At the risk of being accused of devoting too much attention to what is termed, by some officers, soldiering, I would ask your attention this evening to a few remarks in reference to our possible operations on shore.
The Naval Brigade is not a new invention. As long as navies have existed the crews of ships have been, from time to time, employed as troops. We can hardly read ten consecutive pages of the naval history of any nation without coming across the descriptions of the doings of seamen on shore, either alone or in conjunction with the regular land forces. Some of these operations have been successful, others have been wretched failures. It is interesting to note however that the greatest successes have followed the most intelligent preparations. When we are in Rome we must do as the Romans do. When we go ashore to fight we must fight as they do on shore. It seems ridiculous to suppose that we could gain any advantage, except over the untutored savage, if we do not profit by the teachings of those who by experience and study have made themselves the mentors of our sister service. A few years ago, in an official document, a high officer of the army said that a merchant steamer armed with guns and manned by artillerymen would be a complete substitute for a man-of-war. This idea was scouted at in the navy. Would the idea of calling away the starboard watch and going ashore to board a fort, seem any less preposterous to our gallant friends in the army? If we are to go ashore to fight we must for the time being forget entirely that we are sailors. We must have thorough army organization, equipment and discipline; and follow out received principles of maneuvering in order to be able to accomplish anything. If we cannot do this we had better never leave our boats.
The untutored savage is becoming a greater rarity every day. No better proof of this fact is necessary than that of the number of the most improved fire-arms which are being exported from our country to every part of the globe. The Zulu is better armed than the Englishman, the Indian than the American. The papers are talking of a coalition between England and Russia to restrain the growing military power of China.
It seems absolutely necessary, however, from the role which our men-of-war have to play, in protecting the lives and property of our own citizens, and those of friendly nations, even in time of peace, that we should sometimes go where the guns of our ships cannot reach, or where, if they did reach, they would do as much harm to friends as to foes. In order to do this we must make our officers and men efficient infantry and artillerymen. There was an old idea that a sailor could not be made efficient as any thing but a sailor. This idea, thanks to our gallant President and Vice-President, as well as to many other intelligent modern officers, is fast wearing away. Some of the drill hours in port can easily be devoted to acquiring something of this knowledge, instead of wearing out our spars, sails and rigging, to say nothing of our good sense, in exercises which are of no real service at sea. In order to gain the proper information the ceremonies of review and dress parade should be rigidly tabooed. In how many ships is any thing in the way of battalion or naval brigade drill attempted? All the time devoted to this branch being consumed by these useless mummeries. An inspection with opened ranks and a passing salute is all that discipline or efficiency really requires. What we want to do is to make our men real working soldiers and marksmen. The study of the whole system of the Naval Brigade would be exceedingly interesting, but our time and space preclude it. We shall find enough in the subject of our thesis for one lecture and shall hope that another officer, who is with us this evening, and who has devoted much time and intelligent study to the subject, will tell us something, on a future occasion, in regard to the infantry branch.
An eminent naval officer once told the lecturer that he did not believe in "hard and fast" rules in regard to landing parties. We probably all agree with him. We must however have some system, and that system must be capable of modification to suit circumstances, and must be calculated to cope with the most intelligent and best armed enemy; what will do for him will carry us through with the unintelligent.
The cases under which we would land boat guns would be:
- To occupy a seaport town or buildings in that town ; as at Montevideo, Panama and Honolulu.
- To attack inland ports; as in the Corea.
- To make a raid into the country in conjunction with the Naval Brigade; as on the James river.
- To accompany the army when they could not land or had not their own artillery; as in North Carolina.
- To make a long march inland; as in the Ashantee expedition.
Generally speaking the number of guns which we land is out of all proportion to the number of men. The generally accepted number, in all modern armies, is two to a thousand men. We far exceed this number. Our ratio at the Key West landing was eighteen pieces to about two thousand men. Under certain circumstances, as for instance, in the first case mentioned, this might be permissible, but would it be safe to so far exceed the general rule for maneuvering? Would it not be better to reduce the number of pieces and increase the crews and amount of ammunition, even if we had to convert some of our gun carriages into caissons. Four pieces to a thousand infantry would seem to be the utmost limit which we could safely reach, with any hope of effectiveness, for field operations. We must remember that these pieces have to be dragged and defended. When we consider that one good repeater in the hands of an expert marksman, under certain circumstances, will do as much and even more execution than a piece, should we weaken our infantry strength?
Col. Brackenbury, himself an artilleryman and an authority, after citing the disastrous effect on gunners by infantry marksmen at Okehampton, says: "Here we have to face the great question of the comparative physical and moral power of infantry and artillery, and the moral effect produced upon one or the other arm by equal losses."
Before attacking this subject, permit me to say, that, in my humble opinion, the principal arm, the mainstay of an army, is as it has been, and must be long after our time, the infantry. It is the easiest trained the cheapest to place in the field and to keep there, the only arm which is equally powerful at rest and in motion, the most easily concealed and the simplest in its armament and use. Only infantry can decide battles and secure the ground won. "Whatever may be the increasing value of artillery, it can never supply the place of a single infantry soldier. But on the other hand the value of artillery has grown greatly of late years. If the guns are of no use when in motion, their long range renders the necessity of their motion much less.
Artillery can be sorely annoyed or even caused to retire by the fire of infantry skirmishers well concealed in folds of the ground or behind walls and trees. Therefore infantry should not attack in any formation, but, so to say, stalk the guns. And this being granted infantry should always attack guns; who knows but what they may be unsupported? The only reply to such hidden attacks when there is no attached support, is by the use of dismounted cavalry, or, better still, by dismounted men trained to work on foot either as riflemen or gunners and permanently attached to the batteries.
In small landing parties, the number is still more disproportionate; the writer has seen a gun landed with an infantry force scarcely larger than its own crew, a large part of which was comprised in a color guard. This imposing force would probably bring a smile to the face of an old campaigner. If the proportion which we have assumed should be adhered to, a gun would never be landed with less than five good companies of infantry, on the supposition that these companies will be about forty men strong.
Guns, when landed for field service, should be accompanied by an extra carriage, fully manned, which should be fitted and used as a limber. This, if the two crews were full, would give a double crew of forty men. For service near the base of supplies, or for position batteries, as many guns as possible might be landed; the extra ammunition being stored in temporary magazines or in the boats. It should be borne in mind that a gun is only effective while it is thoroughly supplied with ammunition.
