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to us. All that will be here attempted, is to afford a general knowledge of the changes which time and circumstances have wrought in the character and constitution of our armies, to give a sketch of their rise and progress, with such illustrations of their social history, and of the defensive and offensive weapons which have been employed at various periods, as our space will admit.
SECTION I. ANCIENT BRITISH AND SAXON ARMIES. FROM the most remote antiquity, the inhabitants of these isles appear to have been distinguished for their bravery and hardihood. At the period of the landing of Cæsar, from whose writings we derive most of our knowledge of the military system, if such it could be called, of the ancient Britons, it appears that they were unprovided with any sort of defensive armour except rude shields; that their ideas of fortification were confined to strengthening their encampments with earth-works; that they employed war-chariots, armed with scythes; and that their chief arms of offence consisted of javelins, swords, and arrows, which were slight, and unfit to withstand the Romans in close encounters, although in light skirmishes they were not unfrequently successful.
Whilst Britain was under Roman dominion, in conformity with the usual system adopted by that people amongst the various barbarous nations which they brought under their yoke, they employed the native soldiers in foreign lands, and thus the more effectually checked any disposition to revolt, by withdrawing the military population, and supplying their places with their own troops. When the Romans abandoned Britain, therefore, it was literally destitute of defenders, and speedily fell into the hands of foreign enemies, who, as in the case of the Saxons, were enabled to secure their conquests with little difficulty.
The Saxons appear to have assembled considerable armies at periods of emergency, but it was not until the reign of Alfred, who found it necessary to keep his troops for a considerable time in the field, that (what may be termed) a national militia was established. By his laws every freeman, capable of bearing arms, and not incapacitated by bodily infirmities, was, in all cases of emergency, compelled to unite under the banners of his sovereign. At stated intervals, the people were exercised, under the inspection of their earls and other officers; and once in every year there was a general review of the male population in each county. All such as were qualified to bear arms in every family were led to the field, or muster, by the head of that family. Ten families formed a tithing, which was commanded by a borsholder; and ten tithings made a hundred, several of which formed a trithing, whence the origin of the Ridings in Yorkshire. One portion of this militia was kept by Alfred in the field, another in various strong-holds, and the remainder were left to cultivate the land; so that, in the language of the historian, Hume, the kingdom at that period was like one great garrison."
The Saxon and Danish forces were chiefly composed of infantry, and divided into two classes, the light and heavy armed. The latter used large oval convex shields, with spikes projecting from the bosses; their helmets were composed of the skins of animals with the hair outwards; and they were provided with heavy swords and javelins. The light infantry wore light swords, battle-axes, and darts. The Saxons were unacquainted with that formidable weapon, the cross-bow; and it does not appear that they often used the common bow, except whilst engaged in fieldsports. The Saxon cavalry, which was chiefly composed of the Thanes, or such as kept horses, until the eighth century appear to have worn no other defensive armour than a helmet; they were provided with spears, and used stirrups, and spurs with a single point. The general dress of all soldiers was a tunic, which reached to the knees, and was provided with sleeves. Armour does not seem to have been adopted by this people at all till the eighth century, and long after that it was only used by their nobles and officers; but it was chiefly composed of hides, or of linen tunics, thickly padded. At the period of the Norman conquest, however, we learn from that curious piece of needlework, the Bayeux Tapestry, that the common soldiers were many of them armed in a complete coat of mail.
In time of battle the Anglo-Saxons seem to have drawn up their troops in one dense mass around their standard, placing their foot, with their ponderous battle-axes, in front. But little attention appears then to have been paid to the erection of places of defence. Circular or square towers, varying from three to five stories, of which Coningsborough
Castle is by some supposed to be an example, were, how ever, built in several parts of the country, to serve as places of safety in time of need, but they are believed to have been few in number.
SECTION II. 1066-1660. NORMAN CONQUEST-FEUDAL SYSTEM-ARMIES OF THE MIDDLE AGES, &c.
