The Story of the British Army by King, Charles Cooper

Transcriber’s Note

In the Plain Text version of this eBook, superscripts are represented within curly braces, preceded by a caret symbol, e.g., 24^{th}, and italic text is enclosed in _underscores_. Other notes will be found at the end of this eBook.






_From a Photograph by Werner & Son, Dublin_ ]







I have endeavoured in the space at my disposal to show how the British Army has grown up. I have tried merely to tell a “story,” and therefore omitted much that might have been said regarding the noble work the Queen’s Army has done. As regards the opinions advanced, I have always, as far as possible, given the reasons for my views and the authorities which induced me to form them.

I have adhered to the principle of using the old regimental numbers, for the sake of continuity; though, after the date when these were altered, I have, in most cases, added their present territorial titles.

I wish to express my great appreciation of the courtesy of the Colonel and the Officers of the Lancashire Fusiliers (20th), South Wales Borderers (24th), and the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment (14th), in allowing me to sketch the uniforms of their men from the interesting histories of their respective regiments, and to E. C. Brett, Esq., for permitting me to copy the suits of armour that I have chosen as types from his father’s magnificent volume on _Arms and Armour_.












IX. THE PENINSULAR ARMY: (_a_) ITS MAKING--1793-1808 155


XI. THE PENINSULAR ARMY: (_c_) ITS REWARD--1811-1814 191


















NORMAN (from the Bayeux Tapestry) 10 PLATE ARMOUR, _circa_ 1500 23 PLATE ARMOUR AT BARNET, 1471 29 HALF ARMOUR, 1640 35














All nations have passed, more or less, through the same stages in the up-growth of that military system which is as essential to the political security of the mass as the formation of a police force is necessary for the protection of the individual in civil life. From the outset, the history of human existence has been one of combat.

First, in the earliest of primeval days, archaic man had to contend with mammoth, cave bear, and all the host of extinct mammals primarily for food, and then for safety when the need for clearing them away became more and more apparent as population increased. With this increase in numbers grew also the instinctive hostility between man and man. The desire for conquest is one of his strongest attributes. The stronger has always tried to make the weaker subservient; and as time went on, that desire was accentuated by the wish to possess the women or slaves--the terms were then synonymous--of the weaker family.

It was no mere poetic statement, therefore, that the head of a patriarchal household felt safe with a body of stalwart sons, and was not afraid “to speak with his enemy in the gate.” That old-world text tells volumes, behind which lie sinister pages and details of family feud and rapine.

But families segregated together and became tribes; these in their turn formed clans under a general head, and this led to the further development of inter-tribal and clannish contest, of which the greater wars of the present time are the natural outcome.

Still, throughout all this pre-historic or semi-historic time, there was no organisation of what is called an army. Every able-bodied male was bound to join in the defence of his poor village or district, or, on the other hand, to acquiesce in the general desire of a more courageous or dominant group, and share in the attack on, and despoiling of, some other group weaker or richer than itself. A king of men, a stronger soul, a man with more ambition or more boundless energy than his compeers, carried his fellows, by the divine right of leadership, to war. Except as a consequence of his greater bravery, he stood in no one place higher than those he led. The fighting was individual. There were no tactics; there was no systematic military organisation. All fought singly, with a view to the common end of success.

It was only when the character of arms themselves advanced, as civilisation and greater inter-dependence of peoples increased, as communication from point to point improved, rendering combined operations possible, that systematic war began. Even then, there was much of the personal element in the matter. The known chief planted his standard, and round it gathered, at first, a mass of subordinate units, led by their chosen sub-chiefs. But even this was the beginning of greater things. Organisation, on which the real art of war depends, had arisen. The chief now directed subordinate commanders, and command became subdivided. He no longer led only; he directed, in addition to infusing courage into his men by his personal bravery.

So it has been with the successive races that have fought in those early days on British soil. The first real military system worthy of the name was that which brought woad-clad Britons in collision with the military might of Rome. But wonderful as the Roman organisation was, it seems to have left but little permanent trace on the people it had governed and civilised for four hundred years, from the time of Cæsar’s first landing to that in which Honorius recalled the last legion from the deserted province of Britannia to assist the main trunk of the empire. There is little evidence that the Saxons met with any more valuable opposition than mere courage, an attribute of little real permanent importance against a foe that had at the least a sort of military organisation. For that the Saxons had such is clear. They had learned from the Romans indirectly if not directly; and there is a distinct trace of Roman influence in the way they arranged a battle. This applies still more to their fighting organisation after they had conquered and subdued the effete defenders of Roman Britain, before the Danes came. Though they, too, had succumbed to the enervating influence of peace, they had established a genuine system which had in it the elements of the army as it is, or at least some portion of it. For the army of Saxon England was, in all essential respects, a militia; that is to say, a body closely resembling the tribal array, but better organised. Against these came the Danes, whose methods were those of the early Saxons; that is to say, tribal leading under renowned chiefs. But the stronger and more correct principles that underlay the Saxon organisation triumphed in the end; and the raids of Danish hordes were beaten in detail, and became absorbed in the Saxon stock, to revivify and strengthen it. The Roman was an alien, and remained so; but both Saxon and Dane had the same racial origin, became, finally, part of the nation they had conquered, and were absorbed by it, to form the English, when the still stronger tone that Norman soldiers gave--coming also, be it remembered, from the same group of peoples--had borne fruit.

The story of the Saxon conquest and of the Danish invasion contains few points of military interest, though that period was the cradle in which the future army was to be reared. Still there is one battle of that time which should rank with the decisive battles of the English world, for it stemmed the tide of Danish success, and led to the amalgamation of the hostile sides against the next new comer. This turning-point is the battle of Æscesdune, or Ashdown, fought most probably on the Berkshire hills.

The Saxon had retained, somewhat, the Roman fighting formation, as they had utilised Roman villas in Britain, and altered them to suit Saxon tastes. A spearman--one of the _hastati_, say, of a Roman legion--required for the free use of his weapons a space of three clear yards round the spot on which he stood;[1] and it is more than probable that the later Saxons had adopted some of the Roman methods. The arms varied little from those in use during the Roman invasion. The spear or javelin and arrow showed no change; the sword was broad and two-edged, with a heavy pommel; the favourite Saxon weapon, the axe, was either double or single, like the Gallic _Francisca_.[2] The body armour and head armour was of leather, strengthened in some cases with iron, and the chief defence, the shield, was of wood with bosses or _umbos_ of iron. Their skill with the latter, as tradition tells it, seems fabulous: it is even stated that Harold, surrounded by ten archers, was able, his back being protected by a tree, to intercept every shaft aimed at him. Until later, both antagonists fought mainly on foot.

[Illustration: _OUTLINE MAP of ENGLAND & WALES._]

Turn then again to the battle of Ashdown, and let the Saxon chronicler, Bishop Asher of Sherborne, tell the story of the last great Saxon fight, but one, on English soil. The next was to show the descendants of the combatants at Ashdown united against yet another invader--and the last. “The Pagans, dividing themselves into two bodies of equal strength, draw up their lines--for they had there two kings and several jarls--and they give the central part of the army to the two kings (Baegsaeg and Halfdene), and the rest to all the jarls (Fraena, Hareld, and the two Sidrochs). When the Christians perceive this, they, in the same manner, divide themselves into two bodies, and draw themselves up with equal diligence. But Alfred comes more speedily and readily with his men, as we have heard from trustworthy reporters who saw it, and arrives at the place of battle; for his brother, Ethelred the king, was still remaining in the tent in prayer, hearing the Mass, and declaring that he would not depart thence alive before the priest should end the Mass, nor would desert the divine service for the human. And he did as he had said, which faith of the Christian king availed greatly with the Lord, as in the sequel shall be fully shown. The Christians, therefore, had decreed that Ethelred the king with his own forces should fight against the two pagan kings; but Alfred his brother with his companies would know how to try the chance of war against all the leaders of the pagans. Thus strongly were they placed on either side when the king was lingering long in prayer, and the pagans were prepared and had hastened to the place of conflict. Alfred then being second in command, when he could no longer endure the ranks of the foe, except he either retreated from the fight, or dashed forward against the hostile forces before his brother’s arrival, at last boldly, after the manner of a wild boar, guided the Christian forces against the foe as had been determined, though still the king had not come. Thus relying on the guidance of God, and supported by His help, with the lines drawn up closely, he moves forward the standard with speed against the enemy. But to those who know not the place it must be explained that the site of the battle was unequal for the belligerents, for the pagans had occupied beforehand a higher position; but the Christians drew up their lines from a lower place. There was also, in the same place, a single thorn-tree of very small size, which we ourselves have seen with our own eyes. Around this, therefore, the hostile armies, all with a great shout, meet together in conflict, the one acting most wickedly, the other to fight for life and friends and country. And when they fought for some time, fiercely and very cruelly on both sides, the pagans, by the divine judgment, could endure the attack of the Christians no longer; and the chief part of their forces being slain, they took to flight disgracefully. And in this place one of the two pagan kings and five jarls were slain; and many thousands on the pagan side, both in that place and along the whole breadth of the plain of Æscesdune, where they had been everywhere scattered, were slain far and wide. For there fell their king Baegsaeg and Jarl Sidroc the elder and Jarl Sidroc the younger, and Jarl Obsbern, and Jarl Fraena, and Jarl Hareld; and the whole army of the pagans was put to flight till the night, and even to the following day, until those who escaped arrived at the citadel, for the Christians pursued them until night and overthrew them everywhere.” “Never before or since,” says a Saxon writer later on, “was ever such slaughter known, since the Saxons first gained England by their armies.” All the next day the rout was followed up, until the shattered remnants gained the shelter of their fort. Whether it was absolutely abandoned by the Danes after their defeat is doubtful; but it is recorded that fourteen days later Alfred and Ethelred suffered a reverse at Basing, which shows, at anyrate, that some portion of the enemy’s forces had retreated to the south.

To meet the last invasion of foreign blood, the Anglo-Saxons had, by that time, a military organisation which differed but little from the hosts that William of Normandy brought against Harold the king at Senlac. There had been much intercommunication between the British Isles and the mainland. Both armies were armed and equipped in much the same way. Their leaders wore the same kind of armour, and there was little to distinguish between them, save that the Norman’s chief strength was in his cavalry, that of Harold in his infantry. The Bayeux Tapestry shows both Harold and William clad in the same attire.

The Saxon fighting system at Hastings differed little from that of the mercenaries of the most varied character that followed the banner of the Conqueror, except that on Harold’s side there was union of men, then of the same nationality to a great degree, against a mere collection of adventurers. As to the political situation there is little to be said. The true history of the eleventh century is still, and ever will be, unwritten; the most reliable account is after all largely, if not entirely, traditional. It is poetical rather than actual. It is based on “hearsay” rather than fact. Yet, notwithstanding, before real recorded history was, tradition had to take its place, and this is what it and legend have to say of that great conflict which destroyed Saxondom in Britain, and which placed William the Norman on the English throne as king.

[Illustration: _Battle of Hastings._

_14^{th}. Oct. 1066._]

This, then, is what the fighting seems to have been. Curiously enough, Harold selected the defensive, as did Wellington, as a rule, seven hundred and fifty years after, and fought on foot while fortifying his front with palisades; while the Normans attacked in a series of lines, much as was done by British troops before the introduction of the breech-loader led to the abandonment of “linear” tactics. The last of the Saxon kings had chosen for his stand for crown and kingdom the hill where Battle is now built; but there was one vast difference between the opposing leaders. On the one side the Saxons feasted and made merry, though there is little evidence that Harold made any effort to rouse the enthusiasm of his men as his adversary did. In the Saxon camp there was wine and wassail, and in that of William penitence and prayer. William knew the guiding spirit of the art of war of the time, the infusing into his host that religious fervour which later on made Cromwell defeat Royalists as physically brave as his own Ironsides, and the instilling in their minds confidence in their own powers, which has been at the base of every English victory since then. The Saxons were “slow to find out they were beaten”;[3] but the Norman enthusiasm was raised by the duke’s address on the morning of the fight, in which he recalled to their minds that the Normans “had won their land in Gaul with their own swords; how they had given lands to the kings of the Franks and conquered all their enemies everywhere; while the English had never been famed in war, the Danes having conquered them and taken their land whenever they would.”

All this may be fable, and probably is, but what we know of William tends to show it was likely. Even omens he turned to advantage. He fell on landing, but, rising with his hands full of English soil, he exclaimed, “What is the matter? I have thus taken seisin of this land, and so far as it reaches, by the splendour of God, it is yours and mine.” He put on his mailed shirt back in front, only to laughingly exclaim, as he reversed it, “A good sign and a lucky one: a duke shall this day be turned into a king.”

All this evidences genius for war such as Harold never had. His bravery is undoubted, but mere bravery counts little against bravery _plus_ skill. So it was that, armed with sword and priest-blessed relics, protected by the “consecrated” banner of Pope Alexander, and bearing on his finger a ring set “with one of St. Peter’s hairs,” William went into battle with not merely an army of sixty thousand men, to whom success meant profit, but to whom death meant falling in a holy cause, and to whom the very battle itself was a crusade. Everything was in his favour, when, singing the battle hymn of Roland, he moved his three lines against the hill on which Harold’s royal standard was planted.

The details of the battle are of little interest. It was one of hand-to-hand fighting. “The English axe, in the hand of King Harold, or any other strong man, cut down the horse and his rider by a single blow.”

The personal element entered largely, as it did later, into the contest. The fall of the leader led to the fall of the army. Where Harold was, where his standard flew, there was the “tactical key” of the field of battle. True tactics do not depend on the death of the king, or the capture of so many yards of silk embroidery. But true tactics, rightly understood, were not in these days.

The duke formed his army in two wings and a centre, each of which seems to have advanced covered by archers, supported by heavy infantry, and strengthened by the main arm of battle, then the mailed cavalry. The left wing, composed of men from Ponthieu, Maine, and Brittany, was led by Alan; the right, adventurers from Picardy and France, was directed by Roger de Montgomery; and the centre, comprising the flower of the Norman host, was commanded by William himself.

The bowmen covered the advance by arrow fire, and seemed to have produced little effect; but towards the end of the day they, possibly and apparently from the flanks,[4] poured in a vertical fire, and so covered, without interfering with, the attack of the main bodies, and it was from this, in a sense, long-ranged fire that Harold received the wound that disabled him, caused his death and the ruin of the Saxon cause.

Whether the statement that William, by a feigned retreat, drew the Saxons from their entrenchments in pursuit and then turned on them with success, is true or not, may be open to doubt. Harold’s tactics and his method of entrenchment all point rather to passive than active defence. His best armed and best equipped men were in the centre, round his royal standard, armed with javelin, axe, and sword, and covered close by the large Saxon shield; on his flanks were the less reliable and poorly armed “ceorls,” who could not be trusted to meet the main brunt of battle. It is quite possible, however, that these less disciplined troops may have been decoyed into a pursuit which was counter attacked by the cavalry, and thus the flank was turned, and with it the line of obstacles along the front, whatever they might have been.

Be that as it may, it is most likely that the traditional termination of the battle is in the main correct, and that William, by his “high angle” fire of arrows, was able to “search” the ground behind the stockade, and that the last Saxon king received his death-wound in the eye from one of these missiles. It would have been better strategy on his part to have fought a merely rearguard action at Hastings, and, falling back, have both weakened his adversary by the guards he must have left on the coast, and increased his own power of resistance by the aid of the reinforcements that were coming up. So night went down on the bloody field of Senlac, where Harold lay dead with fifteen thousand Normans and “threescore thousand Englishmen,” though the latter statement is, on the face of it, exaggeration. But the fight had broken the Saxon power, and the Conqueror--as William of Poictiers says--refused his royal brother burial, swearing “that he guarded the coast while he was alive, let him thus continue to guard it after death.” None the less, it is believed he was buried eventually at Waltham, and William the duke passed on to cross the Thames at Wallingford, seized London, and become William the king.

With Senlac perished the militia system of the Saxon rulers of England. The new-comers had brought with them the elements, though not the completion, of the feudal system that was to follow and be the outcome of the Norman Conquest. As a matter of fact, the invading army that William led was only after all a gathering of armed men under leaders of sorts. Its very origin prevented the full organisation which means a real or regular army. Mercenaries, men who had never before the war met the chiefs who were to lead them, in rare cases religious enthusiasts, who believed that the cause of the Pope and the Normans was the cause of God, mere soldiers of fortune, who thought from the fair English land they might obtain fortune even more than fame;--these were the men who were to break up the Saxon kingdom, still existent more or less, and were to weld into one homogeneous whole the English race. Never has the end better justified the means. Never have the means themselves in 1066 been more ignoble. The Norman host as men had scarcely a redeeming feature. To count descent from them, is to count often enough from the meanest social ancestry, though age has made it venerable and respected. Some of the noblest of English families trace, or rather claim, descent from men of the lowest origin, who rose from such a place as that of “Hugo the Dapifer,” to be the rulers of England and replace Saxon jarls whose descent was more distinct, and on whom the Norman parvenu looked down. It cannot be too definitely expressed that to “have come in with the Conquest” is only a confession that those who use the expression are ignoring the fact that many a Saxon thane could show a family title far deeper set in the history of England than any of the men who usurped and trampled on those whose pedigree went back to the days of Æscesdune, before the soldiers of fortune of the Duke of Normandy had emerged from their original obscurity.

[Illustration: _Battle of Hastings_ (_From Bayeux Tapestry_).]

None the less the new invaders were “men,” and had a “man” to govern them, while William, the king by right of everything that in those days made kingcraft, ruled.

“Stark was he,” says the English Chronicler, “to men that withstood him; none dared resist his will. Earls that did aught against his bidding he cast into bonds; bishops he stripped of their bishopricks and abbots of their abbacies. But stern as his rule was, it gave peace unto the land.”

This was William. “Out of the strong cometh forth sweetness,” out of the horrors that followed the Norman Conquest came the English people, and, as time went on, that army which has mostly conquered, often suffered, and generally met disaster with a bold front. And so the new, or rather the last successful invaders seized the fair isle of Britain, added their names to old place-names of Celtic or Saxon origin as an affix, converting, for example, the “town by the water” of Ashton into “Ashton Tyrrold,” and, holding the richest lands as their own appanage, raised the massive frowning towers of Norman castles at all important strategic points throughout the country, marking their conquest as by a sign-manual that they held the land, as they had gained it, by the sword.

Notwithstanding that the Norman had many friends in England, it was long before the whole country was subdued. There was fighting in the north of England and on the marches of Wales; there was prolonged resistance by Hereward in the Fenland and central forests, until, in 1071, the “Wake” surrendered, and became the “king’s man.” There was much still to settle, and William settled them in his own stern way. So much so that his own often parvenu barons revolted, and for many a century rebelled against the royal authority, which, backed by the clergy and English, won in the end. Ralf Guader was quieted in 1074, and Robert of Bellème, with Robert Mowbray and Prince Robert, were beaten in 1078. Similarly, when Rufus reigned, the same Robert Mowbray, with Odo of Bayeux and others, held their castles as rebels until they were stormed in 1095.

The Celts of both Wales and Scotland proved troublesome, so to hold the latter frowning Norman castles were erected at each end of the neck between North Britain and England at Carlisle and Newcastle, while the former were shut in by a chain of similar fortresses from Cheshire to the Severn valley, along which hostilities continued for many a year, to the territorial aggrandisement of the defenders of the “Marches.”

Henry I.’s marriage, uniting the old royal race with the new, much pacified matters, or at anyrate gave the king still more aid from the English people as distinct from the Norman barons. Again Robert of Bellème on the Welsh border revolted, but was driven into exile by the sovereign: in the claim of Robert to the throne, Englishmen sided with Henry, and for the first time served abroad to defeat the pretender at Tenchebrai. But Henry left no male successor, and Matilda his daughter was distasteful to the barons, who chose Stephen, grandson of the Conqueror, as king. This created two factions--that of Stephen and that of Matilda, the first of the great Civil Wars (for now the “English” counted for much more than heretofore), and the king, unlike his predecessors, unwisely allowing the barons to build castles on their own lands, paid for his over-confidence. For Matilda’s party, led first by the Earl of Gloucester, formed in the west of England, assisted by David King of Scots in the north. Stephen advanced against the latter, defeating the former at Northallerton, and after many vicissitudes on both sides, the war ceased by the retirement of Matilda to Normandy.

So in anarchy and suffering--suffering so great that it was said “that God and His saints were asleep,” so terrible were the wrongs done in the land--the Norman power as such ceased to be, and Plantagenet kings (no longer Norman but English) reigned over the realm for more than three hundred years.

Out of that time grew up the system of feudal levies, that is, of men who served as the personal retainers of some baron or overlord, and who fought therefore no longer as freemen, fighting freely in their country’s wars. Military service long remained personal rather than national.



With the rise of feudalism arose a further expansion of the principle of subdivision of command, though in its earliest days it degraded fighting to the mere personal prowess of the individual, and tactics as an art of war consequently made little, if any progress. Armies were built up much as before, and were still in many respects a species of militia. The knightly tenure was one of personal service for variable periods,--generally of about forty days,--during which the knight received no pay, and beyond which the king or overlord was supposed to defray the cost, and too frequently didn’t.

Sometimes he compounded for service by a money payment to the king, which enabled the latter to pay others to do his work; this indirectly leading to the mercenary soldier, or one who serves for pay. Throughout all the feudal times armies for foreign service therefore had to be paid, as campaigns could never be concluded within the period of free service. Hence they were composed partly of feudal retainers, partly of forced levies or mercenaries raised by some knight or gentleman, expert in war, to serve the king at a fixed rate of pay, which was often higher than that of a day labourer at home, with the prospect of adventure and booty. There seems to have been little difficulty in thus raising recruits. The money for this, which was paid in advance, was raised from the royal revenues, crown funds, fines, or parliamentary grants. These armies were disbanded, therefore, directly the war ceased.

It is calculated that this system produced a levy of about 60,000 knights and men-at-arms, and the country was divided into areas or “knights’ fees,” each of which provided one armed man.

The main “arm” in battle was the mailed cavalry, and infantry was long thought little of; but in England speedily grew up the steady and trustworthy bowmen, the foundation of that infantry which has carried the national flag to victory in every part of the world, and which had no counterpart in those days in foreign armies, such as France, where the footmen were, till much later, merely armed serfs or dependants, armed indifferently, and treated with contumely. In England it was otherwise. There were both greater freedom, and better, because more independent men. The trust that successive governments had in the people is best evidenced by the fact that all classes were armed. As far back as the reign of Henry II. it had been enacted that every man should possess at least a bow, and it is said that a good bowman could fire twelve shots a minute at two hundred and forty yards. Archery and archers were encouraged on the one side of the Channel, and on the other looked upon with contempt. Nowhere is the difference between the English and foreign footmen better shown than at Crecy and Poitiers; and the former is a type of the fighting of the period immediately before the active employment of gunpowder. The political events which brought about the battle need not be detailed here: it will be sufficient to bear in mind that the “Hundred Years’ War” with France commenced by the claim of Edward III. to the throne of France, and the corresponding effort on the part of Philip to possess Guienne, which the King of England held in fief as Duke of Aquitaine, one of the six “peers of France.” After sundry fruitless expeditions, Edward landed at St. Vaart on the 11th October, with an army composed of 4000 men-at-arms, 10,000 bowmen, 12,000 Welshmen, and 6000 Irishmen, and one of his first acts was to bestow on his gallant son, the Black Prince, the honour of knighthood.[5]

It is interesting to notice how even at this date footmen and infantry formed an important part of the British army, which, after advancing almost to the gates of Paris, was compelled to fall back to the coast for many reasons, among which want of supplies predominated, and finally, after a brilliant skirmish in crossing the Somme, took up a position at Crecy-en-Ponthieu--whence, even if defeated, it had a secure retreat through Flanders--there to give battle to the French. When day dawned on the 26th August 1346, the battle was formed on the slopes of the Vallé des Clercs, with the right flank resting on the village of Crecy, situated _à cheval_ the river Maye, a shallow stream some ten feet broad. The left flank was protected somewhat by a belt of trees near Wadicourt, and the position--about a mile long--faced south-east, and was held in three bodies; the first, on the right, under the Prince of Wales, with Lords Warwick and Oxford, was composed of 800 men-at-arms, 1000 Welsh infantry, and 200 archers, with 2000 Welsh and Irish infantry in support;[6] the second, on the left, commanded by the Earls of Arundel, Northampton, and Willoughby, with Lords Basset and Ross, contained 800 men of all arms; while in rear of the right wing was the reserve, 1700 men-at-arms and 2000 archers, commanded by the king in person.

The baggage was securely packed in a wood in rear of all. Each of the wings was arranged with archers “formed in the manner of a portcullis or barrow,” and the men-at-arms dismounted. The king utilised the steadiness of the dismounted men-at-arms to resist the charge of the enemy’s cavalry, while shaking and demoralising him in his advance by fire. It was not unlike the “Battaglia” of the civil war in principle, which were composed of “pikes” in the mass and “shot” at the angles. The longbow was no bad weapon as time went. It could range four hundred yards, was silent, and rapid to shoot, and, like modern smokeless powder, did not obscure the field of view. There is little doubt that the real formation was that of a line of men-at-arms, flanked by two wings of archers, thrown forward, and with a central body of archers forming a “herse” by the meeting of the inner wings.[7] Cannon, in the shape of six small pieces slung to a beam, and called “brakes,” were used for the first time, and both entrenchments and abattis seem to have been made along the front.

Philip himself, with an army estimated at as much as 120,000 men, was meanwhile advancing from Abbeville with 15,000 Genoese crossbowmen, forming an advanced guard, led by Antonio Doria and Carlo Grimaldi, followed by 4000 men-at-arms and foot soldiers under the Dukes of Alençon and Flandres, behind which came the remainder of the army in four lines, under the command of the king. The march was disordered and confused. “There is no man,” writes Froissart, “unless he had been present, that can imagine or describe truly the confusion of the day.” It was a case again of “those behind cried Forward, and those in front cried Back”; and while the masses surged backward and forward, under contradictory orders and want of plan, a gathering thunderstorm burst with peals of heaven’s artillery, and the driving rain lasted long enough to wet the bowstrings of the crossbowmen and render them of little use. The superiority of the longbow was fully shown then, for the English were able to keep the bows cased and the strings dry until the moment for their use came. And come it did; for the sunshine again broke through the clouds, and now full in the faces of the French. Other omens too were there, which in days of superstition helped to raise the courage of one side and depress that of the other; for over the French early gathered great flocks of ravens, which “was deemed,” so writes De Mezeray, “a presage of their defeat.”

When, therefore, the Genoese were ordered to attack, they did little execution, and under a fire of clothyard shafts so heavy that “it seemed as if it snowed,” they fell back in panic and disorder. Whether Edward’s artillery had any real effect is doubtful, but the noise of the new weapon, probably firing stone shot, may have tended to add to the _débâcle_, even if the actual loss it caused was small. The Genoese were between two fires. In front were still the English line, cool on the defensive, as they have always been; behind was Alençon’s cavalry, who cared but little--in that chivalric age--for mere men on foot. “Kill me those scoundrels,” said Philip, “for they block up our road without any reason. “Truly,” also answered D’Alençon, “a man is well at ease to be charged with these kind of rascals who are faint, and fail us now when most at need;” so through the flying men rode the French knights, whilst over the disordered crowd still fell the heavy rain of English arrows. To add to the confusion, too, the Irish and Welsh infantry, though they were of little value apparently otherwise, joined in the mêlée, to slay with their long knives the dismounted knights, whether wounded or not, “nor was any quarter given that day by the victors.”

But when the French cavalry had cleared a way to the English line, they were a mere crowd, and the Black Prince advanced his line to counter attack. But there was no lack of bravery in his antagonists. They fought brilliantly and well, and so far succeeded as to place the prince’s command in some danger. And while the French knights assailed the flanks of the English right wing, a sharp attack was made by some German and Savoyard cavalry which broke through the bowmen, and even engaged the men-at-arms in rear. To his aid, therefore, pressed Arundel’s left wing, and soon the French second line also fell back routed, leaving its chief behind dead. It was too late to retrieve the disaster, and it is somewhat pitiful to read how at that moment the poor old blind King of Bohemia turned to those around him to say, “Sirs, ye are my men, my friends and companions, I require you to lead me so far forward that I may strike one stroke with my sword.” Verily there were men in those days, and two knights did not fear to humour him; so, tying their reins to his, they led him into the thick of the fight, where, seeking death, the king “struck a stroke with his sword, yea, and more than four, and fought valiantly, and so did all his company; but they adventured so far forward that they were all slain, and the next day were found in the place about the king, with their horses tied to each other.” His was a valiant death, and though his son, the King of the Romans, had fled, with him fell the flower of the French army, the King of Majorca, the Duke of Lorraine, the Count of Flanders, the Count of Blois, eight other counts, two archbishops, 1200 knights, and 30,000 men. The loss on the English side is not recorded, but was probably small, and the battle was won chiefly by the fire of infantry,--in this case, arrow-fire,--as modern battles are mainly decided by the bullet.

Among the spoil of eighty banners was captured the banner of the King of Bohemia, charged with three ostrich feathers, and the motto “Ich Dien,” though the statement that the Black Prince thereupon adopted them for his crest and motto is probably mythical, as many such stories are.

Philip seems to have been stunned by the disaster, and long refused to leave the field. When late that night he reached the castle of La Broyes, he had with him, of all his armed host, but Sir John Heynault and five barons. On the other hand, Edward had the joy of embracing his victorious son, with the words, “Persevere in your honourable career. You are indeed my son, for valiantly have you acquitted yourself this day, and shown yourself worthy of empire.”

When the sound of conflict ceased, even Edward did not then know the magnitude of the victory he had gained. And the night passed without festivity, while the king himself “made frequent thanksgiving to the Lord.”

The battle of Crecy is a marked stage in the history of our own army, for it shows clearly the value of the English infantry of the past, the importance of infantry fire, and the dawn of the employment of artillery. But by other nations and in other parts of the world, too, had the value of resolute infantry been recognised, except in France. The age of chivalry--so called--had increased, and fostered the use of body armour. Its very dead weight literally and metaphorically prevented the growth of tactics. There was no real organisation in the crusading hosts; they were but gatherings of armed men such as William led at Hastings, and battles were but a series of incidents of rivalry between leading or ambitious chiefs. The age of chivalry was an age of vanity, both of deeds and of iron clothes. Magnificent was the armour of the knight; magnificent, too, his inordinate desire to be noticed! These were not the days of personal interviews, daily papers, or self-advertisement; but Sir Galahad, going from tournament to tournament to show he was a stronger man, or with a Christian desire to hurt somebody, did his best in that line none the less! The Irishman who drags his coat along the ground at a fair--another sort of tournament--in the hope that somebody will tread on the tail of it, differs little from the challenger at Ashby de la Zouche. There was the same human nature at the bottom of both--each was spoiling for a fight! Still the spirit of the time sensibly increased the military spirit. To individual prowess was open the tournament where doughty deeds, or what were considered such, met with immediate reward and encouragement. No better school for mediæval war ever existed than that in which men learned to fight under the personal criticism of women. Vanity, pride, love were all brought to play in these contests, and poetry spread far and wide through the songs of the troubadour the deeds of the valiant, the defeats of the weaker--

“Throngs of knights and barons bold, In weeds of peace high triumph hold, With store of ladies, whose bright eyes Rain influence, and judge the prize Of wit, or arms, while both contend To win her grace whom all commend.”

War was for long the only career open to men who did not care to don the cowl of the monk. It, therefore, in the Middle Ages, was essentially the one pursuit of the gentle born. It tended in a brutal time to lessen some of the evils of war, which “is a barbarism which civilisation only intensifies.” “_Væ victis_” was softened by the feeling that the conquered opponent could be held to ransom and treated gently. The very training of the knights combined the religious, the romantic and combatant elements. The right of conferring it from time to time varied. Before 1102 abbots of the Church had the power to bestow the golden spurs. Hereward the Wake received his knighthood from the Abbot of Crowland. But later on, only bishops, princes, or knights themselves were permitted to bestow the honour, and, with them all, great care was exercised that the recipient should be worthy thereof. Considering the value of money in those days, the costs were heavy, the robes alone amounting to £33. The golden collar of SS. or Esses, part of the knightly decoration, must have been costly. Its origin is very doubtful. Whether from “Souveraine,” from “Sanctus Simo Simplicius” (an eminent Roman lawyer) or in compliment to the Countess of Salisbury, has not yet been determined.

The knightly duty was laid down with exactness, though probably few carried out all the wholesome rules in their entirety. “They must learn from the beginning to labour, run, carry weights, and bear the sun and dust; to use sparing and rustic food, sometimes to live in the open air and sometimes in tents; then to practise the use of arms.” The “true merit of a knight is correctly stated by the Troubadour Arnaud de Marveil.” It is “to fight well, to conduct a troop well, to do his exercise well, to be well armed, to ride his horse well, to present himself with a good grace at courts, and to render himself agreeable there. Seldom are these qualities in the same person. To unite martial habits and vigour with the courteous elegancies of polished life, could not be often accomplished in a half-civilised age.”

His oath declared his duty to be “To defend the Church, to attack the perfidious, to venerate the priesthood, to repel the injuries of the poor, to keep the country quiet, and to shed his blood, and if necessary to lose his life, for his brethren.” But if his duties were grave, his privileges were great. Knights were freed from all “gelds” and taxes and from all other services and burthens by Henry I., in order “that being so alleviated, they may instruct themselves in the use of horses and arms, and be apt and ready for my service and the defence of my kingdom.” Salisbury also mentions that knighthood “rejoices in many immunities and more eminent privileges, and has not to provide horses, carriages, and other sordid burthens.” Yet another advantage, of doubtful value perhaps, was that of being rated at a high value when taken prisoner in war. His ransom, always higher than a less titled personage, sometimes amounted to ten thousand crowns, but if of higher value than that, the captor was obliged to surrender him to the king. Those who were knighted for valour on the field of battle were empowered to use the square instead of the swallow-tailed pennon, as knights banneret, and had the privilege of a war-cry. From this came the mottoes of the modern “coats of arms.”

The history of knighthood is a part, and a very important part too, of the history of arms. To its institution can be traced many of the decorations and forms of the arms and armour of the Middle Ages. The honours it offered were so great and highly prized, that it increased martial enthusiasm and encouraged military exercises; and the part taken by women in rewarding the exertions of the knights both in the tournament and in battle, exercised an enormous influence over the warlike portion of mankind. Where the prizes were so great, attention to arms of offence and armour of defence became natural and right. The chivalric feeling engendered by knighthood and knightly exercises was not confined to joust and tournament in times of peace. It was a useful and valuable adjunct to personal bravery in war. “Oh that my lady could see me now!” said a knight as he successfully led his men to the storm of a well defended breach. The spirit thus aroused was due to the knightly customs of the times.

But this “chivalrous” and in a wide sense “cowardly” system was to receive two rude shocks. The first came from the Swiss mountaineers, who with the pike grievously routed the gorgeous knighthood of Charles of Burgundy, and the second from the results of the brain-thought of the peaceful chemist who rediscovered gunpowder.

That cavalry were useless against determined infantry was a new and lurid light to the iron-coated feudalist, and led to a considerable increase of foot-soldiers and the use of the half pike. As the firearms improved, so the unhappy knight tried to meet the bullet by thickening his armour of proof, until on foot he was helpless, and mounted not much better.

[Illustration: _Complete Plate (Circa 1500)._]

Armour, therefore, had much changed since the Conquest, and was still changing. The Norman knight was chiefly clad in mail, composed at first of rings sewn side by side on quilted cotton or leather, rings overlapping (jazerant), scales overlapping (lorica), or square plates overlapping (tegulated); to be followed by rings set edgewise (as single mail); and finally regular double mail extending over the head and entire body. Over the mail coif was worn a conical helmet with a “nasal” or nose-piece, followed by a cylindrical flat-topped helmet over the coif; and finally the latter was replaced by a round topped helmet from which depended a mail cape or _camail_. Similarly as iron replaced mail for the headpiece, so were knee-pieces, elbow-guards and neck-guards of plate added. The foot-soldier wore an iron headpiece, and now and then a back and breast plate, but he was generally badly provided with defensive armour, and relied on the leather “buff” coat or clothing of quilted cloth. But the armour from the end of the fourteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth century became more and more massive. At first mixed armour,--mail and plate,--then plate armour chiefly. In the former period more and more pieces of iron plate were used to cover weak parts, such as knees, elbows and shoulders, cuirasses, leg-pieces, thigh-pieces, gorgets (for the neck), shoes (_sollerettes_), and gauntlets for the hands, appear successively, until the only mail armour was that hung from the waist in front, between the plate _cuisses_ that protected the outer part of the thighs. The helmet or headpiece also became gradually closer, with a visor that could be opened or closed at will, until it completely covered the face, so that by the fifteenth century, the whole of the armour was practically plate. Underneath the armour was generally worn a leather suit, and over it the “tabard,” which not only bore the wearer’s coat of arms, but protected him from the sun. Arms remained much the same--sword, lance and dagger chiefly for the mounted man, with at times the axe and mill-pick; on foot the two-handed sword, with halberts and partisans of various types, such as the glaive or byl, together with sword or dagger. The missile weapons, the longbow and crossbow, were still common, though giving way slowly but surely to the firearm; and the former was long more formidable than the latter. It could be discharged much more quickly, it was less liable to get out of order, it did not require heavy stores of powder and shot. The arrow missiles were twofold in character. “Flight” arrows had both heads and feathers small, and were used for ranges up to two hundred and forty yards. “Sheaf” arrows were shorter in the shaft, were heavily feathered and pointed, and were intended for close range. Even when this ammunition was expended, there was no lack of similar missiles to be found, either in the bodies of the slain or sticking in the ground. Moreover, the flight of the clothyard projectile could be directed over the heads of the men fighting in first line, and reach therefore the reinforcements hurrying up in rear. Still the firearm slowly gained ground, and the extensive use of body armour practically lasted until the end of the sixteenth century, though by that time leg-armour was generally falling into disuse.

During this same period there was a corresponding growth, in addition to the increasing appreciation of infantry already referred to, of permanently organised armies. Their origin as “Free Companies” from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries was probably largely due to the constant state of war and political contests that characterised the time. A numerous soldiery, disbanded after the termination of a campaign, were only too eager for further employment, however hazardous. Their mode of life had destroyed their peaceful instincts, and so as paid soldiers they served under the banner of any of the unscrupulous leaders, often of noble birth, that such a condition of affairs was likely to force to the front. Thus arose the mercenary soldier, the forerunner of the paid soldier; and from the continuous training the former perforce received also came the permanently embodied armies of later days. The system insensibly influenced the feudal levies, for among them served many others besides knights who made a profession of arms. Finally, the practical value of a permanent force was recognised in France, when “Compagnies d’ordonnance” were raised by paid officers and composed of paid men. So things and matters went, until the first of the great civil wars brought into the field English armies that fairly typify the final development of the feudal system that had been growing up. It differed much from what obtained elsewhere still. There were but few mercenaries in England, at least of foreign origin. The native independence of character had produced a splendid infantry as times were. And with the Wars of the Roses terminated mediæval tactics and its warfare, as with them finally came in the dire foe to feudal knight and iron-clad noble, that “villainous saltpetre” which was to revolutionise war and abolish armour altogether.

So when, on the 13th October 1453, a prince, Edward, was born to the feeble Henry VI. of Lancaster, the hope Edward of York cherished of peacefully succeeding to the throne was rudely destroyed. Before him lay the chance of a long minority under an imperious queen, Margaret of Anjou, a prospect that pleased neither the duke nor the people. Many who would have otherwise lived and died peaceful, unwarlike, citizens sided, half in apprehension, half in sympathy, with the “White Rose,” a feeling which acquired political importance by the temporary appointment of the Duke of York as Protector during the king’s mental feebleness and his son’s minority. “This Richard of York was a personage to be reckoned with.” And political excitement was soon followed by a political badge, as in later days the primrose became a party emblem. In the gardens of the Temple--so tradition has it--the white and red roses were plucked and worn by the spectators, the latter by those who followed the reigning house of Lancaster; and from this small beginning, from this outward and visible sign of internal disagreement, sprang an internecine contest that lasted for thirty years, brought about on English soil twelve pitched battles, more than decimated both branches of the royal family, all the noble houses, and for savage rancour and hideous cruelty is unequalled in the world’s history. Yet it is not a war as modern military historians would class it: there was little method, no “plan of campaign,” worthy the name. Where “armies”--or rather, bodies of armed men--gathered together, there a similar body went to fight them like two pugnacious cocks in a farmyard.

Not that Richard of York began with any certain idea of kingship, though his son, afterwards to be Edward IV., was less scrupulous. After the first battle of St. Albans,[8] matters went quite mildly to begin with. Henry VI. was made prisoner, but was treated with courtesy, and but for his determined queen, whose influence on his weak character was as that of Jezebel on Ahab, the end of his reign may yet have been peace. She was naturally despotic, and a conspiracy to seize the Yorkist leaders drove them again into open revolt, and gave them a victory at Blackheath in 1459, but much panic and some treachery led to the dispersion of the Yorkist soldiery at Ludlow the next month; to be followed in February 1460 by a complete victory at Northampton, in which Richard’s son Edward, Earl of March, with Warwick the Kingmaker, led the hosts of the White Rose, and Henry became a prisoner once more. This led to a second temporary compromise, whereby the Yorkists were promised the succession on the death of King Henry. But it availed little. The war-spirit and the blood feud were aroused. Wakefield Green witnessed the defeat and death of Richard of York, and the cruel murder of his twelve-years old son, Edmund of Rutland, by Lord Clifford. The cruelties of the Lancastrian party, the systematic pillaging which their soldiery--recruited often from the ruder North--so often indulged in, alienated the sympathy of the London men; while the more commercial spirit of Edward of York also tended to strengthen the party of the White Rose, to keep alive and embitter the strife, and postpone the long-looked-for peace. The country had practically subdivided itself into geographical as well as political factions. The North and Midlands sympathised with Henry, who had there the support of the landowners, the nobles, and their retainers; the south more or less with Edward, with whom the great towns, such as London, Bristol, and Norwich sided. Hence, after the latter had been proclaimed king, there was still a powerful army of some sixty thousand Lancastrians at York that had to be dealt with. And dealt with it was, by the new king and Warwick his Kingmaker, who at Towton won one of the most decisive and bloody battles during the struggle, and drove Margaret first to Scotland, and then to exile. Much as her character may be disliked,--and she was after all only a type of the imperious feudal “divinely-appointed” ruler,--her dauntless energy and courage cannot but meet with sympathy. So exile meant with her but _reculer pour sauter le mieux_, and in France such poor supplies as she could raise enabled her to make one despairing effort for her son’s sake, and she landed in Northumberland in 1462; but nothing came of it except dispersion again and despair. Unhappy queen! unhappy more by her own faults than aught else. The legal claim of her branch to the kingdom was never seriously contested. Her method of asserting that claim _was_ contested, and with results fatal to her and her line, together with fateful results to her people. Commercial Edward was more likely to develop English handicraft and English trade than pious Henry. As later the divine right of Tudor, and still more of Stuart, had to give way to the rising spirit of freedom from autocratic control, whether of king or pope, so out of the Wars of the Roses began to sprout, from the soil of feudalism, broken by many a sword, manured by the best of English blood, the plant of English liberty. Yet one more great contest between rulers and ruled, and that plant was to spring into full and vigorous life, of which we now see the matured and widespreading tree. The nation hardened under the troubles of that stormy time; and, hardening, grew to stout manhood. In thinking this we see that Margaret unknowingly helped to make it. For “God fulfils Himself in many ways”; and by many means, often seemingly of the meanest, do great things come. Not that Edward was faultless, it was rather the other way. His private conduct was not beyond reproach; his marriage with Elizabeth Woodville, and the rise of that lady’s family, alienated many of the leading nobles, Warwick among the number. So the smouldering embers of civil war broke out again into flame, and now Margaret had to help her the mighty power of Warwick, with and by whose direction her next descent on England was to be made. But this, too, availed nothing. Though first so successful that Edward fled, later on, he too returned, but, unlike Margaret, to conquer. For at Barnet the great earl fell, and with him the last hope of Lancaster.

This remarkable battle is instructive as showing how slow was the change in tactics during feudal days. There was still the feeling of personal chieftaincy, so strongly held, that the result of the battle depended largely on the life of one of its leaders. With the death of Warwick the battle became a rout, and the feudal retainers fled when the head of their house fell. Again, to deal with the special political details which brought about the great fight would be foreign to the object of this book. The battle of Barnet must be taken as a type of the progress, such as it was, that had been made in the art of war since Crecy and Poitiers had been won. It began thus. Edward, after a five months’ exile, had landed at Ravenspur, and by the time he reached Nottingham he had raised an army of about ten thousand men, with, it is said, three hundred Flemings armed with handguns, and apparently some other artillery. On the other side, the Lancastrians, about equal in strength, had also some artillery, and had taken up a position on Gladmore, or Hadley Heath, north of Chipping Barnet, and awaited the approach of the Yorkists. The night preceding the battle was dark and gloomy, and the morning broke in heavy mists and rain; notwithstanding which the troops engaged between four and five o’clock on the morning of Easter Day, the 14th of April 1471.

[Illustration: _Battle of Barnet (From a M. S. at Ghent)_]

Warwick had at first his artillery on his extreme right, and this fired through the gloom, but with no effect, as Edward’s right wing did not extend so far, and was overlapped by the Lancastrians. This army was commanded by the Earl of Oxford, who led the van, and by the Marquis of Montagu, who led the second line; the left wing was commanded by the Duke of Exeter--both wings being largely composed of cavalry. The extreme left was occupied by archers and pikemen entrenched or palisaded in a small wood. This probably extended at that time from Wrotham Park to the column now marking the site of the battle, and near which tradition says Warwick fell. The centre, consisting of bows and pikes, was commanded by the Duke of Somerset; and behind this there appears to have been a reserve under Lord St. John, Sir John Conyers, and, for a time at least, Warwick himself.

The order of march of the host was with the right wing leading and the left closing the column of march. On the other side, Edward from his initial dispositions similarly outflanked the left of his antagonist, opposite which was the Duke of Gloucester commanding that wing, and presumably the artillery, if any. The left wing was led by the Marquis of Hastings; and, as in the Lancastrian army, both wings were mainly composed of cavalry. In the centre were the Londoners, infantry armed with bows and bills, and in general reserve was a force commanded by Edward himself. Some writers speak as if the armies were formed in three parallel lines, but it would seem that the formation customary for long after Barnet was that of two wings and a centre. It is impossible otherwise to account for the curiously isolated and impulsive attacks on either side by Oxford and Gloucester. Still, it is practically certain that each of the three bodies into which the army was divided was more than one line deep. Thus from the outset these dispositions show a tendency to employ infantry in battle with cavalry and artillery on the flanks, but the feudal idea still preponderated, and paramount importance was still attached to the mounted arm, which on both sides, as in all cavalry actions, simultaneously took the offensive.

One point, however, is especially noteworthy, and that is, the appearance of London citizens in Edward’s fighting line. Though not strong in numbers, they none the less represented the beginning of a new era, which was to see a citizen soldiery formed of London trained bands even more important in the next civil war, and which was to find its climax in the later citizen soldiery, the Volunteer Army of modern England. The natural result of such a primary disposition of the troops on either side was that the right wings of both armies, practically equal in number, gained a temporary success. The battle began by Oxford’s attack on the wing opposite him, which actually routed it and dispersed it; but the value of a reserve in the hand of the general was never more clearly evidenced than when, during Oxford’s absence and ill-advised, because too prolonged pursuit, Edward launched his reserve against Warwick’s then exposed flank and the left centre. To the suddenness of the attack was added the demoralisation caused by imagined treachery. On that misty Easter morning it was difficult to distinguish between the badges and banners of one side and the other. The dress was not a different-coloured uniform, as later on; it had only the uniforms of iron and steel. A false war-cry was easily raised, the Oxford banner with a “star” not readily distinguishable from that of Edward with the “sun.” So that when Oxford returned to the fray, he fell on his own centre and produced the cry of “Treachery!” which was always likely to be raised in an army composed of selections from two factions deadly hostile to one another, and in which the Lancastrians especially looked with something more than doubt on their new friends, once the followers of hated York. So that confusion began and spread. Somerset did little, and soon the centre and right dissolved, and only on the left assembled round Warwick the relics of the beaten host, and defended the entrenched wood. Here it was essentially a foot encounter, with London archers and bills against Lancastrian bows and pikes, aided by dismounted cavalry and supported by mounted troops, threatening the flanks and rear. It is said even that Edward’s artillery was brought up close to aid in destroying the defences; but the defence only delayed the inevitable end. The battle was lost already, but it wanted yet one death to make it a type of the death of a system. When Warwick dismounted of his own will, and after slaying his favourite charger, so that no retreat should be possible, took up his position with his friends and personal retainers in the wood at Wrotham, and fell there, axe in hand, he did something more than destroy the last practical hope of Lancaster, for with him fell the feudalism of which he was so magnificent an exemplar. No such man or soldier was ever afterwards to hold from his own remarkable personality such a position as his. Cromwell’s resembles it only in his becoming a great and prominent leader in a civil war. Warwick, and nobles such as he, fought as much for their order as their king; all succeeding soldiers fought more for a cause than either.

Meanwhile, Margaret and her son had landed in the West at Plymouth, to be present at the fatal fight at Tewkesbury where defeat was followed by the death of her son, whom Edward struck before subservient attendant lords and stabbed to death, the imprisonment of the queen, and, later on, the death of Henry VI. in the Tower. Neither he nor all the house of Lancaster had been able to save his order from decay.

Edward, too, according to his views, had unconsciously aided its downfall. His death was illumined only by the lurid light of an ill-spent life. However enthusiastic in bygone years was the following of the Earl of March, he played the game so badly that with him the feudal spirit practically disappeared. No son of his succeeded. No kindly thought clung round the last of the Yorkist line. For he was practically the last, inasmuch as his son was king but in name, his brother Richard but a transient star. When on Bosworth field Richard III. died, with him finished the civil wars of mediæval England and the feudalism that had accompanied them. In Henry VII., a personality of no great merit, though he certainly instituted a nucleus of the future army in raising the “Yeomen of the Guard,” fifty archers strong, was united the two Roses; and then was born the nation that in the next civil troubles laid the foundation as far as England is concerned of modern life, modern armies, and modern war.

Never had a class suffered so severely as that of the nobles in this prolonged struggle. Many of the royal princes, half of the nobility and gentry of England, and quite a hundred thousand men had fallen in the great wars. At Barnet the loss was accentuated by Edward’s own orders. So many of the leaders of the great houses had been killed, murdered, or beheaded, that the very decimation of the aristocracy rendered the growth of the middle class more easy, its fusion with the higher class, as time went on and wealth increased, more possible. The knighthood of men of low degree was rare in feudal days; the Tudors were to extend it to the merchant princes who developed English commerce sword in hand, and taught foreign nations the prowess of the English race.

[Illustration: _Formation of Lines of Battle at Barnet 14^{th} April 1471._]

But there is also a marked distinction between the conduct of the battles of the houses of York and Lancaster, and those of the Stuarts and the Parliament of England in the next civil war. Up to Bosworth, armies raised at a convenient feudal centre advanced, when “mobilised,” against another army collected in a similar way at another place convenient for the faction to which it belonged. They met as soon as they were ready. They selected no “position for defence,” a primary tactical law for a weaker force, which by so doing enlisted on its side the elements afforded by such a selection. This was chiefly due to the fact that the bulk of each army was still cavalry, but the other “arms” were increasing in number and value, though still not fully appreciated by the mounted men.

The two battles of St. Albans and the fight at Barnet fully show this. In both of the former the combatants met _en plein face_. The one was making for London, the other stopped him. In the second battle the Lancastrians tried to check the opponent, and failed in preventing his advance, both armies in which mounted troops predominated. There was nothing but a mutual offensive, the system that was at the basis of feudal tactics, and which crystallised in the personal battle between knight and knight in the lists. Strategy in its best sense was not, neither were tactics, for tactics mean the development of a means of equalising the deficiency of one side in numbers, arms, or morale.

So long as a battle depended on personal prowess, the personal fighting power, or even the personal domestic influence of a leader, so long were battles often a mere matter of chance. When Warwick fell, Barnet was lost. The next civil war changed this: neither the death of Falkland nor that of Carnarvon at Newbury affected the fight seriously in one single degree. Finally, as a rule throughout all these days armies moved in order to subsist, and supply trains were rare. Thus true strategy was barely in existence yet, but shock tactics in battle were just beginning to give way to the fire tactics of bow and musket.

As regards supplies in the Wars of the Roses, it must be remembered that, as in later times, notoriously in the Peninsula, when the armies had at times to collect the enemy’s shot and bullets, the weapons of either side were interchangeable.

Doubtless at certain places--castles or fortresses--the actual munitions were stored. To these the armies must have either periodically gone to refit, or what answered to convoys, conveying absolutely necessary warlike stores, must have been formed for the specific purpose of replenishing the locally exhausted stores. All that was really required for the purposes of such wars must have been carried on the persons of the combatants, as seems generally to have been the case, or even on pack animals or country carts. The state of the roads and both their poverty and paucity must have rendered regular organised supply trains impracticable. Similarly as regards food supplies little could have been carried. Like the French about 1811 and 1812, necessity must have rendered the soldiers hardy and self-dependent, though of course at the cost of the civil population. Thus it is said of the French troops in 1811 that they “were trained to reap the standing corn, and grind it by portable mills into flour; if green, they mowed it down with equal dexterity for their horses; if reaped (and hidden away by the inhabitants), they forced it from the peasants’ place of concealment, by placing the bayonet to their throats.” And Wellington himself writes, that “the French armies in Spain have never had any secure communications beyond the ground which they occupy; and provided the enemy opposed to them is not too strong for them, they are indifferent in respect to the quarter from which their operations are directed, or upon which side they carry them on.”

And, later, the French “live by the authorised and regular plunder of the country if any should remain; they suffer labour, hardships, and privations every day; they go on without pay, provisions, money, or anything, but they lose in consequence half their army in every campaign.” This accounts for the enormous losses of the rank and file in the early days of the nineteenth century, while the losses in the fifteenth century, with little or no medical or surgical knowledge for the aid of sick and wounded, can only be surmised.

History, military history especially, always repeats itself in pointing out the necessary results of such unsystematically organised systems.

[Illustration: _Half Armour (Circa 1640)._]



The early part of the seventeenth century saw a considerable alteration in the armament of the soldiery, and, notwithstanding the increasing use of gunpowder, body armour long continued to be worn. On it was lavished the highest skill of the artisan in its workmanship, and the highest taste of the artist in its decoration by engraving and inlaying. But the firearm, a matchlock, had, to all intents and purposes, everywhere superseded the bow, so that even in Elizabeth’s reign leg-armour was falling into disrepute, and, except in the corselet or cuirass, was steadily lessening in weight. Buff coats with sleeves, leather gauntlets, and leather boots were lighter than iron; just as useful against a sword-cut, and no worse against a shot. What little armour was left soon became too heavy to wear.

Even James I. thought that the heavy armour of his time was “an excellent invention, for it not only saved the life of the wearer, but prevented his hurting anybody else”;[9] while “Dugald Dalgetty” found the metal thigh-pieces were powerless to stop the bullets of the firearms used by those who pursued him when he escaped from “that high and mighty prince,” the Duke of Argyle. To summarise the gradual disuse of arms from Tudor times to those of Anne, it may be stated that though body armour and the helmet were long used, the former had become but a cuirass to which a short skirt of metal was attached. The helmet became more open; still covering the head, the back of the neck and ears, but the face was only guarded by a “nasal” (like that of the time of the Conqueror somewhat), which could be moved up or down, or by a triple bar attached to the peak, which could be raised bodily like the visor was. This soon gave way to the mere iron “pot-helmet” without any face guards; and when this went, the cuirass soon followed. Last of all, the neck-piece or gorget was worn finally as a mere ornament. For mounted men the lance disappeared, and the sword, pistol, carbine, or “dragon” took its place. On foot, as the musket became general, the ammunition was long carried in a bandolier. But in addition to the firearms, or “shot,” there were pikemen carrying plain pikes eighteen to twenty-four inches long, and forming an important part of the infantry.

Naturally, therefore, by degrees the proportion of firearms in the _battaglia_ (whence comes our modern “battalion”) increased, and the formation of definite fighting units, such as brigades, by Gustavus Adolphus, Maurice of Nassau, and others, began to make the force more capable of direction and control. De Rohan in France, too, devised regiments on what were then scientific principles. His were composed of 600 pikes, 600 musketeers, and 240 swordsmen, and, later, cavalry were placed between these massive battalions. Speaking generally, the artillery was little moved, and remained stationary during a battle. The cavalry charged sword in hand or with pistols, and the infantry received the charge with the pike or partially met it by fire. But with an improved artillery arose also the necessity for ammunition and other supply trains from fixed magazines, and hence more careful strategy based on care for these magazines or “bases of operations,” and regard for the roads “or lines of communication” leading from them to the army, influenced the conduct of campaigns; so also did the introduction of superior organisation.

For food supplies, armies on the move were still dependent on the good-will of the people, open markets, or plunder. It was long before the supply of troops formed part of the serious study of the art of war. There was yet but little change in the method of fighting. Artillery as an “arm” was not. Rupert thought still that cavalry was the principal arm and could do anything. Cromwell alone recognised what trained infantry could be made to do.

It is only here and there that strategical enterprise is apparent, while the old tactical methods too were changing, but very slowly. Mr. Ward in his _Animadversions of War_, dated 1639, shows the cavalry formed five ranks deep, and (as the battles show) an undue dependence was placed on this arm, though in the early battles it, seriously, effected little, and was rather a cause of disaster than of victory. They were armed with firearms of sorts and the sword, the lance of the Middle Ages having fallen into complete disuse. They were classed as cuirassiers, arquebusiers, carbineers, and dragoons; but all fought much the same way, and were, taken altogether, rather mounted infantry than true cavalry. Each _battaglia_, even as late as 1677, so says Lord Orrery in his _Act of War_, had still one-third of its number “pikes”; the remainder, as “shot,” were assembled in groups at the four angles of the mass of pikes, which were ten ranks deep; but at the beginning of the Civil War the proportion of pikes to shot was about one-half. No wonder that the weapon “which never missed fire,” and was sixteen feet long, for many a year was all-important, and that the heavy arquebus, a matchlock with a rest which trailed, was long looked on as an adjunct, not as the primary weapon of the foot-soldier. The weapon was fired by a slow match, and one common stratagem at night, in retreat, was to leave these matches attached to the branches of trees in a hedgerow, to make believe that it was still held after the defenders had actually fallen back.

The general “order of battle” was two or three lines of these _battaglia_ (named the “main battle,” the “battle of succour,” and the “rear battle”) at close intervals, with the cavalry on the flanks, and the guns dispersed along the front. In the beginning of the battle small bodies or “forlorn hopes” were pushed to the front to draw the enemy’s fire, much as the deployment of lines or columns later was covered by light infantry skirmishers. The guns, immobile, badly mounted, and badly horsed as they were, were not to be despised as far as size went. There were “cannon royal” of 8 inches calibre, firing a 63-pound shot, down to “sakers” with 6-pound projectiles, and “bases” of half a pound, and the range varied from 500 to 1500 yards; and the “demi-culverin” with a 10-pound shot was a not uncommon field gun. Of course their rate of fire was slow. There were no cartridges, and the gun was fired, after being primed, by a linstock with a slow match. Curiously enough, the first cannons were breech-loaders, and were simply securely fastened into wooden slabs on low wheels by way of carriage, and so were capable of very little elevation; but later on they were furnished with trunnions on which the gun pivoted.

The colours worn by the men seemed to have followed the armorial bearings of their leaders. Orange, the colour of Essex, was generally worn by officers; Lord Saye’s men wore blue, Hampden’s green, and so on.

The opposing armies formed opposite one another at about 400 yards range, and after due consideration one side attacked, and without any real tactical plan the battle became a series of independent combats, in which, practically, the last unbroken body remained master of the field, and called it victory. Still this was a great advance on the tactics of earlier days. The idea of “tactics” was there, but, like the Caroline “strategy,” it was of a very feeble description. There was plenty of bravery, little of the combined effort which “tactics” implies.

[Illustration: _Artillery._

_Early B.L. Cannon_


_B.L. Ship Gun, 1545 (Recovered 1836)._

_M.L. Burgundian (without trunnions) 1477._

_M.L. Spanish (with trunnions & dolphins) 1800._

_R.B.L. Field Gun 1896_]

But with the Stuarts had arisen a new power. To loyalty to the head of the State was to be added reverence for an asserted divine right to govern, of which little had been said before. With James I. arose the theory of the divine right of kings. How it came to be that his people, or a section of them, acquiesced in this assumption,--if they ever really did,--is one of the unexplained wonders of the time; but that the idea grew up and grew into full strength when Charles I., the best, if not the ablest of the Stuarts, was king, is clear.

With him the idea of the personal sacredness of majesty came to a head, and died with him, as men died for his “idea.” Again another stage in the army’s growth. Before this brave soldiers had died for “ideas” in battle; now they were to die for an idea translated, or crystallised, into a king. Out of this feeling came the men who fought for the cause and the country as well as the sovereign, and less than before for the personal duty due to the military chief or leader of a feudal family or clan. There were several reasons for this alteration in the causes that made men then join armies. During the Tudor dynasty there had been a vast extension of foreign trade, with foreign travel, which opened men’s minds and induced freedom in political thought. The theological revival which culminated in the Reformation had aroused a spirit, first of intolerance, and then of a desire for freedom in religious belief. To the latter a hatred to Roman Catholicism, a dread of popish interference in secular matters, the example given by the religious conditions of our great commercial antagonist, Spain, and the cruelties attributed to the Inquisition, largely contributed. To the former the increase of commercial wealth, with a corresponding decrease in the feudal power of the nobles, and a greater dependence on general taxation to support the Government and foreign wars, lent their aid. When Charles I. became king, he represented, in person, these conflicting elements; for though not a Roman Catholic himself, he was a High Churchman, his wife a Roman Catholic, and to an autocratic belief in his own divine right he added an untrustworthiness which was one of the many causes that led to his downfall. “From this inordinate reverence for the kingly office grew a great evil, for with a perverseness of reasoning which we name Jesuitical, Charles held that for the advancement of so holy a cause as that of the king must ever be, no means, however vile or mean to the common eye, could be in verity aught but virtuous and true. To this Moloch he sacrificed his children, as he had previously surrendered his home, his wife, and his happiness; to this idol he offered up the love of his subjects, the hope of his house, and the good of his country; for this he became an outcast, a vagrant, and a prisoner; and when love, friends, and liberty had been swallowed by the burning fiery furnace, he flung in with them his honour and his fair fame for ever. It was then no hard matter to die for the god. Let those only judge him for whom there exists a Truth so living.”[10]

The coming recrudescence of civil war differed somewhat, therefore, in its origin from that between the rival houses of York and Lancaster. In these, political rancour was fostered by great nobles, and armies were formed on the feudalistic principle of personal servitude to these chiefs; while on the other side was the trading spirit openly fostered by Edward the Fourth. The Stuart wars are much more personal and individual throughout. The men, the rank and file even, fought with interest in the cause, and--as a rule, not as an exception, as before--joined either side from feelings of personal predilection. Hence it was that when the Restoration came, there was less bitter antagonism between the factions than when Warwick fell at Barnet. Then the king or queen or the feudal lord decided the measure of slaughter. In the Stuart wars no such order as that of Edward, before Barnet, “to give no quarter,” would have been, save in the most exceptional case, obeyed. It was only when the purely theological animosity was paramount that needless cruelties followed victory. The Covenanters at Bothwell Brig were personally hateful to men like Claverhouse, for religious as well as other reasons; so also the massacres at Drogheda, of which more anon. Stern repression of the severest kind in such cases was both the law and custom in those days.

The actual outbreak of hostilities was preceded by minor outbreaks, which increased the growing antagonism. Ships were lent to France and used against the Huguenots of Rochelle, and the failure of an attempt at Cadiz increased the irritation; and when the troops returned from the Continent, they were not disbanded, as was customary, but billeted on the population, and martial law was introduced during a time of peace. Lastly, the efforts of the Star Chamber to raise fresh loans accorded but little with the English spirit, and the direct tax of ship-money on inland as well as coastal towns, together with the attempted arrest of the five members of the House of Commons hostile to the king’s policy, brought matters to a climax.

Thus the Civil War began, much as in former times, without real strategy. At first, certainly, there was little or no plan of campaign. When an army formed, it moved on some point that seemed locally of value, or to some town or garrison that wanted help. The only broad principle of a very feeble strategy seems to have been to threaten (or protect) London, and on the Parliament side to keep free for use the road from London to the West.

Practically, as in the Wars of the Roses, the political situation was this. The north part of the Midlands and the west favoured the Royalists, the east and south the Parliamentarians. But in both cases there were numerous centres of disaffection in each area, and the commercial spirit of the great towns and seaports in the south and east was hostile to the king.

Speaking generally, too, the nobles and gentry favoured the royal cause, the middle classes that of the Parliament; though of course there were many exceptions on both sides. The fashionable, worldly, and gay were with Charles, the serious-minded, austere, and visionary with the Parliament. But there was more than this: even the “people” found a recruiting ground, for London trained bands and peaceful traders donned buff and bandolier to fight in the national cause. As at Barnet, though now much more so, the commercial class stood side by side with that which deemed itself, by birth and education, more military.

The gradual introduction of the supply train had introduced the elements of strategy, though the study was still in its infancy. The strategical objectives were rather more distinct, but even now there is little trace of a connected serious strategic plan. The isolated armies did not yet unite to a definite strategic end; the plan of campaign was much the same as before, though a little less so. The king assembled an army at X, the Parliament formed one at Y to beat it. The main difference is, that in the Wars of the Roses defeat generally meant dispersion, in this Civil War it meant more or less retreat to re-form. The art of war was growing up, that was all.

Briefly speaking, the only noteworthy points of military interest are these which follow; as the most instructive tactical example is that of the battle of Naseby.

The early campaigns merely tell the usual tale of disconnected skirmishes and resultless battles. Nominally the Parliament guarded the capital, their opponents wanted to seize it. But they rarely tried, and never seriously. In 1643, when Essex was retreating from the relief of Gloucester, he was intercepted by the king at Newbury, where strategically and tactically the royal forces were skilfully posted. But the battle partakes of the nature of chance rather than intent. Nothing practically came of it; but it showed the Cavaliers that if infantry stood firm, the most reckless gallantry of cavalry could do nothing.

In that same year two political steps were taken that led eventually to serious results. The Parliament allied itself with Scotland, and increased Cromwell’s innate dislike to that nation; on the other hand, Charles, to all intents and purposes, allied himself temporarily with the Irish, and raised the theological hatred of his British foes to fever heat. But constant war was hardening and teaching Cromwell and his men, if it taught their opponents nothing. The handling of the three armies in 1644 was skilful. Throughout the whole contest, too, the better and steadier pay of the Parliamentary army told; they plundered less than their harder-up adversaries, and as the rank and file improved, so did their leaders, when the “self-denying ordinance” eliminated incompetent soldiers, and handed over the conduct of the war to those who meant to bring it to a successful issue. The true professional soldier was being made. The superior and more intelligent strategy of the end of the campaign of 1646 clearly shows this, and by the end of the following year hostilities had practically ceased.


_14^{th} JUNE 1645_]

Though there was at first much similarity between the conduct of all the battles, there was an observable improvement on the Parliamentary side as the years rolled on; and the battle of Naseby is perhaps the best evidence of the better tactical appreciation of the situation than that of any early combat. It evidenced how little the Royalists, how much the Parliamentarians, had learned of the art of war in this the fourth year since hostilities began.

Of course the armies met haphazard, as such forces must do with little or no strategic plan; so that when the king’s levies met at Daventry, it was surprised, when contemplating the relief of Pontefract and Scarborough, to find itself in touch with the army of Fairfax, which, abandoning the siege of Oxford, had moved north to engage the royal army. With it was Cromwell as lieutenant-general of horse. But if the king was ignorant as to the whereabouts of his adversary, Fairfax was not. The use of cavalry was being understood; “every step of the army of the Parliament was guided and guarded by the action of detachments” of this arm.[11] Ireton watched and threatened the enemy’s retreat on Market Harborough, and on the evening of the 13th drove the king’s rearguard out of Naseby, the main body of the army being then south of Harborough. The next day the very casual and careless reconnaissance of Rupert’s troopers reported that no hostile bodies were in sight, and with the false impression that Fairfax was retreating, the royal army advanced to the attack of an enemy superior in number, more highly disciplined, and strongly posted on Mill Hill, north-west of the village of Naseby. The king’s army was in three lines: the first of four regiments, the second of three regiments, the third of the king’s and Rupert’s regiments. Lord Astley commanded the infantry (about 5500 men), Rupert the right, and Langdale the left, wing of cavalry, or “horse,” each about 2500 strong.

The army of the Parliament was thus disposed: right wing, six regiments of cavalry under Cromwell in three lines, with the right flank echeloned back. Ireton commanded the cavalry of the left wing, of five regiments of cavalry and one of dragoons arranged in two lines, while the latter lined a hedgerow to protect the left flank. The infantry under Skippon was in two lines: the first, five regiments strong, the second or reserve, three regiments. The baggage, with a strong guard of “shot,” was posted in rear of the left flank.

The battle began by the attack of Ireton against the opposing cavalry “in echelon right in front”; but as this exposed his right flank to the fire of the infantry squares of the first line, he turned his right squadrons upon them. In this he was dismounted and wounded. Whether from this cause, or what not, Rupert routed this wing, pursuing them as far as Naseby, and then wasting time in attacking the baggage train, while Ireton’s broken squadrons rallied. This is a perfect example of the reckless and unskilful way in which the Royalist charges were always made.

The Royalist first line next advanced, and, breaking Skippon’s left and centre, forced it back upon the second line or reserve; but by this time Cromwell’s cavalry had broken that under Langdale, and with a true appreciation of the situation, had then despatched but two regiments in careful and guarded pursuit, and turned with the remainder on the king’s still unbroken centre. This relieved the pressure on Skippon’s infantry, and these, thereupon, rallied, and in a combined attack broke the king’s remaining square. The battle was virtually over. Rupert returned, all too late and all too exhausted to be of service. The king in person tried to rally and employ the reserve, but the force was already beaten and demoralised, and the retreat became a disorderly rout. The prizes of the victors were 5000 prisoners, 8000 arms, and 100 colours; but, most of all, this severe defeat was a death-blow to the royal cause, and was the last in which Charles I. engaged in person.

One curious result of it was that Lieutenant-General Cromwell himself reported to the Speaker of the House of Commons “how the good hand of God” had fought for them.

There was little after Naseby in the year 1648 to disturb the victorious army of the Parliament. There were sundry small fortresses and castles to reduce, and these soon fell. To Cromwell was deputed the task of capturing Devizes, Winchester, and Basing, and the latter is especially noteworthy for the tenacity with which it was long defended, and the rapidity of its final fall. The seat of the Marquis of Winchester, whose motto of “Aimez loyauté” gave the name of “Loyalty” to his mansion at Basing (to which also “the jubilant Royalists” had given the name of “Basting” House), was a large and important group of buildings, consisting of four great square towers linked together by a wall, and with inner buildings of sorts. The main importance was, that it closed the Great Western Road, south of the Kennet valley, as Donnington Castle did on the north bank of that river. It had been several times attempted during the past four years--first by Sir W. Waller in 1643, who suffered heavily in his attempt to storm; and other very partial attempts followed, until Cromwell himself was sent to settle, once and for all, in whose hands the road by Basingstoke from London should rest.

So the lieutenant-general laid formal siege to it, and, on the morning of 14th October 1645, stormed it, and carried it in three-quarters of an hour. “He had spent much time in prayer,” says Mr. Peters, “the night before the storm, and was able to write that night to ‘the Hon. William Lenthall, Speaker of the Common House of Parliament,’ to the follow-effect: ‘Sir, I thank God I can give a good account of Basing.’” The marquis and two hundred prisoners were taken, and so speedily was the capture completed, that there is some reason for the tradition that the attack was a surprise, and that the garrison were playing cards. Hence the local saying, “Clubs trumps, as when Basing was taken.” Here, too, was slain Robison the player, who was mercilessly shot after the surrender by fanatical Harrison, who shot him through the head with the wild quotation, “Cursed is he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently.” The action and the remark evidence, better than anything else could, the increasing embitterment of the controversy, and the real, or pretended, religious fervour, or rather rancour, that accompanied its continuance. That the feeling was honest, however strained, with many who fought against the king, is undoubted; as undoubted as the religious fervour of the Jews when “Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord”; or when a modern Mohammedan charges home upon a British square with “Allah” on his dying lips. Incomprehensible to some, it is a feeling that has to be taken serious account of in the last great Civil War in England.

So Basing fell. It was “now the twentieth garrison that hath been taken in the summer by this army; and I believe most of them the answer of the prayers, and trophies of the faith of some of God’s servants.”

So thought Mr. Peters in that year of grace 1645, and so thought many who, in the Commons House of Parliament, heard him tell his story of how Basing fell.

With the death of the king in 1649 came the real beginning of the end. This is no place to discuss the merit or demerit of a step so serious that it only finds a partial parallel in the action of Elizabeth towards Mary of Scotland. But two great results grew out of it: the proclamation of Charles II. as King of Scotland, and the invitation of Ormond to Ireland, where also Charles was hailed as the new sovereign. From this came the last two wars of the Commonwealth, the first of which was fought in Ireland. There anarchy reigned. Petty war was the normal condition of the rather more than half-savage clans. There had been a massacre of Protestants, variously estimated at from forty thousand to a hundred thousand, under circumstances of the “most revolting barbarity; ... men, women and children they indiscriminately murdered, in a manner of which the details recall those of the massacre of Cawnpore.” This fact must be gravely borne in mind in considering the English invasion, and must be added to the fierce religious hatred and the increasingly intense political antagonism which the latest events had once more brought to the front. There is much to be said for the bitter revenge taken by the stern Protestant party, which composed the army sent to destroy the Irish people who had done their utmost to aid the monarchical cause in the late war.

To the sectaries it was no mere word-painting to say that Papacy was “Anathema,” and the Pope “Antichrist.” To break down the “carved images” was infinitely less a figure of speech in Irish churches than it was in English fanes. War in Ireland was to them a crusade, a religious war, a war of creeds as well as people; and the antagonism of peoples was little less than the antagonism of creeds. So alien were the Irish deemed, that, long before this, Pigott of Clotheram disinherited his eldest son merely for marrying an Irishwoman! Often conquered before, never had this unhappy land been more completely subdued than now. Yet even with this “curse of Cromwell” came peace and prosperity. “Districts which had recently been as wild as those where the first white settlers of Connecticut were contending with the red men, were in a few years transformed into the likeness of Kent and Norfolk. New buildings and new roads were everywhere seen.” Rightly or wrongly, he held that war was not made with rosewater any more than omelettes without breaking eggs. He may have been, and probably was, quite conscientious when he wrote: “Truly I believe this bitterness will save much effusion of blood.”

It is not just to severely condemn Cromwell for his action in Ireland. He lived in the seventeenth, not the nineteenth century, and acted according to his lights. His Irish campaigns have been described as “a series of blood-massacres, the just punishment of atrocious deeds, or as the fanatical orgie of a tyrant. This was a complete perversion of fact, and Cromwell’s conduct in Ireland had yet to be judged impartially by a candid historian and by a competent thinker on war. No doubt he was a stern and severe conqueror; no doubt they turned their eyes away from Wexford and Drogheda; no doubt Cromwell and his avenging host regarded Celtic Papists as accursed idolaters, dripping with the carnage of 1641, and to be trodden under foot, like the doomed tribes of Palestine were crushed ‘at the bidding of the Lord’; but when he set foot in Ireland, he had to deal with a nation in armed and furious revolt, which had a country difficult in the extreme to penetrate. The experiences of previous Irish wars had shown, that under conditions like these, it was essential to strike hard at once, and the peculiarities of the Irish climate, fatal in the seventeenth century to British troops, made it necessary to avoid the inland districts, and, if possible, to obtain immediate success. These considerations explained his deeds in Ireland. He was pitiless and inexorable, but he acted upon a far-sighted policy, and his generalship was bold, decided, and brilliant. His severity at Drogheda, he told them himself, was calculated ‘to prevent the effusion of blood.’ Just as Villars deliberately starved Fribourg, just as the garrison of Pampeluna would have been put to the sword had it not yielded to the summons of Wellington.”[12]

Whatever be the criticism of the means he employed, the end was that all open rebellion had ceased by 1653.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, too, the war-cloud had again burst; and though Fairfax resigned rather than invade that country, Cromwell either had less scruples, or was more firmly determined to put down all armed insurrection to the Republic, and assumed command of a fresh army of the North.

But the actions were, except that at Dunbar, disconnected and inconclusive. There were the usual small affairs, minor sieges and operations in an exceptionally difficult country. Whether Cromwell wilfully left the doorway into England open or not is doubtful, though Colonel Walford is of opinion he did; but be that as it may, the Scotch army fell into a trap, marched into England as far as Worcester, and there met what Cromwell and his party thought the crowning mercy of defeat. His army had marched to that victory for twenty-four days, and had covered in that time 350 miles.

Thus in Scotland, as in Ireland, the stern discipline of Cromwell’s army, though the religious feeling was in this case more or less common to both, prevailed when the time came. Notwithstanding the theoretical, and to a certain extent practical, sympathy which linked the two nations of Great Britain together, all the wild and undoubted bravery of the Northern Celt availed the royal cause at the end as little as, or even less than, that of his more emotional brother across the channel of St. George. But it must be remembered that the racial antipathy between the two great branches of the inhabitants of Britain had never been so accentuated, certainly not for half a century, as that which existed then, and long after, between the Irish and the British.

What is clear in this last campaign is, that Cromwell had little in common with those who governed the sister kingdom. “You ken very well,” said the Lord Chancellor of Scotland in 1645, “that Lieutenant-General Cromwell is no friend of ours.” He knew this, and his personal and possibly religious antipathies were therefore in no wise lessened.

But with the general and steady improvement in the systematic conduct of war that is increasingly apparent as time went on, there is evidence of an attempt at organising a system of supply; an attempt that, though in a very sketchy and elementary way, foreshadows the higher strategy that is more and more noticeable as the eighteenth century grew from youth to old age.

There is no doubt that in many of the battles the baggage trains were more considerable than heretofore, and formed an important element in the operations of the campaign. Instances of their presence, in sufficient strength to be mentioned in the contemporary accounts, are shown both in the first battle of Newbury, where they were collected at Hampstead Park; as also at Naseby, where, far in rear of Mill Hill, Rupert attacked Fairfax’s baggage train and its guard. Essex, in his march to Newbury in 1643, complains of the want of food and the difficulty in foraging, owing to the small amount of supplies they could carry; and in passing through Aldbourne two ammunition waggons broke down, and were consequently blown up. Doubtless they were even then only improvised from private sources, and only the ordinary vehicles used in the districts where war was being carried on were employed. Even then, be it remembered, roads were still few and bad, though probably more numerous and somewhat better than when Barnet was fought. But firearms and what not had increased the importance of not being dependent for supplies on what could be locally collected in towns and villages, or what the soldier could himself carry; and thus with the need for their replenishment at recognised _bases_, and their protection before, during, and after a battle, began the true strategy of modern war. Supply trains, _organised_ supply trains, alone render an army really mobile and capable of carrying out a connected serious plan of campaign.

Again, comparing the time that was to come with that at this time existing, Marmont writes to Berthier in 1812: “I arrived at the headquarters of the north in January last: I did not find a grain of corn in the magazine; nothing anywhere but debts; and a real or fictitious scarcity, the natural result of the absurd system of administration which has been adopted. Provisions for each day’s consumption could only be obtained with arms in our hands. There is a wide difference between that state and the possession of magazines which can enable an army to move;” and later on: “The army of Portugal at this season is incapable of acting, and if it advanced beyond the frontier, it would be forced to return after a few days, having lost all its horses. The Emperor has ordered great works at Salamanca; he appears to forget that we have neither provisions to feed the workmen nor money to pay them, and that we are in every sense on the verge of starvation.”

What was true in Spain in 1812 must have been infinitely more so in 1644. The country was not rich in any way, and the armies were, for a poor country, considerable. But another step forward in the art of war is faintly indicated in the greater mobility, because more regular attention to supply, that characterises the armies of the Civil War as compared with those of York and Lancaster.

Thus the great Civil War terminated in a considerable change both in the tactical and strategical condition of the army. It left behind a true “army of the people,” such as England had never seen before, and probably will never see again. If in previous wars the mass had followed the lead of the few, in the middle of the seventeenth century the Civil War had affected the mass and not the few only. There was a greater feeling of individualism; and, unlike previous armies, either of feudalism or of Saxondom, which was essentially more or less the compulsory service of a militia, it was a force recruited by a voluntary system. But this was of two kinds.

The soldiers of the king were essentially volunteers, serving very largely without pay, or even contributing to the royal military chest; those of his opponent were also voluntarily enlisted, but received pay from the resources of the State, over which Parliament had the chief control.

At first, therefore, the former afforded far the best fighting material. They were largely--and entirely, as far as their leaders were concerned--gentlemen and men accustomed to the use of arms, but there they remained, and showed little aptitude of infusing into their natural martial ardour the stern and necessary tonic of discipline. On the other hand, the early armies of the Parliament were “hirelings whom want and idleness had reduced to enlist.” Even Hampden’s regiment, one of the best of any, was described by Cromwell as a “mere rabble of tapsters and serving-men out of place.” No one saw this more than Cromwell, and it is that instinct which makes him stand out among the leaders of the Civil War. No one more fully recognised than he that “you must get men of spirit: of a spirit that is likely to go on as far as gentlemen will go, or else I am sure you will be beaten still.” The metal might be there, but it wanted tempering, and the opportunity for this the “self-denying ordinance” gave. By means of this the army was purged of all its weaker parts. As Cromwell had organised his own special regiment, so did he infuse into the rest of the force some of the stern enthusiasm that made his Ironsides “very devils”[13] in battle, fearless and fearful factors in the fight. They “prospered because they were much in prayer and reading Scripture, an exercise that till of late soldiers have used but little.” They “were constant, conscientious, sober, strict, and thus conquered much upon the vanity and looseness of the enemy. Men fought on principle as well as for pay; they were little mutinous in disputing commands, fair in their marches, to friends merciful in battle, and in success to their enemies.” Finally their commissioners were “wise, provident, active, faithful in providing ammunition, arms, recruits, of men’s clothes, and that family must needs strive that hath good stewards.” It was inured to war, therefore, by a series of campaigns in which strategical as well as tactical conditions were beginning to be foreshadowed. Its organisation was more complete and thorough than heretofore, its men were imbued with the stern religious enthusiasm which has ever rendered such armies dangerous. It knew its strength and had gauged it by its continued success; what it had had to do had been God-directed (so its leaders and rank and file thought, or professed to think), and bore the imprint of immediate divine direction.

Thus it was, when the great Protector died, that the army he left was probably the most formidable body of armed men the world had ever seen.

Socially and morally, pecuniarily and theologically, it was peculiar. “The pay of the private soldier was much above the wages earned by the great body of the people,[14] and if he distinguished himself by intelligence and courage, he might hope to attain high commands. The ranks were accordingly composed of persons superior in station and education to the multitude. These persons, sober, moral, diligent, and accustomed to reflect, had been induced to take up arms, not by the pressure of want, not by the love of novelty and licence, not by the arts of recruiting officers, but by religious and political zeal, mingled with the desire of distinction and promotion. The boast of the soldiers, as we find it recorded in their solemn resolutions, was, that they had not been forced into the service, nor had enlisted chiefly for the sake of lucre, that they were no janissaries, but free-born Englishmen, who had, of their own accord, put their lives in jeopardy for the liberties and religion of England, and whose right and duty it was to watch over the welfare of the nation which they had saved.”[15]

Such a body was none the less a distinct menace to the State it had armed itself to protect. So strong an engine for defence against the tyranny of monarchy was equally a possible engine of oppression to the rest of the body politic in the hands of an autocratic or incapable ruler.

It had compelled Richard Cromwell to dissolve Parliament, and by “this act left the people at the mercy of an irresponsible authority, and without representation or means of appeal.”

It is curious to see, therefore, how the first voluntary national army, long embodied, produced an antagonism, among the mass of the people, to standing armies altogether, a feeling which lasts even until now in theory, if not in fact.

When Charles II. entered London in triumph, the sombre Ironside soldiery must have felt their reign was over. If _they_ did not, the people did. For with the “Happy Restoration” of the monarchy, the dread of a military supremacy, whether of king or dictator, was strong enough to decree that the army of the Commonwealth should be totally disbanded.

So, for a short time at least, the army ceased to be. Its men soberly disappeared as a mass into private life; but so good was its warlike material, that “the Royalists themselves confessed that in every department of honest industry, the discarded warriors prospered beyond other men, that none was charged with any theft or robbery, that none was heard to ask an alms, and that if a baker, a mason, or a waggoner attracted notice by his diligence and sobriety, he was in all probability one of Oliver’s old soldiers.”[15]

Of the royal force there is nothing to be said, except that in displaying the national bravery they added nothing to the military knowledge and strength of the country when the sword was sheathed. It is not from them, but from their stern, more resolute, and better trained adversaries that we have to look for the germs of the future army of the State. After the war in 1652, the total force of the Protector’s army was 31,519 men in England, and about 20,000 in Ireland, though during the war it seems to have numbered at the highest about 80,000 men.

So, till Richard Cromwell disappeared, Great Britain not only possessed a standing army, but was practically governed by it. To the very fact that this was so may be directly traced its nearly entire disappearance; and, curiously enough, to the dread of it, when Charles II. returned, may be confidently attributed its reluctant restoration to safeguard the State he ruled.



Two important results affecting the composition and growth of the army which, after the Restoration, was to replace that of the “Commonwealth,” were apparent when Cromwell died. The number of well and continuously trained soldiers in Great Britain was far larger than at any previous period, and therefore formed a large nucleus from which a fresh, freely enlisted body could be recruited. It is difficult otherwise to account for the brilliant fighting power of the men who again began to make the name of the English army respected on the Continent, as in the days of Crecy and Poitiers. Many of those who fought under William were probably old soldiers of the latter part of the Civil War; while even those who had not taken an active share in the campaign of King and Cromwell, must have heard much of the bravery of their fathers, and of the glory--a feeling rightly common to both factions--won by the fighting power of those who had so recently passed away.

Armies, especially during long years of peace, live much upon past honours and tradition; and that which had now to be formed could not, if it tried, dissociate itself from the widespread military spirit that prolonged hostilities had aroused and permanently created. As in our days the memory of Peninsular victories lives to fan the flame of military ardour and national courage, so doubtless the “old man eloquent,” whether Cavalier or Roundhead, was listened to by his children, or grandchildren, at his knee with interest and wonder, when he descanted on how Rupert charged at Naseby, or how the trained bands stood the shock at Newbury.

It is curious to note how rapidly, as far as time goes, active hostility between the late antagonists died out or simmered down. Nor is the reason far to seek. The war was unquestionably conscientious on both sides. Who can think otherwise when the death of Hampden on the one hand, or of Falkland on the other, is taken into account? The disease of political disagreement had to be cured by the stern tonic of cold shot and sharp steel, and both antagonists in their several ways must have sorrowed over the painful need. Certainly Falkland did. That the antagonism so speedily ceased to be active, is strongly typical of the English character. Fight out the battle of opinion if you will, but when the contest is decided, then let the old friendships resume their pleasant sway. Thus it was that within one generation many a reconciliation had been effected, many an old sore healed; and as time went on, the flowers of a more kindly appreciation of the good that lay on both sides sprang up over the re-cemented factions, as the flowers of the summer days had sprung up over the graves of Roundhead and Cavalier.