In this arrangement we have allowed twenty men to a crew. This is the least number that can be expected to render a gun thoroughly mobile under ordinary circumstances; on a long march or over very bad ground this number would have to be considerably augmented; as many as fifty men have been employed in some cases on record. The extra carriage arrangement gives, besides the extra ammunition, with so much extra weight it is true, nearly this number, and greatly increases the ease of motion of the piece by raising the trail off of, and sometimes literally out of the ground. The trail of the extra carriage, which we would designate as the limber, should be fitted like that of the long Gatling gun, with handles and a supporting rest.
There has been a prejudice amongst many commanding and executive officers against having limbers aboard ship. Our plan would not bring any extra gear, as most ships have already two guns mounted on field carriages, and as, if our proposition was accepted, only a few of the guns would be landed.
Even with the large crew proposed, extra men may have to be borrowed from the infantry on the march; or it may even become necessary to relieve the whole of the motive-power part of the crew by infantry. We use the words "motive-power part of the crew" advisedly, as we would divide the crew under two heads,—the cannoneers and the dragmen or riflemen.
In action any of our pieces may be fully served and supplied with ammunition by at most eight men and a quarter gunner; this number exceeds that allowed at the largest army field guns by two, and is more than should be allowed about a piece, in order not to offer any larger target than absolutely necessary to the enemy's fire. This number of men can also move the pieces and ammunition boxes, for small distances, without assistance. We would designate these men therefore, as the cannoneers. They should never leave their piece and should be taught to rely entirely upon it for offensive and defensive purposes. In order the more thoroughly to inculcate and insure this, these men should have no firearms, and should only be supplied with battle axes and intrenching knives. These would be of service in repairing carriages, cutting away obstructions, intrenching etc, and in case of a hand to hand melee would be quite as serviceable as a cutlass.
General Gibbon says: "Let the rifles be given to the infantry, and the sabers and revolvers to the cavalry; guard the artillery with these arms, and teach them that their salvation is in sticking to their pieces."
The cannoneers with the exception of numbers seven and eight are generally stationed, on the march, at the guide and short drag-ropes, and the wheels. Their labor is therefore comparatively light, and as they have no small arms or small arm ammunition, they might be expected to carry a couple of complete rounds apiece for the gun. The quarter-gunner would have his haversack containing spare articles, tools, primers, fuses, etc. The remaining twelve men, whose only duty, in connection with the moving or working of the piece, is in long changes of base or on the march, in other words the drag-men who replace the horses in an army battery, we would arm and designate as riflemen for reasons which we hope to make clear further on. As they only re quire enough small arm ammunition to defend the piece when actually attacked, and are not expected to take part in the general maneuvers as infantry, they each could carry a passing box containing two cartridges for the piece, the projectiles being carried in the axle boxes. These are now generally fitted to carry, in all, twenty rounds, but by this arrangement might be increased to hold thirty-two. This would give a total of forty-eight rounds per piece with a single crew, and one hundred and six with a double one and limber. This is about the number allowed to a field piece in the army for field service. Two thirds of the projectiles should be shrapnel, and six rounds of canister per piece should be carried, according to the best authorities.
The cannoneers of the limber crew should be equipped similarly to those of the piece. In case of casualties they would replace their corresponding numbers at the gun, otherwise they would maneuver the limber, and take charge of the ammunition, keeping themselves and their charge well under cover in reserve. A word as to the position of this cover. It is generally the custom to place the ammunition from twenty to twenty-five paces in rear of the pieces when in battery at exercise; as in all drill formations in order to secure uniformity it is necessary to give certain distances . This distance must not be blindly adhered to in the field nor always at drill; the distances might be greatly increased in order to get good cover, the charges being passed up if necessary by a chain of men; nor is it absolutely necessary to place the ammunition in rear of the pieces which under some circumstances of artillery fire would be the most exposed position. A good cover on the flanks should be selected in preference, giving the double security of protection and removal from line with the troops. The windward side of the line of guns is preferable to the leeward unless it should be found that most of the enemy's projectiles deviated in that direction.
The dragmen should be armed with the most perfect weapon possible, which today would seem to be the repeating rifle. They should not be provided with bayonets as they will not be required to charge, but should have a good intrenching tool. They should not carry as much small arm ammunition as a regular infantry man, as they will only be required to protect the battery. In compensation for the possible difference of weight between the bayonet and intrenching tool, and the small amount of small-arm ammunition, they should carry two cartridges for their pieces.
All modern writers on artillery seem to coincide in the opinion that, to make artillery at all effective when closely engaged, it must be supplied with a permanent support. In army batteries under most circumstances a support could readily be detailed from the large number of infantry generally at hand. In the Naval Brigade, where every man counts, after taking the large number of men already detailed for our guns, it would hardly be prudent to still more reduce our active strength by detailing men for permanent supports, on the march or in action, especially when, in a single crew, we could have twelve men who would be utterly useless while the piece was in action. There is nothing that we can give them to do. The best troops in the world, without effective arms and occupation under a galling fire, would seek shelter, and this shelter might be found so very far to the rear that when it really became necessary to use them to move the piece, they might not be forthcoming. As we cannot place our blue-jackets quite on a par with the best troops, much as we would like to, we must give them something to do and make them useful.
We have already quoted what Col. Brackenbury says about permanent supports.
The Commission on the reorganization of the French Artillery report: "Many officers think that the troops employed as temporary supports for artillery do not perfectly assure its security, and propose to create particular troops to form permanent escorts to the batteries."
Archduke John of Austria, says: "That artillery should be self supporting; that it should have with it its own supports; that with an open front it can protect itself against advancing infantry with its canister, and shrapnel with fuses cut so as to explode at the muzzle; but with an undulating front or one with cover for skirmishers it is perfectly helpless." In consequence of this opinion, coming from the highest authority on the use of light artillery in Austria, there has been permanently attached to each battery, three non-commissioned officers and twenty-four privates whose duty it is to act as riflemen. They guard the battery on the march and in camp. In action they replace the cannoneers in case of casualties and protect them from the attacks of skirmishers. The writer saw numberless batteries thus equipped, moving into Bothnia last summer. He also noticed at the maneuvers at Aldershott and the Autumn maneuvers in France, that all the limber and caisson boxes have rifles strapped to them for use against skirmishers. Can we do less?