A SWEEPING alteration in the military state of England succeeded the Conquest in 1066. Within a few years after that event, the new sovereign bestowed nearly all the lands in the realm amongst his Norman followers, on conditions of military service. For this purpose, in 1085, a survey of the land throughout England was made, after which it was divided into certain portions, each producing an annual revenue, (estimated in the reign of Edward the First at 207.) called a Knight's Fee; every holder of which was bound, personally, to serve the king, either at home or abroad, at his own expense, for forty days in each year, providing himself with a horse and the requisite arms and accoutrements; at the expiration of that period, he was at liberty to return home, but if his further services were required, he was then paid by the king. What is called the Feudal System was thus introduced into England, and, calculating the number of knights' fees at 60,000, the king was thus at all times, enabled to command an immense and effective body of cavalry for active service.
In despite, however, of this extensive force, William does not appear to have thought himself secure; for he employed large bodies of foreign mercenaries to defend the important castles and fortifications, and to protect the frontiers bordering on Wales and Scotland. The erection of strong holds was indeed a distinguishing feature in his military policy. "In a few years after the conquest," says the Saxon chronicle, "the whole kingdom was covered with castles, and the poor people worn out with the forced labour of their erection."
The Norman sovereign, however, did not lose sight of the system adopted by Alfred. The whole male population of the realm, between the ages of fifteen and sixty, were liable to be called upon for military service. This force was designated the posse comitatus, or power of the country, and their chief object was to preserve the peace, under the command of the sheriff; their constitution essentially differing from that of the feudal troops, as they were only liable to be called upon in cases of internal commotion or foreign invasion, and not in any case to be marched out of the kingdom. Reviews or musters of the posse comitatus took place at stated intervals, under the direction of the sheriffs, to control whom an officer, called a lieutenant, was appointed, who, in progress of time, had the sole command of this force, and was, ultimately, (in the reign of Henry the Eighth,) invested with the powers of the present Lords-Lieutenant of Counties, when that title was first brought into use. It is not difficult to trace the origin of the existing county-militia system in the establishment of the posse comitatus.
In consequence of the inconvenience attendant on the feudal system, a relaxation soon took place in its severity. Knights', or personal service, was commuted for money, but the amount was variable, and settled in every instance between the individual and the sovereign. A considerable military revenue was thus acquired by the crown, which was employed in the hire of national stipendiary troops, or foreign mercenaries, which were kept in permanent service. The methods of raising these troops were either by recruiting, or enlisting volunteers, by a mode assimilating to that practised at the present day, or by means of indenture, (a practice first adopted by Edward the Third,) by which various individuals, or contractors, engaged to find a certain number of men, armed and equipped for the service of the crown, for a stated time, at a stipulated remuneration. It was customary, on entering into these agreements, for the sovereign not only to advance a part of the pay beforehand, but to find security for the regular discharge of the remainder. Henry the Fifth actually pledged all his jewels for this purpose, and they were not redeemed during his
life-time. Edward the Second and Third also resorted to extraordinary expedients in recruiting their armies. Soldiers were forcibly impressed for particular expeditions, and charters of pardon were, on such occasions, granted to criminals, on condition of their joining the troops.
On the decline of the feudal system, in order to render the defensive force of the kingdom as effective as possible, various statutes were passed, particularly in the reign of Edward the First, relative to arms and armour, which compelled all persons, under certain penalties, to provide themselves with armour of a particular description. These laws remained substantially in force till the reign of James the First, when they were abolished; the posse comitatus ceasing, about the same period, to be available for military
The Crusades to the Holy Land, which agitated Europe during a great part of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, powerfully influenced the constitution of society. In this warfare the church took a prominent part, and many distinguished ecclesiastics entered the field of battle against the infidels. In the reign of Henry the Second, the most eminent prelate in England equipped 6000 menat-arms, 700 of whom were knights, at his own cost. And in cases of emergency, reverend prelates have frequently led large levies into battle in this country to stop the incursions of the Scots, or quell intestine commotions. Early in the reign of Edward the Fourth, when an invasion was expected from France, writs were issued by the king, "commanding the archbishops, bishops, and all ecclesiastics, to be furnished with competent arms, and arrayed in companies, to conquer, repel, and destroy the enemy, with our other faithful subjects," in case of extremity. The success of the English during the crusades, especially under Richard the First, who reaped a rich harvest of glory in the Holy Land, raised England to a very high rank as a military power; and her superiority was further established by the important acquisitions which were afterwards made in France, and by the conquest of Ireland.
The wars of the middle ages were, however, from various causes, indecisive. During the greater part of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the cavalry was chiefly composed of knights, or the nobility and gentry of the country; who also rendered important services at the storming of fortresses or towns, when they fought on foot.