Though Parliament had decreed that the army should be entirely disbanded, and the operation was actually begun, it had calculated without its host. There were many stern fanatics who viewed their loss of power with anything but favour. Crack-brained Thomas Venner created a rising in London of the extremest sect of religious enthusiasts, the fifth-monarchy men, and proclaimed the reign of “King Jesus.” This menace to the public peace arrested the total abolition of the army. Some form of military police was evidently necessary, and therefore a reluctant permission was given for the formation of a small force for the “guards and garrisons” of the king. They were to be raised by him, and paid by him out of the State allowance for the support of the royal estate, and were not to exceed three thousand men. They consisted of the Yeomen of the Guard, the Gentlemen-at-Arms (founded by Henry VII. and Henry VIII. respectively), the Life and Horse Guards or “Oxford Blues” (so called from its commanding officer, the Earl of Oxford, and to distinguish them from a Dutch regiment of horse, which was also clad in blue), and the Coldstream Guards, raised from Monk’s own regiment of foot. Their duties were to hold the Tower, Portsmouth, etc., and guard the king’s person; but in addition the “Guard” especially was “employed as police or thief-takers, patrolling the high roads, suppressing conventicles, and at the London playhouses keeping the peace.” The Household Cavalry were at first called “Troops of Life Guards of Horse,” and the 2nd, or “Queen’s Troop,” wore green facings in honour of Queen Catherine. But the dread of an army was very slow in dying, even with so small a force as the king could now command. As soon after this as 1673, the Commons resolved to grant no more supplies until secured against Popery, and in 1674 the Commons voted “that any armed force in the kingdom, excepting the militia, was a grievance.”[16] In case of foreign war, therefore, armies were hastily levied for a campaign, and as hastily disbanded when hostilities ceased, and peace was declared. Thus, after a war, the country was overrun with discharged soldiers, who were little better than bandits. Roads were not safe to travel, for highwaymen abounded; and a fresh war was a relief to both robber and robbed in more ways than one. The licence of the camp in the days of the later Stuarts (unlike the sobriety of the “Army of the Saints”) was also not likely to furnish a peaceful population.

Foreign wars and the constant dread of domestic broils were therefore gradually wearing down the Parliamentary reluctance to the professional soldier. The marriage of Charles added the 2nd Queen’s Tangier Regiment, with its badge of the Paschal Lamb (the badge of the Royal House of Portugal), the 3rd Buffs (or Holland Regiment, originally the 4th in order, and so called from its facings), and the 1st Royals (or Dumbarton’s Regiment), to the permanent Army List; while the troops recalled from Dunkirk in 1662 became the Grenadier Guards. The Admiral’s Regiment (so called from the Duke of York, its colonel, the Lord High Admiral of England, and really the first force of marines) was created before the Buffs, but soon after was incorporated in the Guards. The occupation of Tangier had also strengthened the army by the troop of horse that was the forerunner of the 1st Royal Dragoons, and by a regiment that, transferred to the East India Company, became eventually the 103rd Bombay Fusiliers. Thus, by the Peace of Nimeguen, there had been some twenty thousand men under arms. Finally the militia had been placed under the lords-lieutenants of counties, to whom was granted the appointment of the officers.

In these early days, the regiments first paid nominally by the sovereign were, as time went on, borne on the strength of three “establishments,” Irish, Scotch, and English, a method of distributing their cost over the sum granted for the administration respectively of each of these sections of the State. The first of these appears in the reign of Edward IV., the second after the union of the Scotch and English crowns,--before which time officers of the Scottish army had to take an oath of fealty to the Estates of Scotland, and not to the sovereign,[17]--and the cost of each establishment slightly varied in detail. Hence we find in the list of the Scotch Establishment of 1678, the Earl of Mar’s Fusiliers, afterwards the 21st Foot, which was brought on the English Establishment in 1689, and dates its seniority, therefore, from that year. The seniority of regiments was ordered by the royal will, and depended on the date on which they came on the English Establishment; and thus, though the Coldstream Guards had been among the first to welcome the Restoration of the king, on the return of the Grenadiers from Dunkirk, it was decreed that “our own Regiment of Foot Guards shall be held and esteemed the oldest regiment.”[18] Each company had at that time a colour, and, in the Guards only, a company badge, but the Grenadiers seem never to have been wholly armed with the “grenade,” and the name was only given after Waterloo, where they had defeated the French Grenadiers. Similarly the “Royal Scots,” constituted as a regiment in 1633, dates its seniority by order from 1661. Its nickname of “Pontius Pilate’s Bodyguard” is said to have arisen from a dispute with a French officer, who declared that _his_ regiment had been on duty the night before the Crucifixion; to which his opponent replied, “Had _we_ been on duty, we should not have slept on our post.” It is probably the oldest organised regiment in existence, and is descended lineally from the Scottish Archer-Guard of the French kings, first raised by Charles III. in the ninth century. Naturally also the “Irish Establishment” ceased with the Union. Some of these early regiments were possibly recruited from the London trained bands, and it is because of this that the Royal Marines, the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, the Royal London Militia, and the 3rd Buffs claim the right, shared by no other foot regiment, of marching through the city with fixed bayonets, drums beating, and colours flying.

At first, too, regiments were known by the name of their colonel; and the numbers and definite regulations as to the colour and clothing of regiments were not issued until 1751. Territorial designations were added to the numbers in 1782, and the present titles were given in 1881.

So that when Charles II. died, the fear of Puritan risings and the beginning of a foreign policy which the occupation of Tangier had initiated, and which the war with the Dutch in 1665, and that with the French three years later, emphasised, led to the permanent organisation, as regiments, of the Grenadier, Coldstream, and Scots Fusilier Guards, the 1st Royals, the 2nd Queen’s, and the 3rd Buffs, with the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the Horse Guards. The standing army had thus increased from three thousand to about eight thousand men. The cavalry regiments were formed of from three to eight troops, and the foot regiments had twelve companies. Though dressed in scarlet, the relics of body armour were long retained in the cuirass, and, with the men, the pot helmet in addition; but the officers wore plumed hats. The arms of the mounted troops were sword and carbine, with pistols having barrels fourteen inches long, and throwing a ball of fourteen to the pound. The infantry carried, some the sixteen-foot pike, and others a musket of a calibre similar to the pistol, the cartridges of which were carried in a bandolier. The bandolier was a leather belt worn over the shoulder, from which depended a series of small wooden boxes, each containing a charge: the bullets were carried in a bag, whence the present name of “ball-bag” for the soldier’s ammunition pouch is derived. Before beginning to load, the bullet was frequently placed in the mouth.

During this period, too, the bayonet was introduced, but at first was a simple dagger screwed or stuck in the muzzle of the firelock, and known as a “plug-bayonet.” It took its name from Bayonne, where it was first made, and is first mentioned in a British Royal Warrant of 1672 in the armament of a regiment of dragoons who were to have “the matchlock musket, a collar of bandoliers, and a bayonet or great knife.”

But perhaps the most noteworthy reminiscence of those days is the foundation of Chelsea Hospital for old and disabled soldiers, for which the army has to thank that somewhat notorious lady, Nell Gwynne.

Tradition has it that, struck by the appeal of a beggar who had been wounded in war, she persuaded her royal lover to found this beneficent institution, and proved again to the army that women are at the bottom of most things, whether they be good or bad. As a set-off to this, the normal impecuniosity of Charles II. had led to the sale of army commissions, and to the institution of the system of promotion by purchase, which lasted until 1872.

The accession of James II., and the consequent rebellion of Monmouth in the interest, nominally, of Protestantism, led to the first serious increase of the standing army; but again it is curious to note that Monmouth’s own manifesto at Lyme Regis, where he landed, brings prominently forward the proposal to have no standing army at all, but only the militia. This is proof positive, if such were needed, that a permanent military force, such as it then was, was still unpopular in England.

There was no fighting worth mentioning in James’s reign save at Sedgmoor, and there the only noteworthy points are the failure of the night attack, through faulty and imperfect reconnaissance; and the fact that Sergeant Weems of the 1st Royals received a gratuity of £40 for serving the “great guns in an emergency.” The true use of artillery was not understood, evidently, and the guns were attached to infantry regiments (as they were later, and singly, to cavalry squadrons), and James organised an “ordnance regiment” armed with fusils, for the protection of his artillery, which finally became the Royal Fusiliers. The only point of interest in the dreary slaughter of the vanquished after the battle of Sedgmoor, in which the Somersetshire clown, ill-armed and wounded, showed the greatest gallantry, is the stern repression exercised by Colonel Kirke of the 2nd Queen’s, whose regimental badge of the Paschal Lamb acquired an ominous significance when applied to the cruelties inflicted by his men after the rebels were defeated. “Kirke’s Lambs,” they were named, in derision, from their regimental badge. Sedgmoor was the last serious battle fought on English soil.

But the army had largely increased none the less. The troops at Tangiers had been recalled. The king dreamed of using the army as a means of overawing the country, and formed at Hounslow the first camp of exercise for field manœuvres. But this effort to gain the army’s support was made in vain. The 12th Regiment grounded its arms _en masse_ rather than agree to support the repeal of the Test Penal Law; the cheering of the soldiery at the acquittal of the Seven Bishops was an unpleasant reminder that they were not with him in sympathy; and the effort to introduce Irish Catholics in numbers into the purely Protestant regiments met with the strongest opposition. “No man of English blood,” says Macaulay, “then regarded the aboriginal Irish as his countrymen; the very language spoken by the Irish was different from their own.” No wonder, therefore, that there was friction, such as found its full expression in the resignation of their commissions by the colonel and five captains of the 8th Foot--resignations which were not accepted, the offenders being tried by court martial and cashiered. It is curious to note that Churchill, afterwards Duke of Marlborough, thought the sentence inadequate.

So the army as a whole proved but a rotten reed to the second James. An increase to the standing army, which all feared, an oppressive use of the billeting law, and an evident desire to employ martial law, cost him his crown. So that when the Prince of Orange landed in Tor Bay there was little active opposition. The Dutch troops won the admiration of the invaded by their discipline, admirable equipment, and good behaviour; and so, to the tune of what at the time was a popular air, “Lillibulero bullen a la,” William marched on through Windsor to London, and became king. Still there was a considerable number of men in the ranks who were but lukewarm adherents to the Dutch-born sovereign, and all Ireland was still openly and avowedly hostile. The army by this time had been increased by six regiments of horse (now the 1st to the 6th Dragoon Guards): the 1st Royal Dragoons (brought on the English Establishment in 1683); the 2nd Dragoons (at first on the Scotch Establishment in 1681); the 3rd and 4th Light Dragoons (now Hussars); the 4th to the 14th Regiments of the line; the 15th (on the Scotch Establishment apparently), and the 16th, which was created, disbanded and re-formed later. The 18th Regiment had been formed in Ireland before this, out of a number of independent Irish companies, and was on the Irish Establishment, but did not receive its numerical seniority until later.

Peace, with such conflicting elements as Irish Romanists, English Protestants, Scotch Jacobites, and the Dutch elements introduced into the country, could not be of long duration. The smouldering embers of civil war broke into a flame both in the West and North. For James had, with French support, landed in Ireland, and was received with the greatest enthusiasm; while in Scotland some thousands of Highlanders were in arms, under Claverhouse, now Viscount Dundee. Against them, Mackay, with the 21st, the King’s Own Borderers or Edinburgh Regiment, and the 13th, with some irregulars, was despatched. He met them at Killiecrankie, where the Highland charge broke the more disciplined ranks, but the battle, which only lasted two minutes, says an old writer with obvious exaggeration, was practically terminated by the death of Dundee. The officers who had then been under arms for their king retired to France, and, after undergoing the bitterest privations, were formed into a company of ordinary soldiers under their own officers. This “gentlemen company” behaved with the utmost bravery whenever engaged. In 1697 they attacked an island in the Rhine with such headlong bravery that it still bears the name of “Isle d’Ecosse,” and the Marquis de Sella signed himself with the cross when he personally thanked each officer for what he and his men had done. In these isolated cases of determined courage, not confined to the English, but displayed equally by the Irish Brigade or by Scottish regiments serving in foreign armies, the true camaraderie of those who serve under the “Union Jack” as soldiers, it may be hoped, will always be found.

The troubles in Ireland were more prolonged and serious, and required a further addition to the army of the 7th “Horse,” the 6th Dragoons, and the 7th Dragoons. The 18th, weeded of the Roman Catholic recruits, was reorganised; and also appeared the 17th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd (raised by that staunch Protestant the Duke of Norfolk in Wiltshire); and the 23rd (formed by Lord Herbert of Cherbury in Wales with its badge of the Black Prince, the rising sun, the red dragon, the three feathers, and the motto _Ich Dien_; it is headed on parade even now by a white goat, and its marching-past air is the “Men of Harlech”); the 25th (enlisted eight hundred strong in two hours by Lord Leven for the defence of Edinburgh, and having for its gallantry afterwards, at Killiecrankie, the right of “beating up” the town of Edinburgh for recruits without the “special permission of the provost”); while the 26th, or Cameronians, was enrolled in one day two hundred strong without any beat of drum, and was punctiliously careful that their officers should be “men such as in conscience they could submit to,” and required besides a chaplain “an elder to each of its twenty companies.” Finally, the 27th and 28th Regiments were added to the gradually increasing standing army. This was at the direct instigation and at the direct appeal of William III.; but the Commons, in agreeing to the proposed increase, only did so on the condition that it was to be paid by the State, and not out of the royal purse. It was the beginning of the Parliamentary recognition of a real standing army paid by taxation. The 24th was also raised in Ireland about the same time, and was therefore borne on that establishment; as also was the 5th Dragoons.

Many of these regiments served in the Irish campaign in which the sieges of Londonderry and Enniskillen by James stand out so prominently on the one side, as do the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim on the other.

The latter battle was not of long duration, and was decisive. The combatants were distinguished on the one side by green boughs in their hats, and the Irish by white paper. The 23rd behaved with great gallantry, and the spurs of Major Toby Purcell, who led the regiment on that day, are still preserved by the senior major for the time being. It is unnecessary to enter fully into the details of the campaign or its battles; but it may be well to record that of existing regiments, the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th of the line, the 1st, 6th, and 7th among the cavalry, and the 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd, and 27th Regiments of foot fought in the Irish wars, though the Dutch regiment claimed to have borne the brunt of battle at the Boyne in 1690, where old Marshal Schomberg fell. But the battle of Aughrim in 1691 practically completed the conquest of Ireland, and the fall of Limerick led to the exile of thousands of brave Irishmen, who preferred service in France to the English yoke, and who formed the nucleus of that “Irish Brigade” whose gallantry is conspicuous in all the battle history of that time. In no case is this more conspicuous than in the defence of Cremona in 1702, where Burke’s and Dillon’s regiments lost fully one-third of their strength, and by their own desperate fighting forced Eugene to abandon an assault that at first seemed likely to be successful. Well might the contemporary poet write of them--

“News, news in Vienna! King Leopold’s sad. News, news in St. James’s! King William is mad. News, news in Versailles! Let the Irish Brigade Be loyally honoured and royally paid. News, news in old Ireland! High rises her pride, And high sounds her wail for the brave who have died, And deep is her prayer--‘God send I may see Macdonell and Mahoney fighting for me!’”

So with the continental part of the war with France, in which William had allied himself with the Netherlands, the Austrian empire, and others, because of the aggressive and menacing aspect of Louis XIV., was resuscitated the renown of the English infantry. At Steinkirke fought the predecessors of the Horse Guards, the 4th Hussars, the 3rd, 4th, and 6th Dragoons, the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards, the 4th, 6th, 7th, 10th, and 16th Foot, the 19th, 21st, the 1st Royals, the 25th, and the 26th battalions of the line; and so close was the action that “in the hedge fighting their fire was generally muzzle to muzzle, the hedge only separating the combatants.” Ten battalions of British troops held in check thirty of the French, and one battalion alone “drove four battalions of the enemy from their cannon.” Here it was that “Corporal Trim”--really Corporal James Butler--was ridden down in the retreat, and where he blames Count Solmes: “‘He had saved five battalions, an please your reverence, every soul of them. There was Cutts’,’ continued the corporal, clapping the forefinger of his right hand upon the thumb of his left, and counting round his hand, ‘there was Cutts’, Mackay’s, Angus’s, Graham’s, and Leven’s, all cut to pieces; and so had the English Life Guards too, had it not been for some regiments on the right, who marched up boldly to their relief, and received the enemy’s fire in their faces before any one of their platoons discharged a musket. They’ll go to heaven for it,’ added Trim. ‘Trim is right,’ said my Uncle Toby.” Landen, too, where were present the Coldstreams, Scots Guards, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 16th Foot, etc., as well as much cavalry, and Neerwinden, showed the extraordinary gallantry of the British troops, especially of the 6th Carabineers, and on that field fell Count Solmes himself, as well as one of the most gallant of the Irish leaders in the Boyne campaign--Sarsfield, who was shot, though not at the head of the Irish Brigade he loved so well. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the time, and the stubborn fighting of both sides resulted in 20,000 dead being left on the field. The next summer the soil so fertilised “broke forth into millions of poppies,” and it seemed as if “the figurative prediction of the Hebrew prophet was literally accomplished, that the earth was disclosing her blood and refusing to cover the slain.”

Finally the siege of Namur stands out prominently as the marked success in the campaign, and gives to one regiment, the 18th, the motto of “_Virtutis Namurcensis Præmium_.” It lost 297 of all ranks in the final attack. The regiments present in this famous siege were 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th Dragoon Guards, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Dragoons, the 4th and 7th Light Dragoons, the 5th, 15th, 18th, and 19th Foot, forming one division to keep in check the relieving force of Marshal Villeroy. The other was composed of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 16th, and 17th Foot, to carry out the actual siege operations. The greatest gallantry was shown throughout by both sides; but the place finally fell, and it is curious to note the punctiliousness of the soldiers of those days in that Marshal Boufflers, though all the fortress had been captured save only the castle, and though Villeroy was powerless to raise the siege, would not capitulate without an assault. Unnecessary as it was, it was undertaken, at the cost of 2000 men, and for the first time a great fortress was surrendered by a French marshal to a British general. Here it was that Sterne’s “Captain Shandy” was wounded in the groin before the gate of St. Nicholas. Lord, formerly Colonel, Cutts, of the regiment that bore his name, and to which another novelistic hero (this time one of Thackeray’s), in the person of “Count Maximilian Gustavus Adolphus von Galgenstein,” is presumed to have belonged, behaved with his usual gallantry; and, says contemporaneous authority, “the bravery of our infantry was very remarkable, for they forced the enemy from several posts where they were very well lodged.”

Of this Cutts, the colonel of a regiment of old time, it is said that “few considerable actions happened in the wars in which he was not, and hath been wounded in all the actions in which he served”; and again: “In that bull-dog courage which flinches from no danger, however terrible, he was unrivalled.” There was no difficulty in finding hardy volunteers, German, Dutch, and British, to go on a forlorn hope; but Cutts was the only man who appeared to consider such an expedition as a party of pleasure. He was so much at his ease in the hottest fire of the French batteries that his soldiers gave him the honourable name of “The Salamander.” He was a fighting man of the time; became baronet first, and was then raised to the peerage, and of him it was written--

“The warlike Cutts the welcome tidings brings, The true, brave servant of the best of kings-- Cutts, whose known worth no herald need proclaim, His wounds and his own worth can speak his fame.”

Still, with all that, he had not enough science to make a general.

During this period armour was still gradually being abandoned, though the cuirass was worn by mounted troops and to some extent by the officers of the line regiments. The beaver hats of the cavalry were lined with steel and the legs were protected by heavy jack-boots. The ranks of the infantry had been reduced to six, and were still further being lessened in depth. The companies, about 100 strong, still had, in 1680, 30 pikemen, 60 matchlock men, and 10 men armed with a light fusil to pick off conspicuous leaders; but three years later the English Guards were furnished with “snaphaunce” muskets, with flint, or pyrites, locks, and the bandoliers were replaced by pouches. In 1695, the king directed that the “cap” was to be worn by the Royal and Scots Fusiliers and the Grenadiers of each regiment. The others wore the three-cornered hat. The company was by then 60 strong, with only 14 pikemen, and the officers carried pikes, partisans, or half-pikes. Pikes were not entirely abandoned until about 1705.

The pay of the cavalry soldier was 1s. 6d. per day, out of which he had to keep his horse; that of the private was but 8d. per day. The cavalry regiments were organised in four squadrons, much as they are now, and were being armed with sword and pistol. The artillery alone were only partly organised as an “arm” of battle, and had made little progress save in construction from the time of the Civil War; but the necessity for military engineers had arisen, and Captain Burgh and Lieutenant Wallace remained “with the forces engaged in the siege of the castle (of Namur) in the capacity of engineers.”

But the growth of the permanent army had been steady. By the time Charles II. died, there were about 16,500 men enrolled, of whom about one-half were now regulars; in 1697 the total home and field army which has been variously estimated at from 80,000 to 65,000 men, had been again reduced--this time to what was liberally supposed to be the number on the English Establishment after Nimeguen, or about 10,000 men; but William’s proposal to permanently increase the army to 20,000 met with the greatest opposition. An amendment that the army in England should consist only of 7000 men, and those entirely British, was carried, and thus the Dutch guards of the king were disbanded, though apparently there were still some 12,000 men on the Irish Establishment and about 4000 on the Scotch, while there had been no objection to voting 15,000 men for the fleet. With this branch of our national defence there has always been greater liberality and less suspicion. This at least was mainly, if not entirely, defensive, was the absolutely necessary protector of our commerce, and could never have been a serious menace, so men seemed to think, to the peace or liberties of the realm. The amalgamation of the English and Scotch Establishments in 1707 had given precedence to the infantry in the case of the Royal Scots, but had placed the cavalry second, in the case of the Scots Greys, though they had been raised in 1681.

Still the army had much improved. The introduction of the first Mutiny Act in 1689, giving Parliamentary authority for officers to punish men for mutiny and desertion without reference to civil law, a power hitherto denied to them in Great Britain during peace, still further recognised the standing army as a constitutional force, besides the militia, which had been up to that time theoretically the only one; for it was not permanently paid or embodied. But before King William’s time the “method of voting men and money for the army annually had been introduced, to some extent.”

The distinguished gallantry of the men at Landen, Steinkirke, and Namur had called forth the reluctant admiration of foreign powers, and had converted this country into a power having Continental as well as insular interests:--“the English subaltern was inferior to no subaltern, and the English private soldier to no soldier in courage.” This criticism speaks for itself.

It is curious to notice how the political centre of gravity had changed. Before this time English armies had indeed fought Continental battles, but they were largely those in which only our real or fancied personal interests were concerned. Now, however, the English flag was to fly in causes alien to her own personal interests, and valuable only to the king and the country the king loved. For Holland first of all was really at the bottom of the “soldier king’s” action in leading the armies of Great Britain. His interests had always been Continental, and his personal influence, as well as other less important factors, was leading this country to assert herself and display her military value in his own national interest That William had some military skill is evident, but his action was rather that of a brave soldier than that of a great commander. By his own often reckless exposure, he aroused the spirits of his soldiery, and he did not fear to face danger, as Landen, where his clothes were several times pierced with bullets, proved. Yet, though apparently respected, he was little liked. The “asthmatic skeleton” who at Neerwinden “covered the slow retreat of England” had roused irritation among the officers. Dutch generals had been forced into high commands for which they showed no special capacity. Neither Schomberg nor Ginckel in Ireland had displayed marked ability; and Solmes at Steinkirke had evidenced an incomprehensible apathy in going to the help of Mackay’s British contingent; while, after Aughrim, when Ginckel had been raised to the peerage as Earl of Athlone, the veteran Mackay was left out in the cold. The British officers felt the incompetency of these foreign leaders, and also in the above battle that English soldiers had been sacrificed to save the Dutch Blues. The defeat at Neerwinden cost the army sixty-nine cannon and sixty standards. So often were Dutch and English colours captured in these early wars, that the Prince of Condé called King William the “Upholsterer of Nôtre Dame,” from the number of banners he had surrendered for the decoration of that building! The two medals for Landen, or Neerwinden, which the king struck, and which have the title “Invictissimus Guillemus Mag.,” have little significance, therefore. The men fought magnificently; the generalship was of no high order on the Allied side; and the results were meagre.

But if the officers cared little for the Dutch prince, the rank and file were not likely on their side to feel affection for a sovereign who introduced flogging into the army and keel-hauling into the navy. And, lastly, the cost of these wars, which were directly designed for the defence of Holland, cost this country some £33,000,000 of money and the establishment of a National Debt.

But Irish disturbance and foreign war had brought to the front the greatest soldier that this country has produced, and who was to carry the glory of the British army to the highest point. It was of Marlborough that, with regard to Ireland, the popular remark was made that “he had achieved more important results in one month, than the king’s phlegmatic Dutch friend had done in two campaigns”; it was of him that Prince Vaudemont, no mean judge, spoke, when he told the king that “there is something in the Earl of Marlborough that is inexpressible; for the fire of Kirke, the thought of Lanier, the skill of Mackay, and the bravery of Colchester seem united in his person; and I have lost my knowledge of physiognomy, if any subject you have can ever attain to such military glory as this combination of sublime perfections must advance him.”

He was not merely a fighting man, he was an educated soldier. His apprenticeship in France had shown him the value of discipline, and under William he was able and encouraged to enforce it. But he was above all a student of the art of war, and so left little to chance, for he recognised that “war is not a conjectural art,” but a science.

This was the man whom William, on his deathbed, commended to the coming queen as the fittest man to “conduct her armies or preside over her councils.” He was head and shoulders above the brave and hard-fighting Anglo-Dutch king in military genius, without a doubt. But “the weak point in his position was, that it depended on the personal favour of a stupid woman. When his wife lost her influence over Queen Anne, his political antagonists in England found no great difficulty in bringing about his disgrace.”



With the accession of Anne a fresh impetus was given to the national spirit, and therefore to the army, which was its natural exponent. An opinion by itself is valueless, but when backed up by threat of force, must necessarily be listened to. There was much to keep the military spirit alive, nothing to kill it down. There was a threatening and ominous war-cloud beyond the Scottish border, which might accumulate still more, and break with danger to the whole State, so long as there was a pretender to the throne. There was now a greater amount of intelligence, both as regards the understanding of what was going on abroad, as well as at home, among the people; and still greater was the amount and truthfulness of the news regarding such foreign affairs. The spread of information as to what British soldiers were doing elsewhere against the French and others, kept vigorously alive the memory of past success, whether such was counted from Agincourt by land, or Blake at sea. There was the beginning of the national principle of Empire, as compared with the mere cramped vestrydom of home affairs only. A nation that cares for nothing but such as these is provincial, not national, in its tastes and views. But enlarged interests produce enlarged ideas. The increasing necessity for an army was the first unwilling rift in the old provincial policy of isolation. England was being led, or forced, or both, to abandon her insular position and to take her place more actively among the nations, and the consequent need for that permanent national police, the army, was being slowly, though still reluctantly, recognised.

[Illustration: _Private 14^{th} Reg^{t}. 1742._]

But ill deeds take long a-dying. It was not yet a century since kings had tried to crush the freedom of a people, or since an army had taken the place of personal rule and had threatened another and still worse form of autocracy; still matters were mending. National poverty--for the country was then neither populous nor rich--may have had a little to do with past reluctance to enter the arena of European politics; and for a long time a natural dread of a despotism of any kind led a freedom-loving people to refuse supplies that might be used to create a weapon hostile to their continued liberty. But all strong nations, not governed by feminine hysteria or led by ill-balanced doctrinaires, like to feel themselves strong and respected abroad as well as at home. Blake had already shown the value of such a sentiment, but the time was hardly yet ripe for the full influence of his work to be felt. It was possibly but little known, generally, in his lifetime; for information, in the middle of the seventeenth century, was slow in spreading. Certainly it had not been fully grasped. But times were changing. National glory, once tasted, could not be maintained by keeping aloof from the broader work and interests of the world. The wars of Anne’s reign, in which Marlborough was the leading spirit, roused the bold fighting spirit that made the England of the eighteenth century, as the campaigns of the early part of the nineteenth century have kept that spirit from decay.


_From an old print_ ]

But, more than this, an Englishman, the greatest of our national leaders, John Churchill, Earl of Marlborough, Captain-General of the combined forces in the Netherlands, was not only to take a more prominent part in the coming war, was not only to enter into a campaign the theatre of which was to range from the Atlantic to the German Ocean, but was to command a more distinctly British contingent than in William’s reign, when British, Dutch, and even Danes fought under the same flag. And if the causes of the wars of the Dutch prince had been rather of a personal nature, as before remarked, those which now led the advisers of Queen Anne to take a vigorous offensive on the Continent, were to preserve that “Balance of Power in Europe,” which eventually became one of the special reasons advanced in the Mutiny Act for the continuous, large standing army in this country. The war was to check French oppression generally, for Europe’s sake, and to prevent a single small State from falling into her hands.

“The necessity of war is occasioned by the want of a supreme judge, who may decide upon the disputes of individuals.... In the failure of any perfect remedy, however, for the disorder of war, a corrector of its evils has been found in the system called the Balance of Power. Europe being divided into many separate states, it has been the established policy of all, that when any one by its aggrandisement, threatened the general safety, the rest should unite to defend their independence. Thus Louis XIV. was checked by England, Holland, and the Empire.”[19]

So the war-clouds again burst, with, on one side, a British, Dutch, and Austrian army under Marlborough and Prince Eugene, and a force of Spanish, Bavarians, and French under Tallard on the other; but the extension of the interest in foreign political war was not now confined only to the Continent, for seven regiments of infantry were also despatched to the West Indies, to attempt the capture of the enemy’s possessions in the Caribbean Sea and elsewhere.

There was much desultory fighting before the great battles whose names are borne on British colours were fought; for victories at Schellenburg, Bonn, Huy, etc., earned for the British general a dukedom before the battles of Blenheim, Ramilies, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet were fought. Ramilies is remarkable for the fact that, though the contending forces were nearly equal, of the Allies only twenty-two battalions were English, and nine Scotch; and that Marlborough, by recognising that the French left was behind a marsh difficult to pass, neglected this side and attacked in strength the other flank with complete success. Here, too, an Irish regiment captured an English colour, which long hung in the Irish Benedictine Church at Ypres; and it was at Ramilies that the 25th King’s Own Borderers found the French had not to halt and fix the “plug” bayonet in the muzzle before charging, because they had adopted the socketed bayonet. Of the regiments that fought in these campaigns, the Coldstream Guards were at Oudenarde and Malplaquet only; the 28th and 29th at Ramilies; but all four of these great victories are borne on the colours of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Dragoon Guards, the 2nd Dragoons, the 5th Lancers, the Grenadier Guards, and the 1st, 3rd, 8th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 26th, and 37th Regiments of the line.

At Oudenarde there was a slight superiority on the part of the French, and the battle is noteworthy for the presence and the gallant bearing of “the Prince Elector of Hanover,” who afterwards, as George II., fought at Dettingen. It was essentially an infantry battle, for the cavalry found little ground for their useful employment, and the artillery were scarcely engaged at all. The field was contested far into the darkness, and the French total loss in killed, wounded, and missing is reported to have amounted to 20,000 men.

Malplaquet ranks as the most sanguinary conflict of the four, and the loss of life almost exceeded the total of the other three. Among the distinguished historical names of the combatants is that of the “Chevalier de St. George,” who, as Marshal Boufflers says in his despatch, “behaved himself during the whole action with all possible bravery and vivacity,” and led twelve charges of the Household troops. Courage was common, therefore, to both aspirants for the British throne. The loss on both sides was heavy, that on the part of the Allies has been variously put at between 35,000 and 18,000 men (Villars); while the French loss was 15,000. Many of the veterans of these wars lived up to the present century, and one, Henry Francis of New York, died in 1820, aged 134.

Of all these battles, Blenheim offers the best type of the “order of battle” of the times. In a story that simply proposes to tell how our army came to be, and how and why it increased, any detailed reference to the causes of and even sequence of the successive wars is beyond its province. It will be sufficient, therefore, to recall to mind that the campaign in which Blenheim was the distinguishing feature arose, in the beginning, from the offensive action on the part of Louis XIV. in supporting the Stuarts, and in the support he gave to the claims of his grandson Philip to the throne of Spain. The _odium theologicum_ was also a serious factor in the game. It was the ever recurring battle between the Catholicism of Rome and that of the other sections of Christianity antagonistic to the claims of the Romish Church.

It was nominally a coalition against France; at the bottom of it all was religious antagonism, and this notwithstanding the nature of the alliance. The Dutch wanted to preserve their frontiers, to protect their faith. The Imperial army wanted to check French aggression and support the Austrian candidature to the Spanish throne; while the alliance of Bavaria with France left the heart of Germany open to these allies. The defeat of the Emperor would destroy the Austrian hopes, and therefore the French, under Tallard, moved towards the valley of the Danube. Hence it was that Marlborough, grasping the situation and seeing the importance of the defeat of the main Franco-Bavarian army, decided on concentrating the allied forces in the valley of the Danube, as Napoleon did later at Ulm.[20]

Thus, after some unimportant tactical and strategical operations, the opposing armies found themselves approaching each other near the village of Blenheim, or Blindheim, between Dillingen and Donauwerth, on the north bank of the great river.

The road between these places is crossed by two streams running into the Danube. West of the first is Hochstadt, the usual name given to the battle by foreign writers; on the second, the Nebel, and close to the Danube, was “Blindheim,” with Unterglauheim, on a marshy space a short distance up the stream, and midway between the Danube and the wooded heights in which these small tributary streams rise. Between the rivulets lie parallel ledges of no great height; but, owing to the period of the year, the streamlet was practically passable--except possibly to cavalry and artillery--in most places. West of the Nebel were the Franco-Bavarians, and Tallard had viewed his front of battle as reduced to a series of defiles by the nature of the wet ground in front, and had moreover retired so far from the stream as to leave plenty of room for an assaulting column to deploy after it had crossed the comparatively insignificant obstacle. Thinking the centre naturally strong, Tallard therefore occupied Blenheim, which was strong enough almost to take care of itself, with twenty-six battalions and twelve squadrons.

[Illustration: _Formation of the Lines of Battle at Blenheim 13^{th} August 1704._]

The centre was practically composed of cavalry, eighty squadrons, and seven battalions. The left was held by Marsin from Oberglauheim farther up the Nebel to the wooded hill lands in strength with fourteen battalions (including the Irish Brigade) and thirty-six squadrons. On the east bank of the rivulet, Marlborough, arriving first, had to wait for his ally Eugene, and decided on holding or containing the enemy’s right with Cutts’ hard-fighting regiment; and, waiting for the similar attack by his ally on the enemy’s left, kept in hand a centre of 8000 cavalry in two lines in front and a force of infantry in second line behind. His artillery were posted to cover the passage of the stream, over which extra pontoon bridges had been thrown. So he waited until Eugene was ready to engage.

This happened about 1 p.m., and the battle on this side was hotly contested to the end, with varying results; indeed, the Irish Brigade assailed the infantry of Marlborough’s right centre with serious results, until checked, and finally Marsin was able to retreat in good order. Meanwhile, on the other flank, Cutts had been able to “contain” Blenheim, and then, about 5 p.m., Marlborough’s centre crossed between the villages of Unter and Oberglauheim, and, supported as far as possible by guns, vigorously attacked and broke the centre of the defence, and the battle was practically over. For the separation of the wings obliged Marsin to fall back on Dillingen; and Blenheim, with twenty-four battalions and twelve squadrons, was compelled to surrender.

The Allied loss came to about 5000 killed and 8000 wounded. Of the French, 12,000 were killed and 14,000 made prisoners; while all the cannon and stores, some 300 colours, the general commanding, and 12,000 officers, were captured.

The “advice to officers,” printed at Perth in 1795, tells a quaint story of the conduct of the men of the 15th Foot during the battle. One of the senior officers, who knew he was unpopular because of his severity with his men, turned round to them before getting under fire, and confessed he had been to blame, and begged to fall by the hands of the French, not theirs. “March on, sir,” replied a grenadier; “the enemy is before us, and we have something else to do than think of you now.” On the French giving way, the major took off his hat and cried, “Huzzah, gentlemen!--the day is our own”; and, so saying, he fell dead, pierced through the brain; whether even then accidentally or otherwise by some of his own men or by the enemy, will never be known. But the death of officers by other bullets than those of the enemy is no new thing, if past stories and tradition be true.

The victory had a twofold aspect. On the one side the political effect was enormous. It had checked for ever the idea of universal dominion which may have been in Louis’ mind. More than this, but for it the whole face of Europe might have been politically altered. Protestantism might have once more been overridden by Roman Catholicism; Stuarts and not Guelphs might have reigned in England; the growth of commercial enterprise and religious freedom might have received a serious check; and, to quote Alison without fully endorsing his views, it is possible that “the Colonial Empire of England might have withered away and perished, as that of Spain has done in the grasp of the Inquisition. The Anglo-Saxon race would have been arrested in its mission to overspread the earth and subdue it. The centralised despotism of the Roman Empire would have been renewed in Continental Europe. The chains of Romish tyranny, and with them the general infidelity of France before the Revolution, would have extinguished or prevented thought in the British Islands.” These are strong views and possibly exaggerated; but whatever danger might have accrued from French aggression, the victory of Blenheim effectually stopped it. On the other hand, from a military standpoint the battle shows a curious change in tactics, which forms a sort of link with those of the time preceding it and those that followed. The actual order of battle shows how little, even then, the true employment of the mounted arms with respect to the infantry was understood. For example, Tallard had sent, besides a crowd of infantry, into the confined village space of Blenheim, where the few could check the many, some twelve dragoon squadrons to be dismounted and fight on foot. He did not, evidently, understand or grasp the proportion of footmen necessary for mere passive defence, or the value of the defensive when the protective nature of the cover afforded by such a place was taken into account.

Nor was the relative support of the three arms of battle better understood. If in the past the men-at-arms formed the mainstay of the attack, so here, with a slight difference, is the same result apparent. Much as the infantry had improved and come to the front, it was, apparently, not even now recognised that it was a principal arm of battle, to which all others are accessory. Then, when the decisive moment of the day, about 5 p.m., came, the cavalry, some 8000 strong, were led by the duke himself against the French position. There was still personal leadership of men rather than the direction of them that the general showed. “The infantry were in _support_, with intervals between the battalions, so that the squadrons, if repulsed, might pass through.” The admixture of the dissimilar arms of infantry and cavalry in the same fighting line is still curious. Similarly, says General Kane, “the Gens d’armes ... _began_ the battle by a most furious charge, and broke through part of the front line” of Cutts’ division.

The probable fact is that the cavalry, being more mobile than the infantry, whose fighting power depended on the fire-action, which was necessarily slow, were used for the real attack, as the infantry were less able to take a vigorous offensive. Besides, the enemy’s centre was composed chiefly of the mounted arm. The artillery, slow moving like the infantry, were brought up in _support_ of the more mobile body. It was only therefore when the ground was hopelessly bad for the mounted arm, as at Oudenarde and Malplaquet, that the decisive blow was given by infantry, and then the fight was more prolonged, more bloody, more stubbornly contested and less resultful. Good as the infantry was,--so good that “Salamander Cutts” advanced his regiments right up to the palisades of Blenheim without firing a shot, and he contained and held therefore in the village the mass of troops that finally had to surrender there,--it was not the principal arm yet. The infantry _supported_ the main attack of the cavalry, and completed the victory. Time was to come when the cavalry were to reverse these tactics, and complete the success that the infantry had begun.

The proportion of the cavalry to infantry again proves the case; nowadays it would be absolutely abnormal. Of the 52,000 Allies (9000 of whom were English), there were 20,000 cavalry. Of the 56,000 French, 8000 were cavalry. It is a stage in the tactical history, and that is all. The artillery took the preparatory part of the battle, and practically stopped there. The infantry finished what the cavalry had begun by Marlborough’s “decisive attack” with his two lines of cavalry; but the value of artillery to support such an advance and its increased mobility is foreshadowed by the advance of the guns across the Nebel.

How history repeats itself backwards and forwards! In a war of pure aggression, with, at its bottom, racial and religious hatred, Shouvaloff, after the capture of Ismail in 1790, “with bloody hands” writes his first despatch, and in it says, “Glory to God and the Empress, Ismail’s ours!” So, in, 1870 Emperor William telegraphs to his Queen, “Thanks be to God!” Here too, at Blenheim, Marlborough says in his despatch to Queen Anne: “So with the blessing of God we obtained a complete victory. We have cut off great numbers of them as well in the action as in the retreat, besides upwards of thirty squadrons of the French which I pushed into the Danube.” The assumption that Providence is on the winning side, or on that of the “big battalions,” is common throughout the military history of all time.

The victory of Blenheim was certainly most complete. The French were not defeated only, but routed and dispersed by the central attack, as Napoleon defeated his adversaries at Austerlitz later on, by a similar tactical blow. “The best troops in the world had been vanquished,” said the marshal mournfully; but, replied Marlborough, “I think my own must be the best in the world, as they have conquered those on whom you bestow so high an encomium.”

And, says another writer of the time, speaking of the anxious and dreadful side of war, “A great general--I mean such as the Duke of Marlborough, weak in his constitution and well stricken in years--would not undergo those eating cares which must be continually at his heart, the toils and hardships he must endure, if he has the least spark of human consideration; I say he could not engage in such a life, if not for the sake of his Queen, his country, and his honour.”

Meanwhile, other warlike operations had been conducted elsewhere on the Continent, though their glories and disasters were overshadowed by the more tremendous conflicts in the northern theatre of war. An allied Anglo-Dutch force under the Earl of Peterborough had been despatched to the Spanish Peninsula in support of the claim of Charles III. to the Spanish throne; and in consequence of the maritime nature of the operations, battalions for sea service as marines were raised, so to the three already in existence were added the 30th, 31st, and 32nd Regiments of the line. The first success was the capture of Barcelona, in which Colonel Southwell of the 6th Foot distinguished himself, and where two Marine colonels, Birr and Rodney, disagreed on landing to such an extent that they thereupon fought in front of the line, and the latter was wounded unto death. Birr finally commanded the 32nd.

But one of the rare disasters in our military annals befell us in this campaign at Almanza, where the Guards, the 2nd, 6th, 9th, 11th, 17th, 28th, 33rd, 35th, and 36th Regiments, the 2nd Dragoon Guards, 3rd, 4th, and 8th Hussars, besides other regiments since disbanded, were present, and where the new Union Jack, with the two crosses of St. Andrew and St. George only, was first carried; but the British were heavily outnumbered by the fifty-two battalions and seventy-six squadrons of the enemy, led by the Duke of Berwick, the son of James II. and Arabella Churchill, and were practically dispersed, with the loss of all their guns, 620 colours, and 10,000 prisoners. To counterbalance this was the gallant defence of the castle of Alicante, and the brilliant “affair” of Saragossa, when 30 standards were taken; and the 6th Foot claim the right of wearing their badge of the antelope from the date of this battle, in which one of the standards taken by them bore that emblem.

Meanwhile, Marlborough retired to France after the treaty of Utrecht, to return when George I. ascended the throne, as Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, Colonel of the 1st Foot Guards, and Master of the Ordnance. But he did not survive the receipt of his new honours and return to power long. He died in 1722, at the age of seventy-three years, and a grateful nation interred him in Westminster Abbey.

Whatever estimate may be formed as to the private character of Churchill, there can be but one opinion as to his military career. Few great generals have had a more difficult task to perform than he, hampered as he was by alliances which often prevented his carrying to its full end the instincts and direction of his military genius. He was, besides being a skilful and scientific general, a brave man, and a leader of men. He never lost a battle or a siege. His recognition of the enemy’s weakness in the centre at Blenheim is only equalled by the similar penetration that Napoleon displayed at Austerlitz, and which proved once more that piercing the centre, if possible and successful, necessarily involves the temporary dispersion of the defeated army. His quick eye for “ground” is equally shown in his grasping the weakness of the French defensive position at Ramilies, and his seeing that the enemy’s left, being powerless for rapid offence, could be checked and held in place, while the weight of the rest of his army was thrown against the other wing.

His personal bravery at the same battle nearly cost him his life; and it is curious to read of the general commanding himself leading a charge in person, and fighting like a trooper, sword in hand.

But this and his personal care for and interest in his men was the secret of his power of leadership. He himself inspected his line before a battle, and his calm presence imparted a courage and confidence that all soldiers understand. His cheerful and cheering “Be steady and go on--keep up your fire, and the enemy will soon be dispersed,” accounts for much of the feeling that the rank and file felt for “Corporal John,” the affectionate title the men applied to him, as French soldiers did that of “le petit Caporal” to the equally great soldier of the next century. The ballad-writer of about 1711 fully emphasises this:--

“Don’t talk of Schomberg and such to me; Noll and King William they might be queer To deal with, but he’d have beat them all three, Lord! as easy as I’m taking off this beer. All along I was with him, and I should know, And I tell you, my boys, the sun never shone On one that has led a charge here below That was fit to be named with Corporal John.

* * * * *

Then May good luck and Ramilies brought, At Ottomond’s tomb, by the red Mehaigne, To slaughter our corporal, Villeroi thought, But the French and their marshal we thrashed again. Eighty standards and every gun Our corporal took that glorious day, And with it the whole of Brabant we won, And Louis from Flanders, he slunk away. Oh, Corporal John always fought to beat; He was the one who could reckon upon; There was glory and plunder, but never retreat, For all who fought under Corporal John.”

He believed in his men, and was careful of them as far as such was possible. He believed that “with 10,000 well-fed Englishmen, 10,000 half-starved Scotchmen, and 10,000 Irishmen charged with usquebaugh, he could march from Boulogne to Bayonne in spite of Le Grand Monarque.” And, true Englishman, he was “always of opinion that English horses, as well as English men, were better than could be had anywhere else.”

And while a strict disciplinarian (an absolute necessity with the very rough material he had to command) he allowed no severe court martial punishment to be carried into effect without his knowledge and confirmation. Men were kept sufficiently employed, when in camp and not actively engaged, to prevent liberty degenerating into licence. He was no advocate, apparently, for night marching, thinking that three hours of sound sleep _before_ midnight were all-important. After that, it did not matter how early the reveillé was sounded. And, lastly, it is curious to read of a fighting man of the early part of the eighteenth century, when morals were not at their highest, and of one the private side of whose character is, to say the least, questionable, taking special care of the theological element of governance. His chaplains were intended to do their duty, and did it. He rarely, if ever, went into action without going to prayers first! At least, so it is said. He has much in common with Napoleon. Both as soldiers stand preeminent; both in their private capacities show weaknesses that are little removed from criminal. But in thus judging the great duke, every allowance must be made for the times in which he lived, and the corruption that was so common as to be almost excusable. But whether his hands were clean or not, whether his conscience was pure or otherwise, whether he was really loyal or disloyal to the sovereign he, militarily, served so well, now all these things may be forgotten, and only the fact that he raised the name of the English army to the highest pitch of glory, and laid the foundation of our present respected position both by land and sea, need be remembered by this generation.

With the peace of Utrecht the great war for a time came to an end, and the army of 200,000 men was reduced to 8000 in Great Britain and 11,000 in the Plantations and elsewhere. All this, be it remembered, with the remembrance of the victories of Blenheim and Ramilies still ringing in the nation’s ears. But people began slowly, though still with reluctance, to desire that the army should go to war strong, even if, after the sound of battle had ceased, the Government reduced it to a mere cipher of its former battle strength. Yet, though a cipher, it was still one of larger value after each campaign than it was before.

When, therefore, a German-speaking king, George I., ascended the throne, the standing army had permanently grown.

There were, besides the Life and Horse Guards, the seven Dragoon Guards Regiments, the light regiments up to the 8th Light Dragoons (of which the 7th, formed from troops of the “Greys” and Royal Dragoons, was disbanded in 1713, but restored in 1715), and up to the 39th Foot inclusive; and of these the 30th, 31st and 32nd, as Sanderson’s, Villiers’ and Fox’s Marines, had been raised for sea service before coming on the army’s strength. It cannot be too often pointed out that the regiments were formed and disbanded more or less after every war, and that consequently many rank their seniority from their first creation.

The arms had little changed. The cuirass for cavalry was abandoned in 1702 and restored temporarily in 1707. The socketed bayonet had been introduced, and Blenheim was the first _great_ battle in which the pike had been replaced by the new weapon. Sergeants still carried the halberd, which was succeeded as time went on by the lighter pike or “spontoon,” which remained in the service until after the Peninsular war, and which was carried by the “covering sergeant,” who protected or “covered” his captain with the weapon while his superior directed the work of the company.

The colours, formerly three in number, had by this time been reduced to two, the one the Union “Jack,” the other the Regimental Colour, the ground of which was that of the regimental facings.

Doubtless the political feeling of expediency and the want of a larger revenue had still much to do with these continuous and expensive reductions, even more than the decaying dread of standing armies. They were expensive as involving greater expenditure when war broke out afresh, as it was likely to do. They cost the internal economy of the State much, from the difficulty of finding employment for the vast numbers of disbanded soldiery after a campaign. Politicians of the time were too narrow-minded to see that it costs less to be always prepared for war in peace rather than wait for the warlike necessity to arise. They were “penny wise and pound foolish” then, much as we are to-day. Taxpayers and Governments are proverbially slow to recognise this. The greater the national wealth, the more need for the national insurance. That means an army and a navy sufficient for that insurance.



The method of raising the army from the early part of the eighteenth century until nearly its end had been by a curious system of contract. Recruiting at first was mainly voluntary; but paupers or prisoners for civil offences were given the option of serving in the ranks. Hence was it that the armies that “swore so horribly in Flanders” got the bad name that clung to the profession of arms in Great Britain until recent years. The class of recruits, the severity of punishment, and the degradation of the lash were the three main reasons why, in the opinion of many worthy country people, to become a soldier was to be lost!

“Sergeant Kite’s” statement in the _Recruiting Officer_[21] is, though coarse, a not much exaggerated picture of what was _thought_ of the soldier, though it can never assuredly be applied to all who wore the uniform. He says: “I was born a gipsy, and bred among that crew till I was ten years of age; there I learned canting and lying. I was bought from my mother Cleopatra by a certain nobleman for three pistoles, who, liking my beauty, made me his page; there I learned impudence and pimping. I was turned off for wearing my lord’s linen and drinking my lady’s ratafia, and then became bailiff’s follower; there I learned bullying and swearing. I at last got into the army, and there I learned wenching and drinking, so that if your worship pleases to cast up the old sum, viz.--canting, lying, impudence, bullying, swearing, drinking, and a halberd, you will find the sum total amounting to a recruiting sergeant.”

This, then, is reputed to be the material; the following was the method of capturing it.[22] The crown contracted with gentlemen of position or known soldiers to raise a certain body of troops, and bounty money per head was granted for the purpose. Regiments, therefore, long bore the names of the colonels who had raised or those who had recruited them. Sometimes in lieu of money the contractor sold the commissions, which was called “raising men for rank”; and hence arose a further extension of the purchase system which seems to have originated with Charles II. For the maintenance of this force the colonel received an annual sum to defray the cost of clothing, pay, and recruiting; thus it is related that a British Fusilier Regiment had four years’ pay owing to officers and men, who, in spite of repeated memorials, could not obtain any portion of it. After the lapse of some time, it transpired that Lord Tyrawley, the colonel, had appropriated the arrears to his own use; an act which he attempted to justify by pleading the custom of the army, and by the fact of the king being cognisant of his proceedings.[23] Recruits were raised by “a beating order,” without which recruiting was illegal, and the regiment was kept up to full strength. Field officers, to increase their rate of pay, received, say, colonel _as_ colonel, 12s. a day, and in addition, as captain of company 8s. a day.

The term of enlistment of the recruit was a matter of arrangement, and was often for life. The troops were long disposed in billets in Great Britain, but in the early part of the eighteenth century barracks for about 5000 men had been created, and the evils of billeting were fully recognised. The barrack accommodation had not increased to more than sufficient for 20,000 men by 1792.

The Jacobite risings form a curious link in the conduct of European politics, and not only led to active interference in them because of the support given by France and Spain to the Stuart cause, but they are also domestically interesting as being the last cases in which armed bodies have met in civil war in England. They also emphasise the curious personal and sentimental attraction which long hung round the dynasty of the Stuarts, and for which there is no sufficient reason to be advanced. They were neither great nor noble, neither good nor trustworthy. Their reigns were either years of disturbance at home or ineptitude abroad. Their attraction was only that of romance, coupled with that odd personal reverence for the divinity of kingship, which James I. brought prominently forward as a political creed, and which no previous sovereign had been successful in establishing. Men of repute and renown often changed sides when the “Roses” reigned; but this was rare when the Stuarts ruled, or tried to rule.

It is this romantic feeling that makes the efforts on the part of the Jacobites to restore King James seem sorrowful. One cannot but sympathise with those who sacrificed all for the most ungrateful group of kings that have ever occupied the English throne, and at the same time wonder why they did so. The Winchester motto of “Aimez loyauté,” meant in the abstract but obedience or love for law, the ordinances of the realm. It was for the enthusiastic Cavalier to translate loyalty into personal regard for an indifferent, to say the very least of it, group of kings, who had as a race scarcely one attribute of true kingship. One’s sympathy, therefore, goes out more fully towards the adherents than the leaders of the hopeless cause; and it is well that the strong common sense of the nation saw that the restoration of either of the Pretenders was hopeless. The peace of Ryswick was the first blow to the faint hopes of James II.’s restoration. His no longer receiving the active sympathy of France reduced, for the time being, his “party” to a “faction.” The mistakes of the Governments which followed were by no means the least of the causes that re-formed it again into a “party” dangerous to the reigning dynasty of Great Britain. There is no doubt that the injudicious conduct of the statesmen of the early Georges, and even of the kings themselves, did little to smooth matters. To have let small bickerings and insurrections severely alone, by treating them as of no great importance, might have rendered serious troubles less probable. Making martyrs strengthened, rather than weakened the Jacobite cause; while, on the other hand, the judicious conduct of the sovereign, later in the century, destroyed for ever the hopes of seeing a Catholic James on the British throne.

But one great result, as far as the growth of the army is concerned, arose from these dynastic troubles. They led by degrees to a closer union between the fighting materials of North and South Britain, and to the formation of those Highland regiments whose glorious record must be the pride of all sections of the army, whose colours they have so often led to victory. The death of James II., and the recognition by France of his son, the “Old Pretender,” as King of England, re-aroused the enthusiasm of the followers of the Stuarts. They ceased to be a faction once more, and hopes rose high when Queen Anne died. The accession of George I. was marked by increasing discontent, and it is possible, though hardly probable, that the Young Pretender may have been in England at the time. But there was no open opposition to the Hanoverian succession at first, though, owing to the severe measures taken against the Jacobites in the north, measures which were looked on as contrary to the Act of Union, many disturbances occurred there and elsewhere, notably in Edinburgh, Oxfordshire, and Staffordshire. Little was known, strange to say, of the Highland people. They were regarded in many quarters as semi-savages, much as the Irish recruits for English regiments were deemed when James II. was king. In 1705 the Lowland Scottish Militia was assessed at 22,000 infantry and 2000 horse, while the fighting strength of the Highlands was regarded as 40,000 men.

The Government hastily prepared for the outbreak of hostilities. Regiments were raised and assembled, and the trained bands warned. The standard of rebellion was soon raised, in Scotland by the Earl of Mar, in Northumberland by the Earl of Derwentwater and others; and some 10,000 men drew the sword for King James VIII., “our rightfull and naturall King ... who is now coming to relieve us from all our oppressions.” Notwithstanding Mar’s slowness, the revolt rapidly spread in Scotland, where only some 2000 English troops under General Wightman were assembled at Stirling, but the eastern counties of England were watched by the newly-embodied battalions in dread of a descent by France. Finally, the Duke of Argyll was appointed to the command of the northern forces, which were to be reinforced, if required, by 6000 men from Holland; and among the troops assembled at Stirling were now the ancestors of the Scots Greys, the 3rd, 4th, and 7th Hussars, the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, and the 8th, 14th, and 21st battalions of the line. There were also some volunteers from Glasgow, Paisley, and Kilmarnock.

On the 13th November the opposing forces met at Sheriffmuir, near Dunblane. The battle is only instructive as showing the Highlanders’ method of attack; in fact, they had at that time, like cavalry always have, no real defensive. To defend was to take the offensive.

The formation of the Highland host long remained the same. Clans could not be mixed. They fought side by side, each under its chieftain, who stood in the centre, surrounded by his personal kinsmen, much as Harold fought at Hastings with his housecarles. Then, often after silent prayer, the plaids were thrown aside, and the charge was made. To this there were five motions. First, to set the bonnet firmly on the head; secondly, covered by the brass-studded target, to rush up to within fifty yards; next, to fire the long-barrelled Spanish gun and drop it; fourthly, to fire the steel pistol; and, lastly, to charge home with dirk or claymore. The men were often arranged ten or twelve ranks deep.

The march and deployment of the troops on either side in this battle was such as to place the left wings of both armies outflanking the other. This gave Mar his chance, and he quickly took it. Ordering the charge, he led the clan Maclean in person; and they, throwing aside their plaids, fired a volley, dropped their muskets, and rushed with cheers and yells on their opponents, claymore and target in hand. Skilled in the use of these weapons, such a rush was for the time irresistible. The bayonet thrust was met by the shield, and the sword or dirk did the rest. The loss in such a case was terrible, the wounded generally injured beyond recovery. And so the Jacobites swept the enemy’s left clean off the field, but, like the Royalists sixty years before, they did not know when to check pursuit, and turn the defeat of one wing of an army into the rout of the whole. Yet there was more discipline than usual in these irregulars, for they were little more. Their first volley had been most steadily delivered, and they were not “in the least discomposed by the musketry which the British regiments opened on them in turn.” Meanwhile, on the other wing, Mar’s troops had been defeated and routed by the combined attack of Argyll’s cavalry on the flank and his infantry in front, and though the Macraes, especially, fought with desperate obstinacy, the result here was practically as decisive as had been the attack of the Earl of Mar. So he fell back after the battle, leaving Argyll master of the field and of the situation, and who remarked to an officer before the day closed that--

“If it was na weel bobbit, We’ll bob it again.”

But Mar was not the man to lead continuously a Highland host. Success increased their fighting power--delay but weakened it; so that when Argyll with some military wisdom at once took a simple defensive, Mar feared to push the battle further, and his army fell back with the prayer of at least one Scot, “Oh for one hour of Dundee!” The battle, which is only noteworthy for the hard fighting of the Cameronians against their fellow-countrymen, was theoretically “a draw,” but the possession of the field and the spoil thereof rested with the Hanoverian side. Soon the army of James began to melt away. The Chevalier came to Scotland, but the affair of Preston in Lancashire gave little encouragement for him to stay, and he returned to France. The first attempt to restore James had signally failed, and while Mar, attainted, died in exile at Aix la Chapelle, Lords Derwentwater and Kenmure were beheaded, and the rest of the prisoners, from both fields, were treated with the greatest barbarity. Still, this rather inflamed than cowed the martial spirit of the north, for four years later, the sentiment of revenge for cruelties unworthy even of the days of the first Georges, led to reprisals. Spain had interested herself in the Stuart cause, and treated the Chevalier as King of Great Britain; while, oddly enough, France, being at war with Spain, sided with King George. The Duke of Ormond headed the somewhat puerile effort at invasion, which commenced with but 1500 Spaniards and Scots, who, landing at Loch Alsh, encamped at Glenshiel; but these were to be reinforced by a larger body under Ormond, which was, however, scattered by a storm off Cape Finisterre. The isolated invaders received some small reinforcement, including 400 Macgregors under Rob Roy, and took up a strong position at the pass of Strachells. Against them marched General Wightman once more, with some detachments of Dutch troops, as well as companies of the 11th, 14th, and 15th line regiments; and although the British force was repulsed, the Spaniards surrendered the following day, and the Scots dispersed to their homes.

This second failure resulted in the departure of James from Madrid, and the loss of Spanish help. But the two efforts had taught the British Government a lesson. Two things were necessary to subdue these turbulent Highlands, of whose inhabitants so little was known that they were generally believed by many English people to be savages and by some even cannibals. Roads were necessary to open the country up to organised military movements, and the disarmament of the clans was requisite to lessen the offensive power of their members. General Wade, in 1724, was entrusted with this duty, and about this time independent paid companies of Highlanders were formed, which, from the sombre colour of their tartans, were called the “Black Watch,” and were eventually formed into a regiment, numbered finally the 42nd.

To carry out his instructions, General Wade’s command (the 10th, 12th, 19th, and 21st Regiments) was reviewed by George I. on Salisbury Plain in 1722, and marched to Inverness, where they joined the camp formed by the 2nd Queen’s, commanded by Piercy Kirke. The 21st were quartered in Aberdeenshire, but the remainder marched to Brahan Castle to disarm the Mackenzies. No resistance was offered, but the whole thing was a transparent fraud; for but 784 old weapons were given up, and even then only with the stipulation that the companies of the Black Watch should not be present. Finally, in all 2685 weapons were collected, for which Wade calculated some £13,000 had been paid, “for broken and useless arms which were hardly worth the expense of carriage.” Meanwhile, the six Black Watch companies were detailed “to prevent the Highlanders from returning to the use of arms, as well as to hinder their committing depredations in the low country,” and for this purpose were stationed as follows:--Lord Lovat, the passes between Loch Alsh and Inverness; Colonel Grant, those from Ballindalloch to Dunkeld; Sir Duncan Campbell, from Dunkeld to the Lorn Mountains; while the remaining three companies were at Fort William, Kilcummin, and Ruthven.

Of course the best of the arms had been concealed and buried, to reappear twenty years later, when the Young Pretender came. Probably Wade guessed this, and was wise enough to close his eyes to what he was not strong enough to prevent or enforce. But he improved the communications of the country in an unostentatious way, so that a poem of the time in rather Hibernian style says--

“If you’d seen those roads before they were made, You’d lift up your hands and bless General Wade.”

One curious thing happened between 1725 and 1745. Two years short of the last date, the newly formed regiment of the Black Watch mutinied.

The year 1745 saw the most serious as well as the last of the Jacobite efforts, and on this occasion France had returned to her first love, and posed for the last time as the friend of the Catholic dynasty of Stuarts. The tinge of romance about “the ’45” would have had little foundation if the Pretender of ’15 had taken part in the rising. He had got old, and, what was worse, fat. Only his divine right could have helped him through. But with his son it was different. He was young, good-looking, and engaging; he was always most affable and accessible; he was a brave if unfortunate princelet seeking to regain a throne. He does not seem to have had any real strength of character, and his end was pitiful; but he was in himself--and his cause was still more--romantic, and he possessed both dash and courage.

So, taking advantage of the absence of the bulk of the British army on the Continent, preparations were begun in 1743, when a French expedition of 15,000 was assembled at Boulogne to make a diversion on the south coast, while a landing of Stuart adherents was effected in the north. But the attempt failed, and the fleet was driven back by a storm.

In 1745 the attempt was repeated, and this time successfully; for though the _Elizabeth_ frigate, convoying the _Doutelle_, in which the prince was embarked, was driven back by the _Lion_ frigate of sixty guns, after a most determined battle, he was enabled to debark at Moidart, and establish a camp at Inverness. The loss of his convoy, however, had deprived him, so wrote Marchant in his _History of the Present Rebellion_, published two years later, of £400,000 sterling, besides arms, ammunition, and twenty field guns, all of which would have been of infinite value to him later, even if it had not materially influenced, or at the least prolonged, the insurrection itself.

Sir John Cope, who commanded in Scotland, was not a man of much quickness or resource; and the Jacobite song, “Hey, Johnny Cope, are ye waukin’ yet,” alludes sarcastically to that fact. Stirling and Edinburgh were garrisoned, it is true, and he had marched north to meet the insurgent levies, but when the latter outflanked him and reached Edinburgh, which surrendered at once (except the Castle garrison of two companies of the 47th), he embarked at Aberdeen and landed again near Dunbar. His total strength did not amount to more than 3000 men, all told, and among these were the 13th and 14th Light Dragoons, two companies of the 6th Foot, five of the 44th, eight of the 47th, the 46th, and Loudon’s Highlanders, with six guns manned by sailors and volunteers. His position, near Prestonpans or Gladsmuir, when the enemy came in sight, faced west and then south, and was fairly strong. The right rested on Colonel Gardiner’s house--he commanded the 13th, and fell in the battle--and the left on the Seton Manor House, while in front was a marsh traversed by a ditch. Against this small and not too confident army the prince had a heterogeneous half armed force of some 5000 men, chiefly Highlanders,[24] without artillery and but a few very irregular cavalry; and, hearing of the general’s landing, he moved out at once from Edinburgh, where the Castle still held out, to engage him. The first day was spent in mere manœuvring, but after nightfall the prince decided on attacking at daybreak, and, guided by a Mr. Robert Anderson, who knew the country, he marched in two columns in sections of threes by obscure paths across the marsh, and finally over an unguarded foot-bridge crossing the ditch already referred to, and formed line of battle across Cope’s left flank. That general seemed in no wise dismayed, and again changed front, while in his address to his troops he referred to his opponents as being “a parcel of brutes,” and “a despicable pack,” from whom “you can expect no booty.” He had not experienced the nature of a Highland charge.

The Scottish army was formed in two lines, and it is not clear in this instance that any firing was resorted to, as was often the case; but the fury of the onslaught was such as at once to destroy the morale of both the artillery and cavalry, who were on the flanks and fled in disorder from the field, leaving the infantry isolated. But though they held their ground for a while, they were assailed after their first volley before they could reload, and were taken prisoners, slain, or dispersed. All the colours, the guns, the military chest, 1500 prisoners, besides officers, and baggage, were the prizes of the victors, and while 400 were slain, only 175 infantry soldiers escaped; and this with a total loss of 110 killed and wounded on the opposite side. Practically, the victory gave the whole of Scotland into Jacobite hands, and the prince returned to Edinburgh, and wasted his time in continuing the siege of the Castle.

The delay was turned to full account by the English Government. Ill luck had followed the Stuart cause from its outset, and was to continue till the end; even success in battle seemed to bear but little fruit. Regiments were recalled from Flanders, though many were reduced to mere skeletons. Thus, when the king asked where the rest of the 3rd Dragoons were, he was told by their colonel, “I believe the residue is at Dettingen.” But an army was formed by Marshal Stair, and reviewed by the king on Finchley Common; another, under Wade, was in Yorkshire; and a third, under Cumberland, lay at Lichfield.

Thus, when in November the Jacobite force moved into England, and received no adherents as they had hoped to, and might have had if they had started earlier before the Government could prepare for defence, it had only taken Carlisle and reached Derby when the above armies were ready to co-operate and check it.

So the prince turned back, to find that in Scotland the Whig clans had risen, the west was in arms, and Edinburgh had assembled a force of which Cope’s refugees were the nucleus.

The command of the sea in this as in all other cases was of the highest value to one of the combatants. Especially in those days when sea travel was quicker and more certain than land.

The retreat was only molested by the English dragoons at Penrith, for the infantry could advance but slowly owing to the execrable nature of the roads and the inclement season of the year, and the prince moved to Stirling. The discipline of the small army there was excellent, its behaviour to the people was at all times better and more gentle than that of their adversaries, while the “orders” are concise and soldierlike. Hawley, from Edinburgh, with the 1st Royals, 3rd Buffs, 4th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 27th, 34th, 37th, 48th,[25] and 52nd Regiments, the 7th, 10th, and 14th Dragoons, and some local volunteers, was the first to attack it. This he did at Falkirk, but, making the common mistake of undervaluing the enemy, he was defeated, and retired in some disorder to Edinburgh, with the loss of his guns, five colours, tents, stores, and camp equipage. Thus a second English general had failed to defeat the Scottish Jacobites.

The Duke of Cumberland was therefore despatched to Scotland, with Major James Wolfe, of the 20th, as aide-de-camp, and met the prince at Culloden, where he accepted battle with a weak and ill-provided army against one strong in cavalry and artillery, the two arms in which he was notoriously deficient. The story of that dismal battle is one of 10,000 against 4000, of well-fed against fasting men, of cruelty after the fight so revolting that the very names of all concerned in it should be held in execration by every honest man. Wholesale, cold-blooded butchery of wounded and prisoners, the vilest treatment of women, who were then turned naked into the snow to die; these are stories that stain the name of a general who well merited the name he earned. To his credit be it said, however, Wolfe refused to take part in these barbarities, and he must have felt with pride afterwards that because of his conduct “it was remarked that the recusant officer declined visibly in the favour and confidence of his commander.” It was the last real battle that was fought on British land, and the only point worthy of remembrance is the gallantry of the 4th Foot, in whose ranks “there was not a bayonet that was not either bloody or bent.”

It pointed out for the last time the curious clannish pride which characterised the Highland people, for the three Macdonald regiments, who had been placed on the left rather than the right, a post of honour they claimed as theirs since the days of Bruce, for the gallantry of their forefathers at Bannockburn, refused to fight, or even to follow their chieftain Keppoch, who fell, pierced with musket balls.

With Culloden the last hopes of the Jacobite “faction”--for it had again become one now--died. Whatever hold, up to 1745, the Stuart “idea” may have had on a section of the people, the wisest of them saw that it was hopeless, and only the hopeful enthusiasts still had dreams. It is difficult to know in these days whether there ever really was a Jacobite party after “the ’45.” The idea seems to have died in despair. Of course there were feeble and hysterical conspiracies like the, possibly legendary, one of the young Scot who plotted the assassination of the royal family; and the studied ignorance of Sir Robert Walpole, who kept his eyes shut to these last faint flashes of the fire of the cause, may have deepened the hopefulness of those who still dreamed of “another opportunity,” as an old rebel of the name of Scott did. There was one exception, in the cruel treatment and death of Dr. Cameron about 1750 or 1751; but there may be some justification for his execution, as he was no doubt a “go-between” the Pretender in France and the few left faithful to him in the north. The Young Pretender, too, seems to have been as blind as his adherents. Dr. King, in his _Anecdotes of His Own Time_, states that in 1750 the prince was in London; but he gives prominence to the undoubted fact that the real destruction of the party was due to the decadence, physically and morally, of the last real aspirant to the throne, and to the dread that his mistress--Walkinshaw--was a paid spy of the house of Hanover, her sister being housekeeper at Leicester House. Well might one of the party ask this hopeless scion of a hopeless house, when endeavouring to separate him from this woman, “What has your family done, sir, thus to draw down the vengeance of Heaven on every branch of it for so many ages?” The answer is simple enough. They had done little but bad. Their kingship was only honourable with those who believed that any sovereign was divinely appointed. The last of the Stuarts more than proved the worthlessness of the whole race as far as the English throne was concerned. Whether, as Scott romantically suggests in _Redgauntlet_, the Young Pretender ever returned to Great Britain about 1765, is improbable. Even if he did, his cause was lost, and that by his own fault. What scion of the house of Stuart but so fell? It is not that the early members of the house of Hanover were really great or good, but it was because the last of the house of Stuart were irretrievably mean and bad that the embers of the Civil War remained such, and never after 1745 burst into a serious flame.

But while the house of Stuart was declining from mere corruption and decay, the almost alien house of Hanover was slowly and securely winning its way into English sympathies. This was natural enough as the successive sovereigns became more English in their feelings and their speech. Until the early Guelphs could speak freely and fully the language of the nation over which they were called to rule, until they were English born and had English ideas, there was, no doubt, ground for a certain amount of antagonism. Thackeray’s _Four Georges_ proves up to the hilt how slow these sovereigns were in learning the very patent fact that they must become English and cease to be German to get a firm hold on our insular mind. And this they did eventually. But, up to the ’45, their rule, which was still very foreign for years after that date, was rather endured as a necessity than loved, their personality regarded as alien rather than English. The one thing that made the nation, up to the first half of the eighteenth century, accept with little complaint, or hostility, princes who still were far too German to please the tastes of English-speaking peoples, was their own honesty of purpose and their personal courage and bravery. The house of Guelph lost nothing by actual want of success in the foreign wars about the time of the really serious Jacobite rising. Englishmen like pluck, and don’t mind a beating, provided good men do their best. This, then, is the story, as far as the army is concerned, of Dettingen and Fontenoy. They were not successes, certainly, but neither king nor soldier had shown want of the good old fighting spirit of Blenheim and Malplaquet. At the worst it was a healthy time, and showed that our mere bull-dog courage was not by itself the only thing by which battles are won.

The causes of the war in which an English reigning sovereign led an army in the field were the guarantee of Great Britain, France, and other States, of the succession of Maria Theresa to the throne of the German Empire, known as the “Pragmatic Sanction,” and the attack upon Silesia by Frederick of Prussia. From this action France and Bavaria were drawn into the struggle against the Empress, and George II., possibly fearing the preponderating growth of his neighbour Prussia as a menace to his Hanoverian dominions, assembled a force of Danes, Hessians, Hanoverians, and British, under the Earl of Stair, numbering forty-four battalions, twenty of which were British, with fifty-three squadrons. This army, about 35,000 strong, met the French, some 25,000 in number, and composed of twenty-four battalions, and thirty squadrons, in position on the left bank of the Maine. The Allies were at Aschaffenburg and Klein Ostheim, and prepared to march through Dettingen on the right bank to join with a Hessian force at Hanau.

Noailles, who commanded the French army, forming a _tête du pont_ at Selegenstadt on his left, and massing the centre and right opposite Aschaffenburg, crossed by his left to head the allies off. Thus when the battle began, both held positions at right angles to the Maine, the British left and the French right respectively resting on the stream. The offensive was continued by the French, and led to a wild and injudicious advance of the right wing through and beyond Dettingen, a movement contrary to what the general commanding, who now wished to assume the defensive, intended, so that finally the French were beaten and driven across the stream. Except for incidents in the battle it has few points of interest.

The regiments engaged were the Life Guards and Blues; the 1st and 7th Dragoons Guards; the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Dragoons; and the 3rd, 4th, and 7th Light Dragoons, now classed as Hussars. Of the infantry the 3rd, 8th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, and 37th Regiments were engaged. The present Devonshire Regiment, from their heavy losses here, at Ostend, and later on at Salamanca, was long known, it is said, as the “Bloody Eleventh”; and the old 30th acquired the name of the “Young Buffs,” from their facings in this battle, which caused the king to exclaim, “Well done, old Buffs,” and on being reminded of his mistake, and told it was the 31st, and not the 3rd, replied, “Well done, then, _Young_ Buffs.” Of the 37th it is related that a trooper of the 7th Dragoon Guards, who was charged afterwards with being a deserter during the battle, proved that he had fought on foot with the regiment, applying to Lieutenant Izzard for arms, and, behaving with great gallantry, was afterwards rewarded with a commission in the “Royal Welsh.”

The Greys had captured the white standard of the French Household troops, and the 1st Royals took the colours of the Black Musketeers. The king behaved with the greatest courage and coolness. His coolness under fire attracted the notice of the Duke d’Arenberg, who thought him “the bravest man he ever saw.” He headed the second line in person. Thackeray, no great admirer of the Georges, thus writes of him: “Whenever we hear of dapper George at war, it is certain that he demeaned himself like a little man of valour. At Dettingen his horse ran away with him, and with difficulty was stopped from carrying him into the enemy’s lines. The king, dismounting from his fiery quadruped, said bravely, ‘Now I know I shall not run away,’ and placed himself at the head of the foot, drew his sword, brandishing it at the whole of the French army, and calling out to his own men to come on, in bad English, but with the most famous pluck and spirit.” He was very far from a coward, therefore, this last British king who personally took part in battle; and he exposed himself so freely that he was nearly taken prisoner, and was rescued by the 22nd Regiment of the line, which ever after wear oak-leaves on their headdress on Dettingen Day. Such courage is contagious, and one is not surprised to find Lord Crawford of the Life Guards shouting with battle enthusiasm, when attacked in front and flank, “Never mind, my boys, this is fine diversion.” The loss, however, was heavy, and few practical results followed the victory. The junction with the Hessians was formed at Hanau, and there, as the king refused to turn and attack the French again, the Earl of Stair resigned his command and returned to England, partly because of this refusal, and partly perhaps (as officers in William III.’s army had felt as regards the Dutch) because he resented the favour too often shown to German over English commanders.

By 1745 the British contingent had been further strengthened by the addition of the 34th and 42nd Regiments up to about 53,000 men, or forty-six battalions, ninety squadrons and ninety guns, and then the Duke of Cumberland decided on attempting to raise the siege of Tournay, which was being conducted by Marshal Saxe, and suffered a severe defeat.

The French position was extremely strong, and Barri wood on the left, Fontenoy in the centre, and St. Antoine on the river on the right were most carefully fortified and entrenched and defended by 260 guns. Here it was, as the attack developed, the story is told of the meeting of the British and French Guards, when the former, saluting with raised hats, called to their opponents, “Gentlemen of the French Guards, fire!” The Highlanders behaved with extraordinary courage in this their first great foreign battle, and one man, who had killed nine Frenchmen, was in the act of cutting down the tenth when a shot carried his sword-arm off. The carnage was extreme, yet the stubborn soldiery would not give way even with the cross fire of musketry and case-shot at short range; and at one moment, when St. Antoine was carried, matters looked serious for Marshal Saxe. But that terrible Irish Brigade, seven battalions strong, were now brought into the fight. The fierce battle-cry of “Remember Limerick and Saxon faith” showed that past evils were not forgotten, and added racial antipathy to natural courage. The broken, wearied troops were too much shaken to meet so fierce a charge of quite fresh men; and hence the Irish counter attack fully succeeded, and the British retired sullenly, beaten. The Allies had lost 21,000 men, killed and wounded, against 8000 of their adversaries; but, outnumbered and exhausted as the British were, they accounted for one-third of the men and one-fourth of the officers of the Irish Brigade.

Naturally King George was disturbed by so serious a defeat; and naturally, perhaps, he might have felt and said, in thinking of the Irish at Fontenoy, “Cursed be the laws which deprive me of such subjects!” On the other hand, the exultation felt by the exiled Irish can equally well be understood, as well as the spirit that induced the following lines of the time:--

“The English strove with desperate strength; they rallied, staggered, fled: The green hillside is matted close with dying and with dead. Across the plain, and far away, passed on that hideous wreck, While cavalier and fantassin dash in upon their track. On Fontenoy, on Fontenoy, like eagles in the sun, With bloody plumes the Irish stand--the field is lost and won!”

Little occurred after the battle until the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle brought hostilities to a conclusion.

Few changes had taken place in the armament of the troops in these days. The hand grenade was still in use, as a picture of a grenadier of the Foot Guards, dated 1745, shows; and officers, up to 1759, carried either the spontoon or a “light fusil” as part of their equipment, with the sash worn over the left shoulder as at present. Non-commissioned officers still carried the halberd.

The three-cornered hat was largely replaced by the sugar-loaf-shaped “Kevenhuller” hat; and, in addition to the bright-barrelled musket and bayonet, the privates carried a short sword. Wigs were abolished, and long gaiters covered the leg to the knee, while the coats were shortened to a sort of turned-back swallow-tail, in imitation of the Prussian uniform.

[Illustration: _Private 24^{th} Reg^{t}. 1751._]

Body armour had been reduced to a mere relic of defence in the “duty gorget”--a small plate of brass with the Royal Arms, which was suspended by a piece of black ribbon from the neck by officers “on duty”; a custom that obtained up to 1830. There had been no material change in tactics; but the Royal Artillery had become more fully organised in four companies, the uniform being a loose, long, heavily-cuffed blue cloth coat with red facings. The Royal Military Academy, for the education of artillery officers, was also established about 1741, and the “Horse Guards” as an institution about 1750.

The Black Watch, however, the first of the new Highland regiments, was permitted, for some time, to carry a dirk, pistols, and round target. Medals were issued after Culloden, and regimental numbers appeared on the coat buttons about 1767.

Tactics and the “order of battle” were slow in changing, but the growing preponderance of infantry, now organised in three ranks only, was becoming more evident after Dettingen and Fontenoy. Battles were fought on more modern lines, and infantry bore the brunt; while the cavalry at Dettingen had at last discovered its proper rôle, and behaved with the greatest gallantry, in _not_ leading the main attack as at Blenheim, but in meeting its own opposing arm and keeping it in check, and finally in converting the French retreat across the river into very nearly a rout.

The artillery still lacked mobility, and were not vigorously handled, with the exception of some Hanoverian batteries, which pushed up to support the final advance of the infantry, and opened fire on the French flank. So at Fontenoy the infantry had most to do. This was the beginnings of the tactics of the future.

Thus by 1755, or thereabout, the army had been steadily increasing. After the death of Marlborough, the 9th and 10th Dragoons and the 40th and 41st Regiments of infantry came on the permanent establishment, chiefly because of the Jacobite rising of 1715; the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th Regiments of cavalry also date from the same period; the 42nd had been formed from the separate Highland companies into the “Black Watch,” so called from the sombre colour of their tartans; and soon followed the 43rd, 44th, 45th, 46th, 47th, and 48th of the line. The 49th, at first known as the 63rd Americans, dates from 1743.

But still the old jealousy of, and objection to, a large standing army was always recrudescing. On the accession of George II., the cadres only amounted to 17,760 men; and even this small body Mr. Pulteney, M.P., and “downright” Shippen in the House of Commons wished to be reduced to 12,000! The threat of war in 1739 stopped this; but the army was still at the mercy of political partisans, as the Duke of Argyll in his masterly attack on Sir Robert Walpole in the House of Lords conclusively proves. Another hundred years, too, had to pass by before “political services ceased to form the foundation of a claim for military preferment.”

Flogging, long recognised, and rattan punishment, copied, like the absurd uniform and rigid drill, from much-admired Prussia, now became a permanently recognised institution, and so remained until 1878. It is always a wonder that a free country, such as England, ever permitted the correctional system of the crudest of all military despotisms, that of the so-called Frederick the Great, to live so long. But in this, as in uniform and drill, our army has always been more of a copyist of foreign methods than an originator.



The period through which the army passed in the second part of the eighteenth century was distinguished by a marked change in the causes which led to the wars culminating in the separation of the American Colonies from the mother country. There were still Continental troubles in which English forces and others were engaged, where political, balance of power, or dynastic influences were as heretofore the primary causes of such campaigns. Minden is one of these; and, without entering into the whole of the military history of the time, the battle is especially noteworthy as adding additional laurels to those the army had already gathered. It may be well, therefore, to refer to it here, though somewhat out of the order of dates, as it is a more or less isolated factor in the general story. The Seven Years’ War broke out in 1756, and in 1759, after sundry successes, the French menaced Hanover. Their opponents, commanded by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, were assisted by a small British contingent commanded by Lord George Sackville, consisting of six cavalry regiments: the Horse Guards, the 1st and 3rd Dragoon Guards, the 2nd, 6th, and 10th Dragoons; and six infantry battalions: the 12th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 37th, and 51st. There was much manœuvring on the part of Prince Ferdinand, before he succeeded in drawing his opponents across the marshy Wastau brook which unites with the river Weser at Minden to form a deep re-entrant bend. Crossing both these streams by numerous temporary bridges, the French, under Contades, deployed some 50,000 troops against 36,000;[26] but the flanks of his line of battle being unsuitable for the action of cavalry, the whole of that arm, some 10,000 strong, and the flower of his army, was stationed in the centre. On the other hand, the English flanks were strengthened by cavalry, that on the right commanded directly by Lord George Sackville; and on both sides the artillery were chiefly on the flanks. Partial attacks, and an artillery duel on both sides therefore began the action, but the “soul of the fight” was the contest between the French cavalry and the two English brigades in the centre, which yet again emphasised, if such emphasis were necessary, the steadily increasing fighting power of well-disciplined infantry.

Gallant as was the charge of the Mousquetaires, grey and red, desperate as was their onslaught, the footmen received them with close volleys at forty yards, and, as Contades himself bitterly remarked, “I have seen what I never thought to be possible--a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry, ranked in order of battle, and tumble them to ruin.” These six battalions marched, not as ordered, to attack “you six _on_ sound of drum,” but translated the command into “_by_ sound of drum”; and so, with drums playing, entered into the crucial battle with a brigade in both the first and second line. After the first repulse of the enemy, they formed in single line of battalions, with the Hanoverians on their left, and when the cavalry was routed, drove back with heavy loss a Swiss and a Saxon brigade that attempted to stop their splendid advance. Had Lord George Sackville charged with his cavalry as he was ordered to have done, and should have done, the French army would have been destroyed. As it was, only the Hessian and Hanoverian cavalry on the left were of any service. The French lost about 7000 men, 43 guns, and 17 colours, while in the British division alone, 1394 officers and men had fallen. Of all the regiments, none was more distinguished than “Kingsley’s,” now the 20th; but though the “order of the day” after the battle stated that the regiment “from its severe loss, will cease to do duty,” the “Minden Boys,” the “Men of Kingsley’s stand,” were far too proud to accept even so kindly meant a rest, and two days later we read that “Kingsley’s regiment, at its own request, will resume its portion of duty in the line.” Well might His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand state publicly that, “next to God, he attributes the glory of the day to the intrepidity and extraordinary good behaviour of these troops.” The six Minden regiments were honoured by being permitted to wear the laurel wreath in their colours, and to this day, on the 1st August, the men deck themselves with roses in remembrance of the battle, in which tradition says men walked to death with roses they had plucked on the way in their breasts. One curious fact in connection with the battle is that Colonel Preston, who commanded a brigade of cavalry, wore the last buff-coat that has been seen on a field of battle, which saved him from being wounded, though cut at “more than a dozen times.”

Minden preserved Hanover and Brunswick from the hands of the French, and obliged them to leave Westphalia; while the British colours waved in many a skirmish in the great war, as well as in the greater battles of Warburg, Zierenburg, Kloster Kampfen, Kirch-Denkern, and Wilhelmstahl. This latter name is borne by the 5th Foot as the first name on its colours, for there it behaved with the most brilliant bravery, taking a French standard and twice its own strength in prisoners. After this battle the regiment was permitted to wear French Grenadier headdresses, instead of the three-cornered hat then generally in use, and these they retained until replaced later by the fusilier “cap.” In the ranks of the 5th at Wilhelmstahl, fought Phœbe Hassell, who was pensioned by George IV., and who lies, quiet enough now, in the churchyard at Hove.

Again, during the war with Spain, an army which included the Buffs and 16th Light Dragoons served there under the command of the Earl of Loudon; and one of his brigadiers, Burgoyne, won a minor but brilliant victory at Valencia de Alcantara, where the cavalry carried the city sword in hand, and held it till the infantry arrived.

Peace followed a year later, and though England restored many of her conquests, she retained much. The army was recalled from Germany, and its own retirement from active service saw also that of its popular leader, the Marquis of Granby. He had shown much courage and some skill in the field. He had been most solicitous for the welfare of his men, and there is no doubt of their appreciation of him. The numerous inn signs bearing his portrait and his name are but relics of the days when he was regarded as the soldier’s “friend,” whom the men delighted to honour, and “to drain a tankard to his health.” But his mantle was not taken up by his successor for a while at least; for at Quebec, the year after his withdrawal from public life, the 15th, 27th, and two battalions of the 60th all but mutinied because of the introduction of a daily stoppage of fourpence a day for the food ration, a system of supporting the soldier out of his own pocket that lived on till within the last twenty years.

But it is round the great contest on the American Continent which was to result in, first, the conquest and retention of Canada, and then the loss of our own possessions in North America, that the national interest centres. By 1755 the French had practically absorbed Canada with its dependencies, and furthermore claimed authority over the whole valley of the Mississippi from its source to its mouth; and had linked its conquests or its occupation together by a series of forts from Quebec on the St. Lawrence river to the point where the Alleghany and Monongahela unite to form the Ohio, and where Pittsburg now stands. Here Fort Duchesne was erected. In fact, the French laid claim to what would now be called the Hinterland of the whole of Eastern North America without possessing much of its coast line, and it was to break through this fancied and fragile chain that the first hostile expedition was despatched. It was commanded by Braddock with a mixed force of colonials and the 44th and 48th Regiments, while on the staff served George Washington; but through gross ignorance and carelessness it fell into an ambush and was heavily routed. Other equally feeble efforts were made on other points in the enemy’s defensive line, but all were more or less ineffective, and this naturally led to reprisals and increased activity on the part of the French.

[Illustration: _QUEBEC. (1759.)_]

Hence the British army in America, whose headquarters were at New York, was reinforced by the 17th, 42nd, and 2-60th Regiments, and the conquest of Canada was decided on. An attempt against Fort Ticonderoga in 1758, when the 42nd lost 647 men, failed, as did a first expedition against Louisburg, Cape Breton; but in 1758 the Earl of Loudon was despatched to Nova Scotia with the 1st, 17th, 27th, 28th, 43rd, 46th, 53rd, and 56th Regiments, which were formed into three brigades, of which Brigadier-General James Wolfe commanded that composed of the grenadiers, light infantry, and Black Watch, and behaved with distinguished gallantry.