The range of artillery has been so greatly increased that the whole system of artillery fighting has been changed. Where Napoleon, and Scott even, pushed their batteries up into the first line, within stone's throw of the enemy, we would, except in a great emergency, place our guns in a commanding position, which, after we had once picked up the ranges, we would try to maintain. The modern rifle is most effective when coolly handled, properly served, and when the ranges are accurately known. The ricochet of the old smooth bore has ceased to be a factor in the problem of hitting.
There seems to be no doubt that a field gun must be a rifle, on account of its long range, accuracy, flatness of trajectory and consequent increase of the danger space, and that to obtain the best results a rifle must be a breech loader. Some naval officers seem to cling to the old smooth bore Dahlgrens as boat guns. Why, they can hardly tell themselves. They advocate the rifle for the ship and the rifle for the man, but stick to the smooth bore for the boat and for the battery. It is unquestionable that the old smooth bore could stand more hard usage than the perfected-breech loading rifle, but is not the same true as between the old sea-dog and the modern educated seaman, the blunderbuss and the repeating rifle. The true reason probably is that canister was so effective from the old gun in the hand-to-hand fighting, of which we are told. Canister can be used just as effectively with the rifle in an emergency and should be supplied in small quantities for such occasions. The breech loader it is true requires more care and more careful and intelligent handling, but so does almost every contrivance used afloat. A want of knowledge of the working of a machine often causes it to be rejected in the popular mind as useless. Two years ago, an officer, who had had for some time under his immediate command two Galling guns, asked the writer to tell him how to get out a lock, A few days before he had been on active service with them; had a break down or a stoppage occurred in action, he would probably have attributed it to the complication of the mechanism.
In regard to the employment of machine guns on shore, it would seem that one must be entirely guided by circumstances. The Gatling would be of great service in defending approaches or in street fighting where the enemy kept to the streets and did not fight from houses, barricades or behind cotton or hay bales. It is very doubtful however, whether one would be as useful as twenty men (its crew) armed with repeaters, under any circumstances. It certainly would not replace a three inch B.L.R. in the field. The Hotchkiss revolving cannon, if adopted, with its explosive projectile, of lawful dimensions, its long range, and great facility of pointing and training, might be of great service under almost all possible circumstances.
At the present moment the steel three inch B.L.R. is the most effective field piece which we possess in the navy, and it should always be given the preference for field service.
In order lo make artillery fire thoroughly effective, there must be some way of ascertaining the correct range. A few hundred yards out, in a range of three thousand yards, would seem little, but reduce the range to three hundred yards and see what it would be. The same effect is produced at the longer range. The fire must be accurate to be of any use. Artillery seems to be under a cloud in Europe on account of the small results in comparison to the number of guns employed and amount of ammunition expended in modern wars. This is entirely due to a want of knowledge of the distance from the target.
The " Instructions sur le Service de l'artillerie " approved by the French Minister of war, April 20th, 1876, gives the following interesting list of means for determining distances:
"Distances in the field can be found by divers methods;
1st. Practiced eye sight.
2nd. Topographical Maps.
3d. Special Instruments.
4th. By the interval between the flash and sound."
1. By continued practice the eye can be relied upon up to five hundred yards. Beyond that distance the variable condition of the atmosphere and the lay of the ground cause large errors.
The following hints may assist when other means are not at hand :
With ordinary eye sight are visible, at
30 yards, whites of eyes;
80 yards, eyes;
150 yards, buttons;
300 yards, faces and principal parts of uniform;
500 yards, head;
800 yards, movements of arms and legs;
1200 yards, outline of men and horses;
2000 yards, horses and men;
4000 yards, the number of windows in a house.
A good glass will greatly assist the operator but he should have determined its relative points of visibility which should be printed on a small piece of paper and glued on to it for reference.
2nd. If a chart or an accurate large scale map is at hand, the distances may be ascertained by noting the proximity of permanent landmarks such as houses, cross roads, prominent trees &c. By plotting these an approximate distance may be obtained.
3d. We have none of the instruments in service which would render this method effective. In Europe very excellent results have been obtained with several systems of range finders, especially that of our countryman Col. Berdan. Range finders would be very valuable to us for all kinds of firing and it is to be hoped that the Bureau of Ordnance will be able to get the necessary funds to provide at least one to every ship.
4th. By the interval between the flash and the sound of the enemy's arms. This can be done when the flash and its corresponding sound can be sharply distinguished, by means of a good ordnance watch, or by Boulange's Telemeter. This method is however useless in the confused din of battle.
In the field, shrapnel will generally be found the most effective projectile at almost all ranges. In picking up a long range it will generally be best to use first a few shell, as their explosion is more readily observed. At very short ranges canister will be found most effective, as no time need be lost in cutting or setting fuses. The moral effect of the explosion of the projectile will however be lost.
A good position once taken up should not be abandoned without a very good reason, A few hundred yards difference in the position of a rifled piece of long range would make very little difference in the effect of the fire. In a successful attack guns should not be moved to the front for distances less than five hundred yards, and then only to take up a very much better position. The distance moved should be accurately noted and corresponding changes made in sights and fuses. It must be borne in mind that, while a battery is being moved, and even for some time after it has taken up its new position, it is non effective.
Major Hoffbaner, the German artillery authority, says: "Changes of artillery position are rendered necessary by the course of the combat, but if frequent they are detrimental and, if a few hundred yards only, are to be avoided, unless it is necessary to make a short movement to the front or rear in consequence of the enemy's having got the range too accurately, and so mislead him or cause him to get the range afresh." Again he says: "When a battery ceases fire from want of ammunition it remains in position as it thereby deceives the enemy, who, not knowing the cause, expects it to reopen at any minute."
Artillery fire will generally be carried on at long range; the circumstances where guns would be opposed to guns at short range would be almost unprecedented in modern warfare. The side having the lightest guns must get close enough to the enemy to neutralize the effect of his superiority in this respect.
Against infantry deployed as skirmishers it would be best to turn the guns on the reserves and let the supports attend to the skirmishers. An effective skirmish line is acknowledged by all professional artillerymen to be the most deadly enemy with which they have to contend.
At the battle of Vionville the 2nd Horse Artillery battery of the 3d Army Corps was forced to retire before infantry skirmishers, when the skirmishers had succeeded in approaching to within from twelve hundred to fourteen hundred paces from the guns.
At the battle of Noissiville there were sixty German guns drawn up on a tongue of land running down from Poix and Sevigny towards Metz. The French infantry came down and before them the sixty guns had to retire.
