Chapter 4: Logistics.—Subsistence.—Forage.—Marches.—Convoys.—Castrametation
We have defined logistics
to be that branch of the military art which embraces all the practical details of moving and supplying armies.
The term is derived from the title of a French general officer, (major-general des logis
,) who was formerly charged with directing the marches, encampments, and lodging of the troops.
It has been still further extended by recent military writers, and many of them now regard logistics as a distinct and important branch of the art.
We shall here consider logistics as including the military duties ordinarily attributed to the pay, subsistence, clothing, medical, hospital, and transportation departments; in fine, of all the civil and civico-military corps of the army.
We shall therefore discuss under this head, the preparation of all the necessary materials for fitting out troops for a campaign and for putting them in motion; the regulating of marches, convoys, the means of transport for provisions, hospitals, munitions, and supplies of all kinds; the preparation and protection of magazines; the laying out of camps and cantonments; in fine, every thing connected with preparing, moving, and guarding the impedimenta
of an army.
The officers connected with this branch of service must consult with the engineers in every thing relating to the defence of their depots, magazines, camps, cantonments, communications, and the passage of rivers, and in all that relates to their connection with the attack and defence of places: but in all that relates to strategy and
tactics they must receive instructions directly from the chief of the staff of the army, who will have the general direction of every thing connected with logistics.
Before commencing the operations of the campaign, or beginning the execution of the plans decided upon at Headquarters
, this officer should satisfy himself respecting the condition of the various materials belonging to the different departments of the army;--the horses and horse equipments, carriages, caissons, ponton and artillery equipages, siege equipages, moveable hospitals, engineer and artillery utensils, clothing, and munitions of all kinds; he must supply whatever may be wanting, and provide means for the transportation of every thing.
.--The art of subsisting troops during active operations in a hostile country, is one of the most difficult subjects connected with war; and it is a question well worthy of study, both for the statesman and the warrior, how Darius and Xerxes
, Philip and Alexander
, in ancient times — and the Greek emperors and the barbarians — and, later still, the crusaders of the middle ages, contrived to support the immense masses of men which they led to war.
has said that war should be made to support war; and some modern generals have acted upon this principle to the extreme of supporting their armies entirely at the expense of the country passed over.
Others have adopted either in part or entirely the principle of regular magazines.
and Frederick II.
fought mostly on their own frontiers, and followed the system of regular depots and supplies.
But the revolutionary armies of France
made war without magazines, subsisting, sometimes on the inhabitants, sometimes by requisitions levied on the country passed over, and at others by pillage and marauding.
found little difficulty in supporting an
army of a hundred or a hundred and twenty thousand men in Italy
, Suabia, and on the rich borders of the Rhine
and the Danube
; but in Spain
, and Russia
, the subject of subsistence became one of extreme embarrassment.
All depots of provisions and other supplies for an army are denominated magazines
; these are divided into principal, secondary
, and provisional
. The first are usually on the base of operations; the second, on the line of operations; and the last in the immediate vicinity of the troops, and contain supplies for a few days only.
The system of magazines
is objected to by some, because it fetters the movements of an army, and makes its military operations subordinate to the means of supply.
Moreover, as the movements of an army must be so arranged as to cover these magazines, their establishment at given points reveals to the enemy our plan of campaign.
On the other hand, the system of requisitions
, either for immediate supplies or for secondary magazines, gives far greater velocity and impetuosity to an active army; and if it be so regulated as to repress pillage, and be levied.
with uniformity and moderation, it may be relied on with safety in well-cultivated countries; but in more barren and less populous districts, an army without magazines, especially in case of a prolonged stay or a forced retreat, will be exposed to great suffering and loss, if not to total destruction.
Before commencing a campaign the general should make himself acquainted with all the resources of the country to be passed over — determine the amount of supplies which it may be necessary to take with him, and the amount that can be obtained by requisitions; these requisitions being levied in a uniform and legal manner, and through the existing local authorities.
In great wars of invasion it is sometimes impracticable, at least for a time, to provide for the immense forces placed on foot, by any regular system of magazines or of ordinary requisitions: in such cases their subsistence is entirely intrusted to the troops themselves, who levy contributions wherever they pass.
The inevitable consequences of this system are universal pillage and a total relaxation of discipline; the loss of private property and the violation of individual rights, are followed by the massacre of all straggling parties, and the ordinary peaceful and non-combatant inhabitants are converted into bitter and implacable enemies.
In this connection the war in the Spanish
peninsula is well worthy of study.