Fort Duchesne, a second time threatened, was abandoned by the French, and in 1759 Wolfe led the expedition against Quebec, where he met a glorious death during its capture. The regiments present were the 15th, 28th, 35th, 43rd, 47th, 48th, 60th, the _old_ 78th, or Fraser Highlanders, which was disbanded in 1763; while the grenadier companies of the regiments, with those of the 22nd, 40th, and 45th (at Louisburg), and also the light infantry companies, were formed into separate corps as usual. The fortress was far too strong to be assaulted frontally, with a wide river covering it, and to pass that at any time in boats was a risky and difficult operation. But the rear of the town was but weakly defended, and faced an open plain, which was regarded as practically unassailable, owing to the steep and almost precipitous nature of the approaches to it. It was due, it is said, to a Scottish officer called Macculloch that the design to attack on this side was formed; and it was executed with much difficulty, though with the greatest good fortune, as the river bank was guarded by sentries. But these were evaded, and when Wolfe landed, the obstacles to the advance even there were such that Wolfe exclaimed to one of the Highland officers, “I do not believe, sir, there is any possibility of getting up, but you must now do your best.” And they did so. Slinging their muskets the Frasers gained the summit by sheer hard climbing, and, driving back a piquet, seized a path by which the other troops mounted; so that when the sun rose, it shone on Wolfe’s line of regiments in contiguous columns advancing against Quebec. Montcalm moved out resolutely to meet the threatening danger. But the battle was soon over. The Frasers charged, Highland fashion, with dirk and claymore; and Wolfe and Montcalm were both mortally wounded. Wolfe lived long enough to hear the shouts of victory; Montcalm died before the actual capitulation of Quebec; and Lieutenant Macculloch died a pauper in Marylebone Workhouse thirty-four years later. This capture of Quebec practically meant the conquest of Canada, which, with Newfoundland, etc., was ceded to Great Britain; and though there were troubles on the Pennsylvanian frontier, to suppress which a regiment of Highlanders was despatched, nothing of real importance occurred till the revolt of the American Colonies in 1774.

More stress is laid on this portion of the army’s story, because the war was between sections of the same race, and because much came of it. Great Britain commenced the American contest that at first seemed so unequal, under some disadvantages, none the less. The result of a long period of military inactivity was, as it always has been and will be, most materially felt. There were few old, or at least veteran, soldiers in the ranks who had been under fire, and the younger officers were equally inexperienced. This was natural to expect after

“The cankers of a calm world and a long peace,”

but it was at the bottom of both the want of skill with which this singular war was conducted, and the want of appreciation, at first certainly, of how such an enemy as the army of the colonists should be tactically met. It was to be a war in which bush-fighting and skirmishing were to be the leading features, as Braddock’s disaster long years before and the defeat at Ticonderoga had already conclusively proved. But the British leaders were to learn the fact, they might have foreseen, in the “only school fools learn in, that of experience.”

In order to understand the reason for the want of uniformity and union in the desultory campaigns that followed each other, a glance at the map is necessary. It will be seen there that when hostilities broke out, the seat of war was practically cut in two by the Hudson, at the mouth of which was New York; and beyond Albany, up stream, a series of forts guarded the line of approach from Canada by way of Quebec, Lake Champlain, and Saratoga. This general line, therefore, cut the confederation into two unequal parts, and separated the, at first, more resolute New England States from those of the south, who, again, to begin with, were somewhat lukewarm in the national cause. It was the obstinate folly of the British Government, even more than the feeble conduct of her warlike operations in America, that led to the final result. Again, the command of the sea gave Great Britain the advantage of being able to transfer her troops to any part of the long American coast line, and attack or threaten the hostile levies formed at different parts, but whose own power of concentration was hampered by bad roads, a sparse population, and the physical difficulties offered by the numerous rivers and estuaries. These latter, on the other hand, were of the highest value to the sea power; and it was not till France threw her sword into the scale that the balance of power at sea was equalised and American success became a certainty. The temporary loss of that naval supremacy, with all the world against us, was the direct cause of the surrender at York Town, and the termination of the struggle. More than all, perhaps, this very prolongation of hostilities strengthened and gave experience to the colonists, which was all they wanted. They had the courage and a cause already. Howe and other English generals gave them confidence and trained their leaders.

Boston was the active centre whence the “disease of disagreement” spread. Stout, hard-headed Puritans, whose ancestors had left the mother country for freedom’s sake, were as little likely to submit to “taxation without representation,” in the latter days of the eighteenth century, as their forebears had been a hundred years before. “Let us be of one heart,” says one of them, “and stand fast in the liberties wherewith Christ has made us free, and may He, of His infinite mercy, grant us deliverance out of all our troubles.” But the home Government thought otherwise. Boston, as a port, was to be closed. General-Governor Gage was sent there to garrison it; and so doing, applied the match to all the political tinder which surrounded him, and was fully ready to burst into a flame. For not far from Boston the colonists had collected some military stores at Concord and Lexington, and these Gage decided on seizing. He had been _ordered_ to “take possession of colonial forts, seize all military stores, to repress rebellion by force, and imprison all suspects,” so the fault was not all his. But the detachment of the 10th and the marines were beaten back badly, and took refuge behind the reinforcements sent to help them in such a condition of rout that they “flung themselves down on the ground, with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, like those of dogs after a chase.” It was a bad beginning, to say the least of it, but it was curiously followed up; for the assailants were themselves assailed, and Boston was besieged by the “Provincials,” who had many men, boundless enthusiasm, but only a few guns and only sixty barrels of powder “in all Massachusetts.” But by now they had that courtly Virginian gentleman, George Washington, at their head, and without him the revolution that made an empire would have had faint chances of success. The only point of interest in this siege of Boston is the battle of Bunker’s or Breed’s Hill. It was the last effort but one to complete the ring of investment. The American General Prescott had attempted to hold this peninsula, between the Charles and Mystic rivers, and had fortified it with a poor breastwork and a still weaker obstacle afforded by a post and rail fence, screened by new-mown hay. But the fatal British failing of despising an adversary who could shoot, received additional emphasis. The casual attack of the flank companies of the 5th, 38th, 43rd, and 52nd, together with the 47th, the 1st marine battalion, and the 23rd, the latter of which suffered most severely, was met by a deadly fire at thirty paces, and it took three efforts to carry the weak defensive position, and then with a loss of 1200 officers and men out of about 2000. To add to the misery of the defeat may be added the absurdity of making the men go into action carrying 125 pounds of heavy marching order weight. It was the first pitched battle of the war, small as it was, and the colonists had won. Its moral value, therefore, far outweighed its other importance, and it was soon followed by the retirement of the British from the town. The district east of the Hudson was never again seriously troubled, while in the meantime Ethan Allen and Benedek Arnold had captured, and still guarded, the road to Canada by way of the Hudson and Lake Champlain.

But the disasters around Boston had stirred the home Government into unwonted activity. In 1776 the army in America was composed of the 4th, 5th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd, 27th, 35th, 38th, 40th, 42nd, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 49th, 52nd, 63rd, 64th, and 71st Foot, with the 16th and 17th Light Dragoons and some battalions of Hessians. Opposed to them was the main Colonial army under Washington, at or about New York. The only plan of campaign, if such it could be called, that Howe formed, was to seize New York, occupy a central position, and support the two wings that, operating from the Canadian lakes for the Upper Hudson on the one hand and from some naval base hereafter to be determined on the southern coast, were to crush between them the widely extended forces of the “Confederacy.” The internal difficulties of co-operation were as bad for his divided wings as for Washington’s extended front; but he had the great advantage of being able to threaten the enormous coast line of the States. Thus the first move in the game was the attack on Long Island; but though Washington was defeated, he was enabled, through the supineness of his adversary, to withdraw his whole force to the mainland. For while Howe thought, reposing in his tent after the battle, that “they are at our mercy to-morrow,” it was not to be; for when that morrow came, “the whole continental force had crossed the East River, and our empire over thirteen colonies had slipped away too.”

Still the British army pressed on, drove the adversary from New York, defeated him again at “White Plains” farther back, where Washington checked Howe’s advance by no stronger entrenchments than those hastily erected with stalks of Indian corn, roots outward, and after some minor action dispersed the American forces, and Washington retired south behind the Delaware. The invader had done little after all. The Americans were not defeated, as the next step proved. For if the Colonists were dispersed by defeat so were also the British “by order” through the Jerseys; and General Howe held his soul in peace at New York.

To await a rude awakening. For, notwithstanding winter snow and ice-clad rivers, on Christmas night 1776, Washington took the offensive. Everyone knows the picture of his “Crossing the Delaware.” How the Continentals were being hardened in! They “left the marks of their march in the bloodstained footsteps of those whose boots barely covered their feet,” but they succeeded. Trenton was taken. A night march, covered by the clever stratagem of leaving fires alight when the main body moved off, and a rearguard to work noisily at trenches, resulted in a battle, after which the 40th, 17th, and 55th British regiments fell back in disorder, and the ultimate result was the abandonment of the Jerseys by the British army. In June 1777, the relative strength of the combatants was 30,000 British troops against 8000 Americans. As Colonel du Portael writes: “Ce n’est pas par la bonne conduite des Americains, que la campagne en général s’est terminée assez heureusement; mais par la faute des Anglais.” This is the key to the whole situation.

The first attempt to reach the nominal capital, Philadelphia, had thus failed. The next was more direct, and was to be assisted by an invasion from Canada. The latter can be dismissed in a few words. General Burgoyne selected so bad a line of march on Saratoga, not far from Albany, on the upper reaches of the Hudson, that he was compelled to surrender there. The fighting had been most severe. At Stillwater and other places, the 9th, 20th, 21st, 62nd (who in this war got their name of “Springers,” from acting as the light infantry, whose order to advance was “Spring up”), the grenadiers, and the light companies of the 35th and 24th behaved with the greatest gallantry, as did the 9th, of which regiment there is an interesting story to tell. With the army its warlike stores should have been surrendered; but the colonel of this regiment, with a feeling that can be comprehended, without actual sympathy, removed the colours from the staves and secreted them. On returning home, they were remounted, and presented to the king, who returned them to the officer, to be retained as an heirloom. Passing through many hands, they finally descended to the Chaplain of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, who presented them to that institution, where, “trooped” by a battalion of the regiment then at Aldershot, they were placed in the college next the pair of colours which were borne by the 9th during Peninsular fights. But those which were carried in America are distinguished from the later ones by the absence of the St. Patrick’s Cross in the “Jack.”

Meanwhile, Howe’s army, concentrated at New York after its retreat from the Jerseys, had put to sea, and, sailing south, had landed in the estuary of the Chesapeake. Washington, from the neighbourhood of the Hudson, moved down to meet him, taking up a position behind the Brandywine, but he was badly beaten by an outflanking attack, and fell back behind Philadelphia to Valley Forge, and the British occupied the capital. The battle proved conclusively that neither the American levies nor their leaders were yet able to cope with regular forces in a pitched battle. The waiting game was better, and the night attack on Germanstown a few weeks later only failed because of the grim tenacity the 40th Regiment showed in the defence of Judge Tew’s house at the entrance of the village. Beyond this, little was done in the winter of 1777, but Howe returned home, and was succeeded by Sir Henry Clinton, who soon withdrew from Philadelphia, and returned with the army to New York, by way of the Jerseys, where a sharp rearguard action was fought at Monmouth Courthouse, and again the Colonists were defeated in their effort to disturb the retreat. Again it was evident that the natural semi-guerilla warfare which they had first adopted was more suitable to their powers than more serious tactics. Throughout, Washington had shown little real military skill, and his tangible success was once more due to his adversary’s faults.

But one great event followed on the surrender of the British at Saratoga and the return of Clinton to New York. France, who had so long openly sympathised with the Colonists as to permit American privateers to sell English prizes in her ports, had formed with the States a commercial treaty, in which they were referred to as being “in full possession of independence,” and finally threw her sword into the scale, a course in which she was not long after followed by Spain.

Speaking generally, the theatre of war from this time forward, useless forays and wanton mischief elsewhere excepted, shifted to the South. Georgia was first reduced to submission. Then the Carolinas were attempted. Charleston was taken, the Southern Provinces occupied, and the usual desultory, haphazard fighting followed, with the customary want of practical results. The need of a connected plan of operation is apparent everywhere. Gates was badly beaten at Camden; and reprisals, that embittered even those who were not seriously disaffected to the royal cause, followed. Mistake after mistake! This, at least, was not the way to cow into submission men largely of English race. It is curious to note also in this part of the campaign that the only generals fighting on the American side who were distinctly of English birth, and had had some military training,--Gates and Lee,--had proved themselves distinct failures.

Cornwallis was next despatched to the South, and fared no better than his predecessors; while Clinton, in command of New York, directed the operations thence with no greater success, having to face now the greater danger of dealing with regular French troops side by side with the levies of the States.

But at this juncture, when the new allies were actually landing, and the beginning of the end had come, General Arnold was given the command of West Point, on the Hudson, the river-line dividing the New England States from the remainder, and to the retention of which Washington attached extraordinary importance. The story of his treason is one of the few bits of romance in the history of this prolonged and unhappy war. He was brave beyond measure, he was reckless and careless, he was vain, ostentatious, and extravagant; but no one dreamed he was a traitor. He had tried to obtain a loan from the French Minister and had failed, and, so doing, turned to the other side, and proposed for money and advancement to surrender West Point and the Highlands, “in such a manner as to contribute every possible advantage to His Majesty’s arms.” His immediate go-between and correspondent was a certain Major André, Adjutant-General of the British Army, and A.D.C. of Sir Henry Clinton. On the very night that Washington met the French officer at Hartford, to arrange the allied plan of campaign, André, dressed in uniform, over which he wore a long greatcoat, landed to confer with Arnold. So prolonged were the treasonable negotiations, that day broke, and retreat became dangerous. Over-persuaded, he changed into plain clothes, concealed in his boots the plans and documents he had procured, and, under a forged pass and a feigned name, attempted to cross the neutral ground, and reach Tarrytown. He was captured and made prisoner, and his captors, refusing a heavy bribe, sent him to North Castle. Meanwhile, Arnold had received information that the plot was known, and embarked on board H.M.S. _Vulture_ under a flag of truce, and completed his treason by surrendering his own boat’s crew as prisoners of war!

André was brought to trial before fourteen general officers, among whom were the Marquis de Lafayette and Baron Stuben, and was by all the customs of war, and “according to the law and usage of nations,” sentenced to be hanged. “His appeal to die by shooting rather than by hanging was refused. As General Greene is reported to have said, to have mitigated the sentence would have been to doubt its justice. So he died the death of a spy, as from his own confession and action he deserved, but he died bravely and calmly, like a gallant gentleman of England.” No such death created more controversy, or raised more hysterical sympathy. The whole business was bad, and André soiled his hands in touching it at all, let alone the fact of his being in plain clothes within the enemy’s lines, which at once placed him without doubt in the position of a spy. His reasons for going there, assumed to be patriotic, were largely personal, for promotion was to reward success; and they have little to do with the matter. However good the reasons, the means were vile; too vile even to justify the end.

Washington was censured severely for his severity at the time, but no one now would blame him. He had his duty to his country to do, and he did it. None the less, André’s bones were eventually moved to Westminster Abbey, and a fulsome tablet records the manner of his death.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, Cornwallis in the Carolinas scored a victory at Guildford Courthouse, where the Guards, the old 71st, and the 23rd and 33rd, defeated an inferior force of militia and what were fast becoming seasoned troops, but the task was too heavy for his strength. “My cavalry,” he sadly writes, “wanted everything, and the infantry everything but shoes.” So he marched, with sundry skirmishes of little value in various places, north-east towards York Town, and Lord Rawdon, who practically commanded the other wing, fell back south-east towards Charleston, with the 3rd, 63rd, and 64th.

While Greene watched and “contained” the latter, Washington and Rochambeau, giving up the long-cherished idea of the defence of the Hudson and the capture of New York, moved into Virginia to assist York Town. When the first parallel of the siege was completed, Washington fired the first shot, and soon after, for the second time in this hapless war, a British general with an army surrendered to the Continental levies, just four years after the defeat of Burgoyne.

The British troops had behaved, be it said, with the greatest gallantry. The 71st, the grenadiers of the old 80th, and especially the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, had done all that men could, and the colours of the last-named regiment were, like those of the 9th at Saratoga, taken home wrapped round the bodies of two officers. Lord Cornwallis himself bears testimony that the Allies behaved with dignity, and that “the treatment in general that we have received from the enemy since our surrender has been perfectly good and proper.” Of the above regiments, the 76th, 71st, and 80th were afterwards disbanded in 1783-84.

Five days later, Clinton’s tardy reinforcements reached the Chesapeake from New York, but it was too late. French assistance, and still more French money, to the exhausted and almost bankrupt Americans had brought peace within measurable distance, and just eight years after the eventful conflict of Lexington, the news of the Peace of Paris was communicated to the army.

Though of little military value, the embers of the struggle for independence still remained alight, and so far flickered into a flame in 1814, as to make it worth while recording the last instance in which British troops fought on American soil. The New Republic had been a bit _tête montée_ after its undoubted success against the mother country. There was unquestionably the feeling arising, first of all, of a natural continuance of sympathy for France, as well as that of having “licked the Britishers, who had licked the world.” The causes of irritation are immaterial, and to some extent childish, but they resulted in hostilities none the less. The war began with some minor affairs in Canada, chiefly between the local militias, as there were few British regular battalions in that country; but there was some severe skirmishing for some time, in which the 8th, 41st, 49th, 89th, the Royal Scots, some local bodies of volunteers, and the 100th and 104th battalions of the line, which were disbanded after the long war, took part. Success generally rested with the Americans, and there were some smart naval actions on the Great Lakes.

But after the temporary conclusion of hostilities on the Continent in 1814, Great Britain was freer to turn her attention to this American squabble. It was scarcely worth while at any time to dignify it by the name of war. So some veteran Peninsular battalions, the 4th, 44th, 85th, 29th, and 62nd, as well as the 21st North British Fusiliers, were sent to reinforce the army in America. The fighting showed much exasperation on both sides, and there is little that is creditable to either of the combatants. An advance on Washington was first made, and after the brilliant affair of Bladensburg, where the Americans made their first serious stand, and were easily beaten, the capital was seized, and the Government stores and buildings burned. All that can be said to the credit of the British is, that “no private property was destroyed.”

The American order of battle by this time was quite European. It formed in two lines, and a reserve with cavalry on the flank, and guns more or less dispersed, while the front was covered by “strong bodies of riflemen” in skirmishing order.[27]

A further effort against Baltimore was equally ineffective, and Ross “of Bladensburg” fell. Finally, the army, reinforced by the 7th and 43rd, the 93rd and 95th, and two West Indian regiments, attempted the capture of New Orleans, and, to all intents and purposes, failed.

The whole war is regrettable from every point of view. The operations on the part of the British so far lacked method and cohesion, as to class them rather as filibustering expeditions than serious war. The conduct of the Americans throughout offers no redeeming point, as they fired on a flag of truce, and caused retaliatory measures because of their unwarrantable action in the early operations in Canada. The peace that was signed in 1815 was a relief to both sides; but it left a bad feeling behind which time has failed entirely to eradicate. In the War of Independence, as in this struggle, and to some extent in the Civil War of 1864, we have always most unfortunately been opposed to our own kith and kin. Be the faults what they may, they can scarcely be deemed entirely one-sided. But the evil legacy of armed opposition has a grim tendency to live on, whether it be with a successful or a defeated antagonist.

One curious old custom arose out of the fighting of this time, with one regiment of the line, the 29th. Tradition is doubtful as to the precise time and place, the when and where the custom originated. Long before 1792, and up to about 1855, the officers were always accustomed to wear their swords at mess, and thus got the name of the “Ever-sworded Twenty-ninth.” The custom is referred to in the old standing orders, and is believed to have arisen from a detachment of the regiment having been surprised by Indians at St. John’s, and massacred, the deed being prompted by the French inhabitants from a feeling of revenge. Even now the captain and subaltern of the day appear with their swords at dinner, and in an officer’s diary of 1792 it appears that, on one occasion, “One of our very best men, weighing twenty stone, found it so inconvenient that he was allowed to dine without his sword, provided it hung up immediately behind him.”

The tactical changes that had occurred up to 1793 were not numerous, at least as far as Europe was concerned. The number of ranks was reduced to three, and the battle formations were becoming more linear and less heavily columnar. Minden, again, had shown again what resolute infantry could do, and in that battle the effort to bring about a mutual co-operation of the three arms to a common end is increasingly apparent.

But America had taught much. It is, perhaps, not too much to say that the campaigns there had turned men’s minds in the direction of the fighting of the future, the value of independent fire action, and--a century before it was seriously organised--the value of mounted infantry. Bunker’s Hill, and even Lexington, had borne grave testimony to the value of fire action. Tarleton, in Carolina, with his mounted troops from the old 63rd Regiment of the line, had proved conclusively the value of a mobile infantry. It took long, doubtless, for these ideas to bear fruit, but they did so in due course. The originally mounted infantry man--the dragoon--had ceased to be. He had become part of the cavalry of the time. He was to be revived, but not for another hundred years, to do his original duty, that of a mounted man fighting on foot, and then under another name.

Much besides had happened militarily in this period of the army’s story besides the campaigns already referred to. The “Horse Guards” as Army Headquarters had been so created in 1751. Light troops had been added in 1755 to the dragoons, some of which were eventually to come on the establishment, when amalgamated, as light cavalry regiments; and about the same time second battalions were added to existing regiments, and of these, fifteen, numbering from the 61st to the 75th, commenced later on an independent existence. Many of these had been raised for a campaign, disbanded, and re-formed more than once. Thus the 73rd, formed as a second battalion to the 42nd after the disaster of Ticonderoga, took that number in 1786, but it had been held successively by a second battalion of the 34th, then by the 116th and the present 71st. These sudden alterations of strength in the Army List produced evils and suffering in every way. It was stated in 1763, after the reduction, that there were upwards of 500 ex-officers in gaol for debt, because of want of employment. Most of the regiments, both old and new, had flank companies of light infantry and grenadiers, which were detached to form, for the time, separate battalions during a campaign; and the former were the precursors of the light infantry battalions of later years. The old force of Marines was disbanded in 1748, to reappear seven years later as a more purely naval force under the Admiralty, instead of being an army force, borne on the military establishment, and lent, more or less, to the navy. The Royal Artillery, first organised in a small way by Marlborough, had become an independent body as far back as 1715, but it was not till 1743 it appeared on the estimates, nor until 1751 that officers were commissioned. Similarly with the Royal Engineers. At first practically civilians, military rank was not given them until 1757. The army was growing up into a more complete machine.

[Illustration: _Fire Arms._

_Arquebus (Match Lock) 1537._

_Firelock (Wheel Lock) 1620._

_Musket (Brown Bess) 1800._

_Magazine B.L. (Lee-Metford) 1896._



_Modern Bayonet._]

There had been slight changes in the detail and colour of regimental uniforms, but of no great moment. A black line or “worm” was added as a border to the gold lace of the regiments that fought at Quebec, a privilege asserted to be granted only when the commander-in-chief of an army is killed in battle. But its true origin seems a mystery, for the old 13th Foot is said to have been granted it after Culloden.

A curious system of regimental medals for merit depending on the length of good and faithful service was introduced in 1767 by the 5th Foot. Arms had changed but little, and the preparation of ammunition was sufficiently primitive. Sergeants and corporals were directed to “carry a mould to cast bullets, and a ladle to melt lead in, with three spare powder horns and twelve bags for ball.” Meanwhile, too, the militia had been more fully recognised as a second line for home defence; and about 1757 a practical conscription by ballot for this force was proposed, and after much opposition carried in Parliament. During training they were to be under the Mutiny Act and Articles of War. These latter, drafted originally on the general’s own responsibility when conducting a campaign, had been still reluctantly recognised by Parliament, and in 1754 had been extended, with even greater reluctance, to the East Indies and America. The old feeling of dread of independent governance by officers was still alive, though beneath the surface of things. As late as 1770, Beckford, Lord Mayor of London, remonstrated with the Secretary of State for War because a detachment returning from Spitalfields had marched past the Mansion House with drums beating, “making a very warlike appearance, and raising in the minds of peaceful citizens the idea of a town garrisoned with regular troops.” It is curious to watch, in the army’s growth, how persistently the civil mind was antagonistic to the force that had carried its name, its reputation, and, soon, its trade to success and esteem. Yet Lord Bavington had to accept the remonstrance, and assure the civic chief that such should not occur again without his approval and approbation.

Only the 3rd Buffs, the Royal Marines, the Royal London Militia, and the 3rd Grenadier Guards, because of their asserted origin from London trained bands, can claim as a right the privilege of marching through the city of London with fixed bayonets and colours flying.

The army meanwhile had been largely increased and as frequently reduced. Many existing regiments have more than once borne other numbers than those they at present possess, owing to these changes. Thus in 1760 there were 100,000 armed men serving the State. Of these, to give an idea of the distribution of regiments in those days, there were in Great Britain 3 regiments of cavalry and 2 of infantry. In Ireland, 3 of cavalry and 17 of infantry; in Gibraltar, 6 battalions; in America and the West Indies 26 regiments of foot; in India 4; in Africa 2, and in Jersey 1; while in Germany were 4 cavalry regiments and 16 infantry battalions.

[Illustration: _Private 14^{th} Reg^{t} 1792_]

But despite all these changes the army had grown steadily. There were practically now in the Army List, putting aside the Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry, 77 battalions of the line, 7 regiments of Dragoon Guards, and 17 other cavalry regiments which have survived until the present day. The last three of the latter had been raised in 1759, and the 17th, then commanded by Colonel Hale, who had been present at Quebec, got the authority for the new regiment to carry on their standards the Death’s Head, with the motto “Or glory,” whence comes their sobriquet of the “Death or Glory Boys.” So the 15th, at first light dragoons, had a curious origin, for present at the town where the regiment was being raised were a large number of clothiers and tailors who had come to present a petition. This they, however, abandoned, to join the ranks of the new regiment; but if tailors, they were still men, and performed prodigies of valour; so Granby said at Emsdorff in 1760.

The Dragoon Guards had originally been regiments of cavalry, or horse, armed like the Household cavalry, and receiving a higher rate of pay than the mere dragoon, who, essentially a mounted infantry soldier, and armed at first with an infantry weapon, did not provide his own horse. This, at first, the men in the regiments of “horse,” who were often the sons of substantial farmers and small landowners, did. When, however, the armament, equipment, and duties of both dragoon and horse were the same, and when the mounts for both were provided by the State, and the only difference was the rate of pay, amalgamation was inevitable. Hence, in 1746, three of the seven regiments of horse then existing, and in 1788 the remaining four were converted into Dragoon Guards, to distinguish them from the mere dragoon, and the same rate of pay was given to both branches.

But two marked changes had been made in regimental designations. Up to 1751 they had borne the name of their successive colonels, a method both confusing in itself and lacking in that continuity of regimental history which a number or a title bestows. In that year, numbers were given to regiments of the line, and the seniority fixed by the date on which they came on the English Establishment. Uniformity of uniform was also settled, and facings directed to be worn. Finally, in 1787, county titles were bestowed on regiments, the forerunner of the “territorial system” that obtains now.



The history of the army in early days, and, in fact, up to the termination of the long war with France, was intimately associated with naval operations. This naturally arose from our insular situation; and though at first English armies were largely employed in Continental war only, the time came when it was evident that blows of greater weight and greater political consequence could be aimed at an enemy’s colonial empire than even in great Continental battles, which were invariably fought with the assistance of allies. There was little but barren honour to be got by such land campaigns; but the naval operations were not only valuable as lessening an enemy’s prestige, but also gave tangible rewards and results in prize-money for the men and territory for the State. In no other way, in fact, could Great Britain’s supremacy at sea be used with greater effect; and hence it is that in the battle-roll of many an English regiment are names of victories which are practically semi-naval affairs. In fact, the army has in its time been largely employed as marines, doing their twofold duty of in some cases acting as the ship’s guard, and at others that of a force to be landed for active service and re-embarked when their work was done. Hence, regiments, though on the strength of the army, were often lent to the navy for such duty. Thus in 1664 was raised the “Admiral’s Regiment,” for service in the Dutch war, and was really the “_Old_ Buffs,” as this was the colour of their facings. Said to be raised from the London trained bands, which at that time must have formed a very good recruiting ground of drilled men, they in all numbered nearly 10,000 men, each ward furnishing a certain fixed proportion. But these early naval soldiers were practically regarded as a mere nursery for the navy, and when they had qualified as “foremast men,” they were drafted as seamen, and fresh levy-money granted for recruits to take their place. On the cessation of the Dutch wars, the regiment was disbanded, to reappear in 1684 again as an “Admiral’s Regiment,” but with the imposing title of “H.R.H. the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot.” This was eventually incorporated with the Coldstream Guards, the Holland Regiment, formed about the same time, which had also sent some of its companies on naval duty, taking its place on the list, and numbering eventually the 3rd Regiment of the line, or “Old Buffs.” The second title was given from the colour of the facings and _linings_ of their coats, and to it was added the term “old” to distinguish them from the “Young Buffs,” the 31st, which wore the same colour. Several other marine regiments were also raised, but they successively disappeared or were incorporated with other regiments. Naval operations themselves were also becoming more extended, and large fleets, rather than a few isolated ships, were beginning to push out, from the narrow offensive-defensive actions in and about the Channel, to wider seas and with greater aims. All this necessitated, if any impression was to be produced on the actual coastal people and defences of an enemy, the employment of soldiers. Not that the effect of local naval victories was less important in the past any more than in the future. The naval battle of La Hogue was, in a way, as effectual in checking invasion as was Trafalgar later. The very extension of the naval war of 1694 to the Mediterranean gave an opening for one of these maritime operations, of which the naval and military annals were for more than a century to be full. The action of the army as an irritant to the general body politic of the hostile state with which we were at war was to be evidenced. Thus, in 1694, the absence of the French fleet in the Mediterranean led to an effort to damage the French arsenal at Brest, for which purpose a landing was attempted in Camaret Bay, when twelve regiments of the line and two of marines embarked under Talmash. Churchill was currently believed to be the cause of the disaster which followed; for he is stated to have communicated the intended surprise to King James in France, so that when the expedition reached its destination, it was most vigorously opposed, and the general with 700 men fell.

But in 1702, while six regiments were specially raised for sea service, of which only three, the 30th, 31st, and 32nd, now remain, six other battalions were lent from the regular army for naval duty. These were the 6th, 19th, 20th, 34th, 35th, and 36th; and they returned to land service in 1713, when the other three of the six marine battalions were disbanded.

Again, in 1739 and 1749, ten other marine regiments were formed; but these again were, according to the prevailing custom, done away with when, in 1748, war for a time ceased. But these newer levies were becoming more like true marines. They were to be quartered near the Government dockyards. They were to assist in the fitting out of ships as well as helping to man them. Other independent companies of a similar character were also formed in America and the West Indies, and many of these became absorbed in the ranks of the land forces; but so close was the union between the sea and land regiments then, that exchanges between the officers of both were permitted.

Up to this time, the sea service regiments had done good work. In 1702 eleven regiments of the line, of which the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 32nd still remain, with a battalion of Guards and some Dutch regiments, were despatched to the Spanish coast. An attack was first made at Rota, in the bay of Cadiz, which was captured, but abandoned; and then the squadron moved to Vigo Bay, where the Spanish galleons, laden with treasure and convoyed by a French fleet, had taken refuge. The entrance was difficult and guarded with batteries, and with a boom “made up of masts, yards, cables, top chains, and casks, about three yards in circumference, but this, though three-quarters of a mile long, and guarded at the ends by seventy-four-gun men-of-war, was broken by the _Torbay_ of eighty guns, the other ships following, while the troops landed, stormed, and silenced the shore batteries at the Rhondella, and this with little loss. The booty amounted to 20,000,000 pieces of eight, and an equally valuable amount of merchandise, of which 14,000,000 pieces were saved, and about £50,000,000 worth of stores; while 4,000,000 pieces of plate and ten of merchandise were lost.”[28]

But the most noteworthy event of these times was the capture and retention in 1704 of Gibraltar, in which the 30th, 31st, and 32nd Regiments, serving as marines at first in Sir Cloudesley Shovel’s fleet, bore a gallant part. This is the early history of one of our proudest possessions, even if it be not as valuable strategically now as it was when the century was young.

Whoever the primæval inhabitants of “the Rock” may have been, and their skulls and bones found in the stalagmitic limestone of the caves show they were of no high class but merely cave-dwellers, they were followed, somewhere about the eighth century, by the Moors. This curious wave of invasion from the East seems to have simply skirted the northern parts of Africa, until it reached what is now Algeria. It never penetrated far south, and yet it represents one of the few traces of civilisation in the dark continent. Most curious of all is it that African aborigines have done so little for themselves. All the civilising waves have been immigrant, from those who built the dead cities of Mashonaland to the men who have made Buluwayo. Such civilisation as North Africa possesses has been wholly of foreign origin. The negro race has done nothing worth mentioning, and it may well be believed, after the experience of Liberia, never will. So that the Arab invasion sought for other outlets for its expansion than the warmer clime of Mid or Central Africa. Reaching Algiers, Tarik the Conqueror passed across the straits to the peninsula of Gibraltar, and built there, somewhere about 725, a castle of which the existing Moorish tower may be a relic. It remained in Mohammedan hands for seven hundred and forty-eight years, and then, captured by the Spaniards, was remodelled, the “Gebel al Tarik” becoming Christian “Gibraltar.” Its present arms, a castle with a key pendent at the gate, granted by Henry IV. of Castile, refer to its condition as a fortress once the key to the Mediterranean, but now, with the improvements in the range and size of modern guns, of less value than heretofore.

In 1704 the place was but feebly garrisoned, and fell mainly owing to the silencing of the batteries by the squadron and their occupation then by seamen landed from the ships. The troops, under the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt, meanwhile occupied the isthmus until the fortress surrendered. So important a capture was not likely to be agreed to without a further struggle, and in 1705 the Marquis de Villadarius was despatched to formally besiege it. The garrison, however, had been reinforced by the 13th and 35th Regiments, a battalion of Guards, and some Dutch troops, and though several gallant efforts were made to carry the place by assault they successively failed, and after seven months the siege was abandoned and converted into a partial blockade. It had cost the Spaniards and French some 10,000 men, but the garrison lost only some 400.

For more than twenty years the British flag flew unmolested from the “Rock.” But, in 1727, Spain made a more determined attempt to regain her lost possession. The strength of the fortress had been increased since the previous siege, but the armament was indifferent, many of the guns being so honeycombed as to be liable to burst on the first fire, and at least a hundred of them were so destroyed during the coming siege. But the command of the sea, and the presence of Hopson’s powerful fleet, prevented stores reaching the Spanish army save by land, and reinforcements, composed of the Edinburgh Regiment, the 35th, some Engineer and Artillery officers and men, as well as, later on, another line battalion and one of the Guards, were despatched to the aid of the beleaguered fortress. So again, after a tedious four months, during which time about 3000 of the enemy and 300 of the garrison had fallen, a suspension of hostilities was agreed to, and followed by a treaty of peace.

But the last and most sustained attack upon the place was made during the years 1781-83. Great Britain had been somewhat occupied, since 1775 and before, with warlike operations on the American Continent, and needed much of her naval strength to cope with French fleets and American corsairs, let alone to protect in addition her home waters. The entry of Spain into the arena intensified her difficulties; and, as might be expected, the great dream of the new enemy was to seize the opportunity of England’s difficulty and repossess herself of the key to the Straits. There was a strong French fleet cruising off Cape Finisterre in 1779, and a Spanish one in Cadiz Bay, either of which could spare a sufficiently powerful blockading squadron without risk.

So that, by the middle of August 1779, the place was closely invested by a Spanish army at San Roque, and a fleet of four ships, five xebecs, and numerous “row-galleys” in the bay; and preparations were made for the capture of Gibraltar by a formal siege, trenches, parallels, and siege batteries being carefully and laboriously constructed.

The fortress was commanded by that gallant “Cock of the Rock,” George Augustus Elliot. His garrison consisted of the 12th, 39th, 56th, and 58th Regiments, the old 72nd, or Royal Manchester Volunteers, disbanded in 1783, three Hanoverian regiments, and a company of Engineers. The strength of the place had been greatly increased, especially on the side facing the isthmus and Spain. Powerful batteries had been erected there, and galleries with portholes for guns had been hewn out of the solid rock. It was deemed impregnable in those days. It was thought that “No power whatever can take that place, unless a plague, pestilence, or famine, or the want of ordnance, musketry, and ammunition, or some unforeseen stroke of Providence should happen.” Throughout 1779 the place was simply blockaded, and there was little firing on either side. But provisions ran short. General Elliot himself tested practically that it was just possible to exist on four ounces of rice a day! The arrival of Sir George Rodney’s fleet early in 1780, after the destruction of a Spanish squadron off Cape St. Vincent, was therefore joyfully welcomed. It reprovisioned the fortress, removed the women, children, and invalids, and strengthened the garrison by a strong battalion of Highlanders, then numbered the 73rd, but now the 71st Highland Light Infantry. But by March 1781 the stores again began to fail, and soldiers were directed to economise flour and go with unpowdered hair; and a cargo of potatoes “run” by a polacca fetched £7, 10s. 6d. a hundred-weight.

The Spanish batteries, being complete and fully armed, opened a tremendous fire. Far from discouraging the garrison, they replied to it vigorously, though inferior in number of guns, and, more than that, executed a most brilliant sortie, storming the siege works and trenches, and setting fire to all the combustible material, doing damage, it was said, to the tune of £2,000,000, and that with a loss of but four killed and twenty-five wounded.

In second line to the 12th, 39th, 72nd, 73rd, etc., who led the assault, were the 39th and 58th Regiments, commanded by General Picton, the uncle of the Peninsular hero. Finally, the continuous bombardment, broken only by the diversion effected by a British squadron conveying the 25th and 39th Regiments, culminated, on the 13th September 1782, in a desperate attack both by sea and land. Specially constructed floating batteries, the sides of which were formed of timber with wet sand between, took part in the bombardment, when some 400 guns were hurling their projectiles into Gibraltar. But it was of no avail: the vessels were disabled and many burned. From the eighty cannon, with some mortars and howitzers, which formed the artillery of the defence, more than 8000 rounds were sent in reply, and quite one-half of them were red-hot shot.

So the attempt failed, and though the fire was steadily continued, the attack was practically exhausted; and the preliminaries of peace, signed in February 1783, were welcomed by all. The famous siege had lasted three years, seven months, and twelve days. The loss suffered by the garrison amounted to 1231 men, and 205,328 shot were fired during that time.

But other regiments embarked for local or special service were also meanwhile earning naval honours for the army. The 6th Regiment showed conspicuous gallantry in the attack on Fort Monjuich at Barcelona. The 6th, 9th, 11th, 17th, 33rd, and 36th Regiments also served at Almanza in 1707, and the 6th also at Saragossa; while nothing can exceed the gallantry of the defence of the Castle of Alicante by a regiment now disbanded, when the officers refused to surrender, and drank the health of good Queen Anne in a bastion over the mine that a few minutes later blew the castle nearly in pieces!

Again, in the melancholy expedition to the Spanish Main in 1740-41, the 6th, 15th, 16th, and 36th Regiments served; and the 6th, especially, suffered so terribly from fever at Jamaica in 1742 that when it returned home it had, from this and other causes, only eighteen men left of the eight hundred who sailed from England. The expedition, including the abortive attacks on Cuba and Carthagena, was throughout conducted in such a way as to be fruitless of result, and is noteworthy as a rare event in such expeditions, for the want of cordial co-operation between the naval and military commanders.

In 1746 the Royal Scots, 15th, 28th, 30th, 39th, and 42nd were embarked under General Sinclair to destroy Port L’Orient, but beyond a feeble bombardment little was done, and the army re-embarked to make a similar abortive attempt at Quiberon Bay. Similarly, the 30th fought in the naval action of Finisterre as marines (in addition of course to those troops that had been definitely enlisted for sea service), and received the thanks of the Admiral for their general behaviour. At that time the proportion of marines embarked in vessels of war was one man per gun; a fifty-gun frigate carrying therefore fifty men.

At the outbreak of hostilities in 1739-40, six regiments had been raised for sea service, and two years later four were added (numbering from the 44th to the 53rd inclusive though still bearing the names of their colonels); but all these ten regiments were disbanded in 1740, and with them the principle of lending line battalions to the fleet, except in 1741, practically ceased. For in 1755 fifty companies of true Marines were raised, who were to be placed on the strength of the navy and put under the definite command of the naval authorities. At this time the army had been reduced to forty-nine line battalions, so the newly raised Marine corps took rank after that regiment when serving with the land forces, and the 52nd Foot, raised in 1755, became the 50th two years later. It is curious to note here, again, how frequently the number had changed. The first “Fiftieth” was “Shirley’s American Provincials” formed in 1745, which received its number in 1754 and was disbanded in 1757.

From this time forward, then, the land forces were only on occasional emergencies lent to naval squadrons for sea duty. That was to be carried out by the newly formed Marine companies, which, since their reorganisation in 1755, have continued as a military force paid by the navy, and not as a body lent when the occasion arose to the army. Thus its duties are twofold, as in one respect its superiors are. When borne on the books of a vessel of war, the Royal Marine is under the Naval Discipline Act, and subject to the supreme authority of the Admiral commanding the fleet. On shore he is liable to the provisions of the Army Act, and owes allegiance to the officer commanding the garrison in which he happens to be stationed. Employed, therefore, ashore as well as afloat, the history of the Royal Marines is that of both the army and the navy. Between their employment at Cork in 1690 and the cessation of the long war in 1815, the services of marine soldiers are mentioned in 369 naval actions and 169 coast operations and campaigns. This does not include numerous small “affairs” in which lives were lost. Between 1827 and the present date, again, there are more than thirty battles and campaigns in which they have taken part, and this list does not enter into details. So wide a story as theirs is that of the army itself almost, and extends far beyond the limits of these pages. But, briefly summarising the history, it may be said that the first fifty companies of a hundred men each were first formed into three divisions at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, and to that, later, was added one at Woolwich, which was disestablished, the depôt at Walmer taking its place. Its badge, “the Globe,” with the motto, “_Per mare, per terram_,” were granted in 1760, “for special service during the war”; the title “Royal,” when the facings were changed from white to blue, was granted in 1802, “for its many and varied services”; and in 1827 George IV. added the laurel wreath to the globe, as well as “Gibraltar” and the royal cipher, to mark its gallantry in the defence of the fortress and “as the most appropriate emblem of a corps whose duties carried them to all parts of the globe, in every quarter of which they had earned laurels by their valour and good conduct.” The designation “Light Infantry” was bestowed after 1855.

To the light infantry companies were added, in 1804, artillery companies, which were formed into a distinct body, “the Royal Marine Artillery,” in 1860.

Some of the Marine regimental records are interesting as showing the inner life of the sea, or even land, soldier a hundred years ago. In the tailor’s shop in 1755, for example, the idea of an eight hours’ working day was evidently not a burning question; for the men worked from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., with _one_ hour only for meals. Again, punishments were severe, as the sentences passed on three deserters in 1766 shows; for while one was shot, the other two were to receive a thousand and five hundred lashes respectively. In 1755 two “private men absent from exercise” were “to be tyed neck and heels on the Hoe half an hour”; while thirteen years later, a sergeant, for taking “coals and two poles” from the dockyard, was sentenced to five hundred lashes, and to be “drummed out with a halter round his neck,” after, of course, being reduced to the ranks.

None the less, these were the men who fought the battles of the crown in the eighteenth century; and perhaps of all their exploits, that of the “Diamond Rock,” in 1804, is best worth noting. The rock lies near Cape Diamond, and is described by Davenant as “a rough-looking place, with little that was inviting about it--a great firm rock, the highest point of which might be something over 500 feet above the level of the sea, the circumference of it less than a mile, and in its shape not at all unlike a haystack. On the west side there were bold, rugged cliffs, precipitous, sheer up and down walls, seeming as though they would defy all approach to them; and the roar of the surf beating against the base of them was distinctly audible at the distance of a mile. Yet here was the only place where a landing could be effected. The other three sides of the Diamond Rock were simply inaccessible, presenting a perpendicular face from within a few feet of the summit. On the whole, it looked uncommonly like a _noli me tangere_ sort of place, reminding me of Lundy Island in the British Channel, where, as old Holinshed quaintly says, ‘there is no entrance but for friends single and able.’” Its position was such that vessels passing between it and the shore in those days of sailing ships were often able to escape pursuit; so, to prevent this, the rock was garrisoned by Lieutenant Maurice and a hundred and twenty marines and seamen, who for five months garrisoned the place, and which, during that time, appeared in the estimates as “His Majesty’s sloop of war, Diamond Rock”! So much trouble did the garrison give the French, that a squadron of five ships was despatched to capture it, but all attempts failed, until want of ammunition and provisions led to its exhaustion. Even when compelled to capitulate, however, the small detachment made such terms that the British flag was not to be hauled down until the garrison had reached the ships, the men were to be permitted to wear their side arms, and were to be sent under a flag of truce to Barbadoes.

A more extraordinary instance of coolness and bravery is not to be found in any page of our national history; and the Marine service has always been popular, for what was stated in 1775 is equally true now, that “the Marines recruited better in every part of the island [of Great Britain] than the line.” But, putting aside the operations undertaken solely by the marine, the soldier acting temporarily as such, or the bluejacket, there were many others in which the army shared, though they do not form part of a connected series of battles such as characterise more serious campaigns. They partake rather of the nature of naval raids for the specific annoyance of the enemy, or attempts at the actual capture of his outlying possessions. They are individually interesting in many ways, but it would be impossible to do more than tabulate them more or less in order of occurrence, emphasising only the share the army took in them. Practically ships of war either conveyed the soldiers as transports for the required duty, or themselves formed the escort and guard of the convoy of transports which accompanied the battleships, and for the time being formed part of the armada.

Thus, when the Seven Years’ War broke out, the attention of the French was directed towards Minorca, which, captured in 1708 by Stanhope, was regarded as only second in importance to Gibraltar for a naval power having interests in the Mediterranean. Its capture was the first appearance of England as a naval power possessing a naval base in that closed sea. It was garrisoned by the 4th, 23rd, 24th, and 34th Regiments; and, unrelieved by Admiral Byng’s fleet, on whose co-operation alone was it possible for the defender to hold out, its commandant, Blakeney, was compelled to surrender in 1755, though the troops behaved with such gallantry after the terrible bombardment, with numerical odds against them of some 20,000 to 3000, that they were allowed to march out with drums beating and colours flying, with all the honours of war. The siege had lasted from May to July. It is a noteworthy instance of the absolute importance of a most full and cordial co-operation between the naval and military commanders in cases such as these, when the army, cut from its home base, is dependent on the navy for its line of communications. In the future, without full command of the sea, isolated posts and coaling stations will be always at the mercy of bold and skilful raids, unless powerfully armed and sufficiently garrisoned.

Minorca was restored to the British flag in 1763, and eighteen years later had to undergo a second siege by the French under Crillon, when, at the end, the governor, out of 660, had 560 on the sick list against 14,000 besiegers, and for the second time the fortress capitulated. It was taken for the third and last time by General Stuart (with the 8th and 42nd) in 1798, of whom it was said that no man could “manage Frenchmen like him, and the British will go to h--ll for him.” Little resistance was made, and the number of the prisoners exceeded that of the invaders. It was ceded finally to Spain in 1802.

In 1758 a force was despatched to destroy the shipping at St. Malo, and to capture Cherbourg, both of which affairs were successfully conducted, the docks being blown up, and the brass cannon captured taken in triumph through the streets of London; but success in these somewhat pitiful operations was to receive a rude check, for a third landing in the bay of St. Cas was conducted with such contempt for all military precautions, that the force, on re-embarking, was heavily beaten by the French, and while many boats were sunk by the fire of artillery, some forty-six officers and eight hundred men were left prisoners in the hands of the enemy.

In 1759 the first serious attempts at extending our power over the West Indies began; as did the first serious effort for the conquest of Canada, the main action in which was the gallant capture of Quebec. An expedition, in which the 3rd, 4th, 61st, 63rd, 64th, 65th, some marines, and a second battalion of the 42nd, raised readily and rapidly to avenge the loss of the first battalion at Ticonderoga the previous year, took part, was therefore despatched under General Hopson, and though they failed at Martinique, they succeeded, after much toil and privation for three months, during which the climate was a more deadly foe than the French, at Guadaloupe. Similarly, two years later, while one force was sent to harass the French coast and destroy the harbours of refuge for French privateers, and suchlike, on the island of Belleisle in the Bay of Biscay, a success in which the 3rd, 9th, 19th, 21st, 25th, 37th, 61st, etc., Regiments shared, and where Private Samuel Johnson, though severely wounded, distinguished himself by killing six men in the defence of his wounded officer; another army composed of the 1st, 17th, and 22nd Foot completed the capture of the Caribbean Sea Colonies by the occupation of Dominica, Martinique, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia. When Spain, too, joined the enemies of Great Britain in 1762, and it was found impracticable to land an army on the Continent, it was none the less clearly evident that decisive blows could be struck against her in other parts of the world.

In the far East was Manila, which since 1564 had been her undisturbed possession. But the old 79th from Madras, with some other troops, marines and sailors, gave a “good account of it,” and 9 colours and 536 guns were taken with the fortress, though “the front we were obliged to attack was defended by the bastions of St. Diego and St. Andrew, with orillons and retired flanks, a ravelin which covered the royal gate, a wet ditch, covered way, and glacis,” and the attacking force was totally inadequate to attempt the full investment of the place.

But this was not the only material gain. A still more important expedition was despatched to the West Indies to take Havannah. The troops embarked were the 1st, 9th, 22nd, 34th, 40th, 42nd, 56th, 72nd, 90th, and others, and there, after much hard fighting and considerable hardships, during which at one time over 5000 men were on the sick list, effected the storm of the Moro Castle and the place. Great indeed was the prize. Nine sail of the line were taken in the harbour, 361 guns on the fortifications, and treasure valued at nearly £3,000,000 sterling. The Commander-in-chief’s share amounted to £122,697, but poor “Thomas Atkins,” who had borne even more the burden and heat of the day, got but £4 odd!

Still these two great captures were the most important effected during the whole war, and the combined army and navy had, both in the East and West, as fully “singed the King of Spain’s beard” as did Drake some two hundred years before.

So again (and it is curious to see how little was known beforehand in those days of an enemy’s probable movements), the French fitted out a squadron at Brest and recaptured Newfoundland; but they only held it for a short time, as the fleet sailed away, as Byng’s did, without supporting the troops on shore, and the 45th and 77th re-took and garrisoned St. John’s.

For nearly twenty years there is little to record as regards these isolated affairs; but in 1779 the French took St. Vincent, Granada, the small garrison of the latter place having been surprised in the dark by some of the Irish Brigade, who, “by speaking the same language, were admitted into the entrenchments as friends,” and “immediately overpowered our troops by numbers;”[29] and in the naval actions that accompanied the closing scenes of the American War of Independence, the 4th and 46th again served as marines in Admiral Byron’s squadron, as did, in 1780, some of the 5th in Rodney’s fleet.

One romantic story of the army of this time found its conclusion at Gibraltar. Many years before, a certain Maria Knowles, a tall, handsome Cheshire girl, fell in love at Warrington Market with a certain Sergeant Cliff of the Guards, who was on recruiting duty. When he returned to his regiment, the girl ran away and enlisted in the same regiment as the man she loved, but who does not appear up to that time to have reciprocated her passion. She accompanied a draft to Holland, fought in several engagements in Flanders, and, on being desperately wounded at Dunkirk, the secret of her sex was discovered. On recovering, she was induced to divulge the reasons for her action, and the officers provided them with a handsome subscription, and the chaplain of the 66th married them. Later on, he was promoted adjutant of the 66th, and died at Gibraltar, whence his widow, with one son, returned to England in 1798.

The outbreak of the French Revolution, and the beginning of the long war with France, led to a resumption of these combined operations. Thus, in 1794, Paoli, a Corsican patriot, determined on throwing off the French yoke, and for this purpose invited England’s co-operation. Curiously enough, against him fought a young artillery officer, one Napoleon Bonaparte. The force was composed of the 1st, 11th, 18th, 25th, 30th, 50th, 51st, and 69th Regiments, and the 12th Light Dragoon Regiment, under Colonel, afterwards Sir John, Moore; and it seems strange to read now that when resistance ceased, a “Te Deum” was sung in the Cathedral of Bastia, and prayers were read for “George III., King of Great Britain and Corsica”! Some of the 12th were employed at Civita Vecchia, and so good was their conduct that the Pope Pius VI. presented each of the twelve officers with a gold medal. In due course Corsica was resigned to native hands, without any attempt or desire on the part of Great Britain to retain it. In these years, too, Tobago, St. Pierre, and Miquelon were captured; and the 13th, with some of the 49th, assisted at the capture of St. Domingo. Martinique was also taken, and the 1st and 3rd Regiments shared in the operation. Cape St. Vincent, on the 14th February 1797, saw not only the brilliant victory of Admiral Jervis over the Spanish fleet, but the gallant boarding of the _San Nicolas_ by the seamen and some of the 69th, who acted as marines under Lieutenant Charles Pierson. For while the officer commanding dropped on to the deck of the enemy’s ship from the spritsail yard, a private of the 69th dashed in the window of the quarter gallery from the fore chain of the _Captain_, and led the boarding column.

The year following a brilliant dash was made with the object of damaging Ostend, and, like many others of these harassing and essentially useless debarkations, it did much damage; but, failing to be able to re-embark, the assailants were compelled to surrender. The force was but 1200 strong all told, with 6 guns, and was made up of detachments of the Guards, 11th, 23rd, and 49th Foot, and a few men of the 17th Light Dragoons under General Coote.

Similarly useless and disastrous was the abortive passage of the Dardanelles in 1807, which was followed by a feeble descent on Egypt, in pursuance of the idea, this time, of harassing the Turk. But the army was too weak to effect any real annoyance, and the 35th, 78th, and 31st sacrificed useless lives at Rosetta and El Hamet, the detachment of the 78th being surrounded and losing 260 men out of 275. Several of the men became leaders in the Turkish army, and one Scottish drummer boy was until recently still living, the last survivor of General Fraser’s small command.

But there were two incidents in these times that are worth recording, those of the first attempts against South America at Buenos Ayres and Monte Video, and the successive operations that led to the conversion of the Cape of Good Hope into an English colony. Beginning with the latter, it will be remembered that it was first taken possession of in 1795, with the consent of the Prince of Orange, but contrary to the desire, apparently, of the colonists, who resisted the attempt to occupy a position at Simon’s Bay held by the 78th and some marines; but when reinforced by the 84th, 95th, and 98th Regiments, an advance was made on Wynberg, where, after a slight skirmish, the inhabitants surrendered. In the same year a number of other small Dutch possessions, including Colombo, fell into English hands. The Cape was resigned in 1801 by the treaty of Amiens; but the alliance between the French and Dutch led to the assembling of an expedition for its recapture, in which a Highland brigade, the 71st, 72nd, and 93rd Regiments, a brigade composed of the 24th, 38th, 59th, and 83rd Regiments, with the 20th Light Dragoons, and one field battery with two howitzers, took part. The resistance was most feeble, and the enemy, though armed with nineteen cannon, barely awaited the attack of even the Highland brigade.

A number of the natives there were later formed into a regiment by Colonel Graham, and these were the forerunners of the Cape Mounted Rifles, a force which has done good service in Kaffir wars since. In connection with this conquest, so important in the expansion of our Eastern Empire, may also be recorded the capture, in 1810, of Mauritius from France, and Java from the Dutch, in which the 12th, 19th, 22nd, 65th, 84th, and 89th, under Abercrombie, and the 14th, 59th, 69th, 78th, and 89th, under Auchmuty, took an active part. Their capture freed those seas from the Dutch and French privateers, and secured our trade route with Calcutta.

The want of employment militarily, in South Africa, led to the transference of the theatre of war to South America. In 1806, a small force of dragoons, marines, and the 71st Foot occupied Buenos Ayres with scarcely any opposition, but the Spanish afterwards assembled in some strength, and compelled General Carr Beresford to capitulate. Measures were at once taken to remedy this disaster. Colonel Vassall of the 38th, and Colonel Backhouse, with the 43th, occupied the island of Maldonado, which commanded the harbour of the same name, and, after storming the batteries, furnished a safe and protected anchorage for the fleet, which, with General Auchmuty, and the 38th, 40th, 47th, 87th, a company of the 71st, the 93rd, some marines, and the 17th Light Dragoons, was on the way from England. The enemy were defeated outside the town of Monte Video, when the advance was made from Maldonado, but the further effort to penetrate into the city, through a breach made by a few light guns, met with the most determined resistance, and the assault of the “Gibraltar of America” cost some 600 officers and men out of the 1200 who formed the column of assault, among whom was Colonel Vassall, who had won the affectionate regard of the 38th Regiment, which he commanded. So much so was this the case, that it is said that when the regiment returned home and was stationed in Ireland, a publican “realised a little fortune by simply hoisting as his sign the effigies of the colonel,” and the “Vassall Arms” were as popular there as was the name of the “Marquis of Granby,” Dorking, in former years.[30]

The capture was some consolation for the loss of Buenos Ayres, and Auchmuty’s success led to the hope that our disaster there might be avenged. So it might, possibly, had that general retained command; but the army was to be placed under that of General Whitelock, who was reinforced by General Crawford from the Cape with the 5th, 36th, 45th, 88th, the Rifles, some artillery, and the 6th Dragoon Guards. A more extraordinary exhibition of want of judgment on the part of a general in command has rarely been witnessed. Throughout the previous operations, both of Beresford and Auchmuty, there had been no trace of want of fighting power on the part of the enemy. But everything now seems to have been left to guess. Reconnaissance was ignored, though General Beresford had escaped from the town and, joining his chief, could have given him the fullest information. The possible nature of the defence with flat-roofed houses, each of which, defended by its owner and his negroes, became a fortress; deep ditches and barricades formed across the streets; stout buildings stoutly held; grape-loaded guns entrenched to sweep the avenue; were so little imagined, that “from motives of humanity”--Heaven save the mark!--many of the men’s arms were unloaded, and others not provided with flints or even locks,[31] lest they should “fire wantonly on the inhabitants.” Doubtless this was much exaggerated, but there is no doubt that the muskets were generally empty. The strong force of artillery captured at Monte Video was not used at all, when a steady bombardment before any attempt at assault or penetration into the town would have been of the highest value. Yet, hemmed in and helpless as the columns were, their bravery and steadfastness stand out in brilliant contrast to the culpable and idiotic folly of their most incompetent generals. The 88th especially distinguished themselves, and one portion of the army was compelled to surrender, having fired its last cartridge, while Crawford, hemmed in on all sides, had to lay down his arms too. When Whitelock finally agreed to withdraw, having lost 2500 men, according to his despatch, he surrendered Monte Video as well, and on his return to England was justly court-martialled. He was found guilty, and was cashiered, and so much was his name held in detestation by the people, that when, in 1830, he asked the landlord of the Somersetshire inn in which he was staying, to drink with him, the man, when he knew who his guest was, refused to “drink another glass with him,” at the same time throwing down the price of the bottle, that he might not be indebted to the cashiered general.

The first efforts at conquest on the South American mainland had met with little save disaster and disappointment, and were absolutely barren of result. Our other possessions on that continent were gained, not by hard fighting there, but by treaties dependent on hard fighting elsewhere. Both British Guiana and Honduras saw no battles fought on their soil by British soldiers. The former, captured in 1796, was confirmed to the English rule in 1814; the latter became a crown colony in 1867.

Thus, though many of these expeditions rather partook of the nature of filibustering raids than real war, they none the less are interesting as showing the gradual extension of military operations beyond the main theatre of war. In many cases, doubtless, as in the landing on the French coast, no real benefit was derived from them, and they only tended to exasperate and embitter a contest that already was sufficiently imbued with these feelings. They brought the horrors of war on defenceless people, as well as on the enemy’s military and naval resources. In so doing they harassed and annoyed, and to some extent lent their aid to the otherwise needless dispersion of the enemy’s troops; but such deeds only lead to reprisals, and, like killing individual soldiers on outpost duty, have little real effect on the conduct or result of a campaign.

Still there were many cases in which the semi-naval operations were of supreme value to a great naval power. The true outlet for a vigorous nation’s natural expansion is its colonies. Shorn of these, in many instances the parent country loses its most vital limbs, with increasing injury to the main trunk. Morally, as well as politically, the loss of colonial empire gravely affects the mother country. The loss of the American States to England long lowered her prestige in the eyes of Europe, and for a time led nations to think her end as a great power had come. The dropping away from Spain and Portugal of those vast colonies which owe their origin and existence to the energy of the people of those countries in the past, have left the mother countries far behind in the race, low down in the political scale of Europe.

Hence the conquest of French and Spanish colonies in this prolonged war was not only a serious loss to the States concerned, but an important element of strength to the power that first of all effected the conquest, and then was strong enough to hold them. No doubt, in days when steam and telegraph were not, the element of secrecy entered largely into the calculation of how these attacks could be successfully planned and executed. It was possible then to attempt what now would be far more risky, because foreseen. “To be forewarned” is more than even “to be forearmed” in these modern days.

But, in addition, there is one other point to be considered in thinking of what was done in past wars, and so examining if similar things could be done in the future. Would the bombardment of open, or feebly defended, coast towns be permitted? Would that old “harassing” side of war, without any other end beyond that of harassing, be considered justifiable now? There is a certain _general_ and no longer _local_ public opinion to be considered nowadays, and much that was done when the nineteenth century was young will be very possibly looked on as barbarous and unnecessary when another century dawns.

Lastly, the means of local defence have also largely increased. It is common to see, as at Havana, how frequently forts and batteries were fully silenced by the fire from the fleet, whose guns were certainly not of great power. But coast batteries are now more scientifically and powerfully built, and mount guns quite as formidable, if not more so, than battleships can carry. Ranges are greater, and the accuracy of fire enormously improved, and ground mines and active torpedoes can make situations, whence fleets could formerly best act, too dangerous now to be occupied at all. Quick-firing and machine guns, repeating rifles, and what not, will render boat operations practically impossible, except at night. Such landings as those at Aboukir Bay, etc., should be now out of the question. It may safely be surmised that the class of operations referred to in this chapter will be less easy of execution in the future than when Guadaloupe was taken.

But one thing is clearly apparent in watching the story of this combination of military and naval war. It was only as England began to feel her strength, and, by increasing her squadrons, to have the power of showing it, that she really began to grow to greatness. At first the wars were local and somewhat restricted on shore, as were the actions of the fleets. But the desire to get at France and Spain on both sides, or all along their coast lines, led, instinctively almost, to the capture of Gibraltar, the gateway to the Mediterranean, and next to seize Minorca, as she did later Malta, and then Cyprus, as a base of operations for her naval strength. Such harbours or bases are needful always for rest, refitting, reprovisioning, and, _now_, recoaling. No such fortified place is by itself a menace; it is only the basis of that active menace, the sea-going fleet of battleships. Neither Malta nor Biserta would in the least affect the destinies of the world unless behind the shelter of their defensive works was a sea-going fleet capable of offensive action. The defence of the fortress is purely passive; the defence power of the fleet is, like that of cavalry, either active or nothing. This in the last century was the use of Minorca.

So, with the extension of the idea, the growing size of the fleet, came greater ideas of expansion and greater powers of carrying it out. Success had produced confidence. Confidence had created greater boldness. Commerce had increased, and continued to increase, despite the continuous wars. Though the loss of ships was terrible, the merchant navy still went forth bravely upon the seas. Merchant princes must have had calm, philosophical heads to have recognised, as they must have done, an almost certain percentage of serious loss of both ship and cargo. Such loss was to be risked from the mouth of the Thames to the mouth of the Hudson, and yet still the traders sought the open sea. Is such a spirit alive now, or is the commercial dread of loss in the end of the nineteenth century greater than the commercial fearlessness of the early part of it? That only the next war can prove.

But the next stage in the national growth which is clear in these bygone days, is that commercial expansion led to bold enterprises against the enemy’s colonies, on which his commerce much depended.

It was so with the expansion of the Indian Empire on the one hand, and the American Empire, after the conquest of Canada from the French, on the other. Both led to yet another idea, of which earlier history could show no trace. The connection between these growing empires and the mother country was becoming increasingly important, and so remained until they were self-supporting or self-dependent. With British India, then a mere spot on the peninsula of Hindustan, it was to home and England only that she could look for everything. Until the vast territories along the banks of the Potomac, the Hudson, or the Ohio had been subdued and become populous, only the mother country could be of use to help her struggling Western children in their early youth. To guard the roads by which this necessary help must come was all-important then, as it is now with such of our dependencies as have not grown up to that national manhood which means independence of all maternal support.

Hence, then, the natural and instinctive desire to possess the Cape of Good Hope. None saw then that there were other advantages and channels of expansion, besides the Cape itself, to be gained in the “Hinterland” to those unknown but reported “Mountains of the Moon.” It was only as being a port on the road to India, in those days, that made the Cape valuable, and for a very simple reason. Ships, like men, require stores and food. Supplies run short, sails are destroyed, boats swept away. These calling places are to the navy what “the Stores” are to the individual; and if access to such places were denied, the ship and the individual would suffer. A hostile Table Bay or Simon’s Bay would have meant, in those days, no house of call between St. Helena and Bombay!

Therefore it is so interesting to watch this gradual expansion of the national idea of empire based entirely, instinctively, and rightly on the colonies we were founding. The whole “earth hunger” of Great Britain, if viewed in its natural light, is the opening of new lands for trade, the extension of colonial empire by true colonists, men who mean to make the new realm their permanent home, and the preserving intact, with a good series of supply stations along these unmarked ways, the roads that unite Great Britain with her colonial children.

* * * * *

Brave and gallant as had been the conduct of soldiers on board ship, whether acting as marines afloat or as landed parties, there are other instances of skill and courage equally well worth recording.

In 1852 the _Birkenhead_ transport was on its way to India, with drafts of the 12th Lancers, and of the 2nd, 6th, 12th, 43rd, 45th, 60th, 73rd, 74th, and 91st Regiments, under the command of Colonel Seton, and, entering Simon’s Bay, struck on a sunken rock, and began to fill. She was ill provided with boats, for there was scarcely sufficient accommodation for the women and children, let alone the crew or the gallant representatives of the army, and the harbour swarmed with sharks. But the noble spirit of duty, that fearlessness of death and danger which all brave men have and which discipline intensifies, was never shown more grandly than in this moment of supreme peril. The men fell in on the upper deck as if on parade, and there they stood, bearing themselves as stoutly before that dread foe death, as ever they had or would have done before an earthly enemy, while the weeping, helpless, women and little ones were being saved. And standing there, while the officers shook hands and wished each other good-bye, the _Birkenhead_ sank beneath their feet. Of 630 souls on board, only 194 were saved, and among them, Captain Wright of the 91st.

Similarly, in 1857, sheer coolness and discipline saved an entire ship. For the 54th were on their way to Mauritius, when the vessel caught fire. It was only through the exertions and steadiness of the men that the ship was saved at all, and then she reached her destination a mere burnt-out shell.

Nor was the case of the _Birkenhead_ the only one in which the greatest of all bravery--facing death in cold blood--was evidenced by men of the 91st. In 1846, the reserve battalion was taking passage in the _Abercrombie Robinson_, when the vessel was wrecked near Cape Town. But the 500 men of the 91st assembled on deck as if on parade, and kept the grim silence of discipline until the women and children were safely in the boats.

Noteworthy is the discipline and patience of the gallant 78th, when the transport _Charlotte_, in which they had embarked, for transference from Batavia to Calcutta in 1816, ran ashore on a sunken rock a few miles from the island of Preparis, and that so violently, that in fifteen minutes she filled to her main deck. Though death was apparently imminent, the men behaved like the heroes and soldiers they were. Every man waited for orders, and there was no sign of panic or disobedience. The women, children, and sick were transported to the island, with a few bags of rice only, and a few pieces of salt pork. It was four days before the rest of the men and crew were landed on the inhospitable shores of Preparis, and during that time some 140 men were quartered on a raft fastened to a rock near the ship that was just aflush with water at low tide. There they had neither sleep, nor food, nor water. But the most perfect order obtained none the less. When they were all got on to the island, things were little better. They remained without relief from the 9th November until the 6th December, by which time even the poor two-day allowance of a glass of rice and two ounces of meat per head had been exhausted. Shell-fish were collected at low tide and stored. All such finds were brought to the common stock, and there was no need even for a guard! Officer and man shared the same privation until the final relief came, and throughout the discipline of the men was perfect.

But it is not merely in times of dangerous emergency that soldiers alone have shown that they are descended from those Vikings who were the true marines, equally good on shore or afloat. At the conclusion of the China war of 1860, the regiments engaged returned to England, and among them were the Buffs. Three companies of this grand old regiment, who, like the Royal Marines, claim their descent from London trained bands, and oftentimes had done seagoing duty, embarked on board the _Athleta_. All went well till after she had touched at the Cape to water. The crew was like many a merchant’s crew now, even if not much more so now than then, built up of indifferent materials, probably what is known as “Beachcombers,” men who in sterner days were marooned on desert islands. The gold fever in Australia, too, had set in, and hence caused desertions in homeward bound crews. So the crew of the _Athleta_ tried to desert, and were prevented, and then came aft in a body to complain of imaginary ill-treatment, and request to be taken on shore before a magistrate. To have done so would have been fatal; and the commanding officer of the Buffs stepped in. He suggested that the captain should at once “weigh” and go to sea. The crew refused to move a finger in the matter. Colonel Sargent proposed, as a quiet and friendly way of settling the matter, to put the seamen in the fo’castle, with an armed guard for their protection, and bread and water for their food, while the Buffs worked the ship home. Captain Potter joyfully assented, and went to sea with his strange, untrained, crew. Volunteers were asked to go aloft, and the detachment was cautioned as to its dangers, and the supreme necessity for coolness and readiness of resource; and was told that to be _ordered_ aloft was contrary to Queen’s regulations. None the less, sixty stalwart lads stepped forward, and of these, twenty-eight were chosen for the yards and “tops.” A week’s duty of this kind brought the mutineers to their senses; that and the bread and water probably. They prayed to be allowed to return to their duty, and did so. Colonel Sargent thought, and rightly, that “he had had pleasure in going aloft with them himself, because the boldest and most zealous of his men had never been in the rigging before, and some had not even been on board a ship of any kind previous to their voyage out and home.” Captain Potter thought and said that he “was perfectly astonished to see soldiers able to turn themselves all at once into such good sailors, and to teach so wholesome a lesson to his crew, not one of whom, he was convinced, would ever again strike work in a vessel on board of which British soldiers were embarked.” The Buff crew refused payment for their extra work, when it was proposed to stop a portion of the mutineers’ pay and hand it over to the new crew, and “wished to enjoy the satisfaction of feeling that they had only done their duty as British soldiers, determined to support their commanding officer in any position.”

The incident is not merely one of passing interest, it evidences that _sentiment du devoir_ and discipline which, combined, form the finest soldiery the world has ever seen.

These are but a few of the noble records of the “Army at Sea.”



Peace--general peace at all events--had reigned from 1783 to 1789, when the French Revolution broke out. With the merits or demerits of that great struggle this story has nothing to do; but none the less the overthrow of the monarchy of France not only created an almost continuous condition of war for a quarter of a century, but helped most materially to raise to the highest pitch the Continental opinion as to the military value of Great Britain. Its naval strength throughout that quarter of a century was most fully proved. It remained for the stubborn fighting power of the land forces to be displayed during the same eventful period. French anger, English panic, had dragged the latter into open war with France, and that not without allies. All the world began by being against the new Republic: small wonder, then, that in her new-born freedom she turned bitterly against her world-wide antagonists, and fought them all. That she did not fully conquer them was largely due to one small State--England. The wealth of the latter, even then comparatively greater than the Continent, her naval preponderance, infinitely greater, as events proved, than that of her antagonist, though her numerical fighting strength as compared with the Continental powers was but small, and her insular position, made her eventually almost the arbiter of Europe, when the great struggle drew to an end.

As usual, the actual number of the army throughout the years from 1793 to 1808 constantly varied. The 150,000 men under arms in 1780 was reduced to 40,000 the next year, was increased the year after to about 55,000 in Great Britain, and fell in 1784 to 18,000 at home, 12,000 in the “Plantations,” and some 6000 in India. The provision for the latter force was made by a new and special vote. The importance of the growing empire in the East was being at last recognised.

The system of levying troops continued much the same. Men were enlisted voluntarily by heavy bounties, and when that attraction failed, the pressgang, or even the prisons, was then employed to raise recruits. Unless disbanded at the end of a campaign, they served for life, or till worn out; but the dawn of a short-service system appeared in 1805, when the period of service was fixed at seventeen years.[32]

But the continued necessity for an increased army, and the dread of serious invasion that obtained, and not without reason, during the closing days of the eighteenth and the early days of the nineteenth centuries, was fast wearing down the old civil dislike. Officers on half-pay were rendered liable to trial by court martial. The militia system was introduced into Scotland, and the Shropshire Regiment was the first of the English militia to serve in that country, while greater care was taken as regards home defence. France was not content with a mere defensive rôle; but attempted, though with extreme feebleness, to carry the war into her enemy’s territory. She had threatened to land at Ilfracombe and then in Pembrokeshire; and actually did so at Castlebar during the Irish insurrection of 1797-98, though with no result save that of having to surrender. Ireland in that year had required, as she has before and since, a large garrison, and seven regiments of cavalry and four of infantry had been necessary to put down the rising that was practically crushed at Vinegar Hill.

The pay of the rank and file remained much the same, 1s. a day for a private; but the stoppage for the food ration out of it amounted to 6½d. Still the army was everywhere growing in esteem and in popularity. Decorations and brevets were largely bestowed in 1795, after the return of the army from foreign service. Frequent reviews, at which George III. and the Prince of Wales attended, were held. The Duke of York was a popular Commander-in-Chief, and did much to improve the discipline of the army. He was so well liked by the men as to win the name of the “Soldier’s Friend,” a title which his founding the “Royal Military Asylum” for the education of soldiers’ children emphasised. Under his auspices, too, and helped by Sir David Dundas, the somewhat varied and irregular systems of drill were made uniform by the introduction of the first real drill-book, the _Rules and Regulations for the Formations, Field Exercise, and Movements of His Majesty’s Forces_, in 1792.

At that time Prussia was looked on as the great schoolmaster in the art-military, as France was later, and as Germany is now. The English army has been mainly a copyist of other people’s methods since the century began. If, after the Crimea or the Italian campaign of 1859, we adopted kepi-shaped hats, baggy “pegtop” trousers, and “booted overalls” for riding, so, when Germany became successful, we copied her “Blucher boots,” flat-topped forage-caps, infantry helmet, and rank distinctions!

In this case, too, the Prussian system was the basis of our drill instruction, and, with but slight modifications, so remained until 1870, when linear formations gave place to extended order.

The pace was increased from 75 to 80 per minute for the ordinary march or movement, but one of 120 (our present quick march) was permitted for wheeling and such minor manœuvres! The ranks were, when the book first appeared, three deep, as obtained in Germany, until the death of the late Emperor; but light infantry were allowed to form two deep before skirmishing. The battalion had ten companies, including the flank or “Light” and “Grenadier” companies. The absolute rigidity of the line was insisted on. To be able to form line from open column without either making gaps or causing crowding was the essence of good drill; and hence, the “march past,” if well executed, was really then a true test of the efficiency of a battalion. Other editions of this drill-book were published in 1809, 1815, and 1817, but in 1808, the three-rank formation was abolished for active service. It has been surmised that the necessity, with the small armies we despatched in these days, of this reduction in depth was made in order that a wider front might be offered to the frequently numerical superiority of our adversaries.[33]

In all our early campaigns, notoriously those of the Marlborough period, the British infantry had shone in the offensive. From the steady advance against Blenheim to the vigorous dash at Lincelles, it had shown how capable it was of attacking even against enormous odds. And yet from 1800 almost until now there has been an impression that our army is better on the defensive than in the attack. Even after Waterloo, Müffling writes: “I felt a strong conviction that if fortune so far favoured us in a battle that the English army could act on the defensive, while the Prussians acted simultaneously on the offensive, we should obtain a brilliant victory over Napoleon.” Unfounded as such an idea was, if the military history of the past be examined, there is no doubt it remained a tradition for long after the battle that proved once again the undaunted steadiness of the British line.

But the main change was in the extension of the principle of skirmishing which the American war had introduced. For a long time the “light companies” of battalions were designed to cover the front of the line during its advance and protect it while manœuvring. Built up for specific purpose into battalions, they formulated a drill of their own; which General Dundas in his _Principles of Military Movements_ condemns. The rapid movements adopted met with little favour from an officer imbued with the stiff rigidity of Prussian drill-sergeants. “The importance of light infantry has more particularly tended to establish this practice. During the late war their service was conspicuous, and their gallantry and exertions have met with merited applause. But instead of being considered as an accessory to the battalion, they have become the principal feature of our army, and have almost put grenadiers out of fashion. The showy exercise, the airy dress, the independent modes which they have adopted, have caught the minds of young officers, and made them imagine that these ought to be general and exclusive.”

All this the drill-book of 1792 was designed to remedy, but though it produced uniformity, which was valuable, it failed to check the development of permanent light infantry battalions, such as composed the magnificent Light Brigade of the Peninsular days.

But when, in 1804, a Camp of Instruction was formed at Shorncliffe under General John Moore, a new era to some extent began. Moore did not favour the rigid drill of Dundas’s drill-book of 1792. He “d--d the Eighteen Manœuvres,” which were looked on as essential for a well-trained regiment to undergo. He introduced the system of light infantry drill which was the basis of all such work in our army and in our drill-books up to 1870; and the regiments he trained, the 4th, 52nd, 57th, 59th, and 95th, came nobly to the front when the time arrived. The general was knighted a year later, and the 52nd presented him with a diamond star, valued at 350 guineas, in token of their appreciation of his services; while as colonel of the first regiment named officially “Light Infantry,” he chose for one of the supporters of his coat of arms a light infantry soldier. The other was a Highlander, in remembrance of the help one of the 92nd had given him when wounded at Egmont-op-Zee.

Abroad, the formations were generally columnar, more or less, and the movements of these dense bodies was covered, as was the line elsewhere, by skirmishers from the light (flank) companies or light infantry battalions. The French also had foreshadowed two modern improvements in the use of balloons at Fleurus and the introduction of telegraphy by means of semaphores. In England, on the other hand, General Congreve had invented the war-rocket in 1805, and two years before, Sir Henry Shrapnell the “spherical case,” which afterwards took his name and which was first used with effect at Vimiera.

Fighting was tolerably general in Europe from 1793 to the Peace of Amiens in 1802. We had been fighting at sea with the French in Lord Howe’s victory of the 1st June and at the Nile, with the Spanish at Cape St. Vincent, and the Danes at Copenhagen. We had occupied Toulon at the request of French Royalists, and been compelled to abandon it, very largely through the action of a young officer of artillery named Bonaparte. There had been practically three campaigns in Flanders. The Duke of York, with the 14th, 37th, 53rd, etc., and a brigade of Guards, had been despatched to Holland, where the latter, but three battalions strong, routed an entrenched force of 5000 men, so that “The French, who had been accustomed to the cold, lifeless attacks of the Dutch, were amazed at the spirit and intrepidity of the British.” For this the brigade bears the name of Lincelles on their colours. The 14th also displayed the greatest coolness at Famars, young soldiers though they were; for, attacking with too much impetuosity, their colonel made them halt and re-form, and when thus steadied, took them into action again, the band playing them to victory with the French Revolutionary tune of _Ça ira_. Ever afterwards the tune is played after dinner at mess, and is the regimental march. The attack on Dunkirk, however, failed, and the duke returned home.

The next year he returned, and the campaign, embittered by an order of Republican France to give no quarter to wounded or prisoners, re-opened. In the brilliant little cavalry action at Villers en Couche the 15th Light Dragoons especially distinguished themselves, and for their gallantry, as well as for saving the life of the Emperor of Germany, eight of the officers were decorated with the cross of the order of Maria Theresa; while at Cateau the Royals fought so brilliantly that £500 was given to the regiment by the Duke of York’s orders.

The success was but temporary. The French concentrated overwhelming numbers, and the army fell back on Antwerp, and then to Holland, and suffered terribly in the dreadful winter of 1794. The stubborn resistance of the rearguard, composed of the 14th, 37th, and 53rd, supported on the flanks by the skilful and bold work of the 7th, 15th, and 16th cavalry regiments, prevented a disaster which the indifference or probable disaffection of the Dutch troops did not tend to lessen; and finally, the dispirited but unbeaten force, abandoning its stores and spiking the guns it could not take with it, reached Bremen. The horrors of that dreadful march, begun on the 6th January 1795, are only equalled by the retreat from Moscow of a French army later; but the discipline and endurance of the troops was beyond all praise. The contemporary records especially mention the Guards, the 27th, 33rd, 42nd, 44th, and 78th Regiments for their splendid discipline. The 28th, too, were notorious for their strong regimental feeling. “Hospitals were their aversion. Their home was the battalion, and they were never happy away from it.” Of all the regiments, the hardy Scotsmen of the 42nd fared best; and in this disastrous campaign, honourable in all its details save that of mere success, another young officer, Arthur Wellesley of the 33rd, first saw fire at Boxtel. Thus the end of the last century was to give the early war-training to two great antagonists--Napoleon at Toulon and Wellington at Boxtel. This alone would render the military history of 1794-95 interesting to all who read.

But the eighteenth century was to see yet another campaign in the Netherlandic area. It had not been, on the whole, peculiarly favourable to British arms, and the last campaign there was to be no exception to the rule.

For, notwithstanding that the duke had the active co-operation of such men as Ralph Abercromby and John Moore, not much came of it. The allied Russians and British made little headway against the French with the “Batavian Republic,” and a check at Alkmaar, followed by a victory at Egmont-op-Zee on the 2nd October 1799 where, according to the duke, “under Divine Providence,” the French were entirely defeated, and where the Royals, the 20th, 25th, 49th, 63rd, 79th, and 92nd did their duty, practically terminated the Helder campaign. For, after an armistice, the British troops left the Netherlands, never to fight seriously in that district until the final victory of 1815, when Wellington, who first saw battle there, was to terminate a series of wars for which the Low Countries had for more than a century been the “cockpit.”

The landing of the army in Walcheren ten years later may be disregarded. Except in the capture of Flushing, there was practically no fighting. The real enemy was fever, and out of the forty thousand men who had been disembarked, thirty-five thousand had been in hospital. The plan of operation was initially bad, the carrying out worse. Between Chatham on shore and Strachan at sea there was so little intelligent co-operation that each abused the other for what was clearly the fact, that

“The Earl of Chatham, with his sword drawn, Stood waiting for Sir Richard Strachan; Sir Richard, longing to be at ’em, Stood waiting for the Earl of Chatham.”

As Napoleon himself remarked at one time, “Before six weeks, of the fifteen thousand troops which are in the Isle of Walcheren not fifteen hundred will be left, the rest will be in hospital. The expedition has been undertaken under false expectations and planned in ignorance.”

This is the grim and gruesome truth. With the above exception, then, the theatre of war after the expedition to the Helder was, for many a year, as far as the British army was concerned, changed. The increasing importance of India was beginning to be felt. Napoleon, far seeing, had recognised this, and first put into French minds the value of Egypt. Though there was no canal, as there is now, it was still geographically the shortest road to the East. Then, as now, Egypt was a station on the line that united Great Britain with Eastern possessions that were but embryos of what they are now. The one striking point in the vast and ambitious intellect of the greatest soldier the world has seen, Alexander and Cæsar not excepted, is his grasp of the political future of the nations of Europe. Intuitively he saw the worth of Egypt to the great dominant naval powers, England and France. His views were almost prophetic, his ideas magnificent.

Notwithstanding the disaster to the French of Aboukir Bay, he decided on contending in Africa for the possession of Asia. What a stupendous genius the man had! How astounding the rise of the young officer of artillery, who fought against his fellow-patriots of Corsica, who drove the British out of Toulon, and who was soon to be the dominant soul in all Europe! “Who could have believed that a simple sub-lieutenant of artillery, a stranger to France by name and by birth, was destined to govern that great Empire and to give the law in a manner to all the Continent, in defiance of reason, justice, the hereditary rights of the legitimate princes of the realm, and the combined efforts of so great a number of loyalists in the interior of the kingdom, and all the Great Powers of Europe.”

In 1799 he had gone to Egypt with a considerable force. It is strange to think that such a thing was possible with British fleets on the seas. But it was so, and it only shows how the element of surprise, how the want of telegraph and the absence of steam, rendered the occupation of Egypt possible at all. It could not be so now. But then, before the danger was really grasped, the French had practically conquered Egypt, and were in full occupation of both Cairo and Alexandria. And these practically meant the country, and the closing of our highway to the East.

He returned to France in 1800, when the conditions of Continental war were, as far as England was concerned, desperate. The expeditions to the Netherlands had been productive of but little, to say the least. The only chance for England, and that was based merely on the striking at the enemy’s armed strength and not with the view of protecting the Eastern Empire which Napoleon had seen the importance of threatening, was to try conclusions with the French in Egypt when their great chief was absent in France. The expedition, consisting of the Guards, the 1st, 54th (two battalions), and 92nd, and the 8th, 13th, 19th, and 90th, the 2nd, 50th, and 79th, and the 18th, 30th, 44th, and 89th, and others, with a reserve composed of some companies of the 23rd, the 28th, 42nd, and cavalry brigade of some companies of the 11th Dragoons, the 12th and 26th Dragoons, and some mounted infantry, started. It was under the guidance of the best and most experienced general of the time, Sir Ralph Abercromby, whose leading spirit was Sir John Moore.

The force landed. The 23rd, 28th, and 42nd were the first to leap on shore, though the casualties were numerous under the fire of fifteen guns and many infantry, while the Royals, the 54th, and 58th did equally good work farther along the beach. The marines shared in the honours of the landing, and subsequent events gave them the title of “Royal” from the Egyptian campaign of 1801. Of them there is a legend of a curious speech made by a captain of the corps before his men debarked. Looking out of a porthole at the sombre masses of the enemy that were assembled to oppose the landing, he turned to his men and said, “Look here! Those fellows on shore there are the French, and that is the land of Egypt. If you don’t, therefore, help to give them a d--d good thrashing, you will soon find yourself in the house of bondage!”

So, with sundry skirmishes, especially that at Mandora, where the 92nd displayed conspicuous gallantry, the army pushed on to the battlefield outside Alexandria, where they took up an entrenched position between the dry bed of Lake Mareotis and the sea. Here, at daybreak on the 21st March 1801, they were attacked by General Menou, who, making a feint at the British left with the Dromedary Corps, vigorously attacked the right, where the 28th, 42nd, and 23rd were posted. But every attack was repulsed, even when ammunition failed, and the defence had to be conducted with the bayonet alone. The 28th, assailed in front and rear when in line by cavalry, fought back to back, and ever since have been distinguished by having the regimental number or badge on the back as well as the front of their headdress. The victory was dearly bought, for Abercromby was mortally hurt, and 1306 men, with 70 officers, were killed or wounded. Shortly after Cairo was occupied, and Alexandria, first blockaded, soon surrendered.

The employment of a camel corps was a forecast of what would be done when next an English army fought on Egyptian soil, but there is even another point of resemblance. For as an Indian brigade co-operated with the home army at Tel-el-Kebir, so in this campaign a force under General Baird, consisting of the 8th Light Dragoons, and the 10th, 61st, 86th, and 88th, from India, with some two thousand Sepoys, landed at Kosseir and made a gallant march of a hundred and fifty miles across the desert to Kenneh, and so down the Nile to Rosetta.

Foiled in seizing and holding one of the roads to the East, Napoleon turned his thoughts to Great Britain herself. Though not a Continental Power, she was his most dangerous adversary. Her naval strength and her wealth enabled her to keep alive Continental antagonism, even if her armies had, latterly at least, effected little but diversions of sorts. Every preparation had been made for the invasion of hated England; given only the even temporary command of the sea, and it was possible then, as it is infinitely more possible now, in the days of steam. The feeble efforts already referred to at the end of the last century showed the entire practicability of the idea. All that was wanted was the organisation of the effort on a large scale, and what better military organiser was there than Napoleon, aided by his staff? So much so that Soult, no mean authority, reported that a hundred thousand men could be embarked in the flotilla in seven or eight minutes. Corps were assembled at Amiens, Ostend, about Dunkirk, and at Boulogne. Flotillas for the transport and debarkation of troops were massed in large numbers. The bulk of the British army, too, was abroad, and matters looked serious. There were in England, at least, but the Life and Horse Guards, eighteen cavalry regiments, and five of regular infantry.

There were militia, of course, and volunteer corps sprang up as rapidly and as readily as they did later, when a similar provocation arose. Serious instructions were issued, both to these and to the people, as to how the enemy, if he landed, should be met and harassed.

