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Regiment, or "Colonel That's" instead of " Her Majesti/'t." Year by year
THE REORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY MEDICAL
To the Editor of the United Service Magazine.
Sir,—In your otherwise excellent article of the July number, respecting army medical improvement, I deem it my duty to correct some erroneous statements tending to disparage the services ol the naval medical officers, where you say, "Before concluding we are desirous of attending to the comparison so often made between the army and navy medical service, and to which, it has been whispered, the withdrawal of the expected warrant was in part due, the Chancellor of the Exchequer supposing that the claims of the latter were equally as strong to increased advantages as the former;'' and may I ask how are they not so? In continuation you remark, that " the nature of the two services is quite different as regards the amount of duty, its kind, the exposure and exile us performance involves. The naval medical officer has b.irdly any duly to do unless in a severe epidemic, or after an action; no women or children to attend in confinements, illnesses, 8cc, no cold trenches." I answer that the nature of the services, it is true, is quite different, inasmuch as the naval medical officer is constantly exposed to the most sudden transitions of climate ; that in a vessel carrying one hundred and fifty or two hundred men there are seldom u ore medical officers than one, who cannot with safely leave his ship even for a day at any time, and must be always ready to act professionally at the shortest notice; and that in ships of the line there are constantly from sixty to two hundred men on the sick and convalescent lists, with the most serious accidents and affections, on the doctor's sole responsibility, without the advantages of consultation often, or patent medicines and appliances from the shore, such us are to be had in a regimental hospital. As to wives and children to be attended, there are numbers at every naval port, both of officers and men, who call for the doctor's aid on shore when in harbour. "No trench duty!" 1 answer there was a fair proportion during the late war, and, more trying still, there always have been " boat expeditions" on tropical rivers for hundreds of miles, where the medical officer is as much exposed as any other, and even more so, in following probably the enemy's wounded to their lairs, to attend them by himself at the risk of his own life. "No expensive mess to be kept up or dress to wear!" I answer a most expensive, without the comfort of a military mess. The uniform costs the same, with this subsequent difference, that in one case, with a regiment you are enabled to give it lair wear and tear, and thus receive an equivalent for your money; in the other, the sea air and tropical insects ruin it, as they do the expensive instruments, which by the way the naval assistant surgeon must provide by regulation at his own expense ; he has moreover in most ships a " band fund," and in all a considerable sum to p:iy up at the end of every three years for losses ami defalcations, besides "boat-hire" in all places when he wishes to go ashore, in order to share for the day in the daily enjoyments ot the aimy surgeon. You add, "We protest against the idea said to have existed that the t rant of the just claims of the army surgeons must carry with it the like claims for the navy," to which I reply, why should it not? inasmuch as the professional education requisite in most instances for the naval medical department is greater than that for the army; three winters' lectures from the professor of physic being required from the naval candidate, and only two for him of the army! On a foreign station let cholera, yellow fever, or small-pox desolate a garrison or town, or attack a fleet of merchant shipping, even in the British Channel or the Bay of Bengal, and the doctors of the nearest British man-of-war nobly respond, most disinterestedly, to the call. Our settlements and garrisons too can testify to the fact, both in the East and West Indies, the Mediterranean, and Hong-hong.
And now allow me to suggest through your medium to the Admiralty, that no certificate student without a diploma be allowed ou any account to enter the naval service ; that seniority, not favour, be the rule of promotion. That in all cases the assistant may have a cabin in his own right, or, at any rate, whenever the junior lieutenant, master, or chaplain has one. That the assistantsur^eon have epaulettes instead of unmeaning wing "straps," which make him singular amongst ward-room officers. That the senior naval surgeons be reminded to act towards their juniors with more courtesy, and display less their overbearing propensities to them both at entry and during their subsequent career, lor from such conduct has many a good man left the naval medical service.
An increase of pay would be desirable in all grades to make amends for the unavoidable half-fay time, or, better still, the "continuous fult-pay system,1' the home establishments being officered in turn from those last from sea. Such changes would cost but little, and incalculable would be the public gain, for remember that the life and health of the peer's and peasant's son often depend alike (humanly speaking) on the brain and hand of one single man on board— the naval doctor unassisted, who himself, tongue-tied by the stern discipline of the naval service, with confidence invokes the public journalist's aid.
