Imágenes de páginas

sive ;

useful tables; and is illustrated by copious references to a series of clear and well executed outline engravings, of all the various kinds of ordnance, guv carriages, pontoons, &c. &c. in use among the European powers. The remainder of the volume is occupied by the elements of fortification, field and permanent, and comprizes a comparative estiinate of the various systems which have, at any time, been adopted or proposed. This portion of the work is ably and intelligibly detailed; though its value is somewhat dimninished, by the partial inaccuracy of the references to the plates. Mr. Muller has exhibited the different systems, in the common method; j. e. by placing regularly constructed sections in the intervals of a radiated circle. This plan has, no doubt, been adopted as the cheapest and most comprehen

but we conceive it would be a far more scientific mode of instruction, to select three or four regular fortified figures, according to the best examples, and to have stated the variations in detached figures St. Paul and Montalembert are Mr. M.'s great authorities in the art of fortification; and his praises and strictures seem to be in general just. His siatement of the advantages and defects of the bastion and tenaille systems has every appearance of accuracy.

As we have already stated the general contents of the work, we shall not recapitulate the contents of the second volume, which includes a great variety of interesting and important matter.

The third volume is to us, as mere men of theory, much more acceptable than the other two, It contains

a short account of the most remarkable battles, memorable sieges, and other military operations, from the year 1667 to 1810. The choice is judicious, and if Mr. Muller had allowed himself room enough to make the vecessary comments, and to introduce the elucidations with which be evidently has it in his power to enrich his work, he would have rendered it far more instructive, than, froin its exceeding brevit;, it now appears to be. He has, indeed, collected a great quantity of materials, and composed a very valuable voluine : but we cannot help feeling and expressing our regret, that he has not paid more attention to comparison and classification. The maps and plans attached to this volume, are above all praise: they are bold, distinct, and intelligible. But we unust- again repeat our hint, that a thorough revision of the references in the plates, and a larger insertion of them in the body of the work, will be among the indispensable requisites of a second edition.

A reference to the very first sentences of Mr. M.'s third volume, will, we think, confirm our suspicion that, in this part of his work, he has either atempted too much, or not done enough.

• The first enterprize determined upon in the war which commenced in 1667, was the siege of Charleroi." The French army was assembled at Amiens ; but that place being too far distant from the town against which the troops were destined, both the men and the horses were worn out before they arrived there ; and this, added to the improper manner in which the operations were planned and conducted, not only protracted the war, but when it ended in 1672, scarcely any thing had been gained on the side of France, and the few advantages procured, were rather more than counterbalanced by concomitant losses.'

Now, supposing that we derived the whole of our knowledge from this quotation, and that, as students of the art of war, we were anxious to obtain a clear conception of the. circumstances here stated, it seems to us that we should, at the very outset, be completely baffled. Not having a French gazetteer at hand, we refer to the map, and it appears that the distance between these two towns is about 100 miles. Now, though this distance is certainly too great, not only for a coup de main, but even for the collection of the stores and artillery necessary for a regular siege, yet we are unable to understand how a few additional miles should bave any material effect upon the subsequent operations of the campaign,-and still less how they could absolutely wear out both men and horses. On these important points, Mr. M.'s pages afford us no inforination whatsoever.

We shall now shew how the same facts might, in very small compass, not only have been clearly and impressively stated, but applied to the elucidation of important military principles. In the masterly “ Memoires historiques et militairess of the Marquis de Feuquieres, this erroneous operation is thus described.

* I have only had the opportunity of observing three considerable faults ' in the manner of collecting an army destined 10 act offensively. The

first was in the year 1667, when the king assembled his army near • Amiens. That place was too far distant from the first object of attack,

which was Charleroi. An army should never, unless it be absolutely ' necessary, be compelled to make too long a march when in motion for the first time after its assembling. The reason is obvious; it tends to fatigue over much the men ar.d horses who have but recently quitted a state of inaction, and, consequently, during the remainder of the cam. paign, the army is less effectually served by its private equipage, and even by that of the stores and artillery. If the king's army had rendezvoused near Cateau Cambresis, it would have equally distracted the attention of the Spaniards, and would have been less fatigued on reaching Charleroi; where it was obliged to remain too long for an army designed to act offensively, and of which, according to the sound maxims of



[ocr errors]


offensive war, the first movement ought to directed, without loss of time, to the execution of the meditated enterprize.'

From this admirable statement we learn every thing necessary for the illustration of the fault itself, and of the important failures to which it led. We have marked in italics those short but impressive references to principles, which rander the memoirs of the French officer the most scientific and instructive work extant, on what we scarcely dare venture to term, the Philosophy of War.

Iu an equally rapid and unsatisfactory manner does Mr. Muller describe the campaigns of Marlborough. This admirable commander is first introduced to our notice as general of the Dutch army.' His brilliant irruption into Bavaria, and the victory of Schellenberg, are scarcely noticed : and with respect to the battle of Blenheim, it does not appear, from the account before us, that a single Englishman was present.

The statement of the battle of Ramillies is still

'The victory is, throughout, ascribed to the Austrians, who are studiously named in every paragraph : while the name of the illustrious commander, and the men.' tion of his brave countrymen, are as industriously concealed. The same unaccountable absence occurs in the statement of the celebrated action in the wood of Wynendale. The name and the faults of the French officer La Motte are pointed out; but the name and merits of our gallant general Webb, are absolutely unnoticed. The battle of Malplaquet, too, is entirely ascribed to Prince Eugene and the Austrian army, who are constantly and exclusively described as engaged against the French: while Marlborough and the English troops might have been at the antipodes for any thing we hear of them! We cannot forbear asking if this be ignorance or intention.