In an undated MS., the paper of which bears the watermark of a crown, G. R., and 1801, the following instructions are issued. It is called “Advice to the inhabitants of those districts of England through which the French army may march in the course of its projected invasion.” “As the enemy may effect a landing in many parts of the coast at one and the same time, and as the _precise_ spots on which he may do so cannot be previously ascertained, it follows, that _every_ order which may become necessary cannot be previously given. In the actual execution of those even which are so issued, some variation may be required. Amid the numerous movements of the enemy either to effect his intended junctions, or to possess himself of such cities and towns as he may think fit to occupy, it is possible that the dispositions made _beforehand_, may by subsequent occurrences be rendered unavailing, and that, therefore, the inhabitants must often wait for fresh instructions. During these intervals, it will not perhaps be useless to point out to them in what manner they ought _provisionally_ to act.”

“If it be necessary that they should defend themselves, it is not less so that they should do it in such a manner as to provide for their escape. He whose dexterity preserves him may, in a quarter of an hour afterwards, again be firing on the enemy. He who, without judgment and without precaution, exposes himself, must inevitably run very great risks; nor can the country be defended by prisoners or dead men.”

* * * * *

“Every particular hill, every wood thus occupied, must be considered as a _separate_ post acting for itself. Consequently, whatever number of men may arrive in _each_, should be immediately organised. They must appoint a captain and three lieutenants. The captain must be aware that every post should be defended in front and flank, and to this effect he must form his people into three divisions.”

* * * * *

“On all occasions, an ambuscade in a wood or behind hedges must allow the enemy to approach as near as possible before the firing commences, and it should be well understood that, at even three hundred paces, musquet shots are very uncertain, and only become destructive at that distance where one body of troops fire together upon another closely collected. It is different where people are dispersed and act individually; in that case any degree of precision with a common musquet is not to be reckoned on at a greater distance than from fifty to sixty paces.”

This is a curious story, but it shows how exceedingly short the range of firearms in those days, and even up to the Crimean War, was. General Mercer, whose memoirs, apparently from fear of the duke, were not published until after his death, gives in his account of Waterloo a similar curious story. He says, that after a charge of the Grenadiers à Cheval and Cuirassiers against his battery, “they prepared for a second attempt, sending up a cloud of skirmishers who galled us terribly by a fire of carbines and pistols at scarcely forty yards from our front. We were obliged to stand with port-fires lighted, so that it was not without a little difficulty that I succeeded in restraining the people from firing, for they grew impatient under such fatal results. Seeing some exertion beyond words necessary for this purpose, I leaped my horse up the little bank and began a promenade (by no means agreeable), up and down our front, without even drawing my sword, though these fellows were within speaking distance of me. This quieted my men; but the tall blue gentlemen, seeing me thus dare them, immediately made a target of me, and commenced a very deliberate practice, to show us what very bad shots they were, and verify the old artillery proverb, ‘The nearer the target, the safer you are.’ One fellow certainly made me flinch, but it was a miss; so I shook my finger at him and called him _coquin_. The rogue grinned as he reloaded and again took aim. I certainly felt rather foolish at that moment, but was ashamed, after such bravado, to let him see it, and therefore continued my promenade. As if to prolong my torment, he was a terrible time about it. To me it seemed an age. Whenever I turned, the muzzle of his infernal carbine still followed me. At length bang it went, and whiz came the ball close to the back of my neck and at the same instant down dropped the leading driver of one of my guns (Miller), into whose forehead the cursed missile had penetrated.”

This forgotten effect of the range of firearms, before rifles were, is interesting to follow. In a drill-book, dated 1829, occurs the following. It is a book of questions and answers, and in it occurs Question 65, which asks, “When firing them (the men) at ball cartridge, do you increase or decrease their distance in proportion to their confidence?” To which the answer is, “I increase or decrease the distance in proportion to their confidence, making the diffident strike it at all events; as I find his or their confidence increase, I increase the distance accordingly.” So in Question 66 occurs that of “And how is this done?” to which the reply is, “If a man do not strike the target at forty yards, I decrease the distance to thirty yards, and so on till he hits it.”

This was in 1829; but it is still more remarkable to find in a “Military Dictionary” of the year 1844, that even then “the first target for the instruction of infantry recruits is made round and eight feet in diameter, _the practice commencing at thirty yards_, so that it is impossible for the recruit to miss it. This range is increased to fifty, eighty, and a hundred yards at the same target”; while the extreme range at this target practice was only two hundred yards! Even later, in the “Manual of Field Operations” written by Lieutenant Jervis-Whyte-Jervis, and dated 1852, it is stated that recruits are placed into three squads in the French exercise which he admires, and to which he attributes the accuracy of fire in their infantry. They are thus classed: “1. Those who have struck the target three times in 120 yards. 2. Those who have struck it more than three times. 3. Those who have struck it less than three times”; and the instruction goes on to say that while every recruit fires eighty ball cartridges every year, the older soldiers are formed into three groups, of whom the older soldiers fire nine times at the distance of 120 yards, and six at 180 yards, and the successful marksmen are rewarded with silver epaulets.”

This, then, was the value of musketry-fire for long after the beginning of this century and before rifles were common. Until 1854 there had been, as far as armament was concerned, little alteration.

When the Peninsular war broke out, England set quietly to work in her wonted fashion, showing neither fear nor anger. Even when Portugal was driven by France to close her country to us, we, though in what looked like dire extremity, calmly took Madeira, just to express our resentment at this treatment!

Then the peace of Amiens intervened, and the danger temporarily ceased. England resigned all her conquests but Ceylon and Trinidad. She agreed to resign Malta, but didn’t; and this was used by Napoleon as a pretext for the resumption of hostilities a year later. But for the first time since the army was created, peace and reduction were not synonymous terms. The danger had been too menacing for even the most unwarlike citizen to desire to lessen the nation’s defensive strength. More drilling and an attempt at a better organisation took the place of the old-time disbandment; and when war was once more declared, there was less reason for dread than before the “scare” occurred. The volunteers, especially, were full of enthusiasm. The king reviewed twenty-six regiments of them in Hyde Park on the 26th of October 1803, and thirty-five more two days later. The Prince of Wales in vain besought his father’s permission for a command, but though refused, the effect on the national enthusiasm was marked.

Abroad, we captured St. Lucia, Tobago, Demerara, and Surinam, and the French occupied Hanover, which mattered nothing. But the destruction by Nelson of the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar mattered much. It destroyed altogether the idea of a French invasion for more than fifty years.

Hence the French idea of invasion was abandoned, and the military camp on the Channel coast was broken up. Napoleon shivered the European alliance against him at Ulm and Austerlitz, and contented himself with abusing England in manifestoes. A British contingent, built up of the Guards, and the 4th, 14th, 23rd, 28th, and 95th Foot, etc., went to Bremen and came back again; but in 1806 a small British army did good work on the coast of Calabria, and met the French at Maida, where the 20th, 27th, 58th, 78th, and 81st Regiments defeated Regnier, and where, if tradition speaks truly, the 20th, who were bathing when the bugle sounded, went into action with only their accoutrements and weapons on. This battle is one of the recorded instances in which the French and English actually crossed bayonets.

Almost the last event of interest before the Peninsular War is that of the seizure of the Danish navy, and the military operations that accompanied that probably necessary, but certainly violent, act. When the population and the wealth of Great Britain were infinitely less than they are now, and when, as regards the former, most European nations surpassed us, there is no doubt of the determination of the men of that time. There was no fear of anybody, and that very boldness saved us. It may be well in some cases to be pacific; but Drake’s method of singeing “the King of Spain’s beard,” on the broad principle that there “are two ways of facing an enemy: the one to stand off and cry, ‘Try that again and I will strike thee,’ the other to strike him first and then, ‘Try that at all and I’ll strike thee again,’” has its merits in time of grave peril, and is likely to bear more useful fruit than the method adopted by Mr. Snodgrass at Ipswich, when he, “in a truly Christian spirit, and in order that he might take no one unawares, announced in a very loud tone that he was going to begin.”

For right or wrong it was done, and at Kioge Sir Arthur Wellesley met the Danes with the 92nd and 95th, and drove them back on the capital. Soon after the struggle terminated, the Danish fleet was taken away. England for the second time had made an enemy of a State too weak to do other than accept the conditions enforced by a stronger power. The only excuse was the instinct of self-preservation. The only other resource would have been to get Denmark to ally with us. But Denmark inclined to what seemed the strongest, though not the most determined, power, and so doing lost her fleet.

* * * * *

About this time was formed a foreign force that co-operated fully and entirely with the British army in the stormy days that were to come--“The King’s German Legion.” It was to be raised in Hanover and to be trained in England, and eventually it was decided that it was to be placed under the command of the Duke of Cambridge. When fully formed, it was to consist of a cavalry brigade, a light infantry and two ordinary infantry brigades, two horse and two foot batteries, with a proportion of engineers; and when paraded at Weymouth, it gave promise of the discipline that led to the bravery it displayed from Talavera to Waterloo.

But the political condition of Europe had been changing in these days. Foreigners were either allies of Napoleon, cowed by him, or worshippers of his genius and success. Only two were weak, and either neutral or indifferent, and these were Spain and Portugal. So thither was the restless ambition of the great soldier directed. A doubtful State was one to be suppressed, and Spain was Bourbon and necessarily doubtful. Therefore the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula was determined on. How little did Napoleon foresee, when his magnificent genius failed and induced him to think only as a soldier and not as a world-wide politician! A country--two countries--with a wide coast-line, with a population deadly hostile to the French, was not a wise base of operations for the conquest of two capitals and two peoples. It was the Spanish war that led as much as anything to the exhaustion of France, and to Napoleon’s retirement to Elba. It was the unhealed sore that sapped the military strength of the emperor, and which, neglected, was one, if not the chief, cause of his political death.

With the first serious and connected invasion of the Spanish Peninsula begins the story of the downfall of the conqueror of Austerlitz.

[Illustration: _OUTLINE MAP of SPAIN & PORTUGAL_]



With the year 1808 began the great struggle in the Peninsula, which, directly and indirectly, led to the long peace. Its immediate cause was the seizure by Napoleon of the Iberian Peninsula, the establishment on the Spanish throne of his brother Joseph, and then the determined rising of the people against this uncalled-for foreign usurpation.

This practically gave us a cause for interference, and for again joining issue with our ancient enemy. We were rarely so well prepared. We had under arms about 300,000 men, with 80,000 in India, 108,380 militia, and 200,000 volunteers. An army, not large, for it numbered but 30,000 men in all, but of excellent material, was equipped and placed under the command of Sir Hew Dalrymple, with Burrard as second in command, and the two divisional leaders were Sir Arthur Wellesley and Sir John Moore. The force comprised the 3rd, 18th, and 20th, with, later on, the 10th and 15th Light Dragoons. The line regiments were the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, the 1-9th, 2-20th, 1-28th, 1-29th, 32nd, 36th, 38th, 40th, 43rd, 45th, 52nd, 60th, 71st, 79th, 82nd, 91st, 92nd, 97th, with some light battalions, the King’s German Legion, and a full proportion of guns.

It is somewhat difficult to group the operations that continued from this date to 1814; but it may be convenient to deal with them generally in two groups. 1. From Roliça and Vimiera to Torres Vedras. 2. From Portugal to France, or from Busaco to Toulouse.

A glance at the map will show that there are only two good roads by which Spain can be approached from France. The western pass is the Bidassoa, by which the Bayonne road reaches Madrid; the eastern, that of De Pertus, carrying the Perpignan road by Saragossa to Madrid. Furthermore, the great central plateau is traversed by a series of more or less parallel mountain ridges running east and west; so that while movement laterally is comparatively easy, that from north to south is difficult. Such was the terrain which was to see so much hard fighting; a land held by a keenly patriotic and high-spirited people, possessed of great tenacity of purpose, and especially qualified for that guerilla warfare for which such a land was peculiarly suitable. Throughout, the contest, as far as the French and their immediate opponents, the Spanish and Portuguese, are concerned, was accompanied by circumstances of the greatest barbarity. French orders to shoot patriots and destroy villages in which risings against the foreign rule had occurred, tended largely to the formation of those bands of guerillas and partisans, in the minds of every member of which was but one thought--revenge. Not unfrequently these bands degenerated from patriotic _francs-tireurs_ into mere hordes of banditti, a terror indiscriminately to the armies of both the combatants and the civil population.

This, then, broadly speaking, was the state of affairs when Great Britain determined on siding actively with the enemies of France, and up to this time, at least, matters had not improved, as the hostilities became more and more prolonged. One decisive success only, that of the defeat and capitulation of Dupont at Baylen, had hitherto attended the Spanish arm, and at this battle England was represented by one English officer, Captain Whittingham, as military attaché.

The first of the groups into which the whole campaign may, for convenience, be divided, practically resulted in the deliverance of Portugal. The first division under Wellesley landed at the mouth of the Mondego, and the first skirmish at Obidos resulted in the retirement of the French advanced troops, and then Laborde was defeated at Roliça, a victory which was all the more important as being the first success that had been gained by the British army in Europe since the campaign in Egypt and the affair of Copenhagen. In it the 5th, 6th, 9th, 29th, 32nd, 36th, 38th, 40th, 45th, 60th, 71st, 82nd, 91st, and the newly-formed Rifle Brigade took a distinguished part. But instead of rapidly following up the success gained, Burrard, much to Wellesley’s disgust, decided on waiting till the second division under Moore, which had reached Mondego Bay, should have joined the headquarters of the army. But Junot, who commanded in chief the armies in Portugal, anticipated this by advancing against the first division, which was in position on the Vimiera heights near the Maceira River, and somewhat inferior in strength to the assailant.

The attack was delivered with the greatest boldness, but checked by fire, and especially by the Shrapnell shells, which were first used here, and then by the determined charges of the 50th (the “Blind Half Hundred,” owing to the prevalence of ophthalmia in the regiment in 1801, or the “Dirty Half Hundred,” from the men smearing their faces with their black cuffs), the 43rd and the 71st (then known from the number of Lowland Scotsmen in their ranks as the “Glasgow Light Infantry”) the French fell back beaten. One instance of bravery, worth recording here, is that of a piper of the 71st, who, though his thigh was shattered by a musket shot, played on bravely, sitting on his knapsack, exclaiming, “Deil hae me, lads, if ye shall want music!”

Again, owing to Burrard’s want of dash, the final counter attack was checked, and the French withdrew in fair order; but though Crawford’s brigade had hardly been engaged, and a vigorous pursuit was rightly urged by Wellesley, Dalrymple again determined to await the arrival of Moore, and so the chance was lost. For this battle the regiments already mentioned as being engaged at Roliça, as well as the 2nd, 20th, 43rd, 50th, and 52nd, bear the name of Vimiera on their colours.

But though the English army thus delayed, Junot thought the game was up. He entered into negotiations for the abandonment of Portugal, and by the “Convention of Cintra” the fortresses were to be given up, and the French troops transported to France in the vessels of the Russian fleet for a time blockaded in the Tagus by a British fleet.

Meanwhile Moore, landing at Maceira Bay, had joined the army, the whole of which finally marched to Lisbon.

The convention was bitterly condemned in England, though Napoleon thought she had concluded a good bargain. By it Portugal had been temporarily freed, and a good base of operations, with good harbours, was obtained for further efforts. None the less both Dalrymple and Burrard were practically retired, and the supreme command was now open for the future Duke of Wellington when the time came. But scapegoats were wanted, if only to please the irresponsible and irrepressible home critics.

“But when Convention sent his handywork, Pens, tongues, feet, hands, combined in wild uproar; Mayor, aldermen, laid down the uplifted fork; The bench of bishops half forgot to snore; Stern Cobbett, who for one whole week forbore To question aught, once more with transport leapt, And bit his devilish quill again and swore With foe such treaty never should be kept. Then burst the blatant beast, and raged, and roared, and slept.”[34]

For a brief space, matters were quiescent. But Napoleon fully recognised the gravity of the situation, and saw that a Spanish rising might become a grave menace to France. He even induced his ally, the Czar, to address King George a letter, asking him to make peace “in the name of humanity”! It was like “Satan reproving sin,” and produced no result; so he himself therefore took the matter in hand. He re-invaded Spain to re-instate Joseph on the Spanish throne. He defeated the Spanish armies, to be met by the advance of the army under Moore, who had succeeded to the command after the Convention of Cintra, had landed at Lisbon, and was to be reinforced by Sir David Baird, who had reached Corunna with a force of some ten thousand men.

It was arranged that the two divisions should concentrate at Salamanca, but there were many difficulties in the way. The point of union, or concentration, was too close to the enemy to be safe. There was Spanish and Portuguese opposition, want of money on the one hand; on the other, a country to traverse which was ill provided with roads, and those of the worst character. Hence Moore still further subdivided his command. The cavalry and artillery and heavy baggage were to move by Elvas on Salamanca, whither Baird was also directed; the remainder in two columns, one by Almeida, the other by Alcantara, and thence by Ciudad Rodrigo to Salamanca; while, in addition to this separation, the columns themselves were further subdivided into sub-units, separated by intervals in the columns of march, thus greatly increasing their depth and lessening their power of concentration for battle. Moore’s difficulties increased rather than lessened as the advance continued. The Spanish, profuse of promises of assistance, were slow in fulfilling them. The transport was notoriously insufficient and inefficient. The inhabitants themselves, strangely enough, were by no means enthusiastic to their allies and would-be deliverers. The Spanish armies had been successively beaten, and were much disorganised. There was nothing for it but retreat really, though Moore made a last desperate effort to retrieve matters, trusting to the glowing but untrue reports as to the enthusiastic resistance the Madrileños were prepared to make, and continued his advance to Madrid. The idea was more than risky. The capital was already in French hands; Lefevre had already, by a movement towards Talavera, seriously endangered his retreat to Portugal. The weather was most severe, the local supplies of the smallest.

Still he attempted to engage Soult, whose corps was somewhat weak and the bulk of whose cavalry were about Sahagun. Baird was directed on Mayorga; Moore himself moved on Saldaña, and the 10th and 15th Light Cavalry, by a night march, engaged the enemy at Sahagun, the latter regiment won the right to carry the name on its battle-roll. It is the only cavalry regiment so distinguished. This fully roused the energies of Napoleon. He determined to attempt the complete destruction of the British force. Soult from the north, through Astorga, Lefevre from the south by Talavera, and the main army under his own command by the Escurial Pass, were to close in and surround Moore.

The celebrated “Retreat to Corunna” commenced. Moore was to change his base from Lisbon to Corunna, and began by falling back on Castro Gonzalo (at Benevente) and Baird was retiring on Valencia (towns on the river Esla) to unite with him at Astorga; and at both Mayorga and Castro Gonzalo skirmishes occurred with the French cavalry which were highly creditable to the British. Napoleon pursued as rapidly as the state of the weather, with deep snow, would permit; but, recalled to France on the 1st January 1809, he left to Soult the task of “driving the leopard into the sea.” While in supreme command, the emperor had infused his own boundless energy into the army, and had marched a force of fifty thousand men over snowclad passes and in bitter weather some two hundred miles in ten days! Many brilliant skirmishes were carried out by the English cavalry at Mayorga, Benevente (where General Lefebvre Desnouettes was taken prisoner), and at Constantine, and notoriously that by the 10th Hussars at Calcabellos; and an attempt was made to induce the enemy to attack at Lugo, but it only resulted in a skirmish and not a battle, and the dismal retreat was continued by Betanzos on Corunna. By this time the army was completely demoralised. Repeated orders had been issued, but seem to have been of little effect. At Bembribee, for example, the men broke into the wine vaults, and drunkenness reigned; shops were broken into and plundered there and elsewhere. The sufferings were extreme. Soldiers, women, and children lay down in the snow by the line of march to die. It being winter, fords were deep, and men had to cross them, and march in their wet clothes under storms of rain, wind, and sleet.

Guns had to be abandoned, and, like the military chest on one occasion, thrown over precipices to avoid capture; and horses were shot, as there was no food for them. The “stars in their courses” fought against Moore. Even the precautions taken at Lugo to carry out a night march failed, for the wind blew down the bundles of straw that had been placed to mark the roads, and bridges that should have been destroyed were left standing.

Little wonder then that the troops hailed the sight of the sea at Corunna with cheers, though it was three days after their arrival under the walls of the little fortress before the transports dropped anchor in the harbour. But the retreat was over, and the army stood at bay. With all their unquestionable indiscipline and insubordination on the march, those who were left had not lost the fighting spirit. It was either victory, or capitulation, or a most disastrous embarkation; and the army played for the first and won. Soult had twenty thousand men flushed with the feeling of success to engage the remnants of Moore’s army, barely fifteen thousand strong.

The stores and magazines having been destroyed, and the horses killed, the non-combatants and all the guns except nine six-pounders embarked. The regiments, too, would have followed, but Soult prepared for attack, and the army faced him, with backs to the sea.

Soult’s attack was purely frontal, and designed to drive back the supposed demoralised British army on the town. A strong force of cavalry was on the extreme left, next to which was a heavy battery, and on the right three heavy columns descended the ridge, covered by clouds of skirmishers to force the division of Baird and Hope. The 50th again distinguished itself by a vigorous use of the bayonet, and the ensigns bearing the colours fell, to be carried then by the colour-sergeants; while Major Charles Napier, of whom we hear more, later, in Scinde, was wounded and taken prisoner. Baird, too, was severely wounded by a grapeshot, and the 42nd, being short of ammunition, were falling back, when Moore himself led them forward with the stirring appeal, “My brave Highlanders, you have still your bayonets. Remember Egypt;” and so doing fell from his horse with his shoulder shattered by a cannon ball. None the less, he watched the victorious advance of the 42nd into the shambles of Elvina village, which was the key of the fight, until it was necessary to carry him to the rear on a blanket supported by sashes, and soon he breathed his last, with the hope, amply fulfilled, that his country would do him justice.

From the outset, he was despatched with almost certain failure in view. The wide dispersal of the Spanish armies, their notorious want of cohesion and experience, were alone serious dangers; but if there be added to this, a force too small for the purpose, a most indifferent commissariat, and an ill-supplied military chest, the task imposed on Moore was hopelessly impossible. Still, whatever the errors made in the plan of campaign and in the disastrous retreat, Corunna more than compensated for them, and Moore, the guiding spirit of it all, was laid to rest in one of the bastions of the citadel, “with his martial cloak around him,” after the embarkation which followed. On the night of, and morning after, the battle, and when the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers were the last to quit the shore, the French, with chivalric courtesy, kept the tricolour half-mast high, and fired the parting salute of cannon over the grave of Sir John Moore. But the well-known poetry, descriptive of the hero’s funeral, written by Wolfe, is not strictly accurate. There was no need for the “lanterns dimly burning,” as it was already daylight.

The troops engaged were the Grenadier Guards, the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 14th, 20th, 23rd, 26th, 28th, 32nd, 36th, 38th, 42nd, 43rd, 50th, 51st, 52nd, 59th, 71st, 81st, 91st, 92nd, and Rifle Brigade; but as if to give the crowning touch to the sufferings of the campaign, the fleet was scattered by a storm on the way home, and many ships were wrecked.

Military operations on a large scale ceased in Portugal after the return home of Moore’s army. Soult had stormed and occupied Oporto, and a strong army was nominally under the command of Joseph in Madrid and to the west, while Lapisse was at Salamanca and Victor near Talavera.

On the resumption of hostilities, Sir Arthur Wellesley landed with an army at Lisbon. The somewhat disorganised Portuguese troops were to be “wheeled into line” by Beresford, an officer already of some experience, who had recently commanded the rearguard at Corunna, and who soon proved the value, militarily, of his selection as chief in command, though the rank and file were mutinous (and suffered for it) at Braga; and Portugal did not like, to say the least of it, the filling of most of the leading commands by British officers.

Soult had already been somewhat isolated. In front of him were Portuguese levies, with Wellesley at their back; behind him the country swarmed with guerillas; his line of communication with Madrid and the main army by Amaranthe on his left was closed by the Portuguese under Silviera; on his right lay the sea and British ships of war. He had no resource but to abide events, and these came under the personal conduct of Wellesley, though meanwhile Soult had himself freed his line of retreat by defeating Silviera.

Guarding the approaches from Spain by detachments at Abrantes, Santarem, and Alcantara, the English general marched against Oporto; directing Beresford to cross the Douro higher up and threaten the French line of retreat by Amaranthe. After some skirmishes he reached the south bank of the river, where the pontoon bridge had been destroyed, and all the boats removed to the north bank. He decided on effecting the passage of the Douro, _en plein face_ of the enemy, and the tactics adopted are typical of such an operation. He menaced the mouth of the river, where gunboats were collected, as if with the intention of transferring his army by these means to the north bank of the estuary; he despatched Murray to turn the Oporto position at the ford of Avintas, a short distance up stream; he selected a re-entrant bend which was covered by a commanding artillery position at the convent of Serra; he recognised the tactical value of a seminary on the north bank, opposite the re-entrant, and, utilising some boats discovered by Colonel Waters, one of the staff, the troops embarked, and the seminary was occupied. But it must be noticed that “it was not until Sir Arthur had become aware of Murray’s passage higher up the Douro at Avintas,” that he gave the order, “Well! let the men begin to cross.” Then the French awoke, but it was too late. Desperate fighting occurred at the seminary gate, but the artillery on the Serra hill was too powerful, and the enemy began to withdraw from the town, whereupon the Portuguese passed boats across to Villa Nova, immediately opposite the city, where the pontoon bridge had been. There the guards, under Sherbrooke, crossed, and the French retired in haste by the Amaranthe road, to find that place occupied by Beresford; so that Soult had to continue his retreat in disorder, and that by a more circuitous route, pursued by Sherbrooke and harassed by guerillas.

It is interesting here to record that a little later, when Colonel Waters was taken prisoner, he effected his escape when guarded by four gens d’armes, owing to the mere speed of his horse, and this notwithstanding that “he was on a wide plain, and before him and for miles behind him the road was covered with French columns. His hat fell off, and, thus marked, he rode along the flank of the troops; some encouraged and others fired at him, and the gens d’armes, sword in hand, were always close at his heels. Suddenly he broke at full speed between two of the columns, gained a wooded hollow, and, having thus baffled his pursuers, evaded the rear of the enemy’s army, and the third day reached headquarters, where Lord Wellington, knowing his resolute, subtle character, had caused his baggage to be brought, observing that he would not be long absent.”[35]

But danger from the main French army, under Victor and Lapisse, threatened the southern part of Portugal. Hearing of Soult’s disaster, the French fell back again on Talavera, where, facing them, was the ill-disciplined Spanish army under Cuesta. With the latter Wellesley proposed to co-operate and advance against Madrid. So he marched, after making arrangements for the defence of Oporto, by Abrantes and Placencia, where the concentration with the other Portuguese forces available was effected, to Oropesa. There he was joined by Cuesta, an old man of crabbed temper and of great self-conceit, and the combined army advanced on Talavera.

Here Wellesley first had practical experience of the weakness of his Spanish allies. The talk of their generals and officers “was like the maddest boastings of Don Quixote, their conduct in action was that of his squire.”[36] Supplies promised were not forthcoming. Plundering was therefore far from uncommon, and the British army was by no means well disciplined at that time. Even their own general recognised this. “The army,” he writes, “behaves terribly ill. They are a rabble who cannot bear success any more than Sir John Moore’s army could bear failure.... They plunder in all directions.” But they were only very raw soldiers after all, and hungry men are not easily kept in order when food exists, and they can have none of it unless they take it by force. At Talavera, for example, the men had only “a few ounces of wheat in the grain throughout that day” of battle. Cuesta obstinately took his own line, and suffered for it. He would not attack the French, when Wellesley proposed to do so, but went to bed! Taking the initiative himself afterwards, he was roughly handled, and fell back in disorder, but was finally persuaded to make a stand at Talavera. The Allies numbered some 53,000 men, with 100 guns, of which the British counted 19,000. The French, under the nominal supreme command of Joseph, numbered 50,000 seasoned troops and 80 guns. These took the offensive. Early in the day, some 10,000 of the Spanish broke and fled, taking Cuesta with them. Whittingham, formerly the military attaché at Baylen and now brigadier, helped to stop the gap thus made by bringing up some Spanish battalions of stiffer metal. So the army held its own, the French fell sullenly back, and thus ended the first day’s battle.

At daybreak, the combat was renewed, and, owing to the intense heat of the day, somewhat intermittently. During one of these lulls, both combatants ran to assuage their thirst at a stream that ran between the armies, and conversed amicably until the bugler on both sides sounded the “fall in,” and the recent friends met again as foes. So the battle was renewed with varying fortune, until, as evening drew on, the French retired to their original position.

During the latter part of the day a vigorous cavalry charge was made by the 23rd Light Dragoons and Arentschild’s Hussars of the German Legion on the head of a French column, but, meeting with a deep ravine, the former plunged confusedly into it; but they still managed to reach the enemy’s square, where they were practically annihilated, though they undoubtedly paralysed the enemy for a time. But Arentschild, wiser in his generation, wheeled aside, exclaiming, “I will not kill my young mens.”

* * * * *

On the 29th July, Crawford’s Light Division, the 42nd, 52nd, and 95th, joined the army after a march of forty-two miles in twenty-six hours, during which each carried sixty pounds’ weight, in a time of extreme heat, and went on outpost duty at once![37] Verily they were men in those days, when khaki suits and sun-helmets were not.

The victory of Talavera made Sir Arthur my Lord Viscount Wellington, with a pension of £2000 a year, and placed its name on the colours of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, 14th Hussars, 16th Lancers, Coldstream and Scots Guards, the 3rd, 7th, 24th, 29th, 31st, 40th, 45th, 48th, 53rd, 60th, 61st, 66th, 83rd, 87th, and 88th Regiments of the line. A gold medal was also granted to all officers above the rank of lieutenant-colonel, who had served at Corunna and Talavera.

Meanwhile, Soult was again advancing, and now in great force, on Placencia, which place he reached without opposition, as Cuesta had failed to guard the Baños Pass as he had promised. Wellington, unaware of this, marched to it; while the advance of Joseph again rendered a retreat, in presence of such numbers, unavoidable. Cuesta fell back, abandoning both Spanish and British wounded to French generosity, which was not misplaced.

Finally, the Spanish were defeated in a series of small affairs, while Wellington had crossed the Tagus at Arzobespo. Winter quarters were taken up in the valley of the Mondego, when the Spaniards were defending Ciudad Rodrigo on the one hand, and Beresford was covering Almeida on the other; but the cessation of hostilities, in other parts of Europe about this time, enabled Napoleon to pour considerable reinforcements into the Peninsula, and to attempt once again the invasion of Portugal. Then, by the summer of 1810, the French had three corps (Victor, Mortier, and Sebastiani) in Andalusia; Joseph, with 24,000 men, in Madrid; and three corps (Ney, Regnier, and Junot), to be united under the “spoiled child of victory,” Massena, who was selected to invade Portugal, and prove that on this occasion, at all events, fortune was going to “spoil the child.” There were three roads by which this invasion could be effected,--from Oporto, from Badajoz, and from Salamanca by Almeida and the Coa. This latter route was watched by Crawford with some of the Light Division.

Here occurred the first skirmishes along the Coa, which were brilliant rather than useful; and the army, falling back before Massena, who captured Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, took up a position on the Busaco Sierra, as much with the view of restoring the morale of troops already becoming disheartened by retreat, as for checking the enemy. “It was, in fine, a political battle, and Wellington afterwards called it a mistake.”[38] The delay in attacking enabled Wellington to further strengthen his position on the ridge, eight miles long, the flanks of which rested on the Mondego on the right, and on some precipitous ravines on the left; and the French attack on it was conducted with the greatest boldness and impetuosity.

Though strategically unnecessary, the battle is interesting tactically, as showing clearly the method of fighting frequently adopted, that of the defensive; and it compares the French columnar formation--the ranks of the companies being three deep, covered in their advance by skirmishers--with the linear formations of Frederick the Great and Wellington. Napier’s description of Busaco is singularly vivid:--

“Crawford, in a happy mood for command, made masterly dispositions. The tableland between him and the convent was sufficiently scooped to conceal the 43rd and 52nd Regiments drawn up in line; and a quarter of a mile behind them, on higher ground and close to the convent, the German infantry appeared to be the only solid line of resistance on this part of the position. In front of the British regiments, some rocks, overhanging the descent, furnished natural embrasures in which Ross’s guns were placed; and beyond them, the riflemen and Caçadores were placed as skirmishers, covering the slope of the mountain. While it was still dark, a straggling musketry fire was heard in the deep valley; and when the light broke, three heavy masses, detached from the Sixth Corps, were seen to enter the wood below and throw forward a profusion of skirmishers. One of them, under General Marchand, emerging from the dark chasm and following the main road, seemed intent to turn the right of the Light Division; a second, under Loison, made straight up the face of the mountain against the front; the third remained in reserve. Simon’s brigade, leading Loison’s attack, ascended with a wonderful alacrity; and though the light troops plied it unceasingly with musketry, and the artillery swept through it from the first to the last section, its order was never disturbed nor its speed in the least abated. Ross’s guns were worked with incredible quickness, yet the range was palpably contracted every round. The enemy’s shot came singing up in a sharper key; the English skirmishers, breathless and begrimed with powder, rushed over the edge of the ascent, the artillery drew back, and the victorious cries of the French were heard within a few yards of the summit.

“Crawford, standing alone on one of the rocks, had been intently watching the progress of the attack; and now, with a shrill tone, ordered the two regiments in reserve to charge. The next moment, a horrid shout startled the French column, and 1800 British bayonets went sparkling over the brow of the hill. Yet so brave, so hardy were the leading French, that each man of the first section raised his musket, and two officers and ten men fell before them. Not a Frenchman had missed his mark--they could do no more. The head of the column was violently thrown back on the rear, both flanks were overlapped at the same moment by the English wings, then terrible discharges at five yards’ distance shattered the waving mass, and a long track of broken arms and bleeding carcases marked the line of fight.”

At this battle were engaged the 1st, 5th, 9th, 38th, 43rd, 45th, 52nd, 74th, 83rd, 88th, and the Rifle Brigade. During the pursuit and retreat, both armies plundered somewhat, and three men were hanged at Leira by Wellington for this crime; while skirmishes with the rearguard occurred frequently, showing that the armies were still in close touch.

This emphasises the prescience of Wellington in preparing for this emergency. The temporary abandonment of Spain was due entirely to one cause, and that he early and fully recognised. “I have no motive,” he writes, “for withdrawing the British army from Spain, whether of a political or military nature, excepting that which I have stated to you in conversation--namely, a desire to relieve it from the privations of food which it has suffered since the 22nd of last month; privations which have reduced its strength, have destroyed the health of the soldiers, and have rendered the army comparatively inefficient.” Writing after the battle of Talavera, on the 31st July, he says: “It is positively a fact that during the last seven days the British army has not received one-third of its provisions, and that at this moment there are nearly four thousand wounded soldiers dying in hospital from want of common assistance and necessaries,” and this while the Spanish army was well fed. In such a case, even an attempt at embarkation might have been disturbed even more seriously than at Corunna, unless preparations to meet such an emergency were made, let alone the moral effect of such a withdrawal from the Peninsula. Hence, long before, the “lines of Torres Vedras” had been begun, and carried on with the greatest secrecy. Massena was not aware, apparently, of their existence. Those who did know, thought the works were merely for the protection of the capital, and to cover the embarkation if decided on. They were rather too extensive for either. They were in three lines, covering the five roads converging on Lisbon; the outer line was twenty miles from Lisbon, and twenty-nine miles long, extending from the Tagus to the mouth of the Zizambre; the second line, eight miles in rear, was twenty-four miles long, equally strongly fortified; the third line, which was to cover embarkation, enclosed an entrenched camp, with Fort St. Julian, a place of strength. In all there were one hundred and fifty redoubts, and six hundred guns; and British marines joined hands with the army and Portuguese in defence, while British gunboats guarded the flanks of the Torres Vedras lines.

Behind them, in all, were 130,000 combatants, of whom 70,000 were regulars.

Massena made sundry partial efforts against the lines, and then fell back on a fortified position at Santarem; while Junot, after capturing Badajoz and besieging Cadiz, had left Victor to continue the siege, and moved to join his chief; but he was turned back by the news that General Graham had, by transferring a force from Cadiz by sea, assailed the French lines at Barrosa. The Grenadiers, Scots and Coldstream Guards, and the 28th, 67th, 87th, and Rifle Brigade distinguished themselves in the battle, and Sergeant Masterton, of the 87th, captured the first eagle taken in the Peninsular War. Thus to their former nickname of the “Faugh-a-ballagh,” or “Clear-the-way Boys,” was possibly added that of the “Aiglers.” The battle had lasted but one and a half hours when the French retired.

In the meantime, Massena was steadily getting weaker, while his immediate adversary was getting reinforced; and he therefore determined on a retreat, which was “marked by a barbarity seldom equalled, and never surpassed.”[39] Wherever they bivouacked, “the scene was such as might have been looked for in a camp of predatory Tartars, rather than in that of civilised people. Food and forage, and skins of wine, and clothes, and church vestments, books and guitars, and all the bulkier articles of wasteful spoil were heaped together in their huts, with the planks and doors of the habitations which they had demolished. Some of the men, retaining amidst this brutal service the characteristic activity and cleverness of their nation, fitted up their tents with hangings from their last scene of pillage, with a regard to comfort hardly to have been expected in their situation, and a love of gaiety only to be found in Frenchmen.” It was not for four days that Wellington was aware that the French were retreating; but as soon as he could concentrate, he commenced a pursuit, in which a series of brilliant skirmishes and rearguard actions were fought at Pombal, Redinha, Condeixa, Cazel Nova, and Foz d’Aronce.

Beresford was detached to besiege Badajoz. At Sabugal, which Wellington describes as “one of the most glorious actions British troops were ever engaged in,” the 43rd, with four companies of riflemen, practically checked the whole of Regnier’s corps, with artillery and cavalry added, and even captured one of the enemy’s howitzers.

These operations resulted in Massena’s abandonment of Portugal, and his retirement by Ciudad Rodrigo to Salamanca, having lost thirty thousand men since he had crossed the frontier a year before.

Throughout the whole of this campaign, the greatly, preponderating numbers of the French had been minimised by the usual jealousy and want of co-operation between the French marshals. Only Napoleon’s master-hand could keep them in hand, and make them work to a common end. The difference between the conduct of the war from the time he advanced by Vittoria on Madrid and dispersed the Spanish armies, and that after his return to France, is too marked to require comment.



The previous campaign had practically terminated with the French evacuation of Portugal. Only Almeida and Badajoz on and about the frontier line were held, and blocked an advance eastward into Spain; but beyond the former in that direction lay the stronger fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo. The two first were besieged or blockaded, by Spencer at the former, and Beresford at the latter, Wellington lending aid to either wing as required; and both sieges brought on a battle, that in the north, Fuentes d’Onoro, where Wellington commanded, and Albuhera in the south, where Beresford had charge.

Massena, with 40,000 infantry, 5000 cavalry, and 36 guns, moved towards Almeida, and was met by Wellington, with a force of 32,000 infantry, 1200 cavalry, and 42 guns, at Fuentes d’Onoro, but the Portuguese were of little value. Supplies had as usual been deficient, and ammunition was wanting.

The battle presents few features of professional interest. As the Light Division fell back before the advancing French, there was a skirmish at Gallegos on the 2nd May, and at Fuentes d’Onoro on the 3rd May; but the real battle there was not fought until the 5th, and was of a very desperate character. To say the least, it was indecisive, though the French claim the victory, as, though they did not themselves advance, Wellington retired to re-form. But Massena neither raised the siege of Almeida, nor advanced farther into Portugal. It is rather in personal incidents that this “soldiers’ battle” is noteworthy. Here it was that the tactical conditions of artillery were reversed, and the guns charged through a French column. “A great commotion was observed in their main body; men and horses were seen to close, with confusion and tumult, towards one point, where a thick dust and loud cries, and the sparkling of blades and the flashing of pistols, indicated some extraordinary occurrence. Suddenly the multitude became violently agitated, an English shout pealed high and clear, the mass was rent asunder, and Norman Ramsay burst forth, sword in hand, at the head of his battery; his horses, breathing fire, stretched like greyhounds along the plain, the guns bounded behind them like things of no weight, and the mounted gunners followed close, with heads bent low and pointed weapons in desperate career.”[40]

Here, too, the Connaught Rangers, stigmatised by Picton, because of their habit of plundering, as “the greatest blackguards in the army,” drove the French out of Fuentes d’Onoro with terrible loss, in a gallant charge which even Picton admired. “Well done, brave 88th,” he exclaimed, as they returned; and in reply to the remark made by some of the men, “Are we the greatest blackguards in the army now?” responded with a smile, “No, no! you are brave and gallant soldiers; this day has redeemed your character.” Besides the 88th, the 14th Hussars and 16th Lancers, the 24th, 42nd, 43rd, 45th, 51st, 52nd, 60th, 71st, 74th, 79th, 83rd, 85th, 92nd, and Rifle Brigade shared in the glories of the day. Shortly afterwards, Bremner evacuated Almeida without being opposed by the 2nd Queen’s, whose regimental badge is the Paschal Lamb, or the 4th King’s Own, whose badge is the Lion, and hence arose the following doggerel, the authorship of which is unknown:--

“The ‘Lambs’ were asleep, The ‘Lions’ were at play, The Eagle spread his wings And ’tween them flew away.”

The battle led to the fall of Massena, who was recalled to France, and Marmont took his place in command of the northern army. Ten days after Fuentes d’Onoro, the news reached Wellington of Soult’s advance against Beresford; but though he started to reinforce him with the 3rd and 7th Divisions, he was not in time to share in the bloodiest battle of the whole of the Peninsula, that of Albuhera, in which Beresford, with the Spanish troops under Blake and Castanos, fought to cover his siege of Badajoz, with the grave anxiety lest defeat should lead to a fresh invasion of Portugal. Out of the 30,000 men which composed the Allied force, but 7000 were British, and these were the 3rd Dragoon Guards, the 3rd, 7th, 23rd, 28th, 29th, 31st, 34th, 39th, 48th, 57th, 60th, and 66th Regiments; and of them only 1800 men were unwounded when the fire ceased.

The Spaniards on the right were first attacked, and soon gave way, and for the rest of this short four hours’ fight, the brunt of battle lay with the British contingent. The men behaved with valour extraordinary even in those days of hard, continuous fighting; and there was heavy need for it. The Allied right was practically _en l’air_, with sufficient cover close to a dominating hill, which was not held, to make a flank attack easy. Against this Girard, with the 5th Corps and Latour-Maubourg’s Cavalry, were early moved.

Here, when the Spanish broke, was moved Colborne’s Division, one brigade of which had three of its regiments, the 3rd, 66th, and 48th, almost destroyed, and only the 31st had time to form square. There was bitter fighting, round the colours of the Buffs especially, and confusion reigned supreme for a moment in the right wing. But soon the 29th pressed into the fight, and on them the Spaniards somewhat rallied. As their colonel, Duckworth, fell, he cried, “Die hard, my men, die hard!” whence comes their honoured nickname of the “Die-hards.” Richly they deserved it, for out of 25 officers 22 fell, of 570 rank and file 425 were killed or wounded, and the king’s colour bore thirty bullet wounds.[41]

The battle was almost lost when Colonel Hardinge on his own responsibility called up Cole’s Brigades, one of which was composed of the 7th and 23rd Fusilier Regiments, and thrust him into the confused fight on the right, while Allen turned round to regain Albuhera, which had been abandoned. The fresh reinforcements were irresistible, though the fire was terrible. “The Fusilier Battalion, struck by the iron tempest, reeled and staggered like sinking ships; but, suddenly and sternly recovering, they closed on their terrible enemies, and then was seen with what a strength and majesty the British soldier fights. In vain did Soult with voice and gesture animate his Frenchmen, in vain did the hardiest veterans break from the crowded columns and sacrifice their lives to gain time for the mass to open out on such a fair field; in vain did the mass itself bear up, and, fiercely striving, fire indiscriminately upon friends and foes, while the horsemen, hovering on the flank, threatened to charge the advancing line. Nothing could stop that astonishing infantry. No sudden burst of undisciplined valour, no nervous enthusiasm weakened the stability of their order; their flashing eyes were bent on the dark columns on their front, their measured tread shook the ground, their dreadful volleys swept away the head of every formation, their deafening shouts overpowered the dissonant cries that broke from all parts of the tumultuous crowd, as, slowly, and with a horrid carnage, it was pushed by the incessant vigour of the attack to the farthest edge of the hill. In vain did the French reserves mix with the struggling multitude to sustain the fight, their efforts only increased the irremediable confusion; and the mighty mass, breaking off like a loosened cliff, went headlong down the steep.”

The losses of individual regiments were enormous. In the 23rd so many officers had fallen that Corporal Robinson brought his captain’s company out of action; and the 57th left on the field 23 officers and 400 men out of a total of 570. For this it bears the laurel wreath, only carried by the six Minden regiments.

So victory remained with the Allies, though little aid had been given by the Spaniards. The French retreated on Seville in fair order, having captured several colours, one gun, and some prisoners. Albuhera was essentially a soldiers’ battle. It was won by sheer hard fighting.

The army now turned to renew the siege of Badajoz, the capture of which, as well as Ciudad, was essential for further offensive operations. But though several daring efforts were made to storm the breaches made, the siege had to be raised on the approach of the combined forces of Marmont and Soult.

After much manœuvring, marching, and counter-marching on both sides, during which, at the brilliant little affair of El Bodon, the 5th charged the French cavalry with fire and bayonet; and at Arroyo des Molinos, where Girard was surprised by Hill, who, after a forced march, made a night attack, and the 92nd stormed the village to the somewhat appropriate tune of “Hey, Johnny Cope, are ye waukin’ yet.” The brilliant action resulted in the dispersal of the corps, with the loss of all its artillery, baggage, and military chest, at a cost of but a few killed and wounded; but though the 9th and 13th Light Dragoons, as well as the 92nd, 50th, 71st, and 34th took part in the action, only the standards of the last-named regiment bear the name of Arroyo des Molinos, the sole case of a battle _not_ a general action being inscribed on the colours. For capturing the 34th Battalion of French infantry there, the 34th long wore a red and white pompon; and it is said, when the French battalion surrendered, the French officers embraced their English confrères with the words, “Ah, messieurs, nous sommes des frères, nous sommes du trente-quatrième régiment tous deux. Vous êtes des braves. Les Anglais se battent toujours avec loyauté et traitent bien leurs prisonniers.”

There were skirmishes elsewhere, as at Tarifa, where the 47th, 87th, and 95th Regiments successively defended the breach, and where the 13th Light Dragoons, the 28th, 34th, 50th, 71st, and 92nd Regiments were engaged; but this was only preparatory to the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, both of which were stormed, and fell. Their capture, with the seizure of the bridge of Alcantara (which improved the communications) and the destruction of that of Almanza (which severed the direct communication between Marmont and Soult), finally opened the doorway into Spain. In the attack on Ciudad the 5th, 43rd, 45th, 52nd, 60th, 74th, 77th, 83rd, 88th, 94th, and Rifle Brigade shared, and the men plunged into wild excesses in the sack which followed, and which the officers seemed powerless to check. It cost the Allies a total loss of 1702, including Crawford of the Light Division, who was killed, while Colborne, Gurwood (who afterwards edited the Wellington Despatches), and Major George Napier, all of the 52nd, were wounded. But Marmont’s siege train was captured.

At Badajoz, whither Wellington had proceeded after Fuentes, curiously enough the garrison was never summoned to surrender--an omission for which many French writers unreservedly blame him, as being an act contrary to the usages of war, and savouring of a feeling of revenge. Be that as it may, the place was invested on the 17th March, while Hill covered the siege against Soult, and on the 7th April was stormed, with the terrible loss of nearly 5000 men. The defence was most gallant and desperate. For two hours the storming column tried in vain to mount the principal breach, defended by mines, _chevaux de frise_ of sword-blades, and a close fire of musketry, grape, and hand-grenades, and then fell back sullenly to re-form. But, as in other cases, though this the “real attack” had failed, the “false attack” had succeeded, and the 4th, followed by other regiments, penetrated into the town by escalade. So the place surrendered, and its fall was succeeded by a butchery more dreadful than that of Ciudad. Men were “literally drowned in brandy.” Soldiers and camp--followers behaved equally disgracefully. For two days and nights there seems to have been no check to the horrors. There was nothing but “shameless rapacity, brutal intemperance, savage lust, cruelty and murder. Shrieks and piteous lamentations, groans, shouts, imprecations, the hissing of fires bursting from the houses, the crashing of doors and windows, and the reports of muskets used in violence, resounded through the town.”

The plan of the siege itself was by no means a brilliant effort of genius, and the cost in human life serious. But for the fortunate action of the 4th, the storming column must have retired with a loss of 3500 men, having effected nothing. The only excuse for the storm of so strong a place after so brief and imperfect a siege was the necessity for breaking open this doorway into Spain. The end was believed at the time to have justified the means, no matter how horrible. The best excuse is, that the British army was too weak to mask it, dared not delay for a prolonged siege, which might have led to a French concentration in overwhelming numbers, and could not pass it by. It was the old argument of necessity. The regiments who shared in the honours and dishonours of Badajoz were the 4th, 5th, 7th, 23rd, 27th, 30th, 38th, 40th, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 48th, 52nd, 60th, 74th, 77th, 83rd, 88th, 94th, and Rifle Brigade.

The affairs of Almanza and Alcantara have been already referred to, and other means were now taken to distract the attention of the French. The guerillas, more and more exasperated, renewed their efforts at annoyance, and never were they more successful. It is even said it took some thousands of men to escort a simple despatch! Under cover of all this, Wellington moved on Salamanca, and after a brief delay captured the forts the French had erected to guard the town, and pushed forward to the Douro, behind which Marmont had retired, holding all the passages. Then came a series of brilliant manœuvres, in which the French general once marched fifty miles without a check, and finally sought to turn the Allied right, so as to seize the road to Ciudad Rodrigo. Both armies for many hours marched parallel to, and within sight of, one another, and so marked was the early success of the French in this manœuvring, that on the 21st, Wellington had more than half decided to retreat. But the next day fortune favoured him. Marmont, in his anxiety to close the Ciudad road, overreached himself, the left wing got separated from the right, and Wellington, seizing the opportunity, poured in at the gap, and in forty minutes the French left wing was badly beaten; and but that the Spanish had abandoned the guard of the Alba ford, the whole army must have been to all intents and purposes destroyed. Many regiments, both of horse and foot, shared in the glories of the battle of Salamanca. It was the most skilful of any of Wellington’s victories, as showing a tactical appreciation of the situation, which is often not so apparent elsewhere. He understood the selection of a good position, and how to encourage the fighting power of his men, to which, in most cases, the success of his battle may be chiefly attributed. At Salamanca, though he behaved with skill, the adversaries’ mistake was so glaring as to be apparent to a general of far meaner capacity.

The troops engaged had been the 5th Dragoon Guards, the 3rd, 11th, 14th, and 16th Light Cavalry Regiments, and the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 23rd, 24th, 27th, 30th, 32nd, 34th, 36th, 38th, 40th, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 48th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd, 58th, 60th, 61st, 68th, 74th, 79th, 83rd, 88th, 94th, and Rifle Brigade. The result of the operations so far was, that Marmont, with 42,000 men and 74 guns, had, in twelve days, marched 200 miles, fought three combats and one general action, and had lost 1 marshal, 7 generals, and 12,500 men, with 2 eagles, several colours, and 12 guns.

[Illustration: _BATTLE of SALAMANCA_

_22^{nd} July 1812_]

Pursuing Clauset’s rearguard through Valladolid, which fell back on Burgos, to be watched by Clinton, the victorious general entered Madrid in triumph, and there his temporary success suffered a check. There was the usual complaint; want of supplies and want of cash. The “troops are now five months in arrears,” he writes, “and we are in debt in all parts of the country.” Clauset, reorganised, had reoccupied Valladolid, and Wellington decided on turning against him, and, if possible, capturing Burgos. But the preparations were notoriously meagre, the defence bold; so that after five assaults the attempt was abandoned, and Wellington was compelled to once more retreat to Portugal. The army had become greatly demoralised by the failure of the Burgos siege. While the assaults had failed, all the sorties had been more or less successful. There were skirmishes in the retreat, but the conduct of the troops was, with the general exception of the Guards and the Light Division, bad. As in Moore’s retreat, drunkenness prevailed. At Torquemada 12,000 men were for a time useless. Doubtless the hardships were severe. “Sometimes divisions were moved too soon, more frequently too late, and kept standing on wet ground, in the rain, for two hours, perishing with cold, waiting the order to move. Their clothes were seldom dry for six hours together, and during the latter part of the retreat continually wet; sometimes they were bivouacked in a swamp when better ground was near, they lay down upon the wet ground, fell asleep from mere exhaustion, were roused to receive their meat, and had then no means of dressing it. The camp kettles had been sent on, or by some error were some miles in the rear, or the mules which carried them had foundered on the way, and no fire could be kindled on wet ground, with wet materials, and under a heavy rain.”[42]

Meanwhile, the French were concentrating in superior numbers; and, with more and more indiscipline and suffering, the army, with a loss of 9000 men and much baggage, finally encamped exhausted under the walls of Ciudad Rodrigo.

The first serious attempt to reconquer Spain had failed, save for the moral effect of the occupation of Madrid, the defeat of the French at Salamanca, and the restriction of the French armies now to the northern part of Spain. It was, none the less, the beginning of the end.

That end, the “deliverance of Spain,” dawned in the early days of 1813, when all the Allied armies were reorganised, and had recovered their tone.

Napoleon, too, was no longer in a position to help the armies whose opponents were bleeding his empire to death. Russia first, and then united Europe, were keeping his hands far too full to attend to a danger almost nearer home. The last French campaign in the Peninsula was like that in Central Europe in the same year, 1813, a campaign of despair. The numbers on both sides were more equal than they had ever been. The Allies had learned in the bitter school of dreadful experience, and were better organised and somewhat more homogeneous and concentrated than their opponents.

The general plan of Wellington’s last campaign here was to directly threaten the French communications with France. It will be remembered that there were but two real lines of invasion from that country, one at the east, the other at the west of the Pyrenees. So, threatening the French right, the strong line of the Douro, behind which the French army lay, was turned at Toro. They fell back behind Burgos, therefore, and then behind the line of the Ebro. This, again, was turned at its upper reaches by a most difficult march. “Neither,” says Napier, “the winter gullies, nor the ravines, nor the precipitate passes amongst the rocks retarded even the march of the artillery--where horses could not draw, men hauled; when the wheels would not roll, the guns were let down or lifted up with ropes--six days they toiled unceasingly, and on the seventh (that is, 20th June), they burst like raging streams from every defile, and went foaming into the basin of Vittoria.”

* * * * *

So the battle area of Vittoria was reached, and Joseph stood to fight on a front parallel to his line of retreat on Bayonne. As Wellington had been _strategically_ turning the right of the general line of defence so far, so in the battle he _tactically_ continued the same idea, and the result was complete. “Never,” says Napier, “was an army more hardly used by its commander, and never was a victory more complete”; while General Gazan writes that the French “lost all their equipage, all their guns, all their treasure, all their papers, so that no man could prove even how much pay was due to him; generals and subordinate officers alike were reduced to the clothes on their backs, and most of them were barefooted.”

[Illustration: _Private 20^{th} Reg^{t} 1812._]

The following regiments were engaged in the battle:--3rd and 5th Dragoon Guards, 3rd, 14th, 15th, 16th, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 20th, 23rd, 24th, 27th, 28th, 31st, 38th, 39th, 40th, 43rd, 45th, 47th, 48th, 50th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd, 57th, 58th, 59th, 60th, 61st, 66th, 68th, 74th, 79th, 83rd, and 84th.

The deliverance of Spain was nearly complete. Only the extreme north-west of Spain and that close to the frontier was left to Joseph, erstwhile King of all Spain. Even this was soon abandoned. Joseph fell back by Pampeluna, and this, with San Sebastian, was blockaded. The former eventually capitulated, and the latter, which was to furnish a new base of operations for Wellington, now too far from Portugal to use his former base, was stormed by the 1st, 4th, 9th, 38th, 47th, and 59th, and fell. Desperate as was the gallantry of the troops, especially of the 52nd, the other side of the picture showed horrors and utter indiscipline, far worse even than those which disgraced the storm of previous sieges. The soldiery perpetrated villainies which would have shamed the most ferocious barbarians of antiquity. At Ciudad Rodrigo intoxication and plunder had been the principal object; at Badajoz lust and murder were added to rapine and drunkenness; but at San Sebastian the direst, the most revolting cruelty was added to the catalogue of crimes.[43]

After sundry operations, including the series of extraordinary combats classed as the “Battles of the Pyrenees,” in which the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 11th, 20th, 23rd, 24th, 27th, 28th, 31st, 34th, 36th, 39th, 40th, 42nd, 45th, 48th, 50th, 51st, 53rd, 57th, 58th, 60th, 61st, 66th, 68th, 71st, 74th, and 79th took part, the lines of the Bidassoa, Nivelle, and Nive were successively forced. In these actions the above regiments took part, as well as the 5th, 9th, 20th, 32nd, 38th, 43rd, 46th, 52nd, 62nd, 82nd, 83rd, 87th, 88th, 91st, 94th, 84th, 85th, and Rifle Brigade and 16th Lancers.

Finally, after further actions at Bayonne and the passage of the Adour, the last important battles took place at Orthez and Toulouse, and the long war in the south was practically at an end.

At Orthez were the 14th Hussars, and the 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 20th, 23rd, 24th, 27th, 28th, 31st, 32nd, 34th, 36th, 39th, 40th, 42nd, 45th, 48th, 50th, 51st, 52nd, 58th, 60th, 61st, 66th, 68th, 71st, 74th, 82nd, 83rd, 87th, 88th, 91st, 92nd, 94th, and Rifle Brigade. There had been, in addition, minor actions at Bordeaux and Bayonne, and at the latter place war rockets were used for the first time in the British Army; but these actions effected little, and were the last expiring struggles of the Peninsular War. For a time, at least, there was peace in Europe.

The British marched across France, and embarked for England and America. The Spanish and Portuguese armies retired to their respective territories, and the French armies dispersed over France. The now fully established standing army of Great Britain had, notwithstanding the indiscipline and violence that at times unfortunately characterised its fighting, earned a reputation which it has never lost. Its undaunted courage had broken down altogether the civilian fear of an army. It was for the future only to be regarded economically or financially, not as a possible danger to the public peace. There was scarcely a family, hardly a village throughout the land which had not to mourn, but mourn with pride, the loss of some of its sons. It had earned the respect of foe as well as friend. It had dauntlessly shown that Englishmen were not afraid to die. This spirit is touchingly referred to by Thorburn in some poetry relating to a drummer boy of the 43rd, a regiment that, now linked with the 52nd, and, like it, in Peninsular days a component part of the famous Light Division, distinguished itself from the Coa to the Pyrenees. As the story is told, it is that of an old grenadier who, in the rush of the charge which then formed the most important element in battle, as fire and the bullet do now, was wounded, but struggled on to find in his way

“’Twas a little drummer boy, with his side Torn terribly with shot; But still he feebly beat his drum, As though the wound were not.

But when the Mameluke’s wild horse Burst with a scream and cry, He said, ‘O men of the Forty-third, _Teach me the way to die_.’”

And so the story goes on to tell how the wounded grenadier, with a bullet in his hip, pressed on into the fight, to fall himself later. The story is, of course, probably mythical, but there is a certain _ring_ in it that shows the spirit of those old fighting days.

Equally mythical is that of the drummer boy and Sergeant Matcham in the Ingoldsby “Legend of Salisbury Plain,” where “one Mr. Jones,” hearing certain groans, states--

“That he followed the moans, and, led by their tones, Found a raven a-picking a drummer boy’s bones! Then the Colonel wrote word, From the King’s _Forty-third_, That the story was certainly true that they heard.”

It must not be imagined that the final result of the war on the French side was other than creditable in the highest degree to Soult. No one recognises this more than Napier, and his eulogy is worth quoting.

“Vast combinations, inexhaustible personal resources, a clear judgment, unshaken firmness and patience under difficulties, unwavering fidelity to his sovereign and his country, are what no man can justly deny him. In this celebrated campaign of nine months, although counteracted by the treacherous hostility of many of his countrymen, he repaired and enlarged the works of five strong places, and entrenched five great camps with such works as Marius himself would not have disdained; once he changed his line of operations, and, either attacking or defending, delivered twenty-four battles and combats. Defeated in all, he fought the last as fiercely as the first; remaining unconquered in mind, and still intent upon renewing the struggle, when peace came to put a stop to his prodigious efforts. These efforts were fruitless, because Suchet renounced him; because the people of the south were apathetic, and fortune was adverse; because he was opposed to one of the greatest generals of the world at the head of unconquerable troops.”

Wellington, patient under difficulties, had fully succeeded in his task of freeing the Peninsula from French domination. And if at Salamanca he showed a tactical skill which stands out in contrast to some of his other victories, the final campaign of Vittoria shows a strategical grasp which is not, in the opinion of foreign experts in the art of war, so brilliantly apparent in the years before 1813-14. But one thing may be mentioned, of which many are now ignorant. A common cry among the French throughout the prolonged war was the cruelty with which their prisoners in England were treated. The charge embittered the already bitter contest, and though foreign nations were little better than ourselves, if at all, there was more than a sub-stratum of truth in what was openly proclaimed in France.

However much abuse may have been lavished on France in the time past, and which lives to our shame and sorrow below the surface even now, this is one of the evil heritages of that war-stricken time. This is the recorded story of how the prisoners were treated: “They were consigned in huge batches, like so many convicts, to the hulks at Chatham and Portsmouth, and to inland prisons at Dartmoor and in some rural districts of Scotland. The history of the hulks is one simple tissue of horrors. The Government had no active wish to maltreat its prisoners, but the officials placed in authority over them were often rude, and oftener drunken, and did not understand the character of their guests. Worse than that, they did not care about such understanding; and at the time it was rather patriotic than otherwise to detest a Frenchman. The prisoners were not systematically starved, but they were fed as men-of-war’s men were then victualled--on weevilly biscuit, salt junk, and jury rum. They had no means of cooking their food in their own fashion; they were pent-up between the decks of old vessels, all but deprived of exercise, and denied the commonest appliances of cleanliness. So they had the scurvy, dysentery, typhus, and a host of other ailments; now and then an epidemic would break out among them, and they would die like sheep afflicted by the rot. The most horrible profligacy was rampant on board those floating pandemoniums. The prisoners had nothing whatever to do, and vast numbers of them belonged to the lowest and most ignorant classes. So they swore and gambled, they quarrelled and fought; scarcely a week passed in which some fatal duel did not take place among them. Such were the hulks,--the dreaded _pontons_,--descriptions of which, not much overcharged, were drawn up by the order of Napoleon, and distributed among the French peasantry, in order to inflame their minds against the English.”

Can one wonder at the revengeful feeling that lived afterwards? So Thackeray thought, in telling with marvellous brilliancy the fictional story of that 17th of June in Brussels, when “the cannon of Waterloo began to roar,” when “from morning until past sunset” the sound never ceased, and “it was dark when the cannonading stopped all of a sudden.

“All of us have read of what occurred during that interval. The tale is in every Englishman’s mouth; and you and I who were children when the great battle was won and lost, are never tired of hearing and recounting the history of that famous action. Its remembrance rankles still in the bosoms of millions of the countrymen of those brave men who lost the day. They pant for an opportunity of revenging that humiliation; and if a contest, ending in a victory on their part, should ensue, elating them in their turn, and leaving the cursed legacy of hatred and rage behind to us, there is no end to the so-called glory and shame, and to the alternation of successful and unsuccessful murder, in which two high-spirited nations might engage. Centuries hence we Frenchmen and Englishmen might be boasting and killing each other still, carrying out bravely the devil’s code of honour.” No one who lives now but must most fervently hope that the remembrance of that evil heritage may be buried so deep as never to rise again!



The Peninsular campaigns had, by the process of constantly “pegging away,” to use Abraham Lincoln’s expression during the American Civil War, resulted in sapping the strength of France, and led to the emperor’s deposition. Perhaps it was not the main cause of his fall after all; but it was the one open wound that bled the French to death, when all other districts of Europe were in awe-full peace. The kingdoms and empires of Europe had either successively fallen, or been cowed by the mighty genius of Napoleon. Spain and Portugal, almost the least of these European peoples, had been the only nations who continuously and persistently stood out against his usurpation. It is more than probable that, without England’s aid, even their patriotic stubbornness might have broken down. They wanted active help, practical sympathy, and money. All these England provided, taking the fact that she was not then very rich and populous, without stint. How her efforts to aid in the great aim of crushing the dominance of France, doubtless through motives that were based on natural and national selfishness, were responded to, the whole of the history of the Peninsular War clearly shows. There were only barren honours to the chiefs, utter and cruel ingratitude throughout to the men who, ill fed and scornfully treated, fought the battles of Spanish generals and soldiers, who were hardly worth fighting with or for. Omit England’s part in the great Peninsular struggle, and there is scarcely a single case in which the Spanish or the Portuguese either fought a good fight or played a straight game. In both countries France had friends, and in both countries, therefore, were traitors to their own cause, and still more to that of their British allies.

Whatever was the result of the hard work and fighting in the Peninsula from 1808 to 1814, the British certainly owe no debt of gratitude to either Spain or Portugal. The utter ingratitude of both nations towards the insular power who alone of all the nations of Europe gave them practical help, is more than apparent. The Iberian Peninsula was, and is, full of the graves of brave men who fought to save a country that had not the intelligence to save itself. Its coffers were filled with hard-earned British gold, which they had not the grace to acknowledge.

But the long war did one thing. It trained British officers and British soldiers to fight the last great fight in Europe for many a year.

Though the army at Waterloo contained but a proportion of the Peninsular veterans, the glory of the work they had done, the conviction of their own military masterfulness, the memory of what the army had been there, was a great factor in the final struggle against the greatest military power in Europe, when that final struggle came.

The teaching and the glory of the Peninsula made raw soldiers fight at Quatre Bras and Waterloo as brave men should. Peninsular victories had wiped out the remembrance of many years of either only partial success or actual defeat, and had carried the enthusiastic morale all armies should have back to the best days of Blenheim and Ramilies.

Thus things were when the return from Elba was devised, and, “with the violets in the spring,” Napoleon returned to France. At the moment of his return the French army numbered in round numbers about 150,000 men, and this he speedily increased to 200,000, a small body to meet the huge masses that were putting themselves in motion for his destruction. There were the Russians about Poland, numbering 280,000; the Austrians were 250,000 strong; Prussia alone could furnish 200,000 men; and, in addition, there were the minor German states, as well as Portugal and Spain. Holland and Belgium were not to be firmly reckoned on in case of disaster, but, stiffened by the British and Prussians, they might find it difficult to avoid casting in their lot with the other nations, and even assume an enthusiasm that possibly was only superficial. To stand, centrally situated, on the defensive, was but to invite disaster; and the time required for the close concentration of the enormous Allied mass could be calculated with tolerable certainty, though railways were not. For a time at least, therefore, the nations east of the Rhine could be disregarded, but those north of the Sambre came under a different category. They were closer, and therefore within striking distance. They could not only be got at quickly, and possibly be defeated, before the eastern armies could arrive to their assistance, but in case the emperor felt compelled to move towards the Rhine, they might assail him in flank, attack his communications, and even capture his capital. Finally, the Brussels road marked the line of junction of two allies who spoke different languages, and who had not fought side by side before. This joint, then, was the element of weakness. If it could be broken through, the French might, like a wedge, split asunder this flank of the coalition, and, if fortune favoured Napoleon, might destroy in detail two of his nearest enemies. Besides, something _must_ be done, and this course would soonest of all carry the war out of France. Across the frontier the British army covered the front from the Charleroi-Brussels road to Ostend, and the Prussians extended the arc eastward to Liège. The former numbered about 106,000 men (of whom about 34,000 were British, and the remainder Germans, Hanoverians, Brunswickers, Nassauers, Dutch, and Belgians), with its base of supply between Ostend and Antwerp; the latter 117,000, with its base on the lower Rhine. Thus the area covered by the troops had a frontage of about 100 miles and a depth of nearly 40. Opposed to them was a compact French army of 125,000 men.

[Illustration: _CAMPAIGNS of WATERLOO (1815) & MARLBOROUGH._]

On the other hand, the Allies did not care at first to take the initiative, though they were enormously superior in number. Each had his own views as to what their great antagonist would do. Wellington had, throughout, made up his mind that the emperor would attack his right and sever his communications with the sea, although such a course would force the concentration of the two possibly undefeated armies. So determined was he that this view was correct, that even on the supreme day of Waterloo he had detached at Halle some 10,000 men to guard the flank that was not even threatened. In his first and last meeting with Napoleon he did not grasp his adversary’s skill. He was planning an invasion of France at the moment the French tricolors were crossing the frontier. On the other hand, Blucher, with the difficult country of the Ardennes between his line of communication and the enemy, was necessarily not so anxious for his outer flank, and was quite prepared to fight opposite Charleroi.


With Napoleon, decision and execution followed rapidly one on the other. The army was quickly and secretly concentrated, and after issuing an address appealing to past glories, in which direct reference is made to the English “prison ships,”[44] it crossed the Sambre on the 15th June, and the outposts became engaged; but when night fell, only a portion of the French army were on the north bank of the stream. The staff work had been bad, and an important order was not received in time, because it was sent by one orderly instead of in duplicate by two, and he had a bad tumble. Then began the series of delays which were among the many causes that led later to the emperor’s defeat at Waterloo.

The left wing under Ney was so long in closing up to Quatre Bras, that the British troops at the end of the day outnumbered their opponents, and D’Erlon’s corps had been swinging pendulum-like between the two battlefields of Ligny and Quatre Bras, to be useful at neither. Turning to the Allied side, Blucher had readily gauged the French plan, if Wellington had not. The night sky, reddened with the glare of many fires on the night of the 14th June, had warned the advanced corps of Ziethen that a large force lay in front of him, the details of which were told him by the deserter Bourmont, who was received with scant courtesy by the honest old Prussian. “It is all one,” he said in German, when he noticed the white cockade of the Bourbons in the general’s hat, “what a man sticks in his hat, a scoundrel remains a scoundrel”; and so, dismissing him, he carried out the concentration of his army towards Ligny. Here, on the morning of the 16th, the French right wing, under Napoleon’s personal leadership, forced back the Prussians, and after a severe conflict, which lasted till night, drove them back, he thought in the direction of Liège, practically in the direction of Wavre. But when defeated, Blucher’s “noble daring” in deciding on falling back on Wavre rather than Liège, “at once snatched from Napoleon the hoped-for fruits of his victory, and the danger Ligny had for a few hours averted was left impending over him.”

On the other flank, there is much to be said. There seems little doubt that false reports from France had lulled Wellington into a feeling of security for which, as results proved, there was little basis; and to this may be added the somewhat futile demonstrations against his right front.

Even when the passage of the Sambre by the French army was actually known, on the afternoon of the 15th, still he delayed his decision, and merely _orders_ for the concentration of his widely-spread units were issued. When at night the news was confirmed, the general tenor of the orders pointed rather to a concentration at Nivelle than on the Charleroi road; yet he knew by then that imposing masses of hostile troops were north of that place. Had Ney been vigorous and rapid, nothing could have prevented the separation of the Allied armies.

That this was not so, was due to the independent initiative of a Dutch-Belgian general, Perponcher, who assembled his command at Quatre Bras, without orders, only a mile or two from the French bivouac, on the night of the 15th June. Then came the celebrated ball when--

“There was a sound of revelry by night, And Belgium’s capital had gathered then Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men; A thousand hearts beat happily; and when Music arose with its voluptuous swell, Soft eyes look’d love to eyes which spake again, And all went merry as a marriage bell; But hush! hark! A deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it! No; ’twas but the wind, Or the car rattling o’er the stony street; On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined: No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feet-- But hark! That heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat; And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before! Arm! Arm! It is--it is the cannon’s opening roar.”

After the ball, the Prince of Orange, anxious for orders, was told by the duke, it is said, to “go to bed”; but he started instead for Quatre Bras, which his chief did not reach until eleven o’clock.

Then the duke rode to Ligny and conferred with Blucher. At this conference he agreed, against apparently his own and Müffling’s opinion, to move to the right rear of the Prussians and act as a reserve, _provided he were not attacked himself_. To do so he must have moved by the Namur Chaussée, which passes through Quatre Bras. To do so at all, therefore, that point must first be securely held. To have made a flank march in the very presence of the enemy, and to have left his own line of advance, towards which his troops were converging, exposed to danger, would but have been to court disaster. To lend any aid whatever to Blucher, Quatre Bras was his first case. But Herr Delbruck, in his _Life of Gneisenau_, makes the assertion that the battle of Ligny was only fought on the assumption that 60,000 men would form on their right to strengthen, and if necessary prolong, their line on this side, while Müffling, on the other hand, clearly points out that the promise to come to Ligny was quite conditional--“provided,” to use the duke’s own words, “I am not attacked myself.”

Moreover, for the Prussians to fight at Ligny can scarcely be considered optional. Like the action at Quatre Bras, it was unavoidable, unless they retreated at once on Waterloo; for if Wellington were obliged to engage the enemy in order to check his advance and complete his concentration, it was equally Blucher’s only choice to give battle at Ligny so as to enable Bülow to join him. But now comes in a very remarkable statement made by Gneisenau, who was the chief of staff to the Prussian army which Blucher commanded in chief. He was the thoughtful brain thereof, as his chief, old Marshal “Vorwarts,” was the fighting leader. Excellent as the latter was at carrying out with abundant energy a plan entrusted to him, the devising of that plan was given to more able and accomplished students of the art of war. Gneisenau was esteemed one of these, and the Prussian plan of co-operation with Wellington is probably due mainly, if not entirely, to him. This fact must be borne clearly in mind in criticising his comments on the campaign in which he took so prominent a part. Moreover, he was next in command to Blucher, and was thus placed with the object of assuming supreme authority over the Prussian army, should such an eventuality as the temporary or permanent disablement of Blucher render his services necessary. Such an eventuality occurred at Ligny, and the retreat to Wavre was therefore directed by Gneisenau, although the final operations of the Prussian army, which led to so brilliant a result as the battle of the 18th June, were superintended by Blucher himself. Gneisenau’s position, therefore, was difficult and delicate. In supreme command all the honours of victory would be his; acting as second in command, only a reflection of that glory would fall upon him. Some allowance must be made, therefore, for his views with regard to the campaign, if only for the sake of the possible reason that his judgment was embittered by the fact that, in the opinion of the world, to Wellington and to Blucher, not to Gneisenau, the successful issue of the most momentous battle that the world has seen was mainly due.

It is difficult to understand without some such charitable assumption the bitterness of his remarks regarding the English Commander-in-chief, which are so prominently brought forward in the fourth volume of his life. Not only does he comment in an almost contemptuous spirit on the early dispositions of Wellington before the hostile armies came into contact, but he accuses him of a want of _camaraderie_ which is foreign to the English character, and with which Wellington cannot fairly be charged.

None the less, the Prussian leader plainly and brusquely considers that he was guilty of culpable slowness in concentrating after the French had attacked Ziethen’s outposts on the Sambre on the 15th June, and charges him with dilatoriness in issuing the necessary orders on the receipt of the intelligence that the Prussian outposts were so engaged, and with want of loyalty to his Prussian allies in not rendering them active assistance at Ligny.

The two first of these may be dismissed without comment. They were matters of opinion, and, rightly or wrongly, Wellington took his own view regarding them, and must abide, like other men, by his acts, and submit to honest criticism. But the last is more serious, for it is not only stated that Ligny would _not_ have been fought, had it not been for Wellington’s asserted promise to help, but that he promised in case of disaster to fall back, with a portion of the army at least, with Blucher to the Rhine. Gneisenau’s charge is both venomous and explicit. He compares his own impression with the want of cordial feeling that undoubtedly frequently existed between the duke and the Spanish generals in the Peninsula; but this is such an _ex parte_ statement as to merit little rejoinder.

The evidence of every officer who shared in the glories and troubles of the Peninsular campaigns bears full testimony to the jealousy, and want even of courtesy, sometimes shown by the Spaniards, both towards the army that was fighting for the deliverance of the country and the chief who commanded it. It was not Wellington only who experienced this difficulty of operating with the Spanish allies of the British. Lord Lynedoch[45] very fully supports the accusation of incompetency, jealousy, and uncordiality against the Spanish generals. After the battle of Barrosa, his letters and despatches refer frequently to his own difficulties with them; and as a general officer acting somewhat independently of the principal British army, his corroboration of the generally received opinion is valuable and trustworthy.

It is unjust in the extreme to draw any comparison between the want of unanimity that frequently existed in Spain, and the enforced inability of Wellington to come to the assistance of Blucher on the field of Ligny. But Wellington wrote a letter, which is quoted in detail in Herr Delbruck’s _Life of Gneisenau_, in which this controversy arises. It runs as follows:--

“SUR LES HAUTEURS DERRIERE FRASNES, _le 16 June 1815, á 10 heures et demi_.

“MON CHER PRINCE,--Mon armée est situé comme il suit. Le corps d’armée du Prince d’Orange a une division ici et à Quatre Bras et le reste à Nivelles. La Reserve est en marche de Waterloo sur Genappe, où elle arrivera à midi. La cavalerie Anglaise sera à la même heure à Nivelles. Le corps de Lord Hill est à Braine le Comte.

“Je ne vois pas beaucoup de l’ennemi en avant de nous, et j’attends les nouvelles de votre Altesse; et l’arrivée des troupes pour decider mes operations pour la journée.

“Rien n’a paru du côté de Binche ni sur notre droit.--Votre très obeissant serviteur,


Much capital is made out of this document. It is assumed that Wellington made a promise which he must have known could not be fulfilled. And the still graver charge is implied that the letter was intentionally misleading. It seems scarcely credible that such a view could be maintained, knowing the good feeling that obtained between him and all the Prussian leaders except Gneisenau. Moreover, Wellington’s own army was not so good, so homogeneous, or even so numerically superior to that of the French as to render his chance of fighting the emperor single-handed, when his troops were flushed with victory, a successful one. The political feeling of the Belgians, the sympathy undoubtedly felt by many with the French, a sympathy only half concealed in many cases, would be an additional reason for his being very far from desirous of in any way opposing the concentration of the Allied armies.

At the time specified there was, judging from his own statement as to the reconnaissance, little doubt in his mind but that no serious attack would be made on Quatre Bras; and he evidently intended to move to Ligny unless prevented. As to the actual position of his corps, he seemed to have indicated where they might possibly be by the time when the letter was written, rather than where they actually were; the errors in position of the different corps averaging ten miles. He seems to have forgotten, however, that by the after order of 10 p.m. on the 15th June, Picton had been directed to march along the Namur road, only “to the point where the road to Nivelles separates,” _i.e._ near Mont St. Jean. Clausewitz’s view that the halt there was designedly made until after the interview with Blucher is, as Colonel Chesney remarked, “obviously inconsistent” with the known time of Picton’s appearance with the leading division at Quatre Bras. As a matter of fact, he apparently overrated his power of concentration and the movement of his brigades, though there seems no reason to doubt but what they might have been, on the whole, very nearly in the positions assigned had they moved with ordinary speed.

Be all this as it may, the battle of Quatre Bras began. At the cross roads there, at 2 p.m. on the 15th June, were 7000 Dutch Belgians and 16 guns, against 17,500 French infantry and cavalry and 38 guns, who speedily drove back the outposts at Frasnes, and were pressing them still farther back through the wood of Bossu on the Allied right when the first reinforcements came. These were Pack’s Brigade, composed of the 42nd, 44th, 92nd, and 95th; Kempt’s Brigade, of 28th, 32nd, 79th, and 1st, and a Hanoverian Brigade of four battalions, with two more batteries; and thus from 3.30 to 4.30 the Allies numbered 20,000 men with 28 guns, against 18,000 with 44 guns. Now, therefore, Picton, with whom the duke “was barely on speaking terms,” made a counter attack on the left, with the usual result that the fire of the line drove back the enemy’s skirmishers which covered the advance of their columns, and these, broken by fire against their mass and then charged with the bayonet, fell back too. But on the other wing, the right, there was some confusion. The Brunswickers there had fled, both horse and foot, and their duke was wounded. The 42nd in the tall rye grass were somewhat rolled up, as they were not in square, while the 44th, assailed in front as well as rear, faced both ranks outwards, and reserved their fire to twenty paces. So the enemy’s charge swept on across the field from right to left until the 92nd checked it and compelled it to retire. Meanwhile, the Bossu wood on the right was lost, and the French heavy cavalry in vain charged the British squares, but broke up the 69th, whose order to form square had been countermanded by the Prince of Orange. So the fight fluctuated until between 5 and 6 p.m., when the Allied troops now numbered 32,000 men and 68 guns (against 20,700 and 50 guns) by the arrival of the Guards and some Brunswickers. Then the whole force advanced, and victory rested with them. Thus the battle ended at about 6.30 p.m., and at that time, even if D’Erlon had joined Ney, the French left would still have been outnumbered. But Wellington, writes the ablest critic of this momentous campaign, “at dusk, thirty hours after his first warning, had only present at Quatre Bras three-eighths of his infantry, one-third of his guns, and one-seventh of his cavalry. Truly, in holding his own, the great Englishman owed something that day to fortune.”[46]

This is really the gravamen of Gneisenau’s charge. During the night the Allied right wing was reinforced to 45,000 men, but, short as the distance between the wings was, showing how less intimate the connection between the Allied armies was than it should have been, Blucher’s left wing was beaten and in full retreat, and the English general did not know the fact till late.

So retreat was unavoidable, and was begun at 10 a.m. on the 17th. Wellington was to fall back on the known position of Waterloo. Blucher had promised to come with his whole army if he could. Napoleon had despatched Grouchy with 33,000 men to prevent this, and keep the Prussians on the move; but the emperor’s own ill health and failing strength had again caused delay; so Grouchy started late, and Napoleon wasted his time in rest and a review.

The British retreat was well conducted in wretched weather, and despite the heavy ground, there was some rearguard fighting, chiefly by the cavalry on both sides. At length, on the sodden ground about Mont St. Jean, both armies settled down for what rest was possible, and waited for the dawn. Thus the British prepared for battle, with the hope that Blucher, or the certainty that night, would come on the 18th June 1815.

But still, with a firmness that seems degenerating into obstinacy, Wellington persisted in his nervous anxiety for his right flank, as he had done throughout, and stationed some 10,000 men out of his small army at Hal. His excuse that the troops were inferior is futile, for he had battalions of a precisely similar character on the battlefield of Waterloo. He must have known, from the extent of front occupied, that the bulk of the French army were in front of him. He must have guessed that some considerable force had been despatched to keep the defeated Prussians on the move. He knew that the distance of Hal was such as to preclude the possibility of any further considerable detachment from the main French army being made, as it would be entirely isolated from the main battle.

His force was none too strong to hold the position till Blucher came. His centre was weak and reserves were insufficient. By ten o’clock, thinks Shaw Kennedy, “it is difficult to understand how any fear for the Hal road could have existed.” None the less he left ten thousand men, under the Prince of Orange, not only unemployed, but likely to remain unemployed.

There, unfortunately for them, were left a brigade of Dutch Belgians and one of Colvile’s Division, that of Johnston, comprising the 35th, 54th, 59th, and 91st Regiments.

Whether Wellington ever rode to Wavre to personally arrange with Blucher as to his co-operation or not, is one of those things which cannot be proved. That it was quite possible, that the distance apart of the two Allied armies was such that it could be easily done, that Wellington, not unnaturally anxious, might have thought of it, all might have been. But it is not proved, any more than the myth that later on he hoped that “night or Blucher might come.” To accept the first part of the wish as true would mean that the retreat of a beaten or at least shaken army through a forest at night was a matter of no difficulty, which is absurd; to assume the latter part is reasonable, inasmuch as the blow so struck must have assailed the French rear. It is probable he did see then the necessity of the Prussian help, and, so seeing, might have tried to ensure it by a personal talk with his stout-hearted ally.

The position selected for the battle lies almost at right angles to the road between Brussels and Charleroi, is about two miles long, and only about three-quarters of a mile from that held by the French. Its folds, of equal height with those held by the French, fairly concealed all the troops but those immediately in front line; its gentle slopes merged easily into those southward of it. On its left were the roads that led to Wavre and Blucher, whose general line of march must inevitably lead to an attack on the village of Planchenoit in rear of the French right wing, and only about half a mile from their line of retreat by the Charleroi road.

The position, finally, had three strong advanced posts: on the right, the Château of Hougomont; in the centre, the small farm of La Haye Sainte; and on the left those of Papelotte, La Haye, and Smohain; while the right wing, extending towards Braine la Leud, was somewhat strengthened by Merbe Braine in rear of it.

As this is the last and most momentous battle of the long war, it will be well to examine briefly the dispositions made on both sides, for what practically, then as now, were the three lines of battle.

Commencing on the extreme left, where the ground was somewhat flat, and to cover the right hand of the two roads by which the Prussians intended coming if they could, were the brigades of Vivian and Vandeleur, made up of the 10th and 18th Hussars, the 1st Hussars of the King’s German Legion, and 11th, 12th, and 16th Light Dragoons; Perponcher’s Dutch Belgians, holding in advance the farms in front, and with one brigade (Bylandt’s) extended to their right, on the exposed and open slopes of the ridge; Vincke’s and Best’s Brigades; Pack’s, formed of the 1st, 3rd, 1-42nd, 2-44th, and 92nd; Kempt’s, whose right rested on the Charleroi road, having the 28th, 32nd, and 79th, the latter of which detached three companies in advance to hold the knoll of La Haye Sainte, on the east side of the road.

This formed the left wing of the first line. West of the Charleroi road came Ompteda’s, Kielmansegge’s, and Halkett’s (30th, 33rd, 69th, 73rd), the right of which rested where the Mound of the Lion now stands, and Ompteda detached the 2nd light battalion of the King’s German Legion to hold La Haye Sainte in advance; the two Guards Brigades under Byng and Maitland (2nd Coldstream and 2nd and 3rd Foot Guards) extending to the Nivelles road, with Hougomont held in front by the light companies of the division of Guards and some Nassau and Hanoverian troops; and then echeloned back came Du Plat’s Brigade and Adam’s Brigade (the 52nd, 71st, 2-95th, and 3-95th), in advance of which was extended from Hougomont to well the other side of the Nivelles road (which was abattised) the 4th Brigade, composed of the 14th, 23rd, and 51st Regiments. Its right flank was covered by a squadron of the 15th Hussars, which linked it to the Dutch Belgians at Braine la Leud.

Thus the first line, often further subdivided into two parts, held the ridge, with a series of advanced posts and advanced troops in front, covered throughout by skirmishers.

The second line, from right to left, was mainly cavalry. Grant’s 3rd Brigade (7th, 13th, 23rd Light Dragoons) to the Nivelles road; Dornberg’s (23rd, 1st, 2nd Light Dragoons and one of the King’s German Legion) to the Charleroi road; the 3rd Hussars of the King’s German Legion; and across the Charleroi road Somerset’s Heavy Brigade (the 1st and 2nd Life Guards, the Royal Horse Guards, and the 1st Dragoon Guards), with on its left Ponsonby’s Union Brigade, composed of the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Dragoons.

In the third line behind the right was a Hanoverian Brigade in Merbe Braine, and extended as far as the Charleroi road were the Hanoverian Hussars, the Brunswick Corps, Collaert’s Division, and Lambert’s Division (4th, 27th, 46th) when they came up.

The artillery were distributed freely by batteries along the front of the line, and some held in reserve; but there was no concentration of artillery. The proportion of each line seems to have been, out of 50,000 infantry, for the advanced posts, 6000 men; in main or first and second line, 31,000 men; in reserve, 13,000 men. These were formed when in line two, three, or even four deep, and Shaw Kennedy formed Von Alten’s Division, each battalion (or pair of battalions) in column on a front of two companies, whence they at first formed line to re-form column and square when attacked by cavalry. The whole of the front was covered by skirmishers. But it will be noticed again how much stronger the right wing is than the left, owing to the rooted and unfounded conviction that Wellington held that his right would be chiefly assailed. And yet it is evident that if the weak left wing were once broken through, the battle might be lost. Thus the proposed point of junction of the Allied armies, the junction that could alone inflict a telling disaster on the French, this which was all-important to allied as distinctive from local success, was more or less _en l’air_.

On the French side also there were three lines, and these formed and marched in eleven columns, of which four were to form the first, four the second, and three the third line. They executed the movement in the most perfect order.

The first line was composed of Reille’s Corps, 15,000 strong, in two lines of columns, ranks three deep, and having on its left the light cavalry of the corps (fifteen squadrons in three lines); and D’Erlon’s Corps (16,000 strong and similarly formed), the eleven squadrons of its own light cavalry in three lines being on its right.

