Page images
PDF
EPUB

the two years that he commanded the Potomac flotilla.

“The tactician,” says Ramatuelle, “is one who is gifted with quickness of apprehension and clearness of thought, and such correctness of judgment as shall enable him to make choice of the movements best suited to the time and situation.” In other words, great commanders, by sea as well as on land, are “born, not made;" yet an excellent “recipe for a good admiral" is that given by Rear-Admiral Charles Ekins, “in the person who combines theory with practice, is blessed with a clear head, and has his heart in the right place."

[ocr errors]

“In case signals cannot be seen or clearly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy."--NELSON.

FLEET TACTICS UNDER STEAM.

An assembly of twelve or more vessels takes the name of fleet, and is separated into three divisions, of one, two, or three squadrons each; each squadron comprising not less than four vessels. Thus, a fleet of twelve vessels would be composed of three divisions of one squadron each, and the commanding officers of squadrons would also be the commanding officers of divisions; and so with a fleet of any number of vessels up to twenty-four. In a fleet of this or larger size, the divisions would consist of two or more squadrons each, with the commands thus distributed. Commander-in-Chief.... The Fleet. 2d in command..... Van Division. 3d

.Rear

. Centres
5th "
66

.Van Squadron.
.Rear

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

4th "

6th "

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

G

[ocr errors]

8th 9th 10th 66 11th " 12th " 13th " 14th

[ocr errors]

..Next to Van
.Next to Rear
.2d from Van
2d Rear
.3d

Van

Rear
And so on, ad infinitum.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.30

When the centre division has in it an uneven number of squadrons, there will be of course but one centre squadron, commanded by the 7th in command. The 8th in command then taking the next to van squadron. The 9th the next to rear, etc., etc., etc.

The commander-in-chief of a fleet and the commanding officers of divisions, consisting of two or more squadrons each, should have no fixed position, either in line or in column, but be at liberty to move about, from point to point, as the exigencies of service or battle may require. They should ordinarily be found, however, near the centre of their commands.

Commanders of squadrons are on the right of their squadrons, in line, and in the advance, in column, in a fleet in natural order, with the

« PreviousContinue »