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To the eye of a soldier there could hardly
be a more pleasing sight, than that
expeditionary column, as it filed out of
Constantine a little before sunrise one splendid
morning in January. I had previously served
in India under Sir John Keane, General
Nott, Lord Gough, and Sir Charles Napier,
and had witnessed some magnificent bodies
of troops take the field; but I had never seen
so workmanlike a brigade before.

First came the infantry with their brown
faces, small useful kepi on the head, and light
grey cap├┤tes, or great-coats, with the skirts
turned back to give greater freedom in walking.
We laugh at French troops for putting
on their watch-coats to march and fight in;
but the practice is not without considerable
advantage. This coat makes the coolest
and most pleasant garment for the weary
pedestrian, while his regular uniform is
lighter to carry on his back, and is saved a
great deal of wear and tear. Another
peculiarity of the French infantry is, the red
trouser being always tucked into the gaiter
on the line of march. This, too, is a great
help in walking, for nothing can be more
annoying than the dangling leg of a loose
trouser during a long day's march.* In
rear of the regular infantry, came the Zouaves,
then in succession the artillery, Chasseurs
d'Afrique, hussars, spahis, and the various
equipages militaires. What struck me most
forcibly when witnessing the march of this
column, was the smallness of the amount of
baggage, the completeness and compactness
of all the auxiliaries, and the perfect order
with which every department was conducted.
I had previously seen in Indiaand latterly
have much oftener witnessed in the Crimea
how everything connected with the comforts,
the feeding, and the general care of our
men when in the field, was left to chance.
When commanding in Scinde, the late Sir
Charles Napier endeavoured to organise a
baggage corps, and to introduce something
like order and regularity into the various
departments which administer to the well-being
of the soldier when in the field; but he did
not take much by his move. He raised against
himself a host of enemies; who, in the long
run, proved mighty to torment one of the
best soldiers that ever wore the English
uniform.
* See "Insularities," volume the Thirteenth, page the First.

Of military mismanagement in the Crimea
we have all heard enough. Who that has
witnessed the scene, can ever forget the
crushing, crowding, confusion, and swearing
exhibited amongst the followers, baggage,
and commissariat of an Indian army when
moving? The immense quantity of private
baggage allowed, the innumerable non-combatants
in the shape of native private servants
with their families and their followers, is
fabulous. I remember, in eighteen
hundred and thirty-eightnine, during Sir John
Keane's campaign into Affghanistan, the
average number of camels which each officer
of the regiment I then belonged to had for
his own use, was no less than eight, whilst
the native camp followers of the corps were
in the proportion of five to every effective
sabre in our ranks. How differently they
manage these matters in Algeria! I am speaking
within bounds, in declaring that the
whole baggage of the two thousand men
starting into the desert upon a six months'
campaign, and having to carry every
necessary as well as every comfort of life with
themwas not equal to one half of what
followed my own single regiment, when it
took the field against the Sikhs in eighteen
hundred and forty-five.

But more surprising still, was the admirable
order, regularity, and method which
pervaded every department of the baggage.
When the column started in the morning,
every mule was in its place, and marched
close up to the rear of the troops. The
consequence was, that when we got into the
enemy's country, a very small body of
soldiers sufficed to protect it against the
Arabs. On the line of march every mule
kept its place; and, if wanted in a hurry,
could be found instantly. The difference
between this orderly proceeding and the
confusion that exists among the camels, bullocks,
carts and drivers appointed to carry military
baggage in India, led me to make some
inquiries on the subject. I found that
each military division of the French army
has attached to it three companies of
equipages militaires; two of these companies
being composed of men to lead, look after,
and if necessary defend against the enemy,
the baggage mules; the third company being
composed of mounted men, some of whom act
as postilions; while others guard and keep in
order the various carts, waggons, and
ambulances on the march. With our division there
were rather more than four hundred mules,
including the spare animals and those destined
to carry the sick and wounded. The equipages
militaires are commanded by officers of various
ranks, who have under them subalterns and
other subordinates. These gentlemen take as
much pride in the condition of their mules,
and the regularity and order kept by the
baggage on the line of march, as any captain
of our Life Guards takes in the general
appearance of his men and horses at a review
in Hyde Park. This appreciation of work, be
it ever so humble, is a most remarkable and
striking characteristic of the French service.
In our own army we are too apt to look down
upon the commissariat, and other administrative
departments connected with our
troops. Unless an officer or soldier belongs
to the fighting portion of the forces, we regard
him as a being who has a questionable right
to wear uniform. No such preposterous
nonsense is to be found among the French. Who
I does not recoil with horror on reading descriptions

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