The second line was composed of, from the left, Kellerman’s Cuirassiers; in two lines fifty feet apart, Lobau’s Corps, in mass of battalion columns; and the light cavalry of Daumont and Subervie and Milhaud’s Cuirassiers.

In the third line was Guyot’s heavy cavalry of the Guard, then the Guard itself, drawn up in a column six lines deep, and on its right the Lancers and Chasseurs of the Guard under Lefebvre.

When any attack was made, the attacking force formed into a smaller number of larger columns (D’Erlon’s Corps, for example, forming five), and all were thickly covered by light infantry skirmishers.

The artillery was more or less massed, especially on the right, and came into action, on several occasions, as at La Haye Sainte, within two hundred and fifty yards of the infantry. There is no doubt that until the battle was well advanced, Napoleon believed he was going to win. Reaching the field on the evening of the 17th, and finding the enemy in position, he is reported to have said, “I wish I had the power of Joshua to arrest the sun, that I might attack the enemy to-day.” Even the next morning he, though imagining the Allied force in front of him was superior in numbers, considered, “We have at least ninety chances to a hundred in our favour.”

Nor was Wellington less sanguine. Blucher had promised that “I shall not come with two corps only, but with my whole army,” and Blucher was likely to prove a man of his word; but the weather and the roads rendered it improbable that he should join hands with him, seriously, till the afternoon was well advanced. As he rode along the line between 9 and 10 a.m. on the 18th, he was cheered. He was wearing a blue frock-coat and white buckskin pantaloons, with Hessian boots and tassels, a white cravat, a low cocked hat without a plume, but ornamented with a black cockade for Britain, and three smaller for Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. In his right hand he carried a long field telescope drawn out and ready for use. General Alava, who joined him from Brussels, found him under a tree observing the movements of the advancing French. “How are you, Alava?” said he, laughing. “Bonaparte shall see to-day how a general of Sepoys can defend a position!”

The general conduct of the battle can best be briefly described by a series of attacks or phases, though, naturally, the fire both of guns and skirmishers along the entire front of battle throughout the day never ceased. The first attack was made at 11.30 by Reille, against the right at Hougomont, the artillery of that corps being reinforced by Kellermann. This resulted in the British being driven from the wood and garden of the house, but not from the buildings themselves. Still, it had been a very close affair. The Guards, in falling back to the house, had not time to close the door of the yard before the French were on them, and severe hand-to-hand fighting ensued; but finally Colonel Macdonnell and a few men managed to close it, killing all the French who had penetrated. It was the narrowest escape of capture Hougomont had. As it was, some of the outbuildings were in flames, and the fire, curiously enough, only ceased at the feet of a wooden image of our Saviour.

The second attack was delivered at 1.30 by D’Erlon, against the left and centre, with the whole of his corps, first in four great columns, and finally, as the right-hand column split in two against the farms, into five. But though they temporarily gained Papelotte and the gardens of La Haye Sainte, the only tangible success on the French side was the retreat in some haste of Bylandt’s Brigade. One of the main causes of the failure of the attack was the vigorous offensive taken by Ponsonby’s and Somerset’s Brigades. It was during this period that Picton, who had been wounded at Quatre Bras and concealed it, fell dead while cheering on Kempt’s Brigade; and Sergeant Ewart of the Greys, and Captain Clarke of the Royal Dragoons, each by the capture of an eagle in the charge, gained for those regiments the distinction of the eagle badge on their appointments. The charge of the Heavy Brigade, too, must have recalled mediæval days, for, meeting the French Cuirassiers, the clash of weapons upon armour was, as Lord Somerset said, “like so many tinkers at work.” When the French fell back to re-form, La Haye Sainte, the real key of the position, was reinforced, but only by two companies, and the 92nd Regiment had by then been reduced to less than 300 strong. The French cavalry attack began at 4 p.m. on the right centre. The fierceness of the attack had lulled for a while; there had been no effort of a serious nature against the right during the second phase. The cannonade continued there, as it did equally on the left after D’Erlon fell back.

But now there was to be a change in the method of attack, and Milhaud’s Cuirassiers, forty squadrons strong, crossing from the right, advanced into the gap between La Haye Sainte and Hougomont,--a frontage of about 1000 yards only,--to attack in lines of columns the British and other regiments opposed to them, which threw themselves into squares. Thrice Milhaud attempted to break them, and, failing, was driven back by the British cavalry to re-form. Then, at 5 p.m., those who were left, together with Kellermann and Guyot, seventy-seven fresh squadrons in all, made the same desperate effort. But by six o’clock this too had failed. The ground was strewn with the bodies of horses, lancers, cuirassiers, carbiniers, chasseurs, horse grenadiers, hussars, light and heavy dragoons, and the mighty mass of horsemen was practically destroyed, and that mainly by infantry and artillery fire.

Now the Prussian army was fully _en évidence_. As early as 4.30, Bülow’s corps from Wavre had reached the field, and had so hotly engaged the French that Lobau’s corps and the cavalry division of Subervie and Daumont had been detached to oppose him; and by six o’clock they had to be reinforced, from Napoleon’s last reserve, by eight battalions of the Guard, or one-third its total strength, when Blucher had developed on, and in rear of, the French right flank, 29,000 infantry and 64 guns. The second attack on the centre by Ney occurred between five and six. It was mainly directed on La Haye Sainte, which was carried after desperate fighting, and the poor remnants of the King’s German Legion, who had fought magnificently until they were short of ammunition, were almost annihilated. Hougomont and the whole of the right centre had meanwhile been again assaulted, though without result; but when La Haye Sainte fell, the English centre was, for a brief space, broken. The French, pressing in, inflicted heavy losses on the brigades on either side of the Charleroi road, especially those of Ompteda and Kielmansegge. Between Halkett’s brigade on the west of the Charleroi road, and Kempt’s on the right, there was a great gap. So dire had been the slaughter, that at one time the duke, pointing to a mass of killed and wounded men of the 28th and 73rd, asked what square that was so far in advance. It was a critical moment in the battle.

But here Wellington’s coolness in the ordering of a battle stood him in good stead. Says Kennedy: “This very startling information he received with a degree of coolness, and replied to in an instant with such precision and energy as to prove the most complete self-possession, and left on my mind the impression that his Grace’s mind remained perfectly calm during every phase, however serious, of the action; that he felt confident of his own powers of being able to guide the storm which raged around him; and from the determined manner in which he then spoke, it was evident that he had resolved to defend, to the last extremity, every inch of the position which he then held. His Grace’s answer to my representation was in the following words, or very nearly so:--‘I shall order the Brunswick troops to the spot, and other troops besides. Go you and get all the German troops of the division to the spot that you can, and all the guns that you can find.’”

So the gap was filled and the danger ceased; but, “most fortunately, Napoleon did not support the advantage his troops had gained at this point by bringing forward his reserve, proving that he did not exert that activity and personal energy in superintending and conforming to the progress of the action, which he ought to have done.”

It was all too late now. Ney had pressed for reinforcements, to receive the reply, “_Où voulez-vous que j’en prenne? Voulez-vous que j’en fasse?_” How could he indeed? Blucher was close at hand now with three corps, and was forcing the French right and rear from Smohain to Planchenoit, with 52,000 infantry and 104 guns.

The fifth and last French attack was made at 7.30, with the Guard on the right centre, and these, with all other available divisions and the cavalry, made for the first time a general assault along the entire line.

Ten battalions of the Guard formed into two columns and pushed up the slopes between La Haye Sainte and Hougomont, covered by skirmishers; but the storm of fire in front, and especially in flank, by Colborne’s judicious management of the 52nd, was too severe. A gallant effort was made by the picked soldiery of France to crest the blood-stained, well-defended heights; but the game was played out, and “the Guard turned and fled.” “_Tout est perdu_,” said the half-broken host. “_La Garde est répousée_”; and even Napoleon at the failure of this final effort repeated the saying, and finished with, “_Sauvons nous_.” As the French fell back, the whole Allied line advanced, and though the defence of Planchenoit still continued up to this moment, that village too was carried, and the French army of Waterloo ceased to be, and fled in utter rout to France. It was eight o’clock, and by that time the loss since the passage of the Sambre amounted to at least 40,000 French, and 30,000 of the Allied troops.

No account of this great and most decisive battle is complete without a further reference to the Prussian co-operation, and the action Grouchy may have taken to interfere and prevent what, if it were successful, must have been decisive as to result. At the end, one French corps, some battalions of the Guard, and two cavalry divisions were face to face with some 50,000 men. It will be remembered that Grouchy had been despatched from Ligny late on the 17th, to prevent this very union of the Allied wings.

He was 33,000 strong, with 96 guns, and by 8 a.m. on the 18th, the morning of Waterloo, was nearing Wavre. It was at Sart-le-Walhain that he heard the cannon-roar of battle to his left. What was he to do? Nowadays he would have moved to the sound of the guns, and, however it might be matter of opinion, such a course would have, to say the least, not have lessened the helpfulness of the task his chief had given him. His object was to keep the Allies apart. What he did, did not. He attacked the Prussians in front of Wavre. To have crossed the Dyle above Wavre, difficult though it was, might have had two results. First, he would have turned the Prussian position there where the stream was less difficult. He must have isolated the corps at Wavre, and _might have_, by appearing on the flank of the Prussian column of march on Smohain and Planchenoit, forced one other corps at least, to form front towards him, and thus checked or “contained” two of the enemy’s corps. He might have done more with this half-beaten army. But most of all, he would have, and must have, as the day went on, by prolonging the French right at Planchenoit, prevented the direct advance of Blucher on the French right rear and line of retreat. His very appearance between the Dyle and Planchenoit would have had an effect, possibly considerable, on the Prussian army. It is immaterial whether, as the hours flew by, Grouchy could have joined hands with Lobau at Planchenoit. Blucher might have and would have got one corps by Sart-le-Walhain on the British left; but it is possible that all his other corps would have been checked, facing the unknown danger of Grouchy, between the field of Waterloo and the passages at Wavre. Doubtless Napoleon made a mistake in not giving Grouchy a more free hand. He, Grouchy, feared his great chief, and thought literal obedience to orders was more important than translating those orders. Not that Grouchy’s appearance near the great field would have prevented disaster; but it might have prevented rout. There _might_ have been more men to call on, say the eight battalions of the Guard, when Ney most wanted them in his further effort against the English centre, and La Haye Sainte had fallen. Grouchy attacked in front the strongest part of the Prussian line of defence. Had he _turned_ it, he would have carried out both his literal and his factual orders to keep the Prussians back from joining Wellington.

Hence, as Napoleon himself said, “This morning we had ninety chances for us; this arrival of Bülow loses us thirty.”

But Blucher, unmolested, had only difficult ground to traverse, wearied troops to encourage, and his promise to help Wellington to keep his energy at its highest. He was not threatened in his march. Thielemann could hold Wavre, and so, desperately playing the bold game, he won success. It was “_toujours l’audace_” over again. He had promised to come with all he could bring, and he nobly fulfilled his promise. Never was there a better leader of men in a time of sore anxiety. He knew he could call upon the personal hatred of Prussians, who remembered, themselves or through their people, the French occupation of their country not many years before. His cheering cry in that heavy march, of “_Kinder, ihr wollt doch nicht dass ich wortbrüchig werden soll_” touched the heart of every weary, tired man, and “Englishmen ought never to forget it,” because it made Waterloo not merely a victory, but a rout. The hard defensive battle is due to the men, both Germans and English, Wellington commanded. The utter collapse of the French is due to Blucher’s steadfastness of purpose, and to Grouchy’s too literal obedience to Napoleon, and his fear of disobeying his direct command. None the less Grouchy, useless as a subordinate who had to translate literal orders into practical action, a good divisional leader when under distinct orders rather than a semi-independent commander, acting according to his dim “regulation” lights, saved the remnants of his force with great skill, and might have done more. To the British army is due much of that marvellous victory, but not all. Until Colonel Chesney wrote the Waterloo Lectures, all foreign students of the campaign looked askance at the claim of the British army to have been, as for long years it was asserted to be, the only great factor in the great fight. No proud nation should fear to recognise such external help, and yet, less than fifty years ago, all British soldiers were led to believe that they alone had won the hard-fought battle, and that Prussian help at Waterloo was a mere incident, not a great element in the victory that is due to both.

[Illustration: _Formation of the Lines of Battle at Waterloo 17^{th} June 1815._]

Thus was Waterloo fought, and lost, and won. “All might have failed, but for the astonishing staunchness of the English and German infantry in Wellington’s army. Nothing, in war or in peace, is so trying to the nerves as passively to await deadly peril, making no effort to avert it. And never probably in war was greater strain of this nature put upon troops, than fell on Alten’s and Picton’s divisions at Waterloo. The Guards and Hanoverians who held Hougomont had more prolonged and exciting conflict, the heavy cavalry did magnificent service: to Maitland’s Brigade, and still more to the 52nd, belongs the conspicuous glory of having given the last crushing blow. But, after all, the chief honour belongs to the English brigades of Halkett, Kempt, and Pack, and to the Germans who stood by their side.”[47]

* * * * *

The conclusion of the campaign offers but few points of interest. The Prussians mainly carried on the pursuit, and it must have been embittered by all the dreadful history of the past. One can understand the troopers sabreing till arms were weary, with “_that_ for Jena, and _that_ for Austerlitz.” There were skirmishes at Namur, Laon, and Cambrai; Peronne “la Pucelle,” was stormed; and within eighteen days since the French crossed the frontier, the Allied armies were before Paris, which soon capitulated, and the great war was over. The last shot was fired on the 3rd July 1815, when the advanced guard of the 16th Light Dragoons were entering Paris. Then Ney, “le brave des braves,” was shot, and Napoleon, surrendering himself to his ancient enemy, the English, finished his days at St. Helena.

* * * * *

During the prolonged war, which was almost continuous from 1793 to 1815, the actual and permanent increase to the army list had been considerable, though there had been many fluctuations. Second battalions to many regiments had been formed, disbanded, restored, and in some cases given a separate existence. Up to 1805, moreover, the period of service had been usually for life, but in that year it was fixed at seventeen years, with the power of re-engagement for twelve years more.

In 1793, the twelve regiments of infantry, numbering from the 78th to the 89th inclusive, had been formed. The 90th in Perthshire, and the 91st in Argyllshire, had been raised by private enthusiasm, the former by “Sir Thomas Graham,” and hence called his “Perthshire Greybreeks,” from the colour of their breeches; and the latter by the Duke of Argyll, though it then was numbered the 98th. But the 5th Royal Irish Dragoons was disbanded for disloyalty during the Irish Rebellion, though there is but little evidence that the disaffection was general. It is curious to notice how the frequent and serious cases of mutiny in the navy found no parallel in the army. Even the above was undoubtedly much exaggerated, and so strong was the loyal feeling in the army that, in 1798, the 2nd Queen’s subscribed £100 for the discovery of the author of sundry seditious pamphlets that were being circulated.

Dress had often changed, though merely in minor details, The three-cornered hat was replaced, about 1796, by a cylindrical hat, somewhat like the modern “stovepipe” headdress, but with the side turned up with a cockade and feather. Black cloth leggings replaced the white spatterdashes. Powder disappeared in 1796, but pigtails, though shortened to 7 inches in 1804, were not abolished altogether until 1808. How so ridiculous a fashion had been retained so long it is hard to imagine. Men were helpless to finish off their headdress for parade by themselves. “Tie for tie,” and “plait for plait,” was the general cry in every barrack-room, and woe to the man who had no friend to help him! The only trace of the absurd custom is the black silk “flash” worn on the collars of the officers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

The old Hussar dress, with its swinging pelisse, was introduced from Hungary, where it was the national attire, about 1806, when the 7th, 10th, and 15th Light Dragoons adopted the new name of “Hussars,” and wore a scarlet shako, instead of the former headdress, the busby; while by 1820, the 9th, 12th, 16th, and 17th Light Dragoons were armed with the lance, and appeared in the _Army List_ as Lancers. For their services at Ciudad, Badajoz, and San Sebastian, the Engineers became the “Corps of Sappers and Miners.”

One noticeable thing relating to the Highland forces had occurred in the early part of the period under consideration. Between 1793 and 1809, Scotland had willingly furnished some 70,000 men to fill the ranks of her national section of the army. But North Britain was not populous, and the supply of men, more than such a country could afford, began to fail. There were then one cavalry and nineteen infantry regiments serving with the colours and wearing the tartan; but already, as too often occurs at the present time, there were many regiments which perforce were recruited in England, and were only Scottish by name and dress. Hence it was that six of these regiments, the 90th, 91st, 72nd, 74th, 75th, and 94th, were ordered to abandon the kilt, and adopt the ordinary line uniform.

There had been many changes in the form of the sword. At first a broad two-edged blade, a heavy, hacking weapon with a cross hilt, it was designed to wound men in armour. Not that, apparently, they ran much danger, for in many a battle few were killed. The wounds received in action appear to have been chiefly contusions.[48] The mace or axe was in armoured days probably more effective than the sword. As armour was abandoned, and the mail gauntlet discarded, so the hilt became more complex (as in the so-called modern “claymore” hilt), to guard the naked, or merely gloved hand. The weapon itself was now made to thrust as well as cut, and the lighter and thinner blade was stiffened and strengthened (as in bayonets) with grooves. Finally, about the end of the last century, and for long after, the merely thrusting rapier was almost universal, save the hanger or cutlass used by bluejackets. But fashions change, and the rapier blade widened out into the modern cut-and-thrust sword, and the simple shell-like rapier guard again spread out to cover hand and wrist. Swords were worn by the rank and file of the British infantry battalions up to 1745, the grenadiers carrying them seventeen years longer.

[Illustration: _Spears & Swords._

_Pike_ _BlkBill_ _Partisan_ _Lochaber Axe_ _Halberd Geo: II._ _Halberd Geo: III._ _Spontoon 1820_

_1350_ _1580_ _Scheavona 1600_ _Claymore 1700_ _Rapier 1800_ _Modern 1896_ ]

No infantry weapon has exercised so powerful an influence on the destinies of mankind as the sword. The _gladius_ conquered the world not merely because it was a true steel weapon and an excellent fighting tool, as compared with those of the nations the Romans had to meet, but because it was carried by men who knew its value. Morale--moral courage--is induced by a knowledge that one’s weapons are superior to those of the antagonist. The good sword implies a personal courage, the intention of closing with the adversary, and an individuality that no other weapon possesses. At times it had its special religious aspect. The cross of the Crusader’s sword was the emblem to him of his faith and of his cause. His prayers said before it, a consecrated weapon, had all the reverence that would have been attached to prayers before the Crucifix; his oath upon it was as an oath on the Cross of Christ. At all periods a ceremonial weapon, now it is mainly so. The two-handed Sword of State has been carried before kings and princes and potentates from early days even until now. The dress sword of the Lord Mayor means but guardian power. The State sword worn by a court official but implies the defence of the sovereign’s person, and the right of those surrounding the throne to carry arms. At all times it has been the emblem of personal authority and governance.

Highly prized as heirlooms in those days when swords were rare, they often appear in the chronicles of ancient wills. Æthelstan mentions in his will “the sword of King Offa, the sword which Ulfeytel owned, and that with the silver hilt which Wulfric made.” Similarly, in old Japan the father’s sword was a precious heirloom, a sacred charge, and this feeling has been common among all nations where the profession of arms was held to be noble, and the arms themselves consequently revered. Mrs. Norton has touched this chord very tenderly in one of her poems--

“Tell my mother that her other sons will comfort her old age, For I was but a truant bird, who thought his home a cage; For my father was a soldier, and even as a child, My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of struggles fierce and wild. And when he died and left us to divide his scanty hoard, I let them take whate’er they would, but kept my father’s sword; And with boyish love I hung it where the bright light used to shine, On the cottage walls of Bingen, fair Bingen by the Rhine.”

This very feeling caused a certain amount of personality to be attached to the sword itself. Thus, swords have had fanciful names, as Cæsar’s “Crocea Mors” (yellow death), Charlemagne’s “Joyeuse,” Mahomet’s “Al Battar” (the beater), Ali’s “Zulfagar,” and King Arthur’s “Excalibur.” In other cases they bore mottoes, such as on the Scotch sword which has--

“At Bannockburn I served the Bruce Of which the Inglis had no ruse;”

and an Italian blade has on it--

“Draw me not without cause, Sheath me not without honour.”

In other cases the mottoes are of a religious cast as “_In te Domine_,” “There is no conqueror but God,” “Do not abandon me, O faithful God,” and so on. Lastly, some swords bear the names or monograms of the places where they were made, or persons who forged them. Thus Solingen in Germany and Sahagun in Spain were noted for sword blades, and the former is so still. Many of the early makers take their names from the town in which they worked or were born, as Alonzo de Sahagun and Andrea di Ferrara did.

After the close of the Peninsular War, the usual rapid reduction of the national armed strength followed. Hardly had Wellington returned to England than the Volunteer and Yeomanry Corps, as well as the militia, were disembodied; but, for the first time, there was a delay in the reduction of the _regular_ forces. The prolonged war had still further, for a time at least, caused the nation to forget its former prejudice against a standing army. It had got accustomed, at least, to its existence, and on the civil life of the country was reflected the military glory won by its sons in foreign war. There had been much almost personal antagonism to the pretensions and aggressions of France, and this had led, more than anything else perhaps, to the feeling that the army was after all but an integral portion of the Commonwealth, and need not be, and had no intention of being, hostile to the national peace at home. To this gradual increase in political freedom was added less fear of the sovereign. The time had passed since any King of England either could, or would, use the army (in the way the Stuarts wanted to do) as a means of repressing the people or their freedom. Englishmen had got over this childish dread lest the soldiery should be used actively against them. The national police that had protected abroad the commerce of the land and kept its shores practically inviolate was no longer feared. It was expensive now. That was all.

The reductions in the time to come, therefore, were but economic questions, and when the national pocket was pinched, the army was reduced as the readiest and easiest means of meeting the deficit. It was no longer feared, had even become respected and respectable; but its keeping up was a matter of taxation. All reformers seek to reduce this burden, and what so easy as to lessen the cost of a machine, the value of which in the past may have been great, and only possibly might be of equal value in the future? But in the immediate present (at any period in this century) the reformer merely looked at things as they then were, and carefully put off till the to-morrow what it would have been less costly to do quietly to-day. Such politicians do not see that the ominous war-cloud means war risks, greater haste, higher prices, and more expenditure. But it matters little to them so long as retrenchment, whether wise or not is immaterial, comes to them. “What has posterity done for them,” that they should trouble about a future that only concerns their children? And yet, if these same economists were to put off life insurance until age and waning health came, they would consider such a course more than unbusiness-like. The nation had by sheer force of circumstances been led to see the value of the national insurance--the army; but it was reluctant to effect as sound an insurance in this respect as the case needed. The story of all voluntary armies has practically been the same.

With the cessation of hostilities came the shower of rewards, but with a considerable reservation. Ensigns of the Guards were to rank as lieutenants, and the 1st Foot Guards were made “Grenadiers.” Generals were made peers, and the knighthood of the Bath expanded to decorate others. But Tommy Atkins, who did the fighting? He got nothing, save discharge on a full or a limited pension, ranging between sixpence and a shilling a day, or Chelsea Hospital! His sole reward was the increase of pay of his sergeant-major, the addition of a colour-sergeant at two-and-fourpence a day to each company, and, some thirty years later, for those who survived--a medal! Never were the rank and file of an army that had done so much rewarded at so exceedingly cheap a rate.

The necessity for keeping the regular army on a war footing after 1815, still remained so long as there was an army of occupation, 25,000 strong, to be kept in France. In 1816, therefore, the numerical strength of the army was 175,615 men, exclusive of those employed in India. But when that occupation ceased, a reduction of 26,000 men followed as a matter of course, and most of the cadres of regiments were reduced to a very low peace strength.



Reference has already been made to the reduction of the army after Waterloo. When warlike enthusiasm died out, and the cost of the war--some £800,000,000--had been grasped, the natural reaction came. Retrenchment “all along the line” was natural; but though the numbers were reduced to a weak peace footing, few regiments actually ceased to exist. The old 100th, 99th, 98th, 97th, 96th, 95th, and 94th Battalions were disbanded. Many regiments received fresh numbers. Hence the army in 1821 numbered 99,224 men, with 20,000 in India; but there was a slight increase to the infantry in 1823, when the 94th, 95th, 96th, 97th, 98th, and 99th reappear, and a further increase of 7,000 in 1831 because of Irish discontent; but this was again reduced, to be increased in 1848. In 1837 the army consisted of ninety-nine regiments of the line, with the Rifle Brigade, but was extremely weak in the matter of the artillery and cavalry.

The dread of war died with the banishment of the great emperor to St. Helena, and was buried with his death. Europe was at peace for many a year, and people, foolish then as now, could not read by the lessons of the past that no perfect or continual peace was possible until the millennium came. Even those who looked forward to that event did not read prophecy correctly. There were to be “wars and rumours of wars,” but the people sat quietly down and dreamed of a continual peace, which was as impossible as a continual war.

Exhaustion follows great warlike efforts, and exhaustion, of a different kind, follows prolonged peace. There is “a deal of human nature about man,” and there is at the bottom of most of us an old combative spirit that, however concealed by common conventional life, is none the less still smouldering below the surface, and quite ready to break out into a flame.

The exhaustion of war requires repose: that of peace requires excitation, as the future proved. No war has ever been seriously unpopular in England--_after a long peace_. Man is a pugnacious animal at the heart of him, and woman is little better! The red coat, the “scarlet fever,” appeals to both sexes, and the most peace-loving woman in the world would rather see her brother or her lover die the death for country’s sake, than see him stay at home if his soldier’s work lay elsewhere.

Still, a great reaction, national and personal, had followed all these years of nearly continuous war. No wonder the army was reduced, and, to avoid further reduction, hidden away. The civilian idea that armies could be raised anyhow, that any man was not only fit for, but could be easily made, a soldier, was as common then as now. Yet if these well-meaning people, people of business, had been asked if any of their clerks could be so improvised, such a remark would have been met by a scornful negative. Curious to remember that people who think so are absolutely ignorant of the training in rapid decision, quick initiative, and perfect coolness, which in the midst of battle and sudden death the soldier, and still more his leader, has to show. But human nature is human nature. Civilians held the purse-strings, and the army suffered. The canker of peace rusted all things until the rude awakening of the Crimean War, and then those who complained most of the undoubted errors committed were the very descendants of those who had refused in every way to keep sound and commercially intact that great national insurance--the army.

But for India and the far East, the practice in the fighting trade would have been little or nothing for forty years! The history of the army from 1820 to 1854 is mainly domestic. Thus, between 1821 and 1827 the Household Cavalry had the cuirass restored; the list of battles on the regimental colours was increased, and regimental histories ordered to be written (by Mr. Cannon, of the War Office) by royal command; trousers took the place of leggings, and short boots and “Wellingtons” came into being; and when the Deccan prize-money was distributed, the general commanding these operations received £44,201, and the private soldier 19s. 10d.!

In 1827 the Duke of York died, and was succeeded the next year by the Duke of Wellington.

The late Commander-in-Chief was by no means a great general, and had lacked both tact and judgment, as was shown by his entanglement with Mrs. Clarke, which led to a heated debate in the House of Commons. But he was honest in his endeavour to improve the army as a fighting machine. When Sir Arthur Wellesley was a member of Parliament, he bore willing testimony to the work His Royal Highness had done. “Never was there army in a better state, as far as depended on the Commander-in-Chief, than the one he had commanded,” was his successor’s honest opinion in 1808 regarding His Royal Highness. There is little, if any, evidence that he was personally aware of the somewhat doubtful transactions that had been carried on, and his rigid integrity in all other matters had won him the respect of the army, when he finally ceased to command it in chief.

The Duke of York was, after all, but a man of his time. He had condescended to fight a duel with Colonel Lennox in the days of his hot youth. He had behaved with coolness and intrepidity in Holland when the 14th Foot and the Guards had distinguished themselves at Famars and Lincelles. He was notorious for his courtesy at his numerous levées. He behaved with dignity, certainly, in the unfortunate campaign of 1799. He had the interest of the army at heart, as is evidenced by his dying words to Sir Robert Peel, when he said, “I wish that the country could compare the state of the brigade which was to land in Lisbon in 1827 with that which landed at Ostend in 1794.” A contemporary opinion stating that “No man of his high rank, since the days of Henry IV. of France, had ever conciliated more personal attachments, or retained them longer,” is sufficient eulogy of his private worth, if his military career be not remarkable for any marked success.

[Illustration: _Private 24^{th} Reg^{t} 1840._]

The last pike carried by the infantry, the sergeant’s spontoon, from its use as protecting the captain of the company while leading or directing his command--disappeared in 1830, and was replaced by a “fusil and bayonet.” The sergeant’s firearm long remained shorter than that of the rank and file. The head-dress had been frequently changed, and by 1840 was a heavy-topped shako with badge, and with a ball or plume in front. The coat, or “coatee,” was swallow-tailed and buttoned to the throat, and was ornamented with epaulets or “scales,” the cuffs and collar showing the regimental facings. The sword was supported by a “frog” from a cross-belt over the right shoulder, on the front of it being a small square brass “breastplate” carrying the regimental devices.

The small brass “duty gorget,” long worn as a badge of being on duty, suspended by a ribbon round the neck, represented the last body armour for the protection of the shoulders; while so the “breastplate” was, in name at least, a survival of the cuirass.

The soldier’s bayonet was also supported by a belt over the right shoulder, and was balanced by a cross-belt over the other shoulder, which carried the only ammunition pouch. The man’s personal kit was contained in a knapsack, on the top of which the rolled greatcoat was strapped.

The drill remained practically the same from 1792 until after the Crimean War. Editions of the Drill book published by Dundas were issued in 1809, 1815, and 1817, though the alterations are trivial; but in 1824, when Sir Henry Torrens revised it, greater celerity was infused into some of the manœuvres, the “quick march” of 108 paces a minute being now generally used, except for mere parade. The two-deep formation became the rule, though drill for forming both three and four deep was retained, and a temporary effort was made to introduce the “bayonet exercise,” but this was very soon abandoned.

During Wellington’s first year of office as Commander-in-Chief, the yeomanry were remodelled. The system of limited enlistment was discontinued for a time, and there was much malingering in the army by men who tried by such means to get their discharge; but in 1833 the limit of enlistment was fixed at twenty-five years, and in 1847 at ten, with the colours, and the power of completing twenty-one years for pension. The soldier’s “small book,” containing his personal record, etc., was introduced, and as the typical pattern was made out in the name of a supposititious “Thomas Atkins,” the now familiar name of “Tommy Atkins” as the nickname of the private soldier came to be.

Between 1829 and 1839 there is little of note except the increase in the literature relating to the army. It was then that the _United Service Magazine_, the _Army and Navy Gazette_, and the _Journal of the United Service Institution_, first arose; and, save for Eastern wars, the only other service seen by the line was in the Canadian and West Indian troubles in 1832 and 1834, which were quelled by the 15th and 22nd,[49] and a second Canadian rebellion, in 1839, which was suppressed by the 24th, 32nd, and 66th.

During the ten years between 1839 and 1849 duelling, which had continued very prevalent, was abolished. The last fought in England was between Mr. Hawkey of the Royal Marines and Mr. Seton of the 11th Hussars, on the beach at Gosport, in which the latter was mortally wounded. This was in 1845.

Flogging, which it had often been proposed to abolish, was reduced to fifty lashes in 1846, when good conduct medals and badges, as well as gratuities for non-commissioned officers and military savings banks, were introduced. Barrack accommodation was improved, regimental schools introduced, and either proper married quarters, or lodging money to men who married by permission “on the strength of the Regiment,” took the place of the disgraceful system that had before obtained of the married women sleeping in the same room as the men, the bed only being curtained off.

The school of musketry at Hythe was also inaugurated; and in 1851 the principle of granting medals was extended to cover the Indian victories from 1803 upwards. Medals for the long war and the recent Indian successes were issued, but of all the host who upheld the national honour when Napoleon ruled, only 19,000 recipients were found for the Peninsular decoration, and but 500 for the victory of Maida!

The next French “war scare” arose in 1847, because of a pamphlet, written by the Prince de Joinville, pointing out the military defencelessness of Great Britain, and the poor condition of our defensive forces. This had never been more clearly pointed out than when the Duke of Wellington wrote to Sir John Burgoyne: “It is perfectly true that, as we stand at present, with our naval arsenals and dockyards not half garrisoned, five thousand men of all arms could not be put under arms, if required, for any service whatever, without leaving standing, without relief, all employed on any duty, not excepting even the guards over the palaces and the person of the sovereign.” This was mainly the condition of the army when the Crimean War broke out. The Royal Artillery had been slightly increased in 1847, but in 1853, none the less, it was stated that there were not at home fifty guns fit for service.

But things were on the mend. Examinations for admission to the army were introduced, to the dismay of those who had hitherto gained commissions therein solely by family or other influence. The arms, too, were improving. Minié had invented a bullet, expanded by an iron base-cup, which facilitated the rapid loading of the piece, which had hitherto, with the Brunswick rifle, with its “belted ball,” and a range of about 400 yards, been impossible. This began to be used in 1851. The Great Exhibition of 1851 had introduced to the world the “Colt’s Revolver.” As far back as 1842 the percussion lock, invented in 1807, had taken the place of the Brown Bess, so called from the brown tint given to the barrel, as distinct from the bright iron barrels of foreign muskets; but it is stated that the duke was by no means favourable to the supersession of the flint-lock by the chemically charged cap. Judging from this, the actual armament of the whole army with the English model of the Minié (the “Enfield” rifle of 1855), which carried a bullet weighing sixteen to the pound, and of which a man could only carry sixty rounds of ammunition, would have been to him “Anathema Maranatha.” Similarly, the breech-loader had been introduced to Napoleon in 1809, but the weapon, being probably imperfect, met with little favour; none the less, the Prussians had already adopted, by 1841, the breech-loading needle gun. But General Anson, then “Clerk of the Ordnance,” had no fancy for such new-fangled ideas, a feeling shared fully, by all accounts, with the Commander-in-Chief, who was always irascible with inventors and their inventions. He did not believe we “ought hastily to adopt any of these improvements”; and, as to rifles, “it was ridiculous to suppose that two armies could fight at a distance of 500 or 600 yards!” Even the Secretary of State for War, afterwards Lord Panmure, stated that the weapons, that is, the percussion musket, “were better than all the inventions that could be discovered.” Certes, he lived long enough to be “sorry he spoke,” for of the musket he so be-praised, it was officially declared, in 1846, that “fire should never be opened beyond 150 yards, and certainly not exceeding 200 yards,” for “at this distance half the number of shots missed the target, measuring 11 feet 6 inches, and at 150 yards a very large proportion also missed!”

It is but forty years since these ideas were held, and rightly; but it is curious, none the less, to note the extraordinary advance the art of killing men has made since then. In 1822 it is deliberately stated in a French report that “thus infantry is only formidable at about 100 yards.” In 1852, and thereabout, there were marked improvements in firearms, and this, notwithstanding the continuance of the reign of peace the “Great Exhibition” was supposed to inaugurate, and the ominous distant growl of the war-thunder that was arising in the East. With nations of different national characteristics, and in different stages of national development, the quietude of a peaceful power is looked on as but a synonym for weakness. National decadence and a peace-at-any-price policy run, as all history proves, on very much the same rails; the latter spirit is called up to cover or excuse the former. So it was that the long peace was broken. If Russia had really thought she would have to fight four powers and a “benevolent neutral,” she might have held her hand, but the “Manchester School” talked much, and foreign powers are disposed always to take the outcry of the hysterical few in England for the solid opinion of the silent many.

Some people, less influenced by the hysteria of those who, like the Pharisee in the parable, air their opinions in the streets, or, like Rudyard Kipling’s monkey-folk,--the “Bander-log,”--imagine, because _they proclaim_, their proclamations must be true, were uneasy. The best of the House of Commons were uneasy, and voted the Militia Bill, which aimed at creating 80,000 permanent militiamen as a second line of defence; a force that proved the justice of the view taken, by the enormous help they gave the army when the new war began. It is saying very little to assert that, without the militia from 1854 to 1856, we could not have recruited the army at Sebastopol, any more than we could have held our Mediterranean garrisons.

Then there was a certain Colonel Kinloch who was uneasy. And he found relief for uneasiness by starting the second Volunteer Movement. The first was when Napoleon threatened to invade us. He wrote a very valuable, because impressive, pamphlet, which attracted attention, and actually led to the formation of volunteer corps, which, of course, had little support from the Government; all the more because they were anxious about their own pet child, the new “Militia Bill.”

Then, lastly, there were the Secretary of State and the Commander-in-Chief also anxious. And these relieved their anxiety by doing the best possible thing they could, in establishing the camp at Chobham, where field manœuvres were first seriously tried. Again it is curious to see how history repeats itself. When the impressive lesson of 1870 to 1871 aroused the national anxiety, the first camp of instruction with real field manœuvres was started in 1871 by Lord Cardwell, over much of the same area.

In 1852 Wellington died, and, after a while, Lord Hardinge took his place. That the “Iron Duke” had been uniformly and, on the whole, extraordinarily successful, is evident. That he never saw the greatest leaders until he met Napoleon at Waterloo, is equally so. It was for long, and is, to some extent, still rank heresy to even criticise his actions. But whatever confidence he may have gained by his imperturbable coolness, he gained no man’s regard. The rank and file trusted and believed in him to some extent. But there was not one soldier who would have died with his name on his lips as many did for his far greater antagonist--Napoleon. Men were obedient, save in such retreats as Burgos, when Wellington’s influence was powerless to check the disgraceful conduct of his army, but never devoted. He rarely praised the men who fought, and died, and won battles, some of which are distinguished by the absence of everything but that bull-dog courage which the privates showed. He had a belief in himself that seems at times arrogant, but he was patient, persevering, and sagacious. No careful student of the art of war, _no foreign military critic certainly_, has ever classed him among the greatest generals, or thought his campaigns worth studying seriously.

Gneisenau at Waterloo utterly mistrusted him, as has been shown, and the feeling must have been created by Wellington himself. If half the myths about him were true, they would be worth publishing as the unwritten history of a great man with many faults. Of him Gleig, who shared in the general admiration of him, is quite plain-spoken as to his personal coldness.

“Though retaining to the last a warm regard for his old companions in arms, he entered very little with them, after he became a politician, into the amenities of social life. We have reason to believe that neither Lord Hill, nor Lord Raglan, nor Sir George Murray ever visited the duke at Strathfieldsaye, nor could they, or others of similar standing, such as Lord Anglesey, Sir Edward Paget, and Sir James Kempt, be reckoned among the _habitués_ of his hospitable gatherings in Apsley House. The circle in which he chiefly moved was that of fashionable ladies and gentlemen.”

The gallantry of Norman Ramsay’s battery at Fuentes d’Onoro met with no praise from this imperturbable chief. Mercer’s unquestionably cool and brave work with his battery at Waterloo was barely noticed by his general. Mercer himself, in no very complimentary spirit, says of his share in the great fight: “One day, on the Marine Parade at Woolwich, a battalion coming up in close column at the double march, Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, who stood near me, remarked, ‘That puts me in mind of your troops coming up at Waterloo, when you saved the Brunswickers.’ Until this moment I never knew that our having done so had been remarked by anybody. But he assured me it was known to the whole army; and yet the duke not only withheld that praise which was our due, but refused me the brevet rank of major; and, more than that, actually deprived me of that troop given me by Lord Mulgrave, the then Master-General, for that action, as recommended by my commanding officer, Sir G. Adams Wood.

“That the duke was not ignorant of their danger, I have from Captain Baynes, our brigade-major, who told me that after Sir Augustus Frazer had been sent for us, his Grace exhibited considerable anxiety for our coming up; and that, when he saw us crossing the fields at a gallop, and in so compact a body, he actually cried out, ‘Ah! that’s the way I like to see horse-artillery move.’ Another proof.”

Few men had had greater good fortune than he. “With no opportunity for the display of any kind of talent, he, after entering the army as an ensign at seventeen, became captain, M.P., and A.D.C. to the Lord-Lieutenant at twenty-one, lieutenant-colonel at twenty-four, and colonel at twenty-six. Had Wellesley been the son of an obscure gentleman he might, and probably would, with all his genius, have served in India as a subaltern, in the Peninsula in various regimental grades, and might have died, perhaps, a barrack-master on half-pay--a lieutenant-colonel with half a dozen clasps.”[50] So writes one historian of his life, and his view is shared by Brialmont, who thinks that, when his brother became Governor-General of India, “without his fraternal hand, he would probably have risen neither so quickly nor so high.”

And, finally: “The duke’s unpopularity, increasing with every stage of his opposition to the Bill, reached such a height that, on the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, the once idolised victor in that fight was hunted along the city by a mob, and escaped their violence only by a fortunate accident.”

None can deny that his rewards were ample. He had landed in the Peninsula but the “Sepoy general,” who had, through family influence, succeeded the man who won Seringapatam. He had received after Salamanca £100,000, and, later on, was granted another £400,000. Talavera had made him a viscount, and, but a few years later, he ranked as an English duke, had received the Garter, and had been granted every possible foreign rank and decoration.

In 1854 the long peace was broken. Tactics had meanwhile scarcely changed since the Peninsula. The English still fought in line, the French more or less in column, and in both armies the deployment and the advance were covered by light infantry skirmishers. The artillery was that of 1815 to all intents and purposes. Only the telegraph introduced a new and not always, from a military point of view, valuable adjunct to warlike operations, as it led to the interference, by ignorant people at home, with the conduct of operations of which they could form no accurate judgment; and though this “opening up” communication with the western countries greatly accelerated the supply of whatever was wanted, “still, in the Crimean War, it enabled Napoleon III. to worry the army incessantly with military ideas, which Pelissier calmly disregarded.” Lastly, the use of steamships gave greater rapidity and certainty in the transport of troops.

Just before the war began the coatee was gradually superseded by the tunic, which offered greater protection to the man than the previous dress. Gradually epaulettes as well as scales ceased.

The British army entered on its first European campaign, for nearly forty years, side by side with its ancient enemies, for the first time since the Crusades. In alliance with Turkey, to which after was added Piedmont, it was proposed, at first, to carry on an active campaign in the Balkan Peninsula against the Russian invasion of the “principalities.” Russia’s appearance there, nominally to obtain protection for the Christian subjects of the Porte, was based on the hope of inheriting, or gaining by force of arms, the territory of the “sick man,” or at least, by his destruction, to lead to a partition of his territories, as had been effected before in Poland. Russia thought little of the then newly made Emperor of France, Napoleon III., and he, on his part, was by no means disinclined to adopt the Napoleonic method, and to obtain security for his throne by war abroad, and peace, with glory added, at home. England, owing to the outcry of the “Manchester School,” had been regarded as a _quantité négligeable_ then, as she has sometimes been since. The Czar hoped, at least, that the canker of the long peace had so rusted her energies that she might protest, but would do nothing more. But there were several surprises for the autocrat, as his descendant found also in 1877 to 1878, before the wished-for end could be gained. Turks then, as later, proved themselves somewhat stubborn fighters. To a man who believes in Kismet, death has no real terrors, and there is only his own personal _ego_, only his own personal nerve strength, to deal with. The quantity is somewhat difficult of determining, and its determination marks the difference between the brave man and the coward. Few know, or can guess, the value of this personal equation until he is tried. Sometimes, when that trial is made, it is too late to be of future value.

But the Turk tenaciously held his own in the valley of the Danube, and England and France declared war. The real defeat of Russia was not to be on pseudo-Turkish soil. Austria intervened by mobilising a portion of her army, which therefore threatened the Russian line of retreat, and in other ways paralysed her freedom of action. This “benevolent neutrality,” like all such actions which are half-hearted, made bad blood. No one rejoiced, privately, more than Russia did when disaster befell Austria in 1866. Said, three weeks after Königgratz, the governor of East Siberia, who had received the news partly by telegraph, partly by steamer down the Amoor, when asked why he had rejoiced that “the Austrians had been gloriously defeated at Sadowa,” “We have never forgotten or forgiven Austria’s benevolent neutrality of 1854.”

So Russia abandoned her first idea of carrying the war into the enemy’s country, and had to prepare to defend her own.

The Allied army had been landed, till all danger in that part was over, at Varna, and had suffered terribly from sickness. Now the seat of war was transferred to the Crimea, with the object of destroying both the Russian base of operations in the Black Sea, and her prestige as well, by the capture of Sebastopol. So the troops embarked; but while both France and Turkey had to use their ships of war as transports, and could not therefore convey cavalry, England, with a magnificent fleet of transports for her troops and a fine squadron of warships to cover them, was able to embark all three arms for the new seat of war. It was something even in 1854 to be still a leading naval power. “No power but England has, indeed, ever successfully despatched a complete army by sea, at anyrate since the Crusades, save England.”[51]

Thus were landed on the shores of the Crimea, which there run north and south, on the small, well-protected beach of Balchuk Bay, a few miles north of the Bulganak River, and about twenty-five miles north of the principal objective, Sebastopol, a force of 28,000 French--they had lost 10,000 men by cholera at Varna--and 7000 Turkish infantry, with 68 guns and no cavalry, and the British army of 26,000 infantry, 60 guns, and a light cavalry brigade of about 1000 sabres. The former forces were commanded by Marshal St. Arnaud, the latter by Lord Raglan, and were formed into five divisions, about 5000 men, each of two brigades, each brigade of two regiments, and with each two field batteries.

The siege train and the heavy cavalry brigade were awaiting embarkation at Varna. Even then it had been contemplated that a siege was possible, but there was an obstacle in the immediate way; for, behind the Alma river, a few miles south of the Bulganak, the Russian army under Mentschikoff had taken up a position for defence. The march began with the English force inland on the left because it had cavalry to cover its flank front and rear, with the Rifle Brigade forming the advanced and rear guard; then came the French; and the Turkish contingent formed the right of the advance, though in the column of march they followed in rear of the French columns. The first day’s march was six miles. The Russians had placed their army across the road from Eupatoria to Sebastopol; but there were few troops west of the road, as the cliffs bordering the brook were there steep, with only two difficult avenues of approach, which might have been blocked or defended by field works, while the plateau was exposed to the fire of the guns from the fleet. Their right, however, rested on the Kourganè Hill, and on the slopes below were some earthworks; while the presence of their cavalry on the extreme right, necessitated (according to the principle of the Peninsular days) that the left flank battalions of the English lines should be in column ready to form square.

The battle of the Alma is a fair type of the use of line _versus_ column; and, be it remembered, that as it had survived the Peninsular days so, very slightly modified, it remained in the British army until 1870.

The French and Turks began the battle, but what happened on the right can be dismissed with little comment. The difficulties were rather those of ground than those created by the enemy, for there was little resistance here. “Opposed to the English were at least two-thirds of the Russians.” The Second and Light Divisions, the 30th, 55th, 95th, and 41st, 47th, 49th in the one, and the 7th, 23rd, 33rd, with the 19th, 77th, 88th in the other, led in line of columns; the Third and First, the former composed of the 1st, 38th, 50th, and the 4th, 28th, 44th, the latter of the Guards and the 42nd, 79th, 93rd, were in second line; the Fourth Division, the 20th, 21st, 68th, 69th, and the 1st Rifle Brigade echeloned on the left was in third line, and the cavalry, 4th, 13th, 18th, 11th Hussars, and the 17th Lancers, formed on the flank and rear. Each line deployed occupied about 2400 yards, the first at about one mile from the enemy’s position; and not only did this occupy much time, “several hours,”[52] but the deployment was irregular and the advance slow. All the disadvantages of the linear formation for attack were fully shown. Crossing the Alma, where at some points the water was up to the men’s necks,[53] the dislocation of the attenuated front became more manifest, while the loss was heavy. Still the shattered and broken lines pressed on, but the Light Division had to fall back, having lost 47 officers and 850 men, and the brigade of Guards, with the Highlanders on their left, pressed into the fight. Though they too were checked for a time, their advance and the front of fire they developed were too much for the Russian columns. Assailed in front by determined infantry, the Vladimir Regiment alone about this time lost 49 officers and 1500 men, so Anitschkoff says, and, fired on by two guns which Lord Raglan had fortunately got across the stream in the very forefront of the battle, the great columns dissolved and fled.

[Illustration: THE CRIMEA.


But, throughout, the evil, from a military standpoint, of the long peace was apparent. There was want of method in the attack and want of supreme direction. The artillery was badly handled, and was used without combined effort. It would have been wiser if the whole force had made a flank attack on the Russian right, and both threatened directly his line of retreat and penned him in against the coast.[54] And, finally, the cavalry were not used at all. “I will keep my cavalry in a bandbox,” said Raglan, which, however cautious, was not “_l’audace_”; and so, partly due to French advice no doubt, there was no pursuit and no rout. Once again, as often in the Peninsula, the battle was won by the fighting power of the men rather than the genius of the commander. Throughout, the cavalry, instead of spreading widely for information, were kept close to the columns they should have covered. Finally, while the Russians admit a loss of 6000 men, the British suffered one of 2000, and that of the French was estimated by Raglan at the most as three officers and 560 men. Two days were then wasted, and on the 23rd the army made the magnificent march of seven miles, and on the next day six more! With greater celerity Sebastopol might, in all human probability, have been carried by assault. So thought Todleben himself, the commanding engineer in the Russian fortress, and he was no mean judge. The defeated army had only garrisoned the fortress, and then proposed falling back into the interior. There was, too, a dread of the fortifications themselves on the part of the leaders of the British army, which is somewhat to be wondered at, with the traditions of Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo still not forgotten, by some at least. The works on the north side of the harbour were deemed too formidable to attack; it was decided, therefore, to make a flank march round the place and try the southern side. It must be remembered that the general line of march was north to south, that of the harbour east and west; and that beyond the upland which lay behind the town, and which was to be the site of the coming siege, were two harbours, Balaklava and Kamiesch, which might be used as new bases of operation against the great fortress of the Crimea.

So the most remarkable flank march in military history was begun. Owing to the confusion that characterised much of the staff work of the campaign, the general-in-chief found himself leading the entire column, the advanced guard having lost its way (!), with behind him thirty guns; and this through a thick wood. The British general was in as complete ignorance that the Russian army was moving across his front five miles away, as was Mentschikoff in equally blissful ignorance that his enemy was crossing the rear of his column of march. Thus, not even the true advanced guard, but some of the main column, cut off some of the Russian baggage train.

However, Balaklava was reached without further misadventure, the result of blind accident rather than knowledge of how war should be conducted; and the two armies settled down before Sebastopol on the Chersonese Upland, the north side of which was formed by the south front of the fortress, another by the sea, and the third by a cliff edge leading down into the wide valley below the Tchernaya and Balaklava. Reversing the order of attack at the Alma, the Allies now changed flanks, the British from Balaklava taking the right as far as they could afford to go (this flank had later on to be extended by the French), while the French from Kamiesch Bay occupied the left of the besieging line. Thus it was not even a complete investment of the southern side. The right of the English section was at the beginning quite _en l’air_. There was no covering army to watch and meet the Russian army known to be outside and free to act. Balaklava was fortified, camps were formed on the upland; the Woronzoff road, by which Todleben, in command at Sebastopol, communicated with the interior of Russia, was defended by a few weak redoubts held by Turks; and the camps of the cavalry brigades were formed in the lowland between the road and the upland cliffs. Nothing could prevent the continual reinforcement of the garrison, nothing could prevent an attack by Mentschikoff’s army from Baghtcheserai; but the investing force must in that case turn its back upon the defenders of the fortress to meet the attack of the relieving army.

Sebastopol was neither to be invested nor reduced. The siege was merely a means to an end, that of draining the resources of the adversary, and the cost of doing so, both in lives and in suffering, was great in the extreme.

The siege itself is too complex to deal with in detail. The place was bombarded on the 17th October, and the fleet co-operated. The first sortie was made on the 26th; by January 1854 there were 14,000 men in hospital, and there were scarcely any horses; there was a second sortie in March; on the 9th April there was a second bombardment, but nothing came of it; on the 6th June there was a third bombardment and an assault, and the Mamelon was taken; the fourth bombardment on the 17th June was also followed by an assault, the cemetery at the foot of the Green Hill being taken; a fifth and sixth bombardment was carried out on the 17th August, and from the 5th to the 7th September; and then the final assault was made, when the Malakoff Tower was taken, and the attack on the Redan failed. This terminated the siege. The Russians, after a prolonged defence, of which they are justly proud, sank their ships, blew up the forts on the south side, and retreated to the north side of the harbour, leaving the bloodstained ruined city and fortifications to the victors. They had nothing to reproach themselves with. But, meanwhile, an expedition to Kinburn had cut off one of the arsenals on which the Russian commander in Sebastopol depended, and the exhaustion of Russia (she had lost 240,000 men up to the late Czar’s death, and 80,000 since) was evident. Otherwise the Russian position was still admirable, and the war might have been prolonged indefinitely. But the fall of the southern forts led the way to armistice and then peace.

But while the siege was thus dragging on its weary length, the Russian field army and the garrison had not been passive. There had been three efforts to raise the siege, namely, those which led to the battle of Balaklava on the 25th October 1853, when the relieving force numbered 22,000 infantry, 3400 cavalry, and 78 guns, and advanced from the Tchernaya by Kamara, across the Woronzoff road; the battle of Inkerman, on the 5th November 1854, when the garrison made a sortie with 19,000 infantry and 38 guns, aided by Pauloff with 16,000 infantry and 96 guns from the Inkerman heights, while Gortschakoff threatened the upland from the Balaklava valley; and the battle of the Tchernaya, on the 16th August 1864, in which our new Sardinian allies shared, and which was fought by them and the French only, with a Turkish reserve, but which does not enter into the story of the British army, except as an incident in the campaign.

But the two former battles are remarkable and noteworthy instances of the courage and fearlessness--one may almost add skill-lessness--of our army. Never did men fight better. Never were greater mistakes made in all the annals of war. The Crimean campaign teaches one thing, if it teaches no other. Battles are won, sometimes if apparently lost, by sheer hard fighting. When Marengo was lost, it was very soon won. So in these cases. The army ought to have been beaten according to all the canons of war, but it wasn’t! Perhaps a time will come when the man who does the real work--that “very strong man,” Thomas Atkins--has his due meed. Crosses and decorations are given often enough to those who have never seen a shot fired, but poor “Thomas” goes away bravely in peace, as he fought bravely in war, with his medal, and even that for “distinguished service in the field,” to sweep a London crossing. Balaklava is a clear instance of mere brilliant animal courage, a bravery that the Russians recognise as fully as we do, and would reward better than we do, who have allowed many a gallant man who rode in the “death ride” to sink to workhouse pay. They speak with feeling and admiration of both the action of the cavalry and the Highlanders, and wonder why we have a clasp for Balaklava! A Russian officer, many years ago, asking what clasp was on the Crimean medal an officer was wearing (he was dining in a naval mess), and being told it was for Balaklava, started, and said, “Do you English give clasps for your _defeats_ as well as your victories, for _we_ claim Balaklava as a success?” “How so?” was the Englishman’s natural response. “You did not hold the field, nor did you raise the siege.” “True,” replied the Russian, “but we won the Woronzoff road, and, practically, you never contested with us the right to it afterwards, and contented yourself with acting defensively behind the earthworks of Balaklava and the Upland.”

There are two sides to every question, therefore; but one thing is evident, that the British position based on Balaklava was in front line as regards the interior of the Crimea, while that of the French at Kamiesch was not, and could not be, molested. A glance at the map shows this, and shows also how a little further forethought on the part of the British would have shown the staff the advisability of keeping on the left, as we had done, and agreed to do, at Alma, and basing ourselves on Kamiesch, rather than taking Balaklava as our base, in opposition for a time to the French, and wilfully accepting, or rather asking for, the most exposed position. It is always easy to be wise after the event, but a wise staff gauges the possibility of the event before it occurs. No one can ascribe to the staff in the Crimea the virtue of prescience in the faintest degree.

The battle of Balaklava, therefore, is peculiar. The only regiments in the _Army List_ who carry that name “on their colours” are the 4th and 5th Dragoon Guards, the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Dragoons, the 4th, 8th, 11th, and 13th Hussars, and the 17th Lancers among the cavalry, and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the second battalion of which was the 93rd, who formed “the thin red line” to meet the Russian cavalry, which was looked upon, and rightly in the days of muzzle-loaders, as peculiarly gallant. But even these brave men might look back on the equal gallantry of the Fusiliers who at El Bodon did much the same thing.

But a battle must be “peculiar” when only one regiment of the line can claim a clasp for Balaklava. It only shows how purely defensive the action was. Against the Russian host of all arms, only the cavalry and one regiment of the line were exposed to fire. The artillery, of course, were engaged, but to enumerate all the actions they have been in would be to explain the meaning of their motto “_Ubique_.” The Russians from the Traktir Bridge advanced then straight on the poor forts situated on the Woronzoff Road, held by the Turks, and heading towards Kamiesch and Balaklava. Expanding into skirmishing order, says an eyewitness, they easily carried them, and the Turks fled into Balaklava village, to be blasphemed by some old soldier’s wife who hated running men. Her language, so it is said, was emphasised with a broomstick. The retreating Turks were pursued by cavalry; but, met by the guns of the Marine Artillery outside the castle and the “thin red line” of the 93rd, the Russians fell back. The base of operations, at least, was safe; but it could never have been carried by cavalry alone. British cavalry alone had prevented the advance of the Russian army elsewhere. The actual loss inflicted by this arm could not have been much, and they probably suffered more than they inflicted; but the moral force and value of cavalry was never more clearly shown.

There were two cavalry charges that made the battle noteworthy. There is nothing else, except the pluck of the Highlanders, that needs comment.

On the sound of the firing, the First and Fourth Divisions moved down towards Balaklava, and moving parallel with them were the Light and Heavy Brigades, separated by a wide interval, the latter leading on the south side of the road towards Balaklava, the other on the north side nearer the Tchernaya. The scene of the two charges is therefore divided by the road, which runs along a low ridge. Just as the Heavy Brigade, 900 sabres strong, marching in a very irregular column without scouts, was nearing Kadikoi, a huge column of Russian cavalry, estimated at 3000 men, suddenly appeared on their left crossing the ridge. Scarlett did not hesitate: forming up the first troops (some 300) as they arrived, he dashed with the Greys and Inniskillings full at the centre of the mass, which, irresolute, halted to receive the shock; and the 4th and 5th coming up successively and taking the unwieldy column in flank, the Russians gave way in complete disorder, and fled headlong back to the head of the valley. The charge had cost the Heavy Brigade comparatively few men.

Meanwhile, there had been an apparent intention on the part of the Russians to remove the guns captured in the Turkish redoubts. To prevent this, Lord Raglan sent his aide-de-camp, Captain Nolan, with directions to Lord Lucan to advance. Through misconception of his instructions, Captain Nolan, instead of indicating the intended objective, pointed to the heavy battery of guns a mile away, supported by masses of cavalry and infantry and other batteries on either flank. Lord Cardigan was to charge the whole of the Russian army. But there was as little hesitation with him as with Scarlett. Into the semicircle of fire the Light Brigade dashed on their “death ride.” They returned broken and in groups, having left 247 men killed and wounded, and with a mounted strength of but 195 men. The Heavy Brigade had moved in support, but was not employed; on the other side the Chasseurs d’Afrique gave timely aid by driving off the guns on the left of the advance. Nolan, the author of a misfortune the remembrance of which is still so glorious, was struck by a piece of shell in the breast, and though already lifeless, was carried through the ranks of the 13th before he fell from the saddle. Never was there recorded a more daring ride against dreadful odds, and all so practically useless. Well might the French officer looking down from the plateau on the battle panorama below, exclaim, “_C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre_.”

The camps of the different divisions had meanwhile been pitched far back on the Upland, not far from the steep escarpment that overlooked the plain and the Tchernaya valley, on the opposite, or right, bank of which river rose the Inkerman heights. The more northerly of the camps, and therefore that nearest the river, was that of the Second Division, on whose left front lay “Shell Hill,” bounded on one side by the Quarry Ravine and on the other by Careenage Ravine, which the Russians had attempted to seize in the sortie on the 26th October. To its right front is “fore ridge,” the extreme northern spur of which overlooks the Quarry Ravine and the Tchernaya. Here, to prevent the Russians from occupying “Shell Hill,” a sandbag battery had been built, armed, and then abandoned. A line through this point almost due west passes through the Lancaster gun battery; and this line represents the extreme limit of the British occupation. North of it, between the line and that formed by the upper end of the harbour of Sebastopol and the river Tchernaya, is the field of Inkerman. It was on the extreme right flank of the British defensive line.

There were for immediate purposes of defence 3000 men of the Second Division, together with the Guards 1300 strong, and the Light Division, 1400 strong, about a mile to the south. A mile farther off was Bosquet’s French Division. This was the force that had the task before it of defending the gap between the Careenage Ravine and the Tchernaya against the 35,000 men which Mentschikoff meant to develop. It turned out to be as difficult for him to develop his strength in the narrow space, as for his adversary to defend it.

At 7 a.m. on the 5th November heavy Russian batteries opened fire from “Shell Hill.” The piquets fell back fighting, and were reinforced by the Second Division. It is the most curious battle to record that has ever been fought. In other great struggles, army corps, great units of sorts, are used to express the action during the phases of the fight. But Inkerman! One has to tell of what mere handfuls of men did. How the first reinforcement was 650 men; how the 49th defeated a strong column, and pursued it even to Shell Hill; how 260 of the 77th fired into, and charged and dispersed, two Russian battalions; how 200 men of the 30th charged with the bayonet two out of four battalions, driving the whole off; how the 41st, 525 gallant souls, met five other battalions and drove them into the valley of the Tchernaya; how in this, the first stage of this “soldiers’ battle,” 15,000 men had been shattered by less than 4000 all told! Nor is the next stage, which began at 7.30, less extraordinary. Against the remnants of that weary force some 19,000 fresh troops were to be brought into action, and 10,000 of them attacked the right at the Quarry Ravine. There were actually 2100 of Cathcart’s Division arriving! Round the Sandbag Battery the fight seemed now to centre. First, some 4000 Russians attacked the 700 British there, who held them in check until reinforced by the Guards. The fighting was individual, almost, and desperate. At one moment there must have been some 6000 Russians against a few hundreds of the Coldstreams, who were holding the battery, and here occurred, perhaps, the “bloodiest struggle ever witnessed since war cursed the earth. Back to back on that bloody ground, sodden into a hideous quagmire, the gallant Coldstreams fought against an infuriated multitude, till their ammunition was expended; and then, clubbing their muskets, by dint of blows from stock and stone, they drove the Russians back far enough to obtain room to form in line, and with levelled bayonets charged the retreating masses, and again joined their comrades.”

Cathcart, arriving with his command, essayed a counter attack on the right, but he fell, and his force suffered severely. The opposing forces were curiously intermingled in that misty confusion, and a vigorous effort again made by the Russians from the Quarry Ravine seemed, at one moment, likely to succeed, for guns were captured. But the end was near. An English eighteen-pounder battery and some French guns had beaten down the fire of the Russian artillery on Shell Hill, and at eleven o’clock the “Russians, when hopeless of success, seemed to melt from the lost field,” and the British were far too exhausted to pursue.

Gortschakoff’s menaced attack was not pushed home; and hence it was that Bosquet came to the assistance of the hard-pressed British and did useful work. The English loss was 597 killed and 1760 wounded (or rather more than one-third their total strength), the French 130, and the Russians 12,256. The regiments engaged on the British side were the 4th, 8th, 11th, 15th, 17th Light Cavalry, and the 1st, 4th, 7th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, 30th, 33rd, 38th, 41st, 44th, 47th, 49th, 55th, 57th, 63rd, 68th, 77th, 88th, 95th, Rifle Brigade, and Guards.

It was the last serious effort to defeat the besieging army, and the siege went on with all horrors of a dreadful winter. “The days and nights in the trenches were simply horrible. The troops shivered there for twenty-four hours at a time, often amid mud that rose nearly to the knee, and as the winter drew on, became frozen, especially towards the early and darker hours of the morning.” Matters improved a little when the railway from Balaklava was completed, and when the war terminated, the army was well fed, housed, and clothed. It was 51,000 strong, that is, stronger than it had ever been; with Turkish and German legions, 20,000 and 10,000 each respectively, raised by British money. But battle, and, still more, disease and mismanagement, had cost the country 22,000 men. The general motto “Sebastopol” is borne on the colours or appointments of the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Dragoon Guards, and the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 17th Cavalry Regiments, and the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, 30th, 33rd, 34th, 38th, 41st, 42nd, 44th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 55th, 56th, 57th, 62nd, 63rd, 68th, 71st, 72nd, 77th, 79th, 82nd, 88th, 89th, 90th, 93rd, 95th, and 97th Regiments of the line, the Rifle Brigade, and Guards.

[Illustration: _Officer 20^{th} Reg^{t} (Light Co.) 1853._]

But though the State ceased to reduce the number of battalions, everything was put on a peace footing as soon as possible. “Upon the return of the army, the reduction of its establishments was effected in the usual reckless fashion. We soon reverted to our customary condition of military inefficiency.” Yet we had learned, or should have learned, much by the war. Waste and mismanagement had characterised the administration and the staff, the paucity of regular reserves had so made itself felt, that even in the assault of the Redan there were men who had barely fired a rifle before. Recruits, scarcely even drilled, and only partly uniformed, were fighting in the forefront of battle but a few weeks after they had enlisted. Our Mediterranean garrisons were largely composed of militia, which force also formed, at that time, our only reliable recruiting-ground, and in our home forts were foreign legionary soldiers. The only things that were left, after a while, of the experience we had gained in the Crimea were the establishment of the School of Gunnery at Shoeburyness, the foundation of the great hospital at Netley, the framework of the present commissariat and transport corps, and the building of the Staff College.

Still, though reduction and economy (or what was thought economy) naturally followed the conclusion of peace, a new era, as far as the army went, dawned. The camp at Chobham, before the war, had emphasised the value of such field training, and hence, largely through the advice and energy of the late Prince Consort, a considerable area of waste land was purchased at Aldershot, and the “Camp” was permanently formed, Crimean huts being utilised for barracks. Bounties had always been largely used, in the just finished war, as before it, to induce recruits to join; but out of it the numerous small personal requirements of the soldier were purchased. Now this was changed, and a “free kit” of “necessaries” were given to the recruit, as well as his uniform and equipment. Still he paid for his rations out of his daily pay. The supply of clothing, too, which had hitherto been a regimental matter, in the hands of the commanding officer, subject to inspection by a board of general officers, now passed into the hands of the War Office, a course which not only insured uniformity, but closed a door open to possible wrong-doing.

The Victoria Cross for Valour was inaugurated, and many of the Crimean heroes received the coveted decoration, which meant to the men not only an honour, but carried with it a pension of £10 a year. Since its introduction, some 412 officers and men have received the coveted reward, and of these, apparently, 166 are still living. It has reached all classes. There are still serving with the colours (in 1896) 1 field-marshal, 6 generals, 2 major-generals, 6 colonels, 4 lieutenant-colonels, 4 majors, 5 captains, 1 lieutenant, 1 quartermaster, 1 surgeon-lieutenant-colonel, 2 surgeon-majors, 2 surgeon-captains, 1 sergeant-major, 1 colour-sergeant, 1 corporal, and 2 privates who wear the bronze cross. Medals were issued to all the rank and file, with clasps for the actions in which they had shared; and to these were added a certain proportion of Turkish, Sardinian, and French medals for special distribution.

Many other small regulations were made for the benefit of both officers and men, and people of all classes vied in welcoming the soldiers home. At last the long-expiring dread of an army was nearly dead. At Sheffield, Mr. Roebuck, at a dinner given to the 4th Dragoon Guards, said in his speech that our soldiers are “the protectors of England, they are the protectors of our glory, they are the protectors of our freedom. And here now is one striking instance that your institution affords of the thorough confidence we have in you, and in the institution to which you belong. We are not afraid of soldiers. We love you as brethren, and we know that you will protect us as such.” These are welcome words to those who have seen how strong had been the antipathy to a standing army in the past. By sheer patience, sheer bravery, and continuous good behaviour, the standing army had won its place in the national heart.

All the infantry were now armed with a new rifle, the Enfield. The Minié, introduced in 1853, was very heavy, indeed far too heavy, and carried an ounce ball. Its calibre had been that of the Brown Bess, the heavy flintlock musket that preceded the percussion weapon of 1840, and which had won for us much of our Empire; as this in its turn had followed the wheel-lock and matchlock arms. The survival of the first infantry missile weapon since the days of bow and crossbow is shown in the term “firelock,” applied to the musket of the rank and file, even long after the campaign of Waterloo. It was now replaced by a lighter weapon, so that sixty rounds of ball ammunition could be carried on the person.

So with the bayonet. At first it was merely a dagger which was thrust, not screwed, into the muzzle of the smooth-bore gun. Then it became socketed and lengthened. When the length of the gun barrel was diminished, it was also lengthened, as either the “sword bayonet,” or the very long bayonet that was, for a while, introduced with the Martini-Henry rifle. Finally, it has reverted more or less to its original form and length, and the Lee-Mitford has ceased to be a serious pike.



It was not until the year 1600 that the attention of English merchants was seriously turned to India. Long before that, Portugal first, then its conqueror, Spain, next the Dutch, and finally the French, had gained a footing in Hindustan, and with factories had established trade. The beginnings were small enough. Surat near Bombay and Bantam in Java were first occupied by us, and in 1640 a footing was obtained on the mainland, and Madras came into being. This replaced Bantam, as the cession of Bombay did Surat. Similarly, a factory, higher up the Hooghley, was transferred to Fort-William, around which grew up Calcutta. By 1708 the various rival companies which had been formed were united under one head; and while the privileges of the Company were continually renewed and extended, the foreign opposition of our rivals in India, save France established at Chandernagore and Pondicherry on the Madras side, gradually died away and disappeared.

In 1744 the two opposing forces came into active antagonism. On the French side, Dupleix, already at the head of the French “Raj,” a man of considerable ability, had gained enormous influence over the factions that made up the Mogul empire. He, with Labourdonnais, from Mauritius, had even captured, and held to ransom, Madras; while, by fighting and diplomacy, the French completely controlled the policy of the Carnatic and Deccan.

But rising into note on the opposing side was Robert Clive; who, after defeating the French and their allies at Arcot and Conjeveram, raised the siege of Trichinopoly. Both French leaders had failed, and both died in France in suffering and comparative poverty; but Clive, after a journey home, returned to India, to find that Surajah Dowlah, Nabob of Bengal, had captured Calcutta and caused the death of the majority of the survivors by their imprisonment in the “Black Hole.”

The intricate, and not very creditable, diplomacy that ensued culminated in the battle of Plassy, notorious as being won against extraordinary odds, and as leading directly to the destruction of the French power in India.

The European, or at first largely half-caste army employed there was not numerous. The remains of the garrison that had been sent to take possession of the Bombay dowry formed the nucleus of the “Bombay Regiment,” which became the Bengal Fusiliers, or “Old Toughs,” and is now the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. They behaved gallantly in the early fighting at Cuddalore and Davicottah, but did not come on the strength of the home army until 1858. In 1754 the first true European regiment, the 39th, was despatched to hold Madras. For this it is distinguished by the motto “_Primus in Indis_.” It is most curious to note, therefore, in all these early efforts at dominion in India, the Madras Sepoy took a most important part, and behaved manfully.

Two smaller “affairs,” the capture of Fort Hooghley and Chandernagore, preceded the more important battle of Plassy, where the Indian army numbered 50,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, and 50 guns, and met Clive in the “groves of Plassy,” with a force roughly estimated at 1000 Europeans, namely, the 39th, the 1st Bengal and 1st Bombay Fusiliers (now the 1st Battalion Royal Munster and 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers), with 2000 Sepoys and 8 six-pounders, with 2 howitzers. The battle lasted from the 22nd till the morning of the 23rd June, and resulted in the dispersion of the enemy with a loss in killed and wounded on the British side of but seventy-two men. But though far reaching in its results, it, however decisive, cannot be classed among the great battles of history. The insignificant numbers of Clive’s army on the one side, the treachery displayed by most of the great chieftains of Surajah Dowlah, even the small cost of the victory, show that the fighting itself could not have been severe. But for the disloyalty of Mir Jafar and others, the British army must have been driven into the river they had crossed in order to engage the enemy. Had this been otherwise, the history of India might have been differently written. As it was, the moral effect was great. It was the first real military footing the British had in the Indian Peninsula. “It was Plassy which forced her to become one of the main factors in the settlement of the burning Eastern Question; Plassy which necessitated the conquest and colonisation of the Cape of Good Hope, of the Mauritius, and the protectorship over Egypt.”

By 1761, therefore, the French power was but a name; and, reinforced now from home by three more battalions, of which the 79th was one, the British defeated the French at Wandewash, where only European troops were engaged on the British side. There the old 79th behaved magnificently; and later on, the war led to the addition of the names of Buxar and Carnatic (as well as that of Plassy) to the colours of the 103rd.

[Illustration: _OUTLINE MAP of INDIA._]

If Plassy had been the turning-point in the early days of British effort at conquest, so Wandewash showed the natives the fighting strength of other foreign aspirants for political power in India besides France, and led as directly to the expulsion of the French from the Indian Peninsula, as did the capture of Quebec settle for ever the rivalry for supreme power in North America. With this victory the fear of British power among the natives arose and strengthened. During all this time, the power of the East India Company had been gradually extending, and in 1773 was appointed the first Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings. Meanwhile, as the years crept on, a new native state was rising, that would also seek by a French alliance to check the political advance of Great Britain in India. Hyder Ali, a Mahometan chieftain in the army of Mysore, had succeeded in establishing himself on the throne of his Hindu predecessor. Commanding an irregular army estimated at 150,000 men, he was disposed to be threatening; and on the principle of _divide et impera_, Hastings proposed to play off, by alliance, the Deccan and Oudh against this new disturbing element, which was fast spreading its influence over Western and Northern India. In 1780 the chance arose. Hyder took the offensive, defeated and massacred the small army under Colonel Baillie at Conjeveram, and attacked Madras, but he was checked finally by Sir Eyre Coote, and in 1783 the general peace put an end to hostilities, though not for long, and though Hyder himself was dead.

By this time the European army had slightly increased. To the troops already there had been added the 71st (then the 73rd), the 72nd (then the 78th), and the old 73rd, and a second battalion of the 42nd; and these had furnished the backbone of the resistance against Hyder Ali’s son Tippoo Saib.

There was hard fighting at Mangalore, which gained for the 73rd the honour of bearing the name on its colours for bravery during the seven months of a dreadful siege; and against the French at Cuddalore, where Colonel Wagenheim of the 15th Hanoverian Regiment made prisoner a young French sergeant, and, struck by his appearance, personally directed his wounds to be dressed. Many years after, when the victorious French, under Marshal Bernadotte, entered Hanover, Wagenheim, by that time an aged general, attended his levée. Bernadotte asked him if he recollected the wounded French sergeant to whom he had been so kind at Cuddalore. The general replied in the affirmative. “That young sergeant,” replied the future king of Sweden, “was the person who has now the honour to address you, and who rejoices in having this public opportunity of acknowledging his debt of gratitude to General Wagenheim.”

Here also were engaged some 300 marines under Major Monson, and in the ranks of his command served a certain Hannah Snell. “She behaved with conspicuous courage, and received a ball in the groin, which she herself extracted two days afterwards. Eleven other wounds in both legs rendered her removal to the hospital at Cuddalore absolutely necessary, and, having returned home, her sex was not discovered until she obtained her discharge. She afterwards wore the marine dress, and, having presented a petition to H.R.H. the Duke of Cumberland, obtained a pension of £30 a year for life.”

For a time hostilities languished, but they were resumed against the Mysoreans in 1789, when Cannanore was taken; and finally, in 1792, Tippoo’s capital, Seringapatam, fell, and his two sons were left as hostages for the fulfilment of the treaty of peace that followed.

All this led to increased interest in Indian affairs by the home Government, and a corresponding increase in the number of European troops employed. In India there were by now the 23rd Light Dragoons, a regiment of Hanoverians, the 74th, 75th, 76th, and 77th Regiments of the line, together with the 98th, and the European Regiments of the East India Company; so that in 1784 the white troops numbered nearly 18,000 men. Hostilities recommenced in 1799 with Tippoo, and this time finally. With all his savage cruelty, he was a man of some military genius, as far as his education went. He does not seem to have lacked personal bravery; and notwithstanding the want of communication with England, he watched with interest the contests his British enemy in India was waging elsewhere. He corresponded with the French authorities in Mauritius; therefore, in 1797, with a view to a French alliance, he entered into negotiations with the Nizam and the Ameer of Afghanistan to help him, as Mahometans, against the “Feringhi” foe. But the Governor-General, Lord Mornington, was not prepared to wait till the war-clouds had fully gathered.

Warning Tippoo first, he assembled an army against him. The Bombay troops, under Stuart, were despatched to the Coromandel coast; at Malavelly, the Madras army under Haes, composed of Sepoys stiffened by the 33rd Regiment, at that time under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Wellesley, won a victory; and finally, after a brief siege, Seringapatam was carried by storm. Here the flank companies of the 12th, 33rd, 73rd, and 74th gallantly led the way, supported by the 12th and 75th, some 1200 native infantry, and 1000 British and 1800 native cavalry; a force which, with 60 field and 40 siege guns and their crews, numbered nearly 22,000 men. Two other armies co-operated more or less with the above; the one the troops of the Nizam, with some Sepoys, under Wellesley, the other under Stuart, formed of Sepoys and 1600 Europeans, including the old 103rd. The attack on Seringapatam was made at night, and fiercely resisted, war rockets being freely used by the defenders. But the British troops were not to be denied. The place was carried with much slaughter, and Tippoo fell, sword in hand, in the gateway of his capital, surrounded by his faithful followers, of whose dead bodies there lay seventy “in a space 4 yards wide by 12 long.”

It was to Sir David Baird that the chief credit of the assault was due, but none the less he was superseded in the government of the city by Colonel Wellesley, the brother of the Governor-General. “And thus, before the sweat was dry on my brow, I was superseded by an inferior officer.” These are his own words. But he lived to do distinguished work later, in Egypt, whither Wellesley was to have gone also, had not fever checked him.

Thus the whole kingdom of Mysore was practically added to the increasing empire of Great Britain, but brought her into hostile contact with the empire of the Mahrattas. This was founded by Sivagi in the previous century, and extended from Delhi to a tributary of the Krishna, and from Gujerat to the Bay of Bengal. Its leading chieftains were, speaking generally, the Peishwa at Poona, the Rajah of Berar, Scindia in the Northern Deccan, Holkar about Malwa, and the Guikowar about Gujerat. Touching these were the tributary state of the Nizam, the conquered Mysore, and the rest of the Carnatic and other territories that had succumbed to the growing land-hunger of the British Company.

The former governor of Seringapatam, now Lord Wellesley, was Governor-General of India. The perpetual antagonism of the native rulers among themselves gave him the same opportunity of assisting the one against the other as had fallen to his predecessors. He availed himself of the political chance as they had, but not to the same extent. There was a greater knowledge arising of Indian affairs, due possibly to the former action of Warren Hastings, and the prominency his impeachment by Burke in the House of Commons had given to these matters, and possibly also a growing popular interest in the political conduct of our rule in the great peninsula.

There was still the danger of French intervention and assistance. France, in those days, stood as an always possibly active opponent of the East India Company, as Russia does now of the Imperial Government of the same land.

Wellesley’s policy was rather one of subsidised alliances with the native princes than the active assistance of one against the other in local wars. Doubtless the practical result was much the same. The dominant power, in the long-run, absorbed the feeble units, to all intents and purposes, as fully as Clive and his successors had by war brought vast territories under the British rule.

The Peishwa made the first overtures. He wanted to regain his lost pre-eminence, and by the treaty of Bassein it was agreed to restore him. “It was the greatest diplomatic triumph which the world has ever witnessed. On the eve of a contest impending, which could not have been long delayed, between the Máráthá Confederacy and the British, it broke up the Máráthá Confederacy, it relieved the English of the danger which had long threatened them of having to face at one and the same time the united power of a league whose territories comprehended the North-West Provinces of India, Central India, and the greater part of Western India, and allowed them to meet and conquer each section of that league singly.”[55]

So the natural results followed. The rest of the Mahratta leaders formed common cause against the Peishwa and his new ally. They had, directly and indirectly, the assistance of their former ally, the French. Scindia had the aid and counsel of Perron, who had organised the former’s army after European methods. Pondicherry, restored to France by the treaty of Amiens, was a base of operations should that nation be at war with us, and had temporary command of the eastern seas. Wellesley made the first move, and restored the Peishwa by the capture of Poona; but it was evident the “restoration” was but a sham.

For a combined movement was organised. Wellesley took charge of the Deccan, Lake that of the Ganges, while other minor columns, under Stevenson, Murray, Campbell, and Harcourt, threatened other points of the Mahratta Confederacy.

The struggle was of no long duration. Wellesley and Stevenson moved in two columns against Scindia, and took Ahmednuggur; but, unable to concentrate in time, only Wellesley’s column was engaged in the battle of Assaye that followed, so that only 4500 British troops were opposed to some 30,000 of the enemy. Disproportionate as the numbers were, the soundest policy was to attack. To stand on the defensive would have been but to increase the enemy’s morale, and to betray a weakness, or rather a hesitation, that with Asiatics is fatal. The battle was short, sanguinary, and successful. The Mahrattas were badly beaten, a hundred guns being captured, but at a loss of some 600 killed, and 1500 wounded.

The 74th and 78th Regiments bore the brunt of the battle, to the success of which the charge of the 19th Light Dragoons largely contributed. Here it was that the general’s quick eye for ground was evidenced. With so small an army, to get protection for the flanks was essential, especially bearing in mind the threatening masses of the enemy’s cavalry. So, through noticing that there were two houses directly opposite to one another on either bank of the river Krishna, he surmised that this indicated a ford, and, crossing there, advanced against the enemy with the flanks of his two lines resting on the river and a tributary stream. He recognised, too, that though weak in numbers and not concentrated, to fight was wiser than retreat, and that in such a terrain a small, determined, well-directed army could act victoriously, if vigorously handled, against an unwieldy mass, which such ground cramped. None the less it was running a grave risk; but his own coolness and steadiness, and, above all, his power of directing a battle, were never more clearly shown.

So the battle was won, and well won, by skill against the brute force of numbers. It was Wellesley’s first battle as a general in command, and with the battle of Argaum which followed, the Mahratta power was completely broken. The war in South-west India was over.

Meanwhile, Lake had not been idle in the northern theatre of war. He had captured Alighur, and had won a brilliant victory at Delhi. His whole force there numbered but 4500 as against 13,000 infantry, 60 guns, and 6000 cavalry, led in many cases by French officers, but the infantry marched up to within eighty yards of the enemy with their “firelocks” at the shoulder, covered by the cavalry, who by a feigned retreat drew the enemy from his entrenchments, and then, wheeling to either flank, exposed the would-be pursuing enemy to the fire of the infantry line, which, having repulsed them, re-formed column for the cavalry to complete the rout. It is a very good illustration of the tactical formation of the time against such adversaries.

Restoring Shah Allum to the throne of the Moguls, Lake speedily followed up his victory by seizing Agra, and then still more decisively defeated Scindia’s army at Laswarree. In the preliminary skirmish the cavalry brigade, composed of the Royal Irish Hussars, the 27th and 29th Dragoons, and the native regiments, showed the greatest gallantry in checking the enemy’s retreat. During a long night march of nearly twenty-five miles, and in the battle itself, the 76th distinguished itself by its coolness and gallantry as throughout the campaign. The fighting in this battle showed more desperate tenacity than in any other previous battle in India. The loss to the British was about one-fifth of a force of some 4000 men, and the enemy stubbornly contested the ground, foot by foot and gun by gun. The operations of the other column had been equally successful, and though Holkar still fought on, the war ceased in 1805, and Cuttack was annexed. During these operations the 8th, 27th, and 29th Light Dragoons, and the 22nd, 65th, 75th, 76th, and 86th regiments had been employed in India. Thus practically terminated Wellesley’s active Indian career; as did that of Lake, not long after, by death.

To both men is largely due the extension of our own Empire by the destruction of those of the Indian princelets. Lake’s bravery, his boldness even to rashness, is everywhere remarkable. On more than one occasion in this very war he had personally led the attacks, as Wellesley had, in his battles, directed them. He “was a man whose influence with his soldiers was unbounded, whose calmness in danger, whose self-reliance, and whose power of commanding confidence have never been surpassed. He had but one way of dealing with the native armies of India, that of moving straight forward, of attacking them wherever he found them. He never was so great as on the battlefield. He could think more clearly under the roar of bullets than in the calmness and quiet of his tent. In this respect he resembled Clive. It was this quality which enabled him to dare the almost impossible. That which in others would have been rash, in Lake was prudent daring.”[56]

Of course in all such cases much depends on the arms and tactical system of the adversary. With most, if not all, of the native levies it seems to have been an axiom to avoid a decisive engagement save in overwhelming numbers; and rather to seek, by retiring before and ravaging the country, to deprive the enemy of supplies, while at the same time his flank and rear were harassed by cavalry masses.

Such seems to have been the tactical method of the armies both Lake and Wellesley had to meet. Of Lake’s own views in the matter there is nothing especially recorded; but of the last-mentioned general it is stated that he gave the following advice to his coadjutor in the Mahratta war:--“Suppose that you determine to have a brush with the enemy, do not attack their positions, because they always take up such as are confoundedly strong and difficult of access, for which the banks of rivers afford them facilities. Do not remain in your own position, however strong it may be, or however well you may have entrenched it; but when you shall hear that they are on the march to attack you, secure your baggage and move out of your camp. You will find them in the common disorder of march; they will not have time to form, which, being but half-disciplined troops, is necessary for them. At all events, you will have the advantage of making the attack on ground which they have not chosen for the battle; a part of their troops only will be engaged, and you will gain an easy victory.”

This was sound advice, and obtained for many years after the writer had returned to Europe, where this “General of Sepoys,” as Napoleon dubbed him, was to see harder work and a different style of fighting than Assaye.

War broke out with the Ghoorkas in Nepal in 1813-15; other hostilities occurred with the Pindari freebooters in 1815, when the enemy, arrogant and blustering, were defeated by the 24th, 66th, and 87th, with Indian troops in addition under Ochterlony, and converted into friends. They had no great opinion of us at first. We had “been driven from Bhurtpore, which was the work of man: how should they then storm the mountain citadel, which was built by the hands of God?” But they took their punishment with good humour, and having appealed to China, as the suzerain power, to help them, after all requested _our_ assistance if the relieving army entered their territories. Thus this little frontier state of India first brought us within measureable distance of war with the Celestial Empire.

Finally, there was fighting with the Mahrattas again, at Nagpore (where the second battalion of the Royal Scots behaved with exemplary steadiness), at Maheidpore and Corregaum, at Soonee and Talnere, and lastly, at the capture of the fortress of Assirghur, “the Gibraltar of the East.”

In this latter “affair,” the Royal Scots, the flank companies of the 38th, 67th, and Madras European Regiments, vied with each other in the siege and storm of this most formidable fortress. The result of all these operations was that the bulk of our late enemy’s possessions was annexed to the Empire.

The strength of the European army, both Imperial and local, had steadily grown. In 1817 there were four cavalry regiments, the 8th, 17th, 22nd, and 24th Light Dragoons, and the 7th, 8th, 14th, 65th, 67th, 87th, and 47th Regiments of the line, serving in India.

With the exception of some punitive expeditions against the Wahabees in the Persian Gulf, and against the Kandians in Ceylon, little occurred for many years, except the second and successful siege of Bhurtpore; though the Ameers of Scinde were at times restless, and their action foreshadowed at no distant period a serious campaign.

But the capture of Bhurtpore is an important epoch in our military history in India. It was the capital of the Jauts, who boasted that neither the English nor the Mogul had been able to subdue them. But their self-confidence had a rude awakening. For Lord Combermere assembled an army in November 1825, among which were the 11th Dragoons, 16th Lancers, and the 14th and 59th Regiments, with the future 101st, and this force brilliantly carried the hitherto impregnable fortress by storm. The 16th Lancers, who had only recently been armed with the lance, especially distinguished themselves, and slew or took prisoners 3000 cavalry and infantry of the enemy, when attempting to escape after the great breach was carried, this latter duty falling mainly to the 14th and 59th.

A curious bit of superstition gathers round the fall of Bhurtpore. The native tradition was, that the place would only fall when an alligator, or _kumbhir_, “drank up the waters of the city ditch.” When, therefore, Lord Combermere invested the place, and, by cutting the banks of Lake “Mootee Jheel,” prevented the ditch from being filled with water, the old prediction was in native eyes awfully fulfilled.

