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CHAP. XLIV.] ACTUAL STRENGTH OF THE ARMY.
say what became of it. I do not know that it had an existence; at least we never saw it. Our troops suffered very much, and I must say that it was understood by them to have been from neglect on the part of the government."
It was the man in the overcoat, with the lock of his rifle tied on with a string, who won victories-not the pampered, neatly-uniformed soldier.
I shall close this chapter by quoting some instructive remarks on the national armies of the Civil War. They occur in a communication made to me by one of the greatest and most suc cessful of the generals. "Our paper armies were very large, while the officers and men for actual duty were small in comparison. As a rule, in a well-ordered army, if sixty-six per cent. of the men 'present' can be brought into battle, it is a good average; the other thirty-three per cent. are employed as cooks, teamsters, nurses, servants, etc., etc.—are sick, on furlough, detached. Then the men reported as 'absent' to guard rivers, dépôts, prisons, railroad stations, escorts, etc., etc., make fearful blanks in every regiment and subdivision of the army. During our war, at no time do I think one half of the men receiv ing pay were engaged with the fighting armies at the front, and this half was subjected to the farther diminution of the thirty-three per cent. before mentioned, so that in an army whose muster-rolls would give 100,000 men 'present' and 'absent' for pay, no general could expect to bring into battle, at any distance from his base of supplies, more than 35,000 men. By way of illustration, I take the case at the close of the war, when for the first time we got at the real facts and figures. 1,050,000 men were then on the muster-rolls to be paid off and discharged.
Actual working strength of the armies during the war.
"The active fighting armies then were:
Grant at Richmond.
Sherman at Raleigh.
Schofield in North Carolina
Canby at Mobile and in the Southwest.
ACTUAL STRENGTH OF THE ARMY.
Where were all the rest?
"Guarding thousands of miles of sea-coast, rivers, and roads, guarding prisoners, and acting as provost guards, or loafing about the country. I do not mention this in criticism, but to show how in war such vast expenses do arise, and how often the country overestimates the exact strength of armies from the official returns.
“At no single time during the late Civil War-not even in 1864, the time of the greatest pressure, do I believe that fifty per cent. of the men drawing pay as soldiers were actually within striking distance of the enemy. To this cause may be traced some of the worst failures, when the government and people behind pushed their officers 'on,' supposing that figures could handle muskets and fight battles."
CREATION OF THE NATIONAL NAVY.
Immediately after the proclamation of the blockade, the National Government commenced the building of war-ships suitable for that purpose, and for defense against Confederate and foreign attack.
It found that the navy, consisting of about forty ships, had been purposely dispersed, the dock-yards shamefully neglected, and that many of the officers had been unfaithful.
It built many different classes of sca-ships, both wooden and armored, and especially developed Ericsson's invention, the Monitor.
It constructed, with great energy, a fleet of river-ships, armored and unarmored, for duty in the West.
Peculiarities of American naval artillery. Guns in service and reserve at the beginning and the end of the war.
The navy eventually numbered nearly seven hundred ships.
For the overthrow of the Confederate power, it was abDuties of the Navy Solutely necessary, as we have seen (Chapter XLI., p. 137), that the foreign commerce of the South should be prohibited. To accomplish this, it had been determined to establish a blockade.
But providing for an effective blockade was by no means the only duty of the Navy Department; it had to protect the sea-board also, to recover the forts that had been seized, to prepare expeditions against strategic points on the coast, to pursue Confederate cruisers on the sea, to
Various kinds of ships required
force open and patrol the rivers, to be in readiness for a contingency apparently at one time imminent—a foreign war-and to meet the vast demands of the army for transportation of troops and supplies.
To accomplish these objects, it must have ships of many different kinds—some powerful and swift for ocean service, some of light draught to penetrate through shallow waters, some iron-clad to en
counter batteries and riflemen on river banks. The satisfaction of these requirements demanded not merely the invention of new models, but the introduction of new principles in naval construction, and radical changes in
THE NAVY REPORT.
The Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Welles, has thus stated the first duties of his department: "To make available every naval vessel; to recall our foreign squadrons; to increase our force by building new vessels, and by procuring for naval purposes from the merchant service every steamer which could be made a fighting vessel; to enlarge at once the capacity of the navy yards; to put in requisition the founderies and work-shops of the country for supplies of ordnance and steam machinery; to augment the number of seamen; and to supply the deficiency of officers by selecting experienced and able shipmasters and others from the merchant marine."
At the opening of the war, the force possessed by the Navy Department consisted of 42 vessels of
Weakness of the
of the war.
navy at the opening various classes-steamers and sailing ships, carrying 555 guns and about 7600 men. They were dispersed on different stations-the Mediterranean, the African coast, the coast of Brazil, the East Indies, the Pacific coast, etc. So effectually had the dispersion and neutralization of the national fleet been accomplished, that there was actually but one efficient war vessel on the Northern coast when the conflict began. The conspirators had therefore ample time to seize the forts, and establish themselves in the strong-holds of the coast unmolested.
The ships dispersed.
The dock-yards pur
In addition to this scattering of the ships, measures had been taken to incapacitate the dock-yards. posely neglected. Instead of there being an accumulation of timber suitable for ship-building, the stock had been permitted to diminish until very little remained. The customary purchases had not been made.
Still more, "demoralization prevailed among the naval The officers unfaith- Officers, many of whom, occupying the most responsible positions, betrayed symptoms of that infidelity which has dishonored the service. But, while so many officers were unfaithful, the crews, to their honor be it recorded, were true and reliable, and have maintained, through every trial and under all circumstances, their devotion to the Union and the flag." "From the 4th of March to the 4th of July, 1861, two hundred and fifty-nine officers of the navy either resigned or were dismissed from the service."
THE NAVY REPORT.
Events showed that, to complete the blockade, nearly Requirements for six hundred vessels, most of them steamers, were required. This vast fleet was demanded by the peculiarities of the coast. Its outer line is more than three thousand miles in length, and," had it been merely necessary to guard the ports of the principal cities of the South, the task would have been comparatively easy. But this external coast-line is merely the outer edge of what may almost be called a series of isl Intricate character ands, some long, some short, some wide, and others very narrow, stretching along the whole Atlantic, behind which are sounds and connecting channels forming an almost continuous line of water, navigable for small vessels from Norfolk to Florida." Navigable inlets give passage from the ocean to these interior channels, affording many secure and secret entrances to blockade runners. These inlets, moreover, are subject to incessant changes, new ones continually opening, and old ones closing up, especially in stormy weather.
of the coast.
at the close of the
The rapid increase of the navy is shown in the following table of steamers and sailing ships in commission :