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honor of the contest has been conceded, was but six years the junior of Lord Raglan; and if the Englishman's sixtysix years are to count against age in war, why should not the Frenchman's sixty years count for it? Prince Gortschakoff, who defended Sebastopol so heroically, was but four years younger than Lord Raglan ; and Prince Paskevitch was more than six years his senior. Muravieff, Menschikoff, Luders, and other Russian commanders opposed to the Allies, were all old men, all past sixty years when the war began. Prince Menschikoff was sixty-four when he went on his famous mission to Constantinople, and he did not grow younger in the eighteen months that followed, and at the end of which he fought and lost the Battle of the Alma. The Russian war was an old man's war, and the stubbornness with which it was waged had in it much of that ugliness which belongs to age.
"The yonng man's wrath is like light straw
on fire, But like red-hot steel is the old man's ire."
What rendered the attacks that were made on old generals in 1854-6 the more absurd was the fact, that the English called upon an old "man to relieve them from bad government, and were backed by other nations. Lord Palmerston, upon whom all thoughts and all eyes were directed, was older than any one of those generals to whose years Englishmen attributed their country's failure. When, with the all but universal approbation of Great Britain and her friends, he became Prime - Minister, he was in his seventyfirst year, and his action showed that his natural force was not abated. He was called to play the part of the elder Pitt at a greater age than Pitt reached; and he did not disappoint expectation. It is strange indeed, considering that the Premiership was a more difficult post to fill than that held by any English general, that the English should rely upon the
not a young man; but, though suffering from mortal illness, he showed no want of vigor on almost every occasion when its display wu required.
oldest of their active statesmen to retrieve their fortunes, while they were condemning as unfit for service men who were his juniors by several years.
In truth, the position that youth is necessary to success in war is not sustained by military history. It may be no drawback to a soldier's excellence that he is young, but it is equally true that an old man may possess every quality that is necessary in a soldier who would servo his country well and win immortal fame for himself. The best of the Greek commanders were men in advanced life, with a few exceptions. The precise age of Miltiades at Marathon is unproveu; but as he had become a noted character almost thirty years before the date of that most memorable of battles, he must have been old when he fought and won it . Even Alcibiades, with whom is associated the idea of youth through his whole career, as if Time had stood still in his behalf, did not have a great command until he was approaching to middle age; and it was not until some years more had expired that he won victories for the Athenians. The date of the birth of Epaminondas — the best public man of all antiquity, and the best soldier of Greece —cannot be fixed; but we find him a middle-aged man when first he appears on that stage on which he performed so pure and brilliant a part through seventeen eventful years. Eight years after he first came forward he won the Battle of Leuctra, which shattered the Spartan supremacy forever, and was t!io most perfect specimen of scientific fighting that is to be found in classical history, and which some of the greatest of modern commanders have been proud merely to imitate. After that action, but not immediately after it, he invaded the Peloponnesus, and led his forces to the vicinity of Sparta, and then effected a revolution that bridled that power perpetually. Nine years after Leuctra he won the Battle of Mantinea, dying on the field. Ple must then have been an old man, but the last of his campaigns was a miracle of military skill in all respects; and the effect of his death was the greatest that ever followed the fall of a general on a victorious field, actually turning victory into defeat. The Spartan king, Agesilaus IL, who was a not unworthy antagonist of the great Theban, was an old man, and was over seventy when he saved Sparta solely through his skill as a soldier and his energy as a statesman. As a rule, the Greeks, the most intellectual of all races, were averse to the employment of young men in high offices. The Spartan Brasid'as, if it be true that he fell in the flower of his age, as the historian asserts, may have been a young man at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, iu which he was eminently distinguished; but it was his good fortune to be singularly favored by circumstances on more than one occasion, and his whole career was eminently exceptional to the general current of Hellenic life.
