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It may be said that these were small affairs. So they were, in one sense, as compared with a modern pitched battle: but they represent the whole service performed by the Navy during the war, except blockade duty and transport duty. The results were very important and out of all proportion to the skirmishes that took place. All the seaport towns on both the east and west coasts were taken ; the blockade of the coast was turned into an occupation, and at all the ports a naval government was organized, a naval officer appointed Collector of Customs, a tariff established and the whole custom's revenue of Mexico, for the time being, turned into the treasury of the United States.
1854. April 4. Combined English and American landing party at Shangbai to protect foreign residents. Sharp engagement with the Chinese.
1855. Summer. Landings and engagements at the Fiji Islands by parties from the John Adams.
During the war of secession landing parties were being constantly used, and did important service, both on the Mississippi and on the coast. It would take too much time to recount them all, and I shall only mention one which was the most iostructive and at the same time the most important; and that was the landing at Fort Fisher. The details of this landing parts are familiar to all. It was conceired in a spirit of gallantry and from a natural desire that the Nars should gain as many laurels as possible. But while the attack helped our land forces to victory it was most disastrous to the Vary. It failed, , not merely because our men were opposed to disciplined troops, but because they were sent with inferior arms to fight against men who were behind intrenchments and who had the best weapons of the time. I will not enter into any details beyond giving extracts from the orders issued relative to the landing, and an extract from the report of the officer in command of the landing.
These extracts will sufficiently explain the failure. si The sailors will be armed with cutlasses, well sharpened, and with revolvers. When the signal is made to assault, the boats will pull around the stern of the monitors, and land right abreast of them and board the fort on the run in a seamanlike was. The marines will form in the rear and cover the sailors.
* He will first advance with a thin line of sappers, as soon as he can get a ditch deep enough for shelter, the marines will go in thin squads and occupy them. ****** No move is to be made forward until the army charges, when the navy is to assault the sea or southeast face of the work, going orer with cutlasses drawn and revolvers in hand."*
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Lt. Comdr. Breeze in his report sass—“ I can but attribute the failure of the assault to the absence of the marines from their position ; as their fire would have enabled our boarders to use their pistols and cutlasses most effectually. By this I would imply tbe lack of proper organization, it being impossible in the short space of time, on account of throwing so many small squads of men from the different ressels to gether in one mass, lacking proper company organizations and wholly unacquainted with each other, to secure such organization.” From a carefal perusal of all the reports, it appears that the fault did not lie entirely with the marines, as theç only shared the general panic. It seems almost too much to expect of men that they should march up to a fort in the face of a deliberate fire, with weapons which were only useful in a hand to hand conflict. The bayonet is superior to the cutlass always, because, as a double weapon, a man has more confidence, and properly drilled with the baronet, eren without ammunition, would be more than a match for men with cutlasses. Such a landing should only hare been attempted when every detail of organization had been properly perfected, when companies and battalions were formed and with the men properly armed.
OPERATIONS SINCE THE WAR. 1867. June 131. Hartford and Wyoming at Formosa. One hundred and eighty-one seamen and marines landed under Comdr. Belknap and Lt. Condr. Vac Kenzie.
1868. Feb. 41. Assault at Hiogo by Japanese troops on foreign residents. Joint landing of naral forces present.
1868. Feb. 7. and 191. Two landings at Montevideo to protect foreign residents.
1868. Aprili. Force landed from the Penobscot at Aspin wall.
1871. June 9. and 10$. Attack on Corean forts. Five hundred and forty-six, seamen, one hundred marines, seren howitzers under Comdr. H. C. Blake.
1873. May. Landing at Panama. Two hundred seamen and marines, four guns, to protect the railway and American citizens.
1873. Sept. Landing at Panama. One hundred and thirty men and howitzers.
* Admiral Porter's order. Report of the Secretary of the Nary, 1865.
1873. Riot at Honolulu. Landing party of one hundred and fifty seamen and marines, and one gatling. This concludes a condensed history of the operations of the naval brigade in our service.
No one can fail to recognize the importance of the work it has performed, and, at the same time, it has been shown how success was always dependent on organization and drill. As long as our presence alone is sufficient to effect our purpose we may, to a certain extent, let them go, but if we are to fight we must not neglect the smallest point which can contribute to success.
ORGANIZATION. The basis of the organization of the landing party of each ship must be the number of men that can be carried by the boats without overloading them: having fixed upon the total, it is divided into infantry companies, howitzer and gatling crews, and the special details. The infantry companies are carried in the cutters and smaller boats: certain of the larger boats are fitted for howitzers and are generally used for that purpose, although it will be for the commanding officer to decide, in some cases, whether it is better to carry in the boat thirty men as infantry, with sixty rounds each, or a howitzer, whose locomotion is slow, which requires twenty men to manæuvre it, and which has at best only about forty rounds. The landing party is composed of
One commanding officer, one aide, one officer commanding infantry, one officer commanding artillery. Marines—as many as are allowed. Infantry companies—two officers, forty men, each. Howitzer crewsone officer, twenty men, each. Gatling crews--one officer, twelve men, each. Signals—one officer, one quartermaster, four men, or less. Pioneers-one officer, carpenter, armorers and four men to each company. Field Hospital-one medical officer, one apothecary and four men.
