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they belonged to special arms of the service, dents in Edinburgh may still remember, that is to say, arms which in the United that of the promptitude and skill displayed Kingdom are conceived to be specially inca- by a subaltern of engineers clearing away pacitated for all but subordinate posts, but the dangerous ruins left by the disastrous which in other countries are considered to fire which occurred in our old Scottish capi. be specially well qualified to discharge the tal in 1824. In telling this story, in his highest duties of the soldier.
own modest and earnest way, Lord Napier at Such, then, appears to be a fair statement length bowed bis head towards an old gentleof the position this day held by two corps of man whose black coat was somewhat conspiour army whose battle-roll is summed up in cuous among the red ones which surrounded a single word—"UBIQUE."
the table, and proceeded to say that although Is this position a just one ?
that example had ever been present in his It is this question which Sir Francis Head mind, yet it was not till the day on which has set himself to answer in a book just pub- he now addressed them that he had had an oplished by him, under the title of the Royal portunity of seeing his ideal engineer. This Engineer. Sir Francis naturally enough engineer was Sir Francis Head. confines his efforts to a vindication of that Taking advantage of this visit to the one of the two corps of which he knows Royal Engineer Establishment of Instrucmost; at the same time we do not doubt that, tion at Chatham, the veteran baronet seems like every soldier who loves the English to have set about to examine it with the old army, he feels that the principle for which vigour which he brought to bear on every he contends applies equally to both. Like act of his life,--on his efforts to quell an him we shall restrict ourselves at present to insurrection in Canada, as well as on his considering the claims of the younger corps. rough ride across the Pampas. In the book
The occasion which seems to have fired now before us, which is the fruit of that anew the zeal of Sir Francis, and to which visit, he has called into play the powers of We are indebted for this fresh work from his perception and plain exposition which charpen, may be said to be the Abyssinian ex- acterize bis former works.
Here again we pedition.
find conclusions conveyed in the same forci. Desirous of doing honour to the man who ble words, enlivened with the same abrupt had so ably vindicated the capabilities of divergent disquisitions which charmed the their corps in planning and carrying out this readers of Bubbles from the Brunnen of Nascampaign in Africa, the officers of the Royal sau. Engineers_had asked Lord Napier on his The aspirants for the Royal Artillery and return to England to meet them at their Engineers are, as he tells us, samples selectmess-table, at the headquarters of the corps, ed from the healthy intelligent youngsters of on the heights above Chatham.
the upper classes of England. In approachHere were gathered together, red-coated ing the competitive test which decides this records of almost every English battle of selection, these lads must bring with them the present century. Veterans of the Pe- certificates showing that they are between ninsula and of Waterloo; the less mature the ages of sixteen and nineteen, that they soldiers of Sobraon, Chillianwalla, and are sound in wind and limb, and that they Meeanes; a fresher group still representing are of good character. Their matriculation those who laid out the batteries at Sebasto- test for the Royal Academy at Woolwich pol; and here too were the sharers of the consists in a severe examination in History, siege of Delhi and other operations of the Geography, Mathematics (mixed and pure), Indian Mutiny campaign; along with cngi Classics, French, German, or Hindustani, neers who had fought in China, New Zealand, and the Natural and Experimental Sciences. and at the Cape.