At the same place four Prussian batteries had taken up position on a hill near Vionville; the French now advanced with swarms of skirmishers, reoccupied Vionville and pushed through the village against the guns. The two batteries closest to the village, having no friendly infantry near them, were forced to draw back under cover of the hill; but Miller’s battery—one of those which had come forward from the infantry division and was not far off—moved up close to the village and came into action under a heavy fire, several horses being killed and wounded. Swarms of skirmishers again rushed out of Vionville and the moment became critical. The guns were finally forced to retire. As all these cases are taken from German sources they are certainly not exaggerated.
Unless shrapnel can be exploded in exactly the right position, against skirmishers it is no more effective than a single rifle bullet. It can only injure one man at the most. As a single man killer the most accurate field piece is far inferior to a rifle in the hands of a good marksman. And when we consider that we have reliable information that the Turkish (American) rifles at Loftcha and Plevna were effective up to two thousand yards, we can see that even for range against human targets at that distance the rifle is its equal. It takes longer to load, it is harder to point, especially on a movable target and offers, with its group of cannoneers out of shelter, a far larger target. Riflemen must be opposed to riflemen. It is at this point that our drag-men armed with rifles will be of great service, firing from either between the pieces or on the flanks of the battery. The guns would be used
against the reserves which, in all modern tactics, are formed in columns so that they can be deployed quickly. These reserves follow the skirmish line and supports at distances varying from four hundred to one thousand yards. In the German tactics no group formation is allowed at distances under eight hundred yards from the enemy. The artillerists will endeavor to demoralize the reserves by their fire, they being the more easily affected from the mere fact that they cannot return the fire. The reserves being demoralized, the skirmish line must halt or fall back. This is the only effective way in which artillery can repulse an infantry attack. Infantry in marching order advances in double time for short distances one hundred yards a minute.
Long range firing must be very deliberate in order to insure accuracy in pointing and to save ammunition. Not more than a shot per minute can be fired with any accuracy. At this rate, even our maximum supply of ammunition would only last about two hours. The largest target should always be selected. Even at twelve hundred yards the head of a column of fours, which is less in breadth than one of our regulation great gun targets from lower corner to lower corner, does not offer a very good mark. It is for this reason that distant bodies of the enemy are kept in column; the chances of error in range being greater than those in a horizontal direction, the nearer approach or skirmish line is reduced to a single line, widely spaced, which we can imagine as so many small columns one man wide and one man deep. Even this mark is reduced nearly one half by the man's kneeling and to almost nothing by his lying down. Skirmishers are also instructed to take cover which still more decreases our chance of hitting unless we can pierce or destroy the cover.
Let us examine the probable circumstances of landing and the actual employment of the pieces on shore.
The Naval Brigade should never be landed unless it has a fair chance of success. The consequences to a ship or squadron, if deprived of the number of men generally landed, by defeat or capture, would be disastrous in the extreme. When the work can be done from behind the ship's regular battery it should always be preferred. The range of our great guns is very long and the effect of the projectiles very great. The threat of a bombardment or its actual fulfillment would be far more salutary, in most cases, than the landing of, at best, a numerically weak body of troops.
Where the ship's guns cannot reach, the boat guns may and we are still on our own element. For this reason larger guns than can be handled as field-pieces should be provided for those boats, or gun-rafts, that can carry them.
When we must land we must take all human precautions for our success. The lauding should be carried on if possible under the ship's guns. If this cannot be it should be covered by the light vessels, seized or chartered and armed, if necessary; and as a last recourse by the boats and rafts carrying heavy guns. The artillery should be the last to go ashore. The guns while in the boats are effective for protecting the landing and advance for some distance, annoying the enemy and forcing him to keep under cover, and covering an immediate repulse. The artillery boats should be placed on the flanks in lauding on a long beach, so that they can cross their fire in front of the landing party. When landing at city wharves the artillery boats should be collected and held some distance off from the landing, in order that their fire may be effective against surrounding streets and buildings and not masked by the wharves and shipping. In this latter case it would be well to push the Gatlings ahead as they could be used in sweeping the streets leading from the lauding.
The infantry being ashore and well established, such of the guns as are to be landed should be gotten ashore as quickly as possible. The remaining gun-boats should be placed in such positions as would most readily command the approaches to the landing place.
For landing in a town these boats should be stationed at the foot of streets running parallel to those by which the advance is to be made; this would, in a measure, guard against flank attacks.
While we are on the subject of landing it will be well to mention that in many cases a good cask raft, or large Rider bolsa raft, will be found better than a boat as a gun platform, especially if a hammock breastwork is formed around its edge. This would be particularly useful in landing in shoal water.
As we have two cases to treat let us first take that of the town.
We may land in a town to protect or hold the whole town against an outside enemy or merely to protect certain buildings. To protect the town the chief of artillery, in conjunction with the commanding officer and his staff, would select such positions, on the lines of defense, as would make his guns most effective; notably those commanding the approaches, and those giving a raking or flank fire down the lines of defense. Where a strong defense was intended it might be necessary to land the larger boat guns and even some of the ship's battery. A second and even a third line should also be arranged in case of a successful assault and a citadel selected for final defense.
The guns in position should be protected by breast works or barricades. In this connection it would be well to remember the great efficiency of baled goods for breastworks or for advancing under fire. A cotton bale rolled before a few men enables them to resist almost any kind of fire. Magazines should be established near the guns. The ranges of surrounding points should be thoroughly determined and marked down, these points should be named and the men drilled in pointing at them. The definite naming of points by a commanding officer will greatly facilitate the direction of fire. Flank traverses should be built to prevent the guns from being enfiladed.
To protect single buildings they should be treated in the same way on a smaller scale. Pieces on the roof will be found useful in shelling surrounding buildings which might be occupied by the enemy.
The landing made to operate in the country, is our second case. When acting with the army, which is supposed to be without its own artillery, the whole energy of the naval force should be devoted to properly supplying that want. An extra number of men should be detailed for the pieces and extra limbers taken if necessary so as to increase the amount of ammunition. Carts must also be impressed for this purpose if possible. A goodly number of pioneers should also be detailed.
When acting by ourselves we must furnish as large a force of riflemen as possible with a proper proportion of artillery. Once ashore and intending to move into the interior, a portion of the artillery should be posted near the head of the column the other near the rear. It should never take the extreme front or rear. When there is a large force some should be stationed in the center to be in position in case of a flank attack.
It is the role of the artillery to open a regular battle. This battle may be engaged on any side of a column. We should therefore place our guns so that no matter on which side the blow comes we may have a first line and a reserve. The chief of artillery should always accompany the commander in chief, as their actions must be concerted.
