Every operation requires a time fixed for its commencement, a period and place for its execution,
The points of inherent importance in the conduct of a campaign,—time, place, secrecy, code of signals, agents, and method.
secrecy, definite signals, persons by whom and
with whom it is to be executed, and a settled plan
for conducting it. It is evident that the man
who has rightly provided for each of these details
will not fail in the ultimate result, while he who
has neglected any single one of them will fail in
the whole. Such is the order of nature, that one insignificant
circumstance will suffice for failure, while for success rigid
perfection of every detail is barely enough.
Leaders then should neglect no single point in conducting
Now the head and front of such precautions is silence; and
Things necessary. 1. Silence.
not to allow either joy at the appearance of an
unexpected hope, or fear, or familiarity, or
natural affection, to induce a man to communicate his plans to any one unconcerned, but to impart it
to those and those alone without whom it is impossible to
complete his plan; and not even to them a moment sooner
than necessary, but only when the exigencies of the particular
service make it inevitable. It is necessary, moreover, not only
to be silent with the tongue, but much more so in the mind.
For it has happened to many generals before now, while
preserving an inviolable silence, to betray their thoughts
either by the expression of their countenances or by their
The second requisite is to know accurately the conditions
2. Knowledge of the capabilities of the force in moving.
under which marches by day or night may be
performed, and the distances to which they can
extend; and not only marches on land, but also
voyages by sea.
The third and most important is to have some knowledge
of the seasons, and to be able to adapt the design to them.
Nor again is the selection of the ground for the operation
to be regarded as unimportant, since it often happens that it
is this which makes what seems impossible possible, and what
seemed possible impossible.
Finally there must be no neglect of the
3. Care in concerting signals. 4. Care in selecting men.
subject of signals and counter signals; and the
choice of persons by whom and with whom the
operation is to be carried out.