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BATHS AND WASHHOUSES, PUBLIC.
BATHS AND WASHHOUSES, PUBLIC. Until within a very few years there were in England no public bathing establishments which in any measure answered to the Therma of the Romans [BATH], places where, for a very moderate sum, the poorer, as well as the more affluent classes, might enjoy the use or the luxury of a warm, a tepid, or a cold bath. There were numerous "Baths," but they were private ones of a comparatively expensive character. It is certainly remarkable that the metropolis of England should have been so long behind that of other countries in providing inexpensive and convenient public baths. But so it appears always, or almost always, to have been. Among the vestiges of Roman London the remains of baths, and especially of warm baths, have been frequently discovered in the course of excavations made both within the walls of the ancient city and outside of them. Even at the present day, in one of the curious narrow lanes which extend from the Strand downwards to the Thames, called Strand Lane, may be seen one of these old Roman baths, with the clear spring flowing into it, and still quite available for its original purpose. Remains of another Roman bath, which were found in digging for the foundations of the Coal Exchange, have also been preserved, and may still be seen. Like the other Roman baths found in London, these, however, belonged evidently to private houses; but it is probable that public baths were provided for the use of the citizens. In Rome, as we have seen [BATH], the public baths were numerous and on a magnificent scale. In other cities there were also public baths; nor is it likely that Londinium was unprovided with them, though they were perhaps of a comparatively humble class. Be that as it may, there are no traces or records of public baths in the city subsequent to the Roman dominion. The citizens, however, had their Thames, not then a polluted stream; and there were several smaller streams, now diverted or wholly lost, or else perverted into sewers. There would seem, moreover, from the statement of Fitz Stephen, who wrote in the reign of Henry II., to have been wells or springs which were resorted to for bathing. It is not clear however, that these were properly bathing-places, though, from the way in which Stow speaks of them, it is likely they were. Stow (1598) especially mentions a bathing-place well known in our own time: "Somewhat north from Holywell is one other well, carved square with stone, and is called Dame Annis the Clear; and not far from it, but somewhat west, is also one other clear water, called Perilous Pond, because divers youths, by swimming therein, have been drowned." There is little doubt that swimming was always practised by the London youths wherever they could find a place fit to swim in, but baths, except for medicinal purposes, do not seem anywhere in England to have been constructed. Where, from its natural heat or supposed sanctity, the water was believed to possess peculiar curative properties, baths were indeed erected at an early period. The baths of Bath were perhaps never wholly neglected from the time of the Romans, who were well acquainted with their qualities. In the Tudor period medicinal baths were in great repute. At Holywell, in Flintshire, is a very beautiful edifice, erected by the mother of Henry VII., the lower part of which served the purpose of a plunging bath, while the upper part was a chapel; and the baths of Buxton were much resorted to before the Reformation. Still no public baths appear to have been anywhere erected for the mere purpose of ablution. In 1648, an ordinance granting to a Doctor Chamberlain, "that he might have the benefit of improving all baths for fourteen years together, for the good of the people," was read in the House of Commons, and committed; but his "improvement," no doubt referred to medicinal
ARTS AND SCI. DIV. VOL. II.
BATHS AND WASHHOUSES, PUBLIC.
baths. It was not till the reign of Charles II. that the want of public baths was, in a measure, supplied; three or four bagnios, as they were called, being then erected in London. These were, however, only for the wealthier classes, the charge being 4s. for each person; and, in fact, they were in a measure medicinal, being for "sweating, hot bathing, and cupping;" and, as they are described as after the Turkish model, they were, no doubt, pretty much like the shampooing baths of the present day. These places became the resort of disreputable persons, and fell into discredit, the very name being long generic for a house of ill-fame. In the course of the 18th century, a few baths were opened. Perilous Pond, its name being changed into Peerless Pool, was in 1743, walled in, enclosed, and converted into an excellent swimming-bath. Others of a like character were formed in subsequent years; and during the present century there had come to be a good sprinkling of swimming-baths about the metropolis, as well as several establishments for warm and cold bathing. The warm baths were, however, almost invariably too expensive for general use, and the favourite resort for swimming was, as it still is, the Serpentine, in which as many as 12,000 persons, it is said, in a report of the Humane Society (1850), have been counted bathing at once, early on a Sunday morning. The canals in the vicinity of London were and are also resorted to by a large number of bathers.