At the beginning of this war Napoleon
had to choose between methodical operations, with provisions carried in the train of his army, or purchased of the inhabitants and regularly paid for; and irregular warfare, with forced requisitions.--war being made to support war. The question was thoroughly discussed.
On the one hand, by sacrificing three or four millions of francs from the French
treasury, he would have been able to support his troops without requisitions, would have maintained good order and discipline in his armies, and by the distribution of this money among a people poor and interested, he would have made many partisans.
He could then have offered them, with a firm and just hand, the olive or the sword.
But then the drafts upon the French
treasury, had the war been a protracted one, would have been enormous for the support of an army of 200,000 men in Spain
Moreover, the hostile and insurrectionary state of the local authorities rendered regular and legal requisitions almost impossible; and the want of navigable rivers, good roads, and suitable transport, rendered problematical the possibility of moving a sufficient quantity of stores in an insurrectionary country.
Besides, no great detachments could have been made to regulate the administration of the provinces, or to pursue the insurgent corps into the fastnesses of the mountains.
In fine, by this system, he would have effected a military occupation of Spain
without its subjugation.
On the other hand, by marching rapidly against all organized masses, living from day to day upon the local resources of the country, as he had done in Italy
, sparing his reserves for the occupation and pacification of the conquered provinces; this mode promised more prompt and decisive results than the other.
, therefore, determined to adopt it for his active masses, employing the system of magazines and regular requisitions so far as practicable.
In favorable parts of the country, Soult
and Souchet, with smaller armies, succeeded in obtaining in this way regular supplies for a considerable length of time, but the others lived mainly by forced requisitions levied as necessity required.
This sometimes gave place to great excesses, but these were principally the faults of subordinate officers who tolerated them, rather than of Napoleon
, who punished such breaches of discipline, when they were known to him, with great severity.
He afterwards declared that, “had he succeeded he would have indemnified the great mass of the Spanish
people for their losses, by the sale of the hoarded wealth of the clergy, which would have rendered the church less powerful, and caused a more just division of property; thus the evil of the war would have been forgotten in the happy triumph of public and private interest over the interest of an ambitious and exclusive clergy.”
The following maxims on subsistence have the sanction of the best military writers:
Regular magazines should be formed, so far as practicable, for the supplies of an army; the levying of requisitions being resorted to only where the nature of
the war, and the requisite rapidity of marches, render these absolutely necessary to success.
Depots should be formed in places strengthened by nature or art, defended by small corps, or garrisons, and situated in positions least liable to attack.
All great depots should be placed on navigable rivers, canals, railways, or practical roads, communicating with the line of operations
, so that they may be transported with ease and rapidity, as the army advances on this line.
An army should never be without a supply for ten or fifteen days, otherwise the best chances of war may be lost, and the army exposed to great inconveniences.
Templehoff says that the great Frederick
, in the campaign of 1757, always carried in the Prussian provision-train bread
, and flour
for nine days
, and was therefore never at a loss for means to subsist his forces, in. undertaking any sudden and decisive operation.
The Roman soldier usually carried with him provisions for fifteen days. Napoleon
says, “Experience has proved that an army ought to carry with it a month's provisions, ten days food being carried by the men and baggage-horses and a supply for twenty days by the train of wagons; so that at least four hundred and eighty wagons would be required for an army of forty thousand men; two hundred and forty being regularly organized, and two hundred and forty being obtained by requisition.
For this purpose there would be a battalion of three companies for the military stores of each division, each company having its establishment for forty wagons, twenty being furnished by the commissariat, and twenty obtained by requisition.
This gives for each division one hundred and twenty wagons, and for each army, four hundred and eighty.
Each battalion for a provision-train should have two hundred and ten men.”
An army, while actually in motion, can find temporary
resources, unless in a sterile country, or one already ravaged by war, or at the season of the year when the old crops are nearly exhausted and the new ones not ready for harvest; but, even supposing the army may in this way be partially or wholly supplied, while in motion, it nevertheless frequently happens that it may remain for some days in position, (as the French
;) a supply of hard bread for some ten days will therefore be important to subsist the army till a regular commissariat can be established.
6th. “Supplies of bread and biscuit,” says Napoleon
, “are no more essential to modern armies than to the Romans; flour, rice, and pulse, may be substituted in marches without the troops suffering any harm.
It is an error to suppose that the generals of antiquity did not pay great attention to their magazines; it may be seen in Caesar
's Commentaries, how much he was occupied with this care in his several campaigns.
