Duties of officers.
--From the little tract "On the Principles and Maxims of War," lately issued under the approval of Gen. Beauregard
, we take the following directions, which we commend to the special attention of all officers who wish to discharge their duties faithfully:
When an officer is on active service in the field, everything connected with the daily life of his men should be an object of constant attention; no detail is beneath him. He must not think the arms and ammunition his most important charge, and that if they be in fighting order he need not trouble himself much about the rest.
The arms are the fighting weapons, but the soldier is the machine which wields them; and it is to him — to clothing his back, and feeding his belly, and looking after his health and comfort — that the great attention is due. The arms and ammunition must of course be always in perfect order; but they are only required when in contact with an enemy.
The natural condition of soldier on service is the line of march.
He will have at least twenty days marching to one of fighting; and he has to be preserved in health and comfort during these twenty days, otherwise his musket and pouch would do small service on the twenty-first day.
An officer should go among his men, and himself look after their comfort.
No fear of their losing respect for him because be does so. At the end of a march, he should never feel at liberty to attend to his own wants until he has seen his men engaged is cooking their meals.
The rapidity with which a regiment has its fires lighted after a march, and meals cooked, may be regarded as a test of the attention paid by the officers to the comfort of their men.
Similarly before a march, an officer should take care that none of his men leave their encampment or bivouac without as good a meal as circumstances permit.
As regards equipments for the field, an officer must have as few wants as possible, and he should carefully study the art of putting up the articles it is necessary he should possess in the smallest possible compass.
The line of march must be considered as the natural condition of a soldier, and everything regulated with that view.
An officer charged with the arrangement of any military movement or operation, should on no account trust to the intelligence of subordinates who are to execute it. He should anticipate and provide against every misconception or stupidity it is possible to forces, and give all the minute directions he would think necessary if he knew the officer charged with the execution of the operation to be the most stupid of mankind.