But if baths of any kind were rare, public washing-houses or laundries were quite unknown. In olden days, indeed, the English were not wholly, or perhaps generally, home-washers. The housewife or the laundress carried the linen down to the nearest convenient spot by the side of a stream, where "the shore was shelvy and shallow," like that which the whitsters [washers] of Windsor resorted to, by Datchet Mead, where Falstaff was so unceremoniously slighted from the buckbasket. It is on record that the corporation of Reading, upon the suppression of monasteries, petitioned for the grant of the Friary in that town, for a town-hall, because their old hall stood by the river Kennet, near the spot which was used by the townswomen for washing clothes; and the corporation say in their petition that the noise of the women's clappers caused great interruption to the transaction of public business. These clappers were, of course, wooden ones. Washing in cold water, they used wooden battledores to beat their clothes, just as the blanchisseuses of the Seine do still. In the present day, washing by the river-side is, we believe, nowhere to be seen in England, but it is common enough in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; and, as is well known, the Parisian laundresses pretty generally resort to washingboats on the Seine. In Pepys's day, London families would seem to have sent their linen to be washed by their servants at some washing establishment; for that most valuable of diarists tells us, that on August 12th, 1667, he dined all alone, "my wife and maids being gone over the water to the whitster's with their clothes, this being the first time of her trying this way of washing her linen." Again he notes (August 19th, 1668)," This week my people wash over the water, and so I little company at home;" by which we may suppose that Mrs. Pepys was satisfied with her trial of "this way of washing her linen," as she continued to practise it for above a year.
It was reserved for our own day to establish public baths and laundries for the community generally, and for the poorer portion of it in particular. The practical philanthropist early saw that the sanitary improvement of the condition of the poor in our larger towns was a work loudly calling for accomplishment. Medical men, clergymen, city missionaries, parochial officers, and all whom either professional duty or benevolence had led to enter the dwellings of the very poor,
however their opinions differed in other respects, were at least unanimous in declaring that those dwellings exhibited a degree of dirt and squalor with which health and morality were alike incompatible. Many remedies for the evil were suggested, and several carried into execution. One little knot of practical men resolved fortunately to give their special attention to the matter of personal cleanliness. It had been allowed by all who were really acquainted with the homes of the very poor, that in their crowded and wretched dwellings cleanliness was impossible. In such places not only were there scarcely the means for personal cleanliness, but to wash and dry clothes properly was quite impracticable. It was proposed, therefore, to see whether the esta blishment of places where, for a small charge, a warm bath could at any time be had, and where all the conveniences for washing and drying clothes should be provided free of charge, or at a trifling cost per hour, would not be gladly accepted by the classes most requiring such conveniences. The movement was practically initiated by the holding of an influential meeting at the Mansion House, under the presidency of the Lord Mayor, in September, 1844, when resolutions were passed for the formation of an Association for Promoting Cleanliness amongst the Poor;" and an active subscription was commenced. The first experiment was made in a wretched locality near the London Docks, where in an open court, called Glasshouse Yard, Rosemary Lane, an old but capacious building, which had for some time been occupied by sleeping-berths for the houseless poor," was rented and converted into the first "Free Baths and Wash-houses," and opened in May, 1845. A portion of the building was adapted, as well as it could be at a small expense, to the purpose, and furnished with a due supply of tubs and boilers, and with a few baths in various out-of-the-way recesses; and soap and soda, as well as hot and cold water, were provided gratuitously. The number of persons who availed themselves of the establishment was, in the first year, 27,662 bathers, and 36,577 washers; in the second year there were 84,584 bathers and washers. This, though the first establishment of the kind in London, was not the first in England; a very small one having been previously started, and with much success, in Liverpool, though without the knowledge of the London Committee. The Glasshouse Yard establishment owed its success solely to its usefulness. There was nothing extrinsic to render it attractive. It was placed in one of the worst spots in the metropolis; the building itself was as little suited to the purpose as any building well could be; the accommodation was of the most ordinary kind. Yet it at once proved-if proof were needed—that the poorest in that wretched neighbourhood would gladly be clean when the means were attainable. In August, 1846, a second, and much superior establishment, was opened in George Street, Euston Square; a plot of ground having been liberally offered by the New River Company, near one of their reservoirs, with the additional advantage of a free supply of water for the first six months. In the first year there were here some 113,000 bathers and 20,000 washers. This establishment, in which the baths are more varied in price than elsewhere, still flourishes.