The ancients knew how to avoid being slaves to any system of supplies, or to being obliged to depend on the purveyors; but all the great captains well understood the art of subsistence.”
is a military term applied to food of any kind for horses or cattle,--as grass, hay, corn, oats, &c.; and also to the operation of collecting such food.
Forage is of two kinds, green
; the former being collected directly from the meadows and harvest-fields, and the latter from the barns and granaries of the farmers, or the storehouses of the dealers.
The animals connected with an army may be subsisted by regular magazines, by forced requisitions, or by authorized foraging
As has already been remarked, it is not always politic, or even possible, to provide regular magazines for the entire supplies of an army during the active operations of a
On account of the great expense and difficulty of transporting forage, the general of an army is more frequently under the necessity of resorting to requisitions, or forced contributions as they are called, and to foraging, for the subsistence of his animals, than to provide food for his men. Nor are requisitions and foragings for this object so objectionable as in the other case, being far less likely to produce general want and distress among the non-combatant inhabitants.
The commanding officer
of troops should always use his best endeavors to obtain his forage by purchase of the inhabitants, or by requisitions on the local authorities; and even where these means are impracticable, the foraging parties should be strictly directed to make their levies with uniformity and due moderation.
Accurate accounts should be kept of the kinds and quantities of all produce and other property taken, so that it may be regularly distributed and accounted for. Under no circumstances should individuals be permitted to appropriate to themselves more than their pro rata
allowance Foraging parties may sometimes attain their object in a peaceful manner, by representing to the inhabitants the nature of their instructions and the necessity of obtaining immediate supplies.
Even where no recompense is proposed, it may be well to offer certificates to the effect that such articles have been taken for the use of the army.
These certificates, even when of no value in themselves, frequently tend to appease excited passions and allay insurrections.
In defensive war, carried on in one's own country, it is often necessary to seize upon private property and appropriate it to the public service: in all such cases the certificates of the foraging officers become proofs of individual claims against the government.
No foraging party should ever be sent out till after the country has been properly reconnoitred.
A good military
escort and vanguard should always accompany and precede the foragers, for protection against the enemy's light cavalry and an insurgent militia.
Trustworthy troops must be placed in the villages and hamlets of the country to be foraged, in order to prevent the foragers from engaging in irregular and unauthorized pillage.
of the staff and administrative corps are sent with the party to see to the proper execution of the orders, and to report any irregularities on the part of the troops.
In case any corps engage in unauthorized pillage, due restitution should be made to the inhabitants, and the expense of such restitution deducted from the pay and allowances of the corps by whom such excess is committed.
A few examples of this kind of justice will soon restore discipline to the army, and pacify the inhabitants of the country occupied.
Experience is the best guide in estimating the amount of hay or grain that may be taken from a given field: the produce of an acre is, of course, very different for different soils and climates.
In distributing the burdens to the several pack-horses and wagons employed in conveying the forage to the army, it is important for the foraging officers to know the relative weight and bulk of each article.
|Ordinary pressed hay in this country will average about||12 lbs. per cubic foot.|
|Wheat||weighs||60 lbs. per bushel.|
|Rye||weighs||56 lbs. per bushel.|
|Maize or Indian corn||weighs||56 lbs. per bushel.|
|Barley||weighs||50 lbs. per bushel.|
|Oats||weighs||35 lbs. per bushel.|
|Meal, flour, and ground feed of all kinds, are purchased by the pound.|
As it would be exceedingly dangerous to send forward the regular train of the army for the conveyance of forage collected by these foraging parties, the country wagons
and pack-horses are usually pressed into service for this purpose.
Troops of horse are sometimes sent into the vicinity of meadows and grain-fields for temporary subsistence: in such cases the horses and cattle may be farmed in the neighborhood, and the grass and grain issued in regular rations, immediately as taken from the field; but in no case should the animals be turned out to pasture.
In a country like ours, where large bodies of new and irregular forces are to be suddenly called into the field in case of war, it is important to establish very rigid rules in relation to forage and subsistence; otherwise the operations of such troops must be attended with great waste of public and private property, the want of means of subsistence, the consequent pillage of the inhabitants, and a general relaxation of discipline.
Regular troops are far less liable to such excesses than inexperienced and undisciplined forces.
.--Marches are of two kinds: 1st.
Marches within reach of the enemy.
The former belong to the domain of strategy; the latter to that of tactics; both, however, are connected with logistics in every thing that concerns the means of their execution.
When an army is moving on a line of operations, it should be in as many columns as the facility of subsistence, celerity of movement, the nature of the roads, &c., may require.
Large columns cannot move with the same rapidity as smaller ones, nor can they be so readily subsisted.
