Intelligence against brute force.
There prevailed of old — in Europe
, at least — an opinion that the greater scoundrel a man was, and the less brains he had, the better soldier he made.
was of this way of thinking, and he expressed it very strongly, upon one occasion, in the House of Lords.
's armies in India
had all been raised by the old-fashioned mode of enlistment.
They were generally, of course, ignorant, stupid and broken-down desperadoes, as any man must have been who would have subjected himself to the discipline of a British army such as it was at that time, for sixpence a day. They fought with great gallantry, and were almost always victorious.
Of course, it was natural enough for the Duke
to draw the conclusion he did.
The war of the Crimea, however, completely upset this theory, based, as it was, upon the idea that a man fought the better for having nothing to hope for in this world.
‘"A man may fight none the worse for having said his prayers before going into battle,"’ said old Allen
, in the novel of ‘"Old Mortality.
"’--The Crimean war proves the veteran's theory to be correct.
The British troops on that occasion were of a condition far superior, socially and intellectually, to any that had taken the field since the introduction of standing armies.
It is true, they had no Marlborough
and no Wellington
to command them, and that therefore we hear of no Blenheim
and no Waterloo
But the individual British soldier fought better than he ever did, and he was far more enlightened, far more polished, and a far better member of society than his predecessor, who made the fame and the fortunes of the illustrious chiefs we have just named.
The incidents of the present war tend more than anything that has heretofore occurred, to confirm the truth established by the results of the war in the Crimea.
claim to be of the same stock with ourselves.
Their armies are made up of city rowdies, brutalized and desperate — country clowns, ignorant and half savages — starving tradesmen and mechanics — and the off-scourings of the jails and manufactories.
Our own, are the very cream of the land, intelligent, active, high-spirited, and, in general, possessed of high moral qualities and social consideration.
In every conflict where the proportion has not been more than four to one, we have beaten them, and shall continue to beat them.
So much for intelligent valor against brute force.
It has been said that Gen. McClellan
has expressed the opinion that this war is to be decided by artillery, and that, acting upon this idea, he is filling the city of Washington
with rifled cannon.
Enough has already occurred, however, to show that the most perfect weapons in ineffective hands are of no avail against educated courage, and that the educated and intelligent cannoneer possesses an advantage over the trained hireling which years of drilling cannot compensate.
Take an example Gen. Magruder
's whole force of artillery at the battle of Bethel
consisted of Brown
's and Stanard
's batteries of howitzers, seven pieces in all. It may be doubted whether the world ever witnessed such a cannonade.
There certainly never had been up to that time anything like it on this Continent.
So tremendous was it that Butler
, in his dispatch to Scott
, says that Magruder
had twenty-five pieces of cannon.
A West Point
officer, now in the provisional army of Virginia
, a man of intelligence and information, particularly upon the subject of artillery, rode over the ground a few days after the fight, and, judging from the signs still existing, pronounced it to have been astounding, and doubted whether there had ever been anything approaching it. Novo Stanard
's battery had practiced a few days at Chimborazo
with blank cartridges, but had never fired a shot.
's battery had fired ten or twelve shots from Gloucester Point
at a steamer attempting to pass up the river, but had never practiced with blank cartridges.
They were, therefore, emphatically raw troops.
Yet, while the enemy's artillery failed to do the slightest damage to men or breastworks, the Howitzers scarcely threw away a shot.
What was the cause of this vast disparity?
To us, it is plain enough.
The Howitzers are a body of highly intelligent, highly educated young men — the very flower of what our enemies tauntingly call the F. F. V's. The opposing cannoniers were mere ignorant mercenaries — regulars of the U. S. Army--without education, without ideas, and without enlightenment of any kind.
So much, once again for the superiority of mind over matter.
Our theory is still further strengthened by the magnificent performances of the Washington Artillery in the late battles.
They were comparatively raw, and yet the most famous batteries of the old mercenaries sunk beneath their fire.
It is in vain, then, for Gen. McClellan
to accumulate rifled guns, unless he can command the educated valor that is to direct them.