few nations, if any, in the world, would have been able to accomplish what the people of this great country have done.
Within three or four months, an army larger than that possessed by any of the great powers of Europe
has been raised, armed, equipped, drilled, and put in the field.
Men of all classes, rich and poor, have entered the ranks; and there is scarcely any quiet occupation which has not furnished its share of officers and privates.
The merchant and the lawyer, yesterday at their desks, to-day command regiments and armies.
If we can only admire this great national movement and the patriotism which has caused it, we may perhaps be allowed to make a few observations the importance of which every intelligent officer will admit.
Bravery is a national virtue of the American
, and we certainly do not doubt that of the officers of the great army; but bravery is not sufficient to gain victories.
War is a science, and a difficult one.
History is full of examples of the weak defeating the strong by superiority of knowledge in conducting troops.
In drilling, we learn but the figures which troops may form; but we do not learn their application: therefore every officer should know the great principles of war, which will teach him how to approach the enemy, and, when in his presence, how to apply the figures of the drill.
I have undertaken, in this little work, to give a clear and precise idea of the great maxims of war. It was written for the citizen soldier and officer.
To show the application of the principles, I have given several examples fully developed.
My intention was not to write anything new, nor to give a learned dissertation on military matters, but simply to fill up the void that exists, by a popular work treating those military matters, of easy understanding even to the civilian who has never before been connected with military occupations.
The professed officer who takes this book in hand must, therefore, excuse, if it does not realize his ideas of a precise treatise on the art of war. Those who wish to instruct themselves more fully in the art of conducting troops must consult other and more special works.