Elements of Military Art and History: Comprising the History and Tactics of the Separate Arms, the Combination of the Arms, and the Minor Operations of War

By EDWARD DE LA BARRE DUPARCQ, Captain of Engineers in the Army of France, and Professor of the Military Art in the School of Saint-Cyr. Translated and edited by BRIGADIERGENERAL GEORGE W. CULLUM, Chief of Staff of the General-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States. 8vo. New York : D. Van Nostrand.
WAR has it’s science and its art. There is a domain of general principles, which have their application in all the active operations of war; and military science is but the sum of these principles in their theory and practice. The art of war deals more directly with the details and practical direction of military affairs, and abounds in rules of action, organization, and administration. Military science and art are equally the results of experience in war. Principles of strategy have grown out of the exercise of the highest military mind in weighing the general features of campaigns, and from the perceptive and logical recognition of those elements essential to success. The art of war has grown up as a body of practices, traditions, and rules, naturally resulting from the immense sum of experience in mllitary life and action among all nations. It is, indeed, so inwoven with military history that the two should be studied in connection. Military art is more mature than military science ; and in war, as in the practice of other professions and trades, definite and empirical rules for daily guidance, based mainly on practice, serve almost to exclude science and to keep it unprogressive. When, however, a Napoleonic mind becomes truly imbued with vital military principles, its most successful strokes may result from a bold disregard of rules under the lead of higher intelligence. But as military science is very imperfect, and as Hannibals, Fredericks, and Napoleons are not every-day products, it behooves lesser lights to study the art of war most conscientiously, in the hope of at least escaping the fatal category of blunders which crude officers are forever repeating.
The publication of a really good book on Military Art and History is, just now, a fortunate event, and its appearance two years since might have saved us much costly and mortifying experience. Enlightened men of all nations concede to the French school of soldiers and military authors a certain preeminence, due partly to the genius of the people and partly to the immense vital growth of war-craft under Napoleon. Barre Duparcq is one of the most favorably known among recent military writers in France. As an engineer officer and Professor of Military Art in the famous school of Saint-Cyr, he has been led to study fortification, military history, army-organization, and the art of war with a methodical thoroughness, which, besides other highly valued works, has given us its ripe fruit in the volume before us. If not the very best, this is certainly among the best of the numerous volumes devoted to this topic; and General Cullum’s judgment in selecting this work for translation is fully justified by the admirable system, clear and learned, but brief exposition, and entirely trustworthy quality, which even hasty readers must recognize. Could this book be put into the hands and heads of our numerous intelligent, but untrained officers, it would work a transformation supremely needed. It is lamentable to think how many precious lives and how much national honor have been thrown away from the lack of just that portion of military instruction which is here offered in a single volume. Though no one book can make an accomplished officer, we may say that no officer can read Duparcq’s Elements without positive advantage and real progress as a soldier. The topics treated, with constant illustration from history, are, the organization and functions of the four arms,infantry, cavalry, artillery, and engineers; organization of active armies; marches and battles ; outposts ; detachments ; armed reconnoissances; passage of rivers; convoys; partisans ; redoubts ; barricades ; heights ; roads; farms or houses; forages; defiles; villages; and field hygiene.
General Cullum is well known as one of the most proficient students of military science and art in our service, and is amply qualified to prepare an original textbook on this subject. That he should have found time to translate Duparcq’s work, amid his arduous and important services as General Halleck’s chief of staff and chief engineer during the remarkable Western campaign, shows an industry only to be explained by his intense realization of the need of a book like this, as an antidote to that deficient military instruction which has been so replete with bad results. The translation is a faithful and lucid rendering of the original, and the technical words and expressions are generally satisfactory equivalents of the French terms.
We venture to express the hope that this painful war will lead to a fresh and successful study of military science and art in relation to American campaign-elements, so that future contingencies can be more creditably met than was that which Secession suddenly precipitated on us.
Rejoinder to Mrs. Stowe’s Reply to the Address of the Women of England.
EMILY FAITHFULL, “printer and publisher in ordinary to Her Majesty,” has issued from the “ Victoria Press,” in London, a small pamphlet with the above title, written at the request of a committee of British women by Miss Frances Power Cobbe, author of “ Intuitive Morals.” As Mrs. Stowe’s “ Reply ” was first printed in this magazine, we here give the whole “ Rejoinder.”
“ THE following Address has been written with the belief that it embodies the general sentiments of English women on the subject of Slavery. It has been decided to seek no signatures on the present occasion, rather than repeat the vast undertaking of obtaining any number which should adequately correspond with the half-million names appended to the former Address.