The establishment third in point of date was, however, the first in importance and in the value of the consequences which resulted from it. In this the committee first fairly developed their plans. Although the building in Glasshouse Yard was opened gratuitously, it had been desired that the institution should as soon as practicable be rendered self-supporting by means of a small charge to each person who used it. The committee hoped too, to see the system extended throughout the country; and they rightly thought that nothing would so effectually and speedily further that object as to be able to show a Model Establishment, which, while it contained all the conveniences and appliances which those who availed themselves of it could desire, should be in itself all that science, combined with practical skill, could effect in the economy, suitableness, and completeness of its arrangements. Accordingly, architects and others were invited to send in designs for baths and laundries, and all the information which could be obtained was collected. The Model Establishment was then erected on a site which had been purchased in Goulston Square, Whitechapel, a very poor and crowded neighbourhood, but of ready access. The arrangements being almost entirely novel caused a very large original outlay, and many changes have been subsequently made; but as a whole they had been so carefully considered, and were so judiciously designed by Mr. Prichard Baly, the committee's engineer, that no material alteration has since been found necessary; indeed, in a recent Report of the Committee, we are told that "the general arrangements and mode of construction have been almost universally followed in London and the country."
In general character, then, these establishments are pretty much alike. A brief sketch of the interior of any one will serve to give a general conception of all, it being understood that there are differences of detail in each.
The baths for males and females are on opposite sides of the building, and separated in Goulston Square by the washing-room, in some others by the plunging-baths. In both sides are first- and second-class baths. The apartment in which these are placed is spacious and lofty, covered by an open roof, and lighted in the day by ample skylights; by gaslights at night. Each bath-room is a distinct compartment, somewhat more than six feet square, shut in by walls of painted slate, which are carried up to the height of some ten feet; but the top is
open, so as, while ensuring privacy, to admit of thorough ventilation. The bath, in some establishments sunk in the ground, in others placed as usual above it, is either of iron enamelled, or of zinc. The first- and second-class rooms are usually alike in every respect, except that the fittings in the first-class rooms are of a superior kind, and more complete than in the second. On each door is a porcelain knob, having a number painted upon it; a similar number is painted inside. An index outside enables an attendant to let in either hot or cold water, as the bather may direct. The charge for a first-class warm bath is usually sixpence, for which two towels, flesh and hair brushes, and a comb, are allowed. For a second-class bath the charge is twopence, but only one towel is allowed, and the bather must provide his own comb and brushes. The baths are in all respects alike, the same quantity of water (in most places forty-five gallons, but at St. Martin's much more) is allowed, and the bath is invariably cleaned after each person. The most perfect cleanliness is indeed observed in every respect. For a cold bath the charges are respectively threepence for a first- and one penny for a second-class bath: the regulations are the same as with the warm baths. The baths on the female side are similar to the others, but there is a little more taste in the first-class fittings. At Goulston Square there are only warm and cold baths. At St. Martin's a shower-bath is added. At George Street there are also vapour-baths. At all the more recently constructed establishments there are plunge or swimming baths filled with tepid water. For these swimming-baths the charge is usually fourpence for the first-, and twopence each person for the second-class. At the larger of the recent establishments there are two swimming-baths-a first and a second class; the smaller places have only one large bath, using it three days a week as a first-, and the other three days as a second-class bath.
The baths have everywhere proved exceedingly popular. second-class baths are, in the summer particularly, always well attended, and of an evening there are generally many waiting for their turns, which are always strictly in the order of arrival.