One of the most eminent of our military commanders in the middle ages was Edward the Black Prince, the eldest son of King Edward the Third, whose reign was one of the most glorious in English history. There are several very interesting representations of this great prince in existence. The figure in the engraving at page 121 (which is reduced from a larger plate in Hamilton Smith's splendid and valuable work on British costume, &c., to which we have to confess our obligations for the other subjects in this number, as well as for some of the accompanying details), has been taken from the most authentic of these, the beautiful monumental effigy in copper in the cathedral of Canterbury. The statue is in plated armour, with a pointed scull-cap and a coronet, a gorget of mail, and a surcoat of arms, quartering Old France and England, under a label of three points; the hips encircled by a girdle of lions' heads, richly carved; the shoes peaked, and the spurs furnished with large rowels. The prince was above six feet high, extremely handsome, and well- | formed, and wore a quantity of hair on his upper lip. By his side are his war-shield and helmet, with ostrich feathers overshadowing the lion, here represented couchant. In the background are soldiers of the fourteenth century, and a view of Rochester Castle. At the close of the glorious victory of Cressy, which was chiefly owing to his bravery and judicious conduct, the Black Prince went to his father (Edward the Third), to receive the eulogium due to his valour, and laid at his feet the triple plume or crest of the King of Bohemia, who had been slain in the battle. According to popular belief, he was consequently invested with the crest, and adopted the motto (Ich dien, German, I serve) of the fallen monarch; both which have been used by all succeeding Princes of Wales; many of our antiquaries, however, seem disposed to discredit this tradition.
Normans appears to have consisted of two kinds; one of iron rings or plates, and the other of leather. The defensive armour, or coat of mail of a knight, or man at arms, (also called a hauberk or habergeon,) was composed, says Grose, of ringlets of iron, linked together, like a net, which covered the body; to this was joined a hood, breeches, stockings, and sabatynes, or shoes, all of the same construction. The hands and arms were also defended by sleeves of mail. Another sort of armour, (previously alluded to,) was "composed of small plates of iron, sewed upon quilted linen or leather, through a small hole in the centre of the plate; the edges were laid one over another, like the scales of a fish." This armour was calculated to resist the stroke of a sword, or the thrust of a pike, and yet was very pliable. By a strap suspended round the neck, knights carried a wooden shield, (of a convex or triangular form,) covered with leather, and bound with brass or iron, having handles on the inner side for brasing it, a term then used, to describe the method of pulling it over the left arm. Helmets, in the middle ages, were of various forms. "Some were conical or pyramidical, with a small projection to defend the face from a transverse stroke." Others were cylindrical, covering the whole head, with apertures for sight and breath; some left the face entirely uncovered. This was the prevailing kind of armour worn in Europe, until the fourteenth century. At that period, the hauberk, or coat of mail, began to give way to plate armour, which at the commencement of the fifteenth century, came into universal use. This was composed of plates of iron, which have been described “to be so constructed, as to act upon the principle of the shell or tail of the lobster." Plate-armour was frequently claborately ornamented, inlaid with gold, and decorated with armorial bearings, &c.; it is supposed to have reached its highest degree of perfection, in the reign of Richard the Third. Several of our monarchs wore their crowns on the crests of their helmets; at the battle of Agincourt, the crown of Henry the Fifth was partly cut off by a stroke of the Duke of Alençon's sword; and Richard the Third, also, wore his crown in the field of Bosworth. In the twentieth volume of the Archeologia, Sir S. R. Meyrick describes the method adopted in the old time, in putting on armour; the knight commenced with his feet, and proceeded thus:
ARMOUR. ANCIENT MILITARY CUSTOMS, &c. A HISTORY of the changes which have taken place in defensive armour is a subject of considerable interest; our notices, however, must necessarily be extremely brief. At the period of the Conquest, the armour worn by the
"1, His sabatyns, or steel shoes; 2, the greaves, or shin pieces; 3, the cuisses, or thigh pieces; 4, the breech of mail; 5, the tuillettes, or over-lapping pieces under the waist; 6, the cuirass, or breast plate; 7, the covers for the arm, or vambraces; 8, the rere braces, or covering for the remaining part of the arm to the shoulder; 9, the gauntlets; 10, then the dagger was put on; 11, the short sword; 12, the cloak, which was worn over the armour; 13, the baeinet; 14, the long sword; 15, the pennoncel, held in the left hand; 16, the shield." The knight was then armed cap-à-piè.