They must draw freely, and write well. In In returning thanks for the words in which short, the qualifications prescribed for a lad the Duke of Cambridge, as Colonel-in-Chief desiring to enter the Royal Academy are of the corps, conveyed the satisfaction which considerably in excess of those possessed by his brother officers felt in his success, Lord the average of his fellows who each year Napier took occasion to allude to various complete the course of instruction afforded incentives to high aspirations which at dif- at our great public scbools. ferent times of his career had influenced his Once admitted to the Woolwich Academy, efforts. He told his brother officers that as he has to undergo a course of study and a very young subaltern one circumstance training, extending over two years and a had made an indelible impression on his mind, half. During this time be is subjected to as an example of the self-reliance and energy periodical examinations in the many branchwhich ought to animate an engineer officer. es of knowledge which are there taught by The circumstance was one which some resi- / an able staff of professors-civil as well as
military. Mathematics, fortification, military | notice, affords every opportunity for his ac-
duties of the corps and the garrison of the
tioned separately in almost every part of th It is in this condition that he joins the Roy- British dominions. In any case it is almos al Engineer establishment at Chatham. Here certain that before quitting the grade his efforts are now directed to appreciate and second captain, the young engineer inay y exercise the application of the principles have to go through more drill and more ba which have thus far been instilled into his rack work, so that it is not too much to asse mind. In the operations of sapping, mining, that in the early part of his career he ha throwing up batteries, laying out the works been subjected to so severe a training in tl of a siege, and contriving expedients for a purely mechanical duties of the soldier as defence, he undergoes a thorough course of render him qualified for ever after in th instruction. He is constantly practised in respect. Henceforth he may be employe the duty of throwing bridges over ravines, without detriment to his military efficien or across the ditch of a fortress under at- in any capacity in which he may prove user tack. An admirable pontoon train, ready as to the State. it now stands to take the field at an hour's And indeed he is called upon to perfo:
very varied work. He is charged with * The precise number is fixed according to the construction and conservation of the fortres requirements of the corps of Royal Engiueers. Sis and defensive works throughout British t but at times more than this number are selected, ritories, with the maintenance of barra and at times fewer.
and other military buildings, and with
rying out the Ordnance Survey of the Uni- | Badajoz, four were killed and six were ted Kingdom; while those officers who serve wounded. At the first siege of St. Sebas in India undertake labours of a still more tian the casualties were still more severe, four comprehensive kind, in furnishing means of officers being killed and seven wounded out communication and of irrigation for that of a roll of eighteen. Nor have recent siecountry.
ges been much less death-dealing: 550 officers And while these are the principal occupa- and men having been killed or wounded tions of the corps during peace, there are among the 1650 of all ranks of the corps others allotted to individuals among its seven engaged in the Crimea. Indeed, throughout hundred and fifty* members, of which we each phase of a siege the engineer is under may here mention a few in the order they more constant exposure to an enemy's fire occur to us :—Commander-in-Chief of the than any other soldier of the army; and Army of Bombay; Governor of Bermuda; when at length the supreme moment of the Governor of the Straits Settlement; Mili- attack has arrived, when the stormers have tary member of the Council of the Viceroy to make their short, sharp rush at the of India ; Chief Commissioner of Police in breach, here again we find him performing London ; Consul-General in Egypt; Director the duty of showing the way. What this of Works to the Lords of the Admiralty; duty means may best be understood by lookMint-Masters at Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, ing back at our siege of Delhi. Of the four and Australia; Government Inspectors of engineers who led the columns which finally Railways in England and in India; Member assaulted that place, three were struck down; of the Ordnance Select Committee; Di and indeed of the seventeen officers of the rector of Telegraphs in India; the Depart-corps engaged there on that day, only seven ment of Science and Art at South Kensing- escaped unscathed. top.
One incident of that assault will long be Having thus seen how numerous are the remembered by every soldier who was preduties cast upon the Engineers in time of sent-the, blowing open of the Cashmere peace, let us now look at some of their gateway of the fortress. This operation doings on active service in the field. And constituted one of the main features in the to begin with the work which common be- projected attack. It was an awkward task lief assigns as their sole occupation on ser- to accomplish, for in perfect means had previce—that of siege operations, it may be vented our reducing the fire of the place to safely asserted that no duty of a soldier that condition of comparative harmlessness demands more energy, more resolution, or which is required for prosecuting the admore readiness of resource than this task of vanced operations of a siege. Our most the engineer. It is one thing for a man to forward trenches were yet far from the fort gallop headlong into action, excited by the walls, so that any party attempting to apemulation and encouragement afforded by proach the gate must pass over a wide space comrades, who ride stirrup to stirrup with of open ground commanded by the ceaseless him in the charge. And it is another thing fire of a vigilant enemy. No such attempt to expose one's-self as a solitary target for could be made under the cover of night; the deliberate practice of an enemy's rifle for cach evening, so soon as darkness premen, as is the lot of the engineer who, in vented our riflemen from sweeping the glacis unimpassioned isolation, undertakes the re- with their fire, parties of the enemy came connoissance of a fortress or the inspection out and kept strict watch at the foot of the of a breach. A man must have a clear head walls. Whatever might have to be done and a stout heart who can grasp the features must be done in daylight, in full view, under of the ground and the fortifications he is the very muskets of the men who guarded called upon to scan under circumstances of this important point. this kind.
