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tion to our historical literature, and derives additional interest from the introduction and notes of the editor, who shows himself conversant with the whole history of the time. Sir Peter Carew lived at a period of which we know too little, and that little communicated by heated partisans, all compromised, more or less, in the events they record. Our knight was himself an actor in these bustling scenes, and his experiences and adventures are related by his biographer with a quaint truthfulness, which is both instructive and amusing. The narrative fully warrants the statement of its editor, that it throws much light on some dark passages in history, while, on the other hand, it illustrates the manners, customs, and inner life of the era, bringing them before us in a very forcible and impressive manner. Sir Peter figured both at the French and English courts, and in his intercourse with great historic characters and the employments he fulfilled in the public service, he caught very faithful impressions of men and things, which his biographer notes down with a shrewdness and naivete akin to his own. A man moving in the courts of the Tudors was obliged to keep his eyes open, and know how to discriminate friend from foe, an art in which Sir Peter Carew became very alert, and so escaped the fate then common to such frank, dashing heroes, who usually ended their days in the Tower or on its hill. Mr. Maclean has followed the career of the good knight from beginning to end, leaving nothing untold or unexplained ; and the volume is creditable alike to his scholarship and his research. It forms a most pleasing narrative, and may be summarily described as the story of a good old English gentleman, one of the olden time.
First Fruits. Poems. By E. H. R.
Here is a little volume of poems for the boudoir, written by a delicate hand, and breathing the tenderness of a sensitive heart. They are just the efiusions to be read in a quiet moment, when one is weary of the bustle or the disappointments of life. The fair author, who appears to have had her share of tribulations, treats everything in a truly Christian spirit; and her verses exhibit fluency and sweetness, tier lyrical pieces are remarkably touching, and indicate poetie talents of no common order. The volume, being prettily got up, is very suitable for a keepsake.
[With the view of promoting the interests of the Service, this department of the Magazine is open to all authentic communications, and, therefore, the Editor cannot hold himself responsible for the opinions expressed.—[ed. U. S. Mao.]
To the Editor of the United Service Magazine.
Sir,—I observe in your December number that one of your correspondents, signing himself "An Indian Artilleryman," has called your attention to the rifles recommended by Lieutenant-Colonel John Jacob, C.B., for adoption in the army. At page 622 of the same number, under the head of "Items of Military News," is the following :—
"It is said that a shorter rifle and sword will be issued to the rifle regiments, as the one now in use is too long for light field movements."
As it is the intention of the Honourable Court of Directors to introduce an improved rifle into their army in lieu of the old two-grooved one, the officers are extremely anxious that the pattern selected should be the one known to be the best. In forming lines of railway in India the railway companies have ad all the advantage of past European experience, obtained without cost; and before filtering ou so expensive an undertaking as re-arming a body of 250,000 men, the greatest care should be taken that the weapon selected is the one best suited for every description of warfare, whether for combating in an pen country or in dense jungle.
The length ot the barrel of the Enfield is, I believe, 3 feet 3 inches; its :»uge is 24, and it throws a conical ball, weighing l.J■ nz., to a distance of ,600 viirfls. Colonel Jacob's rifle is 30 inches in the barrel, gauge 32, and it throws a ball or shell 1| oz. to a distance of 2,500 yards with destructive effect. The advantage this rifle has over the Enfield is not only its much greater range, aud that requiring less elevation to attain the same range, the ground between the shooter and target is not so safe at long distances, but it is also much more handy from the comparative shortness of the barrel, which enables the soldier rifleman to take a correct aim with greater rapidity, and I im convinced make better practice at his game, "man,'' than he could with a long barrel.
1 myself am a backwoodsman, and have used against " painters," and " sich like critturs" of the forest and plain, rifles of various kinds, both short and long. 1 have found the short barrel most convenient for cover shooting; the muzzle sight is caught at once ; with a long barrel, the eye travels in search of it! A short barrel is easily swung to the right or left, raised or depressed. A long barrel requires a greater exertion of strength to effect this in the same time; hence the short rifles, twenty-six inches in the barrel, made by Messrs. S. and C. Smith and Co., Princes Street, London, are such favourites with Indian sportsmen for large game-shooting in thick jungles. Longer barrels will shoot equally well, and perhaps better at long ranges at a mark, hut the short ones do most execution.