The history of the king of Prussia's campaigns is more impartial ;--though it begins with the strange and novel information that Frederic loved peace, and esteemed the welfare of his people above every thing else.' Still there is some deficiency even here. There is an evident disposition to ex. aggerate the weakness and indecision of the Austrian commanders, and to enhance the real inferiority of the Austrian troops. If the imperial generals were as incapable as Mr. Muller represents them to have been, it argues an almost equal incapacity in the Prussian monarch, not to bave derived far greater advantages from their imbecility. It is certain that the Prussian army was in a much higher state of disci. pline than that of the empress; that the officers were superior in instruction, and, on the whole, the generals better acquainted with their bloody trade. The mechanism of Frederic's army was nearly perfect, while the organization of the Austrian troops was exceedingly incomplete; and yet, on more than one occasion, his own skill and activity were baf. fled by the military genius of Daun. Too cautious, tvo diffident of his own powers, and of the steadiness of his troops, and too fearful of the temerity of his opponent, Daun cer-tainly did not avail himself of many opportunities which presented themselves of absolutely annihilating the Prussian armies: but the more frequent and fatal cause of his failores, is to be found in the absurd' system pursued by the imperial government of fettering and crippling its ablest officers, by restricting them to special movements; and of dictating from the cabinet, plans frequently impracticable in the field. From all these restrictions, the Prussian autocrat was entirely free. He was accountable to no one, and exercised a sovereign and undisputed sway over his military slaves. In the silence of night, in the storm of battle, he might freely resolve, and daringly execute. But the powerful mind of the Hungarian was withheld from realizing its bold and decisive schemes, by the orders from home;' and before he ventu: ed upon the inaneuvres of the day, he was obliged to draw from his pocket the plan of the campaign. Daun restored, by his cautious and skilful conduct at Kolin, confidence to a dispirited army; and the capture of the corps of general Fink at Maxen, was a proof of his ability to profit by the errors of his enemy.

We are, nevertheless, under the necessity of abating considerably from this eulogium of Count Daun, from the conviction that much of his success, in various instances, was due to the military skill and activity of Laudon, by far the ablest of the imperial generals. It is to him, in conjunction, perhaps, with Lascy, that we are disposed to assign the daring conception, the scientific combinations, and the complete and cuccessful execution of the brilliant affair of Hochkirchen. Never was there a more perfect display of military science. From Mi. Muller's account, which, though brief, is written with spirit and precision, it appears that every thing was anticipated. Wherever the Austrian troops were wanted, they came up in succession, without disorder or delay. As often as a Prussian regiment attempted to make a stand, it was iminediately attacked in flank and rear, beaten and dispersed. The darkness and confusion of the night seems not in the least to have affected the precision of the Austrian movements: and if Laudoo had been at liberty follow up his own victory, in all probability the ruin of Frederic would have bero irre. trievable. The success of the battle of Cunnersdort is entirely to be attributed to Laudon's daring and masterly manoeuvres ;-for the Russians had not a general who was able to detect the favourable moment, and we suspect that even Daun would have missed it, through want of decision. There is something very mysterious in Frederic's military conduct when opposed to the Russians. He was aware of their desperate resolution, and their unyielding firinness. It should seem, that instead of wasting his soldiers in fighting them upon their own terms, man to man, he ought to bave engaged them in a war of tactics, destroying them in detail, and constantly evading regular batiles. He attacked them at Zorndorf, and after a scene of confusion and butchery scarcely equalled, during which he was only saved from entire defeat, by the talents and intrepidity of general Seidlitz, the affair remained undecided. At Cunnersdorf, after having gained a partial victory, he persisted, with incredible obstinacy, uill he had sustained an entire defeat.

Having already assigned somewhat too much space to this important work, we are unable to follow Mr. Muller through the remainder of his historical department, which increases in interest and detail as it approaches the present times. The history of the late Austrian war is given very much at large, and is altogether the clearest statement which has come under our inspection. It adds very materially to the value of the publication.

We are sorry to observe so many errors of the press in these volumes. As Mr. M. probably is not very conversant with the English language, there would have been no ime propriety if he had submitted his sheets to some one acquainted with military concerns: some of the blunders, we suspect, are to be attributed to Mr. M.'s foreign hand-writing. The proper names, in particular, are cruelly mangled. Count de Medavy is repeatedly called Modavi; M. de Lorges is changed into Lorgos; the Marshall de 'T'essé is rather indelicately converted into Marshal Fesse. A general whose name, if our memory serve us correctly, was in reality Saint Ignon, is, at different times, called Ignon, Saint Jignon, and Saint Junon ; while the present Marshall Jellachich is styled Count Jeliach We could enumerate a hundred instances of the same kind: but we mention these chiefly for the purpose of shewing the necessity of a severe revision in the event of republication. In addition to this, we would suggest the advantage of enlarging the third volume into two.

We hope that Mr. Muller will be indemnified for the very heavy expences which he must have incurred. He has cola lected a great mass of very important materials, and a few judicious alterations in the arrangement, would make the whole an excellent standard work of reference.

« AnteriorContinuar »