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occupied the whole stowage of a ship. When sent by sea, hay is pressed into a small compass, and hydraulic presses had been sent for the purpose from England. But these were by some mistake erected at a spot fifteen miles from the place where the hay was collected, and it became necessary to carry the loose hay that distance either by land or water before it could be pressed. This operation could not be carried on in bad weather, and thus, by defective arrangements throughout the whole transaction, the only provision for supplying the army with hay which had been made in Turkey, was rendered nugatory at a time when six hundred or seven hundred tons in the Crimea would have been invaluable."
The only branch of the service to which, in the first part of the Report, blame is imputed, is the Commissariat. We have not paused to insert the various instances of neglect set down in the Report, intending at this present point to take a general review of them, and then to see what the Commissary-General has to say in reply.
The first charge not already noticed is, that a quantity of lime-juice lay in the harbour from the 10th of December to the first week in February, while its issue would have prevented a great deal of the scurvy by which the army was so severely afflicted. Next it appears a quantity of tea remained in store, when it might have been advantageously substituted for green coffee. Cattle were not procured in numbers corresponding with the resources of the Commissariat, for, says the Report, "the quantity might have been consider ably increased during the months of December, January, and February, if proper measures had been taken for that purpose. short, it appears to us that fresh meat in much larger quantities might have been, and ought to have been, supplied to the army." Vegetables, both fresh and preserved, might, it would appear, have been procured and issued with great benefit to the troops. A large quantity of porter remained in store at Scutari, which (it is suggested in a note) might "have been issued to the troops in
the vicinity of Balaklava, as well as the numerous parties sent there from camp on fatigue duties, which would by degrees have extended the supply throughout the force in front without the trouble of carriage. It was one of the hardest consequences of the fatigue duty to Balaklava, that the men had often to remain there for the greater part of the day without food; a pint of porter and a biscuit would have obviated this, and been of material benefit to their health; such a supply would also have been most valuable for the sick." Finally, the defective arrangements respecting forage caused in great measure the want of transport, from whence resulted the deplorable deficiencies of food and fuel which have been narrated.
The excuse suggested by the Commissioners for these serious shortcomings, is not one which the Commissary-General would choose to adopt :
"While we have considered it our duty to point out what appear to us to be serious defects in the arrangements of the Commissariat with the army in the Crimea, as well as the consequences
that have resulted from these defects, we do not mean to infer that the Com
missary-General, or the other officers of that Department, have failed to make any exertion of which they were capable to provide for the exigencies of the public service, according to the measure of their ability and foresight; and it is but just to direct attention to the unusual nature of the duties required of them, where a large army occupied, as it were, a barren island which furnishes nothing except water and a limited quantity of fire-wood. The Commissariat, which appears for some time to have been without a sufficient number of hands, had also serious difficulties to encounter
which could not have been foreseen. The tempest of the 14th of November was a great disaster, and the peculiarities of the harbour of Balaklava, whatever may be its advantages, created constant difficulties, especially in landing the vast supplies required for the army. The breaking up of the road from Balaklava
to the front, and the impossibility of sparing from their military duties a sufficient number of men to make it practicable for Commissariat carts, had not been anticipated or provided for, and the belief, apparently shared in by the Commissariat, that Sebastopol would
speedily fall, and the campaign in the Crimea terminate, though not much insisted upon by the witnesses whom we examined, was unquestionably a most influential cause of many defects in the arrangements. It appears to have been assumed, till the beginning of November, that any present inconvenience could be