It may appear to you, Mr. Editor, that rapidity in taking correct aim is of very secondary importance, but be assured it becomes a matter of life and death when a hungry man-eater, a wily rogue elephant, a ponderous bison, a surly bear, or "full acorned" boar bursts suddenly upon you from some tangled brake ; these are dangerous customers, but who so dangerous as a desperate man at bay?
There is another advantage in a moderately short, t. e., thirty-inch barrel. Hold out a long iron poker, your right hand grasping one end, try to keep it perfectly steady and prevent the other end from drooping; afterwards take a short poker, of the same weight as the long one, and try the same manoeuvre. How much more easily is the short poker balanced! In shooting, your left hand in balancing the rifle barrel is performing the same duty as your right in poising the poker, and the great difficulty is to prevent the muzzle from vibrating, and, if the rifle is of heavy metal, from drooping. You will hold the short barrel more steadily than the long; the power you will have over the former will be so much greater than over the latter, that a short 26-inch rifle, weighing 9 lb., will, when presented at a mark, feel lighter in the hand than a 34inch rifle weighing 8} lb. It will also be less distressing to carry on a march »<•" the slope," for the pressure on the shoulder will be greater from the long barrel. Just try! It is this inclination to drop the muzzle which causes half the bad shots fired. Many of your readers are no doubt " deer stalkers," and these will tell you what a difference there is between firing at a stationary mark and at deer standing. John Jones, Esq., "the wonder of the shooting gallery," will, on the hillside, astonish his admirers by missing with his 34-inch rifle," which carries so beautifully true," a fit red deer at 100 yards. He breaks beer-bottles at 150 with ease; but now he not only blinks with his eye at the moment he touches the hair trigger, but his anxiety to slay "an animal he never slew before," produces a nervous excitement which weakens the muscular power of his left arm ; he does not balance his poker so steadily as he ought, and the hall whistles through the heather between the legs of the startled buck. John Jones, Esq., loads again and damns his luck.
It is much the same with " Private Jones," when, after a careful course of instruction in the "School of Musketry," he fur the first time takes a distant shot at his " game," an animal he never shot before. Our friend's excitement is overpowering ;he cannot balance his Enfield poker, and either does not bag his game, or gets bagged himself.
Now, either of these gentlemen would have had less difficulty in balancing a shorter rifle, and the chances of "taking their enemy's kidney fat'' would have been much increased.
Another cause of bad rifle practice is " recoil." Small-bored rifles recoil less than large bored ones, and in this Colonel Jacob's 32-gauge has a great advantage over the Enfield 24-gauge. For loading with rapidity (when quick tiring at short distances is required) I would make every rifleman carry a supply of Wilkinson's self-expanding projectiles. With these Colonel Jacob's rifle may be loaded as rapidly as a musket, and they are superior to the Minie in every respect Colonel Jacob's rifle is sufficiently short to be handy in cover, and sufficiently long to kill a foreigner at 2,500 yards, if at that range he can be distinguished.
What more do we want 1 Certainly not nine inches of extra metal to carry, which do not add to the range or accuracy of the practice. If we must have the metal, let us have it at the breech, when its weight will be of service in reducing the recoil.
My reason for drawing a comparison between John Jones, Esq.'s performance in firing at a mark and at game is to draw your attention to the fact, that the rifles which are best suited for target practice are not necessarily the best adapted for field sports; and I believe that the rifle which is found to be the most effective in the hands of the deet-stalker will be the most deadly against man, and the best weapon for the army.
