops were held back from embarking; but the elections having terminated, and the purpose of this ruse being accomplished (we know not at what cost at Hong Kong), the ministerial journal discovered that it was a false report, and that Yeh was actually going to fight it out. So the troops are off at last, and it is to be hoped may reach the seat of war before their General, when they will, we doubt not, soon bring matters to a close. But the opportunity of impressing the Chinese by an imposing displaj of force should be made the most of; and the liberation of the Persiaa expedition affords the means. Lord Palmkkston may yet make up by promptitude for his late inertness, and acquire a little credit; but delay or hesitation will now be fatal. If we would retain our ascendancy in the East, and that moral prestige on which it rests, the time has come when we must strike a blow—when we must show that our power is not a shadow but a real substance, and can be seen as well as felt. The example set by the Chinese, of rising in masses and destroying our settlements, may otherwise spread, and be attended with results fearful to contemplate. In India a few thousand Europeans hold in subjection a hundred millions of natives: how would such a population be affected by a successful Chinese outbreak at Singapore? This is the consideration we should have in view, and now give the Chinese such a lesson as will serve to keep them in order for, at least, half-a-dozen years to come.

The Education Repokt And The Staff.—Almost simultaneously with the report of the Commissioners sent to inquire into military education on the continent, an order has been promulgated by His Royal Highness the Commander-in-chief, in reference to the qualifications that will, in future, be required of officers serving on the Staff; and a gallant contributor has, in our present number, treated both subjects with admirable ability and tact. The question is one that cannot be too fully or too earnestly considered; and we rejoice to have it in our power to lay before our readers the opinions deliberately formed upon it by a distinguished practical officer, fresh from the experience of all the severe vicissitudes of the late war. His remarks must undoubtedly carry great weight, not only from the force and precision with which they are put, but as the fruit of actual observation in the field, in the midst of those very disasters which have given rise to the present movement. At the same time they perfectly accord with the opinions expressed by Sir Joun Burgoyne, in his evidence before the Sandhurst Committee; and, perhaps, express the general feeling of the army. But with all our admiration of the talent and our confidence in the judgment of the gallant writer, and with all our deference for so great an authority as Sir John Burgoyne, we cannot but think that the view here taken of the question has been biassed, in some degree, by the instinctive predilection of distinguished soldiers for a system under which they have won deserved laurels, and which has brought the army through so many difficulties. For ourselves, we must confess to being the warm advocates of more advanced doctrines, such as have so long been urged by Sir Howard Douglas, whose indefatigable spirit originated, as it has sustained, this new movement, and who may justly be called the founder of military education in England. The improvements which Sir Howard has advocated so eloquently and so consistently, are now, indeed, adopted by the authorities, by the legislature, and by the nation. They form the basis of the able report of the recent Commission, and must ultimately be permanently established. But it is right that the question should be fully discussed, so that it may be seen in all its bearings, and under every possible aspeet. The most ardent friends of military education can have no other wish; for the more the subject is considered — the more thoroughly it is investigated —the greater will be its progress. Every one will admit that the old system could not have found a more potent advocate than the writer in our present number. He has arrayed in support of his arguments the testimony of practical experience, the example of traditional usage, every instinct of the military breast. With a fearless hand he has exposed the jobbery, the rottenness, the shameful but shameless corruption, which now infects our whole military fabric, rendering both talent and attainments useless, and awarding everything to interest. And it is true, that our army has, as he says, worked well—that it has always held its own, and, in the end, obtained the victory. But let us bear in mind that, in former days, military education was as much neglected on the continent as among ourselves, and, in fact, even more so; for at the close of the great war with France, the French Government actually sent a Commissioner, Baron Dupin, to visit our military seminaries, with a view to reconstructing the French establishments on the same model, which was afterwards accomplished; and while foreign countries have been thus progressing, we, on the other hand, have positively retrograded, so that we are now obliged to look to the French for the initiation which in 1815 their Government was content to take from us.

In our next number we shall have the satisfaction of placing before our readers a different view of this important question, as we shall then be favoured with the observations of a Staff Officer of great ability and experience, and a friend of scientific education. Again we say, let all be fairly and fully heard. This is the best way to defeat the trick of the Times, which, after making a ridiculous fuss on the subject all through the late war, now turns round, on a hint from Downing-street, to pooh-pooh the movement in the moment of success. Parliament will surely not be so hoodwinked and humbugged. The majority of its members have been returned, after an unparalleled contest, distinctly pledged to military reform; and, if they are sincere, it is here they must begin. "We hail the new order of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief as a first step in this direction. In enumerating the qualifications required from Staff Officers, it does not exact too much, and aptly indicates the services they will be expected to perform. Colonel Jackson's Treatise on Military Surveying renders the acquirement of the most practical portion of the duties an easy task, and the others may be mastered by a little training. We cannot but express our admiration of the judgment and forethought with which the order is framed; and only lament that it was not applied to the late appointments for China, most of which, we fear, would have been upset by such a test.

Genehal AsnTiuiixuAM And Sergeant Morley.—It is better to be born lucky than rich, but best of all to be born an Honourable. The star of General Asuiiuhxham, which will soon adorn his breast, sparkled when he was in his cradle; and, while he was muling and puking iu

« PreviousContinue »