The number of baths varies, of course, according to the requirements of the locality, and the size of the building. The number of first-class baths, for example, at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, is twenty-four men's, five women's; of second-class, thirty-three men's, and eight women's. At Goulston Square, there are ninety-four first- and second-class baths. At St. James's, Marshall Street, there are only about fifty of both classes; but there is a swimming-bath. The number of bathers at Goulston Square in the year is above 150,000; at St. Martin's-in-theFields the number is above 200,000.
The Wash-houses are more remarkable than the bathing-rooms, because entirely unlike what is seen anywhere else. Along the centre, on one side, and at the ends of a large and lofty room, are ranges of little doorless and roofless compartments, the walls being of unpainted slate, and some six or eight feet high: these are the washing-places. At convenient points are the wringing-machines. Along one side of the room (at Goulston Square) is what looks like a range of wide but shallow deal drawers, turned up endways, the handles being one above the other that is the drying apparatus. A long flannel-covered board is furnished for ironing on. In some of the latest wash-houses a mangle is provided.
Each washing compartment is 6 feet long by 34 feet wide. At the end are two wooden troughs, which serve as a washing-tub and a boiler; these are furnished with taps for hot and cold water, for steam, and for letting off the waste water, so that the tubs are filled and emptied without any more trouble on the part of the washer than turning the tap, and without moving from her standing-place. The. water in the boiler is made to boil by the admission of steam into it, which, as we said, the washer can do whenever she pleases. The ventilation is so arranged that the steam from each compartment is at once drawn upwards, and carried off to the great ventilating shaft. The wringing-machine is in effect a sort of wide but shallow colander; the sides, instead of the bottom, being perforated, or rather formed of galvanised wire, so arranged that the meshes are about a quarter of an inch apart. When the wet clothes are put in this, it is set in rapid motion by a handle, which works a few connecting wheels; the clothes at once, by centrifugal force, arrange themselves around the sides, and the water is rapidly driven out between the wires, and carried off by water-pipes an opening at the foot of the machine shows when the water ceases to flow, and when, consequently, the "wringing" is completed, and then the pressure of a lever at once stops the machine. The machine has rather a heavy look, but the turning of it is really very light work, and by it three minutes suffice to rid even a thick blanket of its moisture. The drying-chamber is a long chamber, heated by hot air to a temperature above 212°, and divided into numerous smaller chambers, so as to separate the clothes of the washers. Each division of the chamber contains a clothes-horse or maiden, one being allowed to each washer. In ten minutes or a quarter of an hour the clothes, unless very heavy or numerous, are quite dry. The committee have published a table in one of their reports, to show the rapidity with which the drying is accomplished. Some of the results are curious. We may take a single instance as an illustration of the processes we have been following. Three large dirty blankets weighed before being washed 9 lbs. 1 oz.; after washing they weighed 24lbs. 14ozs.; after leaving the wringing-machine, 12lbs. 3 ozs.; after being dried, 8lbs. 12 ozs. These blankets took 25 minutes to
dry, at a temperature of 210°. In all other cases the results were similar, establishing the fact that "the articles, when taken from the drying-chamber, contained decidedly less moisture than they did when they were received for the wash." To show the "satisfactory working of the drying-chamber at the model establishment, and also its great advantage in the economy of time, trouble, and expense to those of the labouring classes who resort to it," the committee give a return of the articles dried there in one week ending January 24, 1852. It is too full for us to copy; but we may state, that the number of articles of all kinds, from counterpanes, jackets, and trousers, down to shirts and stockings, was 36,844, belonging to 1373 washers, who occupied 2999 hours in washing, drying, and ironing them; and that the drying consumed only 282 bushels of coke, which cost under 4l. In some of the buildings last erected, efforts have been made to economise still more the cost of this and other operations.
able to afford, and so extend the benefits of the system both upwards
BATRACHOMYOMA'CHIA (Baтрaxoμvoμаxía), the battle of the frogs and mice, is the title of a Greek poem, consisting of 294 hexameter verses. This poem, though generally ascribed to Homer, and printed with the editions of the Iliad and Odyssey, undoubtedly belongs to a late age, and is attributed by Plutarch and Suidas to Pigres, of Halicarnassus, in Asia Minor. Pigres is called by Suidas the brother of that Artemisia who was the wife of Mausolus. This poem, however, is probably the composition of some still later writer of the Alexandrine school. Some critics consider it a satirical poem: as it is not very long, the reader may form his own opinion without much trouble. Parnell has translated it into English verse.