It is the same with rifle sights ; the long, sliding, upright sight, which is so strongly recommended by Colonel Jacob, is, I think, inferior to the sight used by the Russians, of which a specimen may be seen in the arsenal at Foil St. George. The long upright sliding sight is very good for target practice, but it does not answer for bowling over an animal in motion. The sides interfere with your following the rapid motions of a beast at speed. Flush sights are the best for jungle shooting. Wilton and Daw's patent sight is a very simple and excellent one ; it is equally well adapted for taking a shot at a staff officer, covered with the feathers of the mole, putlus domestieus, in rapid motion, as at the same individual tranquilly contemplating the gold lace which follows the course of his ischiadic nerve.
The late General Sir Charles Napier, in advocating the use of Brown Bess, mentioned that in an encounter with Kentucky riflemen in a wood the soldiers slew as many of the riflemen as they lost of their own party. I can easily understand this, if the riflemen had their rifles mounted with upright instead of flush sights, and the wood was dense and dark; it then becomes nearly impossible to bring the muzzle sight to bear. I remember on one occasion having borrowed a friend's rifle, which had one of these upright sights, trying in vain in a dark wood to pot an old boar which was standing a few yards off, unconscious of danger. Unable to catch the sight, I was obliged to fire a random shot at last, and had no pork chops for dinner.
Having said thus much regarding the arming of the privates, I would add something regarding the officers' arms.
In ancient days a soldier's arms were his great pride; wealthy chiefs delighted in possessing costly ones. When Glaucus exchanges his arms with Diomedes, as a token of friendship, old Homer sings:—
"For Diomed's brass arms, of mean device,
He gave his own, of gold divinely wrought,
A hundred beeves the shining purchase bought."
It is the same with the warlike demi-savage of the East—Turk, Mameluke, Circassian, or Affghan. The pride of our modem warriors has been not in their arms, but their epaulets or jackets. They rejoice in the quantity of goldlace on their coats, but are woefully beaten by the trumpeter of the Life Guards, or some "Jeames" at a "drawing-room." They will (as cavalry officer*) wear a jacket which costs as much as their charger, and brandish a sword worth two pairs of hoots. Some Damascus blades are so valued by the AfFgbans that £400 and £500 are paid for one. Let our dress be as plain, but our arms and accoutrements as handsome and as serviceable as money can purchase. Make every officer and sergeant carry a revolving rifle of the same bore, No. 32, as the rifle of the privates. Many of the officers and sergeants are the best shots in a corps. Their fire in square (the only time the supernumerary rank is allowed to fire) would be nearly as effective as that of a whole company. If cavalry are to be armed with Colt's revolving pistols, you must do something for infantry, or small rallying squares will be shot down and broken. Let swords be kept sharp always, and drawn only for use, not parade show. Is it not a melancholy sight to see mounted officers of infantry, whose whole energies are directed to sticking on, compelled to ride about with a piece of cold cast iron, which would not carve a turnip, grasped in their right hand? We know very well that in a moment of danger they would drop the spit, not being " cunning of fence," and take to the " curling iron"—Colt's, Trainter's Improved, or Deane and Adams's—which disposes of Russians so speedily (vide advertisement).
We are now doing our best to arm our soldiers and make them shoot like forest rangers. Let us also follow the advice of Marshal Saxe, and dress them like gamekeepers. To expect men to shoot well in Albert tiles and Prussian collars, is to ask of them more than could be done, Mr. Editor, by your obedient servant
FYb. 21, 1857. La Long Carabine.
N.B.—I have never seen an Enfield rifle, and may be mistaken in the length of the barrel.
COLONEL JACOB'S IMPROVED RIFLE.
To the Editor of the United Service Magazine.
Sir,—A field officer of the Royal Artillery, in an article in the United Service Magazine for ihe curient month, writes a very severe critique on Jacob's improved rifle and projectile, in which, also, he includes most of the late very rapid strides that have been made in small arms. Being an artillery officer, and most likely a distinguished one, he naturally has his subject at heart, the more especially since, if the effect of small arms be carried to an approximation of what is expected of them by Colonel Jacob and others, field artillery, that branch of the service in which the " field officer" has, probably, earned well-merited honours and distinction, will, most likely, almost fall into disuse. Therefore, I do not think that there is any disrespect to him in my requesting your readers to consider the field officer's objections as one-sided, and much more open to criticism than the opinions of Colonel Jacob, who, being an artillery officer himself, cannot be supposed to have any undue partiality for improved small arms.