Among the spoil, amounting in value to £500,000, was found, singularly enough, a small cannon of brass, bearing the inscription, “Jacobus Monteith me fecit, Edinburgh, anno Dom. 1642.”

This important victory not only confirmed the conquest of India, but, by wiping out the remembrance of Lord Lake’s failure to carry the place in 1805 with the flank companies of the 22nd, 57th, and 76th line Regiments, and the Company’s European Regiment, it restored the British prestige among the natives, and prevented the occurrence of a general rising against our rule, which the absence of so large a number of troops in Ava rendered possible, if not from positive dislike to us, from a desire for plunder. In this gallant siege hand grenades were used for the last time in India.



While peace reigned in Europe, as far as our army was concerned, for nearly forty years after Waterloo, our Eastern Empire had meanwhile been growing by war and conquest.

Reference has already been made to the introduction of the percussion musket, but the Afghan war of 1840 was the first campaign in which it was used, the 13th and many other regiments still carrying the “Brown Bess.”

It is curious to note, in referring to this period, what was the opinion of distinguished officers, both as regards the education necessary for an officer and what his expenses should be. Of course these were “piping times of peace” everywhere save in India; and the army, “kept in the background,” took little place in the general life of the nation.

With regard to such education, Sir John Burgoyne considered that the first four rules of arithmetic were sufficient for the young officer, and that with regard to fractions, “it is going a little too far.” He did not think one boy out of fifty could do either “simple equations or a little French,” that not one “educated gentleman” out of fifty could do “a sum of addition or subtraction by logarithms.” He was not of opinion that a knowledge of the theoretical part of the profession was necessary to make a very good subaltern officer, and thought it was not even required “to make a very good commanding officer in the field.” He saw no good in such training. He doubted “if the Duke of Wellington had any very high theoretic knowledge; it is very likely that he could not have solved a problem in Euclid, or even worked out a question in simple equations or logarithms.” When the leaders of the army held these views, it is not surprising that the educational standard of the examination for admission to the army was not high. So we find General Wetherall was not “a friend to an examination before an officer enters the army.” He thought the Horse Guards’ principle in looking over the papers of candidates for direct commissions very fair, when “if they find that the questions which a boy cannot pass are not very material, they allow the boy to pass.” But the same officer foreshadows the system that afterwards obtained, for a time, in agreeing with Lord Monck’s view that after the preliminary examination for the commission, he should be sent “for a year or two to the senior department at Sandhurst, before he was put to regimental duties.”

Such was the military domestic life of these years before the Mutiny; and in such a question the change was so gradual that it is hard to say when it really came. After 1858 there were many alterations in the inner life of the army, doubtless; but before then, notwithstanding the much-abused system of purchase, officers lived apparently less extravagantly than they do now. Modern extravagance is due, no doubt, to the general increase of luxury among all classes; but it is curious to read, in an official blue-book of the early fifties, Lieutenant-Colonel Adams’ evidence, in which he states: “Very many men never had a farthing in the regiment which I first joined, when we were quartered at Plymouth with a regiment of the Guards. There were people of all ranks there; there were guardsmen and cavalrymen. Colonel Stewart, the son of the famous philosopher Dugald Stewart, was a man of property. And people not only lived there without a farthing beside their pay, but our establishment was so good that frequently it has been remarked to me by officers of the Guards, ‘All your people are men of property.’ ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘I wish they were, but most of them get nothing beside their pay.’” It is strange to read opinions so much at variance with those of the bulk of the officers to-day. He did not think that the poorer men got into debt more readily than those with good allowances, which “stimulated them to keep horses and get into racing.” The whole style of living in the army must have been widely different from what it is now. Sir Howard Douglas’s evidence was: “When I first entered the service, the officers’ mess was very much what the sergeants’ mess is now. Subalterns could live on their pay, and did in every regiment live on their pay.” This statement, however, seems to refer to the days of the Peninsular War, and not to the long peace that followed it. With greater wealth in the country came also among all classes greater luxury, though possibly by slow degrees. General Wetherall, however, though he “knew a great many examples of men who had passed, and had been many years in the army without a shilling besides their pay, and who had saved money upon it,” considered a young officer should have “a minimum of £60 and a maximum of £100 per annum in addition to his pay.” Colonel Adams gave as his opinion: “You can never get one person out of fifty to enter into any studies whatever when once they have got their commission.” This was the general feeling during the period from 1825 to 1858. There is no doubt that the Crimean War first, and the Mutiny finally, altered much of this; but the change was very gradual none the less.

Turn now to the military history of the time in which these men lived. During the period under review, from 1825 to 1858 and afterwards, there were hostilities in the Levant in 1840-41, at Beirouth, D’Jebaila, Ornagacuan, Sidon, and Acre, under Sir Charles Napier, but these were mainly naval operations, in which the Royal Marines only of the army shared; and a second war occurred in Burmah in 1852, which will be dealt with in a later chapter; as also will the wars with China beginning in 1839, which resulted in the cession of the island of Hong Kong to Great Britain. There were also disturbances at Aden, suppressed by the 5th Foot and the Bombay European Regiment in 1840.

But before the Crimean War there were important campaigns fought in the Indian Peninsula which had important results. These were the first wars with the Afghans, that with the Ameers of Scinde, and the two Sikh campaigns. The first of these, that with Afghanistan, was induced by causes somewhat similar to those which caused a recrudescence of hostilities many years later. What were called Russian intrigues were at work, or supposed to be. At anyrate, a Russian agent appeared at Cabul, and a demand was made for his dismissal. The fear, which has not yet died out, that in Russia’s natural extension into Central Asia, if only as a counterpoise to our own antagonistic influence at Constantinople and in the Balkan Peninsula, where she wished her own influence to be supreme, there was a danger to our rule in India, was held then as now. It is clear, therefore, that in those days, as in these, we, at the bottom of us, are not at all satisfied that our rule has really linked these Eastern people to us. We rule only; we neither absorb nor are absorbed. The Russians do the former, and therein lies their strength. They are by origin Asiatics, and in going back to their birthplace, they retain the power England can _never_ have. As barbaric hordes they invaded Eastern Europe. Checked there by the higher civilisation of the West, they have learned to impose on their natural Asiatic savagery the Western veneer. “Scratch the Russian and you find the Tartar, the Central Asian, beneath.” They are new to Europe, these Russians. They, after the Turks, are the last of the invading Aryan waves. Stopped by the Western peoples, they have turned, like a river, backward to their source. Religious rancour is far less keen with them anywhere West or East, but especially East. Ali Khan, the rebel Samarcand nomad, settles down quite quietly with his fellows to become the decorated “Colonel Alikhanoff” of the Russian army, who helped, in some degree, to create the “Pendjeh incident.” Why not? They are both from the same stock, and separated by but a small interval of time.

Russia would have absorbed India; we have only conquered it. Every native officer is subordinate to the white soldier of the British “Raj.” Russia would have made them her equals. We have won the Empire by the sword, and must govern it thereby. We have colonised elsewhere, and even intermarried. In India we do neither. All the professions of native chieftains in India must be taken just for what every sensible man takes them. To love conquerors? Never! We English would never do so, however righteous the government of the alien power that held the reins might be. Given the best foreign government that could be devised over England, and there is not one man with the spirit of his forefathers in him that would not rise, when the time came, in open and avowed insurrection.

These points are worth considering before we deal at all with the wars that have led to the extension of the Empire, preceded the Mutiny, of which more hereafter, and have culminated in superficial peace. Bokhara and Samarcand, other Central Asian khanates, are part and parcel of the army and strength of the legions of the White Czar. Certainly; they are, after all, as before remarked, of the same racial stock.

Indian rajahs and princelets, potentates and ryots, are still the subject beings of the white who rules them, but does not mix with them. Instinctively, it would seem, England recognised a danger from Russia, but did not see what was at the bottom of it, nor her own helplessness to prevent it. When the first Afghan war broke out, Russia proper and India were _very_ far apart. Foolish politicians laughed when soldiers, wiser men than they, men who are part of the story of the army, looked and talked gravely. Unwise civilians jeered in the House of Commons at the idea of the Russian frontier and ours ever being conterminous. Soldiers can jeer now at these very stupid people. The frontiers that never were to be, never could be, touching, _are_ touching, and between the Russian Empire and our own Indian possessions is the buffer state of Afghanistan, the prize of the highest bidder or of the strongest power when the time comes.

The whole Eastern Question is grave, so long as we forget that we are not liked and can only keep what our forefathers won by bravery, and their grandchildren cannot hold by talk and whining; so long as we forget that all the tall talk and all the missionary talk is only so much wasted breath, so long must it be worth while, in studying the story of the army, to view gravely the one most dangerous frontier in all our vast possessions,--the strip of land which lies between Russia the earnest and England the supine; to that one bit of _terra firma_ that, not careless politicians, but their guards and national police, the soldiers, look on gravely and seriously. In Afghan territory the ultimate danger lies.

So this dread of Russia was really the cause of the coercive expedition despatched in 1839; but the ostensible cause was different, and is characteristic of the methods which have led to our gradually obtaining supreme power in Hindostan. A domestic quarrel had arisen as to the succession to the Afghan throne which Dost Mahomed Khan, assumed to incline towards Russia, had seized, and which Shah Sujah, a son of the late monarch, also claimed. Thus primarily war was undertaken, to nominally place on the throne a prince unpopular and bad, and whose tenure of authority therefore only lasted just as long as he had British bayonets at his back.

There was little serious opposition in the first phase of the campaign. The advance was made by way of Quettah and the Bolan on Candahar. The Khan of Khelat foresaw the difficulty that was to come. He knew that Dost Mahomed was a man of ability and resource, and that his rival was the reverse. “You have brought an army into the country” he remarked to Burnes, “but how do you propose to take it back again?” The so-called native army, which was supposed to accompany Sujah and which was paid by us, did not contain a single Afghan, and was, though native, purely alien. The hill tribes assailed the columns in the mountain defiles, as might have been expected, and whenever they were taken, they were shot or hanged, no quarter being given![57] This must be taken into serious consideration when we blame the Afghans for the dreadful revenge, later on, came. The losses in men and animals in crossing the mountain barrier had been already heavy. The supplies were so insufficient that the men were on half, the camp followers on quarter, rations. Still, Candahar fell without resistance, Ghazni was stormed by the 13th Light Infantry and Bengal Europeans, and an uninterrupted march to Cabul was followed by the peaceful occupation of the city. But the capital of the unfortunate Khan of Khelat was taken by the 2nd and 17th Foot, and the Khan himself slain. Finally another column, under Wade, forced the Khyber Pass, took Jellalabad, and the conquest of the country seemed complete. But no European could venture far outside the camps or out of the range of British guns. In 1841 the Khyber Pass was virtually closed by the insurgent tribes. Sale, with the 13th and some Sepoy troops, was sent to clear it, and was shut up in Jellalabad in October of that year; and when the bitter winter came, and the garrison of Cabul, which had been reinforced by the 44th Foot, attempted to return to India, the whole force was either destroyed or made prisoners. Only one man, Dr. Brydon, escaped alive to Jellalabad, to relate the awful tale. The whole details of the termination of the first occupation of Cabul are both dreadful and humiliating. All told, some twenty thousand human beings actually perished in the retreat. Thus, with Sale shut up in Jellalabad, Ghazni retaken by the Afghans and its garrison butchered, and Nott in Candahar, the new year 1842 dawned.

To restore a prestige damaged as much by general incapacity as by loss, the army of relief, or of “vengeance,” as some call it, though it is difficult to see the fitness of the term, was formed at Peshawur under Pollock. We had, for political reasons, invaded a territory inhabited by barbarous tribes on the flimsiest of excuses. We had begun the slaughtering “without quarter” the hill tribes who defended their native passes; we had tried to force on an unwilling nation the man they hated, and who was backed by what they hated even more, a Christian army. But “what in the officer is but a choleric word, is, in the soldier, rank blasphemy;” what is patriotism in one case is on the part of others unjustifiable and unwarrantable rebellion. Even Lord Ellenborough thought the war a folly which might even prove a crime. But the great god “Prestige” had been invoked, and Pollock marched. He had, as European troops, the 3rd Light Dragoons, with the 9th and 31st Foot. With Nott were still the 40th and 41st. Pollock again forced the Khyber and relieved Jellalabad, but had to halt there for some months to organise his transport. Sale’s defence had been magnificent. For five months he had defended a ruined fortress racked by earthquake. So short of regimental officers for duty was the 13th Foot that sergeants were generally employed, and hence arose the custom in the regiment of the sergeants wearing the sash on the right shoulder, the same as the officers.[58] Shah Sujah was assassinated. Nott defeated the investing Afghan army outside Candahar, and marched on Cabul with 7000 men; while Pollock and Sale, after some stiff fighting in the Jugdulluck and Tezeen passes, also advanced, and the collected armies reoccupied Cabul.

Shortly after, when the prisoners taken in the retreat had been released, the army returned to India, leaving Afghanistan just as they had found it, but with a dreadful and increased legacy of hate behind.

The only thing of note we brought back were the sacred gates of Somnath, which the Mahomedan invaders had taken back with them after a successful foray some centuries previous; but the _coup_ fell flat, and nobody was gratified!

Now arose the “tail of the Afghan storm.” The Ameers of Scinde had openly favoured our enemies in the recent war. They were defiant, at least, and covertly hostile. What better cause could there be for war? Besides, they were undoubtedly tyrannical, and alien to the Hindus they governed, or misgoverned. The Beloochees formed their army and were ruthless. A Beloochee might slay with impunity either Hindu or Scindee; there was no redress. Like Conqueror William, they had laid waste vast areas to form hunting grounds; they did not favour commerce, though they were quite ready to rob the merchant of his gains. In this case, at least, it may be deemed that the end justified the means. European methods of government and justice have converted what was a poverty-stricken district into one of comparative plenty.

To Sir Charles Napier was entrusted the conduct of the war. There had been a British Residency at Hyderabad, the capital, and here Outram, the Resident, was attacked on the 15th February 1843, as soon as Napier had crossed the Indus and interposed between the Northern and Southern Ameers, and taken the fortress of Emaum Ghur. To meet the field army the British force was a mere handful, and counted but 2600 men all told, with 12 guns, and with but one European regiment, the 22nd, to stiffen the rest. Against him, in position at Meanee, were 30,000 infantry, 5000 cavalry, and 15 guns, well posted behind the Fulaillee river, and with the flanks resting on woods. But Napier knew the value of the initiative, and trusted to drill and discipline against numbers, and his confidence was fully justified. The enemy fought with the utmost stubbornness. The battle opened by the British along the river bank firing at 100 yards, and by the Beloochees with their matchlocks at 15 yards! When the 22nd crowned the bank, “they staggered back in amazement at the forest of swords waving in their front. Thick as standing corn and gorgeous as a field of flowers stood the Beloochees in their many-coloured garments and turbans; they filled the broad, deep bed of the ravine, they clustered on both banks, and covered the plain beyond. Guarding their heads with their large dark shields, they shook their sharp swords, beaming in the sun, their shouts rolling like a peal of thunder, as with frantic gestures they dashed forward, with demoniac strength and ferocity, full against the front of the 22nd. But with shouts as loud and shrieks as wild and fierce as theirs, and hearts as big and arms as strong, the Irish soldiers met them with the queen of weapons, the musket, and sent their foremost masses rolling back in blood.”

Still the struggle continued, but not for long. Nearly all the European officers were down, twenty were killed or wounded, and then the cavalry were let go. The enemy had held his ground for three hours, and then sullenly retired, beaten, but not subdued. “The victors followed closely, pouring in volley after volley, until tired of slaughtering; yet these stern, implacable warriors preserved their habitual swinging stride, and would not quicken it to a run, though death was at their heels.”[59]

One more fight at Dubba, and then the pacification of the province and the dispersion of robber bands was left to Sir Charles Napier. Scinde and Meerpore were added to the British dominions in India; and no finer or more loyal regiments have we now in the Indian army than the Belooch regiments, composed of the descendants of those men who fought us so gallantly at Meanee.

But the fighting of the year 1843 was not finished. The usual domestic disturbances as regards the succession, nearly as periodic in native states in those days as “the rains,” broke out in the Mahratta State of Gwalior. Of course, again we were “pledged” to somebody or something, and marched an army there to carry out our “pledge.” It is somewhat curious that, in thus assisting others, we always managed to get something, usually the whole thing, out of it! Sir Hugh Gough was despatched to pull this particular chestnut out of the Indian fire, and he carried out his instructions with the customary completeness.

One opponent, “the usurper” of course, took up a position at Maharajpore with 18,000 men, 3000 of which were cavalry, and 100 guns. Against him Gough employed an army, in the glories of which shared the 3rd, 39th, 40th, and 50th Regiments of the line, with sundry regiments of Sepoys, in all 14,000 men, with 40 guns. The 39th and 40th stormed the entrenchments with the bayonet and took the guns also. Crosses were made of their gun-metal afterwards, and were issued to the troops engaged, in commemoration of this act of daring. The cost had been 7 officers killed and a total loss of about 800 men. On the same day, General Grey similarly defeated 1200 Mahrattas at Punniar, a battle in which the 3rd and 50th took part, and bear these names, therefore, on the colours.

This terminated the war. For a brief space there was peace; but not for very long. The endless repetition of the same causes that brought about hostilities in the past history of British India is almost monotonous.

We were next to deal with the Sikhs in the Punjaub. Rungeet Singh, by way of being on friendly terms with his dangerous neighbour, died in 1839. Naturally, domestic disturbances followed, and in 1844 there was a child and a regency. There often was before these wars of ours. Sir Henry Hardinge had meanwhile become Governor-General, and with far-seeing wisdom introduced the railway, and promoted many measures which both lessened the friction between the military and civil departments of his rule, as well as introducing others which ameliorated the condition of the native as well as of the European soldier. He might have made his reign distinguished only by such useful and peaceful measures, but in this case, the Sikhs took the offensive and forced his hand. The child, Dhuleep Singh, the nominal head of the Punjaub, was too young to reckon as an active factor in the coming, or rather existing, complications at Lahore. His ambitious ministers or chieftains saw this, and thought the time had come for a war of rapine. This is what Hardinge had to face soon after he assumed the reins of command.

The Sutlej separated the two States and the two armies, and the Governor-General was reluctant to believe that the Sikhs would take the offensive. But they did, and crossed the river in December 1845 with 60,000 men, and so invaded British territory. To this there could be but one reply. Sir Hugh Gough, the Commander-in-Chief, hurried to the front, and with him went Sir Henry Hardinge, who was the political chief, but, by seniority, his military subordinate.

The opponents first met at Moodkee, on the 18th December 1845. Gough’s force had marched twenty-two miles. Be it remembered, again, that this was not when uniform was comfortable, and kit was carried, and ammunition and weapons were both light. Such a march nowadays would call for letters in the _Times_. Then it was different. The story of the army in the past is widely different from that of the army in the present, as far as marching, and in heavy marching order, is concerned. The loss in the campaigns before 1870, too, was excessive; but nobody dreamed of talking big about it. Now, a very small percentage of men hit is magnified, and all the papers talk of it.

When this long march was finished, and the alarm sounded, the dinner preparations were dropped, and the men of that time went to fight before feeding. And bloody was the contest. There were on the British side twelve battalions and some batteries. The Sikhs were so strong that to all intents and purposes the British army formed but one line to meet them. The infantry met them in front; the 3rd Light Dragoons, with the Second Brigade of cavalry, turned their left and swept along their line, while the rest of the cavalry threatened the right. Night only saved the Sikhs from actual disaster, and when the firing ceased, they fell back with a loss of 17 guns. On the attacking side 3850 Europeans and 8500 native troops, with 42 guns, had lost 84 officers and 800 men, and among the dead was Sir Robert Sale of Jellalabad. It was midnight when Gough returned to Moodkee camp, and the Sikhs to Ferozeshah, where they entrenched with 120 guns. This was the first phase of a long-continued struggle.

On the 19th, reinforcements reached the general, in the shape of more heavy guns, the 29th, the 1st European Light Infantry, and some Sepoys. Sir H. Hardinge then, waiving his official rank, elected to serve as second in command to the commander-in-chief.

Sir John Littler pushed up from Ferozepore and joined the army.

The total force was even now but 5674 Europeans and 12,053 native troops, with 65 guns, against 25,000 regulars, 10,000 irregular troops, and 83 guns. Then began a more desperate fight than Moodkee, the battle of Ferozeshah. It was to be a two days’ battle, and even lasted into the intervening night. There were but two lines, the second being formed of the small reserve under Sir Henry Smith and the cavalry. The artillery opened fire and closed up to within 300 yards of the enemy’s guns, and then the infantry charged and took them. Even then the Sikhs did not fall back. The troops formed up 150 yards from the enemy’s camp, and lay down in “contiguous quarter distance columns,” while the reserve at 10 p.m. occupied the village in front. The 62nd had suffered so severely that 17 officers out of 23 had been killed and wounded. The 3rd Dragoons charged in the dark and broke up the hostile camp, and lost 10 officers and 120 men out of 400 in doing so; while during the night the Sikh artillery opened fire, and the 80th charged and stopped it, and spiked three guns. Well might the general say “Plucky dogs, plucky dogs--we cannot fail to win with such men as these!” A more wonderful battle never was. Here, within 150 yards of one another, were 8000 British troops against an unknown number of enemies yet unbroken. All the Governor-General’s staff had been killed or wounded, but he wrote cheerfully to his family and described how “I bivouacked with the men, without food or covering, and our nights are bitter cold, a burning camp in our front, our brave fellows lying down under a heavy cannonade, mixed with the wild cries of the Sikhs, our British hurrah! the tramp of men, and the groans of the dying.” But hearts quailed not, and the wearied soldiers slept peacefully beside their arms and “wished for day.” They deployed at daylight for the third, last, and crowning incident.

And so the 20th December dawned. It sounds like the days of so-called chivalry to read that, at that close range, the Commander-in-Chief and the Governor-General of India placed themselves in front of the two wings of the line, “to prevent the troops from firing” until they closed! The left was attacked and turned; the enemy half, or more than half, beaten, fled, and left 74 guns behind him; but meanwhile there arrived to him a strong reinforcement under Tej Sing. He was threatened by the already exhausted cavalry, and refused close battle. So the field rested with the British, and on it lay 2415 men and 115 officers. Of the survivors many had been without food or water for forty-eight hours. These were the men who made the Empire; regiments like the 3rd Light Dragoons, the 50th, 62nd, 29th, and 53rd made the history of which their descendants reap the benefit.

The sympathy of Hardinge for his men is touching. He visited the wounded and cheered them. To a man who had lost an arm he pointed sympathetically to his own empty sleeve, and reminded him of Quatre Bras; to him who had lost a leg he told the story of how his own son had fought in that wondrous battle, and had done so without the foot he had lost in former fight. But all archæologists will recognise in him a confrère as the man who repaired and prevented from falling into decay the Taj Mahal at Agra.

No one can read the story of the Sikh War without a feeling of pride for the men who did their duty so patiently, so bravely, and under such distresses. But they had still much to do with one of the bravest and most stubborn foes the British have ever had to face in Hindostan. For in January 1846 the Sikh Sirdars threatened Loodianah, and effected a passage of the Sutlej near that place, as well as at a point near where they had recrossed the river after their defeat at Ferozeshah. This latter passage, near Sobraon, formed by a bridge of boats, they had further covered by a well-constructed _tête du pont_.

Sir Harry Smith, a Peninsular veteran whose medal ribbon bore twelve clasps, marched to arrest the danger that threatened Loodianah, and thus eventually brought on the battle of Aliwal, as the Sobraon position brought on the battle that bears that name. In both the British were victorious, though with heavy loss.

The battle formation at Aliwal was typical, and is therefore worth recording. The front was covered by the cavalry in “contiguous columns of squadrons,” with two battalions of horse artillery between the Brigades. The infantry followed in “contiguous columns of brigades at deploying intervals,” with artillery in the spaces between brigades, and two eight-inch howitzers in rear. The right flank, as far as a wet nullah some distance off, was covered by the 4th Irregular Cavalry. There seems, therefore, to have been but one line, and this was fully capable of manœuvring. From the above line of columns it formed line with bayonets fixed and colours flying, the artillery forming three groups, one on either flank, the other in the centre. When the Sikhs threatened to turn the right of this line, it “broke into columns to take ground to the right and reform line with the precision of the most correct field-day,”[60] and for a second time advanced.

The whole force was but 10,000 men against nearly 20,000 of the enemy, with 68 guns, but the position was gloriously carried, and the 16th Lancers and the 31st, 50th, and 53rd Regiments greatly distinguished themselves, the Lancers losing 100 men and 8 officers, while the total “bill” was 589 men; but the victory was most complete, and all the enemy’s stores were captured.

A short delay occurred before the next battle, that of Sobraon, as Sir Hugh Gough awaited his reinforcement by Sir Harry Smith, while Sir Charles Napier was assembling a third, or reserve army at Sukkur. But the brave Sikhs were still confident. The Sobraon entrenchments were strong, with a frontage of 3500 yards, and held 34,000 men and 70 guns on the left bank of the Sutlej, and on the other were some 20,000 more.

Sir Hugh did not hesitate, and advanced with 6533 Europeans and 9691 native troops, among which were the 10th, 29th, 53rd, and 88th Regiments of the line, and the 3rd Dragoons. The ford of Hurrekee on the left was watched by the 16th, and the division formed in three lines, with a brigade in each, and marched against the works at 3 a.m. on the 10th February, opening fire with a powerful force of artillery as soon as the morning mists rose. When the fire told, the assault was delivered, and with complete success. The European regiments had advanced without firing a shot until they had penetrated the works, “a forbearance much to be commended and most worthy of constant imitation, to which may be attributed the success of their first effort and the small loss they sustained,” and after two hours’ fighting the _tête du pont_ was won, and the Sikhs, in recrossing the bridge of boats, suffered terrible loss from the fire of our Horse Artillery. But the victory had cost us dear. The 29th had lost 13 officers and 135 men; the 31st, 7 officers and 147 men; the 50th, 12 officers and 227 men; and the 10th, 3 officers and 130 men: while Sir Robert Dick, General Cyril Taylor, and General M’Laren among the leaders were also among the slain. On the other hand, the Sikhs had lost 14,000 men.

Sobraon was “the Waterloo of the Sikhs.” Their aims on our Indian possessions were completely frustrated. But the field army was too weak to do more than it had done, and though some of the enemy’s territory was “occupied,” the reins of government were still permitted to remain nominally in the youthful hands of Dhuleep Singh, until the time came for the annexation of the whole district of the Punjaub.

The final opportunity came three years later, in 1849, when the Marquis of Dalhousie was Governor-General.

Intestine troubles, in due course and as usual, arose in Mooltan. There was the customary doubt as to the loyalty of some of the Sirdars of Mooltan. The European assistant resident and some others were murdered at Lahore; a sufficient cause for further war. Some insignificant skirmishes preceded the final and more important collisions. Mooltan was besieged by a force under General Whish, an operation shared in by the 10th and 32nd European Regiments, but the siege had to be abandoned. Lord Gough had meanwhile been assembling an army at Ferozepore, and the enemy were first seriously met at Ramnuggur, and fell back beaten; and then the siege of Mooltan was renewed. The heavy guns were soon brought up to within eighty yards of the walls, and the enemy’s principal magazine was blown up; but this did not affect the courage of the Moulraj, the defending Sikh general; and on the receipt of the letter demanding his surrender, “he coolly rammed it down his longest gun,” and sent the reply back to us thus.[61] But his bravery availed nothing, and the place fell. On the other hand, Attock, held by an English garrison, was retaken.

The next battle was not judicious. Gough’s duty was to cover the siege of Mooltan, then proceeding, and when that fell, to advance offensively with all the force he could muster. As it was, weak in numbers and with a river between them and the enemy, he, on the 12th January 1849, reached the battlefield of Chillianwallah about dusk, with an army wearied by a long march. He did not even seriously reconnoitre the ford ways of the Chenab, but none the less despatched Thackwell with 8000 men, three horse and two field batteries, two eighteen-pounders, and the 24th and 61st Regiments, to cross the Ranekan ford, but finding it too difficult, he moved to that at Vizierabad by 6 p.m. Then he crossed by boats, but some regiments bivouacked on a sandbank in mid-stream, and all were wet, cold, and without food. Gough, meanwhile, was on the opposite bank, some miles away, near Ramnuggur, with a difficult ford in front of him, vigilantly watched by the Sikhs. But their leader saw the opportunity and seized it; he left a weak force to watch that ford, and marched against Thackwell. He hoped to beat the British in detail, and might have done so but for want of energy. He met them at Sadulapore, where an artillery skirmish followed, and finally Gough joined him, and at two o’clock halted before the enemy’s position at Chillianwallah, when the enemy’s advanced guns fired on him, and the attack was ordered. On the right was Gilbert’s Division, in which were the 29th and 30th, covered on the right by Pope’s Brigade with the 9th Lancers and 14th Light Dragoons. On the left was Campbell, with the 24th and 61st, covered by White’s Brigade of cavalry with the 3rd Dragoons and three horse batteries. Along the whole front was a dense mass of jungle so high as to conceal even the colours to the top of the staff. The battle was a scene of wild confusion, in which the staff direction was impossible. The cavalry on the right broke, and six guns were taken; five colours were left on the field, one being that of the 24th, and when the firing ceased, some 89 officers and 2357 men had been lost, and the army fell back, as did, on their side, the enemy too. The Sikhs had fought with their accustomed fierceness and bravery: said one officer, “They fought like devils”; but it is curious that the Sikhs alone did this, and, judging from another account, their opponents “fought like heroes!” The 3rd, 9th, and 14th cavalry regiments behaved well, as did the 10th, 29th, and 32nd Foot, with the native Indian regiments, but into the “Story of the Army” that of the army of the East India Company does not enter. It was another instance of where “the dauntless valour of the infantry rectifies the errors of its commanders, and carries them through what would otherwise be inevitable defeat and disgrace. But it redeems their errors with its blood; and seldom has there been more devotion, but, alas! more carnage, than on the hard-fought field of Chillianwallah, a field fairly won, though bravely contested by the Sikhs of all arms.”[62]

The loss of the latter, some 4000, with 49 of their guns spiked, had been heavy too, and they had fought with all the bravery of, and in a manner somewhat similar to, the Highlanders who drew sword and fought for the “Pretender” when the “embers of the Civil War” died out. In the hand-to-hand fighting, they had caught the bayonet with the left hand, to cut at its holder with the right with the sword. They had received lance-thrusts on their shields, to return the attack when the lance was thrown aside or broken; they had laid themselves down when the cavalry charged, to rise when the horsemen passed, and attack them shield and sword in hand. Between the fighting of the Scots in 1745 and that of the Sikhs in 1849 there was no real difference as far as pluck and courage went. But the spirit of our gallant and stubborn adversaries was not broken yet. Mooltan fell. They met us again at Gujerat, but the previous encounters had created in them a feeling of despair. Hitherto the Sikhs had been the attacking side when the battle was being formed. Now it was otherwise. They fought on the defensive and were badly beaten; the 9th, 3rd, and 14th British cavalry Regiments, and the 10th, 29th, 60th, and 61st line Regiments shared in the last fight against the Sikhs, as did the European Regiments of the Bombay and Bengal armies. Though said to be 34,000 men strong, with an Afghan detachment of 1500 men and 59 guns, the Sikhs’ army, as such, ceased to be, and its guns, camp equipage, and baggage became the spoil of the victors. “God has given you the victory,” was the despairing cry of many a dying Sikh.

The loss on the British side was small, 29 officers and 671 men; and the final result was the unconditional surrender of the enemy, and the annexation of the Punjaub to the Indian Empire of Great Britain.

Throughout, Gough had pressed his infantry into the fight before the artillery had sufficiently “prepared” the position. He was so excitable under fire, that the story is told that his staff, knowing his “passion for employing infantry before the guns had done their work, induced the gallant veteran to mount by means of a ladder--the only means of access--to the top storey of an isolated building which commanded a complete view of the battlefield. They then quietly removed the ladder, and only replaced it when the artillery had done its work.”[63]

Nothing of grave military importance occurred in India after the defeat of the Sikhs and the annexation of the Punjaub in 1849, for some years. But shortly after the close of the Crimean campaign occurred a petty war with Persia, which had inclinations towards a Russian friendship, if not an alliance. A rebellion had broken out in Herat, and the Persians laid siege to it; whereupon Dost Mahomed, who had become Ameer of Afghanistan on the deposition of our own nominee Shah Sujah, moved from Cabul to Candahar. Troubles had occurred with the Heratees in 1837, when Persia was persuaded by Russia to make a very imaginary claim to the possession of Afghanistan, and had, also with Russian aid, besieged Herat; but the Governor-General of India despatched Pottinger, a young officer of artillery, to aid in the defence, which was successful. Russian influence here, and its supposed influence with Dost Mahomed at Cabul, were among the causes which, as already pointed out, brought on the first Afghan war.

In 1853 there had been a convention between the British minister and the Shah as regards Herat, and this Persian siege was contrary to its provisions. General Outram was despatched in command of an expedition which contained two regiments of the British army in its composition, the 64th and 78th; but the bulk of the force was necessarily made up of native Indian troops of the Bombay army. Landing near Bushire, there was an “affair” at Reshire on the 9th December 1856, and another at Bushire the next day, where the entrenched Persians were defeated by a brilliant bayonet charge. At Kooshab, in February 1857, the 3rd Bombay Cavalry broke a Persian square; while at Barajzoom, Mohummerah, and Ahwaz were other minor engagements, which speedily led to peace.

The names of Persia, Reshire, Kooshab, and Bushire are borne on the colours of the 64th; and Persia, Kooshab, on those of the 78th for their conduct in these somewhat uninteresting operations.

Now began to arise an ominous war-cloud, which for a time threatened to burst with such violence as to sweep away altogether the British rule in India. It might have been foreseen had people cared to take the trouble. The attributed and immediate cause of rebellion was no new thing. There had been a precedent already as far back as 1806, in the history of the 69th Regiment of the line, two companies of which were garrisoned at Vellore, with a battalion of Sepoys. Sir John Craddock, who commanded in Madras, had, with the best intentions, introduced a lighter headdress than the turban, but which had some leather fittings to it which the natives assumed were “unclean”; while a new “turn-screw” had a cross-top, which again might have been assumed by ill-affected persons to represent the emblem of Christianity. There were always, then as now, men who looked on a rebellion as a means of getting plunder and advancement, and many of the adherents of Tippoo Sahib were still living, and by no means loath to stir up discord. In this case they succeeded, though fortunately the incipient mutiny spread no farther than Vellore. But there the Sepoys attacked the European cantonment, and shot or bayoneted 113 men. The remainder made a desperate resistance, being even reduced to firing rupees for bullets, and one escaped and reached Arcot, where was stationed the 19th Light Dragoons. The distance to Vellore was soon covered, and ample vengeance taken. Of the mutineers, 500 were made prisoners, and 350 were slain. Similarly, in 1824, the Sepoys at Barrackpore refused to embark for Burma, lest they should lose caste, but the mutiny was crushed. Again, in 1844, there had been disturbances at Ferozepore, and again in 1849 to 1850.

Notwithstanding these premonitory warnings, a false feeling of security had long been growing up. As far back as 1832, a committee, examining the condition of the native army, had been told that “The Indian army when well commanded is indomitable; it is capable of subjugating all the countries between the Black and Yellow Seas. The European officers are all English, Irish, or Scotch gentlemen, whose honour and courage have created in their troops such an intrepid spirit as to render India secure against every evil from which an army can protect a country.”[64]

There was over-confidence and want of real discipline; for the Native and European troops who had fought side by side and conquered the varied races of the Peninsula, and between whom there had once been sympathy, had drifted apart. In the past they had forgotten caste, and in campaigns had lived as brother soldiers. The increase in the European establishment of officers to native regiments had introduced many with whom the native was not in touch. The whole essence of our previous leadership was that the men respected their officers because they knew them, or knew the tradition of their military past. But new men meant new manners. The Sepoy’s past connection with his officer had been personal, and based on warlike experience and respect for his leader as a fighting man. “Piping times of peace” again had made the officer no longer a fighting unit, but a pay agent. This matters little in the West, but in the East it is far otherwise. The Asiatic reveres personal courage, and believes in little else. Sir Samford Whittingham, no mean judge, as far back as 1824 had seen the coming danger, and writes: “The longer I stay in India, the more I am convinced of the correct truth of all my former statements to you. The country hangs upon a thread. The slightest reverse would set the whole in a flame, and you have not the smallest hold upon any class of men in all your vast Indian dominions except that which is immediately derived from the opinion--or rather the conviction--that your bayonets and sabres are superior to theirs. The Indian army must become, and that speedily, a king’s army, the number of officers must be greatly increased, and the broken spirit of both officers and men regenerated.”

He at least saw that the country won by the sword must be held by it; that the Sepoy only respected us so long as we were militarily strong. Generals and officials without number felt and said the same. The abolition of flogging in the native army, while retained with the white troops, only added to the increasing want of respect of the former for the British soldier. There is nothing worse than virtue gone mad! There is no greater vice with barbaric and ignorant people. But the Company sat still, and, civilian-like, were content so long as the outer part of the sepulchre remained whitened! The very efforts at introducing the principles of Western civilisation in too abrupt a manner had raised, long since, concealed antagonism. Immensely conservative as all the East is, such changes should be made more than gradually. The hostility of the people had been excited by measures, well meant, no doubt, but which were antagonistic to their cherished beliefs, their old-world and long-continued customs. That of the chiefs had been aroused by our continued deposition or supersession of kings, rajahs, and chieftains, who, with all their faults, were natives and not aliens. The Mahomedans felt these changes most, but the Hindus were by no means apathetic.

The very quietude of the nations under our rule is misleading, and misleads those who now think that all the varied peoples and sects of India love us, love one another, and are of the same race and feeling. The natives of India are as different as those between John o’ Groat’s House and the South of Spain, only more so. Even Wellington, whose experience of India was not vast, writes: “The natives are much misrepresented. They are the most mischievous, deceitful race of people I have ever seen or heard of. I have not yet met with a Hindu who had one good quality, even for the state of society in his own country, and the Mussulmans are worse than they are. Their meekness and mildness do not exist. It is true that the feats which have been performed by Europeans have made them objects of fear, but whenever the disproportion of numbers is greater than usual, they uniformly destroy them, if they can, and in their dealings and conduct among themselves they are the most atrociously cruel people I ever heard of.”

The real cause of the Mutiny was hatred to the institutions we had introduced, and growing contempt for our power; to which may be added, if not as a cause, as a nominal standard round which the malcontents assembled, the practical deposition of the Kings of Oudh and Delhi. Military weakness or indifference, and political impotence, are with Eastern peoples synonymous terms. The ostensible reason for the outbreak was a cartridge, and this, though actually bees-waxed, was said, by those who were fomenting the outbreak, to be lubricated with cow and pig fat, which would make it abhorrent to the touch of either Hindu or Mahomedan. There is little doubt that in the first pattern there _was_ cow fat, as Captain Boxer seems to have admitted; and in order to lessen the evil, the next pattern was made so that the end might be torn off rather than bitten off. But the error was made, and to remedy it was too late. Disaffection first appeared at Berhampore, and the disbanding of the 19th Native Infantry followed; and next, the 34th Native Infantry at Barrackpore behaved mutinously, and was also disbanded. Both measures tended rather to spread the disaffection than stamp it out. In the last case blood was shed, two officers being badly wounded, the culprit being a certain “Mangul Pandy,” whose second name became the nickname of the Indian Sepoy, as “Tommy Atkins” was that of his European comrade.

Next the 7th Native Infantry showed the same insubordinate spirit, but they were easily cowed; and finally a more determined outbreak occurred at Oude and Meerut, the officers being massacred, and the two native regiments concerned marched to and occupied Delhi, which now became the focus of the Mutiny. The time had been well chosen: the white troops were much disseminated, and the hot weather was coming on; the proportion of European officers in the native regiments was small, the Company officers being always natives, and having little real authority over their men. There was, moreover, a tradition that a hundred years after Plassy the English power in India would be broken.

Hence Delhi fell into the hands of the rebels, and became the scene of the most revolting barbarities, too foul to tell. Whatever even remote idea of striking for freedom the leader may have held, is lost in the awful savagery that accompanied the rising. But vengeance complete and ample was preparing. Risings occurred everywhere--at Ferozepore, at Meean Meer, at Murdaun, and so on; but in many cases prompt measures were taken to disarm the men, who, when disarmed, fled to increase the hostile force at Delhi.

The European troops seemed but oases in the vast desert of ruin. The 32nd held Lucknow; the 60th and Carabiniers Meerut; the 61st at Ferozepore; at Meean Meer the 81st; the 75th were at Umballah; the 9th Lancers and the Bengal Fusiliers elsewhere. Here and there were native regiments who were actively loyal and helpful, others were apathetic or openly hostile.

From Burmah was recalled the 84th, from Ceylon the 37th, from Madras the Madras Fusiliers (102nd). The 64th and 78th returned from Persia just in time, and covered 126 miles in eight days. Sir Colin Campbell arrived from England to take the chief command of the operations, while regiments were hurried out from home, and the troops destined for China were detained on the way.

No campaign or war is more difficult to describe briefly or follow than that of the great Mutiny. It lasted for twelve months. It was fought by mere detachments of Europeans, isolated from each other. When one was victorious it joined another, and the two combined made at once for the point of nearest danger, or where their aid was most required. No connected plan was at first possible. The very insurrection itself spread irregularly and spasmodically. It could not be said for long that a general rising took place. The rebels had no real head, but acted independently under isolated leaders. It was a war in which the skill and personal courage of the European was to be measured against the courage, great in many instances, but less determined than that of their foes, of the native troops.

If there were real grievances in India as regards our rule, it must have been common in all the Presidencies. But in Madras there was only unrest, never real danger. In Bombay, save in one case, at Kolapore, the same conditions obtained; but the whole region of the Ganges between Lower Bengal and the Punjaub was the scene of general revolt, general massacre in most instances of the European troops. There were more than forty military stations where revolt occurred. In many of them the European army speedily regained the ascendancy. But three centres stand out among the dreadful details of the dismal story--Cawnpore, Lucknow, and Delhi; and the last was, as far as there was a centre at all, the focus of the whole Mutiny. The insurrection was without plan, and was a complete surprise. Had it been otherwise, had the mutineers made common cause, had less delay been given to the British to concentrate their strength in India, from other neighbouring colonies and from home, the end might have been more distant, the struggle more prolonged, but the final result would have been none the less assured.

Fortunately, the great semi-independent states remained either quiescent, or offered active help; on the other hand, the method first adopted of disbanding the mutinous regiments, and therefore instigating them in one sense to reinforce the Delhi centre, where arms were numerous, only strengthened the insurrection. Stronger men in the beginning, like Napoleon’s “whiff of grape shot,” might have nipped the whole thing in the bud. If the few mutineers had been shot down first, and then told, as far as the rest went, to lay down their arms, “the beginning of wisdom” might have grown somewhat more rapidly into the souls of those who, influenced by example, hysteria, religious mania, and drugs, also began to think of revolt. Nothing is more catching than such epidemics. When, at one time, sundry British soldiers thought it would be an out-of-the-common act to shoot their officers on parade, the stupid, wicked idea spread, until the authorities were wise enough to put the hysteria down by the summary method of speedy trial and death.

Of the three most important places, that of Cawnpore is of chief interest, from its sentimental side. The fugitive survivors of the rising at Futtyghur fled down the Ganges as far as Cawnpore, where they were confined in the Assembly Rooms, by the order of Nana Sahib of Bithoor, who commanded the rebels there. The garrison of Cawnpore, at no time strong in Europeans, had been denuded of some of the white troops to reinforce Lucknow. There were but 150 European soldiers all told, including detachments of the 32nd, 84th, and Madras Fusiliers, when the storm burst. A rude entrenchment had been formed round the hospital barracks and the soldiers’ church, and was defended by eight guns. Opposed to this handful were at least three revolted battalions, besides all the ruffians of the city, supported by a number of 24-pounders. In such a case the end could not be long coming, though it delayed for twenty-two days.

Though the greatest bravery was shown, such as when Captain John Moore of the 32nd, though severely wounded, made a sortie with twenty-five men, and spiked some of the enemy’s guns, the buildings were soon so riddled with shot as to afford little protection, and a portion of the hospital had been fired by shells and burnt. So the capitulation was made, on the solemn oath of Nana Sahib, that no life should be taken. Needless to say, that promise was not kept. On reaching the river bank, the massacre began, and culminated in the shooting or bayoneting of the whole of the white men, and the temporary confinement of the surviving women and children with their unfortunate fellow-sufferers from Futtyghur in the Assembly Rooms at Cawnpore. Here they were all massacred.

The army of relief was approaching, but it was too late to arrest the awful conclusion to the defence of Cawnpore. Havelock advanced from Allahabad with but 1300 men, including the 64th, 78th, and 1st Madras Fusiliers, and after four severe skirmishes at Futtehpore and elsewhere, during which the 64th and 78th carried a battery of guns, and “went on with sloped arms like a wall till within a hundred yards and not a shot was fired,” while, “At the word ‘Charge!’ they broke like a pack of eager hounds, and the village was taken in an instant.” When the column had reached Cawnpore, it had marched 126 miles in eight days and captured 24 guns!

Ample vengeance was taken for the massacre. The sight alone of the room where it had taken place inflamed the men beyond expression. Old soldiers wept, others divided locks of the hair of their murdered countrywomen and vowed revenge. There was little quarter given by Havelock’s column from that time forward.

General Neill was left in charge of the station, and ruled with an iron and a merciless hand.[65] His orders were: “Whenever a rebel is caught, he is to be instantly tried, and unless he can prove a defence, he is to be sentenced to be hanged at once; but the chief rebels or ringleaders I make first clean up a certain portion of the pool of blood, still two inches deep, in the street where the fearful murder and mutilation of women took place. To touch blood is most abhorrent to the high-caste natives; they think by doing so they doom their souls to perdition. Let them think so! My object is to inflict a fearful punishment for a revolting, cowardly, and barbarous deed, and to strike _terror_ into these rebels. The first caught was a subadar, or native officer, a high-caste Brahmin, who tried to resist my order to clean up the very blood he had helped to shed. But I made the provost-marshal do his duty, and a few lashes soon made the miscreant accomplish his task. When done, he was taken out and immediately hanged, and buried in a ditch at the roadside. No one who has witnessed the scenes of murder, mutilation, and massacre can even listen to the word ‘mercy’ as applied to these fiends.”

Havelock, meanwhile, was “pacifying” the neighbourhood with his handful of men. He destroyed Nana’s palace at Bithoor, he beat the rebels at Oonao, at Busserut Gunge, and Zaithpore, he attempted to relieve Lucknow; and though there was some desperate fighting, in which the British were locally successful, his force was too weak to reach the besieged, and he fell back, still fighting, to Cawnpore, reduced to but 800 men. He moved out again four days later, 1300 strong, to defeat the enemy at Bithoor again and return. But reinforcements were long in coming, for at Dinapore the regiments had mutinied and impeded communication with the south. Outram from Persia then assembled at Allahabad a column of 1500 men, including the 5th and 90th, and joined Havelock at Cawnpore. The most striking and noteworthy thing in all these operations is the exceeding smallness of the insignificant armies which were hastily assembled to crush the insurrection.

Cawnpore itself was now safe, and it was around Lucknow, therefore, that the main interest centred till the suppression of the revolt. It was the last important point in the war, for Delhi was taken before Lucknow; and this is how Delhi fell.

There had been, at first, only a native garrison in the cantonments near the capital of the Great Mogul. There was a contingent of European residents and a few officers, but no white troops. Practically, therefore, no resistance could be offered to the rising of the mutineers and to their brutality and bloodshed. Willoughby, with six other men, held the insurgents at bay long enough to blow up the great magazine, and when he fled, not a white was left alive in Delhi. Wilson, with the 60th and the Carbiniers from Meerut, commanded the advanced guard, and first engaged the enemy about fifteen miles from Delhi. The entire relieving force was under General Barnard, and contained detachments of the 9th Lancers and Carbiniers, and the 60th, 75th, 1st and 2nd Bengal Fusiliers, and some Ghoorkas, besides guns. Further resistance was experienced outside Delhi, and then Barnard sat down before the town. He seems to have been too weak for the work he had to do. Prolonged resistance only increased the morale of the mutineers, and gave them confidence. It is possible, therefore, that though the enemy fought throughout with the desperation of despair, an assault might have been successful, and the moral effect of victory at this juncture more than valuable. On the other hand, defeat would have been disastrous, and in Delhi were collected the largest, best organised, and most complete army the insurgents possessed. So the attack partook of the nature of a siege, without a complete investment of the fortress. The enemy were vigorous, and made frequent sorties, once even making an attack on the rear of the camp by a wide detour. On this day, the anniversary of Plassy, the fighting lasted for fifteen hours. The heat was terrific; the men were exhausted by long marches, little food, and incessant fighting. The generalship was of no high order. Neither Barnard nor Reid, his second in command, were equal to the occasion. In June the total force of Europeans numbered but 3000, with three battalions of Sikhs, Guides, and Ghoorkas, comparatively new levies.

Throughout all India, even those parts not then affected by the storm, panic began to spread. Calcutta was in terror, though the 37th and 53rd were there, and the Sepoys at Barrackpore had been disarmed. Elsewhere risings were common, sometimes suppressed by the bravery of a few; in other and more numerous cases, resulting in the death, with or without torture, of the mass of the European residents.

Thus the siege of Delhi drew to a conclusion, and the illness of the two leaders left General Wilson in charge of the operation. He was reinforced by Nicholson with 1000 Europeans and 1500 Sikhs. Small still as the army was, it was now able to take the offensive, and no more dashing officer than John Nicholson could have been selected for the duty. A force, some 7000 men strong, had left Delhi, to threaten the rear and communications of the army, and against this he moved with a mixed force, in which were the 9th, 61st, and 1st Fusiliers. The enemy was dispersed by the gallantry of the European troops who formed the first line, flanked by horse artillery batteries, and Nicholson retraced his steps to Delhi. It was the last of the sorties. By this time the siege train from Ferozepore had arrived, and with it a welcome reinforcement of a wing of the 8th Foot, a Belooch battalion, and detachments of the 9th and 60th, besides other native levies. By the 14th September two breaches had been made, and the assault was made in four columns. Of these, the first, under Jones, was directed on the Water Bastion, whence they were to move towards the Cashmere Gate, but he missed his way at first, and hence caused delay, but eventually he got in and pushed towards the Cabul Gate; the second, under Nicholson himself, carried the breach near the Cashmere Gate, and its leader fell mortally wounded near the Lahore Gate; the third, under Reid, attempted the Lahore Gate, but was repulsed with heavy loss; the 4th, under Campbell, had the difficult task of carrying the Cashmere Gate, which was blown in by a party consisting of Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, Sergeants Smith and Carmichael, and Corporal Burgess of the Engineers, Bugler Hawthorne of the 52nd, and 24 native sappers, though with severe loss. Through the gap charged the storming column of the Oxford Light Infantry, and by night the whole outer fringe of the city, from the Water Bastion to the Cabul Gate, was in the possession of the assailants, though the rest of the city was still in rebel hands. But not for long. The heart of the resistance was broken, and the 21st September 1857 saw the capture of the puppet king, and the death of his son and grandson, by the hands of Hodson of “Hodson’s Horse.”

Only Lucknow now remained in hostile hands. The fire was fast dying out in all parts of the empire, and therefore the operations could be conducted on a more consistent and deliberate plan. Lucknow had been in severe straits. Early in June a large force of rebels had assembled there and laid siege to the Residency, held by Lawrence with the 32nd, commanded by Inglis, and some 500 loyal natives. The details of that remarkable defence are such that it would be impossible in a brief space to enumerate the acts of heroism that accompanied the defence of Lucknow or the scientific skill with which the defenders, of whom Napier of Magdala was one, conducted the desperate contest.

At first it was hoped that relief would come in a fortnight, but eighty-seven weary days passed before the first help came. Then Havelock attempted it alone, with some 1300 troops, as has been already pointed out, but though unsuccessful, his advance had relieved the pressure on the beleaguered garrison, and enabled them by a bold sortie to reprovision the Residency, where provisions had run short.

His next effort was after Outram had been appointed to the chief command; but the latter magnanimously refused to take the work off Havelock’s hands, and offered to accompany him simply as “Chief Commissioner of Oudh.” The army, 2500 strong, in two brigades, in which served the 5th, 64th, 84th, and 1st Madras Fusiliers, the 78th and 90th, starting from Cawnpore, crossed the Ganges by a pontoon bridge, and so brought about the first real assistance to the garrison of Lucknow. The march was opposed from the outset. There was severe fighting at the Alumbagh, “the garden of the Lady Alum, or beauty of the world,” four miles from the Residency; but the British attack was irresistible, and five guns were taken. The next stand made was at the Charbagh, or “Four gardens,” but Outram with the Fusiliers, 5th, 6th, and 84th, carried the line of palisaded guns with a cheer, and Havelock, with the 78th and 90th, dashed into the town, carrying everything before them, though every inch of ground was disputed. Obstacles had been created on all sides, and the houses prepared for defence and loopholed, were occupied. But the “petticoated devils,” as the mutineers termed the Highlanders they met in battle for the first time, drove everything before them until the Residency was reached. It was only just in time, for the mutineers had driven mines beneath the defending walls, and soon all would have been over. In the assault some four hundred men had fallen, and among them the gallant General Neill. But the “relief” was a reinforcement only. The combined garrison was too weak to force its way through the still overwhelming masses of the enemy, with so many non-combatants to guard. So Havelock and Outram were, like Inglis, besieged in their turn for nearly fifty days.

During this time, Greathed, with the 84th, some of the 9th Lancers, and the 3rd Bengal Infantry, afterwards the 107th Regiment of the line, had cleared the country about Alighur and Agra; and Sir Hope Grant had reached Cawnpore with a column, and moved to Alumbagh, defeating the rebels at Canouj on the way. Here he was joined by Sir Colin Campbell, and the final relief of Lucknow was begun with Peel’s Naval Brigade, a strong force of artillery, and the 9th Lancers, 8th, 53rd, 75th, and 93rd Regiments of the line, which, with other troops, made a total of about 3500 men, to which were soon added detachments of the 23rd, 82nd, etc., and others of the 5th, 64th, and 78th.

The route chosen was by way of the Secunderabagh, “Alexander’s garden,” where the first severe skirmish took place, and here some 2000 of the enemy perished by the bayonet alone. Small wonder that with the recent remembrance of “Cawnpore,” no quarter was asked or given. It was too late for mercy. The fighting continued from building to building and from garden to garden, till on the 17th, Outram and Havelock met Sir Colin Campbell, who had begun his soldier’s career far back in the Peninsular days, when he carried the colours of the 9th Foot at Corunna, outside the battered walls so long and so gallantly held. The cost to the relieving force had been 467 officers and men killed and wounded. Even now it was impossible to remain and continue the contest. Occupying the Alumbagh with a brigade under Outram, the Lucknow garrison evacuated the blood-stained ruins of the Residency. There too Havelock died.

“The retreat was admirably executed, and was a perfect lesson in such combinations. Each exterior line came gradually retiring through its supports, till at length nothing remained but the last line of infantry and guns, with which I remained myself, to crush the enemy, had he dared to follow up the pickets. The only line of retreat lay through a long and tortuous lane, and all these precautions were absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of the force.”

An instance of the fury which characterised the fighting at the Secunderabagh is admirably told in Forbes Mitchell’s _Reminiscences of the Great Mutiny_. The hero of the story, around whose private history there was evidently more romance than usually falls to most men, bore the name of Quaker Wallace, the final name being fictitious, the first a nickname; and when the signal for the assault was given, he “went into the Secunderabagh like one of the furies, plainly seeking death, but not meeting it, and quoting the 116th Psalm, Scotch version, in metre, beginning at the first verse--

‘I love the Lord, because my voice And prayers He did hear. I, while I live, will call on Him, Who bow’d me to His ear.’

And thus he plunged into the Secunderabagh, quoting the next verse at every shot fired from his rifle and at each thrust given by his bayonet--

‘I’ll of salvation take the cup, On God’s name will I call: I’ll pay my vows now to the Lord Before His people all.’

“It was generally reported in the company that Quaker Wallace, single-handed, killed twenty men;” but be that as it may, the quaint religious fervour of this gallant soldier of the 93rd is a quaint survival of the same stern fanaticism of the Cameronians who fought and suffered in many a skirmish besides Bothwell Brig.

Cawnpore had in the meantime been again attacked, and thither Sir Colin, with the rest of the force, including the non-combatants, moved, reaching their destination on the 28th November. His arrival was most opportune. The Gwalior contingent had appeared before the town, and Wyndham, who commanded, had led out against them some 2000 men of the 64th, 82nd, 88th, and 34th Regiments. But the enemy were too strong. The rebels, 14,000 strong, with 40 guns, were reinforced by the relics of Nana Sahib’s army. Forcing back the weak British army, they held the outskirts of the city, capturing the mess plate of four regiments, together with the Arroyo des Molinos trophies of the 34th, and the wearied soldiery, having suffered terrible losses, were in sore straits. It was then that Campbell, cool and resolute, arrived; and when on the 1st December reinforcements came from Allahabad, the end was near. Cawnpore was bombarded for the last time, and the rebels retreated by the Calpee road, pursued first by Sir Colin Campbell, and then by Sir Hope Grant, with terrible effect. Guns and stores were captured, and the broken remains of the Gwalior contingent fled to join the mutineers who still held Lucknow, but who were watched and checked by Outram in his strongly defended position at Alumbagh.

Much good work was done elsewhere, to which only brief reference can be made--by Colonel Seaton about Pattialah, where he was afterwards reinforced by Sir Colin Campbell, in which the 6th Dragoon Guards took part; by Colonel Raines in Rajpootana, with the 95th; by Sir Hugh Rae in Central India, with the 42nd, when Roohea was unsuccessfully assaulted; and by General Roberts, also in Rajpootana, with the 8th Hussars and 72nd, 83rd, and 95th line Regiments at the storming of Kotah: but the Mutiny was practically crushed, and only the Lucknow force remained as a serious organised body of the enemy to be dealt with.

While the dying embers of the Mutiny were elsewhere, as already referred to, being stamped out by daily increasing forces, and with increasing determination and success, Outram still held at bay the 50,000 men who faced him at Alumbagh. That they did not do more than they did is proof positive that they knew already that the game was up, and that the rebellion had collapsed. Outram’s communications with his chief at Cawnpore were never, as heretofore, seriously endangered. Brigadier Franks had given one or two outside bands a lesson at Chanda which was effective, before he joined the army headquarters before Lucknow.

Sir Colin Campbell had marched from Cawnpore on the 28th February 1858, and out of his army of 30,000 men nearly 20,000 were Europeans, with 100 guns, and this without Franks’ contingent, and the handy force of Ghoorkas under Jung Bahadoor. England had played her usual careless game. Surprised at first, the innate courage of her fighting men had pulled her through her political and military difficulty. When the national spirit was aroused, real armies were created, and the end was certain.

In the final attack on the city, nothing is more curious than to note the strong feeling of military camaraderie between the Sikhs and the Highlanders. It is not enough to say that they showed a gallant feeling of emulation. They fraternised. Both regiments advanced equally, “stalking on in grim silence,” and without firing, till the bayonet came into use. The Highlanders stormed a building at the Secunderabagh by tearing the tiles off the roof, at Sir Colin’s own suggestion, and dropping into the building that way.

So, stage by stage, Lucknow was taken. The rebels were utterly routed, and never seriously afterwards did the rebellion raise head again. But many valuable lives had been lost in doing their duty; and among them was Major Hodson, who had had the courage, when Delhi was carried, to kill, with his own hand, the last scions of the Mogul Empire. Dreadful the deed, but dire the necessity. Whatever may be thought of him, he lived the life of a gallant soldier, and like one fell. Victoria Crosses were issued to eight officers for their bravery during these campaigns, and there were very many others who were equally deserving. No war, of which there is record, contains such numerous and continuous instances of self-denying heroism as does the Mutiny. Never were individual men more placed in the position of doing their duty and displaying the most magnificent heroism. As far as the “Story of the Army” goes, it may be recorded that the following regiments bear war honours on their colours for the good work they did in saving our Empire in India from utter destruction. “Lucknow” is borne on the colours and appointments of the 7th Hussars and 9th Lancers, and of the 5th, 8th, 10th, 20th, 23rd, 26th, 32nd, 34th, 38th, 42nd, 53rd, 64th, 75th, 78th, 79th, 82nd, 84th, 90th, 93rd, 97th, 101st, 102nd, and the Rifle Brigade. “Delhi” is carried by the 6th Dragoon Guards and 9th Lancers, and by the 8th, 52nd, 60th, 61st, 75th, and 104th Regiments of the line. The name “Central India” is worn by the 8th Hussars, 12th Lancers, 14th Hussars, and 17th Lancers, with the 27th, 38th, 71st, 72nd, 86th, 88th, and 95th Regiments.

Lucknow was practically the closing scene of the great struggle. There were still insurgent bands, no longer armies, to suppress; notorious rebel leaders to seek for and oftentimes never find; disturbed districts to settle down; all these things had to be done before peace passed over the land. Peace that was problematical then, even after the war of vengeance that was only righteous because of the hideous cruelties which caused it; peace that must always be superficial and doubtful. Youths yet unborn, if patriotic Indians, as were many of their ancestors at this time, however misguided in the course of action they adopted, may yet turn back to the burning history of the past, and may rise to avenge past conquest, and what may seem then, as earlier, present wrong.

The Romans governed England well, and raised it from savagery to civilisation. They introduced the higher arts of peace, founded our system of municipal government, created the first lighthouse on an English coast. But they came as aliens and left as strangers yet. Within but a few years, all traces of their holding of Magna Britannia had ceased to be, save in ruined homes, wrecked villas, grass-grown, unused roads, and abandoned towns. They conquered Britain by the sword and held it by the sword, so long as their military hand was strong enough to use and grasp the weapon. When their military power ceased, other and stronger and possibly less scrupulous nations took the lead in this our land. So it may be in India yet. Justice may be admired, but is rarely loved, so long as it is administered by foreign hands. Herein lies the strength and power and possibly the future hope of Russia. The Anglo-Saxon colonises and replaces peoples, the Slav absorbs. He has absorbed Central Asian khanates as we never have Indian native states; and yet his rule anywhere will not compare in any one degree with ours as regards justice, development, and care. None of these things matter when the human _ego_ has to be taken into account. That personal equation, the man himself, is left out of the question with the dominant Saxon. The less dominant, because more receptive and absorbing, Russian, whose blood runs in many a branch of the races that go to make up India, acts otherwise, and his chance of ultimate success, when the trouble of the future comes, is greater than that of the Saxon, who now rules with every good intent in the place of Mogul emperors and Hindu kings.

The Mutiny was one of those rare wars which were based on pure political reasons, that is, reasons based on conditions other than mere military considerations or those of conquest. It was unlike many of our other struggles, in the past, and recently, which were begun for reasons of policy. Policy and politics are not synonymous terms, though they are spelt much the same way. This serious contest grew up internally, from internal disagreement and disease which might have been diagnosed. Many of our other campaigns were based on a desire for conquest, a dread of the possible action of neighbouring powers which it might be to our interest to forestall, or to that natural expansion of empire which all colonising nations are subject to; and which means the subjection or destruction, for purely colonial or commercial reasons, of the races who stand in the way of what enterprising colonial empires think their national right. Whether their antagonists recognise it is “another story.”

One great result of the troubled time through which the nation passed during 1858 was that it led to a further and considerable increase to the army. In March of that year second battalions were added to the twenty-four regiments of the line after the 1st Royals, whose second battalion, created earlier, had remained in existence, and a fresh regiment, the 100th, or “Royal Canadians,” was raised in Canada and added to the _Army List_. The 5th Dragoons were restored as Lancers, and the 18th Hussars were raised at Leeds; while, when the Indian army was incorporated with the national forces, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd European Bengal Cavalry became the 19th, 20th, and 21st Hussars; and the European fusilier battalions of the Bengal, Madras, and Bombay armies were placed on the _Army List_ as the 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 104th, 105th, 106th, 107th, 108th, and 109th Regiments of the line, dating their seniority from 1861. To this increase, a permanent one, not one man raised an objection, a marked contrast to the times that had been. The dread of the standing army was at last as “dead as Queen Anne.”

The half-civil, half-military instruction of the army aspirant, the Sandhurst cadet, began to partake more of the latter character than the former; and was to be changed still more in another decade or thereabout. The utter failure of the staff in the Crimea had pointed out, what all foreign nations had already recognised, that a special training for some, if not all, of the staff officers of the future was advisable. So the Staff College came into being in 1858, and first established, more fully than the old “Senior Department” of the Royal Military College of Sandhurst, the principle that the work of the staff in the future can only be learned by studying the mistakes and successes of the past; that the art of war is by no means conjectural, but that he who knows what has been done can learn from that teaching how to do it again and do it better. The age of the “heaven-born soldier,” a rarity even greater than the black swan, was a thing of the past. To pitchfork unknown or untried men into the most difficult of all duties, that of working the machinery that makes or mars an army--its staff work--belonged to an earlier age than now.

But another great movement arose, the end of which no man can foresee, save that it has saved the nation from the dire evils of conscription. No really free nation ever has or ever will accept the fetters of compulsory service unless it feels there is a real reason for it. Nothing but actual invasion would ever make free Englishmen accept conscription as a principle, though they accepted in the long war what was almost worse. The pressgang, compulsory service in its worst, most one-sided, and most cruel form, was endured, but hated. But when, however, our late ally, France, irritated by the fact that our free political institutions did not admit of our handing over to her tender mercies men who, however ruffianly, had threatened the life of the Emperor Napoleon on political grounds only, and when the colonels of her army asked in the intensity of their sycophancy (for, as after events proved, the third Napoleon had no great hold on the affections of his people) to be led against “_la perfide Albion_,” the old spirit rose.

The spirit of individual help towards the national defence had been clearly shown as that of boyhood when the century was yet in its teens; in 1853 it had its second stage of youth; and finally in our time was to grow into first adolescence, and then vigorous manhood.

With all her pride, and its consequent self-sufficiency, with all her natural self-respect and self-belief, there is no nation really less military, at the heart of her, than Great Britain. Always a fighting race, it may be that this is why she is reluctant to fight, and is therefore always unready. She began the Crimean War with her usual curious sort of half-reluctant enthusiasm, and with an army of about the Peninsular type. She finished the war, the only nation then prepared and anxious to fight on, and, stronger than before, to push it to a successful termination when her allies were somewhat more than half-exhausted. But this very reluctance makes her serious when roused. And the uncalled for insult that she, of all nations in the world, was open to invasion at the call of French colonels called out all that curious innate fearlessness of battle which has helped British soldiers in many a hard-fought field to victory. Never were the English people more at peace, and more anxious to be. Never did they more willingly throw that feeling to the winds than when a body of French colonels insulted the whole English race.

So for a third time the civilian laid aside his mufti and clutched the uniform and rifle. By the middle of 1859 there were six thousand men armed and willing to fight. It is not necessary here to enter into the controversy of the merits or demerits of this force. It began one way, it has finished another. It began, helped by a fulsome praise that can only be called hysteric; for the first idea it had was to reduce or abolish the army for the sake of a force of _not_ soldiers, but merely men in arms, and which was for a time the laughing-stock of all Europe! Anything more ludicrous, and from a military point of view contemptible, than the early days of these willing and patriotic enthusiasts cannot be imagined. They played at soldiers in the most absolute way, and though much improved, they are very far from perfect now.

At first they were designed merely as local corps of varying strength, and were to have merely a company organisation. A separate manual even, the “Drill and Rifle Instruction for Corps of Rifle Volunteers,” was compiled with the specific purpose of minimising the amount of instructions to be given. This could, it was considered, be imparted in six lessons, and Sir Charles Napier in his “Letter on the Defence of England” strongly advises the new soldiery not to “let anyone persuade you to learn _more_.” Of course all this has long changed, and now the volunteer undergoes the same training as the soldier or the militiaman, but without that continuity that alone can make it of first value. Discipline and drill, if not synonymous terms, run hand in hand. The former naturally follows on the latter if it be continuous and sustained.



After the great Mutiny, the disturbed districts soon settled down to their normal calm. Discontent, if still existing, was concealed with Asiatic astuteness. The justice of our rule was evident, even if antagonistic to natural prejudices and antipathies. The extension of railways rendered rapid concentration of troops more possible, and the great increase in the permanent establishment of European troops soon impressed the native mind with the futility, for the time at least, of any further effort to upset the British rule.

The danger to which India was to be exposed for the future was more external than internal, more political than domestic. The natural extension of the Empire had brought it into intimate connection with semi-savage peoples on the one hand, and, what was of more serious importance, had, through the rapid absorption by Russia of the Central Asian khanates, brought the frontiers of two mighty Empires within striking distance. Hence the military history of India since the Mutiny is composed of small punitive expeditions against the mountain tribes of the Himmaleyehs and Hindu Koosh, or political campaigns such as that in Afghanistan.

Many of the former are too unimportant to mention, and reference will therefore be confined to those for which medals or clasps have been given, or whose names are borne upon the colours. But all spring from the same source. It is the contest, as old as the hills themselves, between the people of the mountains and those of the plain. To the former, rapine and plunder is a profitable pastime, and war an agreeable change. Like the Scottish Highlander of the time of “Roderick Dhu,” who looked on the Saxon or Lowlander as justifiable prey, and to whom to “spoil the Egyptians” was not merely right, but laudable, so all hill-tribe peoples feel with regard to the Lowlanders. Their own land provides little even of bare necessaries, still less of common luxuries. In many cases their condition necessitates, in their eyes, raids for slaves or wives; in all they know they will long enjoy comparative immunity from unpleasant consequences, provided their hostile acts are not too pronounced. They are aware, as are the military police and the government of the more peaceful districts, that to punish minor acts of theft is a costly, though rarely a dangerous, proceeding. Emboldened by immunity, and forgetful of past punishment, they grow bolder and bolder, until at length the patience of the other side is exhausted, and a second or a third punitive expedition is despatched. Even when, after such a one, superficial peace is established, the presence of foreign Residents, to see that that peace is kept, is often a constant source of danger. Some patriot more zealous or hyper-sensitive to the presence of the foreigner--all the more if he be a “Feringhi”--than the rest resents this apparent vassalage, and carries his resentment to its natural end with people whose fighting instincts are still strong. The early history of all dominant military nations or clans is the same. When they are fully subdued, they become as valuable servants and coadjutors in the principle of keeping order and the peace, as they were before hostile to both.

Where are there better soldiers than the Highland Scotch? and yet for generations they were deadly hostile to those with whom they now work with absolute cordiality. So with the Sikh and Beloochee. They furnish some of the best and most reliable of the native regiments.

Hence it is that frontier wars in India are, and will be, matters of common occurrence, until the peoples see the error of their ways, and learn that resistance and robbery, for it is little else, do not pay.

There is yet another reason why these wars must long continue to be inevitable. Semi-civilised man with arms in his hand (and all such tribes rejoice in having arms) are not content with looking at them. They desire to use them, and therefore do. Doubtless often enough it is a case of _cherchez la femme_, and it would be strange indeed if in some cases the male had not been egged on by ambition, or the desire for something which a raid would give her, by his feminine belongings. Barbaric woman thinks little of a peace-loving man. She likes the man none the less, but all the more, because he is strong in battle, and fearless when danger comes.

Frontier wars, however, are at anyrate a valuable training-school for our army, and give, in piping times of general peace, the only practical experience of how often death, and at all times difficulties, may be met and overcome. The first of these after the Mutiny was that of Sikkim, a district north of Darjeeling. There had often been friction before, and the turbulence of some of the tribes led to the “temporary occupation” of a portion of the Rajah of Sikkim’s territory. The natural consequences followed. The detachment was after a while driven out. Of course, too, there was the necessity to punish the “unjustifiable action,” and there was also the political effect such a minor reverse might have on the neighbouring populations.

As “Ramrod Joe” wrote long since--

“Wotever ye does hout ’ere, stick hup for your pride o’ race. Keep your _prestige_. Wot’s that? Why, keep them blacks in place.”

In 1860, therefore, an expedition was prepared under Colonel J. C. Gawler; and, in all these cases, the physical difficulties were more serious than the military. Only the 6th European Regiment, with the 3rd Sikhs, the 73rd Native Infantry, etc., with some 12-pounder howitzers, took part in these operations.

The country was difficult, consisting of rude mountain tracks, with dense and impenetrable jungle between. One peculiarity of this jungle was its being infested with leeches, which “penetrate loosely-woven cloths, and deprive the wearer of a good deal of blood before he finds them out. They get far up the noses of horses, goats, etc., and cannot be removed without subjecting the poor animal to a couple of days without water, which being afterwards offered to him, the leeches also want to drink, and may be seized. If allowed to remain, the animal becomes a mere skeleton.” The order of march, too, was peculiar in such a terrain. Flanking patrols were impossible, and the column was therefore protected by small bodies halted in succession, which in due course joined the rear of the column as fresh bodies in advance took their place.

The defence was not serious: there was some desultory jungle fighting, with little loss on either side; there were stockades and stone breastworks constructed, but not seriously held or for long; there were huge masses of stone, “booby traps,” so arranged on a bamboo platform that a few cuts with a knife would release them to roll down the mountain side, but no loss was effected by them. Finally, the country was pacified and war ceased; but a second expedition, in which the Derbyshire Regiment took part, was necessary in 1888, where the same difficulties were encountered and surmounted, and a small engagement took place at Gnatong.

The small Umbeylah, or Ambela, campaign, as it spelt in the official history, was somewhat more serious. There had been fanatical outbreaks by Hindustanis in the district beyond the territory of the Buner Khels, lying opposite the Hazara district of the Indus valley, and bordering on the area ruled by the Akhund of Swat. This personage was a spiritual as well as a temporal ruler, and combined theological distinction with political power.

The force was organised in two columns. That in the Hazara district had the 51st and 93rd Regiments, with the native troops, and was intended to watch the frontier at first defensively. The other had at first the 71st Highland Light Infantry and the 101st Royal Bengal Fusiliers to stiffen the Indian regiments, and to these were added later the 79th and 7th Royal Fusiliers, with the 7th Hussars.

The operations lasted from October to December, and are noteworthy for the heavy loss in officers and the tenacity with which the enemy, taking the offensive, conducted the fighting. To begin with, it was a continuous affair of outposts, for, penetrating into the mountains, the Buner people refused to let the column pass, and the small army, under Sir Neville Chamberlain, halted and posted outposts on commanding points known then as Eagle’s Nest, the Craig, the Water piquet, etc. The fighting round these was most severe. Taken and retaken frequently, always with loss, it was impossible to advance until a secure line of communication had been made, and reinforcements pushed to the front. The Punjabis fought gallantly, and Lieutenants Pilcher and Fosbery won the V.C.; but the instances of individual gallantry were most numerous. So desperate was the continued struggle for the Craig piquet that it got the name among the men of _Kutlgar_, the place of slaughter. But eventually the invading force was increased to 9000 men, and then, with a vigorous offensive, the tribal gathering was dispersed. The medal issued to the Usafzai Field Force was well earned; 36 British and 31 native officers, and 152 British and 689 native soldiers had been killed and wounded.

[Illustration: _Private 14^{th} Reg^{t} 1864._]

In such frontier wars, one frequently leads to another. The Bhoteas had passively, if not actively, sympathised with their neighbours in the Sikkim campaign, and soon in their turn became troublesome. In 1864, therefore, an expedition formed in four columns, for which detachments of the 48th, 80th, and the artillery, together with a large force of native regiments, were detailed, invaded Bhotan, which is situated on the north-east frontier, and whose people are more nearly allied to the Thibetans than to the Hindus. There was but slight opposition to the left column at Dhalimcote. The fort was bombarded and stormed, but the enemy, armed with stones, matchlocks, and bows and arrows, did not await the assault. The fort of Dhumsong and most of the stockaded positions built to check the advance were abandoned without firing a shot, and a brief stand was made at Chamoorchee, after which the Deb Rajah wrote a somewhat remarkable letter to the following effect:--

“If you wish for peace, do not disturb our peasantry; it will be best for you to go back to your own country without doing any harm to ours. But if you will take possession of my country, which is small, without fighting, and attach it to your own kingdom, which is large, I shall send the divine force of twelve gods, as per margin, who are very ferocious ghosts. Of this force 7000 stop at Chamoorchee, 5000 at Durma, 9000 at Buxa, and 102,000 at Dhalim Dooar. You have done great injury to our country, and should not repeat it.”

The other column on the left of the general line of advance, under Colonel Watson, none the less took Buxa without the “ghosts” raising any objection; while one of the right columns reached Dewangiri and the Darungah Pass after a brief skirmish, and the other marched on Bishensing without meeting the enemy. The formal annexation of the country was ordered, and a chain of military posts fixed for the garrison of the country until its government had become settled. But the Bhotanese made a second bid for freedom in 1866, and there was some brisk fighting at Dewangiri, which was for a time practically invested, as the Darungah Pass was held by the enemy. Water was running short, and, seeing little hope of reinforcement, Colonel Campbell decided on retreating by the Libia Pass, and was compelled to abandon his guns on the march.

Attacks were made afterwards on all the hill posts from Dewangiri to Chamoorchee, at Bishensing, Buxa, and Tazagong, and it was evident that the force there was insufficient to quell the now extensive rising. More artillery, the 55th and 80th Regiments, and three native battalions, under General Tombs, C.B., V.C., were hurried up. This was to act on the right, the other troops under Fraser on the left wing, for the reconquest of the country; and when Balla, Buxa, and Chamoorchee were taken with but little fighting by Fraser, as well as the stockades in the Balader Pass, the Darungah Pass, and Dewangiri (where the enemy made an ineffective stand), the war practically ceased; though after these active hostilities it was found necessary to despatch a strong force to check a tendency to further disturbance, though there was no more fighting.

Nothing of any note occurred until 1872, when the introduction of tea-planting into Assam led to a considerable immigration of Europeans, and offered greater temptations to the Lushai hill tribes to make incursions into the richer districts at the foot of the mountains. As far back as 1840 these people had been troublesome, and a punitive expedition had been despatched in 1850; but numerous outrages and forays had occurred in 1862 and 1869, and the Indian Government at length decided on the suppression of the annoyance.

The country was to be invaded in two columns: the left, from Cachar, under Colonel Bouchier, was composed of native troops and Royal Artillery, and, though opposed, the loss was trifling. The march towards Lalboora was made by Mynadhur (the last tea plantation in Assam), Khotel, and Kalhi, where the enemy assembled in such numbers that it was deemed advisable to fall back to the post at the Tuibuin river, and, after some fruitless negotiations, hostilities were continued in a haphazard fashion at Pachin Poiboi and Chelam, but the small force was so much weakened by the numerous detachments that had to be left to hold the more important points seized, that on more than one occasion the main column ran serious risk of being overpowered by numbers. Fortunately the arms of the adversary were of no great value, being very old flintlock Tower-pattern smooth-bores, bows and iron-tipped arrows, spears, and a species of Burmese _dah_. The bullets were not cast, but beaten into shape. It is to this fact that the extremely small loss, even when the jungle fighting was at close quarters, must be attributed. Meanwhile the right column, starting from Chittagong, had been similarly employed, and finally the whole force assembled in the final stronghold of Lungvel, and, first hoisting the British flag there, burned the village and returned to India. The terms of peace were the payment of a small fine, and the admission of Government agents in their villages, whose chief mission was to prevent disturbances, and report if such were likely to occur.

In 1875 and 1877 troubles sprung up nearer the Afghan frontier with the Jowakis, a branch of the Afreedis, who had persistently raided the Peshawur Valley, and finally attached a British outpost. To burn villages and slay defenceless villagers was one thing, to lay violent hands on a wearer of the Queen’s uniform was far more serious. So the second battalion of the 9th Regiment accompanied a small expedition which effected its object with but little loss on either side, and indeed no resistance worthy the name was offered. But of all these frontier campaigns, that against the Afghans, 1878 to 1880, was far more serious and prolonged. It was not a war with a small tribe only, but with a nation, though even then that nation was built up of many semi-independent and wholly barbaric bodies, serving under their own chiefs. In the _casus belli_, history repeated itself exactly. Fear of Russian influence at Cabul, and the refusal of the Ameer Shere Ali to dismiss a Russian envoy, led to the declaration of war, this to the occupation of Cabul, that to the placing of a British Resident at the capital and his consequent murder, and then another “Army of Vengeance.” The sequence of events was much as in 1844.

Space fails to tell fully the story of this remarkable contest. Remarkable not merely for the bravery of the enemy, his extraordinary power of recuperation after a beating, which had something very British about it, his strong political patriotism for his mountain home, his passion for freedom from all alien domination, especially of the hated “Feringhi”; but also for the enormous difficulties presented by the frowning defiles of the mountain barrier which separates the basin of the Indus from the wide, secluded valley which runs from Cabul to Candahar. The British seem to have been peculiarly obnoxious to the people, for other reasons than that of faith. The Ameer, when he proclaimed a _Jehad_ or holy war against us, struck, probably, the keynote as far as his people were concerned, when he said, “A foreign nation, without cause or the slightest provocation, has made up its mind to invade our country and conquer it.”

The first advance was made direct on Cabul by the Khyber Pass. The small fortress of Ali Musjid was attacked on the 21st November 1878, by the 51st and 81st European, and the 6th and 45th Native Regiments, and abandoned by the enemy after some sharp fighting; but many of the fugitives were stopped by the first battalion of the 17th in their retreat and taken prisoners. By the end of the year the head of this column was about Jellalabad. Coupled with this was the penetration of the Kurram Valley by the second column under General Roberts, which was composed of the 10th Hussars and 12th Bengal Cavalry, four batteries of artillery, the second battalion of the 8th, the Duke of Albany’s Highlanders, and many native regiments, to which were added, later, another battery of artillery, a squadron of the 9th Lancers, the 67th and 92nd, and more native cavalry and infantry battalions, raising the force by November 1878 to about 14,000 men. Advancing up the Kurram Valley to Fort Azim, which was garrisoned, the Afghan position on the Peiwar Kotal was attacked frontally by General Cobbe with a wing of the Gordons and other troops, and turned by the Spin Gawi Kotal with the 8th, the other wing of the Highlanders, and the 29th Native Infantry, with the 5th Ghoorkas. Finally, troops pushed on to Ali Kehl, which was garrisoned. Both these passes were held during the winter, and the troops, especially detachments, were frequently harassed by the semi-independent action of the hill tribes, rendering necessary punitive expeditions, such as those in the Khost Valley against the Mangals and Wazaris by Roberts’ force; and those against the Lughman tribes, north of Jellalabad, during which occurred the disaster to a squadron of the 10th Hussars, which, missing its way in crossing a ford on the Cabul river, lost forty-five men and one officer by drowning. Expeditions also on this side against the Khugranis led to fighting at Futtehabad and at Dehowink with the Afreedis. At the same period Sir Donald Stewart had occupied Candahar with but little opposition, and had also seized Khelat-i-Ghilzi and Girishk. There was much outrage, also in the Pishin and other valleys, both by the turbulent hill tribes and the dispersed or disbanded soldiery of the Amir.

By May 1879 Yakoub Khan, who had succeeded to the throne on the death of his father, Shere Ali, had recognised the futility of further resistance. The Peace of Gandamak was signed, by which the control of the foreign affairs of Afghanistan was to be vested in the Indian Government, the Kurram, Pishin, and Sibi Passes were to be attached to the Indian Empire, the Khyber Pass was also to be under our control, and a British Resident was to be installed at Cabul. Sir Louis Cavagnari accordingly proceeded there with a small escort on the 17th June 1879.

The calm that followed on the conclusion of the first period of the war was rudely broken. Sir Louis Cavagnari’s sanguine belief in a friendly Afghanistan was ill founded. But unlike the close of the first period of the previous war in 1843 to 1844, the massacre of the Resident and his people, which caused the second “army of vengeance,” took place while they were in apparently peaceful occupation of the Residency, and in Cabul, and not when in full retreat on India. There was even less warning of disaster in 1878 than in 1844.

When the news came there were troops in the Khyber, and Kurram Vallies, and at Candahar. In the Kurram Valley rapidly assembled the brigades of Macpherson and Baker, in which served the 72nd, the 67th, and the 92nd European Regiments, with many gallant Sikh and Ghoorka battalions, well provided with artillery and a cavalry brigade, in which were the 9th Lancers. Pushing on at once beyond the Peiwar Kotal, the Shaturgardan Pass was occupied before the enemy could get there, and garrisoned; and then the army, pushing on by Ali Kehl, in the Logar Valley, first met and defeated the insurgent Afghans at Charasia, where twenty guns were taken with but little loss. Yet another skirmish, and the army reached Cabul. The 67th was the first to enter, playing the quickstep that had been played long years before by the unhappy 44th, and the army then took up cantonments in the fortified district of Sherpur without the city walls.

Here for many a week they were practically shut in. The Shaturgardan garrison was isolated until relieved by Gough, and then that line of communication was abandoned and a fresh one opened by Gandamak and the Khyber. Throughout the whole of December there was almost continual fighting. General Roberts, slender as his force was, fully recognised the overwhelming advantage of the offensive in such a war and with such a people. Wherever armed bands gathered, there a force was sent. Often enough it barely carried out its purpose, and only then with heavy loss, because of the overwhelming numbers and determined bravery of the enemy. On one occasion the 9th Lancers suffered heavily, and three guns were temporarily abandoned; and at length the tribal gathering was too large to face, and, seizing Cabul, the Afghans shut up the small British army within its defences at Sherpur. But it was not for long. An attack on the 23rd December was beaten sternly back, and again the hostile host melted away and left Cabul alone. A few days after, Gough, with reinforcements, including the 9th Regiment, arrived by way of the Khyber.

Meanwhile, Sir Donald Stewart had moved up from Candahar, as Nott did in 1844. Meeting the enemy at Ahmed Kehl with his small force, which included the 59th and some of the 60th, he was victorious, though heavily outnumbered, and at one time, because of the desperate gallantry of the Ghazi charge, in a position of some peril; while, after entering Ghazni, he had a second “affair” at Urzoo, and then joined hands with General Ross’s force of Sikhs, Ghoorkas, and the 9th Foot, which had had another fight at Charasia before communication with the relieving column was effected.

Sir Donald Stewart now assumed supreme command at Cabul. Abdul Rahman was recognised as Amir by the Indian Government; and preparations were made, on the establishment of his authority, to abandon the Afghan capital and withdraw the army to India.

Meanwhile, General Primrose, with the 66th and 7th Fusiliers and some native troops, had been left in Candahar. The total garrison numbered less than 3000 men. But, hearing of the advance of another of the Afghan pretenders, Ayub Khan, from Herat, a considerable portion of the garrison, including the 66th, was pushed out to the north, as far as the Helmund, to check his advance. In this General Burrowes, who commanded, was unsuccessful. The battle of Maiwand was a terrible disaster, brought on chiefly, if not entirely, by taking up a fatally bad position to resist a powerful force furnished with a well-served artillery.

Here the 66th lost their colours, notwithstanding the desperate bravery of the remnant that rallied round them. Olivey and Honeywood carried the colours on that dreadful day, and the latter was heard to cry, as he held the standard on high, “Men, what shall we do to save this?” when he fell dead, as did Sergeant-major Cuphage, who next tried to take it. Colours--the _signa militaria_ still, though not of such importance as a rallying centre in these days of extended order and fire fight, as in the days of line formation and the Brown Bess--lost as these were lost reflect honour, and not discredit, on the history of a regiment.

Remarking on the use of colours in the past during battle, Sir Charles Napier writes: “Great is the value of the standard; it is a telegraph in the centre of the battle to speak the changes of the day to the wings. Its importance has therefore been immense in all ages, among all nations, and in all kinds of war. ‘Defend the colours! form upon the colours!’ is the first cry and the first thought of a soldier, when any mischance of battle has produced disorder; then do cries, shouts, firing, blows, and all the combat thicken round the standard; it contains the symbol of the honour of the band, and the brave press round its bearer.” So it has ever been since the standard-bearer of the Tenth Legion threw the honoured insignia of his regiment among the British-Celtic, or Belgic, militia on the Dover coast, when Christianity had not yet dawned. The breech-loader has caused the colours to be omitted in the battle-order paraphernalia of modern war, and, as gunpowder had, in the past, destroyed some of the glory and panoply of the mediæval host, so it has lessened some of the picturesqueness of the line of battle of to-day.

