Military Institutions-- By Duke
Trans from the Paris
edition (1859) and by biographical historical and military notes.
With a new version of celebrated part I. of Treatise on Grand Military Operations.
By Frank Colonel
92d Regiment of Mississippi
Columbia S. C. Evans
A bock of this character, setting forth the general them of the art military, suggesting the best methods of organising, forming maintaining armies, describing the various operations of war, and discussing its principles and practice with the calmness and sobriety of the philosopher, has long in the Confederacy
— That this work fully answers the desired purpose we know too little of military matters to affirm.
Yet he must be a poor soldier, indeed, who does not see, upon even a slight persual, that it abounds in practical suggestions, of great value to all classes of military men.
The translator we take to be, from his name, an adopted son of the Confederacy
, and the impression is confirmed by the frequent occurrence of certain expressions in the translated text, which by a too faithful difference to the original French
, have a ten to French fly the English Version
We constantly meet with expressions like these well to my long enjoin at the the camp where, for more than a year, I have
occupied, &c." Strike out "have been
" and insert "was
." The form here adopted to express time would be good in French
, but in English
It is constantly occurring in Millord
's History of Greece
, which, although a work of great power and is a proverb for its bad English Webster
, who was a good grammarian though a bad speller, says very justly, when speaking of the use of this very expression, "the tense he was,
he is not properly called the imperfect
These verbs, and all verbs of this time, denote actions, finished
As in six days God created.
" (not has created observe) "the heavens and the earth."--This of the perfect tense of the verb occurs very many times, and is We hope it will be in future editions.
that the battle was not lost
in the beginning,"&c. Here is more bad --the result of translating too literally it should be, "I prevented the battle from
There are a few other little errors to which we would call the attention of the translator "in 1805 the French
army, after the fine march from the shores of La Mancha
," &c. La Mancha is a province of Old Castile, and several hundred miles distant from Boulogne
, which was the starting point of the army, to say nothing of its being in a country not belonging to France
, no doubt, wrote La Mancha.
--"Manche," in French
, means "a sleeve." The French
call the English Channel
"La Manche," "the sleeve," from its fancled resemblance, on the map, to that part of a lady's gown.
of La Manche is on the channel, and is called after it. It is a province of what was formerly called Normandy
, and is really the country from which the French
army began its march in 1865.
This might have been a type graphical error,--we suppose indeed it was — but it is a very serious error.
The translator tells us that the battle of Borodino
was fought on the 6th September, 1812. It was fought on the 7th September, 1812. "On the day preceding the battle
a strong advanced work had been carried by the French
with considerable daughter." The redoubt of Schwardino — which we presume is the "advance work" here alluded to was carried on the 5th September two
days preceding the battle of Borodino
These are but small blemishes, it is true; but in as much as they indicate baste and carelessness in the translator, they call for the notice, of the press.
We do not mean by any means to detract from the value of his original remarks.
Some of them — especially those concerning the Confederate cavalry--deserve, and we hope will receive, the serious attention of the proper department.--Upon the whole we like Mr. Schaller
much better in his character of author, than in his character of translator.
He does ample justice to our Great Generals, Jackson
But there is another still alive whose name is scarcely alluded to, and who, it seems to us, can be passed over in a book illustrative of Confederate glory, with fully as much propriety as Washington
's name could be omitted in a history of the American Revolution
, and not one bit more.
We need not name the person to whom we allude.
In the text itself there are doubtless many suggestions of value to the military man, especially upon the subject of artillery, which was Marmont
But its character is rendered suspicious by a prevailing and pervading taint — the desire to underrate and detract from the talents and time of Napoleon
, his benefactor, whom he first betrayed and afterwards vilified, and by whom he was denounced as a traitor in a proclamation.