The first of the field officer's objections is, that inventors of improved firearms, from the want of experience of a soldier's work before an enemy, full into the error of reasoning as if they were addressing themselves to sportsmen instead of to soldiers, and to imagine that deer-stalking and a general action U. 8. Mao., No. 342, Mat, 1857. i
were very similar, and that Colonel Jacob's theories have all these tendencies; he ridicules the idea of drawing deductions from target practice on the effect of small arms on an enemy.
The field officer says, "There can be no comparison whatever between an expert rifle shot firing at a target, and a man acting as one of a body of soldiers skirmishing, or otherwise acting against an enemy in the open field." He goes on to describe the usual horrors and confusion of a battle-field, in a tone not at all exaggerated, in contradistinction to the ease and equanimity of target practice. I confess I cannot see the least point in the field officer's argument, graphic and true though his sketch of an engagement certainly is, to compare small thims with great. In the bad times of duelling when we saw a friend at twenty paces smash a small pint bottle five times out of six shots from his " saw handle," although we were perfectly satisfied that his practice might not be nearly so good if the target was similarly armed and returning the compliments, yet I fancy we would much sooner meet the friend in question in any other way than at the " regulation " twelve paces at Chalk Farm, or any of those places of disagreeable celebrity. The whole gist of my argument is, that all that is attempted or expected by Colonel Jacob or others working in the same cause is, that by constantly exercising the soldier in the theory and practice of the impinved weapons in peace, when he comes to meet an enemy he will be found to be quite as effective against him at 1,000 yards as in days of yore he was at 3u0. Snould I be correct in this opinion, the fate of field artillery will be determined according to Colonel Jacob's judgment: for, if I mistake not, the range of grape shot is but 300 yards, and I am pretty sure that the field officer would not expect round shot at 900 or 1000 yards to have much effect on skirmishers. The field officer is of course aware that "judging distance practice" is an integral and most important point in the drill of our infantry. He goes on to say,—" the worst of these long range rifles will be, that they will offer considerable encouragement to men to begin firing at very long distances." I should just think it would, and if the enemy be not similarly armed the distance between them would soon be increased; it would be as well to complain of the gallant charge which this identical Colonel Jacob made, by the last accounts, on a superior body of Persian cavalry, whom he completely defeated; no doubt he was induced to do this from the superior efficiency of the cavalry under his command, his horses being as superior to those of the enemy as he is trying with others to render the weapons of our infantry more deadly than those of other nations. Of course there will always be a very great waste of ammunition, as the field officer remarks, but less, I hope, than has been the case heretofore. I have tlie misfortune to differ most entirely from the field officer in his opinion, that "a rifle in the hands of ordinary infantry, which acts in bodies, is a good weapon thrown away." This is a most dangerous theory, and has been but t"0 prevalent among military men in all ages; I cannot understand the policy of degrading the weapon—so to speak-—to the ignorance of the soldier instead of raising or improving the capacity of the man to enable him to use with effect the improved weapon which the advance of science places in his hand. Soldiers are much like other men, neither more or less intelligent than the bulk of their countrymen ; their brothers, fathers, or associates, from whom they are drawn, are always the mechanics, and sometimes the inventors, of the weapons they use.
I entirely agree in opinion with the field officer when he says:—" He (the soldier) should be taught steadiness in advancing under fire, and a determination only to deliver his own when its effect will be most fatal and decisive." Knt 1 cannot see how these qualities will be deteriorated, as in the field officer's opinion will be the case, by the value of the long range being impressed on a soldier's mind; he is constantly taught that a long range sight s effete at a short distance, and vice versa. I will not enter into an argu