But when an army is within striking distance of the enemy, concentration becomes more important than celerity, and the forces must be kept in mass, or at least within supporting distances of each other.
We find only two instances in the Seven Years War, in which Frederick attempted attacks by several columns at considerable distances from each other; and in both these instances (at
and at Namiest, against Laudon, during the siege of Olmutz
) he was unsuccessful.
His usual mode was to bring his columns near together as he approached the enemy, and to form his troops into line at the moment of attack.
Such was his order of march at Prague
, Kollin, Rosbach, Leuthen
, Zornsdorf, and Kunersdorf.
The following is one of Frederick
's orders respecting marches, (October 2d, 1760.)
The army will, as usual, march in three columns by lines.
The first column will consist of the first line; the second, of the second line; and the third, of the reserve.
The wagons, and hospital wagons, of regiments, will follow their corps.
The batteries of heavy calibre will follow the infantry brigades to which they are assigned.
On passing woods, the regiments of cavalry will march between two infantry corps.
Each column will have a vanguard of one light battalion and ten squadrons of hussars or dragoons.
They will be preceded by three wagons carrying plank-bridges.
The rear-guard is charged with taking up these bridges after the army has defiled over them.
The parks will be divided among the columns, to avoid the embarrassment resulting from a great many wagons being together in a body.
If any thing should happen to the second and third columns, the king will be instantly apprized of it; he will be found at the head of the first column.
Should any thing occur to the rear-guard, the same will be instantly communicated to Lieutenant-general Zeithen, who will be with the rear-guard of the first column.
The officers will take care that the soldiers march with equal step, and that they do not stray to the right or left, and thus uselessly fatigue themselves and lose their distances.
When orders are given to form the line, the wagons
will file out of the columns to the left, and will march to be parked, &c.
The position of the baggage, when near the enemy, will depend on the nature of the march.
If the march be to the front, it will be in rear of the column; if the march be by the flank, and the enemy be on the outer flank, the baggage will be on the inner one, most remote from danger; if the march be in retreat, the baggage will be in advance of the army.
In either case it should be strongly guarded.
It was in direct violation of this rule that General Hull
, in the campaign of 1812, on reaching the Miami
of the Lake
,) embarked his baggage, stores, sick, convalescent, and “even the instructions of his government and the returns of his army,” on board the Cuyahoga
packet, and dispatched them for Detroit
, while the army, with the same destination, resumed its march by land.
The result of thus sending his baggage, stores, official papers, &c., without a guard, and on the flank nearest the enemy
, was just what might have been anticipated:--in attempting to pass the British
post of Malden
the whole detachment was attacked and captured, “by a subaltern and six men, in a small and open boat.”
To prevent a surprise, detachments of light troops should be always thrown out in front, on the flanks, and in rear of the column, denominated from their position, Advanced-Guard, Flankers
, and Rear-Guard
. These scan the country which is to be passed over by the column, watch the enemy's motions, and give notice of his approach in time to allow the main force to choose a suitable field of battle, and to pass from the order of march to that of combat.
The strength and composition of these detachments depend upon the nature of the ground, and the character and position of the enemy.
In case of an attack they retire slowly, and on joining the main body, take their assigned position in the line of battle.
In an open country the order of march presents but little difficulty; but in a broken country, and especially in the vicinity of the enemy, a march cannot be conducted with too many precautions.
Before engaging in a defile
it should be thoroughly examined, and sufficient detachments sent out to cover the main body from attack while effecting the passage.
A neglect of these precautions has sometimes led to the most terrible disasters.
In military operations very much depends upon the rapidity of marches.
The Roman infantry, in Scipio
's campaigns in Africa
, frequently marched a distance of twenty miles in five hours, each soldier carrying from fifty to eighty pounds of baggage.
states, marched from Vienna
, a distance of eight hundred miles, in forty days. Caesar
marched from Rome
to the Sierra-Morena, in Spain
, a distance of four hundred and fifty leagues, in twenty-three days!
excelled all modern generals in the celerity of his movements.
Others have made for a single day as extraordinary marches as the French
, but for general activity during a campaign they have no rivals in modern history.
A few examples of the rapidity of their movements may not be without interest.
In 1797 a part of Napoleon
's army left Verona
after having fought the battle of St. Michaels
, on the 13th of January, then marched all night upon Rivoli
, fought in the mountains on the 14th, returned to Mantua
on the 15th, and defeated the army of Provera on the morning of the 16th,--thus, in less than four days, having marched near fifty leagues, fought three battles, and captured more than twenty thousand prisoners! Well might he write to the Directory that his soldiers had surpassed the much vaunted rapidity of Caesar
In the campaign of 1800, Macdonald
, wishing to prevent the escape of Loudon
, in a single day marched forty
miles, crossing rivers, and climbing mountains and. glaciers.
