« PreviousContinue »
meat as to the superior efficiency, or otherwise, of a lighter weapon than that now in use, and, perhaps, the held officer is right in the opinion he holds on this subject; but surely the following argument of the held officer is not tenable; he says:—" It is rather a remarkable fact that, while we are laying so much stress on these points (fire-arms), the armies of all the great continental powers seem so comparatively indifferent to them, except In the case of their chasseurs and riflemen. In the late war ours was the only army in
which the rifled fire-arm was in general use All this should make us
hesitate in arming all our infantry on a uniform principle." It has hitherto been too much the fashion to wait on fortune and follow the example of the great continental nations, instead of taking the lead ourselves in all matters regarding the efficiency of our small army, and in this respect only, which is singular in so ingenious a people as we are. It was not so in days of yore; where, then, was the nation that could bring an army to a fair field and overcome the " English boste" with their cloth-yard shafts, which they were compelled by law, under a heavy penalty, to practise frequently, whatsoever their occupations were, and then at a range of 220 yards or upwards. I fancy this stagnation in military affairs arises from the opposition given by the "able and distinguished officers—albeit of the old school," quoted by the field officer in support of his argument, "who think, and with reason (in the field officer's opinion), that we may go rather too far, and that we are rather carried away on this subject. They maintain that volleys at close quarters are the only really destructive use of the small arm, and that a sighted rifie, like that in use, is not the readiest and most efficient weapon the soldier can be armed with." The field officer adds, "we should at any rate, with all the world acting differently, be cautious what we do in a matter of such vital importance." I cannot admit this argument for a moment; there is quite sufficient ingenuity and common sense in England to determine whether the measure is beneficial or not, and, if it is, to adopt it at once without reference to other nations.
The field officer brings example in support of his precept, quoting the Crimean campaign, and especially the battles of Alma and Inkerinann, as instances of the inefficiency of the Enfield rifle, especially at the former action, where he saw a sergeant firing at the retreating Russians with sights up to rouble or treble the distance required, and that, although the enemy were scarcely 300 yards off on their retreat, very little execution was done in spite of much firing from our troops with the Enfield riflts. This I can easily believe, and more, but it is no argument whatever. The reason lor it is simply that the soldier was not taught the use of his weapon, and not having had opportunities of judging distance, ignorant of the sights or of the range of his weapon, it is very possible tbat, as the field officer says, the old smooth bore musket would have been far more effective in his band. The present rifle, in the hands of a well-taught soldier, is the deadliest weapon that we have yet seen; give it to an ignorant man, and it is worse than the most orthodox old Brown Bess that has been made within this century. So ignorant were the soldiers in the Crimea of the management of their fire-arms, that they were frequently seen attempting to load their pieces with ball first. This argument, I think, meets the further subjects which the field officer touches on during the siege of Sebastopol, with reference to the inefficiency of our small arms; those of the enemy were, however, much more effective, for the field officer surely knows how impossible it was to show oneself above cover in the trenches without having a rifle bullet "there or thereabouts;" and what a favourite amusement it was among some of the young officers to hold up their caps by the point of their swords over the parapets, when they were pretty sure to be perforated in a very short time. I will not go further into the field officer's objections, for I fancy they are only reiterations of what I have touched on already; but I cannot help concluding with an extract from Lord Orrery's "Treatise on the Art of War," written in 1677, and addressed to Charles II.; his lordship, though an old and distinguished officer, was evidently one of the then old school, and in his wish to retrograde to the pike, and abolish the general use of fire arras, he far goes beyond the retrograde principles of the field officer, and his friends of the present old school, who wish us to go back to the smooth bore; his argument is very similar, viz., the probable deterioration to the courage of the soldier by the adoption of the newer weapon, and the comparatively small execution which it causes. It runs thus:—" But what I need more to saye of the usefulness of ye pyke (pike) above the musquette, than that all perseunes, who put themselves voluntarilie, or otherwise, to ye infanterie, carry ye pyke, which they would not doe unless they had adjudged it to be ye noblest weapon. Since ye brauest adjudge it to have ye honor of being ye noblest weapon and choose to fighte therewith, therefore I must say I wisbe our companies consisted of fewer shottes and more pykes; for, besides the excellency of that weapon, it is not only in readiness lor service, but needs noe ammunition to make it doe execution, both which cannot be said of the muskette, which is often unfit, always require powder, bullet, and match, and in windy weather or wet often disappoint the service, especially if it be ye matchlock and not ye firelock."