“ MADAM, — You have asked of the women of England a solemn question. You have recalled the Address which half a million of us once sent you, appealing to our sisters in America to raise their voices against Slavery; and you demand, Where is now the spirit which dictated that appeal ? You quote the evidence of our press and our public speakers, that the righteous indignation against Slavery which once kindled in all English hearts has waned, if it have not died out; and you allege that we have been wanting in generous faith and sympathy for the North in her great struggle, and have even descended to afford countenance, if not assistance, to the South. You challenge us to account for this dereliction from our former ardent sentiments, and you ask wherefore it is that now, when the conflict has assumed its most terrible form, and the peaceful persuasions of philanthropists have been superseded by the shock of contending armies spreading desolation through your land, — now we stand afar off, viewing coldly that awful contest, and sending, instead of cheering words of sympathy and faith, only doubts and lamentations over a; fratricidal war/ and regrets partitioned with strange impartiality between the sufferers in the cause of free America, and those who have, in their own audacious words, ‘founded their commonwealth on the institution of Slavery.’ You retort our old appeal in the face of these things, and you say to us, ' Sisters, you have spoken well; we have heard you; we have heeded; we have striven in the cause, even unto death; we have sealed our devotion by desolate hearth and darkened homestead, — by the blood of sons, husbands, and brothers. In many of our dwellings the very light of our lives has gone out, and yet we accept the lifelong darkness as our own part in this great and awful expiation, by which the bonds of wickedness shall be loosed, and abiding peace established on the foundation of righteousness. Sisters, what have you done, and what do you mean to do ? In view of the decline of the noble antislavery fire in England, in view of all the facts and admissions recited from your own papers, we beg leave, in solemn sadness, to return to you your own words : — “ 'A common origin, a common faith, and, we sincerely believe, a common cause, urge us at the present moment to address you on the subject of the fearful encouragement and support which is being afforded by England to a slave-holding Confederacy. We appeal to you as sisters, as wives, as mothers, to raise your voices to your fellow-citizens, and your prayers to God, for the removal of this affliction and disgrace from the Christian world.’
“Madam, in answering this solemn appeal, we do not desire to detail the causes which may, in a measure, explain or palliate this failure in our national sympathy, whose existence (in so far as it is true) we profoundly deplore. Enough, and more than enough, debate has been already held on the complicated motives which have blended in your war, as in all other human concerns, and on the occasional acts of questionable spirit which must inevitably attend the public policy and sentiments of a nation engaged in deadliest conflict and bleeding at every pore. Somewhat you may perhaps forgive to those who have withheld their full sympathies, jealous that a most righteous cause should be maintained with any save the most untainted motives and the most unbending rectitude, and who have failed even yet to read in your policy the full desire to accomplish that end of universal emancipation whereto Providence is visibly directing the course of events. Somewhat, also, may he forgiven to those who have been misled by the misrepresentations of a portion of our press, and offended by the inimical spirit of your own. But, Madam, although many lips have been closed which ought to have spoken to you words of blessing, though the voice of England which has reached you has lacked that full tone of heartfelt sympathy you had justly anticipated, yet believe not that our nation is truly alienated from yours, or apostate to the great principles of freedom which were once our glory. The heart of England is sound at the core : Slavery is now and ever an abomination in our eyes ; nor has the dastard proposition to recognize the Confederate States failed to call forth indignant rejection, and that even with peculiar earnestness from those suffering operatives whose relief such a measure might have secured. It is to assure you of this, to vindicate ourselves from the shame of turning back in the hour of trial, — most foreign to our common Saxon race,—that we, the Women of England, offer you this response.
“ We do not less abhor Slavery now than when your eloquent words called out an echo of feeling throughout Europe, such as no other appeal for the wronged or the miserable ever produced. We abhor Slavery, judging it simply as human beings, and because of all the agonies and tortures it has occasioned. We abhor it, judging it especially as women, because of all the unspeakable wrongs, the hideous degradation, it has inflicted on our sex. But we abhor it not only because of these its results, nor with a hatred which would he withdrawn, were they disputable now or remediable hereafter. We abhor Slavery for itself, and for its own enormous iniquity, — even the robbing from a human being of that freedom which it was the supreme gift of Omnipotence to bestow. We hold, that, were it in the power of the slaveholder to make his slaves absolutely happy, Slavery would not less be an injustice and a crime. Happiness is not to be measured against freedom, else would God have left us brutes, not men, and spared us all the sorrows of struggling humanity. And whereas it has been argued that the negro is of a race inferior to his master, and that therefore it is justifiable to enslave him, we reply, that the right to freedom is not founded on the equality of the holder to any other human being, else were every white man also lawfully to be enslaved by every other stronger or wiser than himself. But the right to freedom is founded simply and solely on the moral nature wherewith God has endowed every man and woman of the human race, enabling them, by its use, to attain to that virtue which is the end of their creation. And whereas others, again, have defended Slavery on the grounds of the supposed Divine sanction to be found for it in the Scriptures, we reply, that we deplore the condition of those whose religion can lend itself to the task of seeking to appeal to God for the permission of an institution which the consciences He has made unequivocally loathe and condemn. Nor shall we hesitate to stigmatize such an appeal as hypocrisy, until the theologians who make it advance a step farther, and tell us that they are prepared to represent Jesus of Nazareth as one who, in fitting time and place, might have been a purchaser and a master of slaves. Thus, Madam, do we still condemn and abhor Slavery, as we have ever done, as in itself, and in its own nature, utterly evil and utterly indefensible ; and we consider its vast and terrible results of cruelty and immorality to be only the natural fruit of so stupendous a wrong.