Should the column be attacked on the march, the artillery on the side of the attack should go in battery as soon as possible and open fire. The pieces in reserve should be moved to the best position that can be found in the vicinity. These latter in position, and having opened fire, the advanced pieces should be moved to them or placed in other good positions.
Before entering woods likely to be occupied by the enemy they must be shelled. Should the column attack the enemy, the chief of artillery would first move out with the first line and select the position to be occupied by his battery or batteries. These should be concentrated as much as possible.
In regard to position the main consideration is an extended and open range, such that the ground can be swept at the shortest distances. Other desirable conditions are sufficient space, a level surface, wide command and that the position be perpendicular to the line of fire and not too irregular in its general outline. The most favorable positions are behind the crests of ridges or undulations which slope gently towards the enemy; or else in rear of low eminences, hedges and such like. Stone walls are to be avoided except when engaged with infantry alone. It is not however advantageous to post guns immediately behind cover or close to conspicuous objects as they facilitate the enemy's range.
Some authors claim that the guns should be on the flanks of the line, as they then would get a better chance to get a flanking fire at the enemy, which is always the most effective. The objection given to this is the too great exposure of the guns to being cut off. Others claim that the best position is in rear of the main line, on the ground that it gives a greater latitude in selecting a position, and improves the morale of the infantry. As good authorities are to be found for both principles, the probability is that the artillery officer had better be guided by circumstances and select the most commanding positions to be found in reference to the proposed infantry movements. Care should however be taken not to select a position which may be overtopped or commanded by the enemy.
Advantage should be taken of irregularities in the ground to protect the pieces and ammunition without regard to alignments or distances. A rise of from two to two and a half feet in front of a piece sometimes protects it entirely from the enemy's fire. The ground in front should be clear and destitute of cover for the enemy's skirmishers. A position just behind the crest of a ridge is excellent, as the shot which strike the summit will bound over the battery and those which strike below will of course not reach it. It also baffles the enemy by not allowing him to see where his shot strike over. Care should be taken in the event of an assault, that, by moving the pieces on to the crest, they can command the approach, or otherwise the enemy might gain cover.
Artillery should not be placed on rocky soil in consequence of the hard surface it affords for percussion projectiles, whose effect would be increased by the splinters and gravel. Slippery or marshy ground, except as a front or flank defense when on the defensive, is also to be avoided; also ground much cut up by ditches, fences, and other obstructions which would render it difficult to move the pieces. Of course the main object will be to select a position which commands that of the enemy and the approaches to our own.
The position having been selected, its front and flanks thoroughly explored by a detail of riflemen from the pieces, acting as skirmishers, which could be done, as the guns would be halted to the rear, or moving up slowly, and their absence not felt; the commander would order his pieces into position and, having ascertained the ranges, would at the proper moment open a very slow fire, which he would personally superintend, increasing or decreasing the rapidity, and changing the target to meet the movements of the enemy.
In case of a considerable advance of our line, making the selected position no longer the best, he would move to the front and select a new position to which he would move his guns. The change should be markedly for the better, however, to compensate for the loss of time and accuracy.
In case our line is repulsed and the enemy is advancing his skirmish line, or in case we are acting on the defensive and being attacked, he would hold his position until the last moment if he saw any chance of success or wished to save the infantry. The fire of the guns would be directed at the masses of the enemy and as they deployed and reinforced the fighting line he would change to it. The riflemen of the battery taking post on the flank or in the line, would devote themselves to picking off the enemy and protecting the cannoneers. Should the enemy assault the battery, canister and the magazines of the repeating rifles would be called into play.
In case a general retreat is ordered the commander would select positions, to the rear, to which he would move his pieces by detachments, holding the ground as long as possible.
In case of the inevitable capture of the pieces, they should be destroyed or at least temporarily injured. This is easily done with the breech loader by removing the plug. The carriages should also be dismounted and otherwise injured, the important smaller parts being carried off, and the ammunition destroyed. This is done in order to prevent the enemy from turning the guns on our own men.
In order to carry out all the movements required by a battery in the field at the present day but few maneuvers are required. Pieces must never be engaged at close quarters except as a last resort. The greatest attention should be paid to marksmanship and handling of the pieces. How many boat guns are now landed in our service for drill, and sometimes even for actual service, which the crews have never fired nor even seen fired! Would a well drilled or even an indifferent man-of-war's crew be much appalled by the approach of a vessel manned and officered by even the most intelligent landsmen if they had not been drilled? And yet we expect to go ashore and without study or drill transform ourselves into soldiers. Soldiers we must be, when we go ashore, in order to be anything more than an armed mob. This is a matter that must be taken in hand by the highest authorities, and not left to the volition or intelligence of commanding and executive officers. England, France and the other first class naval powers have come to this decision; so must we. Much harm is done by some of us in confining our shore drills to mere empty show. This should be rigidly forbidden and an intelligent organization prescribed, simple movements taught, the greatest stress being laid on modern fighting movements and skirmishing. Marksmanship is of course of the greatest possible importance, and should be required and encouraged in all. This point is alike important to the bluejacket whether acting as sailor or soldier. In order to encourage this feature, the dead letter regulation in regard to the giving of prizes, should be rigidly enforced. Let us take for a principle that " What is worth doing at all is worth doing well."
Commd'r Mahan. The lecturer proposes to arm the dragmen with rifles, preferably magazine guns, also to have them carry a passing box with two pounds of powder, small arm ammunition and an intrenching tool. In addition to these (here are things which he has not mentioned, but which we all know must be carried, such as provisions, an overcoat, blanket &c. Now the dragmen are required, as the lecturer himself says, to do the work of horses; if we load down horses, they cannot do other work as well; so by loading the dragmen with rifles &c., &c., we absorb work and lose in efficiency where it is principally needed. As to the use of rifles on the field, if cover for the ammunition is sought at some distance, the dragmen will be needed to pass ammunition. Granting, however, which is doubtful, that there is in action nothing for these men to do, it would, no doubt, for that moment be satisfactory to have rifles in their hands; but the question still remains, whether as the rifles have to be carried to the field you have not sacrificed in drag power more than you have gained in the use of rifles, as, in any event you have other infantry on which to call. I confess to thinking that you have. Whatever the decision, the point must be kept clearly in mind in forming it, that you cannot both have your rifles, and not injure your drag power. You cannot both keep your cake and eat it. I think we all tend to fall into the error of loading men too much in our anxiety to leave nothing behind; and it should not be forgotten that our men always come to this kind of work without use or training to bear it, a fact which vastly affects the question of endurance. Such service ashore is but an incident in their life for which no adequate training can be given in the service. The lecturer affirms that the advocates of smooth bore field pieces for the Navy, give no clear reason for their preference. My own reason, be it good or bad, is this:—that our seamen are not expected to act against well equipped, highly trained troops, but rather against irregulars, generally in small bodies and at short ranges. For these purposes I believe our smooth bores to have the merits of greater simplicity and greater rapidity of fire.