After the introduction of musketry, plate-armour wa made of great thickness; its extreme inconvenience, indeed, uselessness, gradually, however, led to its being laid aside. "Armour cap-à-pie began to fall into disrepute," observes Sir S. R. Meyrick, "soon after the accession of James the First, and in the latter part of his reign the jambs, or steel coverings for the legs, were almost wholly laid aside." Charles the First, is believed to have generally used armour; but, during the Commonwealth, it was reduced to a helmet and cuirass; the latter was subsequently disused; but, as we shall see, it has, since the peace of 1815, been again introduced into our army.
Amongst the most interesting MILITARY CUSTOMS of the middle ages were what were called the cries of war, which owed their origin to the ancient custom of shouting, previously to joining in battle. The main objects of these cries, were not only to raise the spirits of the soldiers, and to intimidate those on the opposite side*, but to distinguish friends from foes in the heat of battle. The ancient English cry, was "St. George!" and often, "St. George and merry England!" The system of cheering in action, which still prevails in the British navy, is the only relic of this animating custom, the revival of which, however, in the army, on charging, has been strongly advocated by several military writers. Military music was also much cultivated before the inven tion of fire-arms, both to cheer the soldier in battle, and for the purposes of signals, and its use, in a certain degree, still
We are told by Froissart," that at the battle of Crecy, 15,000 Genoese archers began to yell in the most frightful manner, to terrify the English."
SOLDIERS AND CANNON OF THE FOURTEENTH AND FIFTEENTH CENTURIES. 1375-1425. continues. Trumpets of different kinds were greatly used in our ancient armies. The origin of this instrument is, indeed, of very high antiquity, and frequent allusions are to be found relative to its use, among the Israelites, in the Holy Scriptures. It was also used by the Romans, and other nations of antiquity. The "ear-piercing fife, and spirit-stirring drum," with horns of various kinds, were also used by our ancestors; nor must we forget the bagpipe, the warlike music of the Highlanders. The fife is said to have been invented in Switzerland, and to be of a later date than the drum.
The use of standards, flags, and ensigns, may be traced to remote antiquity; they not only served to distinguish the forces of different countries, but served as rallying points in the hour of danger or confusion. Several kinds of ensigns were formerly used in this country; some were too bulky to be carried by a single individual, and were fixed in the ground; others were attached to different corps or regiments, as at the present period. It was considered a post of high honour to carry a banner in time of action. Standards were, therefore, large flags fixed on the summits of towers, or elevated places, and they originally derived their name from being stationary; though the term is now applied to the colours used in cavalry regiments. The ancient standards, (many of which were fixed on lances,) had various names, as banners, guidons, pennons, pencils, and banderolls, or camp-colours.
The ransom of prisoners of war, remarks Grose, "was one of the principal sources of emolument of military men in ancient days, and like the prize-money of the present time; Sir Walter Manny, in the reign of Edward the Third, is said to have gained 80007. by prisoners of war, in one campaign." The ransom generally demanded was one year's rent of the prisoner's estate; one third of this went to the commander of the army, and one ninth to the king. Soldiers without property, generally paid one half of their year's pay. There have been instances where so large a sum as 10,000 marks has been paid for a ransom. One third of all plunder during war belonged to the sovereign. Prisoners were very rigidly treated in the middle ages; and even no exception seems to have been made in favour of ladies of rank,-a striking proof of the barbarity of the manners of the times; of which we have an instance, in the case of the Countess of Buchan, who in the reign of Edward the First, (1306,) was imprisoned in Berwick
Castle, in a strong cage of lattice-work, strengthened with iron. In modern times, the customary mode of liberating prisoners of war, is by exchange between the belligerents. Military punishments, in the old time, appear to have been severe. There were three kinds of capital punishment, beheading, hanging, and drowning; but the latter seems only to have been used in the reign of Richard the First.
