Графични страници
PDF файл
[blocks in formation]

“The gunner to his linstock” is a reserve was still maintained in respect maxim approved by the common senso to the political and strategic plan of of mankind; and the English branch the war; and if at any time Lord Ellen. of the family has; we venture to assert, borough indulged in strictures upon the acted in strict accordance with it, in tactics of the campaign, or Lord connexion with the great conflict in Shaftesbury ventured to hint at the which the country is engaged, even political wisdom of securing the sursomewhat beyond the extremest limits port of the natural enemies of Russia prndence would have prescribed. The in a European league against her aga gunner has been left in quiet pos- gressive despotism, the public sympa session of his liostock until he has thy with such views was at once checkshown, in many instances, that he ed, by a suggestion that these were scarcely knew the difference between matters of high State policy, or of prothe breech and the muzzle of his gun, fessional nicety, which ought not to be and too often until all could see that discussed in a popular assembly, and his fire did more damage to himself and which were above the comprehension his comrades than to the enemy. The of the uninitiated. The appeal was public only abandoned their veneration never made in vain ; and it is to the for the proverb when the horrible de. credit of the national prudence that the tails of the sufferings of the troops people have as yet refrained from an during the last winter" showed that open expression of the dissatisfaction there was no choice between å quiet felt in every quarter at the mode in submission to the total destruction of which our military operations have the army, by disease and starvation, or been conducted, as well as from a pub. a violent interference with the profes- lic rehearsal of discussions upon the sional routine of the commissariat, me- plan of the war, which form the staple dical, and transport departments. The of conversation in every society, great intervention has been so far success. and small, throughout the kingdom. ful. Abundance reigns in the camp ; Nevertheless, every maxim has a limit the hospitals are well provided; the to its application: to leave the linstock corps healthy and numerically strong; quietly in the hands of a man who the communications regular and suffi- calls himself a gunner, but whose ig. çient. All this ought to have been norance of his art is manifest to every effected by the action of the ordinary eye, and is attested by long.continued machinery of the naval and military failure, would be to strain proverbial services. It should never have been philosophy to a use it was never de. necessary to take the linstock out of signed to fulfil. Where would the army the hands of the gunner; and as both now be, had the delicacy which so long parliament and people fully recognised prevented the public interference still the general obligation of the maxim, respected the mysteries of the commis. intervention was carried no further sariat branch of the Treasury, and of than was absolutely necessary to bring the medical and transport boards? about an amendment in what is ab. And since one or two arinies have un. surdly considered the civil branch of questionably been rescued from anni. our military administration: Extreme bilation by profane meddling with the VOL. XLVI.NO. CCLXXIV,

2 D

proper linstocks of Sir C. Trevelyan monstrations. When Prince Gortsand of Dr. Andrew Smith, and of the chakoff crossed the Pruth, in the spring junior lord who was the transport of 1853, with a force of 70,000 men, board, it scarcely seems unreasonable, bis movements showed plainly enough, at the present moment, when a first act to a military eye, that he apprehended has, as it were, been closed by the no resistance. In the face of Omar events of last month, to inquire, with Pasha, at the head of 90,000 regular a view to the future, whether the plan and 30,000 irregular troops, the Rusof the war has been such as should sian General scattered his army in have warranted expectations of more weak detachments over the whole river important results, or whether it might frontier of Wallachia, from Kalafat not be wise to reconstruct it with a to Galatz, fixing his own quarters at view to existing circumstances, and to Bucharest, with an easy indifference the promotion of a clear understand. which plainly bespoke the contempt he ing, at home and throughout Europe, entertained for the Turkish power. of the objects it is designed to attain. The heavy blow struck at Sinope For ourselves, we find a justification showed, it is true, that the Russian in freely stating our views now, in the demonstration was no mere firing over circumstance of their harmony with the heads of a mob, but an energetic atthose we entertained and expressed tempt to frighten the intended victim fourteen months since,* the general from a fruitless resistance; and it was correctness of which has been estab- played to in the most effectual manner lished by subsequent events.