BATTA, an allowance made to military officers in the service of the East India Company, in addition to their pay. As the officers of Queen's regiments serving in India receive their pay according to the scale fixed by her Majesty's regulations, and which pay is below the emoluments derived by officers of similar rank in the regiments of the East India Company, the allowance of batta is made also to them by the Company, and is so adjusted as to preserve an equality of income between the two services.
In most of the establishments there is only one class of washers; but in some there are both first and second classes, the difference being that the first class have a somewhat larger compartment allotted to each washer, and a third or rinsing-tub. The charge for the use of all the apparatus we have described is now generally 14d. an hour, though in a few places it is only 1d. an hour. Where there are both classes, the charge is 24d. an hour first-class, and 14d. second. Soap, soda, &c., have to be found by the washers. The number of washing compartments varies, of course, according to the size of the establishment at Goulston Square there are 84 of them; at St. Martin's, 56. The average time occupied by each washer at the model establishment is two hours and a half, and this is the general average time in London; in some country towns it differs considerably. In London it seems pretty well established, that the active wife of a labouring man can at one of these places wash and dry the clothes of her family in two or three hours. The ironing, at least in part, is generally done at home. Let us look a little at what has been accomplished. In August 1846 the royal assent was given to an Act to encourage the establishment of public baths and washhouses, which, as amended in the The scale of allowance under the name of batta varies not only with session of 1847, empowered parish vestries and borough councils to the circumstance of the regiments being in the field or in cantonments, establish such institutions, and, with the sanction of the Treasury, to but also according to the part of the country in which they are borrow money for the purpose on the security of the borough fund or stationed. poor's rates. A schedule directs, among other very excellent rules, that baths must be provided in them at 1d. for cold and 2d. for warm baths; and that the washhouses shall be furnished with necessary conveniences at a charge not exceeding 3d. for two hours. Baths and wash-houses of a higher class are to be charged as the council and commissioners respectively think fit. The baths and washhouses "for the labouring classes" in any such establishment, must be not less than twice the number of those of any higher class. This Act at once gave the system a firm standing; and both boroughs and parishes have availed themselves of its powers to a considerable extent. Of course, it is not always easy to persuade vestrymen to permit an addition to be made to their parochial rates for a purpose that does not promise advantage to themselves; but as it has become year by year more evident that these institutions may be made self-supporting, and in due time repay the amount expended on their foundation, so there has been a growing readiness to found them. In London and the suburbs, besides the model establishment in Goulston Square, and that in George Street, Hampstead Road, there are several large parochial establishments, some of which are fitted up in an extremely complete manner, while all are well attended by both washers and bathers. Manchester and Liverpool have each several baths and washhouses, and almost every other large town throughout the country is either provided, or taking measures to be provided, with similar establishments; and the example has been followed by several of the smaller towns. Nor have the good effects of the movement been confined to this country. The Committee for Promoting the Establishment of Baths and Washhouses for the Labouring Classes were able, at the end of 1852, to state in the report before quoted, that the governments of France, Norway, and Belgium, the municipality of Venice, and the authorities at Hamburg, Turin, Munich, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and New York, had applied for and been furnished with information on the subject; and in some of these countries the example of England has since been followed in providing similar establishments for the labouring classes.