The punishments laid down in the "Charter," addressed by this monarch to "all his men going by sea and land to Jerusalem," are exceedingly curious; amongst them are the following:
"He who kills a man on shipboard, shall be bound to the dead man and thrown into the sea. If a man be killed on shore, the slayer shall be bound to the dead body and buried with it. Any one convicted of aving drawn his knife to stick another, or who shall have drawn blood from him, to lose his hand. If he should only have struck with the palm of his hand, without drawing blood, he shall be thrice ducked in the sea. Any one who shall reproach, abuse, or curse his companion, shall for every time he is convicted thereof, give him as many ounces of silver." Considerable jealousy then existed between the soldiers and seamen. Loss of limb, and two cruel punishments called the picket, and riding the wooden-horse, were also anciently used.
Corporal punishment was formerly of rare occurrence in the English armies; but this, probably, partly arose from the private soldiers having in most cases some property; they were therefore punished by forfeitures or fines. Imprisonment was frequently resorted to; and officers were subject to be reprimanded, suspended, or cashiered. Desertion, by the 18th of Henry the Sixth, was declared a felony. Blasphemy subjected the offender, whether officer or private, to the severe penalty of having the tongue bored with a red hot iron; the punishment of profane swearing, and neglect of divine worship, was discretional, but sometimes comparatively heavy.
Flying from colours, and flying with any other aim, have always been considered offences of the highest magnitude, and punishable with death. Making inroads" into the country adjacent the camp," says Samuel," without authority of the king or his lieutenant, or setting fire to houses or buildings, was a capital offence, by ordinance of Henry the Fifth. Drunkenness is not set forth as a substantive military crime, in any of our ancient ordinances, but
whenever any substantive crime was found to be combined with drunkenness, it was punished with additional rigour. In the reign of Elizabeth, it was ordered, that "drunkards should be imprisoned, and fed on bread and water, so long as the qualities of the offence should deserve."
Theft was formerly a capital military crime. The ordinances of the Earl of Northumberland, in the reign of Charles the First, render it treason, for a soldier "to speak irreverently against the king's majesty or authority, to have or keep intelligence with the enemy, or to deliver up any place of strength, magazine, victuals, &c."
It does not appear, that any regular uniform was formerly used in our armies; indeed, their constitution, and the use of armour, rendered this, in some degree, impossible; there was, however, in this way, a uniformity in the clothing of the troops, by the introduction of a red cross on the jacket, which was white, in the reign of Richard the First; but green and blue jackets were also subsequently used.
In the wars of the Roses, our troops wore badges; that of the Earl of Warwick, a silver bear and ragged staff, is well known. The French, to distinguish their forces from the English, used a white cross on a dark ground. In the reign of Elizabeth, the cavalry wore red cloaks. The Highland (Scotch) dress, is comparatively quite modern. The pay of the military at various periods, does not, from obvious reasons, afford any illustration of the alteration which has taken place in the value of money. In the reign of Henry the Second, a knight received 3s. a day, besides an allowance for the cost of his horses and esquires; but it seems, subsequently, to have been reduced to 2s. a day. In the reign of Edward the First, (1300,) the daily pay of a banneret was 4s.; of a knight 2s.; of an esquire 12d.; and of a constable 1s. The latter appellation was given, in this reign, to officers of infantry, as well as cavalry+. Knights, esquires, and constables, were obliged to have covered or barded horses. A vintner of cross-bow men, then received 6d. a day; a private cross-bow man 4d.; an archer 2d.; a master engineer 9d.; a common engineer 6d; and a miner 2d. The commander or constable of a castle, (unless he ranked as a banneret,) received a knight's pay, 2s. a day.
Edward the Third, more than once paid his army in wool. An augmentation took place in military pay, partly in consequence of an alteration in the deno
minations of the troops, in the reign of Henry the Seventh, which was materially increased in the reign of Queen Mary; for, at the siege of St. Quintin's in 1557, the captain-general was paid 51. 1s. 2d. per day, the lieutenant-general 31. 6s. 8d., the serjeant-major, (the major of the present period), 15s., the surgeon is. 6d., and the private soldier 8d. In the reign of Elizabeth, the Earl of Essex, the "Lord Lieutenant-General" in Ireland, received 107. a day, and horsemen, (" a troop then consisted of one captaine, one lieutenant, one cornet, and fifty private troopers,") were each paid 1s. 3d. per day. In 1659 a lieutenant-general was paid 17., a colonel 12s., a horsesoldier 2s. 3d., and a foot-soldier 9d. In that year the whole cost of maintaining the army amounted to 638,0937. 14s. 8d. During the last century, until 1795, the pay of a private foot-soldier was 6d. daily; in that year it was augmented 24d, and, subsequently, increased to 1s., besides allowances.