Monsieur Mallet, a Frenchman, writing in 1684, is much in favour of the pike; he says, "A horse wounded by fire-arms is only rendered more animated, but that when he finds himself pierced by a pike, all the spurs in the world won't make him advance." So late as 1766, General Lloyd, an officer of distinction, when writing a history of the seven years' war, in which he had borne a part, recommends the abandonment of the system of arming all the infantry with fire-arms, adducing, in support of his argument, that not above one shot in four hundred told. All these three authorities that I have quoted were men of note, and their arguments, taking into consideration the time* they lived in, not dissimilar to those of the field officer. Probably, like him, they served their country well with their swords, and endeavoured afterwards to give the result of th- ir observations and experience to their companions in arms, with a view to improving the efficiency of the soldier.—I am, &c
NAVAL AND MILITARY INTELLIGENCE.
GENERAL ORDERS. Lectures On Musketry.—Circular Memorandum, addressed to Officers Commanding Regiments and Depots of Infantry, at home and abroad, and to General Officers, for information.—Horse Guards, 31st march 1857.—Instructions of Musketry.—The General Commanding-iu-Chief has desired that the annexed copy of a letter from the War Office, and of its enclosure, relative to Instructors of Musketry being allowed to use the Garrison School-rooms for their lectures, on condition that they are so arranged as not to interfere with the primary object for which the school-rooms are provided, and that permission is previously obtained in the manner therein prescribed, shall be published for general information and guidance.—By command,
G. A. Wetiteiuli., Adj.-Gen. (Copy) War Office, Pall Mall, S.W., March 25, 1857. *
Schools, Chichester.—Sir,—I am directed by Lord Panmure to forward to you for the consideration of His Royal Highness the General Commanding-inChief the enclosed extract from a letter, dated the 27th ult., addressed by the Rev. J. B. Windsor, Assistant-Chaplain to the Forces at Chichester, to the late Inspector-General of Arms Schools, and to take this occasion of remarking where it may happen, for want of separate accommodation, that an Instructor of Musketry finds it convenient to avail himself of the Garrison School-room for his lectures, Lord Panmure will have no objection to his so doing, provided they can be so arranged as not to interfere with the primary instruction for which these school-rooms are provided, or with the special work of the schoolmaster. It appears to his Lordship that there will be little difficulty in effecting this, if the Instructor of Musketry be directed, in every such case, to ascertain the existing school arrangements, and then apply, through the Commanding Officer, for such permission as he may require. The Commanding Officer will address himself (marking his communication with the word "Schools" in the corner) to the Under-Secretary of State, War Office, Pall Mall, who will communicate the directions of the Secretary of fctate for War on the subject. I am, therefore, to request that you will move His Royal Highness to cause this course of proceeding to be made known to the officers concerned.—I have &c, (Signed) B. Hawes.
Major-General Sir Charles Yorke, K.C.B., &c, &c, Horse Guards.
(Copy.)—Extract.—" The schoolmaster at the barracks mentioned to me today that the Instructor of Musketry had made use of the school-room on one day in this week for the purpose of a lecture, and signified his intention of giving a course. He is anxious to know whether you sanction such use being made of the room. On the occasion referred to it interfered with no classes, but it will, if continued, clash with a class of non-commissioned officers that the schoolmaster was proposing to form."