Worn-out colours have one of three endings. First, and naturally, in the church of the district whose name the regiment bears, because the consecrated banners find fitting resting-place in consecrated buildings. Next, with the colonels of the regiments, who may be well expected to revere the standards of the battalions which have honoured them by such a gift. And lastly, as the old 50th did when it was made a royal regiment, and when, in place of the black standard, it received one of royal blue; then the silk of the old colours was burned with careful reverence, and the ashes placed in the lid of the regimental snuff-box, made out of the wood of the staff, on which is also engraven the names of those who had borne the colours in the storm of battle.

The sentiment that dwells around the regimental colours has been very well expressed by the late Sir Edward Hamley. Speaking of the colours of the 43rd, now resting and rusting peacefully in Monmouth church, he says--

“A moth-eaten rag on a worm-eaten pole, It does not look likely to stir a man’s soul. ’Tis the deeds that were done ’neath the moth-eaten rag, When the pole was a staff, and the rag was a flag.

For on many a morn in our grandfathers’ days, When the bright sun of Portugal broke through the haze, Disclosing the armies arrayed in their might, It showed the old flag in the front of the fight.

By rivers, o’er bridges, past vineyards and downs, Up the valleys where stood, all deserted, the towns, It followed the French, and when they turned to bay, It just paused for the fight, then again led the way.

And whenever it chanced that a battle was nigh, They saw it then hung like a sign in the sky: And they soon learned to know it--its crimson and white-- O’er the lines of red coats and of bayonets bright.

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In the church, where it hangs when the moon gilds the graves And the aisles and the arches, it swells and it waves; While, below, a faint sound as of combat is heard From the ghostly array of the old Forty-Third.”

The feeling here expressed must have been strong with those who tried to save the colours at Maiwand. More than 1300 men had fallen there when the relics of the little army returned to Candahar, which was then invested, and all communication with India cut off by the destruction of the telegraph.

The nearest force for its relief was that of General Phayre in the Quettah Pass, where the difficulties of transport and supply were extreme. The other available army was that under Stewart and Roberts at Cabul. It was from them assistance was to come; but, while awaiting relief, a most useless and injudicious sortie was made, which had no result save the loss of valuable lives and a slight break in the monotony of the siege of Candahar.

The country in this part of Afghanistan was fully roused, though the northern portion, now held by the Amir, was quiet. The hatred to the British seemed to increase day by day. The deportation of prominent Afghan chiefs to India added fuel to the flame. The horror of such exile, in the Afghan mind, is extreme; the suffering infinitely greater than any death.

The fact that the tide of unvarying success which usually characterises the action of our arms in the East had been so far checked, had acted curiously on even the Indian mind. Hitherto there had been no reluctance to serve beyond the borders of the Indian Empire, and no difficulty in obtaining recruits. Now there was; and to such an extent that bounties of £5 had to be offered, a sum equivalent with a native to what £56 would be with an English soldier, in order to fill up the depleted ranks. Even the often despised Madrasee was willingly taken.

Ayub’s army therefore gathered strength as it advanced, especially after the Maiwand disaster, and with the prospect of the rich plunder of Candahar. He certainly numbered at one time some 10,000 men, but the numbers varied, and these irregulars, like the Highlanders in the Jacobite wars, often returned home to deposit plunder, see to their crops, or visit their families.

The Amir who then ruled Afghanistan was by no means averse to the crushing of this somewhat formidable personage. His seat on the golden throne was not yet so firmly secure that he could view with equanimity the rise of a powerful and possibly victorious chieftain, who might be his rival in the allegiance of the people. He assisted the British expedition in every way, arranging, as far as he had power, for supplies to be procured.

To General Roberts was entrusted the command of the relieving column. It numbered about 10,000 men, with 8000 camp followers, and with it marched the 92nd, 72nd, and 60th line Regiments, and the 9th Lancers; but the only artillery were three batteries of 7-pounder screw mountain guns.

The remainder of the army, including the 9th, 59th, and 67th Regiments, under Stewart himself, marched back to India by the Khyber Pass, unmolested by even a single Ghazi bullet, and Lundi Kotal became an advanced post on this road, as Quettah was on that to Candahar.

Though Stewart’s march from Candahar to Cabul was an anxious one, and seriously resisted throughout, the return journey was uneventful and unopposed. Joining hands with Primrose, the combined troops, leaving a weak garrison in the city, marched out to attack Ayub, who had taken up a position north of the fortress near the Pir Paimal ridge. Here, while the 7th and 66th, with some native detachments, freed the central attack, the right wing movement was effected. Macpherson’s Brigade, in which served the 92nd, and Baker’s Brigade, forming the left wing, and having the 72nd Regiment and the 2nd Sikhs in first line, the 5th Ghoorkas and 3rd Sikhs in second line, and the 2nd Beloochees in third line, was thrust forward on this side against the enemy’s right. The cavalry had to make a wide detour on the left to cross the Argandab river. The victory was complete, 31 guns and 2 Royal Horse Artillery 9-pounders were taken, one of which was claimed by a plucky little Ghoorka, who, rushing on the gun, thrust his cap in the muzzle, shouting in Hindustani, “This gun belongs to _my_ regiment, 2nd Ghoorkas, Prince of Wales’s!” The loss was only 46 killed and 202 wounded.

With the battle of “Baba Wali,” or “Candahar,” all opposition ceased, and the British troops returned to India. Quettah and Lundi Kotal in the two main passes were garrisoned, and the former has, since the war, been strongly fortified, while a railway has been constructed to unite this advanced post with the Indian railway system.

Medals, with clasps, were given for Ali-Musjid, Peiwar Kotal, Cabul 1879, Charasiah, Candahar 1880, Afghanistan 1878 to 1880, and Ahmed Kehl; while all those who took part in the 318-mile march from Cabul received a bronze star supported by a rainbow-hued ribbon, as did those who participated in the first Afghan war thirty years before.

Since the annexation of the Punjab, and between 1849 and 1881, no less than forty-four expeditions have been undertaken against the hill people, and since then there have been other minor disturbances in Sikkim, Waziristan, on the Black Mountain, Manipur, and elsewhere. Finally, the British army, native and European, has brought to a successful conclusion the expedition for the relief of Chitral, which has shown, by the rapidity and secrecy of its mobilisation, and the skilful conduct of this last “little war,” the preparedness of the army in India for the work it may have eventually to perform, on a larger scale even than that of the last Afghan campaign.

Notwithstanding the difficulty of mobilising an Indian army widely dispersed, and with often indifferent means of intercommunication, the first division received the order on the 19th March, and was fully mobilised by the 1st April. The men carried but ten pounds weight of kit, and the officers forty, and there were no tents; yet, notwithstanding, 28,000 pack animals were required for this limited transport. The relief of Chitral, in the fort of which a small British force, with the British agent, Surgeon-Major Robertson, was besieged by a native rising composed of Pathans from Jandul, a state bordering on Chitral, under Umra Khan, and Chitralis under Sher Afzul. It was proposed to effect the invasion of this mountain district from two sides. From the south was to advance the first division, in which were the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Gordon Highlanders, the Bedfordshire Regiment, and a battalion of the King’s Royal Rifles, and their route lay by Sivat and Dir, with four hill ranges and three considerable streams to be crossed. From the north-east by Gilgit and Mastuj a second and smaller column under Colonel Kelly was to march, having to cross in deep snow a pass 12,000 feet high. Both expeditions succeeded. Colonel Kelly’s force overcame every difficulty with the greatest determination, and the rapid and decisive defeat of the enemy in the Panjkora and Jandul valleys by the main army soon brought about the complete submission of the revolted tribes. The defence of the fort of Chitral may be classed among the gallant deeds English soldiers are proud to recognise, though there were no European troops other than officers to conduct the operations. There are some curious stories as to the indifference with which wounds are regarded by Asiatics. After one of the skirmishes, one of the enemy with six bullets through him walked nine miles to the British camp to be treated, and fully recovered; while in another case a lad looking on at the fight was wounded by a bullet in the arm, which “passed through it in several places, splintering it badly.” The doctors gave him the choice between death and amputation, but he declined the latter, and “in a few days, instead of being dead, he was better, and in a few days was out and about again.”[66] Against foes with such nerve strength or indifference to pain, small-bore rifles will be of little value to check a fanatic rush. The leaders of the little garrison of Chitral richly earned the rewards bestowed on them; and Surgeon-Captain Whitchurch won the Victoria Cross.



The minor wars outside the main peninsula of Hindostan have been caused either by the expansion of the Empire of India in the only possible direction--eastward--or for the purposes of colonisation or trade.

A series of points on the road to the Pacific were gradually obtained, usually by purchase, between 1786 and 1824, such as Penang, and the land opposite in the Straits of Malacca, with Singapore and Malacca farther south. These guarded the sea-road to China, with whom we were eventually to be engaged in war.

But before that happened, Alompra, King of Ava, had played into the hands of those who were willing to add still more realms to those already under the British flag. He had conquered much of the southern peninsula, and, fancying himself irresistible, had raided our Cachar territories which bordered on his. He had seized the island of Shapuree and driven out the British guard there. Reluctant as was the East India Company to engage in further war after the costly campaigns with the Mahrattas, they had little choice. Prestige is all-important with semi-barbaric nations, and force alone wins respect. So this first expansion of empire into the Burma-Siamese peninsula began as a punitive expedition.

It commenced with an outbreak of mutiny, which future events in India rendered ominous. The 47th Bengal Regiment refused to embark for Burmah, lest they should lose caste. It is possible that their scruples were sincerely conscientious, and their contract of enlistment does not seem to have contemplated their employment beyond the seas. It was bad management to select those whose religious antagonism might be roused; but the order had been given, and on the continued refusal of the men to embark, they were fired on by European infantry and artillery and massacred.

Then the expedition started, on a three years’ campaign, in which the 1st Royals, 13th, 38th, 41st, 44th, 47th, 54th, 87th, and 89th shared, as did also the forerunner of the present 102nd or 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, besides numerous regiments of Madras Sepoys.

There had been some skirmishing with the invaders of Cachar, in the north-west, where General Shuldham was on guard, but the physical difficulties of forest and mountain rendered military operations extremely difficult; so that the second step was the occupation of Arracan by General Richards, with the 44th, 54th, and seven Sepoy battalions. Little else was done in that province, and the troops suffered terribly from sickness. Soon after Rangoon was taken by Sir A. Campbell, who had the 13th, 38th, and 41st Regiments, with a large force of Sepoys, as well as the remains of the 44th and 54th line Battalions, and this formed the base of all the future operations. The war throughout was peculiar. The chief villages and towns were on or near the banks of the Irrawaddy and its tributaries, and the whole district was covered by dense forests and marshes through which ran poor tracks which could scarcely be deemed roads. The enemy fought with bravery, but rarely ventured to meet the invader in the open, basing their defence on skilfully constructed stockades, which they rapidly erected. The physical difficulties were great, and led to delay, which in its turn led to a steady decimation of the white troops. Between June 1824 and March 1825, out of an average force of about 2800 men nearly 1400 had died. It was jungle fighting under the most severe conditions, and the whole strategic plan of attack was the successive assault and possession of the chief towns until the capital itself was reached.

But little headway was made at first. The first attempts on Kemmendine and Donabu failed; raids on Tavoy, Mergui, Tenasserim, Martaban, and Yé succeeded. There were constant skirmishes round Rangoon, in which the 38th and 13th especially distinguished themselves; and as Havelock says, in his _Memoirs of the Three Campaigns_, the enemy “acquitted themselves like men. They fell in heaps under the bayonet.”

But until 1825 began, the only result of the operations had been the possession, more or less, of the coast line. Early in that year a famous Burmese general, one Maha Bandoola, who had marched through Arracan bearing with him heavy gold fetters wherewith to bind and make captive Lord Amherst, appeared before Rangoon. The “Lord of the golden foot” who ruled in Ava was exasperated at the capture of the place. His first order had been: “British ships have brought foreign soldiers to the mouth of the river. They are my prisoners. Cut me some thousand spans of rope to bind them.” The Burmese army therefore took up and entrenched a strong position at Kokaing, whence Rangoon was harassed; but, attacked in rear by Cotton with the 13th Regiment (which lost 53 men and 7 officers killed and wounded, out of a total of 220) and some Sepoys, and in front by Campbell with a force in which were the 38th, 41st, and 89th (recently arrived), the enemy, 25,000 strong, was badly beaten by about 1500 men, and fell back on Donabu. The 47th and Royals having arrived as reinforcements, Campbell pushed on toward Sarawak, but Cotton, attacking Donabu, was not in sufficient force to carry out his object; so the two wings united and attacked the place a second time, and after desperate fighting carried the defences of the town, and Bandoola was slain. He was a man of an inquiring disposition, and was anxious to see the properties of the common shell, one “with a very long fuse having been projected by the British. The live ‘creature’ was brought fizzing at a dreadful rate to him; and he, at some distance, surveyed with great curiosity the unfortunate men bringing the fiery fiend along. Another second or two and it burst, killing the carriers and every one beside it! Bandoola was thunderstruck, and for the whole of that day his courage left him.” The stockades were “made of solid teak beams about 17 feet high driven firmly into the earth. Behind this wooden wall the old brick ramparts of the place rose to a considerable height, affording a firm and elevated footing for the defenders. On the works were 150 cannon and several guns. A ditch surrounded them, and the passage of it was rendered difficult by spikes and great nails planted in the earth, by treacherous holes and other contrivances. Beyond the ditch were several rows of strong railings; but in front of all was the most formidable defence, an abattis of felled trees, thirty yards in breadth, extending quite round the works.”

This will give a good idea of the Burmese defences at that time.

The next post of importance occupied was Prome, still farther up the river, and here, though the lower part of the country was now in the undisturbed possession of the British, the Burmese army was not yet cowed, and 60,000 men assembled to blockade Prome. But, assisted by the fleet which accompanied the advance, the British pushed on, though opposed step by step, in a series of skirmishes in which the 87th and 41st showed distinguished gallantry; and after a more determined battle at Melloon, and another at Pagahan-Mew, within forty-five miles of Ava, a treaty of peace was concluded in February 1826, whereby Arracan, Yé, Tavoy, Mergui, and Tenasserim were added to the Indian Empire. The war had cost the lives of 3222 Europeans and 1766 Sepoys, and placed “Ava” on the colours of the 13th, 38th, 41st, 44th, 45th, 47th, 87th, and 89th Regiments of the line, as well as the Madras European Regiment, afterwards the 102nd Foot.

But the treaty of Yandaboo, granting safety to merchants and opening the country up to trade, was never really kept. So much did the native insolence increase, that in 1852 the foreign inhabitants of Rangoon embarked in the _Proserpine_, and the occupation of Burmah was temporarily suspended. But the Marquis of Dalhousie, then Governor-General, saw the danger of having a hostile State on our borders, especially if flushed with the idea of strength. In April of that year, therefore, an army in which were the 18th, 51st, and 80th, under General Godwin, proceeded to Burmah, and successively occupied, after but slight resistance, Martaban and Rangoon. In these operations the fleet as before were usefully employed. So terrible was the heat that many men, and Major Oakes, who commanded the artillery, perished from sunstroke; but the key to the position, the Golden Pagoda, was carried by the 80th and Royal Irish, after some stout fighting and comparatively little loss. Soon after, Bassein was again taken by the 51st and garrisoned while the enemy made an ineffective attack on Martaban; but the resistance in this war was by no means so vigorous as in 1825; and when Pegu, which had been subdued and partly destroyed during Alompra’s conquests, was taken by one company of the 80th and some Madras troops, the army advanced unopposed as far as Prome, which was taken with a loss of one man killed and one wounded. So hostilities ceased without any formal treaty; but Pegu was annexed, and a military road was commenced to unite Calcutta with Prome.

The final subjugation of Burmah presents few features of military interest. The feeble rule of the king necessitated his deposition, and the country was annexed therefore. Since then its pacification has steadily progressed, and the military operations have mainly consisted of moving against the bands of disbanded soldiery, or Dacoits, which successively formed in the country.

The last operation undertaken in the peninsula was the expedition to Perak in 1875, which, formerly ruled by Siam, had after 1822 been independent.

Our possession of the country began in the customary way. Internal disturbance led us to assist one side, and place a Resident, Mr. J. W. Birch, in the country; and here again the usual results followed--his murder, and a punitive expedition. The small war was identical with those of the neighbouring state of Burmah, the ostensible reason for it the inadvisability of having a disturbed, internecine war-torn principality near our own possession of Wellesley Province, opposite Penang. The operations, similarly, were conducted along the Perak river; the country itself was heavily jungled and morassed; the enemy fought us behind stockades. The jungle was “so dense and dark, that during all the time not a vestige of sun or sky was visible overhead; and during the advance [on Kinta] they were without cover of any kind, and slept in the damp, dewy open.” The regiments, or portions thereof, employed were the 10th and the 3rd Buffs, with Ghoorkas and other native troops, aided by engineers, artillery, and naval brigades.

Of these latter there were three. Captain Butler, with some of the men of the _Modeste_ and _Ringdove_, accompanied General Colborne on the Perak river, which was patrolled by the boats of the navy, and incursions from the north bank thereby prevented; Captain Garforth, with bluejackets of the _Philomel_, _Modeste_, and _Ringdove_, was with Ross in the Larut district; and Captain Stirling of the _Thrush_ co-operated with Colonel Hill in Sunghi Uhjong.

The physical difficulties and the food supply, the want of roads and the climate, were the chief obstacles; but after a series of severe skirmishes between the Perak and Kinta rivers, at Kinta, Kotah Lama and Rathalma, the Malays accepted the inevitable, and fighting ceased. One remarkable result may be recorded. As soon as British rule was established, the Malays flocked in numbers to the settled land, and “Under British sway these have increased until they numbered 120 souls per square mile, while in the States governed by native sovereigns they have sunk down to about seven souls in the square mile.” The districts annexed, and righteously governed, had recently, as Sir Andrew Clarke stated, been “huge cockpits of slaughter.” The end here unquestionably justified the means.

* * * * *

The expedition to China was the natural outcome of our commercial expansion, as others had been produced by colonial expansion. The innate conservatism of China was at its highest about this time. Freedom of trade was not; and merchandise, etc., filtered only through the one doorway of Canton and Macao. Smuggling was rampant, especially in opium, and this was extensively imported into the country, notwithstanding the objections raised by the Chinese Government, which had, twenty years earlier, prohibited its use. From mere threats they proceeded to active measures. Some twenty thousand chests of opium were seized, and British merchants trading in the drug were imprisoned. Early in 1840, therefore, a combined naval and military expedition was fitted out, the latter consisting of native Indian regiments, together with the 18th, 26th, and 49th, and later on the 55th and 98th. The attack on the unwieldy empire was more or less coastal; its aim exhaustion rather than occupation of large areas of territory, the seizure of great towns rather than a connected campaign. The Island of Chusan was chosen as the primary base of operations, and the whole coast line, as far north as the Yangtse, was blockaded, but the loss from disease was far greater than that caused by battle, and the Cameronians were soon reduced from 900 to barely 300 strong. The resistance offered was of no great value. Each success was followed by negotiations which led to no result beyond the tedious prolongation of the war.

Thus, in 1841, detachments of the 18th, 26th, and 49th landed and took Chuenpee, the Bocca-Tigris Forts were destroyed, and Canton fell. The squadron from Hong Kong Harbour then captured Amoy, the marines and 26th occupying Kulangsu on the left of the entrance, and the 18th and 49th the great battery on the right, or city, side.

The flank of this long, low, coast battery was covered by a crenelated wall, and when the Royal Irish swarmed over it, the “Tiger Braves,” so called from their uniform and the tiger’s face on their huge wicker shields, endeavoured to frighten the invaders by yells and jumps. But it had little effect, and we “picked ’em off,” said one soldier, “like partridges on the wing.” This was the first campaign in which the percussion musket was employed.

Chusan was abandoned for a while, but reoccupied later by the 18th, 49th, and 55th; and shortly afterwards the seaport of Ningpo was taken, together with Chinghai; while the following year Chapoo and Woosung, at the mouth of the Shanghai river, were destroyed, and a severe battle took place at Chin Kiang, which placed the whole of the most important ports of the Chinese littoral in British hands.

The Tartar troops fought with desperation at Chin Kiang, and, according to a barbarous custom, based possibly on dread of ill-treatment to prisoners, they murdered their wives and children before retreating. One deep draw-well was full to the brim of drowned Tartar girls, some well dressed and of the higher class.

The fall of Chin Kiang, and the threat to advance upon Nankin, had brought the emperor to his senses, though probably he had been deceived up to that time as to the result of the invaders’ efforts. He sued for peace, therefore, and obtained it at the expense of the cession of Hong Kong, the opening of five ports to trade, and the payment of an indemnity of four and a quarter millions sterling. For this campaign the regiments engaged bear the dragon, with “China,” among their badges.

There was a further small ebullition of hostility to the “Fan Kwei,” or “foreign devils,” in 1847, in which the 18th was employed to quell the disturbance, but it was not of much military interest.

But in 1856 hostilities again broke out on a more serious scale. The Chinese had seized the _Arrow_, a small trading vessel, and taken a man out of her, on the ground that he was a pirate. The insult to the flag could not be permitted, and the refusal of apology led to a second declaration of war. The 59th Regiment was already on the China station, and with the assistance of the Royal Marines, early in 1857, bombarded and stormed Canton; it also served in the expedition to the White Cloud Mountains and at the capture of Nantow in 1858. But the gravity of the situation in India was too profound to admit of the despatch of reinforcements to the far East until the great Mutiny was quelled. It was not until 1859, therefore, that active operations were resumed, and these met with a disastrous check at the first move; for the fleet, in attempting to destroy the forts which the Chinese had erected at the mouth of the Peiho, was decidedly repulsed. In 1860, therefore, a serious combined naval and military expedition was planned. The former was commanded by Admiral Hope; the latter by Sir Hope Grant, and consisted of the 1st Dragoon Guards, a battalion of the 1st Royals, the 2nd Queen’s, the 3rd Buffs, and the 31st, 44th, 60th, 67th, and 99th Regiments, together with the Royal Marines and Indian troops, including the famous “Fane’s” and “Probyn’s” Horse. But, in addition, we were allied with a French force under General Montauban, and, as is not uncommon in such allied operations, the small French contingent was often rather a drag than an assistance, totally unprovided as it was with regular cavalry.

A landing was effected near the mouth of the Peiho, at Pehtang in the Gulf of Pecheli, and the army marched towards Sinho. The Taku forts were of considerable size, strongly armed and surrounded by wet ditches and lines of bamboo pickets. But they were stormed none the less, after a brief skirmish on the way at Sinho, the works on the north side being first assailed, as being least formidable and commanding the southern fort, which was, moreover, to be bombarded from the sea by the French and British gunboats. But the fall of the first north fort attacked, where Lieutenants Rogers of the 44th and Burslem of the 67th showed great gallantry in carrying the colours of their regiments, led to the abandonment of the rest. Unlike the previous war, this was undertaken with the definite strategic plan of bringing pressure to bear upon the emperor by the seizure of his capital. Leaving the Buffs at Taku, and despatching the 44th to Shanghai, the army marched to Tientsin, whither the lighter vessels of the squadron also steamed. The route taken was along the south bank of the Peiho, by Tientsin, Chan-Chia-Wan, and Palichaio, where the river was crossed, and then, after a detour to the Summer Palace of Yuan-ming-Yuan, the capital was reached, and preparations made to breach its massive walls. No serious resistance was offered until the army had reached Chan-Chia-Wan, where there was a sharp skirmish, and the enemy abandoned his entrenched position, with 74 guns, within a few miles of Pekin; and exasperation was added to the desire for attacking the Chinese by the unwarrantable seizure of Captain Brabazon, Lieutenant Anderson, Mr. Norman, Mr. Bowden, and Mr. (afterwards Sir Harry) Parkes, who were taken prisoners, and with the sole exception of Parkes, barbarously murdered.

One last effort was made to cover Pekin, before the emperor fled, at the Bridge of Palichaio, and here the French attacked with the greatest vigour the Chinese Imperial Guard, and drove them back with loss, taking 25 guns. This obtained for General Montauban the title of Comte de Palikao. The further advance was practically unopposed. The Summer Palace was looted and finally burned; the main gate of Pekin surrendered to avoid bombardment.

The plunder in the Summer Palace was immense, but the French, less scrupulous than the British, began it, and had the best of it.

“In the room,” says an eye-witness, “we proceeded to examine the imperial curiosities, as we might have done those in a museum, but the French officers proceeded to ‘_arracher_’ everything they took a fancy to, gold watches and small valuables being thrust with amazing velocity into the capacious side pockets of their voluminous red pantaloons. Though the general asserted that nothing was to be touched till Sir Hope Grant arrived, yet the ‘looting’ of the famous Summer Palace went on. One French officer found a string of gorgeous pearls, each being the size of a marble, which he afterward foolishly sold at Hong Kong for £3000. Others had pencil-cases set with pure diamonds; others watches and vases thickly studded with pearls.”

Again, “In an outhouse two carriages, presented to the Emperor Taon-Kwong by Lord Macartney, were found; and such a quantity of gold fell into the hands of the 15th Punjaubees that one officer alone got £9000.”

The wilful destruction of the palace was a stern necessity. As Sir Garnet Wolseley, in his account of the war, says: “The destruction of the palace appears to have struck the Pekin authorities with awe. It was the stamp which gave an unmistakable reality to our work of vengeance, proving that Lord Elgin’s last letter was no idle threat, and warning them of what they might expect in the capital itself unless they accepted our proffered terms.”

There is one incident regarding the conduct of one of the brave men who fought in this campaign, which is worth recording. Private Moyse of the Buffs was, with some Indian troops, taken prisoner near Sinho, and led before the Tartar general. Here the prisoners were ordered to _kow-tow_, the usual salutation from the lower classes in China to the higher classes, and which consists of kneeling down and touching the ground several times with the forehead. The native soldiers obeyed. Private Moyse refused, and was at once killed. The story has been touchingly poetised by Sir F. H. Doyle, under the title of “The Private of the Buffs.”[67]

“Last night among his fellow roughs, He jested, quaffed, and swore, A drunken private of the Buffs Who never looked before. To-day, beneath the foeman’s frown, He stands in Elgin’s place, Ambassador from Britain’s crown, And type of all her race.

Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught, Bewildered, and alone; A heart with English instinct fraught, He yet can call his own. Ay, tear his body limb from limb, Bring cord or axe or flame, He only knows that not _through_ him Shall England come to shame.

* * * * *

Yes, honour calls, with strength like steel He put the vision by; Let dusky Indians whine and kneel, An English lad must die. And thus, with eyes that would not shrink, With knee to man unbent, Unfaltering on its dreadful brink To his red grave he went.

Vain, mightiest fleets of iron framed, Vain, those all-shattering guns, Unless proud England keep untamed The strong heart of her sons. So let his name through Europe ring, A man of mean estate, Who died as firm as Sparta’s king Because his soul was great.”

The battle of Palichaio practically terminated the war. The conquerors refused to come to terms unless Pekin was itself occupied, and, when this was agreed to, peace followed in due course. The Chinese had to pay an indemnity of £100,000, open the port of Tientsin to trade, and add the island of Kowloon, opposite Hong Kong, to the British possessions in China.

* * * * *

In the area of the South Pacific there had been little employment for the army except as the national police. No resistance had been offered to our occupation of the islands in the Southern Seas, with the sole exception of New Zealand. The war that broke out here was remarkable for the great courage shown by the natives, and for the stubborn resistance offered to the troops engaged in what were lightly called rebellions. In such campaigns there could be no very connected plan. It was essentially bush fighting, against isolated bodies or tribal headquarters, very skilfully entrenched and stockaded.

It began in 1847, three years after the island had been declared a British colony, and arose from the gradual colonisation of the territory and the occupation of the tribal lands. This was contrary to the national feelings of the Maoris, and was bitterly resented. The country was much wooded, and the natives warlike and cannibal. Like all such contests, the wars were prolonged and embittered. The first one lasted more or less from 1849 to 1856, and from time to time kept fully employed the 58th, 65th, 98th, and 99th Regiments of the line.

The second continued from 1860 until 1869, and employed at intervals no less than thirteen regiments of the line, which, therefore, bear “New Zealand” on their colours; and afforded many opportunities for distinguished bravery, which gained Colonel M’Neill, Doctors Manley and Temple, Lieutenant Pickard, Sergeant M’Kenna, Sergeant-major Lucas, Ensign Down, and Drummer Stagpoole the honour of the Victoria Cross. The regiments referred to are the 12th, 14th, 18th, 40th, 43rd, 50th, 57th, 58th, 65th, 68th, 70th, 96th, and 99th, and at one time there were altogether some 25,000 men under arms, of which 10,000 were regulars; while, on the other hand, the enemy are said never to have been able to muster for battle at one time more than 600 men! The positions selected for defence were, as a rule, well chosen, and protected with well-constructed rifle-pits, and they communicated with each other by fire signals by night, and steam produced by pouring water on heated stones, by day. The general plan of operation was necessarily dislocated. As districts were cleared of the enemy, so redoubts were made and garrisoned to hold in awe the land.

The fighting was at times terribly severe, well sustained, and at times chivalric. At Rangiriri, where the British loss was 15 officers and 117 men killed and wounded of the 40th, 65th, 12th, and 14th Regiments, the Maoris surrendered, and at once fraternised with their late opponents, and in a speech said, “We fought you at Koheroa, and fought you well; we fought you at Rangiriri, and fought you well, and now we are friends for ever, for ever, for ever.” Similarly, at the “Gate Pah” the enemy had entrenched himself, and threatened the station of Tauranga; so the garrison was reinforced by the 68th and detachments of the 12th, 14th, 43rd, and 65th Regiments, with a force of marines and bluejackets, with nine guns and six mortars, and advanced to drive the Maoris from their strongly-entrenched position. The flanks rested on marshes, and “on the highest point of the neck the Maoris had constructed an oblong redoubt, well palisaded and surrounded by a strong post and rail fence--a formidable obstacle to an advancing column, and difficult to destroy with artillery; the interval between the side faces of the redoubt and the swamps was defended by an entrenched line of rifle-pits.”

This will give a fair type of the Maori method of defence, and is sufficient evidence of a natural military eye for ground.

The attack was checked at first with heavy loss, and the enemy escaped during the night. On the field were left 14 officers killed and wounded, and 97 non-commissioned officers and men. For when the stormers entered the work, the enemy had concealed themselves in subterranean hollows or casemates, which both protected them from the artillery fire and hid them from view, and from this cover close and heavy volleys were fired by a concealed adversary at a range where every shot told. The sudden panic so created spread to the supports, and hence the disaster which fell so heavily on the gallant “fighting 43rd.”

The desultory fighting continued until the Maoris were exhausted, and a better understanding between native customs and European methods has led to prolonged peace.

* * * * *

Many improvements had been made in the army during the years comprising the period under review. Rifled artillery had entirely superseded smooth-bores after the Franco-Austrian campaign of 1859. The Enfield rifle was converted into the breech-loading “Snider” soon after the value of the new mechanism had been proved in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866; but even as late as the China War many of the Indian regiments were still armed with the old flint “firelock” or “Brown Bess.” The Act of 1867 had been passed, making the length of army service twelve years, with power of re-engaging for twenty-one years for pension. An effort was made to create a reserve.

The system of payment, too, was altered in 1824, and men were paid daily. Previous to that time a certain amount of petty cash was issued weekly, and the balance at the end of the month.



Omitting such small “affairs” as were consequent on the extension and for long purely coastal expansion of our Empire in Africa after the long war, there is little to record until 1834. The conquest of the Dark Continent had been gradual, and practically commercial. It had been largely based on geographical discoveries. War and political occupation followed missionary enterprise here as elsewhere. Nothing is more curious to watch than how often the proselyte is followed by the soldier and the sword. The colonist and trade follow the first, and with him or them come trade-rum, trade-firearms, and all the so-called blessings of civilisation. After both comes first friction, then fighting, and finally conquest. These are usually the phases of Anglo-Saxon colonial expansion, unless we add to them the last end of all, the practical extermination of the native races.

So it was in America, where the red man is dying out; and so in New Zealand, though to a less degree, for the natives there are of better stock. It is not yet to the same extent in Africa, solely because the population, in the latter days of the nineteenth century, is too redundant. But unless the black can assimilate with the white, he must as assuredly give place to those who have the mental and physical power, as the red man has been driven westward against the mountain ridges of America.

Asiatics alone, among the races of colour, have held their own, because the people are intellectually sound. In that country, built up of many countries, there has been always, as far as historic time goes, civilisation. In Africa there has been none, save that alone of immigrants. In China, again, there is no dread of such extermination; its people, though barbaric, are intellectual and more than semi-civilised. In Japan the extreme case is met with. A nation of high artistic and intellectual power, not a quarter of a century ago ranking among armour-wearing barbarians, it has shown its strength in its recent war with China, and won respect and equality among the leading nations of the earth.

This Africa has _never_ done, and its history therefore, as far as Great Britain’s army is concerned, is not that of the barbaric or semi-barbaric powers with whom we have come in contact, but that of savage powers who are incapable of improvement or absorption, and whose only destiny is to remain hewers of wood and drawers of water. As the red man numbered millions when the eighteenth century was dying, and within a hundred years is far less than a _quantité negligéable_, so the black man, numbering millions when the nineteenth century is also a-dying, may possibly, before another century, fade out too. There is no room for either, unless the black mends his ways better than the red man did.

The earliest occupation of the African littoral was that of the North-West Coast for purely trading purposes, and that of the Cape of Good Hope for those of colonial expansion, and as one of the chain of ports uniting our Eastern and Far Eastern possessions with the mother country. In early days they were the depôts whence the essential necessaries of food, water, and stores were replenished. Now they are even more vitally important as the coaling stations for the ocean steamers.

As already referred to, the Cape of Good Hope was seized by conquest in 1805. The West African settlements at Gambia, Sierra Leone, Gold Coast, and Lagos, united in 1806 into one government, bear date from 1787, etc., and were made primarily with little serious opposition. The West African is a less serious fighting personage than either his stalwart brother of Zululand or the “Fuzzy Wuzzy” of the Soudan. There was little antagonism at first, that is to say, after the conquest of the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch. There was plenty of room for expansion, and the population was for a long time meagre.

But in 1817 the 72nd was engaged in suppressing a rising of the Kaffirs of the Great Fish River; and in 1834 it was again employed against Macomo in the same district. The frontier troubles were getting rather more serious, and the Kaffir invasion of the colony was marked by the usual savage atrocities. Almost the only military operation of the practically peaceful reign of William IV. was the punitive expedition of Colonel Peddie’s Highlanders against these tribes.

The frontier, however, still remained restless for some years after this; and in 1843 the tables were somewhat turned, inasmuch as the 91st Regiment was despatched to assist the Griquas, who had placed themselves under our protection, against the Boers, on the Orange River.

Shortly after, in 1846, the first serious Kaffir war broke out, and in it the first and reserve battalions of the 91st, the 6th, 73rd, 45th, and Rifle Brigade were actively engaged for nearly two years. There was much hard fighting in the Amatola Mountains, at Burn’s Hill and Block Drift, and one noteworthy act of bravery may be recorded of Privates Walsh and Reilly, who, when Fort Cox was beleaguered, managed to convey a despatch through the investing savages to Governor Maitland.

At the close of the year 1850 the racial antagonism again appeared, and this second Kaffir war lasted until 1853, requiring the services of the 2nd, 6th, 43rd, 45th, 60th, 73rd, 74th, and 91st Regiments of the Line, besides the Rifle Brigade, the Cape Mounted Rifles and Colonial Irregulars. The British frontier, when war broke out, was supposed to be represented by the Kei River, between which and the Great Fish River the country had been informally considered more or less neutral. But all buffer states are dangers as a rule, and neutral belts are no better. So thought Sandilli, a powerful Kaffir chieftain; jealous of his own waning power as that of the white man increased, and also at being deposed by the governor of the colony, he broke into open revolt. The country was dense forest, roads rare, and the conduct of the war desultory. To destroy the rude kraals of the enemy, carry off his cattle, cut down his crops to starve him out, and finally assault some central stronghold such as are to be found in hill districts like the Amatolas, or some isolated hill honeycombed with caves, was the method of procedure then as it is now. Nothing has changed less in the army’s history than the tactics of savage war, especially in Africa.

Sir Harry Smith, who commanded, was not particularly successful either in his conduct of the campaign or in his judgment of the military situation. There were several small disasters, such as befell detachments of the 6th and 73rd under Mackinnon at the Keiskamma defile, and which partook then, and often after, of the nature of ambuscades. A detachment of the 45th escorting a convoy was cut off. The garrison of Fort Cox was for a time surrounded and completely isolated by the Kaffirs. Meanwhile, numerous European villages were destroyed by the enemy, and in many cases the inhabitants massacred with extreme barbarity and with horrible mutilations.

In the spring of 1852 a determined advance was made against the Amatola Mountains, in which was Sandilli’s stronghold, and the Highland “tortoises,” as the enemy called the 74th, from a fancied resemblance of their tartans to the markings of the land tortoise of South Africa, after much heavy fighting and hard work, succeeded in clearing the district, but it took until September, when there was a sharp skirmish at Kromme.

Early in October the Kaffirs assembled on the Waterkloof heights, where the fortress of Chief Macomo was attacked seven times before the enemy were subdued. It cost the lives of many officers and men, including that of Colonel Fordyce of the 74th. Thus hostilities practically ended, as the expedition across the Orange River against the Basuto chief Moshesh, with the 2nd, 43rd, 73rd, 74th, Rifle Brigade, and 12th Lancers, with some artillery and irregulars, was not opposed.

The next important outbreak of hostilities occurred on the West Coast. There had been, long before 1873, frequent troubles in the Hinterland of the West Coast settlements. There had even been war about 1824 and 1826, when we had to defeat the natives at Accra, after much previous desultory skirmishing, in one of which Sir Charles Macarthy, the Governor of the Coast, was slain, and the force with him practically destroyed. There was a further slight disturbance in 1863; but in 1870, a more serious dispute arose as to the ownership of Elmina, which we had taken over from the Dutch. Many impolitic acts were committed as regards the assistance that might have been rendered by us to those tribes most exposed to the Ashanti attack, and finally, in January 1873, the Ashanti army crossed the Prah, and attacked the Assims and Fantees, and these after a while were worsted, and the roads to Cape Coast Castle and Elmina were thus left open. The Elminas and Ashantis fraternised, and made an effort to seize the Elmina Fort, but were repulsed by Colonel Festing, with some Royal Marines and a Naval Brigade; and thus matters remained, with 20,000 Ashantis at Mampon, ten miles distant from the British forts, until the arrival of the expedition commanded by Sir Garnet Wolseley, which reached the coast in October 1874. Partly by way of a diversion, and partly as a punitive expedition, a small force was first sent to Elmina, and landing there, advanced against the allied natives at Essiaman, and dispersed them with little loss. Native levies were raised, and placed under the charge of European officers; posts were prepared, and the road improved between Cape Coast and the Prah, one result of which preparation was the abandonment by the Ashantis of their Mampon camp, and their falling back behind the river. Sundry other small expeditions from Dunquah and towards Abracampa also assisted.

In addition to the main advance, another was prepared under Captain Glover and Captain R. Sartorius, and was designed to advance from Accra on Coomassie. It was composed entirely of native levies led by a few British officers, but did not reach the Ashanti capital until it had been captured and abandoned by the main column.

This was composed of the 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, the 23rd, and the 42nd, and by New Year’s day, 1874, these troops had landed at Cape Coast Castle. No expedition could have been better managed or organised. Every attention was paid to the slightest detail. Sir Garnet’s instructions for the officers, as regards their attention to their men, are more than instructive: they evidence the patient study of details necessary for the well-being of his command, which only a careful leader knows to be as essential to success as the fighting of his men when the time for action comes. Sir Garnet’s _Notes for the Use of the Troops_ should be read by everybody who has to conduct a similar campaign.

When the advance began, the stations between the coast and the Prah numbered eight in the sixty-nine miles that covered the distance.

Soon the Prah was reached, the river that the Ashantis believed would never be crossed by a white man; but Lieutenant Grant of the 5th crossed it first, none the less. Here the stream, some 70 feet wide and 9 feet deep, was bridged with a crib bridge, and King Koffi Calcali sent ambassadors to treat for peace. But it was too late, even if the barbaric potentate could be trusted.

The army pushed on, deserted at times by the carriers, and little helped by the native allies; though the black regiments commanded by Russell, Wood, and Webber did some useful work.

The Adansi Hills and Bahrein river were successively crossed, and a skirmish occurred at a village near Adubiassie, in which Captain Nicol was killed; but the first serious battle was that of Amoaful, in which the Ashanti army stubbornly fought for more than five hours before they fell back beaten.

The bush was terribly dense, the tracks were but 8 feet broad. Paths had therefore to be hewn by the engineers in every case where the slightest width of front was necessary.

Strong in numbers, and acquainted with the jungle tracks, the Ashantis were able to assail both flanks and rear of the column as well as hold it in front. Simultaneous attacks could be, and were, made during and immediately after the battle on the fortified posts along the line of communication with the Prah and Cape Coast at Quaman, Fomanah, etc.

The fighting formation that could best meet these difficulties was, as in most of our African wars, a species of square. The advance was made in three columns. The centre, which formed, so to speak, the front face as far as possible, and was composed of the 42nd and the detachment of the 23rd, with Rait’s guns, was to seize the village of Egginassie. The left column, the Naval Brigade, and Russell’s native regiment, with some Royal Engineers and two rocket troughs, was to move by a road cut through the bush some few hundred yards from the central column. The right column was also built up of the Naval Brigade, with another native regiment, and some Engineers and rocket tubes. The 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade formed the reserve or rear face, if required, of the square. The village of Egginassie was occupied with but little opposition, and the firing was continuous and heavy, as the troops advanced farther. Fortunately the missiles were slugs, not bullets, or the loss would have been serious. As it was, many men were hit, some severely, and Captain Buckle was killed. The total casualties amounted to 250, while the Ashanti loss was heavy, and their leader, Ammonquantia, was slain.

The following day the village of Bequah was taken, and further severe skirmishing took place at the passage of the Ordah, which had to be bridged, and while the baggage convoy was being packed at Ordahsu, a further effort was made to disturb the column, and Lieutenant Eyre was killed. Here the defence was half-hearted, and the capture of the capital, Coomassie, was not opposed. It was “a town over which the smell of death hangs everywhere and pulsates on each sickly breath of wind--a town where, here and there, a vulture hops at one’s very feet, too gorged to join the filthy flock preening itself on the gaunt dead trunks that line the road; where blood is plastered like a pitch coating over trees, floors, and stools--blood of a thousand victims yearly-renewed; where headless bodies make common sport; where murder, pure and simple, monotonous massacre of bound men, is the one employment of the king, and the one spectacle of the populace.”[68]

One of the many reasons for the war was a wish to put down the barbarous horrors of King Koffi Calcali’s reign, and a stipulation to that effect was made in the treaty, but it was disregarded. It required a second expedition to carry the measure into effect, by the deposition of the king’s successor, Prempeh, and the bloodless occupation of the capital--measures over which gloom was cast by the death of Prince Henry of Battenberg. Finally, in the first expedition, the city was set on fire, the king’s palace destroyed, and the army turned back to the coast. It was quite time; the rains had set in, and what were rivulets on the march up were now unfordable streams on the march back. Men half swam, were half dragged over these, their clothes being carried on the heads of natives. In one case, the bundle was lost, and, it is said that the unfortunate owner paraded the next morning with nothing but his helmet and rifle!

The war was over, and a treaty of peace signed; but after the retirement of Sir Garnet Wolseley from Coomassie, Captain Reginald Sartorius, who led the advance of Captain Glover’s force from the Volta, rode alone through the ruins of the city to communicate with the general commanding, and won thus the Victoria Cross. But this expedition was too late to join hands with the main column, though it had some skirmishing on the way; as also were those of Captain Butler with the Akims, and Captain Dalrymple with the Wassaws. Small as the war was, and of very short duration, it was sufficiently deadly. By July 9, 1874, thirty-eight officers of the whole force were dead.[69]

Turning once more to South Africa, it will be remembered that the Kaffir wars of 1850-53 had been chiefly fought about the valley of the Kei, south of which river was British Kaffraria, including the tribes of the Fingoes and Gaikas, while in the Transkei district are the Galekas, Pondos, Griquas, etc. The war broke out much as before. The Gaika chief Sandilli and the Galeka chief Kreli attacked our old allies the Fingoes in 1877, and the Kaffirs, being better armed with rifles than in 1850, were now rather more formidable.

The enemy developed an increasing knowledge of tactics. The old irregular rush of a mass of men had given way to more methodical formations. Thus Kreli in his advance on the police post of Ibeka--the frontier police had taken the place of the Cape Mounted Rifles, which had been disbanded--had about 2000 of his 10,000 men mounted, and advanced in line of columns covered by skirmishers. But the fire of the breech-loader, together with that of rockets and 7-pounders, checked then, as before, the savage ardour. The war, which lasted more or less intermittently until 1878, was mainly carried out by colonial and irregular levies; but many detachments for holding the defensive posts with which the country was dotted were furnished by the 88th, the 24th (whose bandsmen were trained as gunners to work a 7-pounder gun), a naval brigade with marines, the 90th (one of whose men emphasised the value of the Martini-Henry rifle by hitting a man who was whooping and dancing 1800 yards away), the 2nd Buffs, and the 13th, and most of these regiments shared in the prolonged war. The losses were more serious both with officers and men, for the better weapons the Kaffirs had secured told.

But the end, though long in coming, was decisive. Kreli surrendered, Sandilli was killed, risings in Griqualand were suppressed, and the Basutos were crushed when their chief Morosi’s heavily-fortified stronghold was stormed. The theatre of war had extended north as far as Mafeking, where there was hard fighting with another Basuto leader named Letherodi.

The next campaign against the natives was far more serious than the preceding one. The Zulus were probably the bravest of all these southern tribes, and had some form of discipline, organisation, and tactics, though their arms--clubs or “knob-kerries,” shields, muskets of sorts, and assegais--were much the same as in other parts of Africa, save that the latter were shorter, blunt at the end, and broader in the blade, being intended for stabbing rather than throwing. In other respects the people were bloodthirsty, superstitious, and sanguinary, given over to “witch doctors” and brutal massacres. There had been frequent raids on the Natal frontier by them from 1838 onwards until 1878, when the spirit of restlessness increased, and General Thesiger took command of the army at the Cape, which then consisted of the 3rd, 13th, 24th, 80th, 88th, and 90th Regiments, with two batteries of Artillery and some Engineers. The country was to be invaded by three columns. The first or southern column, under Colonel Pearson, consisted of the Buffs, the 99th, with some Artillery, a Naval Brigade, and local levies; the second or central column was to move from Helpmakaar under Colonel Glyn, and contained the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 24th, a battery, and other levies; and the northern, which was based on Utrecht in the Transvaal, under Colonel Evelyn Wood, in which were a battery and the 13th, 60th, and 90th Regiments. A fourth column under Colonel Durnford was to march later, between the first and second columns.

Opposed to them were supposed to be about 40,000 fighting men. They were organised in large masses, and used skirmishers. Speaking generally, their tactical method was to form a complete ring, if possible, around the body attacked, and then close. On the 12th January 1879 the troops marched, and on the 22nd Pearson had a smart brush with the enemy at Inyezane, but reached his first objective, Etschowe, where a depôt was to be formed, without further opposition.

The central column had been less fortunate, for, crossing the river at Rorke’s Drift, where a detachment of the 24th were left, the small army pushed on to the isolated hill of Isandhlwana. Here, while the general was reconnoitring to the south-east, the Zulu army passed across his front and attacked the camp. A desperate resistance was made, but against 14,000 Zulus there could be only one result. Few of the British escaped, and one colour of the 24th was lost, the “Queen’s colour” of the 1st battalion being carried safely as far as the river by Lieutenants Melville and Coghill, who gallantly died there in its defence.

This colour was subsequently recovered, and the “regimental” colour had been left safe at Helpmakaar. Of the regular troops 26 officers and 806 men had fallen, and 24 colonial officers and many men had also perished. The only gleam of sunshine on this gloomy and disastrous day was the gallant defence of the commissariat camp at Rorke’s Drift by Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead of the Royal Engineers and 24th respectively. For when the victorious “Impi” continued its advance, it found the post hastily fortified with biscuit-boxes, mealie sacks, and bags of Indian corn, and so desperate was the resistance of the small band, 139 men in all, of whom 35 were sick, against 4000 Zulus, that they fell back beaten. The brave defence had prevented the invasion of Natal, and in all the annals of the army there is no more brilliant episode than the defence of Rorke’s Drift.

Wood’s column had meanwhile reached the White Umvolosi, and while a stone fort was being built there, and named “Fort Tinta,” many reconnaissances were made towards the Zungen range; but though there were many skirmishes, there was on this side no serious fighting yet.

So ended the first stage of the war. The general’s first idea was to fall back on the Tugela and await reinforcements; but, leaving to Colonel Pearson to act on his own discretion, that officer decided on remaining at Etschowe and fortifying it. Here for some time he was completely isolated, but several successful raids were made, in one of which Dabiulamanzi’s Kraal was burned. Relief came on the 2nd April, when a force under Colonel Low, consisting of a naval brigade, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Lanarkshire Regiment, detachments of the Buffs and 57th, the 37th, the 60th, with some guns, rocket tubes, and Gatlings, etc., advanced as far as Ginghilovo, and these, when in laager, were attacked by a force 10,000 strong, who fought with the greatest bravery, closing up to the very rifles of the defenders; but the fire was too heavy, and when they fell back in disorder, a charge of Barrow’s mounted irregulars completed their discomfiture. They had lost 1200 men, at a cost to their opponents of 9 men killed and 52, including 2 officers, wounded. After the relief of Etschowe, the force fell back to Ginghilovo and encamped. As the right wing had fought a successful battle and altered its position, so the left wing was to copy its example. For Colonel Wood, leaving Fort Tinta and entrenching at Kambula, made many raids thence, including that to the Inhlobane Mountain, a famous natural fastness of the Zulus, where the natives had been for some time collecting. Here the force was attacked by a strong Impi formed in a line of five contiguous columns, forming the “chest” and “two horns,” covered by skirmishers; but, owing to a series of unfortunate misunderstandings, the retirement was effected in some disorder and with much loss. Nearly all the Border Horse were slain, as also was our staunch Boer ally, “splendid, manly, honest, simple, and taciturn Piet Uys, whose fathers, uncles, and cousins fought and fell in the old war with Dingaan”; while 15 officers and 79 men were killed, and 1 officer and 7 men wounded. But Colonel Buller, Lieutenant Lysons, and Private Fowler, for distinguished bravery, earned the Victoria Cross. Success emboldened the Zulu chieftains, and, pushing on, they attacked the Kambula laagers on the 20th March, with 25,000 men, and after one of the most serious and prolonged battles of the war, fell back beaten, and were pursued for many miles. Out of the British force of some 2000 men, only 18 men were killed, and 8 officers and 57 men were wounded.

As Rorke’s Drift saved Natal from invasion, so Kambula preserved Utrecht and the Transvaal.

An incident in this phase of the campaign was the attack by the Swazi freebooter Umbelini on a convoy, guarded by a detachment of the 80th, when on its way from Luneberg to Derby in the Transvaal, in which the convoy guard lost 62 men out of 106, and Lieutenant Harward, for riding off to get assistance, was tried by court-martial, but acquitted.

The final stage of the war was approaching. Reinforcements were rapidly arriving. These were the 1st Dragoon Guards and the 17th Lancers, two more batteries, and Royal Engineers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, 59th, 60th, 91st, and 94th; and among the fresh arrivals was Prince Louis Napoleon, who was appointed an extra aide-de-camp on the headquarter’s staff, and Sir Garnet Wolseley.

The reorganised army again formed three columns, but Wood’s command was to act as an independent flying column in the north; the next column, No. 2 Division, under General Newdigate, and based on Utrecht, moving by Landmann Drift across the Ityolyosi on Ulundi.

It was in a reconnaissance towards the last-named river that Prince Napoleon was slain, an event the sadness of which cannot be over-estimated, and over which it is well to draw a veil. Finally, on crossing the White Umvolosi the 2nd Division was joined by Wood’s column, and, leaving one battalion of the 24th to guard the baggage, the remainder formed a huge hollow rectangle, with the baggage in the centre. Marching in this formation with bands playing and colours flying, until a suitable position was found within sight of the king’s kraal at Ulundi, it there awaited battle four ranks deep, the two front of which knelt. Brave as was the assault, a bravery which asked no quarter, it was powerless against better arms and better discipline. The fight had lasted barely an hour when the Zulu power was utterly broken.

Meanwhile, the 1st Division under Crealock on the right had been operating in the south by the lower Tugela and Etschowe, moving somewhat close to the coast and in the direction of Ulundi; but through no fault of its own it did not reach the field in time, and when the final battle was won, the army as then constituted was practically broken up. Other arrangements for its distribution were then made, and a series of forts and fortified posts held by sufficient garrisons were formed all along the Zulu frontier. But the closing scene had yet to come. Two columns were formed for the final military exploration of Zululand, the one under Colonel Clarke, which had among its number the 57th, 60th, and 80th, and the other under Colonel Baker Russell, which included the 94th. The former was to occupy Ulundi, and thence attempt the capture of the king. This was effected by Major Marter after much trouble, and the war was thus at an end. On being captured, Cetewayo remained, though broken, a king, and objected with dignity to being taken by a private of dragoons, with the words, “White soldier, touch me not--I surrender to your chief.”

Baker Russell was to search the southern and eastern part of the country, and after doing so, enter the Transvaal about Luneberg. This was done, and the last shots in the Zulu war were fired by his column in an attack on the Manganobas in the Intombe valley.

The war had cost the army 76 officers and 1007 men killed, and 37 officers and 206 men wounded; while in addition 17 officers and 330 men died from disease, and 1286 were invalided home. The cost to the country financially had been £5,230,323.

Sir Garnet Wolseley’s lucky star had again shone over him in these operations. His presence in South Africa coincided with the period of success and the capture of Cetewayo. There was one more knotty point for him to settle, that of the still insurgent chief Sekukuni, who had been a thorn in the side of the Boers, whose territory we then possessed. It will be seen next how his good fortune, based on careful attention to details both moral and physical, led to the surrender of the last disturbing element in this section of South Africa,--at least as far as the natives were concerned.

It may be considered a matter of regret that the State did not undertake the annexation of Zululand, as it did the absorption of Indian tribes a century ago. Our brave but bitter enemies, the Sikhs, have become our most reliable soldiers in India. Similarly there was no personal hostility when war ceased between the Zulu and the English soldier; rather the reverse. They had received the elements of military organisation, and had shown themselves apt pupils in applying them. To have substituted for Panda’s discipline and training that of our own army under able and skilful officers, accustomed to make of native levies regiments more or less irregular but of the highest military value, would have been easy with our Eastern experience. A Zulu militia, well trained, well armed, and led by whites, would have conduced to the peace of South Africa as much as Sikhs, Beloochees, and Ghoorkas do to the preservation, by military means, of peace among the discordant elements, both national and theological, which go to make up our great Eastern satrapy. Such a force would have fought for brave leaders, and with them, as the hastily raised levies of the Mutiny fought for Fane, or Probyn, or Hodson.

Such an army, created mainly for defensive, and not necessarily offensive, purposes, would have created a military peace. Fear of it would have kept turbulent and restless peoples in wholesome fear. Trained and led by British officers, it would have been the police of South Africa at the smallest possible cost to the English State. To have kept alive the military instinct of the Zulu, to have instilled into him the soldier’s habit of discipline and cleanliness, would have saved him.

We have won South Africa purely and simply by the sword and so must we keep it. But we could keep it best--as we keep the peace in India--by not ignoring the military spirit of the people, but by showing the justice of our rule, and keeping alive the soldier feeling as a national police. Any other course is impossible with savage or semi-barbarous people. Nothing is despised more than a weakness which they translate as fear. It is a fatal day when a nation, whose history throughout is one of conquest, forgets how she has made the empire, and thinks to hold it by other means, such as by a popular opinion which it takes centuries to create and make good. To forget the traditions of the race is equally fatal. Our empire was never made by concessions; it was made by forcible possession, and that, as a general rule certainly, for the eventual benefit, as far as civilisation is concerned, of the people we have conquered. The neglect of this is at the bottom of the disastrous campaign that followed the destruction of the Zulu power.

“_Vestigia nulla retrorsum._” To go back is weakness with all except the highest intellectual nations. We took the Transvaal, and stated that the former condition of things there should _never_ be restored! The wisdom of the first step may be a matter of opinion. The evil of the “afterwards” is another question altogether.

Anyhow, our annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 had led to collision with Sekukuni, a turbulent Basuto chieftain, and at first the operations taken against him were unsuccessful, Colonel Rowland’s force, which included a company of the 13th, having to fall back to Lydenburg. During the Zulu campaign he had openly sympathised with Cetewayo, and had had frequent skirmishes with the Transvaal Boers. When, therefore, the Zulu war terminated, Sir Garnet Wolseley’s attention was turned towards this constant source of trouble, and in October 1879 he moved against the “fighting Koppie” with detachments of the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers, 86th, and 94th, in all 1400 European troops, and 4000 native levies, to meet a force estimated at 14,000 men, strongly entrenched. The district occupied by Sekukuni lies in a bend between the junction of the Oliphant and Steelpoort rivers, and was surrounded by fortified posts. The fortress itself was naturally strong: “Its whole interior was honeycombed by nature, intersected by passage and gallery, leading into great chambers with chinks, clefts, and crannies, forming natural loopholes for musketry, and in one place there yawned an appalling chasm which had never been fathomed, and was believed to contain water at the bottom. When in the agonies of thirst on the third day of their blockade, some of Sekukuni’s people went down by means of great leather thongs tied together, none of them ever came up again; no more was heard from them.” This is a good type of the African rock-fortress.

On the 28th of November the attack was made, and was fully successful, but some of the caves still held many who would not surrender, and who preferred rather to die of thirst and starvation than give up either themselves or their chief. The conduct of these warriors was chivalric in its devotion to Sekukuni, who did not surrender until the 2nd December, and was then conveyed to Pretoria. There the 4th, 58th, 80th, the 1st Dragoon Guards, and Curling’s battery paraded for a review of the largest body of regular troops yet seen in that town, and Commandant D’Arcy as well as Privates Flawn and Fitzpatrick of the 94th received the Victoria Cross. Sir Garnet Wolseley left the Transvaal with a small garrison, and, he thought, at peace.

So it might have been had there been greater firmness and more tact displayed after he left. But there was friction between the British and the Dutch settlers, who had refused to remain under our rule long years before. In 1845, three companies of the 91st and some Cape Mounted Rifles defeated 500 Boers, who fled after making but a faint resistance. Collision again occurred in 1848 at Boomplatz, the second of a series of small conflicts which one by one have sought to wrest from the Boers the territories they had conquered and in part reclaimed. The tendency throughout had been to treat them as only another sort of semi-barbarous occupant, to be got rid of when their land was wanted by others. In this skirmish were engaged some companies of the 45th, 91st, and Rifle Brigade, with two squadrons and two guns, and they routed a Boer command, estimated at 1000 strong, though strongly entrenched behind breastworks of piled stones. There was but little loss on either side, and it is said that a drummer of the 91st, tired of the long waiting, while the men were lying down firing, himself beat the charge, and the men went in with cheers, and the enemy fled without an effort to rally. Then they retired behind the Vaal to form the Transvaal Republic, and in 1851 the Orange River Territory, which had been annexed by us in 1848, was relinquished to form the “Orange Free State.” But now for reasons that the future historian will wonder at, we annexed the Transvaal. Our past experience of the Boer had taught us nothing. Anyone who will read the Parliamentary Blue Book and Colonel Brackenbury’s despatches must see that war was inevitable. Yet, with a fair knowledge of what Boers were, and with an idea of superiority which was to have a rude awakening, we entered into a serious war with a light heart and with a force that was insufficient to meet even a Zulu impi. The war is remarkable in every way, primarily as the first instance, since the firearm was introduced, in which regular soldiers came under careful, well-directed, aimed, rifle fire, and were in every case beaten. The only parallel instance is that of the war of American Independence. There also a people goaded into fighting by wrong were victorious; and succeeded both because the justice of their cause strengthened their moral fibre, and their guerilla warfare, for it was often little else, was in many cases accompanied by careful shooting. But the difference in the nature of the weapons at the end of the eighteenth and that of the nineteenth century is so great as to mark, by the heavy loss the defeated troops sustained, the terrible nature of modern rifle fire when carefully directed.

The Transvaal had been annexed in 1877, though in 1852 it had been recognised as a free and independent State; the reason assigned, among others equally unreasonable, being that the State was bankrupt. The true Boer, the “Dopper,” is the descendant as much of French Huguenots as of the Dutch employees of the East India Company. “They are,” writes Sir William Butler, “a homely, sober, quiet, dull race of beings, as full of faith in God and fair dealing between man and man as this world holds sample of.” Doubtless there are many exceptions to their character as thus drawn, but the vast majority agreed in one thing, protest against the loss of their freedom. Meeting succeeded meeting, appeal followed appeal. To threats of force the answer was, “We do not rely upon regiments, but on right.” When, therefore, the storm burst, there were but three battalions (the 21st, 58th, and 94th) of regulars in the Transvaal, with a detachment of the 4th, a squadron of the King’s Dragoon Guards, and a battery of artillery, while the nearest reinforcements were the 3-60th in Natal, and the 91st at the Cape.

Hostilities began in this way. In December 1880, the 94th, about 250 strong, under Colonel Anstruther, was acting as convoy guard on the road from Lydenberg to Pretoria. On crossing Brunker’s Spruit, they were opposed by 150 Boers, who opened fire when Anstruther, on being informed of the declaration of the Republic, refused to retire, and in twenty minutes 120 men were _hors de combat_, of whom 7 were officers. Mrs. Smith, the wife of the bandmaster, who was shot by her side, and was herself wounded, behaved with the greatest gallantry in assisting the wounded, and was afterwards given the silver medal for deeds of gallantry on land. Meanwhile the isolated garrisons in the Transvaal at Pretoria, Rustenberg, Wakkerstroom, Standerton, Heidelberg, Lydenberg, Middleberg, Fort Victoria, Fort Albert, and Marabos Stadt, were more or less invested, and the Boers, crossing the Natal frontier, placed a strong force _à cheval_ the road from Newcastle to Standerton about Laing’s Nek.

Open sympathy with the Boers increased rapidly and came from all sources, the Cape, the Orange Free State, the Dutch in Holland, and even Belgium. Every effort was made to bring about an understanding, but all to no effect. The evil cry on our side, “Restore us our prestige and then we will treat” prevented peace as yet. So a “relief” column left Newcastle for Potchefstroom and Pretoria, under Sir George Pomeroy Colley, consisting of detachments of the 58th, 60th, 2nd Scots Fusiliers, and a naval brigade with 6 guns and 2 Gatlings, but the total strength was not 1000 men. A purely frontal attack, by men conspicuous with white helmets, against the steep and partly entrenched position of the Boers at Laing’s Nek, on the 28th January 1881, met with a severe reverse, 208 men being killed and 80 wounded. The fighting had been close, for, as Joubert reports, “One of the officers even fired in among our men with his revolver before he was shot, but then the Lord helped us!”

The reverse was somewhat startling to those who thought there would be no opposition. Two companies of the Gordon Highlanders were hurried up to Mount Prospect Camp, between which and Colley’s base at Newcastle ran the Ingogo River. It was south of this stream that the second fight took place, and was brought about by despatching a force, including some of the King’s Dragoon Guards and the 60th, to assist in covering a convoy which was expected from Newcastle; but as the Boers had already interposed between Newcastle and the Ingogo, it had returned to the town. The ground favoured the tactical skill of the foe, “men who could neither march, manœuvre, nor even form sections of fours, but were resolute in heart, muscular in figure, and deadly marksmen, who were accustomed to bring down the fleet springbok at full speed from their saddles, and stalk all the great game with which Southern Africa abounds.”

So the British loss was heavy. Most of the killed were shot through the head as they essayed to fire over the boulders that sheltered them; the two guns were soon disabled, and the wearied remnant returned to camp, with a loss of 132 officers and men. Still, the men had behaved well and coolly, and suffered no panic.

[Illustration: _Private 24^{th} Reg^{t} 1879_]

Meanwhile, reinforcements consisting of the 92nd, 2-60th, the 15th Hussars, a naval brigade, and the Natal Police under Sir Evelyn Wood, met Sir George at Newcastle. The additional cavalry had enabled the general to make more extended reconnaissances round the Boer left, which proved that they were still entrenching, and showed no signs of wishing to avoid battle. On the evening of the 26th February, General Colley played his last card, and lost his life as well. Contrary to usual custom, he formed, with the utmost secrecy, a force to occupy Majuba Hill, an isolated and precipitous koppie, which to a certain extent dominated the right flank of the Laing’s Nek position. It was made up of detachments of the Highlanders, the 58th, the 2-60th, and 65 bluejackets, in all some 545 bayonets. In the advance, made in the dark, a company of the 92nd and one of the 60th, with a dismounted troop of hussars, were left at a point about midway between the hill and the camp, and the remainder stumbled on, and after great exertion, about 5 a.m., reached the summit. This was a saucer-shaped plateau about 1000 yards round, and when day broke, the presence of British soldiers produced wild confusion in the Boer camp. But not for long. While one portion hastened to man the trenches at Laing’s Nek, the rest rode towards Majuba, and, dismounting, opened fire. It was said at the time that the “covering party” consisted of the married men, the storming column of the single men who could best be spared. Be that as it may, between twelve and one the fire suddenly increased in intensity and the assault was made. It was only too successful. The British were driven from it in the utmost disorder, and left behind them Sir George Colley and 18 other officers, with 218 men killed, wounded, or missing, of about 600 men who had left Prospect Camp the night before. One instance of devoted bravery marked the terrible day, and for it Corporal Joseph John Farmer got the Cross for Valour, for, “while the Boers closed with the British troops near the well, Corporal Farmer held a white flag over the wounded, and when the arm holding the flag was shot through, he called out that he had another. He then raised the flag with the other arm, and continued to do so until that also was pierced by a bullet.”

The Boer loss is stated, by themselves, to have been between 24 and 50, but the details are very conflicting. An armistice was soon agreed to between the belligerents, during which the army, now commanded by Sir Evelyn Wood, consisted of the 6th Dragoons, 15th Hussars, and a squadron of the King’s Dragoon Guards, 14 guns, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 60th, the relics of the 58th, the 83rd, 92nd, and 97th, together with a naval brigade and some mounted infantry. Finally peace was declared, and the beleaguered garrisons were relieved.

No war of such small magnitude, as far as the numbers engaged are concerned, has left more grave results. For long years after the peace was signed, the Boers showed the greatest arrogance towards all British subjects, whether civilians or soldiers, and in many cases it was accompanied with open and undisguised insult. The surrender of the Transvaal was ruin to many an Englishman who, “confiding in the public declaration of Sir Garnet Wolseley and Sir Bartle Frere that the annexation of the Transvaal was irrevocable, had invested capital in the country, and their property was now worthless and their capital lost, owing to their having put faith in the words of Her Majesty’s representative.” But the blame does not rest with him.

The disastrous war had cost in all 29 officers killed and 20 wounded, and 366 men killed, with 428 wounded.

One result of the British defeat in the Transvaal was to increase, not unnaturally, the restlessness of the Boers. Both Zululand and Bechuanaland suffered from unauthorised incursions of what were really filibusters, whose efforts at colonial expansion were too frequently attended with murder. In one of these, against Chief Montsoia, an Englishman named Bethel was barbarously murdered, and hence an expedition was despatched, under Sir Charles Warren, to Bechuanaland in 1884. An attempt had been made by the Boers to annex Montsoia’s territory, which, by the Convention of 1884, was under our Protectorate; there was no doubt, moreover, that the whole of the disturbances had been directed from the Transvaal, and if not distinctly fostered by that Government, met with its tacit approval. But hostilities were happily averted. President Kruger met Sir Charles Warren in conference, and the conflicting clauses were adjusted. But the operations, insignificant as they may seem militarily, were politically important. They, temporarily at least, restored the position of Great Britain as the paramount power in South Africa. The last collision in the Transvaal between Dr. Jameson’s troopers, led by British officers, and the Boers of Pretoria, etc., was decisive in another way; but it is not a part of the story of the regular army, and is of too recent occurrence to be commented on here.



Turn now from the southern portion of the Dark Continent to the northern. The researches of recent explorers, such as Mr. Stanley and others, had opened up the previously unknown interior to a much greater extent than had been effected before their exertions.

Southern Africa, as far as its white immigrant population was concerned, was extending its political limits northward. The Congo Free State was attempting to bring European civilisation down towards the equator. The ideas of “Hinterland,” a preposterous notion, had been advanced. All nations were bent on pushing from the sea towards the rediscovered Mountains of the Moon. All Europe was burning to get authority over some portion of the African coast-line, and every State, whether it had colonising power or not, burned to claim as much ground behind the surf-clad beach as it could get. But before this earth-hunger assumed the proportions it did, there had been trouble in the north-eastern portion of Africa, though this case was rather one of national honour and prestige than desire for the extension of our “sphere of influence.”

A serious war-cloud had arisen in Abyssinia, the forerunner of the many disturbances which by degrees have since led to the opening up of the heart of Africa to commerce. Abyssinia had seemed a promising field for our trade, and Consul Cameron was despatched there to represent the British Government and protect as far as possible the missionaries who followed and preceded him. But Theodoros, the Negus, or emperor, was a man of violent passions, and both tyrannical and a drunkard. He fancied himself insulted because the British Government took no notice of a letter he had addressed to the Queen. He told Consul Cameron that she “can give you orders to visit my enemies, but she cannot return a civil answer to my letter to her.” So he quarrelled with his visitors, and threw them into prison. To save their lives, if possible, and avenge the insult to the nation through our representative, an expedition was fitted out under the command of Sir Robert Napier. It was about 10,000 strong, and well equipped. It was largely composed of Indian troops, stiffened by the 3rd Dragoons, and the 4th, 26th, 33rd and 45th Regiments of the line, with artillery and Engineers.

The general plan of the campaign was simple; it was to release the prisoners, defeat the emperor if he would fight, and destroy his capital of Magdala. The difficulties were regarded as mainly physical. The country was “a broken Libyan highland. Abyssinia is what a vaster Switzerland would be, if transported to the tropics, and if bordered by blazing deserts on each flank of its cool rocky peaks.” The climate was reported good, the people warlike; their weapons were firearms, with shields and swords, or lances. They had no field artillery, but some heavy guns were reported to be at Magdala. The landing was effected at Zoola, where two companies of the 33rd were the first to get on shore, and pushed on to garrison the first depôt or post at Senafé, on the borders of the territory of King Kassa of Tigre, who readily agreed not to oppose, but to some extent assist, the invading army.

Hard as the advanced party of Engineers and Pioneers worked at improving the road, the advance was slow and laborious. “We have scaled,” says Henty, “mountains and descended precipices; we have traversed along the face of deep ravines, where a false step was death; we are familiar with smooth, slippery rock and with loose boulders; and after this expedition it can hardly be said that any country is impracticable for a determined army to advance. I hear, however, that between us and Magdala there are perpendicular precipices running like walls for miles, places which could scarcely be scaled by experienced cragsmen, much less by loaded mules.” When within twenty-five miles in a direct line from Magdala, and when the place was clearly visible, they had to make a detour of sixty miles to avoid these obstacles. But the valley of the Bachelo was reached, and descending 3800 feet on one side by a fair road, the stream was forded, and the ascent of the opposite side of the enormous ravine was begun. On reaching the first level, fire was opened from the hill fortress, and a serious sortie was made by a large irregular mass of infantry and cavalry. The army was almost taken at a disadvantage. The nature of the country had tended to lengthen the column, and there were but few troops up to the front; but the Naval Brigade rocket-battery came into action, with the 4th, some Engineers, two companies of the 10th Native Infantry and a squadron of the 3rd Native Cavalry had to bear the first brunt of the first battle. It was enough, however, and the fighting did not last long under the breechloading fire of the 4th, the first time the Snider had been used in actual war. This disposed of one of the two bodies into which the enemy had been divided; the other made for the baggage defended by some of the 4th and the Punjaubees, supported by the steel mountain battery of Colonel Penn, known therefore as the “Steel Pens,” and the Abyssinian rush was checked by shell fire at 300 yards, and the deadly fire of the breechloading rifle. The enemy fell back badly beaten, while our own loss was only 30 men wounded and none killed. Of about 5000 men who had rushed boldly to the attack of the head of the British column, the bulk were destroyed or dispersed, and the ground was covered with dead and wounded. The expenditure of ammunition was serious. In one hour nearly ninety rounds per man had been discharged.

The next day came the “Easter Monday Review,” as the soldiers termed it, and the storm of Theodore’s stronghold. Scaling ladders were improvised from the bamboo dhooly-poles, and the handles of the pioneers’ axes. But they were not needed. The guns and rockets opened on the devoted fortress, and the storming column, formed of the 33rd, with Major Pritchard and the Engineers in front, the 45th in support, and the remainder in reserve, pushed up the narrow path to the entrance. Here, while efforts were made to break open the gate (for the powder required for the purpose had been forgotten), some of the 33rd managed to scramble up the side of the path, turned the flank of the defenders of the barrier, and when a second gate at the top of a steep flight of steps was destroyed, the place was taken. The loss had been most slight, but the vengeance taken on a bloodthirsty tyrant was complete. Theodore himself committed suicide, his fortress was burned and destroyed, his queen died in our camp at Senafé, and Prince Alamayu, his son, was taken to England. There he eventually became a cadet at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; and, dying of pneumonia in 1880, was buried, by royal command, just outside the Royal Chapel of St. George at Windsor.

With further researches and interest in Africa, and the greater enterprise resulting from them, came the desire for more possessions which would afford valuable outlets for our trade.

The finding of the sources of the Nile, the discovery of the Great Lakes, the possibility of valuable gold-fields, the comparative healthiness of the African uplands in the interior, all emphasised again the future value of the great water way which drained those inland seas, and terminated in the Egyptian Delta. It is to some extent now, and might be one day fully made, the natural highway to the heart of the Dark Continent. Directly or indirectly, politically or instinctively, possibly both, the value of Egypt as the doorway to Ethiopia became prominent. Probably no statesman really saw it at first. But “there is a Providence that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will,” and the road to Central Africa from this side seems to be only opened by the sword.

So dismissing the Eastern littoral and Zanzibar, where the question of the penetration of the interior is far more a question of railways, so as to get over the fever belt, than one of soldiers, the land of Egypt became a serious factor in the awakening of Africa; as it was a serious factor in Mediterranean politics when Pharaoh was king. But the employment of the British army in Egypt in 1884 rose from what most people would call a mere accident. It is possible that nothing is seriously “accidental.” But while British interference in Egypt in the first years of the century was due entirely to our war with France, our present interference seems to have come from an instinctive feeling as to the importance of securing, and teaching Egypt to improve, the one natural highway to the uplands of the centre of Africa.

Theoretical as this may be, the practical fact of our second interference in the land of Egypt, by landing there, arose from a very simple cause. The Khedive of Egypt, Prince Tewfik, had made as his Minister of War a turbulent and somewhat imperious soldier who aimed certainly at a species of military dictatorship, if not at the supreme power. Beloved by the Egyptian soldiery, and possessing some military knowledge, he posed as a patriot, with the cry of “Egypt for the Egyptians.” Between Mehemet Ali and Arabi there is but one difference. The former succeeded, the latter failed. Nevertheless, such conduct, with such a people, tended in the direction of anarchy. Anarchy might at any time endanger the security of the Suez Canal, in which Great Britain had an important pecuniary interest, and which was, moreover, her shortest and best route to her Eastern possessions. Both France and England claimed to have vital interests in the Nile Valley, and at first there was an apparent accord between the two nations, to the extent that a combined naval demonstration was made at Alexandria. In this, however, the English ironclads very largely preponderated.

Riots and massacres on shore at once broke out. The native press was bitterly hostile to England. Nor was it likely to be otherwise. No self-respecting nation brooks foreign interference. Neither of the Powers most interested would have admitted for a second of time such interference at home; and Egypt being too weak to offer a formidable resistance, only added bitterness to the native feeling of impotency. Doubtless, only the most energetic sections of the people were seriously in earnest. The vast mass of the people, the Fellahin, were certainly more anxious about their daily bread than political freedom. But so it is, and has been everywhere, in such popular revolts against foreign domination. The heaven-born leaders lead, by their very force of character; the mass follows. Whether such revolutions are for the best, according to outside opinion, has nothing to do with the matter, except only as regards the extent to which political revolt affects foreign interests, which are mainly selfish.

All this the Egyptian leaders may have felt; and, admitting the inherent corruption of all Eastern governments, and even the ambition of those who seek to raise the storm, and not reap but guide the whirlwind, there is nothing extraordinary in the effort made by those who brought on the war against foreign interference to take the government of their own country out of the hands of stranger powers.

Be all this as it may, it was decided by Europe, nominally, to coerce the Egyptians; euphuistically, to help the Khedive against an armed and threatening insurrection. The bombardment of Alexandria was decided on; but the French warships steamed out to sea, and refused to co-operate. The heavy fire of the ships soon silenced the shore batteries, and then the seamen and marines were landed to save what was left of the town from pillage. These were soon reinforced by battalions of infantry from Malta.

Preparations were at once made for the despatch of considerable reinforcements from home, and an Indian contingent, among which were the Seaforth Highlanders and the 1st Manchester Regiment, was prepared for despatch from India to the seat of war. Arabi made no effort to oppose the military occupation of Alexandria, but contented himself with strongly fortifying the position at Kafr ed Dowr, the neck of land between Lakes Mareotis and Aboukir Bay. Some desultory skirmishes then took place on the neutral ground between the city and the enemy’s lines.

The main expedition, under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet Wolseley, embarked in August 1884 for the front. It consisted of the First Division under General Willis, composed of the 2nd Battalion Grenadier, the 2nd Coldstream, and the 1st Scots Guards, and the (18th) 2nd Royal Irish, the (84th) York and Lancaster, and (87th) Royal Irish Fusilier Regiments, and the (50th) 1st West Kent, with two squadrons of the 19th Hussars, the (46th) Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, and two batteries of artillery, with details. The Second Division, commanded by Sir Edward Hamley, was formed of the 42nd, 75th, 79th, and 74th (or the Royal, Gordon, and Cameron Highlanders, with the Highland Light Infantry), and the (35th) Sussex, (88th) Stafford, (49th) Berkshire, and (53rd) Shropshire Light Infantry, with two squadrons of the 10th Hussars, the 3-60th, and two batteries of artillery, etc., as divisional troops. The Cavalry Brigade contained three squadrons of the Household Cavalry, and the 4th and 7th Dragoon Guards, with Horse Artillery, etc., under Sir Drury Lowe. The Corps-Artillery under General Goodenough had one battery of horse and three of field artillery. Engineers and train were added in requisite proportion. An ironclad train was also used during the operations outside Alexandria.

It was soon evident, however, that the frontal attack on the enemy’s fortified position would be costly and, even if successful, ineffective, as driving the Egyptian army back on the capital, which it was necessary to seize. It was therefore decided to effect a change of base; and, while deceiving the enemy by openly proclaiming that the army was to be transferred to Aboukir Bay, to tranship the bulk of the force to Ismailia, and move thence across the desert by the Sweet-water Canal on Cairo. The several points on the Suez Canal were therefore suddenly and rapidly seized by the fleet; the Seaforth Highlanders, from India, advancing from Suez, seized Chalouffe, on the fresh water Canal; and the bulk of the troops sailed for Ismailia. In so doing, Sir Garnet, with a caution that in the conduct of so delicate an operation was entirely justifiable, left Sir Edward Hamley, who took command of Alexandria, in ignorance of what his real plan was, until after the fleet had sailed. The controversy as to whether this was right or not has, however, been warm and embittered.

The landing was rapidly accomplished, and after a brief delay the mounted troops, with the York and Lancaster Regiment and the Royal Marine Light Infantry, were pushed forward to Magfar and Tel el Maskhuta, where a sharp skirmish took place with a force of all arms about 7000 strong, and two batteries. Another took place the next day near Mahsameh, and Tel el Maskhuta was occupied, with an advanced post at Kassassin lock; behind these the army strung out along the line of the Sweet-water Canal, as a forward movement in force was not possible until sufficient stores had been collected in depôts well ahead, and this, under the conditions of the ground, was necessarily a slow operation.

While in this position the first “affair” of Kassassin was fought, in which were engaged the Royal Marine Artillery, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, and the York and Lancaster Regiment, with a few cavalry and artillery; and one peculiarity was a Krupp gun taken from the canal and mounted on a truck, and worked by a detachment of Royal Marine Artillery under Captain Tucker. The Royal Marine Light Infantry arrived during the fight, and late in the evening the Household Cavalry and 7th Dragoon Guards came up from Mahsameh and charged the Egyptian left.

As stores were pushed to the front, so the First Division became concentrated between Maskhuta and Kassassin; and on the 29th August, the Highland Brigade, under Alison, was, with Sir Edward Hamley, ordered to Ismailia, leaving Sir Evelyn Wood with his brigade at Alexandria, to watch the Kafr ed Dowr lines until the conclusion of hostilities.

Early in September reinforcements were despatched to strengthen Alexandria and protect the direct line of communications from Ismailia. Here matters were still at a standstill, owing to the unavoidable difficulties of transport; and frequent reconnaissances, involving an occasional skirmish, were made towards Tel el Kebir, where the enemy were now known to be in strength and heavily entrenched. That this point was that in which a decisive battle for the possession of the Delta might have to be fought, had been recognised before the expedition left England. On the 9th, Arabi made his last offensive effort on both sides of the canal, bringing on the second battle of Kassassin; and on this occasion the troops he brought from Tel el Kebir were reinforced by a force of five battalions from Salahieh to the north; but the fighting was not severe and the loss on both sides insignificant, while in retiring, the Egyptians abandoned three guns, two of which were taken by the Royal Marine Light Infantry.

The army was now concentrated within striking distance of the first objective, the defeat of the Egyptian army under Arabi. Repeated reconnaissances had shown that in front of the village of Tel el Kebir was a long line of entrenchments, the right resting on the canal, the left, some four miles out _en l’air_ in the desert. The desert, absolutely treeless, and without marked undulations, afforded absolutely no cover, and to cross the fire-swept approach against entrenched troops would have caused serious loss. Sir Garnet, therefore, decided on making a night march to get within charging distance, and thus inaugurated on a large scale the system of night attacks, which, as a distinguished soldier long since remarked, will, if properly prepared for and organised by a nation, cause it to win the next great war.

The ground favoured the operation, but the distance was not inconsiderable, and the danger of that unreasoning panic which sometimes seizes the best troops was always present. At anyrate, any manœuvring in the dark or the early dawn was out of the question. The army must march in the order in which it was going to fight, and therefore each battalion had one half in first and the other half in second line, either marching in line formation or in line of companies in column of fours at deploying interval, from which lines could speedily and readily be formed. Extended order was not required for the rush into the entrenchments which the general planned. It was not to be a fire-action, but a shock-battle such as the Peninsula saw.

[Illustration: _Formation of the Line of Battle at Tel-el-Kebir, 13^{th} Sept^{r} 1882._]

Willis’s First Division was on the right, to it having been added the battalion of Royal Marine Light Infantry, the Guards being in second line, and the Cavalry and Horse Artillery on the right to sweep round the enemy’s flank and threaten his retreat. In the centre was Goodenough’s Artillery, acting both as a link to the two divisions, and yet separating them. If panic in one wing did occur, this might prevent its spreading to the other. On the left, the Highland Brigade was in first line, and Sir Edward Hamley’s Division, the other brigade of which was with Wood at Alexandria, was completed by a weak brigade under Ashburnham, made of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and the King’s Royal Rifles. In reserve were the Royal Marine Artillery and 19th Hussars; with the reserve ammunition was one company of the West Kent; on the railway, the armoured train with a 40-pounder worked by bluejackets; the West Kent guarded the stores at Kassassin; and along the line of communication to Ismailia were other troops. The army started at 1.30 a.m. on the early morning of the 13th September; the Indian Contingent, the Seaforths leading, moving off on the other bank of the canal an hour later, so as not to alarm the inhabitants of the small hamlet on that side, and so give Arabi earlier warning than need be of the impending attack. The total strength was about 11,000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, and 60 guns. Halting for a few minutes at about 1000 yards from the enemy, the lines advanced, with the right, however, rather thrown back, and then suddenly a storm of fire ran along the long line of parapet, and when about 300 yards from it, with a wild cheer, the Highland Brigade began the storm. There was much stubborn fighting while it lasted, but in half an hour the enemy were beaten, and flying in hot haste and great disorder towards Zagazig, pursued by the cavalry and the Indian Brigade. The battle had cost 9 officers and 48 men killed, with 27 officers and 385 men wounded or missing.

Pushing on rapidly with the 4th Dragoon Guards and the Indian cavalry, Sir Drury Lowe seized Cairo, and Arabi surrendered. This practically ended the war, and on the very date fixed by Sir Garnet, before he left England, for its probable conclusion.

The isolated garrisons at Tanta and elsewhere were disarmed, and when on the 17th it was found that the works at Kafr ed Dowr were deserted, they were occupied by the Berkshire and Shropshire Regiments of Sir Evelyn Wood’s brigade, which had been further strengthened by the Manchester and Derbyshire Regiments. So the army returned home, leaving, besides artillery and the 7th Dragoon Guards and the 19th Hussars, the (35th) Sussex, (38th) Stafford, (42nd) Black Watch, (49th) Berkshire, (53rd) Shropshire, the 3rd King’s Royal Rifles, the (74th) Highland Light Infantry, (75th) Gordons, and (79th) Camerons as a garrison for Cairo, and the 2nd (18th) Royal Irish, the (46th) Duke of Cornwall’s, and a wing of the (50th) West Kent, to hold Alexandria.

For the war a medal with clasp for Tel el Kebir was granted by the British Government and a bronze star by the Khedive; while numerous Turkish and Egyptian orders were distributed. Sir Garnet Wolseley was made a peer, and the names, “Egypt, 1882-84,” and “Tel el Kebir” were placed on the colours or appointments of the regiments which had served in this campaign.

* * * * *

The reorganisation of the Egyptian army was now commenced by British officers, and Sir Evelyn Wood was its first Sirdar; but this command was kept distinct from that of the British troops in the two great cities, which were under General Stevenson.

Meanwhile, trouble had long been brewing in the Sudan, which had been originally conquered by Mehemet Ali. There were many insurrections of more or less importance, and the people were ripe for still more serious revolt. The advent of Mohammed Ahmed, the son of Abdullah the carpenter and Amina his wife, whose name, therefore, agreed with those of the parents of the Prophet, as the expected Mahdi, whose mission it was to convert the whole world, gave the opportunity, and one in which religious fanaticism was added to patriotism. There were many small skirmishes, with varying success, at first; but still the movement increased, and soon El Obeid was captured, Hicks Pasha, with about 7000 men, was totally defeated, and his army practically destroyed. Next General Gordon was appointed Governor-General of the Sudan and took up his residence at Khartum, and a further advance of the Mahdieh resulted in the fall of Berber and the investment of the capital of the Sudan.

Then it was that serious preparation for its relief by a British army was seriously undertaken. As far back as April 1884, Lord Wolseley had considered that General Gordon could not hold out later than the 15th November. The nature of the opposition to be expected had, however, been already tested in the independent series of operations that long took place around Suakin on the Red Sea littoral. Suakin was the port to Berber, but between the two places was an almost waterless desert, inhabited by hostile tribes of the greatest bravery.

The fighting there had commenced this way. A slave trader, Osman Digna by name, had heard of the Mahdi’s success, and saw an opportunity of a revolt of his own with the warlike sept of the Hadendowas. He invested Sinkat, which fell, and its garrison was massacred. He threatened both Tokar and Suakin, and when to relieve the former Baker Pasha marched out from Trinkitat with nearly 4000 Egyptians, he was badly beaten, for the troops showed no fight at all. This aroused the attention of the home authorities. A British force was formed, under Sir G. Graham, and moved from Trinkitat, defeating the Sheikhs at El Teb, taking six guns and a Gatling, and killing 2100 men; but Tokar had already fallen. The troops engaged were the 19th and 10th Hussars, the Black Watch, Gordon Highlanders, the Royal Irish Fusiliers, the York and Lancaster Regiments, the Royal Marine Light Infantry, with a Naval Brigade and some Artillery. They advanced in a hollow square, the Gordons leading; and, leaving detachments at Trinkitat and Fort Baker (at the end of the causeway across the salt marsh that nearly surrounds the town), the small army moved against the Arabs entrenched around the wells of El Teb. The fighting was severe and desperate, but discipline and weapons soon told. The enemy’s guns were abandoned, and one taken by the Royal Marine Artillery was manned by the men under Captain Tucker and turned on the enemy, who fled finally towards Tokar. The loss to the British force had been 22 officers and 167 men killed and wounded.