In the corps of engineers that practice Nor is less quiet fortitude needed in the which is termed " calling for volunteers " is trenches. There the Engineers who lay out unknown. There, as duty falls to be done, the batteries, and their old college compa- it is allotted as a matter of course to the nions of the artillery, who serve the siege officer who heads the roster. In this inguns, have a hard enough time of it, as the stance two engineer subalterns were wanted casualty lists invariably show. Of nineteen to blow open the Cashmere gate. On Home engineer officers employed at the siege of and Salkeld this duty fell.
Assisted by Sergeants Smith, Burgess, and * Within the last ten years the corps of Royal Carmichael of their corps, the two officers Engineers has been nearly doubled in number, by made their start from the advanced trenches, the enrollment of officers who, altlıough educated at the Chatham establishment, were formerly re
and moved down upon the gate with as much served for service in India only.
expedition as the burden of bearing the ex
plosive apparatus enabled them to exert. defences of the place must also be looked
Eastern and Western India, Sir Hugh Rose Home, Salkeld, and Smith received the at length found himself in front of Jhansi Victoria Cross for this day's work. But then strongly held by the enemy, and con neither of the young officers lived long to stituting a focus of insurrection for the dis enjoy their honour. Salkeld, who had lost tricts west of the Jumpa. Indeed, the an arm, and had a thigh broken, died after Ränee who reigned over the city and it several days of lingering agony. Home on dependencies was, although a woman, abou this day escaped unhurt, and afterwards dis- the most formidable enemy the British rul played much skill and daring in blowing encountered in that inland part of the per open one of the gates of the Delhi Palace, insula. As a strategical point of great im under somewhat similar circumstances of portance, no less than from the prestige a danger and difficulty. But within a fort- taching to its possession, it became essentia night he too was killed by an explosion to us to capture this fortress. Time pre which took place in the operations at the sed ; Sir Hugh was eager to effect a con neighbouring fort of Malagurh.
munication with the army then operating To most men of a besieging force the cap- an easterly direction under Lord Clyde ture of the beleaguered city brings a cessation siege materials were scanty. The expedien of labour; but not to the engineers. While suitable for such a case were according those of the stormers who live throw them- determined upon-Jhansi was to be atten selves down to rest after the day's toil, the en-ed by escalade at one point, and gineer officer has to set to work to explore the a breach battered from afar at another. interior of the captured place. Riding rapidly The escalade was to be undertaken by t through its streets and lanes, pushing his columns, to each of which was attached horse into public buildings or courtyards, ladder-party composed of engineers. Li and greeted at times with a stray shot from tenant Meiklejohn commanded the party the musket of some irrepressible patriot en- the right column, Lieutenant Dick" that sconced at a lattice window, the explorer has the left. Neither of the lads was well to gather a rapid acquaintance with the re- of his teens. sources of the place, so as to be able to re- Starting from the foremost trenches, port to the commander of the force what engineers moved well ahead of the colum quarters can be made available for housing and bore down steadily on the point sel the troops, and what measures may be.ne- ed for their attempt, but so hot was the cessary to adapt the buildings of the town poured on them while crossing the o to this purpose. Arrangements for water space thus passed over, and so many w supplies must also be made; and roads must the men stricken down, that out of thirt be opened out to afford free passage for guns, ladders only three could be brought forw and, if need be, for giving their fire a free to the foot of the wall. In the midst play through streets liable to be occupied by storm of bullets and other missiles show a rallying enemy. The damage done to the on them from the parapets and the adjoin
bastion-towers, the engineers raised their can in few cases be so perfect as the acquainladders against the wall. In an instant tance with these duties which early training Dick was at the top of his ladder. In an- and maturer practice cannot fail to impress other instant he was lying at its foot with a on every engineer. Moreover, the engineer bullet through his brain. Meiklejohn, too, on whom this training falls has been chosen was foremost of his party in reaching the from a select band of young Englishmen, top, and, as if to quiet the murmurs of and is at least as likely to prove specially "short ladders" which began to arise from fitted to excel in this branch of military the columns in rear, he laid about him lusti- skill as his brethren of the line who happen ly with his sword, striking at the defenders, to have developed some amateur aptitude with whom he now found himself face to face for such pursuits. But, indeed, so entirely But only for a few seconds. Seized by the has this circumstance been recognised by hands of those behind the wall, he was torn our army authorities, that engineer officers off his ladder and backed to pieces by the are no longer permitted to contest in the fanatics inside.