The Romans, though not braver than the Greeks, were more fortunate in their military career than the stayers of the march of Persia. Like the Greeks, they had but few young generals of much reputation. Most of their conquests, and, indeed, the salvation of their country, were the work of old leaders. The grand crisis of Rome was in the years that followed the arrival of Hannibal in Italy; and the two men who did most to baffle the invader were Fabius and Marcellus, who were called, respectively, Rome's shield and sword. They were both old men, though Marcellus may have been looked upon as young in comparison with Fabius, who was upward of seventy, and who, eight years after his memorable pro - dictatorship, retook Tarentum and baffled Hannibal. The old Lingerer was, at eighty, too clever, slow as they thought him at Rome, to be " taken in " by Hannibal, who had prepared a nice trap for him, into which he would not walk. Marcellus was about fifty-two when ho was pitted against the victor of Cannae, and he met him on various occasions, and sometimes with striking success. At the age of fifty-six he took Syracuse, after
one of the most memorable of sieges, in which he had Archimedes for an opponent . At sixty he was killed in a skirmish, leaving the most brilliant military name of the republican times, so highly are valor and energy rated, though in the higher qualities of generalship he was inferior to men whose names are hardly known. Undoubtedly, Mommsen is right when he says that Rome was saved by the Roman system, and not by the labors of this man or that; but it is something for a country to have men who know how to work under its system, and in accordance with its requirements; and such men were Fabius and Marcellus, the latter old enough to be Hannibal's father, while the former was the contemporary of his grandfather.
The turning point in the Second Punic War was the siege of Capua by the Romans. That siege Hannibal sought by all means in his power to raise, well knowing, that, if the Campanian city should fall, he could never hope to become master of Italy. He marched to Rome in the expectation of compelling the besiegers to hasten to its defence; but without effect. Two old Romans commanded the beleaguering army, and while one of them, Q. Fulvius, hastened home with a small force, the other, Appius Claudius, carried on the siege. Hannibal had to retreat, and Capua fell, the effect of the tenacity with which ancient generals held on to their prey. Had they been less firm, the course of history would have been changed. At a later period of the war, Rome was saved from great danger, if not from destruction, by the victory of the Metaurus, won by M. Livius Salinator and C. Claudius Nero. Nero was an elderly man, having been conspicuous for some years, and the consular age being forty. His colleague was a very old man, having been consul before the war began, and having long lived in retirement, because he had been unjustly treated. The Romans now forced him to take office, against his wish, though his actions and his language were of the most insulting character. A great union of parties had taken place, for Hasdrubal was marching to Italy, for the purpose of effecting a junction with his brother Hannibal, and it was felt that nothing short of perfect union could save the State. The State was saved, the two old consuls acting together, and defeating and slaying Hasdrubal in the last gceat battle of the war that was fought in Italy. The old fogies were too much for their foe, a much younger man than either of them, and a soldier of high reputation.
It must be admitted, however, that the Second Punic War is fairly quotable by those who insist upon the superiority of youthful generals over old ones, for the two greatest men who appeared in it were young leaders, — Hannibal, and Publius Cornelius Scipio, the first Africanus. No man has ever exceeded Hannibal in genius for war. He was one of the greatest statesmen that ever lived, and he was so because he was the greatest of soldiers. He might have won pitched battles as a mere general, but it was his statesmanship that enabled him to contend for sixteen years against Rome, in Italy, though Rome was aided by Carthaginian copperheads. But, though a young general, Hannibal was an old soldier when he led his army from the Ebro to the Trebia, as the avenging agent of his country's gods. His military as well as his moral training began in childhood; and when his father, Hamilcar Barcas, * was Jalled, Hannibal, though but eighteen, was of"established reputation in the Carthaginian service. Kight years later he took the place which his father and brother-in-law had held, called to it by the voice of the army. During those eight years he had been
* The advocates of youth in generals have never, that we are aware, claimed Hamilcar Barcas as one of the illustrations of their argument; yet he must have been a very young man when he began his extraordinary career, if, as has been stated on good authority, he was not beyond the middle age when he lost his life in battle. He was a great man, perhaps even as great a man as his son Hannibal, who did bat carry out his father's designs.