by the counter-demonstration of the it would be an idle waste of time to Allies. The French and English fleets employ it in a critical examination of rode quietly at anchor in Besika Bay; the earlier military movements of the while the ambassadors of the two Allies, from the first entrance of the pations professed their willingness to fleets into the Euxine to the descent order the respective admirals to purupon Varna. They were guided by sue and chastise the Russians, if only no strategic principles, for no war was one of them would consent to lead then contemplated by the Western the way. Whatever may have been Governments. The absence of any the motive of this policy of the Western hostile design has indeed been urged Powers, its obvious and natural effect by our own ministers as an excuse for was to impress the Czar with the idea the grave defects of arrangement that an exaggerated estimate of his which, when the feint was turned into own strength was entertained by Enga reality, occasioned the disastrous re- land and France, and that he consesults of the winter campaign of 1854–5. quently ran but little risk in resolutely A parade of arms was all that was in- prosecuting his designs. That imprestended, they said ; and thinking a de- sion was greatly strengthened, when, monstration would bring the Czar to upon the declaration of war, Gallipoli reason, they provided no commissariat, was selected as the basis of operations ; no hospital or wagon trains, no re- and the selection was known to bave serve, no plan of a campaign. These been made upon the recommendation facts were, doubtless, as well known in of English and French engineers of St. Petersburgh as in London; and, high rank, and as the result of their accordingly, the demonstration assum- examination of the condition and prosed, in the eyes of the Czar, the ap- pects of the Turkish army on the pearance of what it really was an Danube. Sir John Burgoyne and empty sham. His own operations had, Colonel Ardent reported unfavourably indeed, been, at the outset, somewhat upon these points, and under the apanalogous in their character-designed prehension, encouraged by them, that to intimidate, rather than undertaken the Russians would find little difficulty with a serious conviction that they in the way of their advance to the Balwould lead to the reality of war. The kan, it was determined to provide for practical-joking of nations as of indivi. the defence of the Turkish capital, by duals, however, seldom fails to end in disembarking the Allied armies at Gal. downright blows; and so it was in re- lipoli, and constructing a fortified line gard to both Eastern and Western de- in front of Constantinople. This was


at once to invite the Russian com- would have found shelter behind the walls manders to a vigorous prosecution of of the fortress; and in case of failure, on their operations on the Danube, and

board the fleet. Whereas the position of the to declare to the Turks that, in the

army at Gallipoli had, for one thing, the opinion of the military authorities most

great disadvantage of being too distant to trusted by their Allies, their further

exercise any influence over the warlike

events on the Danube; while at Varna the resistance to the overwhelming power

Allies would have come into direct communiof the enemy was vain and hopeless. cation with Omar Pasha, and by their apThe dominant idea of the Western

pearance alone, have produced a considerable statesmen was, that they were sitting moral effect upon the Turkish army. down to a losing game, and there is no “At the time of the disembarkation of hiding such an idea from the adversary the allied troops, no great perspicacity was it encourages, or the friend it dis- any longer required to discern the object as heartens.

well as the bearing of the Russian operations Throughout the Emperor Napo

on the Danube. The latter had already releon's instructions to Marshal St. Ar

called their left wing from Lower Wallachia,

and thus abandoned that line of operationsnaud,* the probability of a forced

the road to Sophia- which would have retreat seems ever-present to the mind

served them both to evade the Turkish deof the writer :

fences on the Danube and the Balkan, and

to penetrate into the interior of the Ottoman “ The peninsula of Gallipoli (he says) is Empire. Moreover, for an advance by way adopted as the principal point of disembarke of Sophia, the co-operation of the Serbians ation, because it must be, as a strategical and Bulgarians would be necessary; from point, the basis of our operations

that they were, however, cut off, owing to whence we may, with facility, either advance weighty reasons touching Austria. The or re-embark.

If, perchance, after bulk of their army was thus concentrated having advanced towards the Balkans, you opposite the Turkish centre; and here, if should be constrained to beat a retreat, it they were determined to push forward, they would be much more advantageous to regain must needs have previously besieged the the coast of Gallipoli than that of Constan- strongly-garrisoned fortress of Silistria, and tinople; for the Russians would never ven- subsequently encountered the Turkish army, ture to advance from Adrianople upon Con- already inured to war, in the fortified camp stantinople, leaving 60,000 good troops on at Shumla. Omar Pasha expressed his detheir right.”

termination not to bazard a battle in open

field before the arrival of the Allies, but, on At that time, it is to be recollected, the other hand, to take good care to oppose the seat of the war was on the banks the most strenuous resistance to an advance of the Danube; two lines of fortresses of the Russians, both along the Danube and lay untouched between the enemy's

in the passes of the Balkan. At this juncposition and the passes of the Balkan;

ture no misgivings could have been felt as and the events of the autumn and win

to the possibility of the Russians forcing the

Balkan, and still less of their strength to ter campaigns had been favourable to Omar Pasha. The experience of the

descend upon Constantinople.” campaigns of 1828-9 was also altoge- Nor can it be fairly alleged that thi ther at variance with the views of MM.

