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Direct or parallel lines of battle must, besides, be very
disad. vantageous for any army, unless the front be but of
very small extent, and that the commander have a sufficient number of troops, in reserve, to reinforce such parts of his line
enemy appear to break through.
The oblique order of battle comprehends every species of disposition of troops, by which they can, at pleasure, be made to act against one or more points of the enemy's line, whilst the remaining parts of it are kept in check ; such troops as are not engaged in these attacks, being held back, and beyond the reach of the enemy; by which operation the attacking army seems, in a general sense, to be obliquely inclined, by one or more angles, to that of the enemy.
This oblique order is the most scientifick, the most artful, and the most perfect of all. • It is this,' says the Chevalier de Folard, “ against which a general, however able he may be, can form no opposition, when it is suddenly presented by the enemy: for, to be able to oppose it with due effect, it would be necessary to execute such manæuvres as cannot possibly be performed in the moment of action, as they require much time and previous arrangement. It might, for instance, be requisite to transport the whole left of an army to the right, or the whole right to the left.'
The parts of a line, with which the partial attack or attacks are to be made, are reinforced beyond the ordinary strength of the line, and the other parts not engaged, are weakened in proportion as they are removed from the enemy.
The oblique order is the genuine resource of a weak army. Its principal advantage consists in giving a commander the choice of the point of attack, and in rendering for some time, at least, the enemy's superiority in numbers of no use to them.
An army which is forced to engage another much more numerous, ought, above all to endeavour to outfront it on one of the wings, and to be strong on every point where the enemy may make an attack. By gaining these two grand advantages, and by keeping back the other parts of the line from action, a sort of equality, in effective strength, will be established between the two armies, the greater portion of the largest being thus rendered of no use in the battle.
Vol. l. DDD
Frederick II. or the Great, of Prussia, has of all the moderns, best studied the principles and properties of the oblique order. In his grand encampments and reviews, in time of peace, he shewed the mechanism of this order to his generals ; and it was by it that he opened the way to his numerous victories. The Prussian tacticks form an æra in military history.
The oblique order may be employed against the right, the left, or the centre of the enemy's line, or against any of the intermediate points ; but it is generally directed against one of the wings.
The great art of arranging this order, is to mask and conceal the design from the enemy, who being equally apprehensive of an attack on every point, cannot weaken one in order to strengthen any other.
The way to make an oblique attack miscarry, is to adopt an order contrary to that of the enemy, and to have always a considerable corps de reserve, of horse and foot, ready to reinforce the point attacked.
It is often of great advantage to employ the oblique order against an enemy, who has taken what he considers to be a good position, and there waits for the attack. In such a case he has no fears of being surprized, and for that very confidence is frequently defeated.
However inferiour a general may be, he never can be utterly defeated, if he act on the oblique order : for, as he does not engage the whole front of the enemy, nor even bring into action but a part of his own line, he can never suffer, excepting merely in the point of contact.
It follows from all this, that a general, who is obliged to engage an enemy superiour to himself in numbers, or in the quality of the troops, ought to take such a position as that the enemy cannot attack his whole front at one time. By such a position he will be saved from a total defeat; but, on the other hand, he will be prevented from employing his talents, or taking advantage of circumstances, to ruin the enemy, unless this last destroy his own army, by repeated and unsuccessful assaults on such parts as are within his reach.”
MR. MADISON. THE late happy negociation to accommodate our differences with Great Britain which we ardently hope may terminate in that country as successful as they have begun in this, has placed such a weight of popularity in the hands of Mr. Madison, that all the fear of his continuing in the presidency will be found in the probable desertion of his own party. Indications of mistrust have already been made, and if the president continues in the path of honour and integrity without vaulting or tottering or wavering, we confess we have some fears for his reputation amongst the democrats. But if the conduct of Napoleon when the accommodation with England shall have been communicated to him, shall appear to be hostile, we expect to hear Great Britain denounced in the utmost vehemence of fury, and if Mr. Madison should dare to speak boldly as he ought to speak to the French emperour, he will be assailed by his former supporters first with artful insinuations and then with open invective. The probable conduct of France at this critical juncture deserves the peculiar solicitude of politicians.
THE WORKS OF MR. AMES AGAIN. THE allusions in the Patriot newspaper of last Wednesday, which were considered by the editor of the Ordeal as personal. ly obnoxious, will have been removed by the writer of that par. agraph in the paper of this day. The communication as far as regards the rest of the topicks which it involves, is still a subject of animadversion. In the first place, the remarks introductory to an extract from the Dangers of American Liberty,' by Mr. Ames were not intended as a reply to the Review to which they allude.
But if the editor of the Ordeal has not undertaken that reply, it is not from any alterations of his impressions in respect to the motives of the writer ; or in regard to the weakness of the ground which the reviewer has assumed. We have perused the review in question, and consider the integrity of Mr. Ames's political character in no degree affected by it; it needsno defence.
“ The blood of Douglass will protect itsell."
As to the accusation of indirect personal virulence against the supposed author of the review,' it may very fairly be remarked that the writer in the Patriot has discovered some general expressions highly derogatory to any individual to whose character they correspond, and has applied them to the supposed author of the review. We cannot be responsible for such an application; the author of the review must be obliged to the writer the Patriot, for the garb in which he chooses to array him. We learn from the same source, that the game, at which our pointless arrows' are directed, are above our reach,' which certainly could not be concluded from a perusal of the review. It could not be imagined that that composition came from any one who was not evidently open to censure and animadversion, from the meanest as well as the most exalted minds. As our editorial labours are now at an end, we shall not deem it requisite to reply to any animadversions which the present paragraph may produce.