Audi Alteram Partem.
To the Editor of the United Service Magazine.
Sir,—Rifle battalions are sent to the Cape, to India, wherever war appears, •as if they are the salvation of the army. If their dress and equipment is more serviceable and useful, if their arms are more effective, if their drill and discipline is more efficient, than the rest of our infantry, why are not all our regiments dressed, equipped, armed, drilled, and disciplined, the same as our Rifle battalions 1 They are all recruited from the same material. Is there any reason, or cause, or excuse, why one infantry regiment in the British army should be more terrible to an enemy than another? That system which is the best for one should be the best for all, and adopted and carried out by all. One regiment should be as good shots and skirmishers as another, and, if not, the commanding officer should be removed; the best kind ot rifle should be in the hands of all alike, and all should be drilled, practised to use it as effectively as possible. All should be perfect.—I am, &c, P.
OUR MILITARY PENSION WARRANTS. To the Editor of the United Service Magazine.
SiR,—There is little inducement for young men to join the ranks of the army at present, and most certainly much room for improvement in regard to pension: the treatment men have met with on leaving the service since the war amounts to nothing less than a national disgrace.
But the amendments proposed by the author of the article headed " Our Military Pension Warrants, with a view to their Revision," are, in some instances, inconsistent; and, on the whole, certainly very ill-advised. Surely this wealthy country can afford to give a little addition to the present niggardly rate of pensions without diminishing the soldier's present scanty pay. "No one," says the writer of the article alluded to, "who knows anything of the soldier, and what he is exposed to, will advocate any addition to his pay as long as that pay is equal to afford him some reasonable indulgence and amusement." Granted if that pay was equal to afford him reasonable indulgence and amusement; but let us see what a man serving on the uniform shilling, as the writer proposes (I suppose he means to allow him the additional penny, beer money), will have left for this purpose after paying eightpence per diem for his rations (which he does at present), and twopence three-farthings per diem (for on an average it does not run less) for regimental necessaries, which must be had; washing his linen, which he must have done; barrack damages, which must be paid. After this sum, tenpence three-farthings, is deducted from one shilling and a penny, twopence farthing remains to be handed over to the soldier. Now, I think it could not be considered an extravagance if he purchases a halfpenny worth of butter to take in the morning with his breakfast, and a similar quantity with his tea in the evening, otherwise he would have nothing at these meals but bread: three-fourths of a pound of meat before it is cooked being, I presume, none too much for his dinner. Let him make use of this extra penny as we have said,—it is surely not " mischievously spent"—he will then have a surplus of one penny one farthing to indulge himself in, and amuse himself with! I think that it will be admitted that a man with the lull advantage of the good-conduct pay will find a very reasonable way of expending it without frequenting the pot-house or the brothel.
Every man on joining the army is sufficiently acquainted with the savings' bank and its advantages; and it is particularly urged that men should leave their good-conduct pay in the hands of the captain, to be deposited in the savings' bank, to be paid them with interest and compound interest when discharged. Men cannot but be fully aware of the advantage this would be to them when about to leave the army. Returns are made out, and hung in the barrack-rooms, showing that a man serving twenty-one years, with the full benefit of good-conduct pay, would have sixty-eight pounds, seventeen shillings and threepence lo receive on discharge; and yet not a single man, that I am aware of, in the regiment in which I have the honour to serve, has done so. The reason is obvious—every man who is fortunate to get it finds it very useful, nay, absolutely necessary to procure his little comforts.
Private soldiers are truly grateful to those who use their endeavours to improve their condition and prospects on discharge; but do not endeavour to diminish our stinted income while serving. Surely neither the better nor worse class of soldiers have given their opinion in favour of such a scheme.
London, 20th June, 1857. A Private Soldier.
THE GREASED CARTRIDGE GRIEVANCE, AND A REMEDY FOR PREJUDICE.
To the Editor of the United Service Magaxine.