Platoon Exercise.—Circular Memorandum, addressed to General and Staff Officers, and Officers Commanding Infantry Regiments, Depot Battalions, and Depots, relative to Instruction of Musketry.—Horse Guards, March 2(1, 1857.—The General Commanding-in-Chief having reason to believe that rifle practice is impeded in consequence of soldiers not being sufficiently practised in the platoon exercise before being handed over to the Instructor of Musketiy, finds it necessary to remind Commanding Officers and others that this, as well as all other portions of the country drill, should be taught by the Adjutant and Sergeant-Major; that the present system of platoon was promulgated so far back as June, 1854; consequently that every regiment and depot ought to have been long since proficient therein ; and that General Officers will be expected to bring to notice every instance which they may observe of continued neglect in this particular, to which they will be pleased to give their especial attention at the ensuing inspections. Captains and Subalterns are requested to attend rifle practice with their companies, and to make themselves equally acquainted with the instruction of musketry, as well as battalion and company drill, of which, indeed, it is a component part. Field Officers should also render themselves conversant with the theory and practice of musketry, and it is more especially incumbent on Commanding Officers, who (and not the rifle instructors) are responsible for the efficiency of their men, to acquaint themselves with this most important part of the soldiers training, by careful study of the book of regulations, by giving their personal superintendence to the drill and practice ol companies under the instructor, and by availing themselves of the assistance and information to be derived on the subject from the District Inspectors of Musketry at their periodical visits; and H.R.H. looks to General Officers of Districts, Divisions, and Brigades, to see that all do their duty on this as on every other head of service. All Sergeant-Majors of Infantry an; to go through the course at the School of Musketry, and those at home are to be held in readiness to proceed to Hythe on the next relief of detachments. This order is to be read to the assembled Officers of Infantry Regiments, Depot Battalions, and Depots.— By command, G. A. Wethkrall, Adj.-Gcu.
Books And Returns.—Circular addressed to General (or other) Officers Commanding stations at Home and Abroad.—Horse Guards,March 30, 1857. —Sir, — Referring to my communication of the 3rd inst., "Books and Returns," I have the honour, by direction of His Royal Highness the General Commanding-in-Obief, to acquaint you, that Officers Commanding Regiments will, after comparing the copies of Soldiers' Records in their posi^essinn with the Courts-Martial Book, Defaulters' Book, Casually Book, and other Documents essential to the verification of the same, send certified copies of the records to their respective depots, to enable the Commanding-Officers to compare such copies with the originals in their possession. The errors discovered in the original Records will be reported to the Adjutant-General.—1 have, &c,
G. A. Wetherall, Adj.-Gen.
Soldiers' Wives.—Circular Memorandum, addressed to Officers Commanding Regiments and Depots, and General Officers, for information—Horse Guards, S.W., April 2, 1857.—Allowance to Soldiers' Wives.—His Royal Highness the General Commanding-in-Chief desires that when Regiments or Depots are about to move from one station to another, the Commanding Officers will prohibit the wives and families of soldiers in excess of the regulated number accompanying their husbands; they are to explain to the soldiers that by leaving their legally married wives, whether married with or without consent, in their parishes, these wives will, with their children, be entitled to the half and quarter ration, as set forth in the last paragraph of the War Office Circular, No. 1,235, dated July 15, 1856, but that those who persist in accompanying their husbands will forfeit all claim to relief from army funds. Commanding Officers are to point out to officers commanding companies that any advances which they may be induced to make to soldiers for the conveyai.ee of their families are merely private transactions, and can only be privately recovered, and that stoppages from the men's pay for the purpose are not permissible.—By command, G. A. Wetherall, adj.-Gen.
Horse-guards, S.W., April 9.—His Royal Highness the General Commiinilimr-iieC.'hicf having had under his serious consideration the question of Army Education, especially as relating to qualifications for Staff Appointments, is pleased to promulgate, for general information, that from and after the 1st of Jan., 1858, the undermentioned acquirements will be considered indispensable before appointment to the situations annexed. Every officer before appointment will be required to undergo an examination on the subjects mentioned, in such manner as shall be hereafter announced. This regulation is not intended to affect officers now on the staff.