but of short duration, and that any expedients by which the emergencies of the
moment could be overcome, were sufficient for the occasion. A man of comprehensive views might probably have risen superior to these disadvantages, and created an organisation suited to the
circumstances. He would doubtless at once have perceived that the established practice of procuring all supplies by
tenders and contracts is not calculated
to draw forth the resources of Turkey,
or to make them available when re
quired. Finding that his supplies must be drawn from provinces of the resources of which he had little knowledge, and to the inhabitants of which he was unable even to communicate his wants in any language which they could understand, he would probably have turned to good account the knowledge of the country and its resources, possessed by a large and respectable body of public servants, her Majesty's Consuls, and he would
then have found those resources more ample and more easily made available than till lately they were believed to be. But it is unreasonable to expect that every man who may rise to the head of so limited a department, even after a long course of meritorious service, is to display, whenever the occasion may demand it, inventive resources and administrative capacity of a very high
enabled him to anticipate or provide for. The Quartermaster - General truly says in his evidence, "Owing to the peculiar circumstances in which this army in the Crimea has been placed, in an enemy's country, with only the ground on which we stood, and during a Crimean winter, the commissariat department has been called upon to perform most unprecedented services for an army in the field." It was the instant and pressing nature of the wants, demanding temporary shifts and appliances to meet them, which caused all atdifficulties which arose, to be each tempts at organised provision for the day more hopelessly futile. Could the pressure of calamity have paused for a time, had any breathing-space been allowed, a system might have been established. But we can fancy a man even of of "comprehensive views," and possessing inventive resources and administrative capacity of a very high order," bewildered by the demands, each day more urgent, of an army starving before him, till he despairs of being able to overtake and arrest the incessant crowd of disasters.
Without here anticipating the Commissary-General's reply, we may state that the Commissariat, like other branches of our service, only begins to apprehend the nature of its duties in the field, when the time comes to exercise them. To supply the garrisons of our colonies, where stores filled by regular contractors are always maintained, and where the duty of seeing that those stores, of good quality and fair price, are regularly issued, is the chief service required from a Commissariat officer, is obviously a very slender preparation for the exigencies of the camp or the field. Those exigencies existed in the Crimean campaign in more formidable and perplexing array than any man's experience could, though aided by a quick imagination, have
There is one deficiency not touched on in the Report, which we have always estimated among the most serious-that of wharves at Balaklava. A dozen on each side of the harbour would have enabled ships to unload and make room for others, with a facility which would at once have obviated much of the confusion that grew daily more perplexing in that crowded region. Vessels, packed side by side, completely choked the narrow harbour, and most important supplies remained on shipboard, because others less wanted could be more easily disembarked. Every day a long line of cavalry horses and artillery-waggons might be seen lining the muddy edge of the harbour, while a single boat at a time discharged at a single point its scanty cargo of hay. The great tide of supply that poured from England was narrowed at Balaklava to a single point, the waist of the hour-glass, through which it drained in scanty droppings to the camp. Admiral Boxer at once perceived this, and his first efforts on arriving at Balaklava were directed to making wharves, the good effect of
which measure was instantly visible -and this, we think, might and ought to have been done before.
The first Report having investigated the subjects of food, transport, and forage, the second treats of the clothing and shelter of the army. It is dated London, January 1856.