Sir,—If the cartridges being greased with beef tallow or hog's lard be really the cause of mutiny amongst the native troops in India, the objection is easily obviated by the substitution of palm-oil, which, as a vegetable substance, at once clears away all scruples about the abominations of animal fat. It will be found to lubricate equally as well, or better, and will last longer in a hot climate without decomposing, like animal matter. An ample supply is easily obtained, both in tropical Africa and Asia.—Yours, Stc,
C. F. Pahkinson, Lt.-Colonel.
NAVAL AND MILITARY INTELLIGENCE.
MUTINY IN THE INDIAN ARMY.
At the commencement of May the native force of Meerut consisted of the 3rd Light Cavalry and the 11th and 20th Regiments of N.I. Among the men of the Cavalry Corps the question of the greased cartridges, which had previously been mooted at Barrackpore and other stations, was freely agitated. The result of the movement was that eighty-live mm of the regiment refusing to handle the cartridges found themselves tried hy court-martial, and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with hard labour. On theyth their sentences were read out on parade, and the offenders marched off to gaol. Up to this time disalfeciiou liad shown itself only through incendiary fires in the lines, hardly a niuhl passing without one or more coufl ignitions. But on the IOth it appeared at once in all its unsuspected strength. Towards the evtning, while in .Iiy of the Europeans were at church—for it was Sunday—the men of the two Native Infantry Regiments, I lth and 20th, assembled together inarmed and tumultuous bodies t'pon the parade ground. Several officers hurried from their quarters to endeavour to pacify them. Col. Finnis, of the II lb, was one of the first to arrive, and was the first victim of the outbreak. He was shot down while addressing a party of the 20th, which is said to have been the foremost regiment in the mutiny. Other officers fell with the Colonel or in the terrible moments that ensued, for the troopers of the 3rd Cavalry poured out ol iheir quarters to join the insurgent infantry; and the whole body, now thoroughly committed to the wildest excesses, rushed through the native linesof the cantonments, slaving, burning, and destroying. Every house was fired, andeviry English man, woman, or child, that fell in the way of the mutineers, was pitilessly massacred. Happily, however, many of the officers and their families—the great majority—had already escaped to the European lines, where they took refuge in the artillery school of instruction. Mr. Greathed, the Commissioner, and his wile were saved, it is said, by the fileliiy of their servants, who assured the assassins that their master and mistress had left their house, though they were at the time concealed in it. The mutineers set fire to the bungalow and passed on.
While the main body of the mutineers were thus destroying the houses in the native lines, some of their number pr ceeded to the gaol, broke it open, and released the prisoners of the 3rd Cavalry. Meanwhile the European portion of the Brigade was called out and marched down to the native lines. It consisted of the Carabineers, t'ie 1st Baitalion 60th Rifles, and Artillery, horse and foot. But they were loo late to save Hie or property, and, night falling fast, they were unable to inflict any serious loss on the insurgents, who abandoned the station and betook themselves to the open country. Some of them—probably a large body—made the best of their way down to Delhi, distant some forty miles.
The garrison of Delhi was entirely native. It consisted of three regiments of infantry—the 38lh, 5 lib, and 74th, and a company of one of the native battalions ol art lhry. On the arrival of the mutineers from Meerut the whole of the infantry lorce ran to arms, and forced the reluctant artillery to join them. The latter stipulated for the safety of their officers, all of whom accordingly have reached Meerut. The infantry showed no such good feeling, hut attacked their officers, though with different degrees of inveteiacy, the 38th being the worst. Then the insurgents ran riot through the city, which was entirely at their mercy, ami the bloody scenes of Meerut were reproduced in the streets of this ancient Mogul capital. How many English lives have here been lost will in all probability not be fully known till the day of retribution has arrived, and the place is again in our possession. Many are already known to have escaped, but it is feared to be only too certain that Mr. Fraser,the Commissioner, has fallen, and Capt. Douglas, Commandant of the Palace Guard, and Mr. Jennings, chaplain of the station, with his daughter and many others of all degrees, including Sir Theophilus Metcalfe :—
Killed at Meerut.—11th Regt. N.I.: Col. Finnis and Mrs. Chamhers. 20th Regt. N.I. : Capt., and Mrs. M'Donald, Capt. Taylor, Leut. Henderson, and Ensign Pallle. 3rd Light Cavalry: Lieut. MacNabh, Vet. Surgs. Phillips and Dawson, and Mrs. Dawson and children. 6 h Dragoons: 1 private (name unknown). Sappers and Miners; Capt. Fraser and Mr. Tregear, Inspector in the Educational Department.