In 1805 the grand French army broke up their camp at Boulogne
, in the early part of September, and in two weeks reached their allotted posts on the Rhine
, averaging daily from twenty-five to thirty miles.
During the same campaign the French infantry, pursuing the Archduke Ferdinand
in his retreat from Ulm
, marched thirty miles a day in dreadful weather, and over roads almost impassable for artillery.
Again, in the campaign of 1806, the French infantry pursued the Prussians at the rate of from twenty-five to thirty miles per day.
In 1808 the advanced posts of Napoleon
's army pursued Sir John Moore
's army at the rate of twenty-five miles a day, in the midst of winter.
transported an army of fifty thousand men from Madrid
to Astorga with nearly the same rapidity, marching through deep snows, across high mountains, and rivers swollen by the winter rains.
The activity, perseverance, and endurance of his troops, during these ten days march, are scarcely equalled in history.
In 1812, the activity of the French
forces under Clausel was truly extraordinary.
After almost unheard — of efforts at the battle of Salamanca
, he retreated forty miles in a little more than twelve hours
In 1814, Napoleon
's army marched at the rate of ten leagues a day, besides fighting a battle every twenty-four hours. Wishing to form a junction with other troops, for the succor of Paris
, he marched his army the distance of seventy-five niles in thirty-six hours; the cavalry marching night and day, and the infantry travelling en poste
On his return from Elba
, in 1815, his guards marched fifty miles tie first day after landing; reached Grenoble
through a rough and mountainous country, a distance of
two hundred miles, in six days, and reached Paris
, a distance of six hundred miles, in less than twenty days!
The marches of the allied powers, during the wars of the French Revolution
, were much less rapid than those of the armies of Napoleon
Nevertheless, for a single day the English
have made some of the most extraordinary marches on record.
In 1809, on the day of the battle of Talavera
, General Crawford
, fearing that Wellington
was hard pressed, made a forced march with three thousand men the distance of sixty-two miles in twenty-six hours!
The Spanish regiment of Romana, in their march from Jutland to Spain
, marched the extraordinary distance of fifty miles in twenty-one hours.
Cavalry, for a single day, will march a greater distance than infantry; but for a campaign of several months the infantry will march over the most ground.
In the Russian
campaign of Napoleon
, his cavalry failed to keep pace with the infantry in his forced march on Moskwa.
But in the short campaigns of 1805 and 1806, the cavalry of Murat
displayed the most wonderful activity, and effected more extraordinary results than any mounted troops of modern ages.
The English cavalry, however, have made one or two short marches with a rapidity truly extraordinary.
In 1803 Wellington
's cavalry in India
marched the distance of sixty miles in thirty-two hours.
But the march of the English
cavalry under Lord Lake, before the battle of Furruckabad, is, if we can trust the English
accounts, still more extraordinary than any thing recorded of the Romans or the French
--it is said that he marched seventy miles in twenty-four hours
As a general rule, troops marching for many days in succession will move at the rate of from fifteen to twenty miles per day. In forced marches, or in pursuit of a flying
enemy, they will average from twenty to twenty-five miles per day. And for only two or three days in succession, with.
favorable roads, thirty miles per day may be calculated on. Marches beyond this are unusual, and, when they do occur, are the result of extraordinary circumstances.
.---A convoy consists of provisions, military munitions, &c., sent from one point to another, under the charge of a detachment of troops, called an escort
When regular depots and magazines are established, with proper relations to the line of operations, convoys requiring particular escorts are seldom necessary, because the position of the army will cover the space over which the magazines are to be moved.
But in the immediate vicinity of the enemy, or in a country whose inhabitants are hostile or insurrectionary, precautions of this kind should always be resorted to.
The size and composition of the escort must depend.
upon the nature of the country and the imminence of the danger.
The ground to be passed over should be previously reconnoitred, and the line of march be taken up only after the most satisfactory reports.
When once put in motion, the convoy should be thoroughly hemmed in by flankers, to give warning to the escort of the approach of the enemy.
Small parties of cavalry are detached on all sides, but particularly in advance.
The main body of the escort is concentrated on the most exposed point of the convoy, while the other sides are guarded by subdivisions.
