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John D. Billings, Hardtack and Coffee: The Unwritten Story of Army Life, XX.
Army road
and bridge Builders. (search)
ld such bridges are called by the French pontoniers. In fact, the system of ponton bridges in use during the Rebellion was copied, I believe, almost exactly from the French model. The first ponton bridge which I recall in history was built by Xerxes, nearly twenty-four hundred years ago, across the Hellespont. It was over four thousand feet long. A violent storm broke it up, whereupon the Persian got square by throwing two pairs of shackles into the sea and ordering his men to give it threther to serve as a kind of floor or solid bottom; all which they covered over with earth, and added rails or battlements on each side that the horses and cattle might not be frightened at seeing the sea in their passage. Compare this bridge of Xerxes with that hereinafter described, and note the points of similarity. One of the earliest pontons used in the Rebellion was made of India-rubber. It was a sort of sack, shaped not unlike a torpedo, which had to be inflated before use. When thu
d by them as a serious and determined attempt upon the new Capital. Every fresh mail, through the blockade, brought more and more astounding intelligence of these vast preparations. Every fresh cap that was exploded, every new flag that was broidered, was duly chronicled by the rabid press. The editors of the North seemed to have gone military mad; and when they did not dictate plans of battles, lecture their government and bully its generals, they told wondrous stories of an army that Xerxes might have gaped to see. All the newspaper bombast could easily be sifted, however; and private letters from reliable sources of intelligence over the Potomac all agreed as to the vast scale and perfection of arrangement of the onward movement. The public pulse in the South had settled again to a steady and regular beat; but it visibly quickened as the time of trial approached. And that time could not be long delayed! The army of Virginia was in great spirits. Each change of po
Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee, Chapter 6: the campaign in West Virginia. (search)
t not amid the shouts of the populace. The bands did not play, See the conquering hero come ; the chaplet of victory was missing from his brow, the scalps of Rosecrans and Reynolds from his belt. The public looked at the cold facts, and were interested in actual results. The difference between war in the mountains and war amid the hills and valleys and green fields was never for a moment considered. Four hundred and eighty-four years before the birth of our Saviour, history tells us that Xerxes marched with over one million men and twelve hundred war ships to invade Greece. And that Leonidas, with three hundred Spartans and about four thousand men from the other parts of Greece, defied the King of Persia and for two days held the defile in the mountains known as the Pass of Thermopylae. In 1861 there were still passes among the mountains, and a few men could hold them against an army, and could only be dislodged by flank and rear attacks over long, steep, circuitous paths. Le
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 5. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Grant as a soldier and Civilian. (search)
ts are before us! I will not dwell on the subsequent military operations of General Grant. They were on a grand scale. He was never stinted in material nor in men. He would never move until his estimates were met, and they were enormous. He soon found he could only defeat our armies by overwhelming them with much greater armies, and he had the force of will to compel his governernment to furnish him with such armaments as modern war has never seen. We can almost believe the stories of Xerxes and his Persian hosts, when we remember the blue lines and the blue masses which covered the flats beyond Young's Point, surged and resurged against the works around Vicksburg, burst over Bragg's attenuated lines about Chattanooga, and swarmed over the Potomac in countless thousands to attempt and reattempt the deadly on to Richmond, until, at last, two hundred thousand of them enveloped all that was left of the grand old army of Virginia, then reduced to eight thousand way-worn, starving, b
-path would bring us out, some miles ahead, on this pike. It was certain to be less obstructed, and we pushed on. Across the hills to the left we could see the white-covered wagons slowly winding in and out through the forests, and the masses of blue coats toiling forward. In either direction, for miles, you could catch occasional glimpses of the same sight through the openings of the foliage. The shades of evening dimmed and magnified the scene till one might have thought the hosts of Xerxes, in all the glory of modern armor, were pressing on Gettysburgh. To the front and right lay broad, well-tilled farms, dotted here and there with mammoth, many-windowed barns, covered with herds and rustling with the ripening grain. Selecting a promising-looking Dutch house, with a more than usually imposing barn in its rear, we stopped for supper. The good-man's woman had gone to see the soldiers on the road, but whatever he could get for us you pe very heartily welcome to. Great cherr