After marching to Tokar, the force returned to Suakin, and as Osman Digna had collected a large force some miles outside the town, it was again decided to disperse them. Sir G. Graham formed the small army in two squares: that on the left, which led, under General Davis, had its front and flank faces formed by the Royal Highlanders and the York and Lancaster Regiments, with the Royal Marines in the rear face, and the Naval Brigade with Gatlings in the centre; on the right rear, echeloned, was General Buller’s Brigade, having the Gordon Highlanders and the Royal Irish Fusiliers in the front and flank faces, and the King’s Royal Rifles in rear, inside being the 7-pounder guns. The squares were about 1000 yards apart, and between them was a battery of 9-pounders, while the left flank was covered by the Hussars.

The enemy was met with in the deep ravine, or “Khor,” of Tamai, and early opened a brisk fire. Replying with a needlessly hot fire, which enveloped the troops in smoke, the square of General Davis made a rush with the front face and breaking up its close formation, the Arabs rushed into the gaps between the front and flank faces. For a time it was a scene of wild confusion. The British, fighting steadily still, with bullet and steel, fell back in some disorder, abandoning the guns, but they soon rallied, and the advance of the other square enabled it to re-form. The edge of the ravine was reached, and the leading square crossed it, with a cheer, to occupy Osman Digna’s camp, and disperse such of the enemy as were still there. Thirteen officers and 208 men had been killed and wounded on the attacking side.

Little was done after this for a while. The force returned to Suakin, and afterwards occupied and burned the village of Tamaneb with little opposition. Then the bulk of the troops were withdrawn, leaving the 3rd King’s Royal Rifles and a battalion of Royal Marines to garrison Suakin.

The Nile expedition for the relief of Gordon had now begun, and it was still, for a while, designed to take Berber and advance thence on Khartum. To communicate with the coast at Suakin from Berber was evidently advisable, but the district was almost waterless, and a railway was of primary importance. Furthermore, the destruction of Osman Digna’s power there was essential to its construction, let alone that to attack him would effect a useful diversion, and weaken the Dervish strength which might otherwise collect in the Nile Valley.

A second expedition was hence despatched to Suakin under Sir G. Graham. It consisted of a Guards Brigade (3rd Grenadiers, 1st Coldstream, and 2nd Scots), and a second brigade of the 2nd East Surrey, 1st Shropshire Light Infantry, 1st Berkshire, and Royal Marines, with two squadrons 5th Lancers, two of the 20th Hussars, some mounted infantry, Royal Engineers, and three batteries of artillery. In addition, there was a strong Indian Contingent and a volunteer force from New South Wales.

The enemy was known to be at Tamai, to the south-west, and at Hasheen to the west of the town, and by the latter the railway, which was to be made by English contractors, was to run. The first move, therefore, was the defeat of the force at Hasheen, and for this purpose the whole force, with the exception of the Shropshire Light Infantry, marched and formed in one square, of which the front face was held by the Marines and Berkshire Regiment (the Surrey was detached to cover a working party on some hills to the right front), the left flank by the Indian Brigade, and the right by the Guards. The rear was open, and the artillery, and the camel transport occupied the centre. The operations resulted in the temporary dispersion of the Hadendowas, with a loss on our side of 9 officers and men killed and 39 wounded. Throughout the enemy displayed the most reckless bravery, and an utter indifference to death.

It was now necessary to attack Osman Digna’s main force at Tamai, and for this purpose it was intended to establish an intermediate post on the road to that place, as one had been made at Hasheen. The force detailed to cover the work was under Sir J. M’Neill, and, made up of the Indian Contingent, one squadron of the 5th Lancers, with the Berkshire Regiment, the Royal Marines, etc., was formed into two squares. On reaching the open space of Tofrik, a zareba was commenced, the two angles of which were held by the Berkshires and Marines in two squares, while the Indian Contingent formed a large rectangle in between, covering the huge mass of camels and transport.

The mimosa bush was very dense, and little could be seen even by the cavalry, who were pushed out _en vedette_ in front. While in some confusion a sudden attack was made by the enemy. Crawling under the low trees until within charging distance, they reached the squares in small groups with their usual headlong gallantry. So fierce was the assault that the 17th Native Infantry broke, and for a while, with stampeded animals rushing to and fro, and with the Mahdieh cutting and stabbing in all directions, matters looked grave. But determined courage and discipline at length triumphed, and the enemy sullenly withdrew, leaving behind him 1500 dead. The loss on our side was 150 officers, men, and camp followers killed, 148 missing, and 174 wounded, in a fight that lasted just twenty minutes.

The remaining operations around Suakin have little interest. Tamai was reached, and found to be abandoned; and numerous petty skirmishes occurred in protecting the construction of the railway, which was getting near Handub. But with the eventual abandonment of the Nile expedition that of Suakin followed. On the 17th May the troops commenced to withdraw. They had had a severe time of it, with the thermometer at 120° in the tents, and constant disturbances night after night from the enemy. He was by no means to be despised. He combined the courage of the fanatic who saw heaven in view if he fell in battle with the infidel, with the most determined physical bravery. Few men want more killing than those Arabs of the Sudan. No one has added them up better than Rudyard Kipling when he says--

“’E rushes at the smokes when we let drive, An’, before we know, ’e’s ’ackin’ at our ’ead; ’E’s all ’ot sand and ginger when alive, An’ ’e’s generally shammin’ when ’e’s dead.

’E’s a daisy, ’e’s a ducky, ’e’s a lamb, ’E’s a injia-rubber idiot on the spree; ’E’s the on’y thing that doesn’t give a d--n For a regiment o’ British Infantree!

So ’ere’s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your ’ome in the Soudan. You’re a pore benighted ’eathen, but a fust-class fightin’ man; An’ ’ere’s _to_ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your ’ayrick ’ead of ’air, You big black boundin’ beggar--for you broke a British square!”

To commemorate the services of the army in this portion of the theatre of war, clasps for Suakin 1885, El Teb, Tamai, and Tofrik, were given with the ordinary Egyptian war medal.

* * * * *

But a more important series of operations had been taking place at the same time as these troublesome affairs on the shores of the Red Sea. The relief of Gordon had, after fatal delays and indecision on the part of the Government, been, with apparent reluctance, decided on, and in supreme command was placed Lord Wolseley. Notwithstanding that many authorities advocated the Suakin-Berber line of approach, he, throughout, had resolutely insisted that the Nile Valley was the only practicable way of reaching the Sudan, because of the difficulties both of roads and water supply.

Lord Wolseley arrived in Cairo on the 9th September, and proceeded to organise the concentration of a sufficiently powerful force about Korti and Ambigol (south of Dongola), whence one, “the river” column, could be despatched to seize Berber, assisted to some extent by the force operating at Suakin against Osman Digna, and the other, the “desert” column, could make its way across the Bayuda Desert, by a known track way indifferently furnished with water, to Metemmeh on the Nile opposite Shendy, and about midway between Berber and Khartum.

A camel force had also been formed, and was divided into four parts, the Heavy Camel Regiment (from the Household and seven other cavalry regiments), the Light (made up of detachments of light cavalry men), the Guards (from the brigade, and to which the Royal Marines were attached), and the Mounted Infantry Camel Regiment (men selected from different line regiments).

The general plan of the desert march was to form posts at the wells of Howeryat, Jakdul, and Abu Klea, and seize Metemmeh, forming at the same time a strong depôt at Jakdul. The first move was made at 3 a.m. on the 30th December, and Jakdul was occupied, garrisoned, and the camels returned for stores, etc., but it was the 8th January before the force definitely started on its mission. It was composed of a Naval Brigade under Lord Charles Beresford, one squadron 19th Hussars, the Guards, Heavy and Mounted Infantry Camel Regiments (the Light was employed chiefly in guarding convoys), half battery Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, 400 men of the Royal Sussex Regiment (of whom 150 were to be left at Jakdul), one company of the Essex Regiment for the Howeryat post, with “details”; in all about 120 officers and 1900 men, exclusive of natives, camel-drivers, etc. The whole was under the command of Sir Herbert Stewart. The force left Jakdul at 2 p.m. on the 14th January, and on the 16th got touch of the enemy near Abu Klea wells, but too late for fighting that day. At 9 a.m. the following day, square was formed with camels in the centre, the front angles being formed by the Mounted Infantry, the Guards Camel Regiment, with the Artillery between, and the rear angles by the Heavy Camel Regiment and the Royal Sussex Regiment, with the Naval Brigade in the middle of the rear face. The cavalry were left free to act outside; the sick and baggage were left in a zareba guarded by some of the Royal Sussex; and the square, covered by skirmishers, then advanced against the enemy’s line, which was some half mile long, and marked by flags. Though the skirmishers helped to check the enemy’s fire, which had already caused casualties, they were in the way of the defensive power when the Arab rush was made. It was executed with “lightning rapidity, and into gaps formed by the lagging back of the camels the Arab spearmen poured. The fight was sharp and desperate.” Within the square the din of battle was such that no words of command could be heard, and each man was obliged to act on the impulse of the moment. The enemy’s “formation was curious, a sort of variety of the old phalanx. It was as if there were portions of three phalanxes, with rows of men behind. At the head of each rode an Emir or Sheikh with a banner, accompanied by personal attendants, and then came the fighting men. They advanced at a quick, even pace, as if on parade.” And this before the breechloading fire! The “fine old Sheikh on horseback,” who planted his banner in the middle of the broken square, had advanced “with his banner in one hand and his book of prayers in the other.” He “never swerved to the right or left, and never ceased chanting his prayers until he had planted his banner in our square.” Such bravery is worthy of all admiration, and well may Sir Charles Wilson say, “If any man deserved a place in the Moslem paradise, he did.” It was sheer hard hand-to-hand work for a brief space, and then the square re-formed, with its late antagonists falling suddenly back, leaving only their dead. Short as the affair was, 9 officers and 65 men were killed, and 9 officers and 85 men wounded; a serious loss. On the other hand, 1100 Arab dead were counted near the square, and their loss in wounded too was severe. Before moving on, a small fort was built here to contain the wounded, guarded by 100 men of the Royal Sussex, and when this was completed, Sir Herbert marched at 4 p.m. on the 18th for Abu Kru. The guide was one Ali Loda, a local freebooter. But night marches, however advisable under such conditions as Tel el Kebir, are bad with wearied men. The soldiers in this case were exhausted, and did not get within measurable distance of the river, so that between them and water lay the Arab host. Laager was then formed to protect the transport; and was garrisoned by some of the Heavies, the 19th Hussars, the Artillery and Naval Brigade. Then the square moved toward the enemy, not without skirmishes, and while halting for breakfast the enemy’s fire increased, and Sir Herbert received the wound which afterwards proved fatal. At 3 p.m. the advance was resumed, and the Arabs charged as before. But the men were cooler than in the previous action, and none of the enemy got within 100 yards of the square, and in five minutes the Arabs broke and fled. Thereupon the wearied British reached the wished-for stream and bivouacked. The loss had been 1 officer and 22 men killed, and 8 officers and 90 men wounded.

Sir C. Wilson was now in chief command, and made a reconnaissance in force of Metemmeh; but he judged that to storm it would be both costly and inadvisable, and therefore returned to the zareba at Gubat, to meet the Egyptian Government steamers from Khartum. Then ensued a brief delay, necessary to make arrangements for the security of the camp, and also because of the general exhaustion of the men. Sir Charles, therefore, first proceeded down stream beyond Metemmeh, to ensure that there was no force advancing from the north in addition to what might be reasonably expected to arrive from the south, and then turned back, halting for a while at Gubat, and finally reached the immediate neighbourhood of Khartum, to find that all was over. It had fallen, and Gordon had been killed; so, running the gauntlet of guns and rifles, the small flotilla returned to Gubat, but both steamers were sunk and a fresh one had to be sent up. The story of this adventure well merited the telegram received by Sir Charles at Korti from the Secretary of State for War: “Express warm recognition of Government of brilliant services of Sir Charles Wilson and satisfaction at gallant rescue of his party.”[70]

On his return from Khartum, he started for Korti, and on his report, Sir R. Buller was despatched to take command of the desert column, which was to be reinforced by the Royal Irish and West Kent Regiments; but it was soon afterwards decided to abandon the effort to crush the power of the Mahdi, and the small army withdrew by degrees to Korti, with but little molestation on the way. During the march, however, Sir Herbert Stewart succumbed to his wound, and was buried near Jakdul. Like his namesake, who had been with Gordon and was murdered when going down the river at Hebbeh, his loss to the army was serious. “What an ill-fated expedition this has been!” writes Sir C. Wilson. “The whole Sudan is not worth the lives of men like Gordon and the two Stewarts.”

In the meantime, the river column had been pushing on, and had its tale to tell. Under the command of General Earle, it was made up of one squadron 19th Hussars, the South Staffordshire Regiment, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, the Black Watch, and the Gordon Highlanders, with some Egyptian artillery and Camel Corps, etc. The Essex Regiment was, at first, to hold the line of communication of this force between Merowi and Abu Hamed, but the idea had to be abandoned.

The force marched on the 24th, the mounted troops by land, the remainder in the boats, and there was a small skirmish at Berti; but on the news of the fall of Khartum, the force halted for further orders near Dulka Island; and while there, news was received that the enemy, some 1500 strong, had advanced out of the Shukuk Pass and taken up a position at Kirbekan.

As it was still determined to seize Berber, in which operation it was proposed, if possible, to employ the remains of the desert column, General Earle was directed to push on again; and, finding the enemy still blocking the road to Abu Hamed, whence there is a track across the desert to Korosko, he turned the enemy’s left flank and attacked him in flank and rear. The battle was mainly a fire-action, there being only one partial charge of the Arab spearmen; and with the charge of the Highlanders, pipes playing, the enemy were turned out of the rocky hill land on which they were posted, and at the very end of the fight, General Earle was killed, with 2 other officers and 7 men, while 4 officers and 43 men were wounded. The troops engaged had been the Staffordshire Regiment, Black Watch, Egyptian Camel Corps, and the Artillery. On the 20th February, however, the column, now commanded by General H. Brackenbury, was recalled, in accordance with the decision to attempt no further operations until after the hot season. But even this plan was given up by orders from home; and on the 11th May, Lord Wolseley was ordered to withdraw the troops from the Sudan. This was successfully effected, but, as might be expected, the Arab leaders pushed on. Kassala was occupied by Osman Digna from Suakin, and Dongola by the Mahdieh from Khartum. Near this, the town of Kosheh was invested, and the small action of Ginnis was fought in December 1885, the last skirmish of the first Sudan War. Throughout, the enormous physical and administrative difficulties had been successfully met; the conduct of the men, both in battle and on the march, left nothing to be desired. That Lord Wolseley and the expedition failed in their primary object of relieving Khartum and saving Gordon’s life was no fault of theirs. They did all that men could, and the blame rests only on the head of a weak Government, that could not make up its mind until it was too late. Yet “the siege of Khartum lasted for three hundred and seventeen days--only nine less than the great siege of Sebastopol, in which General Gordon first saw active service. For more than ten months the wild tribes of the Sudan were kept in check by the genius, the indomitable resolution, and fertile resources of one man; and, long after the controversies of the present day have been forgotten, the defence of Khartum by General Gordon will be looked on as one of the most memorable military achievements of modern times.”[71]

A medal was given for the campaign, with clasps for Kirbekan, Abu Klea, and Abu Kru; and the rank of viscount was bestowed on the Commander-in-Chief of the two expeditions, those of the Nile and Suakin. Never was honour more justly bestowed.



Few changes have been made in the drill or manœuvres of the army since 1880, except in the direction of reducing the number of the latter, and simplifying and giving freedom of action in the former. Greater attention is now paid to practical instruction, and to the value of continued training in marching, coupled with care for the soldiers’ feet, after the day’s march, and clothing. Thus the truth of Wellington’s remark is recognised, that “battles are as much won by feet as by arms.”

Examinations for promotion are more searching, selection for appointments to command the rule rather than the exception; while every possible care is taken to ensure the retention of men who know their work. Sir Evelyn Wood bears evidence that “in tactical skill, officers of all ranks have improved to a very great degree; but the improvement in military spirit, in eagerness to learn, and to submit cheerfully to great physical discomforts is even more remarkable, and this spirit reacts naturally on the lower ranks.”

The armament of all arms is altering. In the cavalry the front ranks of all heavy and medium regiments are armed with the lance, as well as sword and carbine, and only the hussars retain the two latter for both ranks. Every effort is being made to lighten the enormous weight a cavalry horse has to carry.

The artillery re-armed with a steel breech-loading, chambered, 12-pounder gun, has a very high velocity, and hence a very flat trajectory. This, for many purposes admirable, lessens the “searching” effect of artillery fire, and in foreign armies howitzer batteries and even field-mortar batteries are being experimented on.

Quick-firing guns are openly advocated for field service, and high explosives will render iron or steel turrets and stone fortifications both vulnerable, and dangerous to the defenders. Of late years, not only has Shoeburyness continued its useful work as the great centre of experimental work with large and small guns, but Okehampton has been utilised as a practice-ground for field artillery under conditions approximating to those of actual war.

The use of smokeless powder has changed in many ways the tactical application of the three arms. It is no longer easy to estimate exactly the extent of front of a battery of guns, nor even its exact position, nor can the fact of its fire being diminished by loss be so readily ascertained as when the smoke gave the information wanted. So, throughout the field generally, there is no smoke screen to hide the assailants from view, and greater exposure may involve more serious loss in attack. Similarly, the length of the enemy’s line of battle, and the extent to which it is occupied, will so far perplex the attacking commander, that unnecessarily wide turning movements may be expected, with consequent loss of time. Furthermore, the friction caused by the velocity of the cordite gas, with its naturally chemically corrosive action, tends to destroy barrels, and so render, earlier than heretofore, the weapon inaccurate. As regards the infantry, they have been armed with a Lee-Mitford small-bore rifle, with a calibre of ·303 inch, and having a muzzle velocity with cordite of 2000 feet a second, and a consequent range of 1900 yards. The long bayonet has been replaced by a short dagger, not unlike the first pattern of “plug-bayonet” which fitted into the muzzle of the arquebus. The weapon has an extremely flat trajectory, but it is improbable that the small diameter of the bullet would stop an Arab rush unless it found its billet in a vital part. Its penetration into wood is such that simple stockades, or even old brick walls, would be vulnerable before the new rifle. The number of rounds carried in the magazine is ten. Much stress is now laid on “field-firing” against targets with unknown ranges, arranged as far as possible under service conditions.

Long-ranged fire, even up to 3000 mètres, has been tried in France, but in England there is a tendency, with many officers, to deprecate the use of small-arm ammunition at extreme ranges.

The general direction of the improvement in firearms is to lessen the size of the bore and increase the flatness of the trajectory. Thus the high-angled fire of the Snider, converted from the muzzle-loading Enfield, was changed for the Martini-Henry, in every way a more deadly weapon, and this, as has been already remarked, has given way to an even smaller bored rifle. And with the increased rapidity of fire and the larger number of rounds of the lighter ammunition that can be carried, the bayonet, that was lengthened in 1878, was reduced to its present dimensions.

Muzzle-loading guns have been replaced by breech-loaders, and the steel muzzle-loading guns used in Abyssinia by screw guns, which can be put together and fired within a minute from the time the two mules, which carry the parts, halt.

Machine guns, such as the Gatling, Gardner, and Nordenfeldt, will probably give way to the automatic Maxim.

Since the campaign of 1870 to 1871, greater attention has been paid to visual signalling by flag or flash, and the field telegraph is much more actively employed, and accompanies, as far as possible, the army up to the point of attack.

In England, considerable attention has been paid to night marching and night attacks, as being the only method under favourable circumstances of crossing, unseen, the fire-swept zone now so much more extended than formerly.

Balloons, captive and free, form part of the equipment of an army corps, and officers are trained both in their use and in reconnoitring from them. They were employed in the operations round Suakin, but are difficult to manage in windy weather, as they found on that occasion.

Uniform has altered little, but helmets were issued in 1877 to all but Highland and Fusilier Regiments; and since that date the Rifle headdress has been restored, as well as the peculiar shako of the Highland Light Infantry. Badge and rank chevrons were formerly worn by all light infantry regiments on both arms, but this was abandoned, though the old 43rd still wore them up to 1881.[72] The abolition of purchase in 1872 rendered the army possibly more professional, but certainly not, as was imagined, less expensive. It destroyed, however, the “right” claimed by officers who had purchased to different treatment from that which would naturally follow under a non-purchase system. Curiously enough, the alteration was hardest on the poor man who rose from the ranks, as he, on his retirement, frequently received a large sum for the “regulation” and “over regulation” price of his commission.

* * * * *

But the two greatest changes have been the introduction of short service, and the territorialisation of the regiments of the army; both of which measures have opponents as well as friends.

There is much misconception about the former, certainly. Its enemies quite forget that there was practically no alternative, that we are living in the end of the nineteenth century, not the beginning. The so-called Long Service Act of 1847, with its ten years’ service for the first period with the colours, and the right, if of good character, to extend it to twenty-one years for pension, did not provide sufficient recruits for a meagre army, and, as the Crimea proved, gave not only an insufficient number of men, but no reserves at all. When peace was signed, we had boy soldiers in the ranks much as we have now, many of the older men having perished; yet they fought well, as they always have done. Outside the first line there were foreign legions and militia, and that was all. The times even then were past since an army of 25,000 men was considered a respectable command for a serious European war; and the change in the conditions is even greater now, with all Europe an armed camp, and the armies themselves counting as many thousands as they did hundreds “when George the Third was king.” Nor was the longer service Act of 1867 any better. It gave twelve years with the colours and nine of re-engaged time to obtain pension. But the army then was more under its proper strength annually than before.

The plain fact is, that an army of even the dimensions of our own cannot attract a sufficient number of recruits for so long a period as ten or twelve years. You can get enough men to do so for a force a few thousands strong, like the Royal Marine Corps, but not for an army which has to put in fifteen or sixteen years in such climates as some parts of India or Burmah.

Short service was inevitable, and since its introduction the army has rarely, I believe never, been below its numerical strength. The question of reserves, important as that is, and of good non-commissioned officers is quite beside the question. Neither would be worth a row of pins without a sufficient number of men, however young, in the ranks. Besides, if serious war comes, the same method will be adopted that was in vogue in the much-belauded long service days. Battalions were weeded then as they are now, and though they had permanently a larger proportion of older men in the ranks to stiffen the regiments, the same stiffening can always be got from the reserves whenever it is wanted. Our previous system gave us nothing, absolutely nothing, to fall back on; our present system gives us, if we want them, some 100,000 old soldiers whom we can claim as a right.

No one prefers boy soldiers to stout men. No one for choice would take very young men for sergeants. But if the State will not offer greater inducements, if the nation will not pay the cost, then you must do the best you can with the materials you can purchase in the open labour markets of this country.

Lord Wolseley, whose experience of war in all its aspects is second to none, has always expressed himself in terms of the strongest approval of our young soldiers, who have done their duty so well, and without a murmur, and yet are maligned by those who ought to know better.

In his last despatch from the Nile, in June 1885, he thus refers to the lads who had undergone the severe strain of the campaign, and with comparatively so little loss. “It is a source of great pride to me as a soldier, and of satisfaction as a British subject, that upon each fresh occasion when I am brought in contact with Her Majesty’s troops in the field, I find the army more efficient as a military machine than it was the last time I was associated with it on active service. This improvement is evident in all grades and in all arms and departments, but it is, I think, more marked in the rank and file. Military spirit--the essence of military efficiency--is now established in our army in a higher form and on a sounder basis than formerly. I attribute the improvement in moral tone that undoubtedly exists, in no small degree, to the abolition of flogging, and I believe that amongst the officers who have lately had practical experience in the field, even those previously in favour of retaining the lash as a punishment on active service, now fully recognise that many advantages have resulted from its total abolition. The soldier is prouder of himself and of his calling than he used to be, and his self-esteem has also been raised by the healthy feeling of liberty arising from the knowledge that if the army does not suit his tastes, he can easily quit it, instead of being bound to it for ten or twelve years. Our rank and file are morally better, and militarily more efficient, than formerly. The general conduct and bearing of our men in the Sudan left nothing to be desired, and was not only creditable to the British army, but should be also a just source of pride to the British nation.”

Nor in comparison with foreign armies equally on a peace footing is there anything to complain of as regards the length of service of the men serving, for out of battalions of between 500 and 600 men there were in British battalions 245, in German 59, and in French but 23 men of three years’ service and upwards. Similarly, the Continental recruit ranges in height from 5 feet to 5 feet 1½ inches, with a chest measurement of 30.8 inches, but with an age of 20 years; while our “boys” of 18 have a height of 5 feet 4 inches, with a chest of 33 inches.

Even the cry that reservists cannot find employment is an exaggeration, as the report of Lord Wantage’s Committee shows; for it was proved that of 32,700 reservists, 75 per cent. were in regular employ.

Turning to the territorialisation of the regiments, there again must be necessarily conflicting opinions. Those who think regimental prestige is lost with a name, must have a very poor opinion of what prestige really is. Have the navy no _esprit de corps_? And yet theirs is for their _profession_, not for H.M.S. _Bacchante_ or the _Melpomene_. It must not be forgotten, too, that many of the existing regiments have borne other numbers. Has their efficiency been lessened because they had to put 82 instead of 83 on their forage caps in past years? Doubtless it is not worth while changing for changing’s sake; but when administration is simplified, the working of the short service system (which is in a sense forced on us) and recruiting improved, then those who object must show a better case than that of objection merely because they don’t like it.

There is the strongest evidence that the bulk of the men not only don’t care about the dead and gone numbers, but prefer the territorial title. In the presence of some officer, whose enthusiasm clings like ivy round the past glories of the “Onety-oneth,” they may, for obvious reasons, express themselves differently; but, when alone, they do as everybody else does, outside a small and decreasing group of men who live, as archæologists do, in a dead past, and use the local name, which to them has a more distinct meaning.

Of course it is to be regretted that the army is not strong enough to do the foreign service it is called upon to perform; that of the two battalions, now tied together as they were formerly linked, one cannot always be at home. But that simply comes from the numerical weakness of the army, and has nothing to do with the system. True, the home battalion is practically a secondary depôt, and why not? So long as the foreign, and often active service, battalion is strong, what does it matter?

So the army in 1881 was territorialised, as it had previously been linked. The linking was less symmetrical than the new plan, for two battalion regiments like the 17th were formerly linked with a single battalion like the 45th. As far as possible, too, battalions that had during their regimental history been formed in the same or neighbouring districts were joined under the same designation. There were of course difficulties, and ludicrous ones at times, as when the 100th Royal _Canadians_ are united with the 3rd _Bombay_ European Regiment to form the _Leinster_ Regiment; but these are of no great moment now, and will be quite forgotten in another fifty years.

But more than grouping battalions of the regular army together is the uniting in one common bond the other parts of our fighting strength. The addition of militia to the regiment, and of the volunteers to the same, both promotes a real and wider _esprit de corps_, and facilitates recruiting in every way. To hear a Hampshire volunteer say he is leaving his volunteer battalion to “join our fighting battalion,” meaning thereby the 1st regular battalion then on foreign service, expresses very fully the union that, given time and patience, will eventually exist between all branches of our fighting strength.

Hence, therefore, rightly or wrongly, as opinions differ, the army is divided into English regiments with white facings, Scotch (4 Battalions) with yellow facings, and Irish (1 Battalion) with green facings; but the Royal Irish and the Scottish Rifles have dark green, all Royal Regiments blue, the East Kent Regiment buff, the Rifle Brigade black, and the King’s Royal Rifles scarlet facings. Similarly the garrison artillery are partially territorialised, but the cavalry are not so.

The latest change in the administrative branches is the conversion of the formerly noncombatant “Commissariat and Transport Department” into the combatant “Army Service Corps,” and the officering of that force by selected officers after a searching course of training and examination.

Much more serious attention is paid, too, to the food of the soldier and military hygiene generally. A quarter of a century ago the ration of bread and meat was eked out by a grocery ration limited both in dimensions and variety. Now, without extra cost to the soldier, and solely by better management and better cooking, he fares not as well as, but better than, many a family in civil life of presumably a better position. Thus the weekly dietary, in a company of a line regiment at Aldershot not long since, comprised for breakfast a selection (every day having a fresh combination) from tea, cocoa, porridge and milk, bloaters, rissoles, bacon, brawn, corned beef, and cold boiled bacon; for dinner, pea soup, roast meat stuffed, potatoes, Irish stew, plain suet pudding, barley soup, meat pies, brown curry and rice, currant rolls, lentil soup, baked meat, haricot beans, sea pies, rice pudding and Yorkshire pudding; and for tea, marmalade, dripping, soused herrings, cheese, kippers, and jam. Not only is the dietary therefore more varied and appetising, but the men trained at the cookery school are fully qualified to cook it properly.

In other respects the army has altered little. The profession is naturally conservative, and does not care to try new armour unless it has proved it. But the story of the army tells this--that in two hundred years it has increased from 3000 men to nearly 667,000 putting aside local colonial troops and our admirable Indian army. This number is composed of

Regular Army 216,688 Army Reserve 80,000 } Militia Reserve 30,000} 110,000 Militia 75,000 Volunteers 255,000 Yeomanry 9,500

Of this force, about 110,000 of the regular troops are serving abroad and the remainder at home; while, though no new regiments have been added since 1870, the army has increased in number by 29,000 men, and this without the faintest opposition. All the former dread of it, whether real or affected, has passed away. In place of it has grown up the feeling that it has won the nation’s affection, and has earned and holds its confidence.

Meanwhile, in many a small matter of daily life there is a survival of long-forgotten military ideas. The acts of courtesy of removing one’s hat or shaking hands with an ungloved hand are, after all, but baring the unarmoured head and using the unmailed, and therefore friendly, hand. With the soldier’s salute, the dropping of the sword-point is exposing the unguarded breast, the “present arms” but offering the power of firing the weapon to the person saluted. Passing right hand to right hand is but being on one’s guard, and having the power of easily standing on the defensive. Even the two useless buttons on the back of the man’s coat may be but the survival of the means whereby the sword-belt was kept up.

In the names of bachelor, esquire, and soldier live those of _bas chevalier_ (inferior knight), _escuyer_, and _solde_, or pay. In the expression “pulling the long bow” survives the spirit of some of the tales told by stout yeomen over strong ale. In the fantastic flourishes that surround the helmet and shield in the painted coat-of-arms is seen still the mantling that covered the tilting _heaulme_.

The army is as much part of the social and national life of England as its commercial marine, or its police force. It does the same duty on a large scale for the former as do the latter on a smaller scale in civil life. It protects the commercial enterprise of our merchant princes, finds new outlets for our manufacturers. It guards our seaports at home and abroad; it assists the civil police against the proletariat, and that without creating real hostility.

It represents the fighting spirit that has made the nation what it is and has enlarged its boundaries. It has given us what without its aid would have been impossible--external and internal safety.

And, most of all, it has preserved unsullied our national honour. Where the flag flies over British fighting men, there our lads behave as becomes true Englishmen, and face death fearlessly. The spirit that braced the nerves of the men of Lincelles, Albuhera, and Inkerman lives still in their descendants, and those who fought and fell before the Arab rush at Abu Klea may well stand in the nation’s esteem side by side with our heroes of the past.



Aboukir 8th March 1801 Abu Klea, Sudan 17th January 1885 Abu Kru, Sudan 19th January 1885 Abyssinia 1867-68 Aden 19th January 1839 Afghanistan 1841-42 Afghanistan 1878-80 Agra 17th October 1803 Ahmedabad 12th August 1780 Ahmednuggur 12th August 1803 Ahmed Kehl 19th April 1880 Albuhera 16th May 1811 Alexandria 21st March 1801 Ali Musjid 21st Nov. 1878 Aliwal 28th January 1846 Alkmaar 6th October 1799 Allyghur 4th Sept. 1803 Alma 20th Sept. 1854 Almanara 28th July 1710 Almanza 14th April 1707 Almaraz 19th May 1812 Almeida 26th August 1810 Amboyna 17th Feb. 1810 America 1775-81 Amoaful 31st January 1874 Antwerp 5th May 1814 Arcot 31st August 1751 Arcot 31st October 1780 Argaum 29th Nov. 1803 Arnee 2nd June 1782 Arroyo des Molinos 28th October 1811 Ashanti 1874 Assaye 23rd Sept. 1803 Asseerghur 8th April 1819 Aughrim 12th July 1691 Ava 24th Feb. 1826

Badajos 6th April 1812 Balaklava 25th October 1854 Baltimore 11th Sept. 1814 Banda 8th March 1810 Bangalore 21st March 1791 Barcelona 1705 to 8th May 1706 Barrosa 5th March 1811 Bayonne 22nd Feb. to 14th April 1814 Belleisle 7th June 1761 Benevente January 1809 Beni-Boo-Ally 2nd March 1821 Bergen 19th Sept. 1799 Bergen-op-Zoom 8th March 1814 Bhurtpore 2nd April 1805 Bhurtpore 18th January 1826 Bidassoa 7th October 1813 Bladensburg 24th August 1814 Blenheim 13th August 1704 Bothwell Brig 22nd June 1679 Bouchain 13th Sept. 1711 Bourbon 21st Sept. 1809 Boyne 1st July 1690 Brandywine 11th Sept. 1777 Brooklyn 27th August 1776 Brunx 28th October 1776 Buenos Ayres 28th June 1806 Buenos Ayres 5th July 1807 Bunker’s Hill 17th June 1775 Burmah 1824-26 Burmah 1852-53 Burmah 27th Sept. 1810 Bushire 10th Dec. 1856 Buxar 23rd October 1764

Cabool 12th October 1842 Camden 16th August 1780 Campen 15th October 1760 Campo-Mayor 25th March 1811 Candahar 10th March 1842 Candahar 1st Sept. 1880 Canton 5th Jan. 1858 Cape of Good Hope September 1795 Cape of Good Hope 9th January 1806 Cape of Good Hope 1846-47; 1850-53; and 1877-79 Carthagena April 1741 Cateau 26th April 1794 Cawnpore 17th July 1857 Caya 7th May 1709 Central India 1857-58 Charasiah 5th October 1879 Chateaughay 26th October 1813 Cherbourg 5th August 1758 Chillianwallah 13th January 1849 China 1840-43 China 1856-60 Chrystler’s Farm 11th Nov. 1813 Ciudad Rodrigo 19th January 1812 Condore 8th December 1758 Coomassie 4th Feb. 1874 Copenhagen 2nd April 1801 Copenhagen 8th Sept. 1807 Corbach 10th July 1760 Corsica 17th June 1794 Corunna 16th January 1890 Crimea 1854-55 Crabbendam 10th Sept. 1799 Cuddalore 13th July 1783 Culloden 16th April 1746

Deig 13th October 1804 Delhi 11th Sept. 1803 Delhi 20th Sept. 1857 Denkern 15th July 1761 Detroit 16th August 1812 Dettingen 16th June 1743 Dominica 22nd Feb. 1805 Douay 25th June 1710 Douro 12th May 1809 Dunkirk 17th Sept. 1793

Egmont-op-Zee 2nd October 1799 Egypt 1801 Egypt 1882 El Bodon 25th Sept. 1811 El Teb 29th Feb. 1884 Emsdorf 16th July 1760

Famars 23rd May 1793 Ferozeshah 22nd Dec. 1845 Flushing 15th August 1809 Fontenoy 30th April 1745 Freehold 28th June 1778 Fuentes d’Onoro 5th May 1811

Germantown 3rd October 1777 Ghent 30th Sept. 1708 Ghuznee 23rd July 1839 Ghuznee 6th Sept. 1842 Gibraltar 10th March 1705 Gibraltar 22nd Feb. 1727 Gibraltar 5th February 1783 Ginghilovo 2nd April 1879 Goojerat 21st February 1849 Grenada 24th March 1796 Guadaloupe February 1810 Gueldermalsen 8th January 1795 Guildford 15th March 1781

Hashin 25th March 1885 Havannah 14th August 1762 Helder 27th August 1799 Hulst 5th May 1747 Hyderabad 24th March 1843

Ingogo 8th Feb. 1881 Indian Mutiny 1857-59 Inkerman 5th November 1854 Ionian Islands 12th October 1809 Isandula 22nd Jan. 1879

Java 18th Sept. 1811 Jellalabad 7th April 1842

Kambula 29th March 1879 Kassassin 28th Aug. 1882 Khelat 13th Nov. 1839 Kirbekan 10th Feb. 1885 Kirkee 5th Nov. 1817 Kooshab 8th February 1857

Laing’s Nek 28th Jan. 1881 Leswaree 1st Nov. 1803 Lexington 19th April 1775 Liège 23rd October 1702 Lincelles 18th August 1793 Lisle 23rd October 1708 Llerena 11th April 1812 Louisburg 26th July 1758 Lucknow July to Nov. 1857 Lucknow 21st March 1858

Maestricht 2nd July 1673 Magdala 13th April 1868 Maharajpore 29th Dec. 1843 Maheidpore 21st Dec. 1817 Maida 4th July 1806 Maiwand 17th July 1880 Majuba Hill 27th Feb. 1881 Malavelly 27th March 1799 Malplaquet 11th Sept. 1709 Malta 5th Sept. 1800 Mandora 13th March 1801 Mangalore September 1783 Manilla 5th October 1762 Marabout 21st August 1801 Martinique 5th February 1762 Martinique 16th March 1794 Martinique 7th March 1809 Masulipatam 1769 Matagorda 22nd April 1810 Mauritius 2nd Dec. 1810 Meeanee 17th Feb. 1843 Miami 5th May 1813 Minden 1st August 1759 Minorca 1708 Minorca 29th June 1756 Minorca 5th February 1782 Minorca 15th Nov. 1798 Monte Video 3rd February 1807 Moodkee 18th Dec. 1845 Mooltan 2nd January 1849 Morales 2nd June 1813 Moro (Havannah) 14th August 1762

Nagpore 24th Dec. 1817 Namur 20th August 1695 Neer-Hespen 18th July 1705 Neer-Landen 19th July 1693 New Orleans 13th January 1815 New Zealand 1861-63 Niagara 1814 Nieuport 24th October 1793 Nile 1884-85 Nimeguen 8th Nov. 1794 Nive 9th to 13th December 1813 Nivelle 10th Nov. 1813 Nundydroog 18th October 1791

Orthes 27th February 1814 Oudenarde 11th July 1708

Pegu 21st Nov. 1852 Pekin 12th October 1860 Peninsula 1808-14 Persia 1856-57 Perak 1875 Pewar Kotal 2nd Dec. 1878 Plassy 23rd June 1757 Plattsburg 11th Sept. 1814 Pondicherry 23rd August 1793 Porto Novo 1st July 1781 Prestonpans 21st Sept. 1745 Punniar 29th Dec. 1843 Pyrenees 2nd August 1813

Quatre Bras 16th June 1815 Quebec 13th Sept. 1759 Queenstown 13th October 1812

Ramillies 23rd May 1706 Rangoon 5th May 1824 Rangoon 14th April 1852 Rediuha 11th March 1811 Reshire 9th December 1856 Roliça 17th August 1808 Rolicund Rorke’s Drift 22nd Jan. 1879 Rosetta 21st April 1807 Roucoux 1st October 1746

Sabugal 3rd April 1811 Sahagun 21st Dec. 1808 Salamanca 22nd July 1812 San Sebastian 31st Aug. 1813 Saragossa 20th August 1710 Savendroog 21st Dec. 1791 Schellenburg 2nd July 1704 Scylla 17th January 1809 Sedgmoor 6th July 1685 Seringapatam 15th May 1791 Seringapatam 6th February 1792 Seringapatam 4th May 1799 Sevastopol 8th Sept. 1855 Sholingur 27th Sept. 1781 Sillery 28th April 1760 Sobraon 10th Feb. 1846 Steenkirk 24th July 1692 Stillwater 19th Sept. 1777 St. John’s 13th Nov. 1775 St. Lucia 28th Dec. 1778 St. Lucia 4th April 1794 St. Lucia May 1796 St. Lucia 22nd June 1803 St. Sebastian 31st August 1813 St. Vincent 14th February 1797 Suakin 1885 Surinam 30th April 1804

Taku Forts 21st August 1860 Talavera 27th and 28th July 1809 Tamai 13th March 1884 Tangier 1680 to 1683 Tarbes 20th March 1814 Tarifa 31st Dec. 1811 Tel el Kebir 13th Sept. 1882 Ternate August 1810 Ticonderoga 8th July 1758 Tofrik April 1885 Tongres 10th May 1703 Toulon 19th Dec. 1793 Toulouse 10th April 1814 Tournay 10th Sept. 1709 Tournay 18th May 1794 Transvaal 1881

Ulundi 4th July 1879 Umbeylah or Ambela 1865

Val 20th June 1747 Valenciennes 28th July 1793 Venloo 23rd Sept. 1702 Villers en Couche 24th April 1794 Vimiera 21st August 1808 Vittoria 21st June 1813

Walcourt 25th August 1689 Wandewash 22nd January 1760 Warbourg 31st July 1760 Waterloo 18th June 1815 Wilhelmstahl 14th June 1762 Wynendale 28th Sept. 1708

York Town 19th October 1781

Zululand 1879



--------------------+------------------------+-------------------------- NAME. | FORMER TITLE.[73] | PRESENT TITLE. --------------------+------------------------+-------------------------- _Cavalry._ | | | | The Life Guards. | First and Second | The same The Royal Horse | The “Blues” | ” Guards | | 1st Dragoon Guards | The King’s | ” 2nd ” | Queen’s Bays | ” 3rd ” | Prince of Wales’s | ” 4th ” | Royal Irish | ” 5th ” | Princess Charlotte of | ” | Wales’s | 6th ” | Carabiniers | ” 7th ” | Princess Royal’s | ” 1st Dragoons | Royal | ” 2nd ” | Royal North British | Royal Scots Greys | (Scots Greys)[74] | 3rd Hussars | The King’s Own | The same 4th ” | The Queen’s Own | ” 5th Lancers | Royal Irish | ” 6th Dragoons | Inniskilling | ” 7th Hussars | The Queen’s Own | ” 8th ” | The King’s Royal Irish | ” 9th Lancers | The Queen’s Royal | ” 10th Hussars | The Prince of Wales’s | ” | Own Royal | 11th ” | Prince Albert’s Own | ” 12th Lancers | The Prince of Wales’s | ” | Royal | 13th Hussars | None | None 14th ” | The King’s | The same 15th ” | The King’s | ” 16th Lancers | The Queen’s | ” 17th ” | None | The Duke of Cambridge’s | | Own[75] 18th Hussars | ” | None 19th ” | ” | Princess of Wales’s Own 20th ” | ” | None 21st ” | ” | ” | | _Infantry._ | | | | Grenadier Guards | 1st, 2nd, and 3rd | The same | Battalions | Coldstream ” | 1st and 2nd Battalions | ” Scots Fusilier[76] ”| 1st and 2nd Battalions | ” 1st Regiment | The Royal | The Royal Scots (Lothian | | Regiment) 2nd ” | The Queen’s Royal | (Royal West Surrey | | Regiment) 3rd ” | East Kent--The Buffs | (East Kent Regiment) 4th ” | The King’s Own Royal | (Royal Lancaster | | Regiment) 5th ” | Northumberland | The same | Fusiliers | 6th ” | Royal 1st Warwickshire | The Royal Warwickshire | | Regiment 7th ” | Royal Fusiliers | (City of London Regiment) 8th ” | The King’s | (Liverpool Regiment) 9th ” | East Norfolk | The Norfolk Regiment 10th ” | North Lincolnshire | The Lincolnshire Regiment 11th ” | North Devonshire | The Devonshire Regiment 12th ” | East Suffolk | The Suffolk Regiment 13th ” | Prince Albert’s Light | The Prince Albert’s | Infantry | (Somersetshire Light | | Infantry) 14th ” | Buckinghamshire | The Prince of Wales’s Own | | (West Yorkshire | | Regiment) 15th ” | Yorkshire East Riding | The East Yorkshire | | Regiment 16th ” | The Bedfordshire | The Bedfordshire Regiment 17th ” | Leicestershire | The Leicestershire | | Regiment 18th ” | The Royal Irish | The Royal Irish Regiment 19th ” | 1st Yorkshire North | The Princess of Wales’s | Riding | Own[77] (Yorkshire | | Regiment) 20th ” | The East Devonshire | The Lancashire Fusiliers 21st ” | Royal North British | Royal Scots Fusiliers[78] | Fusiliers | 22nd ” | The Cheshire | The Cheshire Regiment 23rd ” | Royal Welsh Fusiliers | The same 24th ” | The 2nd Warwickshire | The South Wales Borderers 25th ” | The King’s Own | The King’s Own Scottish | Borderers | Borderers _N.B_--All these regiments had two battalions. 26th Regiment | The Cameronian | 1st Cameronians (Scottish | | Rifles) 27th ” | Inniskilling | 1st Royal Inniskilling | | Fusiliers 28th ” | North Gloucestershire | 1st Gloucestershire | | Regiment 29th ” | Worcestershire | 1st Worcestershire | | Regiment 30th ” | Cambridgeshire | 1st East Lancashire | | Regiment 31st ” | Huntingdonshire | 1st East Surrey Regiment 32nd ” | Cornwall Light Infantry| 1st Duke of Cornwall’s | | Light Infantry 33rd ” | Duke of Wellington’s | 1st West Riding Regiment 34th ” | Cumberland | 1st Border Regiment 35th ” | Royal Sussex | 1st Royal Sussex 36th ” | Herefordshire | 2nd Worcestershire | | Regiment 37th ” | North Hampshire | 1st Hampshire Regiment 38th ” | 1st Staffordshire | 1st South Staffordshire | | Regiment 39th ” | Dorsetshire | 1st Dorsetshire Regiment 40th ” | 2nd Somersetshire | Prince of Wales’s | | Volunteers, 1st South | | Lancashire Regiment 41st ” | The Welsh | 1st Welsh Regiment 42nd ” | Royal Highland (Black | 1st Black Watch (Royal | Watch) | Highlanders) 43rd ” | Monmouthshire Light | 1st Oxfordshire Light | Infantry | Infantry 44th ” | East Essex | 1st Essex Regiment 45th ” | Nottinghamshire | 1st Sherwood Foresters | (Sherwood Foresters) | (Derbyshire Regiment) 46th ” | South Devonshire | 2nd Duke of Cornwall’s | | Light Infantry 47th ” | Lancashire | 1st Loyal North | | Lancashire Regiment 48th ” | Northamptonshire | 1st Northamptonshire | | Regiment 49th ” | Princess Charlotte of | 1st Royal Berks Regiment | Wales’s (Herts) | 50th ” | The Queen’s Own | 1st Royal West Kent | | Regiment 51st ” | 2nd Yorkshire, West | 1st King’s Own (Yorkshire | Riding (the King’s | Light Infantry) | Own Light Infantry) | 52nd ” | Oxfordshire Light | 2nd Oxfordshire Light | Infantry | Infantry 53rd ” | Shropshire | 1st The King’s | | (Shropshire Light | | Infantry) 54th ” | West Norfolk | 2nd Dorsetshire 55th ” | Westmoreland | 2nd The Border 56th ” | West Essex | 2nd Essex 57th ” | West Middlesex | 1st Duke of Cambridge’s | | Own (Middlesex) 58th ” | Rutlandshire | 2nd Northamptonshire 59th ” | 2nd Nottinghamshire | 2nd East Lancashire 60th ” | King’s Royal Rifle | The same (4 battalions) | Corps | 61st Regiment | South Gloucestershire | 2nd Gloucestershire 62nd ” | Wiltshire | 1st Duke of Edinburgh | | (Wilts) 63rd ” | West Suffolk | 1st Manchester 64th ” | 2nd Staffordshire | 1st The Prince of Wales | | (North Staffordshire) 65th ” | 2nd Yorkshire, North | 1st York and Lancaster | Riding | 66th ” | Berkshire | 2nd Princess Charlotte of | | Wales’s (Royal Berks) 67th ” | South Hampshire | 2nd Hampshire 68th ” | Durham Light Infantry | 1st Durham Light Infantry 69th ” | South Lincolnshire | 2nd Welsh 70th ” | Surrey | 2nd East Surrey 71st ” | Highland Light | 1st Highland Light | Infantry | Infantry 72nd ” | Duke of Albany’s Own | 1st Seaforth Highlanders, | Highlanders | Ross-shire Buffs (The | | Duke of Albany’s) 73rd ” | Perthshire | 2nd Black Watch (Royal | | Highlanders) 74th ” | Highland Regiment | 2nd Highland Light | | Infantry 75th ” | None[79] | 1st Gordon Highlanders 76th ” | None | 2nd Duke of Wellington | | (West Riding) 77th ” | East Middlesex | 2nd Duke of Cambridge’s | | Own[80] (Middlesex) 78th ” | Highland Regt. | 2nd Seaforth Highlanders | (Ross-Buffs) | (Ross-shire Buffs), | | The Duke of Albany’s 79th | Cameron Highlanders | Queen’s Own Cameron (1 battalion)[81] | | Highlanders[82] 80th Regiment | Staffordshire | 2nd South Staffordshire 81st ” | Loyal Lincoln | 2nd Loyal North Lancaster | Volunteers | 82nd ” | Prince of Wales’s | 2nd Prince of Wales’s | Volunteers | Volunteers (South | | Lancaster) 83rd ” | County Dublin | 1st Royal Irish Rifles 84th ” | York and Lancaster | 2nd York and Lancaster 85th ” | Bucks Volunteers | 2nd The King’s | (King’s Light | (Shropshire Light | Infantry) | Infantry) 86th ” | Royal County Down | 2nd Royal Irish Rifles 87th ” | Royal Irish Fusiliers | 1st Princess Victoria’s | | (Royal Irish Fusiliers) 88th ” | Connaught Rangers | 1st Connaught Rangers 89th ” | Princess Victoria’s | 2nd Princess Victoria’s | | (Royal Irish Fusiliers) 90th ” | Perthshire Volunteers | 2nd Cameronians | (Light Infantry) | (Scottish Rifles) 91st ” | The Argyleshire | 1st Princess Louise’s[83] | Highlanders | (Argyle and Sutherland | | Highlanders) 92nd ” | Gordon Highlanders | 2nd Gordon Highlanders 93rd ” | Sutherland Highlanders | 2nd Princess Louise’s | | (Argyle and Sutherland) 94th ” | None | 2nd Connaught Rangers 95th ” | Derbyshire | 2nd Sherwood Foresters | | (Derbyshire) 96th ” | None | 2nd Manchester 97th ” | Earl of Ulster’s | 2nd Queen’s Own (Royal | | West Kent) 98th ” | None | 2nd Prince of Wales’s[84] | | (North Staffordshire) 99th ” | Lanarkshire | 2nd Duke of | | Edinburgh’s[85] (Wilts) 100th ” | Prince of Wales’s | 1st Prince of Wales’s | Royal Canadians | Leinster (Royal | | Canadians) 101st ” | Royal Bengal Fusiliers | 1st Royal Munster | | Fusiliers 102nd ” | Royal Madras ” | 1st Royal Dublin | | Fusiliers 103rd ” | Royal Bombay ” | 2nd Royal Dublin | | Fusiliers 104th ” | Bengal Fusiliers | 2nd Royal Munster | | Fusiliers 105th ” | Madras Light Infantry | 2nd King’s Own (Yorks | | Light Infantry) 106th ” | Bombay ” | 2nd Durham Light Infantry 107th ” | Bengal Infantry | 2nd Royal Sussex 108th ” | Madras ” | 2nd Royal Inniskilling | | Fusiliers 109th ” | Bombay ” | 2nd Prince of Wales’s | | Leinster (Royal | | Canadians) Rifle Brigade | The Prince Consort’s | The same (4 battalions) | Own | --------------------+------------------------+--------------------------



---------------+----------------+----------------+------------------------ NAME. | BADGE. | MOTTO. | NICKNAMES. ---------------+----------------+----------------+------------------------ 1st Life Guards| The Royal Arms | | “Cheeses,” “Piccadilly 2nd Life Guards| ” | | Butchers,” “The Tin | | | Bellies,” “Patent | | | Safeties” Royal Horse | ” | | “Blue Guards,” “Blues,” Guards | | | “Oxford Blues” 1st Dragoon | Royal Cipher | | “K. D. G.’s,” “The Guards | within Garter| | Trades Union” 2nd ” | ” | | “The Bays,” “The Rusty | | | Buckles,”[86] “The | | | 2nd Horse” 3rd ” | Plume of Prince| | “The Old Canaries” | of Wales | | | within Garter| | | crowned. Red | | | Dragon and | | | Rising Sun | | 4th ” | Irish Harp | “_Quis separa- | “The Blue Horse,” | within Garter| bit?_”[87] | “Godfrey’s Horse,” | crowned. Harp| | “The Royal Irish” | and Crown and| | | Star of St. | | | Patrick | | 5th ” | V. D. G. | “_Vestigia | “The Green Horse,” | in Garter | nulla | “Green Dragoon | crowned | retrorsum_” | Guards,” “Cog’s | | | Horse” 6th ” | Crossed | | “The Carbs,” | Carbines | | “Tichborne’s Own,” | within a | | “9th Horse” | Garter | | | crowned | | 7th ” | 7. D. G. in | | “The Black Horse,” “The | Garter | | Blacks,” “Virgin | crowned | | Mary’s Guard,” | | | “Strawboots” 1st Dragoons | Crest of | “_Spectamur | | England | agendo_” | | within Garter| | | crowned, and | | | Eagle | | 2nd ” | Thistle within | “_Second to | “Scots Greys,” “Old | a Garter | None_” and | Greys,” “Grey | crowned. | “_Nemo me | Dragoons,” “Scots | Eagle with | impune | Regiment of White | “Waterloo” | lacessit_” | Horses,” “Bubbly | | | Jocks” 3rd Hussars | White Horse | “_Nec aspera | “Lord Adam Gordon’s | within Garter| terrent_” | Life Guards,” | crowned | | “Bland’s Dragoons” 4th ” | V. R. within | | “Paget’s Irregular | Garter | | Horse” | crowned | | 5th Lancers | V. R. within | “_Quis | “Royal Irish,” “The | Garter | separabit_” | Daily Advertisers,” | crowned. Harp| | “The Red Breasts” | and Crown | | 6th Dragoons | Castle of | | “The Black Dragoons,” | Inniskilling,| | “The Old | with the S. | | Inniskillings,” “The | George’s | | Skillingers” | colours | | | within Garter| | | crowned | | 7th Hussars | V. R. within | | “Old Straws,” “Black | Garter | | Horse,” “Young Eyes,” | crowned | | “Strawboots,” “The | | | Lilywhite Seventh,” | | | “The Old Saucy | | | Seventh” 8th ” | Harp within | “_Pristinæ | “St. George’s,” “The | Garter | virtutis | Cross-Belts,” “The | crowned. | memores_” | Dirty 8th,”[88] “The | Harp crowned | | King’s” 9th Lancers | V. R. within | | “Wynne’s Dragoons,” | Garter | | “The Delhi Spearmen,” | crowned | | “The Queen’s” 10th Hussars | Prince of | | “Baker’s LightBobs,” | Wales’s Plume| | “The Chainey Tenth,” | within Garter| | “Don’t Dance | crowned. The | | Tenth”[89] | Prince of | | | Wales’s | | | Plume. The | | | Red Dragon. | | | The Rising | | | Sun | | 11th ” | Sphinx in | “_Treu und | “The Cherry Pickers,” | Garter | fest_” | “The Cherubims” | crowned. | | | Sphinx with | | | “Egypt.” | | | Prince | | | Consort’s | | | Crest | | 12th Lancers | Prince of | | “The Supple Twelfth” | Wales’ Plume | | | in Garter | | | crowned. Red | | | Dragon. | | | Rising Sun. | | | Prince of | | | Wales’s | | | Plume. Sphinx| | | and “Egypt” | | 13th Hussars | V. R. in Garter| “_Viret in | “The Green Dragoons,” | crowned | æternum_” | “The Ragged Brigade,” | | | “The Evergreens,” | | | “The Geraniums,” | | | “Gardiner’s | | | Dragoons,” “Great | | | Runaway | | | Prestonpans”[88] 14th ” | Royal Crest in | | “Hamilton’s Runaways,” | Garter | | “Ramnuggur Boys,” | crowned. | | “The Emperor’s | Prussian | | Chamber maids” | Eagle | | 15th ” | Royal Crest in | “_Merebimur_” | “Fighting Fifteenth,” | Garter | | “Elliot’s Light | crowned | | Horse” 16th Lancers | V. R. within | “_Aut cursu aut| “The Red Lancers,” | Garter | cominus | “The Queen’s” | crowned | armis_” | 17th Lancers | Skull and Cross| Death’s Head | “Death or Glory Boys,” | bones within | “_or Glory_” | “Skull and Cross | a Garter | | Bones,” “Bingham’s | crowned | | Dandies” 18th Hussars | V. R. within | “_Pro Rege, pro| “Drogheda Light Horse” | Garter | Lege, pro | | crowned | Patria | | | conamur_” | 19th ” | V. R. within | | “The Dumpies” | Garter | | | crowned. | | | Elephant | | 20th Hussars | V. R. within | | “The Dumpies” | Garter | | | crowned | | 21st Hussars | ” | | ” Royal Artillery| Royal Arms and | “_Ubique._” | “The Gunners” | Supporters. | “_Quo fas et | | A field gun | gloria | | with rammer | ucunt_” | Royal Engineers| Royal Arms and | ” | “The Mudlarks,” “The | Supporters | | Sappers” Grenadier | A grenade. | | “Sandbags,” Guards | Also, 1st | | “Coal-heavers,” “Old | battalion, | | Eyes,” “Bermuda | the Crown; | | Exiles” | 2nd | | | battalion, | | | Royal Cipher | | | crowned; 3rd | | | battalion, | | | same as 2nd, | | | but with a | | | pile wavy | | Coldstream | The Star of the| | “Nulli Secundus Club,” Guards | Garter, for | | “Coldstreamers” | 1st | | | battalion; | | | 2nd | | | battalion, | | | Eight-pointed| | | Star within | | | Garter | | | crowned | | Scots Guards | The Thistle. | “_En! Ferus | “The Jocks” | Sphinx with | Hostis._” | | “Egypt.” 1st | “_Unita | | battalion, | Fortior_” | | Royal Arms of| | | Scotland | | | crowned; 2nd | | | battalion, | | | Union Badge | | | crowned | | Royal Scots | V.R. within St.| | “Douglas’s Ecossais,” (1st) | Andrew’s | | “Pontius Pilate’s | Collar | | Bodyguard” | crowned. The | | | Star of the | | | Thistle. The | | | Sphinx with | | | “Egypt” | | The Queen’s | The Paschal | “_Pristina | “Kirke’s Lambs,” “The (2nd) | Lamb. The | virtutis | Sleepy Queen’s,” “1st | Royal Cipher | memor._” | Tangerines” | within the | “_Vel exuviæ | | Garter. The | triumphant_” | | Sphinx with | | | “Egypt” | | The Buffs | Rose and Crown.| “_Veteri | “Buff Howards,” “Old (3rd) | Dragon. | frondescit | Buffs,” “The | White Horse | honore_” | Nutcrackers” | of Kent | | The King’s Own | V.R. within the| | “Resurrectionists,” (4th) | Garter. The | | “Barrel’s Blues,” | Lion. Rose | | “The Lions” | and Crown | | Northumberland | St. George and | “_Quo fata | “The Shiners,” “The Old Fusiliers | the Dragon on| vocant_” | Bold Fifth,” “The (5th) | a grenade. | | Fighting Fifth,” | St. George | | “Lord Wellington’s | and Dragon | | Bodyguard,” “The Old | alone. Rose | | and Bold” | and Crown | | Royal Warwick | Bear and Ragged| | “Guise’s Geese,” “The (6th) | Staff. | | Warwickshire Lads,” | Antelope. | | “The Saucy Sixth” | Rose and | | | Crown | | Royal Fusiliers| The united Red | “_Nec aspera | “Hanoverian White (7th) | and White | terrent_” | Horse,” “Elegant | Rose within | | Extracts” | the Garter | | | crowned.[90] | | | White Horse | | The King’s | White Horse | “_Nec aspera | “King’s Hanoverian (8th) | within the | terrent_” | White Horse” | Garter | | | crowned. V.R.| | | within the | | | Garter | | | crowned. | | | Sphinx with | | | “Egypt” | | Norfolk | Britannia over | | “Holy Boys,” “Fighting (9th) | a castle with| | Ninth,” “Norfolk | three towers | | Howards”[91] Lincolnshire | Sphinx and | | “The Springers,” “The (10th) | “Egypt” | | Lincolnshire | | | Poachers” Devonshire | Castle of | “_Semper | “The Bloody Eleventh,” (11th) | Exeter | fidelis_” | “One and All” Suffolk | Castle and Key | “_Montis | “Old Dozen,” “The (12th) | with | insignia | Minden Boys” | “Gibraltar” | Calpe_” | Somersetshire | Mural Crown | | “Yellow-banded Light | with | | Robbers,” Infantry | “Jellalabad,”| | “Bleeders,” (13th) | over a Bugle | | “Jellalabad Heroes,” | stringed with| | “The Illustrious | a Sphinx and | | Garrison.” (Sergeants | “Egypt.” The | | wear sash on left | Sphinx and | | shoulder) | “Egypt.” | | West Yorkshire | Prince of | “_Nec aspera | “The Old and Bold,” (14th) | Wales’s | terrent_” | “Calvert’s Entire,” | Plume. White | | “The Powo’s”[91] | Horse. Royal | | | Tiger | | East Yorkshire | White Rose in | | “The Snappers,” “The (15th) | an | | Poona Guards.” (One | eight-pointed| | of Wolfe’s Regiments) | Star | | Bedfordshire | The United Red | | “The Old Bucks,” “The (16th) | and White | | Peacemakers,” “The | Rose | | Feather Beds”[92] Leicestershire | Royal Tiger | | “The Lilywhites,” “The (17th) | with | | Bengal Tigers,” “The | “Hindostan” | | Tigers,” “The Green | | | Tigers” Royal Irish | Harp crowned | “_Virtutis | “The Namurs” (18th) | with | Namurcensii | | Shamrock. The| præmium_” | | Dragon with | | | “China.” | | | Sphinx with | | | “Egypt.” The | | | Lion of | | | Nassau on | | | shield | | Yorkshire | White Rose. | | “Green Howards,” Regiment | Princess of | | “Howard’s Garbage,” (19th) | Wales’s | | “Howard’s Greens” | Cipher | | | crowned | | Lancashire | Sphinx with | | “Two Tens,” “Minden Fusiliers | “Egypt.” The | | Boys,” “Kingsley’s (20th) | Rose. Sphinx,| | Stand” | and “Egypt” | | | laurelled on | | | a grenade | | Royal Scots | St. Andrew with| “_Nemo me | “Earl of Mar’s Fusiliers | Thistle | impune | Greybreeks” (21st) | wreath. The | lacessit_” | | Royal Arms on| | | a grenade. | | | The Thistle. | | | V.R. crowned | | Cheshire | The united Red | | “The Two Twos,” “The Regiment | and White | | Red Knights” (22nd) | Rose | | Royal Welsh | Rising Sun. Red| “_Ich Dien._” | “Nanny Goats,” “Royal Fusiliers | Dragon. | “_Nec aspera | Goats” (23rd) | Prince of | terrent_” | | Wales’s Plume| | | on grenade. | | | White Horse. | | | Sphinx and | | | “Egypt” | | South Wales | Sphinx and | | “Howard’s Greens,” Borderers | “Egypt” | | “Bengal Tigers” (24th) | | | King’s Own | White Horse. | “_Nec aspera | “Leven’s Regiment,” Scottish | Castle of | terrent._” | “The Edinburgh Borderers | Edinburgh. | “_Nisi | Regiment,” “The (25th) | The Royal | Dominus | Borderers,” “Sevens,” | Crest. The | frustra._” | “The Brothers” | Sphinx and | “_In | | “Egypt” | veritatis | | | religionis | | | confido_” | Cameronians | Sphinx and | | (2nd battalion) “The (26th and | “Egypt,” | | Greybreeks,” “The 90th) | Dragon and | | Cameronians” | “China,” | | | Bugle within | | | a Thistle | | | wreath | | | crowned | | Royal | Castle of | “_Nec aspera | “The Lamps,” “The Old Inniskilling | Inniskilling | terrent_” | Muster,” Fusiliers | with St. | | “Inniskillings.” (27th and | George’s | | 108th) | colours on a | | | grenade. The | | | Sphinx and | | | “Egypt.” | | | White Horse | | Gloucestershire| Sphinx and | | “Old Braggs,” “The (28th and | “Egypt” (worn| | Slashers” “The Right 61st) | back and | | Abouts,”[93] (2nd | front) | | battalion) | | | “Whitewashers” Worcestershire | The united Red | “_Firm_” | “The Vein Openers,” (29th and | and White | | “The Old and Bold,” 36th) | Rose | | “Star of the Line,” | | | (2nd battalion) “The | | | Saucy Greens” East Lancashire| Sphinx and | | “Triple X,” “The Three (30th and | “Egypt.” The | | Tens,” (2nd 59th) | Rose | | battalion) “The | | | Lilywhites” East Surrey | United Red and | | “Young Buffs,” “Glasgow (31st and | White Rose | | Greys,” “Murray’s 70th) | | | Bucks” Duke of | Red and White | | “The Docs,” “The Cornwall’s | Rose. Bugle | | Surprisers,” (2nd Light | crowned | | battalion) “The Red Infantry | | | Feathers,” “The (32nd and | | | Lacedemonians” 46th) | | | West Riding | Elephant with | “_Virtutis | “Havercake Lads,” “Duke (33rd and | “Hindostan” | fortuna | of Wellington’s Own,” 76th) | Crest of Duke| comes_” | (2nd battalion) “The | of Wellington| | Immortals,” “The | | | Pigs,” “The Old Seven | | | and Sixpennies” Border (34th | Laurel Wreath. | | (2nd battalion) “The and 55th) | Dragon with | | Two Fives” | “China” | | Royal Sussex | United Red and | | Belfast Regiment, “The (35th and | White Rose | | Orange Lilies” 107th) | | | Hampshire | Royal Tiger in | | (2nd battalion) “Royal (37th and | Laurel Wreath| | Tigers” 67th) | with “India” | | South | Sphinx and | | “Pump and Tortoise,” Staffordshire| “Egypt” | | (2nd battalion) (38th and | | | “Staffordshire 81st) | | | Knots” Dorsetshire | Sphinx and | “_Montis | “Lankey’s Horse,” (39th and | “Marabout.” | Insignia | “Green Linnets,” 54th) | The Castle | Calpe._” | (2nd battalion) | and Key | “_Primus in | “The Flamers” | | Indis_” | South | Sphinx and | | “Excellers,” “The Lancashire | “Egypt.” | | Fighting Fortieth” (40th and | Prince of | | 82nd) | Wales’s Plume| | Welsh | Rose and | “_Gwell augau | “1st Invalids,” (41st and | Thistle | neu | “Wardour’s Regiment,” 69th) | within the | Chwilydd_” | (2nd battalion) “Old | Garter. | | Agamemnons,” “Ups and | Prince of | | Downs” | Wales’s Plume| | Royal | V.R. within | “_Nemo me | “Black Watch.” Highlanders | Garter. St. | impune | “_Sauvages (42nd and | Andrew. The | lacessit_” | d’Ecosse._” 73rd) | Sphinx and | | | “Egypt” | | Oxfordshire | United Red and | | “Light Bobs,” “Light Light | White Rose. | | Brigade” Infantry | Bugle | | (43rd and | | | 52nd) | | | Essex Regiment | Castle and Key | “_Montis | “The Two Fours,” (44th and | with | insignia | “Little Fighting 56th) | “Gibraltar.” | Calpe_” | Fours,” (2nd | Sphinx and | | battalion) “The | “Egypt” | | Pompadours,” “Saucy | | | Pompeys” The Sherwood | The United Red | | “Old Stubborns,” Foresters, | and White | | “Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire | Rose | | “Nottingham Hosiers,” Regiment) | | | (2nd battalion) (45th and | | | “Sweeps” 95th) | | | North | The Red Rose | | “Cauliflowers,” Lancashire | | | “Lancashire Lads,” (47th and | | | “Wolfe’s Own,” (2nd 81st) | | | battalion) “Loyal | | | Lincoln Volunteers” Northamptonshire| Castle and Key | “_Montis | “The Steelbacks,” (48th and | with | insignia | “Heroes of 58th) | “Gibraltar.” | Calpe_” | Talavera” | Sphinx and | | | “Egypt” | | Royal Berkshire| Dragon with | | (2nd battalion) “Green (49th and | “China” | | Howards,” “Two Sixes” 66th) | | | Royal West Kent| Sphinx and | “_Quo fas et | “Blind Half Hundred,” (50th and | “Egypt” | gloria | “Dirty Half Hundred,” 97th) | | ducunt_” | “The Devil’s Royal,” | | | “The Gallant | | | Fiftieth,” (2nd | | | battalion) | | | “Celestials” Yorkshire Light| The White Rose | “_Cede nullis_”| “The Kolis” Infantry | | | (51st and | | | 105th) | | | Shropshire | The United Red | “_Aucto | “Brickdusts” “Old Five Light | and White | splendore | and Threepennies,” Infantry | Rose. A Bugle| resurgo_” | (2nd battalion) (53rd and | with K. L. I.| | “Elegant Extracts” 85th) | | | Middlesex (57th| Prince of | | “Steelbacks” “The and 77th) | Wales’s | | Die-hards,” (2nd | Plume. Duke | | battalion) “The | of | | Pothooks” | Cambridge’s | | | Coronet and | | | Cipher in | | | Laurel Wreath| | King’s Royal | Maltese Cross | “_Celer et | “Royal Americans,” Rifle Corps | crowned, with| audax_” | “_Sanguinary_ Sweeps” (60th--4 | Bugle and | | battalions) | 60th in | | | centre, with | | | names of | | | battles | | Wiltshire (62nd| Duke of | | “The Springers,” and 99th) | Edinburgh’s | | “Splashers” | Cipher and | | | Coronet | | Manchester | Sphinx and | | “Bloodsuckers” (63rd and | “Egypt” | | 96th) | | | North | Prince of | | Staffordshire| Wales’s | | (64th and | Plume. Dragon| | 89th) | and “China” | | York and | Union Rose. | | Lancaster | Royal Tiger | | (65th and | and “India” | | 84th) | | | Durham Light | United Red and | | “Faithful Durhams” Infantry | White Rose. | | (68th and | The Bugle | | 106th) | | | Highland Light | Elephant and | | “Glasgow Light Infantry | “Assaye.” | | Infantry,” “The (71st and | Bugle | | Glesca’ Keelies,” 74th) | crowned, with| | (2nd battalion) “The | H.L.I. inside| | Assaye,” “Pig and | | | Whistle Light | | | Infantry” Seaforth | Elephant and | _Cuidich’n | “The Macraes,” (2nd Highlanders | “Assaye.” | Righ_ (”Help | battalion) “King’s (72nd and | Late Duke of | the King,” | Men” 78th) | York’s Cipher| the motto of | | and Coronet. | the | | A Stag’s Head| Mackenzies) | Gordon | Royal Tiger and| | “Strada Reale Highlanders | “India.” | | Highlanders” (75th and | Sphinx and | | 92nd) | “Egypt” | | Cameron | Thistle | | “Cia mar tha’s” Highlanders | crowned. | | (79th) | Sphinx and | | | “Egypt” | | Royal Irish | Harp crowned. | “_Quis | “Fitch’s Grenadiers,” Rifles (83rd | Sphinx and | separabit?_” | (2nd battalion) and 86th) | “Egypt.” | | “County Downs,” | Bugle | | “Shropshire | | | Volunteers” Royal Irish | Prince of | | “Old Fogs,” Fusiliers | Wales’s | | “Faugh-a-Ballagh (87th and | Plume. Harp | | Boys,” 89th) | crowned. | | “Eagle-takers,” (2nd | Sphinx and | | battalion) “Blayney’s | “Egypt.” | | Bloodhounds,” “The | Eagle with | | Rollickers” | Laurel wreath| | | on grenade. | | | Princess | | | Victoria’s | | | Coronet | | Connaught Rgrs.| Elephant. | “_Quis | “Devil’s Own,” (2nd (88th and | Sphinx and | separabit?_” | battalion) “Garvies” 94th) | “Egypt.” Harp| | | crowned | | Argyle and | Princess | “_Ne oblivis- | (2nd battalion) Sutherland | Louise’s | caris_” | “The Thin Red Line,” Highlanders | Cipher and | “_Sans peur_” | “The Rories” (91st and | Coronet. A | | 93rd) | Boar’s Head | | | in a Myrtle | | | wreath. A Cat| | | in a Broom | | | wreath | | Leinster | Prince of | | “Royal Canadians,” (2nd (100th & | Wales’s Plume| | battalion) “The 109th) | in a circle | | German Legion.” “The | crowned with | | Crusaders.” “The Wild | Maple Leaf | | Indians.” “The | wreath. A | | Centipedes.” “The Old | Maple Leaf | | Hundredth.” “The | | | Colonials.” “The | | | Maple-leaves”[94] Munster | Royal Tiger. | | “The Dirty Shirts” Fusiliers | Shamrock | | (101st & 104th)| | | Dublin | Elephant with | “_Spectamur | “The Lambs,” (2nd Fusiliers | “Carnatic” | agendo_” | battalion) “The Old 102nd & 103rd)| and “Mysore.”| | Toughs” | Royal Tiger | | | with | | | “Plassey” and| | | “Buxar” | | Rifle Brigade | Bugle. Rose. | | “The Sweeps” (4 battalions)| Maltese | | | Cross, | | | laurelled and| | | crowned | | West Indians | Broken Column | | “Buckmaster’s Light | with Ivy | | Infantry” Royal Marines | Globe and | “_Per mare, | (Infantry) “The Joeys,” | Laurel. Royal| per terram_” | “The Jollies,” “The | Cipher | | Little Grenadiers” | crowned. | | (Artillery) “Blue | “Gibraltar” | | Marines,” “Water | | | Gunners” Royal Malta | Maltese Cross | | Artillery | within a | | | Garter. Royal| | | Cipher. | | | Egypt, 1882 | | | | | Ordnance Store | | | “Sugarstick Brigade” Corps | | | Army Service | | | “London Thieving Corps | | | Corps,” “Murdering | | | Thieves,” “Moke | | | Train,” “Muck | | | Train”[95] Army Medical | | | “Pills,” “Linseed Department | | | Lancers,” “Poultice | | | Whollopers”[94] | | | | | | Chaplains | | | Department | | | | | | Army Veterinary| | | Department | | | | | | Army Pay | | | Department | | | ---------------+----------------+----------------+------------------------


[1] Polybius.

[2] One of the latter was exhumed some years since on the field of Hastings.

[3] _History of the Conquest of Granada._

[4] _Atlas des Batailles_, Kausler.

[5] The rates of pay, per day, at this time were:--

Knight 2s. Esqr. and Captain 1s. Mounted Archer 6d. Foot Archer 3d. Gunner 12d. 3d. Welsh Foot 2d.

[6] Mr. Hereford B. George gives 1200 to 1600 men-at-arms and 3000 archers.

[7] _The Battles of English History_, by Hereford B. George, p. 62.

[8] The site of the first battlefield of St. Albans is situated south-east of the town, on its present immediate outskirt at “Keyfield.” It evidently was fought across the London Road, one force (the Yorkists) trying to debouch the other (the Lancastrians), to prevent its advance. The ground was undoubtedly grass land leading down to a small brook, and sparsely crossed by fences, which were probably plainer then than now. A row of poor cottages called “Key Terrace,” marks probably the centre of the fight.

That of the second battle is north of the town, on land that is still open heath more or less. It is slightly undulating clay land, dotted with thin scrub and bramble, and probably was always so, fences being even now rare. There was no well-defined “position” in either case, a common fault on such soils, and here again, a force advancing from the north drove in a force occupying the town, and based on London, and which met its antagonist for battle on the northern road.

[9] The weight of the man and his armour, trappings, etc., in 1560 amounted to twenty-five stones.

[10] _The Parliamentary Generals of the Great Civil War._ Major N. L. Walford.

[11] Walford, p. 128.

[12] Judge O’Connor Morris.

[13] Spriggs.

[14] Foot received 1s.; horse 2s. 6d. per day.

[15] Macaulay.

[16] Military Papers. State Paper Office.

[17] Lovat’s Life.

[18] In 1703, apparently, there were in England about sixteen troops of cavalry, with seven regiments of infantry, in all about seven thousand men; and in Scotland, about ten troops of cavalry, and six regiments of infantry, or about four thousand men.

[19] _Affairs of Europe from the Peace of Utrecht to 1723._ Earl Russell.

[20] _Battles of English History._ Hereford B. George.

[21] Farquhar.

[22] _Encyc. Brit._

[23] Fonblanque.

[24] The total available fighting strength of the clans was reputed to be about 40,000.

[25] Not the present 48th, which was the 49th. The above mentioned disappeared in 1748.

[26] Carlyle.

[27] Gleig.

[28] Schomberg’s _Naval Chronicles_.

[29] _Scots Magazine._

[30] Stocqueler.

[31] Stocqueler.

[32] Stocqueler.

[33] The late Sir G. Pomeroy Colley.

[34] _Childe Harold._

[35] Napier.

[36] Sir E. Hamley.

[37] Robinson.

[38] Napier.

[39] Wellington Despatches.

[40] Napier.

[41] At Inkerman, later, Captain Stanley roused the courage of his men by calling out, “Die hard! Remember Albuhera.”

[42] Southey.

[43] Napier.

[44] See p. 204.

[45] _Life of Lord Lynedoch_ by Captain A. Delavoye.

[46] Chesney.

[47] Hereford B. George.

[48] _The British Army_, Sir S. D. Scott.

[49] The South African wars will be dealt with separately.

[50] Sir E. B. Hamley.

[51] Hereford B. George.

[52] Von Moltke.

[53] Hamley.

[54] Hamley.

[55] _Decisive Battles of India_, p. 279. Malleson.

[56] _Decisive Battles in India_, p. 311. Malleson.

[57] Macfarlane.

[58] Another tradition has it that the custom arose after the battle of Culloden.

[59] General W. F. P. Napier.

[60] Sir H. Smith’s despatch.

[61] _Annual Register._

[62] _Calcutta Review._

[63] Malleson.

[64] Sir C. Napier.

[65] _British Battles by Land and Sea._ Grant.

[66] _Relief of Chitral._ Younghusband.

[67] _Macmillan’s Magazine._

[68] Correspondent, _Daily Telegraph_.

[69] _The Ashantee War_, by the _Daily News_ Special Correspondent.

[70] _From Korti to Khartum_, by Sir Charles W. Wilson.

[71] _From Korti to Khartum._

[72] An amusing card was anonymously printed after this deprivation, a copy of which appears in the Regimental Chronicle. It runs as follows:--

“In memory of Left-Arm Chevrons, 43rd Light Infantry, last surviving offspring of the late General S. PRIT DE CORPS, of the Light Division, cut off by the hand of envy at Thayetmyo, July 1881.

“Also of BADGES, _Relict of the above_, destroyed by the Great Flood at Poona, October 1886.

“_Cursed is he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark._”

[73] 1868. _N.B._--Where the old title is retained it is not added to the new title.

[74] Altered to “Royal Scots Greys” in 1877.

[75] Granted in 1876.

[76] Altered to “Scots Guards” in 1877.

[77] Granted in 1875.

[78] Granted in 1877.

[79] “Stirlingshire” granted in 1862.

[80] Granted in 1876.

[81] Second battalion authorised, and in course of formation (1897).

[82] Granted in 1873.

[83] Granted in 1872.

[84] Granted in 1876.

[85] Granted in 1874.

[86] _Nicknames and Traditions of the British Army._

[87] _British Army._ Laurence Archer.

[88] _Nicknames and Traditions of the British Army._

[89] _The Regiment._

[90] _Army List._

[91] _The Regiment._

[92] _Nicknames and Traditions_, etc.

[93] _The Regiment._

[94] _The Regiment._

[95] _Nicknames and Traditions of the Army._


Abercrombie, 164.

Abu Klea, 391.

Abyssinia, 374.

Admiral’s Regiment, 129.

Advice to Volunteers, 166.

Afghanistan, 282, 326.

Albuhera, 193.

Aliwal, 291.

Almanza, 82.

André, 119.

Armour, 23, 35.

Arms, 4, 37, 85, 241, 239, 262, 349.

Army in Africa, 126, 354.

” in America, 107.

” of Charles II., 5, 7.

” in the Far East, 336.

” in India (1600-1825), 264.

” in India (1825-1858), 277.

” in India (1858-1896), 318.

” of the King, 55.

” in North Africa, 374.

” of the Nobles, 14.

” of the People, 15.

” in Spain, 187, 199.

” at Sea, 128.

Arroyo des Molinos, 195.

Artillery, 19, 29, 38, 396.

Assaye, 271.

Ashantee, 385.

Ashdown, 4.

Assirghur, 275.

Badajoz, 196.

Baggage trains, 49.

Baird, 269.

Balaklava, 252.

Barnet, 28.

Barrosa, 188.

Basing House, 45, 46.

Bayonet, 397.

Beginning of true strategy, 41.

Bernadotte, 267.

Bhoteas, 322.

Bhurtpore, 275.

Bladensburg, 122.

Blenheim, 76.

Blucher, 227.

Boers War, 367, 372.

Bonaparte, 143, 160.

Boston, 114.

Bowmen, 15.

Boxtel and Wellesley, 161.

Brussels Ball, 211.

Buffs, 346.

Bunker’s Hill, 114.

Burmah, 336.

Burmese stockades, 339.

Busaco, 187.

Bushire and Reshire, 296.

Candahar, 333.

Cawnpore, 302, 310.

Cetewayo, 364.

Chevalier de St. George, 75.

Chillianwallah, 293.

China, 343.

Chitral, 339.

Chivalry, 20.

Colours, 330.

Colonel Vassall, 145.

Convention of Cintra, 176.

Crawford, 186.

Crecy, 16.

Crimea, 236, 297.

Cromwell, 44, 47, 49, 51.

” in Ireland, 47.

Cromwell’s men, 52.

Delhi, 272, 305.

Dettingen, 101.

Diamond Rock, 138.

Douro, 182.

Dragoons and Dragoon Guards, 127.

Drill Books, 157, 239.

Drummer of the 43rd, 202.

Duelling and Flogging, 240.

Duke of Cumberland, 98.

” of York, 238.

Early Battalions, 36, 37.

Early Companies, 24.

Education of officers, 277.

Edward IV., 28.

Egypt, 163, 378.

El Bodon, 195.

Embers of the Civil War, 87.

Enlistment, 88.

Facings, 403.

Famars, 160.

Ferozeshah, 289.

First Afghan War, 282.

Fontenoy, 103.

Forbes Mitchell, 309.

French armies, 39, 50.

Frontier wars, 320.

Fuentes d’Onoro, 191.

General Wade, 93.

George II., 75, 102.

Gibraltar, 131.

Gneisenau and Wellington, 212.

Gujerat, 295.

Hal, 217.

Hardinge, 290.

Hastings, 6, 7.

Highland regiments, 230.

” tactics, 91.

Hodson, 307.

Infantry, 24.

Ingogo, 370.

Inkerman, 258.

Isandhlwana, 360.

Ismailia, 380.

Jowakis, 325.

Kaffir Wars, 353, 359.

Kambula, 362.

Kassassin, 381.

Knighthood, 21, 22.

Laing’s Nek, 369.

Lake, 272.

Lincelles, 160.

Lord Wolseley, 355, 363, 380, 389, 394, 401.

Lucknow, 307, 312.

Lushari, 324.

Magdala, 376.

Maharajahpore, 287.

Maiwand, 329.

Majuba, 371.

Malplaquet, 75.

Maori defences, 348.

Marines, 130, 137.

Marlborough, 82.

Meanee, 285.

Militia, 243.

Minden, 107.

Minorca, 140.

Monte Video, 145.

Moodkee, 289.

Moore, 173, 180.

Moyse of the Buffs, 346.

Naseby, 43.

Neill, 309.

New Zealand, 347.

Nile Expedition, 389.

Norman names, 11.

” rule, end of, 13.

O’Connor Morris, 48.

Oudenarde, 75.

Pandy, 301.

Peninsular army, 173.

Perak, 340.

Plassy, 266.

Pottinger, 296.

Prestonpans, 96.

Prince Alamayu, 377.

” Napoleon, 363.

Puritan army, 35.

Puritan host, 35.

Quatre Bras and Ligny, 209.

Quebec, 111.

Queen Margaret, 27.

Ramillies, 75.

Range of firearms, 167.

Rangiriri, 348.

“Retreat to Corunna,” 178.

Richard of York, 25.

Roberts, 332.

Roliça, 174.

Romans, 313.

Rorke’s Drift, 361.

Sabugal, 187.

Salamanca, 197.

Sandhurst and Staff College, 315.

San Sebastian, 201.

Saratoga, 117.

Sebastopol, 253.

Second Afghan War, 325.

Sekukuni, 366.

“Sergeant Matcham,” 203.

Seringapatam, 269.

Short service, 399.

Sir C. Wilson, 391.

Sir Herbert Stewart, 390.

Sir John Moore, 159, 164.

Sir R. Buller, 362, 393.

Smokeless powder, 397.

Sobraon, 291.

Soult, 203.

St. Albans, 26.

Suakin, 385.

Sudan, 385.

Survivals, 405.

Swords, 231.

Tactics, 8, 29, 33, 36, 43, 44, 50, 79, 250.

Talavera, 104.

Tel el Kebir, 382.

Territorialisation, 402.

The “Birkenhead,” 151.

The Buffs and the Athleta, 153.

The “Charlotte,” 152.

The Colours of the 9th, 117.

The Delaware, 116.

The English “Hulks,” 204.

The Irish Brigade, 104.

The Light Division, 184.

The Mutiny, 297.

The Normans, 10.

The Peninsular army, 155.

The Red and White Rose, 25.

The Rising of 1715, 90.

The Rising of 1745, 94.

The Saxon army, 3.

The “self-denying ordinance,” 42, 51.

The Spaniards, 183.

The Stuarts, 40.

The V.C., 261.

The 13th, 284.

The 14th at Famars, 160.

The 28th, 164.

The 29th, 123.

The 39th, 265.

The 50th, 175.

The 52nd, 193.

Tofrik, 388.

Umbeylah, 321.

Uniform, 104, 125, 229.

Vellore, 297.

Vimiera, 175.

Vittoria, 200.

Volunteers, 30, 166, 243, 316.

Walcheren, 162.

Wars of Roses, 25.

Warwick and his death, 31.

Waterloo, 206, 218.

Wellesley, 171, 174, 181.

Wellington, 244, 274.

West Coast of Africa, 355.

Wolfe, 99, 111.

Yeomen of the Guard, 32.

York Town, 121.

Zulu War, 361.


Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Ditto marks in the Table of Contents and List of Illustrations have been replaced by the words above them. Ditto marks in Appendices II and III have been retained.

Footnotes, originally at the bottoms of pages, have been renumbered and moved to the end of the main text, just before the Index.

Index not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page references.

Page 45: “follow-effect” was printed that way.

Page 63: The closing right parenthesis in ‘“Men of Harlech”);’ was added by the Transcriber.

Page 115: “Benedek Arnold” was printed that way.

Page 161: “Egmont-op-Zee on the 2nd October 1799” was misprinted as 1779; corrected here.

Page 145: “43th” was printed that way.

Page 231 (illustration of “Spears & Swords” facing this page): The right-hand part of the upper caption was ambiguous, likely due to lack of space. Transcriber modified it so that “Halberd” appears twice in this eBook: once for Geo. II and separately for Geo. III.

Page 279: The opening quotation mark for “a minimum of £60” was added by the Transcriber; it may be in the wrong place.

Page 325: “attached a British outpost” probably is a misprint for “attacked”.

Page 408: “Balaklava 25th October 1854” was missing the “4”.

Page 409: No date was printed for “Rolicund”.

Page 425: No page numbers given for index entry “Army in Africa”. Transcriber added them based on examination of the text.

Page 426: No page numbers given for “O’Connor Morris”, “The Saxon army” or “The self-denying ordinance”. Transcriber added them based on examination of the text.