The military rank of marshal, or mareschal, dates as far back as the Conquest, and then ranked next to that of Constable of England. The title of general cannot be traced further back than the reign of Henry the Eighth; the major-general was then designated the "sergeant-major-general." There was also an officer of very high rank, called the provost-marshal, in our ancient armies. The rank of colonel is believed first to have been conferred by Henry the Eighth; those of captain and lieutenant, according to their modern acceptation, do not seem to have been introduced until the reign of Henry the Seventh.
The infantry, probably from the Conquest to the reign of Henry the Eighth, was divided into bodies of 1000, 100, and 20 men, corresponding, in some measure, to the regiments, &c. of modern times. In 1557 the infantry was still divided into companies of 100 men, each commanded by a captain, a lieutenant, and an ensign, and provided with a serjeant, a harbinger (probably similar to our corporal), and a drummer.
Military Surgeons seem, in the middle ages, to have been held in very little repute; and, in consequence of the low state of surgical science, even long subsequent to the reign of Henry the Eighth, the loss of life in time of war was very great. In the list of troops at the siege of Calais, in the reign of Edward the Third, only one surgeon is mentioned. When severely wounded, soldiers were generally presented with sufficient money to enable them to return home, which, in some measure, accounts for the paucity of medical attendants.
It would lead us too much into detail, here to describe the methods adopted in the middle ages in constructing
fortifications; but it may be remarked, that very imperfect ideas seem then to have existed of the benefits arising from that kind of mutual defence, which "constitutes the very essence of our system of modern fortification. The chief dependence of our ancestors seems to have been in the height and thickness of their walls, and the breadth of the surrounding ditches; and where it was impossible to command the latter, machicolations, or openings in the parapet, and in front of the embrasures, were constructed, for the purposes of pouring down melted lead, stones, and other missiles on the assailants. The, donjon, or keep-tower, which always served as a refuge at the last extremity, generally formed one of the most important features of the ancient castle.
1664, we learn that bowmen were used by the Marquis of Montrose in Scotland. The use, however, of archery for so long a period after the introduction of fire-arms, is not to be wondered at, when we remember the cumbrous nature of the latter until the commencement of the last century.
THE brilliant successes of the English armies in the middle ages were many of them chiefly, if not entirely, owing to the use of the long bow-an instrument entirely of Norman introduction. There seems good reason to believe that both the arbalest, or cross-bow, and the long-bow, were used by the Norman invaders under William the Conqueror. The use of the English long-bow arrived at the highest perfection in the reign of Edward the Third, and notwithstanding the discovery of gunpowder, continued, for a long period subsequently, to be highly and successfully cultivated in this country. Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, indeed most of the great victories gained over the French, mainly resulted from the unrivalled skill of the English bowmen; nor were they less successful on their own soil. Truly was it said by Sir John Fortescue, "That the might of the realme of Englande standyth y pon her archers; indeed all our old writers are agreed upon the vast superiority of the English bowmen over those of other nations. The Scots, at that period, chiefly depended upon their pikemen, and the French on their men-at-arms.
By an ordinance made in the reign of Edward the Fourth, every Englishman or Irishman dwelling in England, was required to have a bow of his own height "either of yew, wych-hazel, ash or auburne, or any other reasonable tree, according to their power." Mounds of earth were at the same period ordered to be made in every parish, and the inhabitants were enjoined to practise archery under certain penalties. The pay of archers in that reign was sixpence a day, which, considering the relative value of money, strongly proves the high estimation in which this force was held. Subsequently to this, the cross-bow seems to have been much introduced, and several statutes were passed in the reign of Henry the Eighth against its use.