constantly employed, and he brought to the command an amount and variety of experience such as it has seldom been the lot of even old generals to acquire. Years brought no decay to his faculties, and we have the word of his successful foe, that at Zama, when he was forty-five, he showed as much skill as he had displayed at Cannae, when he was but thirty-one. Long afterward, when an exile in the East, his powers of mind shine as brightly as they did when he crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps to fulfil his oath. Scipio, too, though in a far less degree than Hannibal, was an old soldier. He had been often employed, and was present at Cannae, before he obtained that proconsular command in Spain which was the worthy foundation of his fortunes. The four years that he served in that country, and his subsequent services in Africa, qualified him to meet Hannibal, whose junior he was by thirteen years. That he was Hannibal's superior, because he defeated him at Zama, with the aid of Masiriissa, no more follows than that Wellington was Napoleon's superior, because, with the aid of Blucher, he defeated him at Waterloo. It would not be more difficult to account for the loss of the African field than it is to account for the loss of the Flemish field, by the superior genius. The elder Africanus is the most exceptional character in all history, and it is impossible to place him. He seems never to have been young, and we cannot associate the idea of age with him, even when he is dying at Liternum at upwards of fifty. He was a man at seventeen, when first he steps boldly out on the historic page, and there is no apparent change in him when we find him leading great armies, and creating a new policy for the redemption of Italy from the evils of war. He was intended to be a king, but he was born two centuries too early to be of any use to his country in accordance with his genius, out of the field. Such a.man is not to be judged as a mere soldier, and we were inclined not to range him on the side of youthful generals; but we will be generous, and, in consideration of his years, permit him to be claimed by those who insist that war is the' business of youth.
At later periods, Rome's greatest generals were men who were old. The younger Africanus was fifty - one at Numantia. Marius did not obtain the consulship until he was fifty; and he was fifty-five when he won his first great victory over the Northern barbarians, and a year older when he completed their destruction. Sulla was past fifty when he set out to meet the armies of Mithridates, which he conquered; and he was fifty-six when he made himself master of his country, after one of the fiercest campaigns on record. Pompeius distinguished himself when very young, but it is thought that the title of "the Great" was conferred upon him by Sulla in a spirit of irony. The late Sir William Napier, who ought to have been a good judge, said that he was a very great general, and in a purely military sense perhaps greater than Caesar. He was fifty-eight in the campaign of Pharsalia, and if he then failed, his failure must be attributed to the circumstances of his position, which was rather that of a party leader than of a general; and a party leader, it has been truly said, must sometimes obey, in order that at other times he may command. Pompeius delivered battle at Pharsalia against his own judgment. The "Onward to Rome!" cry of the fierce aristocrats was too strong to be resisted; and " their general yielded with • a sigh to the importunities of his followers, declaring that he could no longer command, and must submit to obey." Not long before he had beaten Caesar at Dyrrachium, with much loss to the vanquished, completely spoiling his plans; and the great contest might have had a very different result, had not political and personal considerations been permitted to outweigh those of a military character. Politicians are pests in a camp. Caesar was in his fifty-first year when he crossed the Rubicon and began his wonderful series of campaigns in the Civil War, — campaigns characterized by an almost superhuman energy. The most
remarkable of his efforts was that which led to his last appearance in the field, at the Battle of Munda, where he fought for existence; he was then approaching fiftyfive, and he could not have been more active and energetic, had he been as young as Alexander at Arbela.