In case of an attack by a large party, the baggage wagons may be formed into a kind of defensive field-work, which, with one or two pieces of light artillery, cat in this way resist a pretty strong effort to destroy or carry away the convoy.
As a general rule, it is better to supply the wants of an army by small successive convoys than by periodical and
Even should some of the former be captured, their loss would not be materially felt; but a large periodical convoy offers so great a temptation to the enterprise of the enemy, and is so difficult to escort, that he will venture much to destroy it, and its loss may frustrate our plans of a siege or of an important military operation.
If the Prussian army, when besieging Olmutz
, had observed this rule, the capture of a convoy would not have forced them to raise the siege and to retreat.
estimates that an army of 100,000 men in position will require the daily arrival of from four to five hundred wagon loads of provisions.
The difficulty of moving provisions, baggage, &c., in a retreat, is always very great, and the very best generals have frequently failed on this point.
Indeed, the best concerted measures will sometimes fail, amid the confusion and disorder consequent upon a retreat with an able and active enemy in pursuit.
In such a case, the loss of the provision-trains in a sterile or unfriendly country may lead to the most terrible disasters.
We will allude to two examples of this kind: the retreat of the English
in 1809, and. that of the French
When Sir John Moore
saw that a retreat had become necessary to save his army from entire destruction, hie directed all the baggage and stores to be taken to the rear, and every possible arrangement to be made for their preservation and for the regular supplies of the army.
But the want of discipline in his troops, and. more especially the want of a proper engineer organization to prepare the requisite means for facilitating his own marches, and impeding the enemy's pursuit, prevented his plans from being fully carried into execution.
Much suffering and great losses were consequently inflicted upon his troops ; a large portion of his baggage and military stores was captured, and even the treasure of his army, amounting to some
200,000 dollars, was abandoned through the ignorance and carelessness of the escorting officer.
's march into Russia
, his plans had been so admirably combined, that from Mentz
not a single estafette or convoy, it is said, was carried off in this campaign; nor was there a day passed without his receiving intelligence from France
When the retreat was begun, (after the burning of Moscow
,) he had six lines of magazines in his rear; the 1st, at Smolensk
, ten days march from.
; those of the 2d line at Minsk and Wilna
, eight marches from Smolensk
; those of the 3d line at Kowno
, Grodno, and Bialystok; those of the 4th line at Elbing
, Marienwerder, Thorn
, Plock, Modlin
, and Warsaw
; those of the 5th line at Dantzic, Bamberg
, and Posen; those of the 6th line at Stettin
, Custrin, and Glogau.
When the army left Moscow
it carried with it provisions sufficient for twenty days, and an abundance of ammunition, each piece of artillery being supplied with three hundred and fifty rounds; but the premature cold weather destroyed thirty thousand horses in less than three days, thus leaving the trains without the means of transportation or suitable escorts for their protection: the horrible sufferings of the returning army now surpassed all description.
The officer selected to escort convoys should be a man of great prudence, activity, and energy, for frequently very much depends upon the safe and timely arrival of the provisions and military stores which he may have in charge.
.--Castrametation is, strictly speaking, the art of laying out and disposing to advantage the several parts of the camp of an army.
The term is sometimes more extensively used to include all the means for lodging and sheltering the soldiers during a campaign, and all the arrangements for cooking, &c., either in the field or in winter quarters.
A camp, whether composed of tents
or barracks, or merely places assigned for bivouacking, must be divided and arranged in such a way that the several divisions shall be disposed as they are intended to be drawn up in order of battle; so that, on any sudden alarm, the troops can pass from it promptly, and form their line of battle without confusion.
Suitable places must also be assigned for cooking, for baggage, and for provisions, military stores, and ammunitions.
The extent of the color front of a camp depends much on the character of the ground and the means of defence, but as a general rule, it should never exceed the position which the army would occupy in the line of battle.
The different arms should be encamped in the same order as that of battle; this order of course depending on the nature of the battle-ground.
A corps d'armee
is composed of battalions of infantry, squadrons of cavalry, batteries of artillery, and companies of engineer troops, and the art of encampments consists in arranging each of these elements so as to satisfy the prescribed conditions.
The choice of ground for a camp must be governed, 1st, by the general rules
respecting military positions, and, 2d, by other rules peculiar to themselves, for they may be variously arranged in a manner more or less suitable on the same position.
That the ground be suitable for defence, is the first and highest consideration.
It should also be commodious and dry: moist ground in the vicinity of swamps and stagnant waters, would endanger the health of the army: for the same reason it should not be subject to overflow or to become marshy by heavy rains, and the melting of snow.