Lieut. Soley. I am quite with the lecturer in what he says about drills. Unquestionably the most important drills are those which relate to the fighting efficiency of our men, and no drill should be omitted which can lead to such an effect. The practice, so much in vogue, of confining our infantry drills on board ship to the useless performance of ceremonies. instead of to the fighting instruction, cannot be too strongly deprecated. But particularly with the boat guns should the men be taught to shoot, and to hit a mark, whether it be from the deck of a ship, from a boat, or on shore. The men are called away to "arm and equip the boats" at least once a week in the majority of our ships, but how often are they sent away in the boats to fire at a target and to obtain the necessary familiarity with the service of the piece? The first thing to teach them is to use their own weapons, and when they are perfect at that, it will be time to talk about dress parades.
The necessity of having a perfect system of organization cannot be urged too strongly. It was this objection to thorough system and to hard and last rules, which the gallant lecturer so strongly condemns, which led to the humiliating disasters at Formosa and at Fort Fisher, where the Navy had every opportunity to crown itself with laurels, but where it was ingloriously defeated, brave men's lives wasted, and treasure thrown away for the want of system in organization: and, at the risk of being thought French-ified, or of copying too closely the old world models, I would urge the adoption of a system which left very little to individual thought, and was rigidly enforced and scrupulously adhered to.
Next with regard to the number of pieces to be landed. It is quite true that in the Army, the proportion of two or at most four pieces to one thousand men is generally followed, but it must be considered how different are the circumstances under which they are called upon to operate. In the land forces the artillery moves with the army great distances and large ammunition trains are required and used. In the Navy we land our guns for a service which on the average will not exceed two or three days, and we rarely attempt to operate far from our base. For a long march into the interior, or for any other special circumstances, we should have to modify our arrangements. As the lecturer says, one good repeater in the hands of an expert marksman would be very valuable, but we have not yet in the Navy either the repeater or the marksman, and if we had them they would be of very little use in searching a wood or in clearing a beach covered with underbrush. It is on the number of guns that we depend for cover in the first moments of landing, and the difficulty about the ammunition is readily met by carrying reserve ammunition in the boat which carries the gun, with special men detailed to bring it up. Under the ordinary circumstances of employing guns on shore, I do not think they are disproportionate to the infantry, and with regard to the landing of the Naval Brigade at Key West, not the least important feature was the ease and celerity with which the Artillery Battalion of eighteen pieces was handled by Comdr. Evans over a difficult and comparatively unknown country.
The question of the number of men needed for the service of the piece and their equipment is an important one, and here I differ entirely from the views advanced by the lecturer. Undoubtedly twenty men are required for each gun but they must all be for the service of the gun. The gun is the weapon for the whole gun detachment and they should have no other. Let them carry each man as much ammunition for the gun as possible; but beyond that they must be unhampered and free to devote all their strength to moving the piece. Eight cannoneers will not be sufficient, but the whole twenty will be needed to move the gun at a moment's warning. The safety of the cannoneers from infantry attack cannot be ensured by having a few riflemen in rear of the piece who are to be sent to one part of the held as infantry at one moment, and the next moment are required at their gun when it must be moved unexpectedly for any reason. The guns must always have an infantry support but let it be an infantry support and not the motive power of the gun. We never hear of the horses of a battery being taken very far away when the guns go into action; so we must be always ready to move our guns and as their usefulness depends in a measure on the celerity with which they are moved, let the men be kept at the guns. Again, if we encumber the men with a repeating rifle, which is heavy, with sixty rounds of small arm ammunition, and in addition an intrenching tool, haversack, blanket, and a passing box with one or two charges, they will rather need to be carried themselves, and will be of no use either as infantrymen or as dragmen. I confess I was once an advocate of the plan of arming a part of the howitzer crew with rifles, but I am satisfied that although it may work well on the drill ground, it would never do for actual warfare. With regard to the limber, I think we are better without it. It is cumbersome on board ship, and in the boats, and there are other ways of transporting ammunition.
The question of permanent supports is of more importance with the army than with us. In the Naval Brigade the guns cannot move any faster than the infantry, and are not likely to be separated from them: they always work with the infantry and should be kept on the lighting line in all deployed movements but their movements and all their arrangements are so intimately connected with the infantry that they are never likely to be without support. The lecturer has quoted from Major Hoffbaner very extensively. Let me read a few of Hoffbaner's maxims, which he has overlooked and which are applicable to the movements of our artillery equally with any other of his deductions.
"Reasons why the artillery should advance to short ranges. (1). The more open formation of the infantry attack. Moral effect. Advancing infantry derives new inspiration when the guns pass close by in eager advance, and their opening tire is heard.
(2) The advantage of being near at hand, to support the attack if checked, or to prepare the way for renewed efforts.
(3) The great advantage of close connection with the infantry so that the artillery can cooperate at the right moment.
(4) The decreased liability of being masked by advancing infantry.
(5) The possibility of artillery accompanied by infantry advancing under a musketry lire at a range of a thousand paces and less."
I think the lecturer errs in attempting to make the artillery of the Naval Brigade too dependent on rules governing the use of horse artillery in an army. Our artillery is more nearly allied to the infantry and is infantry but with a different arm. Therefore I think the drill of our Naval Brigade artillery should be as simple as possible and conform as much as possible to that of the infantry. The piece should always be ready to move, and all changes from one order to another should be made as quickly as possible. Again he is disposed to consider the employment of very large bodies, whereas such occasions are very exceptional: generally the naval Brigade will consist of the men that can be spared from three or four ships at the most.
In comparing the smooth-bores with the breech loading rifles, I acknowledge that I am one of those who stick to the smooth-bores for our purposes for the present: in rapidity of fire, in charge of canister and shrapnel, they are superior; in range they are inferior; and circumstances must decide which will be the most useful: I myself lean to the idea that we must take the majority of smooth-bores with some rifles, but my experience with the three inch B. L. rifles thus far has not been such as to make me desirous of trusting to the breech loaders in a critical moment.