In modern days, the number of old generals who have gained great battles is large, far larger than the number of young generals of the highest class. The French claim to be the first of military peoples, and though no other nation has been so badly beaten in battles, or so completely crushed in campaigns, there is a general disposition to admit their claim ; and many of their best commanders were old men. Bertrand du Guesclin performed his best deeds against the English after he was fifty, and he was upward of sixty years when the commandant of Randon laid the keys of his fortress on his body, surrendering, not to the Jiving, but to the dead. Turenne was ever great, but it is admitted that his three last campaigns, begun when he was sixty-two, were his greatest performances. Conde's victory at Rocroi was a most brilliant deed, he being then but twenty-two; but it does not so strikingly illustrate his genius as do those operations by which, at fifty-four, he baffled Montecuculi, and prevented him from profiting from the fall of Turenne. Said Cond6 to one of his officers, "How much I wish that I could have conversed only two hours with the ghost of Monsieur de Turenne, so as to be able to follow the scope of his ideas!" In these days, generals can have as much ghostly talk as they please, but the privilege would not seem to be much used, or it is not useful, for they do nothing that is of consequence sufficient to be attributed to supernatural power. Luxembourg was sixty-two when he defeated Prince Waldeck at Fleurus; and at sixty-four and sixty-five he defeated William IIL at Steinkirk and Landen. Venddme was fifty-one when he defeated Eugene at Cassano; and at fifty-six he won the eventful Battle of Villavicicsa, to which the Spanish Bourbons owe their throne. Villars, who fought the terrible Battle of Malplaquet against Marlborough and Eugene, was then fifty-six years old; and he had more than once baffled those commanders. At sixty he defeated Eugene, and by his successes enabled France to conclude honorably a most disastrous war. The Comte de Saxe was in his forty-ninth year when he gained the Battle of Fontenoy; * and later he won other successes. Rochambeau was in his fifty-seventh year when he acted with Washington at Yorktown, in a campaign that established our existence as a nation.
The Spanish army of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, down to the date of the Battle of Rocroi, stood very high. Several of its best generals were old men. Gonsalvo de Cordova, "the Great Captain," who may be considered the father of the famous Spanish infantry, was fifty when he completed his Italian conquests; and nine years later he was again called to the head of the Spaniards in Italy, but the King of Aragon's jealousy prevented him from going to that country. Alva was about sixty when he went to the Netherlands, on his awful mission; and it must be allowed that he was as great in the field as he was detestably cruel. At seventy-four he conquered Portugal. Readers of Mr. Prescott's work on Peru will remember his lively account of Francisco de Carbajal, who at fourscore was more active than are most men at thirty. Francisco Pizarro was an old man, about sixty, when he effected the conquest of Peru; and his principal associate, Alma
• At Fontenoy the Duke of Cumberland was but half the age of the Comte de Saxe. lu that battle an English soldier was taken prisoner, after fighting with heroic bravery. A French officer complimented him, saying, that, if there had been fifty thousand men like him on the other side, the victory Would have been theirs. "No," said the Englishman, " it was not the fifty thousand brave men who were wanting, but a Marshal Saxe." Cumberland was ever unlucky, save at Culloden. Saxe was old beyond bis years, being one of the fastest of the fast men of his time, as became the son of Augustus the Strong and Aurora von Kunigsmark.
gro, was his senior. Spinola, who died at sixty-one, in the full possession of his reputation, was, perhaps, the greatest military genius of his time, next to Gustavus Adolphus and Wallenstein.
The Austrian military service has become a sort of butt with those who shoot their arrows at what is called slowness, and who delight to transfix old generals. Since Bonaparte, in less than a year, tumbled over Beaulieu, Wurmser, and Alvinczy, (whose united ages exceeded two hundred years,) it has been taken for granted that the Austrians never have generals under threescore-and-ten years, and that they are always beaten. There have been many old generals in the Austrian service, it is true, and most of them have been very good leaders. Montecuculi was fifty-six when he defeated the Turks at St. Gothard, which is counted one of the "decisive battles "of the seventeenth century. Daun was fifty-three when he won the victory of Kolin, June 18,1757, inflicting defeat on the Prussian Frederick, next to Marlborough the greatest commander of modern times who had then appeared. Mclas was seventy when he met Bonaparte at Marengo, and beat him, the victory being with the Austrian while he remained on the field; but infirmities having compelled him to leave before he could glean it, the arrival of Desaix and the dash of the younger Kellermann turned the tide of battle in favor of the French. General Zach, Melas's chief of the staff, was in command in the latter part of the battle, and it is supposed, that, if he had not been captured, the Austrians would have kept what they had won. He was fifty-six years old, but was not destined to be the " Old Zach" of his country, as the "Old Zach " was always victorious. Marshal Radetzky was eightytwo when, in 1848, he found himself compelled to uphold the Austrian cause in Italy, without the hope of aid from home; and not only did he uphold it, but a year later he restored it completely, and was the virtual ruler of the Peninsula until he had reached the age of ninety. Of all the military men who took part in the