The proximity of good roads, canals, or navigable streams, is important for furnishing the soldiers with all the necessaries of life.
The proximity of woods is also desirable for furnishing
firewood, materials for huts, for repairs of military equipments
, for works of defence, &c.
Good water within a convenient distance, is also an essential element in the choice of ground for a camp; without this the soldiers' health is soon undermined.
The proximity of running streams is also important for the purposes of washing and bathing, and for carrying off the filth of the camp.
The camp should not be so placed as to be enfiladed or commanded by any point within long cannon range; if bordering on a river or smaller stream, there should be space enough between them to form in order of battle ; the communications in rear should offer the means of retreating in case of necessity, but should not afford facilities to the enemy to make his attack on that side.
If the camp is to be occupied for a considerable length of time, as for cantonments
, the greater must be the care in selecting its position and in the arrangement for the health and comfort of the soldiers.
In the latter case, (of winter-quarters,) the engineer's art should always be called in play to form intrenchments, lines of abattis, inundations, &c., to render the position as difficult of access to the enemy as possible.
is the most single kind of camp.
It consists merely of lines of fires, and huts for the officers and soldiers.
These huts may be made of straw, of wood obtained from the forest, or by dismantling houses and other buildings in the vicinity of the camp, and stripping them of their timbers, doors, floors, &c. Troops may be kept in bivouac for a few days, when in the vicinity of the enemy, but the exposure of the soldier in ordinary bivouacs, especially i.n the rainy seasons or in a rigorous climate, is exceedingly destructive of human life, and moreover leads to much distress to the inhabitants of the country occupied, in, the destruction of their dwellings and the
most common necessaries of life.
If the position is to be occupied for any length of time, the huts should be arranged.
like tents, according to a regular system, and made comfortable for the troops.
Such should always be the system adopted in camps of practice or manoeuvre, in cantonments, winter-quarters, or in intrenched positions.
We have adopted in our service the system of encamping in tents.
These may do very well under the ordinary circumstances; but in the active operations of a campaign they are exceedingly objectionable, as greatly encumbering the baggage-trains.
It would seem preferable to resort to bivouacs for the temporary camp of a single night, and to construct a regular system of huts where a position is to be occupied for any length of time.
This may be regarded as a general rule, but in certain countries and climates, the tent becomes almost indispensable.
's views on this subject are certainly interesting, if not decisive of the question: “Tents,” says he, “are not wholesome.
It is better for the soldier to bivouac, because he can sleep with his feet towards the fire; he may shelter himself from the wind with a few boards or a little straw.
The ground upon which he lies will be rapidly dried in the vicinity of the fire.
Tents are necessary for the superior officers, who have occasion to read and consult maps, and who ought to be ordered never to sleep in a house — a fatal abuse, which has given.
rise to so many disasters.
All the European
nations have so far followed the example of the French
as to discard their tents; and if they be still used in camps of mere parade, it is because they are economical, sparing woods, thatched roofs, and villages.
The shade of a tree, against the heat of the sun, and any sorry shelter whatever, against the rain, are preferable to tents.
The carriage of the tents for each battalion would load five horses, who would be much better employed in carrying provisions.
are a subject of observation for the enemies' spies and officers of the staff: they give them an insight into your numbers, and the position that you occupy; and this inconvenience occurs every day, and every instant in the day. A. n army ranged in two or three lines of bivouac is only to be perceived at a distance by the smoke, which the enemy may mistake for the vapor of the atmosphere.
It is impossible to count the number of fires; it is easy, however, to count the number of tents, and to trace out the position that they occupy.”
The guarding of camps is a very important matter, and requires much attention.
consists of one or two rows of sentinels placed around the camp, and relieved at regular intervals.
The number of rows of sentinels, and the distance between each man, will depend.
upon the character of the ground and the degree of danger apprehended.
Detachments of infantry and cavalry, denominated picquets, mire also thrown out in front and on the flanks, which, in connection with the camp-guards, serve to keep good order and discipline in and around the camp, to prevent desertions, intercept reconnoitering parties, and to give timely notice of the enemy's approach.
Still larger detachments, denominated grand-guards
, are posted in the surrounding villages, farm-houses, or small field-works, which they occupy as outposts, and from which they can watch the movements of the enemy-, and prevent any attempts to surprise the camp.
They detach patrols, videttes, and sentries, to furnish timely notice of danger.
They should never be so far from the camp as to be beyond succor in case of sudden attack.
Outposts, when too far advanced, are sometimes destroyed without being able to give notice of the enemy's approach.