QUALIFICATIONS OF STAFF OFFICERS.
Aides-de-Camp.—To write a distinct and legible hand, and compose English correctly. To have a good colloquial knowledge of one foreign language. To have a uood eye for a country, and to be able to produce an intelligible sketch of it. To know the use of the sketching compass, or pocket sextant, in order to lay down and protract the leading features of a country to be described. To have a thorough knowledge of regimental duty, and tactics and field movements on an extended scale. Also a knowledge of field fortification, both as regards construction and correct description on reconnaissance.
Brigade-Majors.—To have all the qualifications of a good Adjutant—the same acquirements as are exacted from an Aide-de-Camp—and a thorough knowledge of military law, and the Army and War-Office Regulations.
Deputy-Assistants-Adjutant-General and Quartermaster-General—The following further acquirements will be required to qualify for Deputy-AssistantsAdjutaut-Gcncral, aud Deputy-Assistants-Quarternaaster-General, viz :—Practical sketching—both on horseback, called "flying sketching"—as well as correct and finished plotting; practical trigonometry and geometry, with knowledge of logarithms. To write, read, and speak, at least one foreign language; to judge of ground and its proper occupation by all arms; lo have a perfect knowledge of castrametration, and the principles of permanent fortification. And to be thoroughly acquainted with geography and military history, especially as relates to the campaigns of ancient and modem Commanders.
Assistants-Adjutant and Assistants-Quartermaster-General.—To the whole of the foregoing will be added for Assistants-Adjutant and Assistants-Quartermaster-General, the elements of mechanics, hydrostatics, and geology; the construction of military bridges, dams, &c.; an acquaintance with the principles of strategy, and statistics of the Army. All Staff-Officers should be able to ride well.—By command of his Royal Highness the General Commanding-in Chief,
G. A. Wetheeall, Adjutant-General.
COPY OF THE CHARGES PREFERRED BY GENERAL
"that Colonel Shirley, without reasonable or probable cause, made private inquiries at Shurala amongst the officers and others of the corps formerly under General Beatson's command, he being at the time to which these inquiries referred a superior officer to Colonel Shirley.
"That he, equally without reasonable cause and without the means of proving his statements, transmitted such statements to General Vivian, which were highly derogatory to Gen. Beatson's character as an officer, and which he must have known to be untrue; and was therefore guilty of wilfully slandering him.
"That he wilfully suppressed evidence which he had received, and which was material to show that General Beatson was not guilty of the acts which he (Colonel Shirley) alleged against him."
The Court having read over the statement of General Beatson and all the evidence offered, as well as a statement of Colonel Shirley, then read the letter from the Deputy Judge Advocate General, dated 9ih February, 1857, and proceeded to give their opinion separately on each of the points laid down in the concluding part of that letter :—
First Question.—Did Colonel Shirley make any private inquiries at Shurnla among the officers and others of the corps formed under Major-General Beatson's command, respecting the conduct of Major-General Beatson?
Answer.—Colonel Shirley did make private inquiries at Shumla and at Constantinople among the officers of the corps formed under Major-General Beatson's command, respecting the conduct of Major-General Beatson, and also of Mr. Skene, Civil Commissioner to the Turkish Contingent; but these inquiries, though private, were not secret or underhand.
Seconal Question.—If so, did he do so without reasonable or probable cause?
Answer.—Colonel Shirley had reasonable cause for making the inquiries referred to.
Third Question.—If he did make such inquiries without reasonable or prolable cause, was Major-General Beatson a superior officer to Colonel Shirley at the time to which these inquiries referred?
Answer.—The reply to the preceding question renders an answer to this one unnecessary. Fourth Question.—Did Colonel Shirley, without reasonable cau-e, transmit to General Vivian statements highly derogatory to Major-General Beatson's character as an officer?
Answer.—Colonel Shirley did transmit to General Vivian statements highly derogatory to Major-General Beatson's character as an officer, and witb rea