arrow; it has length, a sharp point, centre of gravity near the head, and feathers for guiding it (sometimes so arranged that it shall rotate like a rifled ball). Improved projectiles, therefore, both for muskets and cannon, correspond in these essentials to the first products of man in the savage state.
We cannot, in this article, further discuss either such general principles or those of a more abstruse character, in their application to artillery, but will briefly state a few facts relative to its employment—confining ourselves exclusively to the field service.
The guns now principally used for battles, in the Northern armies, are 10 and 12-pounder Parrotts, three-inch United States rifles, and light 12-pounder smooth bores. The distinguishing characteristic of the Parrott guns is lightness of construction, secured by strengthening the breech (in accordance with the principles mentioned a few paragraphs back) with a band of wrought iron. This has been applied to guns of all sizes, and its excellence has been tested by General Gillmore in the reduction of Forts Pulaski and Sumter. The three-inch guns are made of wrought iron, are of light weight, but exceedingly tenacious and accurate. The 12-pounders, sometimes called Napoleons, are of bronze, with large caliber, and used chiefly for throwing shell and canister at comparatively short distances.
The greatest artillery conflict of the war (in the field) occurred at Gettysburg. For two hours in the afternoon of the memorable third day's battle, about four hundred cannon were filling the heavens with their thunder, and sending their volleys of death crashing in all directions.
It was estimated that the discharges numbered five or six a second; in fact, the ear could hardly detect any cessations in the roar. The air was constantly howling as the shells swept through it, while the falling of branches, cut from the trees by the furious missiles, seemed as if a tornado was in the height of its fury: every few minutes, a thunder heard above all other sounds, denoted the explosion of a caisson, sweeping into destruction, with a cataract of fire and iron, men and animals for hundreds of feet around it. The effect of such a fire of artillery is, however, much less deadly than any except those who have been subject to it can believe. The prevalent impression concerning the relative destructiveness of cannon and musketry is another instance of popular error. In the first place, all firing at over a mile distance contains a large proportion of the elements of chance, for it is impossible to get the range and to time the fuses so accurately as to make any considerable percentage of the shots effective; and in the next place, except when marching to a close conflict, the men are generally protected by lying down behind inequalities of the ground, or other accidental or designed defences. The proportion killed in any battle by artillery fire is very small. Lines of men frequently lie exposed to constant shelling for hours, with small loss; in fact, in such cases, old soldiers will eat their rations, or smoke their pipes, or perhaps have a game of poker, with great equanimity.
No portion of the military service has been more misrepresented than the medical department. An opinion seems to prevail quite extensively that the army surgeon is generally a young graduate, vain of his official position, who cares little for the health of the soldier, and glories in the opportunities afforded by a battle for reckless operations. Such an opinion is altogether fallacious. In the regiments there are undoubtedly many physicians who have adopted the service as a resource for a living which they were unable to find at home, but the majority are exactly the same class of professional men as those who pursue useful and honorable careers in all our cities and villages. When a physician is called upon at home, it happens in a majority of cases—as every honest member of the profession will admit—that there is little or no necessity for his services. Too sagacious to avow this, he gravely makes some simple prescription, and as gravely pockets his fee. In camp, however, the potent argument of the fee does not prevail, and men who run to the doctor with trifling ailments, by which they hope to be relieved from duty, receive a rebuff instead of a pill. They instantly write letters complaining of his inhumanity. In regard to operations, it is a frequent remark by the most experienced surgeons that lives are lost from the hesitancy to amputate, more frequently than limbs are removed unnecessarily.
The medical department of an army, like every other, is controlled by a system, and it is this which regulates its connections with the soldier more than the qualifications of individual surgeons. In the army the system takes care of everything, even to the minutest details. Hygienic regulations for preserving the salubrity of camps and the cleanliness of the troops and their tents, are prescribed and enforced. Every day there is a 'sick call' at which men who find themselves ill present themselves to the surgeons for treatment. If slightly affected, they are taken care of in their own quarters; if more seriously, in the regimental hospitals; if still more so, in the large hospitals established by the chief medical officer of the corps; and if necessary, sent to the Government hospitals established at various places in the country. To the latter almost all the sick are transferred previous to a march. To be ill in the army, amid the constant noises of a camp, and with the non-luxurious appliances of a field hospital, is no very pleasant matter; but the sick soldier receives all the attention and accommodation possible under the circumstances.
To every corps is attached a train of ambulances, in the proportion of two or three to a regiment. They are spring wagons with seats along the sides, like an omnibus, which can, when necessary, be made to form a bed for two or three persons. With each train is a number of wagons, carrying tents, beds, medicine chests, etc., required for the establishment of hospitals. On the march, the ambulances collect the sick and exhausted who fall out from the columns and have a surgeon's certificate as to their condition. When a battle is impending, and the field of conflict fixed, the chief medical officers of the corps take possession of houses and barns in the rear, collect hay and straw for bedding, or, if more convenient, pitch the tents at proper localities. A detail of surgeons is made to give the necessary attendance. While the battle proceeds, the lightly wounded fall to the rear, and are there temporarily treated by the surgeons who have accompanied the troops to the field, and then find their way to the hospitals. If the fighting has passed beyond the places where lie the more dangerously wounded, they are brought to the rear by the 'stretcher bearers' attached to the ambulance trains, and carried to the hospitals in the ambulances. Sometimes it happens that the strife will rage for hours on nearly the same spot, and it may be night before the 'stretcher bearers' can go out and collect the wounded. But the surgeons make indefatigable exertions, often exposed to great danger, to give their attention to those who require it. At the best, war is terrible—all its 'pomp, pride, and circumstance' disappear in the view of the wounded and dead on the field, and of the mangled remnants of humanity in the hospitals. But everything that can be devised and applied to mitigate its horrors is provided under the systematized organization of the medical department. In the Army of the Potomac, at least, and undoubtedly in all the other armies of the North, that department combines skill, vigor, humanity, and efficiency to an astonishing degree. Its results are exhibited not only in the small mortality of the camps, but in the celerity of its operation on the field of battle, and the great proportion of