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At first sight the proposition may ap- tending to promote celerity and decisive. pear startling
and indeed absurd ; yet hard ness in the result of campaigns—the revofacts, I venture to believe, will enforce the lution in swiftness of shooting and length conviction on unprejudiced minds that the of range of firearms, the development in warfare of the present when contrasted the science of gunnery, the increased dewith the warfare of the past is dilatory, votion to military study, the vast additions ineffective, and inconclusive.
to the military strength of the nations, Present, or contemporary warfare may looking to the facilities for rapid conveybe taken to date from the general adoption ance of troops and transportation of supof rifled firearms ; the warfare of the past plies afforded by railways and steam watermay fairly be limited, for purposes of carriage, to the intensified artillery fire coinparison or contrast, to the smooth- that can now be brought to bear on bore era ; indeed, for those purposes there fortresses, to the manifold advantages is no need to go outside the present cen- afforded by the electric telegraph, and to tury. Roughly speaking, the first five and the crushing cost of warfare, urging vigora half decades of the century were ous exertions toward the speedy decision smooth-bore decades ; the three and a half of campaigns—reviewing, I say, the thoulater decades have been rifled decades, of sand and one circumstances encouraging which about two and a half decades con- to short, sharp, and decisive action in stitute the breechloading period. Consid- contemporary warfare, it is a strange and ering the extraordinary advances since the bewildering fact that the wars of the end of the smooth-bore era in everything smooth-bore era were, for the most part, NBW SERIES. —VOL, LIV., No. 1,
shorter, sharper, and
decisive. more decisive-the campaign of 1866, or Spite of inferiority of weapons, the battles the campaign of 1806 ? of that period were bloodier, and it is a The Franco-German war is generally remathematically demonstrable proposition garded as an exceptionally effective perthat the heavier the slaughter of comba- formance on the part of the Germans. tants, the nearer must be the end of a war. The first German force entered France There is no pursuit now after victory won, on the 4th of August, 1870. Paris was and the vanquished draws off shaken but invested on the 21st of September, the not broken ; in the smooth-bore era a vig- German armies having fought five great orous pursuit scattered him to the four battles and several serious actions between winds. When Wellington in the Peninsula the frontier and the French capital. An wanted a fortress, and being in a hurry armistice which was not conclusive, since could not wait the result of a formal siege it allowed the siege of Belfort to proceed or a starvation blockade, he carried it by and Bourbaki's army to be free to attempt storm. No fortress is ever stormed now, raising it, was signed at Versailles on the no matter how urgent the need for its re- 28th of January, 1871, but the actual conduction, no matter how obsolete its de- clusion of hostilities dates from the 16th fences. The Germans in 1871 did at- of February, the day on which Belfort tempt to carry by assault an outwork of surrendered. The Franco-German war, Belfort, but failed utterly. It would therefore, lasted six and a balf months. almost seem that in the matter of forlorn The Germans were in full preparedness, hopes the Caucasian is played out. except that their rifle was inferior to the
Assertions are easy, but they go for lit- French chassepot; they were in overtle unless they can be proved ; some ex- whelmingly superior numerical strength in amples, therefore, may be cited in support every encounter save one with French regof the contentions advanced above. The ular troops, and they had on their banneis Prussians are proud, and with justice, of the prestige of Sadowa. Their adversaries what is known as the “Seven Weeks were utterly unready for a great struggle ; War,” although as a matter of fact the the French army was in a wretched state contest with Austria did not last so long, in every sense of the word ; indeed, after for Prince Frederick Charles crossed the Sedan there remained hardly any regulars Bohemian frontier on the 23d of June, able to take the field. In August 1805 and the armistice which ended hostilities Napoleon's Grande Armée was at Boulogne was signed at Nikolsburg on the 22d of looking across to the British Shores. July. The Prussian armies were stronger Those inaccessible, he promptly altered than their opponents by more than one- his plans and went against Austria. Mack fourth, and they were armed with the with 84,000 Aust soldiers was at Ulm, needle gun against the Austrian muzzle. waiting for the expected Russian army of loading rifle. When the armistice was co-operation, and meantime covering the signed, the Prussians lay on the March- valley of the Danube. Napoleon crossed feld within dim sight of the Stephanien