When the army landed in the Crimea, so great was the anxiety for a rapid advance, that the knapsacks were left on board the ships the men had come in. These were despatched on different errands, and the men consequently did not regain their knapsacks for six weeks, so that though the British soldier is well provided with clothing, the troops in the Crimea were for that period without a change of clothes.*
By the end of November large supplies of warm clothing had arrived, but a great and disastrous deficiency was occasioned by the loss of the Prince, which went down in the storm of the 14th November with a vast quantity of stores on board. By the end of December great quantities had arrived to replace the loss, both from England and Constantinople. The period when these articles were most required was in December and January, when there were supplies enough in hand to have averted much of the suffering the troops underwent. Yet these supplies were not issued; and this fact, of which the Commissioners never received any satisfactory explanations, forms the gravest charge in this second Report. Great-coats, rugs, paillasses, watch-cloaks, were in thousands at Balaklava unissued, while "during the month of December the severity of the winter had much increased, and the medical officers describe the sufferings of the troops, for want of proper bedding, warm covering, and clothing, as very serious. No circumstance was more dilated on by those gentlemen than the condition of the men, lying on the muddy floors of their tents, with nothing under or over them except a blanket or great-coat, often quite wet. From this condition even the sick were not at that time exempt." In
speaking of boots and shoes, a circumstance is incidentally mentioned which will convey some idea of the novel and peculiar sufferings of our forlorn soldiers. "Throughout the greater part of the winter the troops suffered much from the want of proper boots and shoes, not because there was any deficiency of them in store, but because in a cold climate the men required to wear more than one pair of socks or stockings, and because their feet had swollen so much from the effects of cold, and from rarely taking off their boots and shoes, lest they should be unable to get them on again, that comparatively few were large enough." With tight and wet boots clinging to his swelled feet, the soldier limped in his thin wet clothing through the mire, or lay shivering on the mud-spread floor of his bleak tent. Numbers of huts were sent from England, but it was impossible to convey them to the plateau. A man stricken with fever or dysentery lay with a blanket between him and the wet ground, in a common tent, destitute of medicines and comforts, till in most cases the blanket became his shroud. For the six severest weeks of winter this continued, till after the middle of January supplies poured in from England. in embarrassing profusion.
Merely as a calm, clear, unprejudiced narrative of the state of the army during this extraordinary campaign, the Report would have been of great value; but its most important lessons are contained in the suggestions which the Commissioners throw out, the adoption of which may guard against the recurrence of such calamities in future wars.
After remarking how beneficial an alteration in the diet of the army, perfectly practicable at the time, would have been, they say—
"It seems to be a defect in the system of the British army, that no one is specially responsible for the fitness of the diet supplied to the troops, or for the most advantageous adaptation of the resources of the countries in which military operations are carried on, to the requirements, in this respect, of the
the Report; but Col. Gordon has since asserted that what was left in the knapsacks would not have repaid the troops for the trouble of reclaiming
army. Supplies of the utmost value to health may thus be lying within reach, without being made available, because they are not specified in the scale of rations, and because there is no one whose especial duty it is to find them out and to suggest their employment. A Commander-in-chief may be a man of consummate genius, capable of attending to everything great or small, but a nation cannot safely ground its system upon the assumption that it can at all times command the services of such men; and it may be worthy of consideration whether there ought not to be upon the staff of an army in the field an officer, holding high military rank, whose duty it should be to devote his attention to the supply of the army, who should be responsible for everything connected
with the receipt and issue of supplies and stores of every description, in the same manner as the Quartermaster-General and the Adjutant-General are respon
sible for the manner in which their Departments are conducted, and who should be selected with reference to his special qualifications."
Fresh meat, soft bread, and vegetables, should, in the opinion of the Commissioners, always be issued so far as possible to an army in the field, as regular articles of consumption.
The provisions issued to the army in the late campaign should only be resorted to when fresh meat and bread cannot be obtained :
"Regarded merely in a pecuniary point of view, irrespective of higher considerations, moral and political, the most wasteful of all expenditure is the expenditure of men. There is hardly any conceivable price that it may be necessary to pay for what is required to preserve the health and efficiency of the soldier, that is not advantageously laid out. Every soldier has cost a large sum before he is landed in the Crimea fit for duty, and it costs a like sum to replace him. The value of the other considera
tions cannot be estimated in money, for they are above all price. But the high est price that has been paid, per pound, for fresh meat, including freight and casualties, was 5d. or 6d., and therefore less than the lowest price at which salt meat has been put into store in the Crimea; and if the casualties which, in the winter voyage from the Bosphorus, in steam vessels, are variously stated at from fourteen to twenty per cent, had been double that amount, or even a
larger proportion, that would not have been a sufficient reason for leaving the army without an adequate supply of what was necessary to preserve the health of the troops."