In encamping troops in winter-quarters, it is sometimes necessary to scatter them over a considerable extent of
ground, in order to facilitate their subsistence.
In such a case, the arrangement of guards requires the utmost care.
A chain of advanced posts should be placed several miles' distance from the line of camp; these posts should be supported by other and larger detachments in their rear, and concentrated on fewer points; and the whole country around should be continually reconnoitered by patrols of cavalry.
The manner in which Napoleon
quartered and wintered his army on the Passarge, in 1806-7, furnishes a useful lesson to military men, both in the matters of encampment and subsistence.
An immense army of men were here quartered and subsisted, in a most rigorous climate, with a not over fertile soil, in the midst of hostile nations, and in the very face of a most powerful enemy.
A Roman army invariably encamped in the same order, its troops being always drawn up in the same battle array.
A Roman staff-officer who marked out an encampment, performed nothing more than a mechanical operation; he had no occasion for much genius or experience.
The form of the camps was a square.
In later times, they sometimes, in imitation of the Greeks, made them circular, or adapted then to the ground.
The camp was always surrounded with a ditch and rampart, and divided into two parts by a broad street, and into subdivisions by cross-streets and alleys.
Each tent was calculated to hold ten privates and a petty officer.
In the middle ages, the form of the camp did not differ very essentially from that of the Romans, the variation consisting principally in tie interior arrangements, these arrangements being made to correspond to the existing mode of forming a line of battle.
The details of this system may be found in the military work of Machiavelli
The art of fixing a camp in modern times is the same as taking up a line of battle on the same position.
course all the projectile machines must be in play and favorably placed.
The position must neither be commanded, out-fronted, nor surrounded; but on the contrary ought, as far as possible, to command arid out-front the enemy's position.
But even in the same position there are numerous modes of arranging an encampment, or of forming a line of battle, and to select the best of these modes requires great experience, coup d'oeil
, and genius.
In relation to this point Napoleon
makes the following remarks :--
Ought an army to be confined to one single encampment, or ought it to form as many as it has corps or divisions?
At what distance ought the vanguard and the flankers to be encamped?
What frontage and what depth ought to be given to the camp?
Where should the cavalry, the artillery, and the carriages be distributed?
Should the army be ranged in battle array, in several lines?
and if it should, What space should there be between those lines?
Should the cavalry be in reserve behind the infantry, or should it be placed upon the wings?
As every piece has sufficient ammunition for keeping up its fire twenty-four hours, should all the artillery be brought into action at the beginning of the engagement, or should half of it be kept in reserve?
The solution of these questions depends on the following circumstances :--1st.
On the number of troops, and the numbers of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, of which the army is composed.
On the relation subsisting between the two armies.
On the quality of the troops.
On the end in view.
On the nature of the field.
On the position occupied by the enemy, and on the character of the general who commands them.
Nothing absolute either can or ought to be prescribed on this head.
In modern warfare there is no natural order of battle.
The duty to be performed by the commander of an army is more difficult in modern armies, than it was in those of the ancients.
It is also certain that his influence is more efficacious in deciding battles.
In the ancient armies the general-in-chief, at a distance of eighty or a hundred toises from the enemy, was in no danger; and yet he was conveniently placed, so as to have an opportunity of directing to advantage all the movements of his forces.
In modern armies, a general-in-chief, though removed four or five hundred toises, finds himself in the midst of the fire of the enemy's batteries, and is very much exposed; and still he is so distant that several movements of the enemy escape him. In every engagement he is occasionally obliged to approach within reach of small-arms.
The effect of modern arms is much influenced by the situation in which they are placed.
A. battery of guns, with a great range and a commanding position that takes the enemy obliquely, may be decisive of a victory.
Modern fields of battle are much more extended than those of the ancients, whence it becomes necessary to study operations on a large scale.
A much greater degree of experience and military genius is requisite for the direction of a modern army than was necessary for an ancient one.
Figure 9 represents a camp (on favorable ground) of a grand-division of an army, composed of two brigades or twelve battalions of infantry, twelve squadrons of cavalry, five batteries of artillery, and three companies of engineers.
Figure 10 represents the details of a camp of a battalion of infantry composed of eight companies.
Figure 11 is the camp of a squadron of cavalry.
Figure 12 is the camp of two batteries of foot artillery, or two companies of foot engineers.
Figure 13 is the camp of two batteries of mounted artillery,
or two companies of mounted sappers and pontoniers.
On undulating or broken ground the arrangement and order of the general camp, as well as the details of the encampment of each arm, would admit of much variation.2