In considering the possibility of employing guns in case of landing to take possession of a town, I think it would be dangerous to land as the lecturer suggests. I should prefer to land in the open country near the town and make for the most commanding position from thence. He speaks of sending heavy guns on rafts &c. I believe there are no heavier boat guns in actual use now than the heavy 12 and even if there were they would be of very little assistance mounted on rafts as their means of propulsion would be so indifferent: but when he comes to landing the heavy guns of the broadside batteries of the ships we get almost beyond the scope of the lecture and might as well make requisition for a fortress and an army to garrison it.
For the other case of landing in the country, he supposes that we are to operate with an army which has no artillery. In this extraordinary case we are very properly to devote our energies to sending a thoroughly equipped body of artillerymen. There is only a certain number of guns supplied, and there are plenty of men to go along as infantry, and in this case I think he had better take along a few companies of blue jackets as infantry to act as permanent supports.
When the Naval Brigade pure and simple is landed I have already said that the number of guns furnished to the ships will not be too many for a simple descent on a coast. For operations to last several days and to take men away from their base the number must be decreased to suit circumstances: and in action I think the guns should be massed as much as possible and kept up with the fighting line.
With us simplicity of drill is the first necessity. In the army the artillery is an arm of the service, and the men attached to it spend their lives in perfecting themselves and those under them in the use of their weapons. In the Navy, it is an occasional exercise, a service still more occasional: but the fact that the service is occasional should be no argument justifying the neglect of the rules for handling the pieces or for maneuvering them in numbers. Therefore we require a system of instruction and drill which shall be so simple that its principles may, be covered by a few broad rules, easily acquired and easily retained.
One word more. The lecturer wishes to turn us into soldiers because we are going to operate on shore. I do not think we should ever forget that we are sailors. The name of sailor is almost our birth right and we should yield it on no occasion. Let us rather show that we are sailors ready and willing to perform any duty, particularly if that duty be to tight. Let us teach our men to handle properly every weapon which is given them, let us teach them to move together with order and celerity, and if after that we can combine some of the thorough instruction given to the soldier with the ready, alert quick minded and quick limbed activity of the sailor we shall have an ideal fighting man whether for sea or for shore. Let us have thorough organization, thorough equipment and thorough discipline but let our teaching and drill be that of sailors to sailors.
Lieut.-Comdr. Brown. I think that the lecturer is disposed to have too large views on the subject, as he considers the handling and disposition of much larger bodies of men than we are ever likely to use. On his own allowance of four guns to a thousand men. if we had the whole fleet from which to draw a landing party (allowing 25 per cent to remain on board) we should not have more than twenty-four guns : and as any expedition upon which we are likely to engage would not be apt to land more than one thousand, or at the most fifteen-hundred men, the number of guns would not exceed six : added to this is the fact that we do not expect to go far from our base under any circumstances, and therefore I think it is quite unnecessary to go into the domain of what I venture to call grand tactics.
With regard to the kind of gun that we want for this service, I am of the opinion that considering the great care with which the rifle must be handled lest its mechanism become disarranged, our old smooth bore, which can be hastily landed without any special care as to whether it gets into the water or not, has a decided advantage. Another important point to us is that it requires less training for the men, and with the numerous other drills to which it is necessary to attend, we are not likely to be able to make our men skilled field artillerists.
Lieut.-Comdr. Folger. While I otherwise concur in the remarks which the paper has drawn forth, I must make a plea for our steel rifled boat gun as compared with the smooth bore. The former is capable of doing all the work of the latter and much more. It has greater range, greater accuracy, an immensely increased facility of manipulation in the bows of a boat, and its shell furnishes greater breaching powers with a larger number of pieces on explosion, and, weight for weight, its shrapnel a larger number of bullets.
It may be argued that the liability to injury through sand in the threads of the breech screw would militate against its use for naval purposes, but the parts are very accessible, and the most ordinary precaution will eliminate the difficulty. Its manipulation is certainly simple enough, rather more so, in fact, than with those in use in several foreign services, and our people are at least equally intelligent.
If it is desired to disembark in a hurry, the gun maybe thrown over board with as little liability to damage as with the smooth-bore, if the breech screw be first removed. With perhaps the solitary exception of its fitness for street fighting, for work against mobs and mob defenses, I think I should prefer the rifled gun.
Lieut. Kennedy. I do not think it fair to settle the question of rifled and smooth bore guns by reference only to the 3-in breech loader. It is true that the latter may be delicate and complicated but there is no reason why a muzzle loading rifle should not be used that would be as simple as a smooth bore, and which could be as roughly handled. With such a gun you could use any ammunition that you could with a smooth bore and it would be just as effective at close quarters, while at the same time you would have a gun that could be used for accurate tiring at long ranges. I see no reason why the effectiveness of the smooth bore at close quarters and the accuracy of the rifle at long range should not be combined in the same weapon. Regarding the equipment of the dragmen, as the lecturer says, we do not go ashore unless we are pretty certain of being successful and generally do not expect to move far from our base. In such cases we can afford to give the men some extra weight, if by so doing, we add greatly to their efficiency and ability to protect the guns. When an expedition is sent out with the intention of moving long distances, we must omit something from the weight the men have to carry, and as the supply of ammunition for our gun is the first requisite of course the rifles must be left behind.
Comdr. Mahan. With both muzzle and breech loading rifles, the system of giving rotation used by us, renders the time fuse very uncertain and I doubt a percussion fuse giving as good results with shrapnel, the principal kind of projectile, as a well timed time fuse. No one disputes the superior range and accuracy of the rifled piece. What is disputed is that our seamen, unless when attached to land troops, will be pitted against an army; will enter, so to say, on a regular campaign, or do more than go ashore for short periods, to meet forces not superior to themselves as soldiers, and inferior to them in morale and dash. In such cases the smooth bore is believed to have range and power sufficient, and to be at once simpler and more rapid in use.
Lieut.-Comdr. Folger. The Franco-German war illustrated very thoroughly the destructive effects of Shrapnel. It is true the Germans used the percussion shell a great deal at all ranges but they were also supplied with a time fuse. We ourselves are not unprovided. An elaborate series of experiments at the Washington Navy Yard in 1877-78 furnished very successful results from a device of Dr. Woodbridge.
Lieut.-Comdr. Brown. I am perfectly willing to acknowledge the superior efficiency of rifled guns for use on board ship, but I do not think that we can afford to give up our smooth-bore boat guns. In speaking of the liability of the rifle to get out of order I referred not to some possible muzzle loader that Ave may have in the future, but to the breech loader which we now possess.