He could hardly write a book upon the subject of war without bringing in the name of the greatest of all warriors; yet we are told that it was a defect in his military training, that he had not been a colonel in actual command of a regiment,
which advantage, it seems, he himself had enjoyed, and the enjoyment of which he would no doubt have us to infer had made him no superior to his master that after 1809 he was not the same that he had been, that his military skill had deteriorated that he no longer thought of obtaining victory by any other means than by brave force, that Segur
, the renegade, gave the best account of the battle of Borodino
in a book evidently written to curry favor with the Russians, &c. In this spirit he blames Napoleon
for not giving his Guard at Borodino
at a time when, Segur
says, it would have insured the rout and destruction of the whole Russian
army, overlooking entirely the overwhelming reply of Gourgaud upon that subject, and the answer of Napoleon
himself, who did not think that the critical time had arrived. "Suppose I have to fight another battle to-morrow, what shall I do if my reserve be destroyed to-day?" What rejoinder could he make to such an answer, conveying as it did a full picture of the situation his belief that the Russians were not at that moment so badly beaten that they would not offer a furious resistance, killing and disabling a vast number of the Guard; the distance from his reserves allowing of no reinforcements, and his conviction that the victory could not be rendered so complete as to dispense with the necessity of fighting another battle?
Another objection, that he did not the day before the battle send a heavy force around one of the Russian
wings, was also answered by him on the field, when Davoust
offered to conduct it with his corps of 40,000 men. His objection was that Davoust
would necessarily pose communication with the main body, and thus expose himself to destruction.--This was consistent with all his practice.--In order to units
all his forces in 1869 before attacking the enemy in the neighborhood of Ratisbon
, he made this same Davonat evacuate that city, and bring his force to his on the flank of the Archduke
He accomplished it with great difficulty, and the whole force was united.
Now, it seems, when the whole army was already united, Napoleon
was to send off one-third of it, and thus expose himself to attack in detail.--Such, at least, was the opinion of Segur
, and of Marment, too. The policy which, on a former occasion, had secured the most triumphant success was to be reversed on this, when concentration was more necessary than it ever had been.
To his own criticism of the conduct of Napoleon
on this occasion Marmont
himself offers the best answer.
He had just been speaking of Macdonald
's defeat by Blucher
at the Katsbach in 1813.
It was a case directly in point.
, the day before the battle, detached a large force to turn Blucher
took advantage of its absence, attacked Macdonald
, annihilated his army, and thus completed the first act of the tragedy that found its denouement
and its result in Napoleon
This is what Marmont
says of it:
"Nothing is more dangerous than to make a large detachment before a battle has been fought, a victory achieved, and a decided advantage obtained over the enemy.
"The execution of this hazardous requires that the army have a sufficient superiority to assure great probabilities of victory, and that concentrated forces be never weakened beyond the strength of the enemy."
, according to his own account, had at Borodino
120,000 men. The Russians
had, according to the book of one of their Generals
, (we forget his name,) published a few years ago, and said to be the best Russian
So that here is the very case in which, according to Marmont
would not have been excusable had he weakened his concentrated forces.
Was ever man more fully convicted out of his own month?
We place no confidence in what Marmont
says about his own operations, especially those in Spain
As for the battle of Salamanca
, for the loss of which he attempts to excuse himself by a wound which he received an hour before it commenced, the manœuvre which lost it was ordered by him before he received his wound, and he was superintending it at the time.
That manœuvre brought on the battle, as well as decided it against him. It was the very same which had lost Frederick the battle of Colin, and the Russians and Austrians the battle of Austerlitz
, in which last Marmont
It was an attempt to make a flank march in the face of an enemy already in position.
It was a gross blunder of his own, and resulted in an overwhelming defeat.
saw the blunder, and attacked him while he was perpetrating it.--But for that blunder he would not have been attacked.
Clausel saved the army, which his stupidity had nearly destroyed.
One month before the battle Napoleon
, at Dresden
, on his way to Russia
, having in his hand the map of the country and the last dispatch of Marmont
, saw from the tenor of the latter that he must inevitably he beaten, and wrote to the Minister
of War at Faris
, directing, him to send 20,000 men to Bayonne
, to remedy the disaster which he foresaw.--After his defeat he was removed, and then commenced his life-long hatred of his benefactor.
Nevertheless, this book, apart from what personally concerns Marmont
himself and Napoleon
, the object of his hatred, is no doubt, as we have said, valuable to the military man.