“We have not withheld from your nation either the tribute of admiration for the vast sacrifices you have made, or of sympathy for the bereavements and sufferings you have endured. But the expression of such admiration and sympathy from the truest hearts among us has been almost silenced by the solemn joy wherewith we have beheld your country purging herself, even through seas of blood, for her guilty participation in the crimes of the past, and preparing for herself the stainless future of ‘a land wherein dwelleth righteousness.' We have rejoiced in the midst of sorrow to know that the doom of Slavery was written by a Divine Hand, even from the hour when its upholders dared to believe it possible in the face of Heaven to build up a State upon an injustice. We have looked with awe struck consciences to this great revelation of the moral laws which govern the nations of the earth, and show to men who sought for God in the records of distant ages that the Living Lord still rules on high, and is working out even before our eyes the delivery of the captive and the punishment of the oppressor. The greatest national sin of Christian times has wrought the greatest national overthrow. The hidden evil of the land, which long smouldered underground, has blazed forth at last like a volcano, bursting in sunder the most solid of human institutions, and pouring the lava-streams of ruin and desolation even to the remotest shores where the spoil of guilt had been partaken. But while we behold with awe, in the present calamity, the manifestation of Supreme Justice, we look with confident hope to the final issue to which it must lead. In whatever mode that end may be brought out, and through whatever struggles America may yet be doomed to pass, we are assured that only one termination can await a conflict between a nation which has abjured its complicity with crime and a confederation which exists but to perpetuate that crime forever. It is not now, in the presence of the events of the last three years, that we shall be tempted to fear that Wrong and Robbery, and the systematic degradation of woman, may possibly prove to be principles of stability, capable of producing the security and consolidation of a commonwealth ! Your courage in this Titanic strife, — the lavish devotion with which the best blood of your land has been poured out on the field, and the tears of childless mothers shed in homes never before visited by the sorrows of war, — the patriotic generosity with which your treasures have been cast into the gulf opened suddenly in your busy and prosperous land, even as of old in the forum of ancient Rome,— these noble acts of yours inspire with confidence in you, no less than pride in the indomitable energies of our common race. But above your valor and your patriotism, we look with still higher hope to those moral laws whose vindication is involved in the issue of the conflict; and we feel assured, that, while for the Slave-Power the future can hold no possibility of enduring prosperity, for Free America it promises the regeneration of a higher and holier national existence, when the one great blot which marred the glory of the past shall have been expiated and effaced forever.
“ This, Madam, is the belief and these are the hopes of thousands of Englishmen. They are, we are persuaded, even more universally the belief and hopes of the Women of England, whose hearts the complicated difficulties of politics and the miserable jealousies of national rivalry do not distract from the great principles underlying the contest. The failure of English sympathy whereof you complain is but partial at the most, and for that partial failure we deeply and sorrowfully grieve. But the nation at large is still true; and wherever it has been possible to learn the feelings of the great masses, no lack of ardent feeling has ever been found in Eng-, land for the Northern cause. Though senseless words and inhuman jests have been bandied across the Atlantic, yet we are assured that in the heart of both our nations survives unchanged that kindred regard and respect whose property it is, above other human feelings, to be indestructible. At this hour of your own greatest need and direful struggle,— at this hour, when a pirate from our ports is ravaging your shores, as you believe (albeit erroneously) with our guilty connivance,— at this very hour you have come forward with noblest generosity, and sent us the rich vessel which has brought food to our starving people. The Griswold has been your answer to the Alabama. It is a magnanimous, a sublime one; and English hearts are not too cold to read it aright, or to cherish through all future time the memory thereof. Scorn and hate are transient and evanescent things; charity and love have in them the elements of immortality.
“ Madam, we answer your Appeal by this rejoinder, and send this message through your honored hands to our sisters in America : Our hearts are with you in unchanged sympathy for your holy cause, in undying abhorrence of Slavery, in profound sorrow for your present afflictions, and in firmest faith in the final overthrow of that unrighteous Power whose corner-stone is an injustice and a crime.