Baron de Jomini, Summary of the Art of War, or a New Analytical Compend of the Principle Combinations of Strategy, of Grand Tactics and of Military Policy. (ed. Major O. F. Winship , Assistant Adjutant General , U. S. A., Lieut. E. E. McLean , 1st Infantry, U. S. A.), Chapter 3: strategy. (search)
s has never been well known, for, all that Vegetius says of the administration of the Romans, does not suffice to discover to us the machinery of a subject so complicated. A phenomenon which will ever be difficult to conceive, is that Darius and Xerxes were able to subsist immense armies in Thrace, (Romelia,) whilst, in our day, one would have difficulty to subsist there thirty thousand men. In the middle ages, the Greek emperors, the barbarians, and still later, the crusaders fed there also cohas got into those of an insular power, which possesses many squadrons, but not land forces necessary for those sorts of expeditions. Be that as it may, from these two causes united, it evidently results that we are no longer in the times when Xerxes marched by land to the conquest of Greece, by causing himself to be followed by four thousand vessels of all dimensions, and when Alexander the Great marched from Macedonia by Asia Minor to Tyre, whilst his fleet coasted along the shore. Howev
Baron de Jomini, Summary of the Art of War, or a New Analytical Compend of the Principle Combinations of Strategy, of Grand Tactics and of Military Policy. (ed. Major O. F. Winship , Assistant Adjutant General , U. S. A., Lieut. E. E. McLean , 1st Infantry, U. S. A.), Chapter 5: of different mixed operations, which participate at the same time of strategy and.of tactics. (search)
ance of tempests, we could almost combine the operations of a fleet like those of an army. Therefore does ancient history offer the example of greater debarkations than modern times. I have given, in the preceding expedition, a long notice of the principal expeditions beyond the sea; if space permits, I will reproduce it at the end of this volume. Who does not recall the great armaments of the Prussians in the Black Sea, the Basphorus and the Archipelago? Those innumerable armies of Xerxes and Darius, transported to Thrace, to Greece; the numerous expeditions of the Carthagenians and the Romans, to Spain and to Sicily; the expedition of Alexander to Asia Minor; those of Caesar to England and to Africa; those of Germanicus to the mouths of the Elbe; the Crusades; the expeditions of the people of the north to England, to France, and even to Italy? Since the invention of cannon, the too celebrated Armada of Philip II was the only colossal enterprise until that which Napoleon f
Baron de Jomini, Summary of the Art of War, or a New Analytical Compend of the Principle Combinations of Strategy, of Grand Tactics and of Military Policy. (ed. Major O. F. Winship , Assistant Adjutant General , U. S. A., Lieut. E. E. McLean , 1st Infantry, U. S. A.), Sketch of the principal maritime expeditions. (search)
ce of the Romans. If the exaggerated traditions of the ancient Greek historians are to be believed, the famous army of Xerxes had not less than four thousand vessels, and this number is less astonishing when we read the nomenclature which Herodotunians in Sicily, where they should have been destroyed by Gelon the same day on which Themistocles destroyed the fleet of Xerxes at Salamis. Three other expeditions, under Hannibal, Himilco, and Hamilcar, were to carry there at one time one hundred arked, in order to follow the route by Greece upon Gallipoli. This grand migration recalls the fabulous expeditions of Xerxes; the Genoese, Venitian and Greek fleets are freighted for transporting those swarms of crusaders into Asia, by passing thly defeated by the militia of Louisiana, under the orders of General Jackson. The perhaps rather fabulous armaments of Xerxes and of the Crusades excepted, nothing of all that has been done, particularly since war fleets carried a formidable artil
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. Subsistence.--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. Caesar 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 magazi
Charles Congdon, Tribune Essays: Leading Articles Contributing to the New York Tribune from 1857 to 1863. (ed. Horace Greeley), The Humanities South. (search)
and have lapsed into semi-civilization, are quite as likely to fall still farther backward as to go forward; and there is a Power presiding over the world's affairs which can blight as well as build up, and which has declared that they who causelessly take up the sword, by the sword shall perish. Southern statesmen and soldiers, unless the downfall which we have indicated shall be utterly precipitate, will learn in time that one idea of genuine political equity is worth all the armies of Xerxes or Napoleon. The faith of the slaveholder is force, and so is his philosophy. Hence his notion of a well-armed soldier is of one who carries one sword, two five-shooters, and a carbine. This is actually the equipment proposed in The Richmond Whig for 10,000 men who are to carry fire and sword into the Free States. Why not add a full suit of chain-mail, a bow with arrows, a tomahawk, a scalping-knife, a lance, a dagger and a sword-cane! This idea of making a traveling arsenal of a soldie
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