It is evident that the institution has become firmly established. In London alone the bathers number upwards of two millions a year, while the washers exceed half a million. The constantly increasing number of bathers and washers shows that the system is commending itself to a large section of the population. The experience of twelve years has proved that, with proper attention and economy, the establishments may be rendered self-supporting; and the observations of all who have watched them in particular localities vouch for their beneficial influences. The point in which they appear to have failed is, in reaching the very poorest. That portion of the community for whom the institution was primarily intended, seems to have been scarcely touched by it. Everywhere those who avail themselves of the benefits offered are of a class above the poorest. The most profitable section of the establishment is found to be the "first class." Whether availing themselves of the hint, the managers of these establishments might not, by furnishing a yet higher class bath (though still at a moderate price), provide the means by which they might support one of a cheaper kind than they have at present been
Batta was originally given with the intention of enabling officers to provide for field-equipment, and for those extra expenses which they must incur when marching; but it early lost this character when it was continued to officers in cantonments. In November, 1828, the distinction was made between the amount allowed when in actual service, and when in cantonments; before that time no difference was made. The effect of the alteration is this: that at stations, whether in garrison or cantonment, within 200 miles of the seat of government of each presidency, where an officer formerly got full batta, he now gets half that batta, with an allowance for house-rent, which is inferior to what the other half of the batta would be. The half-batta of a lieutenant-colonel is 304 rupees (about 307.) per month; his allowance for house-rent is 100 rupees. A major's half-batta is 228, and for houserent 80 rupees per month; captain's half-batta, 91, and house-rent, 50 rupees; lieutenant's, 61, and 30 rupees; ensign's, 46, and 25 rupees. Colonels of regiments, not being general officers on the staff, nor holding offices specially provided for, are allowed the full batta of 750 rupees per month at any station, but they have not any allowance for houserent. It was estimated that, by carrying into effect the regulation of November 1828, the government of the East India Company would save 12,000l. per annum. In the field, and in garrison or cantonment, beyond 200 miles of direct distance from the seat of government of each presidency, full batta is allowed: or rather the other half batta, which is now called extra batta.
BATTALION. This name is applied to a certain division of the infantry in an army, corresponding, nearly, to the chiliarchia in a Greek phalanx, and to the cohort in a Roman legion. The number of men composing a battalion is variable, but in the British service, according to the present establishment, it consists of ten service and two depôt companies, which at their service strength of 100 rank and file each, would give 1200 men; or 1000 with the service companies and 200 at the depôt. This is the strength in rank and file of a battalion on the Indian establishment, making, with 91 non-commissioned officers, trumpeters, and drummers, and 48 officers, a total of 1,339 of all ranks. The battalions on the home establishment consist likewise of 10 service and 2 depôt companies, or 950 rank and file-of which 150 form the depôt companies-25 drummers, 56 sergeants, and 46 or 45 officers, according as it is the first or second battalion, making a total of 1,077 of all ranks. A battalion of the Guards is somewhat smaller, there being only 10 companies, or 800 rank and file, which with 61 non-commissioned officers and drummers, and 38 officers, gives a total of 899 of all ranks. The number of battalions in a regiment varies; at present, of the three regiments of Guards, the Grenadier Guards is composed of three battalions, while the Coldstream and Scots Fusilier Guards contain only two each. Of the 100 regiments of infantry, the 24 first contain two battalions each; the 60th or Royal Rifle Corps, four battalions, and the rest one each. The Rifle Brigade consists of four battalions. There are, therefore, now, 138 battalions of British infantry, exclusive of the Royal Marines, three West India regiments and Colonial corps. And there are fourteen battalions of artillery, besides the Horse Brigade.
It seems, therefore, that, originally, the name of regiment was applied to the body of men organised for a particular district, or a particular branch of service; and that, when the numerical strength of the regiment exceeded what was considered convenient, it was divided into two or more battalions. Battalions may, therefore, be defined as the units of the modern tactical system and composition of infantry, which is arbitrarily divided into regiments. The number of battalions in a regiment varies much in the different armies of Europe; the strength of a battalion, however, is generally about 800 or 1000 The phalanx of the Greeks, and the legion of the Romans, with their respective constitutions and divisions, will be described under the words PHALANX and LEGION.