Wounded at Meerut—6tli Dragoons: Two troopers. Artillery Recruits: 13. Artillery: Lieut.-Cnl. Hcigge. 3rd Light Cavalry: Dr. Christie.
Escaped from Delhi.—Mr. Le Bas, judge to Kuruaul or Umhallah; Brigadier Graves, do.: Capt. Nicoll, Brigade-Maj., do.; Dr. Balfour and Miss Smith, do.; Mr. Wagentrieber and family, do. Artillery : Capt. and Mrs. De Teissier and child to Meerut; Lieut. Wilson, do.; Lieut. Aislabie, do. Engineers : Lieut. Salkeld, to Meerut. 38th NJ.; Col. Knyvett, to Meerut; Capt. and Mrs. Tytler, to Kuruaul or Umhallah; Miss Hollings, do.; Mrs. Holland, do.; Ens. Gamhier, to Meerut; Lieut. Proctor, do.; Ens. Drummond, to Kurnaul or Umhallah ; Ens. Glubb, do. 54lh N.I. : Lieut O.Oiorn, to Meerut; Lieut Vibart, do. 74ih N.I.: Maj. Abbott, to Meerut; Capt. and Mrs. Wallace, do. ; Capt. and Mrs. Gordon, to Kurnaul or Umhallah ; Mrs. Batoon and children, do.; Ens. Mew, do.; Lieut Taylor, do. Lieut. Forest and family, Assist.-Commissary of Ordnance, to Meerut. Mrs. Hutchinson, C. S., to Meerut; Mrs. Fraser, Engineers, to Meerut. Mr. Marshall, merchant, to Meerut Two baitery Serjeants and families (names unknown), to Meerut. Mr. Murphy, do. Messrs. Thompson and Stewart (regt. unknown),to Kurnaul or Umhallah.
Having thus got rid of all the English in the city, the insurgents at once set up a king, in the person of the son of the late Mojul Emperor, and we have no certain news of what has transpired since.
But to revert to Meerut. On the evening of the 16th occurred the murder of Captain Fraser, whose name appears in the list. This officer was Commandant of the Bengal (Native) Sappers and Miners. He was marching down from the head-quarters of his corps at Roorkee to Meerut with a body ol his men. On reaching their destination the Sappers fell out among themselves, prohaMy in discussing the propriety of following the mutinous example that had been set them; and when their commanding officer attempted to compose their quarrel one of their number shot him through the head. They then broke and fled, but were pursued by parties of the Carabineers and 60th, and for the most part killed or captured. Since this occurrence Meerut has been tranquil. Fears being entertained that the Convent at S rdhana with its children's school might be attacked and devastated, a party was sent out from Meerut, which brought in all the nuns and children to a safe asylum at thesiation.
At Agra, as from its proximity to Delhi might be expected, public excitement at first ran high. But great as was the emergency, Mr. Colvin.the Lieut.Governor, proved himself equal to meet it. On the morning of the 14th, when the popular ferment was at its height and the wildest rumours were abroad, Mr. Colvin harangued the whole Brigade of the station, the European soldiers as well as the native, on the parade-ground. By all—no less by the two Native Regiments, the 44th and 67th, than by the European Artillery—his address was received with loud applause. Even after he had left the ground the cheering of the Sepoys continued long and loud. The effect of this happy speech was shortly felt throughout the whole of the city, which settled down again into a state of quiescence that has not again been disturbed. At Etawah, a station further down the Jumna, half a dozen of the mutinous 3rd Cavalry were cut to pieces by the police and a small party of the 9ta N.I. At Allyghur