is wisdom after the event, for the opi. Burgoyne and Ardent, which seem to nion of military men at the time was us (and we but concur in opinion with loudly echoed through the public press, perhaps the highest military authority and was unanimous in tracing, in the of these days) to have been, upon stra- demonstration at Gallipoli, not the integic principles, manifestly erroneous. dications of a plan of a campaign, but

a fixed intention to maintain peace at “ Varna (says General Klapka, in his all bazards. Such we know to have lucid · Historico-critical Sketch of the War

been the opinion of many officers of in the East ') would have offered all the con

rank engaged in the expedition; and ditions attributed to Gallipoli. There the

the design has since been, as we have ariny, on landing, would have been equally sheltered from the enemy's attacks, the for

already said, openly avowed by memtress, at the outbreak of the war, having

bers of the Aberdeen ministry, in plea been put into an excellent state of defence ;

of excuse for the shortcomings of their there also provisioning would have been management of the war when it did easy; and there, too, if compelled, the army actually supervene. The course of

* Dated April 12, 1834 ; published in the Moniteur of April 11, 1855.

events did not, however, suffer the ing, and, accordingly, about the midAllies to maintain the neutral position dle of Jane, an advance of the allied they had assumed for any long period. armies tó Varna was determined upon The Russian answer to the declaration and partially executed. This moveof war by France and England was ment, it is now apparent, was adopted an order to Prince Gortschakoff to in accordance with the instructions of cross the Danube, and to attack the the Emperor Nápoleon, to which we Turks in Bulgaria ; and the order was have already referred, which pointed promptly executed by the occupation out an occupation of Varna as one of of the Dobrudscha in the end of three plans of operations, to the choice March, and by the commencement of among which he limited the discretion the siege of Silistria on the 17th of of bis generals. It was carried out the ensuing month. In the interval in the feeblest and most imperfeet the tide of war had turned against the manner; and while the armies linTurks. The Russian army in the gered on the coast, waiting, it was said, Principalities had been raised, by re- for the means of transport to advance inforcements, to 120,000 men, and to the succour of Silistria, the siege Omar Pasha had fallen back before was raised by the Russians on the 21st of them, removing his head-quarters from June. The reason for this retreat at the Rustschuk to Shumla, the centre of moment when the besieged were rethe second line of defence between the duced to the last extremity was, doubt. Danube and the slopes of the Balkans. less, the apprehension entertained by

the Russians of the immediate advance " At this critical juncture (says General of the Allies upon their left, while their Klapka) the Wallachians again made an right flank was threatened by 30,000 offer to insurrectionise their land in the rear

Turks, who liad crossed the Danube at of the Russians. Such a rising, assisted by Kalafát and were marching upon the Turkish corps in Lesser Wallachia,

Bucharest. They did not, we may would, beyond doubt, have been of paramouut advantage to the defences of the

presume, reckon upon a chance of Danube. But diplomacy again counter

being secured from the attack of an balanced the advice of energetic men, by its

Anglo-French army of 50,000 men, subserviency towards Austria, who de- encamped within a few miles of their nounced such a movement as revolutionary, position, by its want of the means of ånd highly detrimental to the conservative transport. Omar Pasha, strongly reinterests of Europe. The offer was, there- inforced, was preparing to march upon fore, not only rejected, but the infatuation them from Shumla ; and under this carried so far as to order the Wallachian

combination of hostile circumstances, militia, who had deserted from the Russians

it would have been madness to bave to the Turkish camp, to be disarmed and šent back to their homes, which was tanta

awaited an attack, with the Danube mount to a death-warrant, for on returning

in their rear, and the certainty before to their villages they generally fell victims

them of a desperate resistance from to Russian courts-martial.”.