The destructive effects of fire-arms among dense bodies of men necessarily caused the close order of battle used in ancient warfare to be abandoned though, down to the middle of the 18th century, an opinion that the troops could not otherwise resist effectually a charge of the enemy, and the desire to form them with facility into a column for attack, induced commanders of armies to draw up the battalions in a line from four to six files deep. But the numerous casualties which still occurred, led subsequently to the practice of forming the line in three ranks; and in the present regulations for the disposition of the British army, it is prescribed that the battalions are to be drawn up in two ranks only. The argument in favour of this method, which, it may be observed, was recommended, in 1783, by Turpin, the commentator of Vegetius. is, that in action two ranks of men only can fire at once, and as the third rank can only be employed in loading, and handing the muskets to the men in their front, this service scarcely compensates for the loss occasioned by the exposure of so many men to the enemy's fire. This is fully borne out by Marshal Marmont, Duke of Ragusa, in the following passages, which are extracted from a translation of his work which appeared in the United Service Journal,' for February, 1845: 'Nothing can be said in favour of a third rank, for without entering into a detail of volleys, persons of experience know that if one can, at a review, fire a volley in three ranks, it is impossible in war." A foreign writer, however, contends that with soldiers as well disciplined as those of Russia, three ranks would be more advantageous than two: since the men in the middle rank are enabled to fire a second time with the muskets obtained from those in the third rank, immediately after they and the frontrank men have made their first fire, so that a much less interval takes place between the vollies than that which occurs when the line consists of only two ranks. Marshal Marmont says it is ascertained to be impracticable to hand over the firelock to the third rank as the French order prescribes. "This method, being merely theoretical, is by no means applicable to the face of an enemy. In fact, the third rank, of its own accord, in a few moments, forms into the other two; the most advantageous formation is, therefore, instinctively adopted; but as the change is made contrary to order, there results from it a kind of disorganisation."
During the wars which arose out of the revolution in France, the armies of that nation became habituated to a formation in close columns instead of a line of small depth. This practice, which seemed to be a return to the tactics of the ancients, possesses some advantages when an attack is to be directed against an enemy's line which is too far extended to allow the divisions to succour each other in time; and the great merit of Napoleon consisted in manoeuvring so as to lead his opponent to fall into this error, and then overwhelming him by numerous consecutive and powerful attacks directed against the weaker part of his line. The system, however, seems to have been persevered in too tenaciously by the French generals; for against steady troops, their columns not only suffered serious losses in making the assaults, but were incapable of keeping up a fire equal to that which might have been produced by a more extended order. Such was the error committed by Marshal Soult at the battle of Albuera. According to Napier (History of the Peninsular War), " that general persisted beyond reason in fighting with dense columns, and thus lost the fairest field ever offered to the arms of France. Had the fifth corps of the French opened in time," the historian observes, "nothing could have saved the.British army from a total defeat."
A battalion of 800 men, that is disregarding the depôt, is divided into ten companies; and, for convenience in performing the movements which may be required, each company is subdivided into two equal parts, and each of these into sections. The battalion is commanded by its own colonel; and several battalions or regiments are, on service, united under one general officer; these constitute a brigade, and may be considered as a small legion. According to the present regulations each man occupies in line 21 inches, and, as no intervals exist between the companies, the extent of a battalion formed two deep, is about 240 yards. Six paces are left between every two battalions, and the same interval only separates one brigade from
The company of grenadiers occupies the extreme right, and the light company the extreme left of the battalion: these are called the flank companies, and the others take their places from right to left, according to the numbers by which they are designated. The captain, or officer commanding each company, is stationed in the front rank on the right of his company; and immediately behind him, in the rear
rank, is his covering sergeant. The lieutenants, ensigns, and the sergeants of the companies form a third, or what is called a supernumerary, rank in rear of the others, at the distance of three paces. The two regimental colours are placed in the front rank between the two centre companies, and two non-commissioned officers are in the rear rank behind them; a sergeant is stationed in the front, between the colours, another stands opposite to him in the rear rank, and a third in a line with both, in the supernumerary rank. These last-mentioned sergeants serve to direct the march of the battalion when it moves parallel to its front; for which purpose, on that occasion, they form themselves in a line in that direction, and march before the battalion at the distance of six paces.
