War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 0577 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE. ETC. - UNION.

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replaced and sent to the ammunition train to be replenished. Neither caissons nor limbers must, under any circumstances, be so far separated from their guns as to be beyond the prompt control of the battery commander.

III. The third consideration in posting artillery is the position of the rest of the troops. In general, the movements and positions of the infantry and cavalry determine the position for action of the artillery, which usually places itself on the flanks of the other troops, or between their intervals where it is secure itself and can fire for the longest period of time. A position in advance of other troops is very objectionable, especially in advance of cavalry. Cases occur, however, in which it cannot be avoided, those cases being, in general, when the action of the artillery is of primary importance, and there is no suitable position for it elsewhere. When a line of battle is established, on which infantry is to receive an attack, it is often strengthened by artificial means. A rifle-pit is dug, or barricades of wood constructed, or advantage is taken of stone walls, & c. In such cases the artillery should be placed immediately on the line, preferably on advanced points, or in flanking positions, if such offer, so that it can be used freely, and fire canister at need. This it cannot do if posted, as is too often the case, behind the line so as to fire over the troops. For the reasons already given, the guns when so posted should not be placed behind wood or stone barricades. Such cover should be removed and the pieces sunk as already directed, or earth parapets placed in front of them. It may be laid down as a rule that artillery should not fire over our own troops. For this there are three good reasons: Accidents are liable to happen to the troops from projectiles; it embarrasses their advance by battering the ground in front of them, and obliging them to hold back until the fire can be stopped or its range extended; it makes the men over whom the projectiles are passing uneasy, and may demoralize them. When it becomes necessary to fire over troops, solid shot and, in rare cases, shell should be used, and not canister nor shrapnel; the latter projectile being liable to burst too soon, and to carry destruction among those over whose heads it was intended to pass.

IV. It is of importance that every position assumed by artillery should afford facilities for free movement in every direction, in order that such new positions may be taken up as circumstances may require. When this is not the case, care must at least be taken that the safety of the guns is not compromised. When the position is to be held to the last extremity, strong supports should be furnished and the guns fought to the last, so that if lost it shall be with honor. If the position is not to be so held, and the nature of the ground will permit, prolonges must be fixed that the battery may be fought retiring with the other troops. When it is likely that a position will be carried and its defense will not justify the loss of guns, they must, if the nature of the ground will not admit of the use of the prolonge, be limbered up and retired in due season under the protection of their supports. A battery may often be retired by sections, and half batteries under the protection of its own fire alone. Whenever a battery takes post, the means of moving it to the front, the flanks, or the rear must be studied by its commander, and, if necessary, walls and fences torn down and ditches filled up, so that no unexpected obstacles may hinder its freedom of movement in any direction. It is a disgrace to an artillery officer if a gun, or even an opportunity of rendering service, should be lost through a neglect or want of

37 R R - VOL XLII, PT II