the garrison, bad they determined

upon bastening the assault. For stra If this statement be correct, an tegical reasons, therefore, as they subimputation somewhat graver than that sequently stated, the Russians not of the want of a definite plan is only raised the siege of Silistria but chargeable against the diplomatic ad. évacuated the Principalities; while å visers and managers of the allied Go- treaty was hastily concluded between vernments, and it is certainly support- Austria and Turkey, by which the ed by the incomprehensible delay of former power was permitted to occupy the armies at Gallipoli, occupied in Moldavia and Wallachia, and thus in. reviews and military shows, while the terpose an effectual barrier between gallant strugyle at Silistria was be- the belligerents. coming every day more exciting, and In the whole of the blundering in the danger of its noble defenders from diplomacy and war that has pervaded hour to bour more and more imminent, the transactions of the last two years, At length the impatience and grow- no greater mistake, if mistake it was, ing indignation of the people of Eng- was committed than the conclusion of land and France became too strong this convention of the 14th of June, for the diplomatists. It was thought 1854. By the admission of the Ausnecessary to do something in order to trians into the Principalities, a new obviate an explosion of popular feel. complication was introduced into the

[ocr errors]

Eastern question, the difficulty of had pushed in between the bellige. which was then visible enough to rents in the Principalities, and restrictlookers on, although it is only now ed the field of hostile operations to the that statesmen are beginning to con- short line of the Lower Danube sepa. sider how they are to get rid of that rating the Dobrudscha from the Rushost of armed mediators, and the con- sian province. It became necessary, sideration is already found to be therefore, at last, to fix upon å plan fraught with perplexity. During the for the campaign to fill up the refifteen months of the Austrian occu- mainder of the autumn of 1854, and pation, the Russians, protected upon two of those laid down by the French their flank, have been able to employ Emperor remained to choose from. their strength in that marvellous de- These were, “io seize upon the Cri, fence of Sebastopol which has cost the mea ; or to land at Odessa, or any other Allies so dear, while they were enabled, point of the Russian coast of the Black at small cost or hazard, to retain their Sea;" and the first was decided upon position on the lower Danube, and by the commanders. The wisdom of with it a complete control over the this decision has been impugned by Sir navigation of that river. Omar Pasha Iloward Douglas and General Klapka, was a second time held back, at the the only military critics of any note moment when the fortune of war was who have expressed an opinion returning in his favour, and the army he specting it. Without presuming to had so ably trained and handled was dispute the authority of these eminent scattered and disorganised. The West- ollicers, we would, however, venture ern armies, numbering 54,000 men, to suggest, that at the time when the were, by the same stroke of a pen, expedition to the Crimea was deterconsigned, in the full freshness of their mined upon, it was absolutely necesstrength and vigour, to an inaction sary, for the moral and physical safety which soon became more fatal than of the army, to undertake some inili. actual collision in the field. For more tary operation; and we doubt much if than two months fever and cholera ra. Klapka's counterproposition of a short vaged the camps of the Valley of Death, campaign in Caucasia and Georgia, the monotony of which was only diver- combined with preparations for offensified by a deadly reconnaisance into the sive operations on the Danube in the Dobrudscha, where the French perish- spring of the present year, would have ed like flies without seeing an enemy. been found free from perils and diffi. At length the public indignation at culties similar to those which the plan home began again to show itself in a actually adopted entailed upon the formidable shape; the troops looking armies. The invasion of the Crimea upon themselves as doomed to destruc- was unquestionably a bold, perhaps a tion, became uneasy, and it was disco- rash, measure ; but to us it seems that vered in the words of the Moniteur, that the mode in which it was undertaken “ neither military honour nor political is a fitter subject for stricture than the interest " longer permitted inactivity. undertaking itself. Upon this topic The opportunity for striking a blow General Klapka affords some curious at the Russians, during their retreat information, the probable authenticity from Silistria, had been lost, and the of which would seem to be supported Austro-Turkish convention had, in by known facts. The plan of the exfact, closed the campaign upon the pedition was, he says, drawn up at Danube :

ihe Tuilleries, and sanctioned both by "Let us say it at once (said the Moniteur,

England and Austria: by the former, in the number we have already cited); with

to flatter the vanity of the Emperor, out the consent of Austria, our army was

and, in case of failure, to throw the forbidden, under penalty of the most dread

whole of the responsibility upon him; ful catastrophe, to advance on the Danube. by the latter, with the view of remov. ... To make a campaign beyond the Danubeing the war from the borders of Hun. and on the Pruth possible, we repeat it, the

gary and Transylvania, and of leaving Co-operation of Austria was necessary." Austria master of the situation in the

Principalities :- 50.

De buit This was unquestionably true, after

tund aed the Russians bad regained their busis "Lord Raglan," he proceeds, " appears by in Bessarabia, and the Austrians, act- no means to have approved of the scheme. ing upon the Convention of June 14, He reported to his Government on the im

« ПредишнаНапред »