The commander of the battalion places himself in front when he has to superintend the ordinary exercises, otherwise his station is in the rear. The lieutenant-colonel is behind the colours in rear of the supernumerary rank; the majors are in rear of the second battalion companies on the right and left flanks respectively, and the adjutant in a line with them, opposite to the centre. The situations of the Staff of the battalion, the musicians, &c., together with the particulars above briefly stated, are fully described in the treatises on the field exercises and evolutions of the British army.
Originally the grenadiers performed the duty of throwing handgrenades, or small iron shells charged with powder, among the enemy; and the firelocks of the fusiliers and light infantry were different from those of the other troops; but, at the present day, all the infantry of the line carry the same kind of musket, namely, the Enfield rifle. The principal evolutions of a battalion consist in reversing the front of the line, taking a position at right-angles to its actual front; forming a column by bringing the different companies or their subdivisions parallel to, and directly in rear of each other, either at open or close intervals; forming a column en échelon, or with the divisions parallel to, but in positions receding from, each other towards the right or left, in the manner of steps; or, lastly, forming a hollow square. By changing the front, a retrograde movement in line may be made; by forming the line perpendicularly on either flank, an attempt of the enemy to turn it may be opposed. Columns are formed for the purpose of marching along roads or through defiles, or advancing in a body towards an enemy's position; a movement en échelon allows troops to gain ground obliquely towards the front or rear; and a hollow square is formed in order to resist an enemy in every direction, when the battalion is in danger of being surrounded.
(Turpin de Crissé, Commentaires sur les Institutions Militaires de Végèce; Daniel, Histoire de la Milice Françoise; Okounef, Examen Raisonné des Propriétés des Trois Armes; Bismark on the Tactics of Cavalry, translated by Major Beamish; Regulations for the Formations, Field Exercises, and Movements of her Majesty's Forces. For many particulars relative to the present state of the British army, the Monthly Lists may be consulted. See also R. E. Aide-Mémoire, art., Evolutions of Infantry.)
BATTENS. One description of sawn fir timber planks of small dimensions, imported from the north of Europe, or from America, is known in commerce under the name of battens, by way of contradis tinction to the other descriptions known respectively as deals and planks. Battens are of various lengths, from 10 to 14 or occasionally 16 feet, and generally 7 or 64 inches wide by 3, 24, or 24 inches thick; they are sold, however, by what is called the Petersburg standard, which is equivalent to 120 battens 12 feet long, 7 inches wide, by 24 inches thick. The present duty upon their importation is at the rate of 10s. per load of 50 cubic feet, from foreign countries; or 28. per load when of or from British possessions; in the latter case 5 per cent. additional duty is charged. The best battens come from Norway or St. Petersburg.
Battens are principally used for flooring purposes, or for covering roofs to receive slating, on account of their being less exposed to shrinking than other plank stuff, owing to their smaller scantling. It is customary to cut the 24-inch battens, as imported, into two boards for floors, and into three boards for slating; sometimes in inferior floors battens cut into three boards are also used.
In joiner's work the term batten, or battening, is used to express the species of framing immediately attached to a wall, which subsequently receives any panneled wainscoting, or a canvas lining, introduced for the purpose of isolating the paper from the wall itself, or even of isolating the plastering of a room from the wall, if there should be any danger of the latter affecting the decorated surfaces by its humidity, or by its tendency to "saltpetre." In such cases the battens are usually made about 2 inches wide by 1 inches thick, and are placed at clear distances asunder of from 7 to 12 inches, according to the nature of the surface they are designed to receive; when the battens are intended to receive canvas they are made wider, but are placed at rather greater intervals. Sometimes the laths nailed at intervals upon the common rafters of a roof to receive the nails of the slating, or the hook of tiles, are called incorrectly battens. BATTERING RAM. [ARTILLERY.] BATTERY (IN LAW) [ASSAULT.]
BATTERY, (ELECTRICAL and GALVANIC, or VOLTAIC). [ELECTRICITY].
BATTERY. This name is given to any number of pieces of ordnance