the Rhine on the 26th of Septeniber. Thurm, it is true, but with the strong and Just as in 1870 the Germans on the plaius strongly armed and bud lines of Floris- of Mars la Tour thrust themselves between dorf, the Danube, and the army of the Bazaine and the rest of France, so Archduke Albrecht between them and the Napoleon turned Mack, and from DonauAustrian capital. On the 9th of October, wörth to Ingolstadt stood between him 1806, Napoleon crossed the Saale. On and Austria. Mack capitulated Ulm and the 14th at Jena he smashed Hohenlohe's his army on the 19th of October, and NaPrussian army, the contending hosts being poleon was in Vienna on the 13th of Noabout equal strength ; on the same day vember. Although he possessed the Davoust at Auerstadt with 27,000 men Austrian capital, he was not, however, routed Brunswick's command over 50,000 master of the Austrian empire. The latter strong. On the 25th of October Napoleon result did not fall to himn until the 2d of entered Berlin, the war virtually over December, when, under “the sun of and all Prussia at his feet with the excep- Austerlitz,” he with 73,000 men defeated tion of a few fortresses, the last of which the Austro-Russian army 85,000 strong, fell on the 8th of November. Which was inflicting on it a loss of 30,000 men at the the swifter, the more brilliant, and the cost of 12,000 of his own soldiers hors de combat. It took the Germans in 1870 a tinue until the Greek kalends. In less month and a half to get from the frontier time than that Gourko and Skobeleff unto outside Paris ; just in the same time, dertook to finish the business ; by the although certainly not with so severe fight- vigor with which they forced their way ing by the way, but nearly twice as long a across the Balkans in the heart of the bitmarch, Napoleon moved from the Rhine ter winter, Sophia, Philippopolis, and to inside Vienna. From the active coni- Adrianople fell into Russian hands; and mencement to the cessation of hostilities the Russian troops had been halted some the Franco-German war lasted six and a time almost in face of Constantinople, half months ; reckoning from the crossing when the treaty of San Stephano was of the Rhine to the evening of Austerlitz, signed on the 3d of March, 1878. It had Napoleon subjugated Austria in two and a taken the Russians of 1877–78 eight quarter months.
Perhaps, however, bis weary months to cover the distance becampaign of 1809 against Austria furnishes tween the Danube and the Marmora. But a more exact parallel with the campaign of fifty years earlier a Russian general had the Germans in 1870–71. He assumed marched from the Danube to the Ægean command on the 17th of April, having in three and a half months, nor was his burried from Spain. He defeated the journey by any means a smooth and bloodAnstrians four times in as many days, at less one. Diebitch crossed the Danube in Thann, Landshut, Eckmuhl and Regens. May 1828, and besieged Silistria from the burg ; and he was in Vienna on the 13th 17th of May until the 1st of July. of May. Baulked at Aspern and Esslin- Silistria has undergone three resolute sieges gen, he gained his point at Wagrain the during the century; it succumbed but 5th of July, and hostilities ceased after once, and then to Diebitch. Pressing lasting under his command for a period of south immediately, he worsted the Turktwo and a half months.
ish Grand Vizier in the fierce battle of The Russians have a reputation for good Kuleutscha, and then by diverse routes marching, and certainly Suvaroffmade hurried down into the great Roumelian good time in his long march from Russia valley. Adrianople made no resistance, to Northern Italy_in 1799 ; almost as and although his force was attenuated by good, indeed, as Bagration and Barclay hardship and disease, when the Turkish de Tolly made in falling back before Na- diplomatists procrastinated the audacious poleon when he invaded Russia in 1812. and gallant Diebitch marched his thin regBut they have not improved either in iments forward toward Constantinople. marching or in fighting at all com- They had traversed on a wide front half mensurately with the improved appliances. the distance between Adrianople and the In 1877, after dawdling two months, they capital, when the dilatory Turkish crossed the Danube on the 21st to the 27th negotiators saw fit to imitate the coon and of June. Osman Pasha, at Plevna, gave
Whether they would have them pause until the 10th of December, done so had they known the weakness of at which date they were not so far into Diebitch may be questioned ; but again it Bulgaria as they had been five months pre- may be questioned whether, that weakness viously. After the fall of Plevna the unknown, he could not have occupied Russian armies would have gone into win- Constantinople on the swagger. Ilis master quarters, but for a private quasi-ulti- ter was prepared promptly to reinforce matum communicated to the Tzar from a him ; Constantinople was, perhaps, nearer high source in England to the effect that its fall in 1828 than in 1878, and certainly unpleasant consequences could not be Diebitch was much smarter than were the guaranteed against, if the war was not Grand Duke Nicholas, his fossil Nepofinished in one campaign. Alexander, koitschitsky, and his pure theorist Levitwho was quite an astute man in his way, sky. was temporarily enraged by this restric- The contrast between the character of tion, but, recovering his calmness, our own contemporary military operations realized that nowhere in war books is any and that of those of the smooth-bore era particular time specified for the termina- is very strongly marked. In 1838–39 tion or duration of a campaign. It ap- Keane marched an Anglo-Indian army peared that so long as an army keeps the from our frontier at Ferozepore over Canfield uninterruptedly a campaign may con- dahar to Cabul, without experiencing any