Provisions—one pay officer, one pay writer and one man for each company and crew. Ammunition-one gunner, one gunner's mate, one man to each company and crew, one master-at-arms, one ship’s corporal, one ship's cook.
The men to form the companies are taken from the gun divisions, and the companies are officered from the divisions to which they belong. In the same way the howitzers are manned and officered from certain divisions, so that the men will find their comrades in drill next to them, and they will be under the officers to whose commands and instruction they are accustomed. The pioneers are selected from those who are used to the tools required, preferably from the carpenter's crew and engineer's force, with the armorer and his mates; the ammunition, provision and hospital men from the powder division, and the signal men and gatling crew from the navigator's division.
In assigning the details to the boats, care must be taken to keep the men together under their own officers, the howitzer crews being placed in their proper boats and the companies assigned to any two boats that will carry them, with the commanding officer of the company in one boat and his junior in the other, and these two boats are kept together under all circumstances. The special details are assigned as is most convenient, but it is better to keep them together than to mix them up in the other boats. With regard to the marines it has long been the custom to distribute them as sitters in the different boats ; this is open to two objections, first, it diminishes by so many the number of blue-jackets in the pulling boats where they are most useful, and it must demoralize the marines by separating them from their own officers, whom they must seek immediately after landing. This plan was adopted in former days because the marines were not taught to pull, and we had no other means of propulsion for the boats; but now we have steam launches which will generally carry the whole marine guard and they should unquestionably be placed in these boats where they will be under the command of their own officers.
When the landing parties of several ships are combined to form a naval brigade, the same thoroughness in detail must be observed. The infantry companies are united in battalions of four companies each and the howitzers into batteries of four guns each. For each battalion and battery a staff is assigned consisting of adjutant, ordnance officer, medical officer and pay officer, from those furnished by the different landing parties, so that the organization of each unit will be complete. These details should all be perfected before the boats leave their ships, and published to all, so that every officer and man will know his station and his own duty, and will know exactly all who are associated with him. Every boat which is used is numbered or lettered, the letters being used for howitzer boats and the numbers for the infantry and other boats. When organizing the force from a single ship the boats are numbered according to the force, but when landing the naval brigade, numbers or letters are assigned by the commanding officer of the expedition according to the organization.
EQUIPMENT. The officers wear undress and leggings, and carry sword, revolver, haversack, water bottle, pocket book, knife, spoon, cup and blanket rolled, containing flannel shirt, stockings and towel. Weight of sword and revolver, 5 lbs. 5 oz.
The marines wear undress uniform with leggings. Knife with laniard, canteen, haversack, tin cup and spoon, blanket rolled, containing shirt, stockings and towel, rifle, bayonet, accoutrements and sixty rounds of ball cartridge. Weight of rifle, accoutrements and ammunition, 18 lbs.
All blue-jackets wear blue uniform, cap, leggings, knife and laniard, tin cup, spoon, canteen, haversack, and rolled blanket, containing shirt, stockings and towel.
All-officers and men--wear flannel underclothes, and a rigid inspection of shoes and leggings should be made before leaving the ship, and tobacco should be served out to every one.
The men of the infantry companies carry magazine rifle, bayonet, accoutrements and sixty rounds of ball cartridge. Weight of uniform, 9 lbs. 7 oz. - Weight of equipments, 18 lbs. 10 oz.
The men of the howitzer and gatling crews carry their ammunition pouches, a pistol and cartridges. Provision is made in the Ord. Ins. which permits some of the crew to carry rifles under certain circumstances, but the artillery officer should consider whether the advantages gained by having the rifles will outweigh the diminished celerity of the piece in consequence of the added weight to be carried by the men. Weight of pistol and sixty rounds, 64 lbs.
Signal men carry each a signal kit with gear for signalling by day or night, and are armed with pistols. The signal officer and quartermaster carry glasses.
The pioneers are equipped with tools to whose use they are most accustomed : the most useful tools are, axes, picks and shovels, while saws, crow-bars and sledge-hammers are occasionally needed. The armorer who acts as sergeant of the pioneers, carries a bag containing tape measure, powder flask, gimlet and implements for repairing machine guns and small arms. Weight of axe, 5 lbs. 2 oz.,pick, 3 lbs. 6 oz., shovel, 4 lbs. 5 oz.
The field hospital corps carry a stretcher and the medicine chest, and each man in the hospital party should have a tourniquet and be instructed in its use. It will be found useful to have a small flag, the Geneva Cross, for example, to indicate the position of the hospital.
The paymaster's corps, being charged with the supply of provisions, will have to improvise some way of carrying what is needed beyond what is contained in the haversacks. Cooked rations for two days can be carried in haversacks. If the men are to be on shore for only a few hours, they should have one day's rations; if for one whole day,