"The dependence on a diet of salt meat and biscuit only should, in future, be confined to cases in which the Gene
ral Officer in command has satisfied himself as to the impossibility of procuring other supplies, and therefore directs, in general orders, the issue of that description of food. The restriction to this ration should then be com. municated immediately to the Home Authorities, in order that they may send out supplies of preserved meats and vegetables, to counteract its sameness and innutritious qualities."
"The ration-stoppages, however, are not only different at different times, but they also differ in different circumstances Oral at the same time. It has been stated Dr that since coffee and sugar have been regularly issued, the stoppage has been 4d; but if the man who is subject to that charge while doing duty on shore is ordered on ship-board, his ration stoppage becomes 5d. or 6d., according to circumstances. Again, if the same man goes into hospital sick or wounded, the stoppage is 34d.; thus, before his account can be settled for the month, it must be ascertained how many days he was doing duty on shore, and therefore subject to a stoppage of 44d.; how many on board of ship receiving rations of spirits, and therefore subject to a stop page of 6d. ; how many on board not receiving spirits, and therefore subject to a stoppage of 5d.; and how many in hospital, and therefore subject to a stoppage of 34d. During the last campaign, every man in the army was part of the time on duty on shore, and part of the time on board ship; nearly all were part of the time in hospital-most of them two or three times; and about half the army went sick to Scutari, and were, therefore, part of the time on shipboard sick,besides the other occasions on which they embarked; yet for each of these men it is necessary, to the settlement of his account, that the precise amount of stoppage to which he is subject on each day should be ascertained. This, however, in a vast number of cases is impossible; and therefore the soldier cannot get a settlement of his account; neither can the Regimental Paymaster, nor the Commissariat, nor the Purveyor. At length, after an amount of labour and correspondence which is almost incredible, the inextricable knot has probably to be cut by an arbitrary
VOL LXXX.-NO, CCCCLXXXIX,
once a month, of the contents of the
The ration-stoppages, or amounts deducted from each man's pay for his daily subsistence, were the cause of hopeless confusion in the accounts.
settlement, as being the only one prac ticable.
"Even where the whole details of the various stoppages can be traced and established, the amount of labour and the extent of the accounts is enormous. The Commissariat, which has charge of the Military Chest, ought to settle accounts with each regiment monthly, taking care that in all cases the proper amount of ration-stoppages is paid into the chest, and that the vouchers are complete. Mr Williams, the Commissariat officer charged with the superintendence of that branch of the Depart
ment, produced to us vouchers for rationstoppages amounting to 348 half-sheets of foolscap paper, and which it occupied one person fully a week to compile and examine. These were the vouchers for only one corps, the Artillery, and for only one month. The memorandums furnished by Mr Leahy, Acting Quartermaster of the Sappers and Miners, by Mr Dares, Paymaster of the 23d Fusiliers, and by Mr Williams, Assistant Commissary-General, explain very clearly the difficulties and embarrassments arising in their several departments from the present system, and they all point to one uniform rate of stoppage in the field as the appropriate remedy.
By reducing the charge to one uniform rate, whether the soldier be doing duty on shore, or be in hospital, or on shipboard, and making the balance of his pay the only matter of account, the whole of these difficulties would at once be removed, and an immense amount of labour saved. The system of accounting, as between the public, the Paymaster, and the Commissariat, would thus be placed upon a footing so simple and satisfactory, that there could never, at any time, or under any circumstances, be the slightest difficulty in settling a soldier's accounts, so far as regards any period during which he is considered to have been on field service. The daily stoppage being always the same, the balance of pay would never vary, and it would only be necessary to establish the number of days he was entitled to receive it to admit of his accounts being settled at once."
To adopt this suggestion would be to confer a great benefit, not only on the soldier himself, but on those charged with the settlement of his accounts. The instant a man left the camp sick, all trace of him was for a time lost. Hundreds arrived at Scutari delirious, and so died, nameless, and without a record by which their