Lieut.-Comdr. Folger. I think I need merely mention the respective effective ranges of eighteen hundred yards and forty-five hundred yards and ask the gentleman to compare the relative amount of harm which could be inflicted upon an enemy, in an expedition, let us say, up one of those rivers in China which flow through miles of flat, low land with an accessible village at every bend of the stream.
Lieut.-Comdr. Brown. This would be an exceptional case and hardly in the line of field artillery; under ordinary circumstances we do not need to use boat guns at a range of four thousand yards.
Lieut. Mason. It is not always possible to gather the full meaning of arguments from merely hearing them read. Most of the questions that have been raised this evening were foreseen by me and I attempted to answer them. I have been much pleased to find that so few flaws have been detected, especially by so intelligent a body of my brother officers. The two principal points of difference are, as they naturally would be, the armament of the iniiividu.al and the battery. Even the opponents of the system of arming a part of the crew with rifles, grant the advantage that would be derived from them in the decisive moments of a brittle. The battle is what we most desire to be prepared for. On the march we may use as many of our infantry as we desire to lend abandon our drags, but in action with the limited number of men we would have, we will need every infantry man for his legitimate duty and not to entrench and protect our guns. Two of the gallant officers have so well sustained the merits of the breech loader that I can only say in addition in regard to the fuses, it is my experience that the Borman fuse used with our smooth-bores is quite as unreliable as those used with our rifles. The Chief of Ordnance some little time since endorsed on a report of a fuse for the base of a shell the following: "The Chief of Bureau is of the opinion that there is no necessity for a fuse in the base of the shell. So long as we use the expanding system, the proportion of failures to ignite the fuse is not greater in the rifle than in the smooth-bore shell; nor as far as a limited series of fires by the army would show, than with a rear fuse."
In regard to seamen not being able to endure the fatigues of soldiers, I would say that wherever in our own service, or in that of other countries, they have been pitted against each other the sailors, from their general active outdoor life, have been found fully equal to the soldiers. This was notably the case in the late Ashantee expedition. I have it on the best authority that repeaters are to be furnished immediately to at least one of our ships.
It is not proposed to limit the number of boat-guns, which would cover the landing but only those to be used as light-artillery. On the contrary as large a number as possible is advocated.
Circumstances, which must always alter cases, might require us to land outside of the town, in which ease it would be treated as such a ease. The weakest point in or out of the town would of course be the one selected.
When I spoke of using the guns on rafts in preference, on some occasions, to boats, I had in view the new Gondola raft which has just been introduced as part of the equipment of every vessel and which is I think unknown to my gallant friend or he would perceive the advantages under certain circumstances, to be derived from being able to mount the gun on a platform sixteen by ten which could be surrounded with a hammock breastwork and towed, pushed or rowed into very shallow water. In the Manuel du Cannonier a contrivance, for a similar purpose, made of casks is advocated. The landing of the ship's great-guns would only take place under special circumstances and does not, properly, come under the head of my subject but if not taken into it, it would hardly find a place in any other. That our great guns have been landed, and with effect too, officers who served at Vera Cruz, Mobile or Morris Island can fully prove.
In regard to the position of artillery in the field I know that practically the officer who argued that point agrees with me. He looked at it, however, through the eyes of one who wishes to subordinate artillery to his own adopted branch. Short range for artillery is not short range for infantry. In speaking of pushing up the artillery into the fighting line, he cannot mean to put it in the advanced line of skirmishers, especially masked. In such a position he would certainly need all his crew at hand as cannoneers and probably before long would have used up all his infantry for the same purpose.
I do not desire to make a soldier out of a sailor, although literally we are all soldiers. Soldier being derived from solde, pay, soldier, one who receives pay. I want the sailor to act as a soldier, never forgetting that he is a sailor and applying at all times that feeling of personal responsibility and that individual intelligence which his daily life fosters.
No extra limber is advocated. It is proposed to use the carriages of the guns left in the boats or aboard ship for that purpose. It might be dangerous and inconvenient in regard to the supply of ammunition to have a mixed battery of guns. Uniform system and caliber are to be advocated, whichever is chosen. If they are to be breech loading rifles let all be such. If they are to be smooth bore 12 pounders let all be the same.
It was not my intention to have nor do, I think that I have, touched upon the subject of "Grand Tactics.'' I have tried to be guided in my conception of what might happen by what has already happened. I have not cited a single case where a parallel cannot be found in naval history. In conclusion I would thank you for the interest which you have taken in the subject of the lecture, and I hope, for one, that one of our gallant members may be induced to give us his ideas in regard to the employment of the Naval Brigade.
The Chairman.—I agree with what has been already said about the equipment of howitzer-crews. In actual service in the field, I found that men could only carry a blanket and one round for the piece; I therefore took away from them all arms, as I considered one round for the howitzer more valuable than the rifle a man can carry without it. Besides, artillery men should be taught to rely solely upon their pieces for defense, and I should fear their leaving them and taking to their rifles, when hard pressed, if supplied with them.
The crew, as it is, is not too large for the service of the piece in action and to move it to the front and rear "by hand" on smooth ground. In sandy, or muddy soil, it will be found necessary to move it by the "drag" even over very short distances.
Many of the arguments brought forward by the lecturer are familiar to me, but they were intended to apply to horse-artillery, not to the light howitzer of the Naval Brigade, which can easily maintain, or retreat from its place with the infantry on the fighting line. At the battle of Bull Run, the 71st New York Regiment carried two of our Dahlgren heavy smoothbores into action, and they were the only guns brought off the field. All the horse-artillery fell into the enemy's hands.
The vexed question of rifles versus smooth-bores for the field admits of much argument. It seems to me that a battery should be composed of one third rifles to two-thirds smooth-bores, as the latter, in my judgment, will do most execution at short range, and in a decisive battle, men get pretty near each other by the time victory or defeat hangs in the balance.
One thing is clear to me, that no arm which will not stand rough handling by rough men is good for anything in time of war. I scout the idea that sailors become soldiers in battles on shore. I say it is the province of the sailor to learn to handle small arms intelligently and that he has no superior as an artillerist, afloat or ashore. The marines who assist Jack in swinging the main-yard do not become sailors thereby.
I will not say more now as the discussion has been quite full, but I am sure that all will concur with me in tendering thanks to the lecturer for the interesting paper which we have heard.