The engraving at page 128 affords an idea of the military costume of English archers during the latter part of the fifteenth century. Yew was the best material for the bow. "The arrows were of different weights and sizes; the lighter sort for long ranges, about two feet three inches, while the heavy were a cloth-yard in length. The heads had various shapes, among which the broad arrow extended in width to nearly four inches at the extremity of the wings. Of these twenty-four in a sheaf were put in the quiver, and in action, about twelve in the girdle. They were trimmed with three goose-quilt feathers each, and when the archers shot in volleys, the quantity of arrows in the air and falling was so great that Froissart, with a poetical turn of expression, compares it to the driving of snow. Besides these missiles, fireworks, and arrows headed with phials filled with combustible matter, were often shot from bows. The farthest range of arrows was estimated at about eleven score yards. The archers, in order of battle, generally carried besides the bow, axe, and target, a stake pointed at both ends. They formed in open ranks, in files eight deep. When on the point of engaging, they advanced a few paces beyond the intended line, and fixed their stakes, inclined towards the enemy, in the ground. They then stepped backwards, and from behind this kind of chevaux-de-frize, dealt forth their destructive arrows, and when the enemy were thrown into confusion, they sallied, and with small battle-axes and swords, completed the defeat. Their reputation rose so high that several foreign princes, in the fifteenth century, deemed their armies most materially reinforced if they could obtain 200 or 300 English archers in their service.
The exact period when the bow was disused in the British army is uncertain. We find records of its use in 1627; in 1643 the Earl of Essex endeavoured to raise a company of archers; and from a pamphlet published in
DURING the middle ages, the English foot-soldiers appear to have been armed with spears, swords, slings, and darts, as well as with bows and arrows. the cavalry were lances, swords, and daggers. Before the The weapons used by introduction of cannon, they brought into the field, or used in sieges, various warlike machines, which projected darts and stones to a considerable distance.
The discovery of gunpowder,-a discovery which gradually effected a total change in military tactics, and in the constitution of armies,-was the event which most powerfully influenced warfare in the middle ages. It is very remarkable that so little is known relative to the original invention of this powerful agent. The popular story relates, that about the commencement of the fourteenth century, Bartholdus Schwartz, a Franciscan monk, and student in alchemy" at Cologne, in the course of his pursuits, mixed saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal in a mortar, and partly covered it with a stone, when by some accident, it took fire, and blew the stone with great force to a considerable distance. But the honour of the invention must be ascribed to our countryman, Friar Bacon, whose works were written at Oxford in the latter half of the thirteenth century, at least eighty years before the supposed invention of Schwartz, in which he particularly describes the composition of gunpowder. The projectile power of this destructive agent was soon rendered available for military purposes. Edward the Third is said to have used cannon, or rather bombards (as they were then called), so early as 1327, in a campaign against the Scots; and in 1346 they materially contributed to his success in the memorable battle of Cressy.
The ordnance used at that period somewhat resembled mortars, and formed, from their comparative lightness, excellent substitutes for the ponderous battering-machines which had formerly been used in assaulting fortified places, at a period when roads were unknown throughout Europe. These pieces, which were short, and of a large calibre, were made with bars, and sometimes thin sheets of iron, strengthened with hoops of the same metal welded together. The engraving at page 124 affords a good idea of the early cannon. The bombard, or mortar, in the middle, is of a very early date. The other cannon, which is of a date posterior to the reign of Henry the Fourth, is of iron, and lies in a trough or bed, resting on a moveable pivot fixed in a strong upright, erected on a square timber frame. The apparatus used for both guns proves that the powder must have been very feeble. The bullets were either of lead or stone, some of which were from 200 to 500 lbs. in weight. Near the muzzle of one of the guns stands a broad shieldbearer, or paviser, the denomination of a substitute soldier, whose duty it was to bear a large shield before the gunners, archers, and cross-bow men, who approached the walls of a castle thus protected. The group on the right consists of a gunner, an archer, and another cross-bowman. A smaller description of ordnance began to be used at the latter end of the fourteenth century, called hand-cannon; some were so light as to admit being carried by two men, and discharged from a rest on the ground. This may be considered the first approach towards light fire-arms. It was not until 1521 that any attempt was made in this country to cast pieces of ordnance.
The engraving at page 125 represents the nature of the artillery which was used during the chief part of the fifteenth century. From these specimens it will be seen that the cannon at that period were less heavy and bulky than those of an earlier date. The gun in the foreground of the plate is fixed on the swivel principle, being suspended between the branches of an immense fork of iron; its elevation or depression was effected by means of a large iron bar in the form of a scythe, standing in a vertical (upright) position. The whole apparatus is fixed on an iron plate fastened on a massive bed of oak. The other piece of ordnance in the distance is of a lighter kind, and may be considered a kind of field-piece. The warlike machine in the centre of the plate affords a very interesting illustration of the mode of attacking fortifications in the old time. The wooden tower was moved on small rollers, and
JOHN W. PARSER.