yearly competition for entrance to the Staff Meanwhile Bonus, a yet younger subal College, it having been declared that their tern of the corps, although off duty that day, training renders such an examination superhad strolled forward from the trenches to fluous. In other words, it has been admitsee what was going on. Finding bimself ted that engineer officers already possess alongside the third ladder, and observing no qualifications for staff employment which eagerness on the part of those present to can only be acquired by the rest of the make use of it, he at once set a good exam- army by means of a severe course of study ple by mounting it, notwithstanding the mis- at a college devoted to this purpose, siles hurled at him by the defenders. Rap- Such being the case, we might naturally idly reaching the top, he did his best to expect to find many members of this corps parry the blows struck at him. But soon employed on the army staff, above all in the å stalwart rebel, clubbing his matchlock, Quartermaster - General's department, in swung it with full force at the youngster, which their capabilities for reconnoitering and hurled him senseless to the ground, at ground, for finding out the routes, rivers, the same time that the ladder itself was fords, ferries, and bridges of the theatre of knocked out of its position. By this time war, and their ability to turn these and othall the engineer officers and many men were er natural communioations of the country to hors de combat, and as the chances of success the best account would prove most valu. seemed faint, the word was given to with. able. draw from the attempt, an operation which But in any such conjecture we should was luckily counterbalanced by the success sadly miscalculate the value which the of the British troops on the left, who had Horse Guards places on engineers. Notmeanwhile carried the breaches in that di- withstanding this admission of their qualifirection. Bonus fortunately wore a strong cations—which appears to have been elicited helmet that day, and thus escaped death. from the authorities as a means of relieving As it was, he lay long senseless on the spot the officers of the line from the competing on which he fell.
efforts of the engineers—the corps is practiSuch, then, are some of the duties of the cally excluded from all staff employment, engineer in connexion with the operations of only one officer of it being attached to the a siege or an escalade. As regards the or- department of the Quartermaster-General, dinary routine work of a campaign his la. and he in effect in a somewhat subordinate bours are already varied; and if due atten- capacity. tion were paid to his capabilities, his em- During one of our Caffre Wars, Sir Harployment would assuredly become still more ry Smith, then in command of the troops at comprehensive than it now is, As Sir the Cape, ventured to place a couple of enFrancis Head very justly points out, the gineer subalterns on this branch of his staff. qualifications prescribed for officers serving But no sooner had the news reached Whitein the department of the Quartermaster- ball than a peremptory order was addressed General of the army are simply such as are to the old General to displace the engineers possessed by every engineer subaltern on forthwith, and to fill up the vacancies from leaving the establishment for instruction at the infantry. Chatham The rudimentary knowledge of The dictum of the Duke of Wellington, surveying, field-sketching, and other ac- that artillery and engineers were impracticaquirements requisite for the preparation of ble fellows-all mad, married, or Methodists reconnoitering reports which an infantry —has long been held to be a conclusive aspirant for staff honours contrives to pick argument against employing them out of up in leisure hours as an accomplishment, their own special spheres; and the old du