A DOCTOR-SOLDIER'S EXPERIENCES.*
A REGIMENTLI, surgeon is a non-combatant, and therefore, from a strictly professional point of view, he is not a soldier ; but as a matter of fact, if he does his duty by his regiment, especially during a campaign, he is a soldier, bound to risk life and limb passively, and always display that noble order of courage under fire which we call dutiful obedience and fortitude, and place so high among the military virtues. The author of these Records was a regimental surgeon, and in that capacity "only a doctor but it is impossible to read his book without feeling that he was and is at heart as much and as brave a soldier as any combatant who ever wore a sword or carried a rifle. Therefore, we call him a " Doctor•Soldier," and long may the spirit which animated him and his colleagues continue to inspire the medical officers of the British Army.
The story which Dr. Munro has to tell is one which never flags or ceases to be instructive as well as interesting. The scene changes as the record rune on,—from Chatham to South Africa, from the tropics to the ice and snow of Nova Scotia, and then leads us on through the greater part of the Crimean War to the stirring events of the Sepoy Mutiny, and from that drama to the quiet offices of the Army Medical Department, *B7fs71d egltm° By surge".Gemral h:7.Y..o11,1,totWurs.4=. where Dr. Munro was second to the Director-General, Sir W. Muir. Not being selected to succeed his principal, Dr. Munro retired, and the public, as well as his old comrades, have benefited by his disappointment,—for has it not enabled him to write this pleasant and useful book, in addition to an earlier one about his beloved 93rd Highlanders ? So wide a range of service is, indeed, only typical of a profession which follows the flag with far more certainty and regularity than commerce, and is more than welcome wherever duty leads its members. It is the merit of Dr. Munro that he does not treat his experience as exceptional, but rather regards it as representative ; and that throughout, while he does not, indeed could not, efface himself and yet write this book, he touches on his services with manly modesty, and is often warm in his appreciation of others. The tone throughout is excellent, the style good, the narrative lucid, and there is not a dull page in the two volumes.
He went out to South Africa in 1845, on board a teak ship which had been built in the Mauritius, by the order of the Emperor Napoleon, and probably fell into English hands, with the island, when it was captured by an expedition from India in 1811. The Emperor's name, indeed, frequently occurs in con- nection with that of the 91st Regiment. Pursuing the French From Waterloo, in which battle, however, it took no part, the regiment arrived with the army before Paris, and one of its private soldiers formed part of the escort which first entered the French capital in July, 1815. Three companies in 1840 lined the road along which the Emperor's body was borne to the place of embarkation ; one officer, a detachment, and the band, attended the funeral procession of the ill-starred Prince Imperial at Durban ; and, again, a company of this regiment was guard of honour to the Empress Eugenie when she visited St. Helena in 1880. Moreover, a Captain of the 91st, who saw Napoleon lying in state in 1821, and took a sketch of his face, was also in St. Helena when the body was exhumed in 1840. As late as 1875, the Director of the Paris Mint sent to the officers of the corps a specimen of the medal struck by Louis Philippe to commemorate the transfer of Napoleon's remains to the Invalides, so that the 91st retained to the last its curious connection with Napoleon. It no longer bears the old number, but is called, in connection with the famous 93rd, the corps with which Dr. Munro served so long, by the clumsy title of the Princess Louise (Argyll and Sather- land) Highlanders.
The earliest service recorded in these volumes took place in South Africa. "Kaffir Wars," now no longer remembered, were famous in the "forties," when they raged between the Keis. kamma and the Kei, and brought the Amatola Mountains to the notice of newspaper readers. Dr. Munro records the fact that while the 91st had the "improved percussion musket," the 27th was "armed with the old 'Brown Bess' with the flint-lock,- perhaps the very same carried by the gallant corps at Waterloo," and he thinks that there are few officers living who can say that they have gone through a campaign in company with troops bearing a weapon which is now a "curiosity." He is, however, proud of the old soldiers, if not of the old firelocks. Nothing, he says, seemed to tell on those in the 91st :— " They meld march from before sunrise till sunset, and, though without food or other refreshment daring all that time, not a man ever fell out of the ranks, so great was their staying power, their endurance ; and they never got footsore or leg-weary, for their feet
were hard as born, and their muscles like whipcord Never since those days, and I have passed years on active service, and had much experience since then, have I seen soldiers march better than the old 91st,--' the drunken auld deevils,' as they called them- selves."
He pities them for their intemperance, a habit which the men acquired, as they alleged, when they were not looked after ; for he is always friendly to the private soldier. Commenting on the fact that a Briton was handcuffed to a Pingo, both being prisoners for some offence, he asks, Why this disgrace ? and goes on :— " Imprison the soldier, chain him, try him by military or civil law, and hang or shoot him, if necessary, bat in his misfortune or his crime still treat him as a soldier, for he is a member, though the humblest, of an honourable profession,' which should never be dis- graced in his person before inferior races, by even an approach to indignity. In my experience, the soldier is rarely ever altogether
had, is as often sinned against as sinning, and is seldom ungenerous or uograteful."
Speaking of the distribution of honours in the "good old days," which had so many and such black shadows to their high lights, he is severe on the Duke and his contemporaries, but with perfect justice :— " In the British Army of that time, Generals received honours, titles, rewards, and handsome pensions, and Colonels commanding regiments in an engagement received gold medals; bat the servMes of regimental officers, and of the rank and file, of the men who had really fought, bled, and been maimed in their country's battles, were altogether overlooked. They had only 'done their duty,' as it was said, and therefore, what the necessity of acknowledging this by the bestowal of medals and rewards ? The Imperial Government was slow to recognise the soldier's service by the award of medals; but the Honourable East India Company eat a good example by recommending that one should be given for the first Afghan War. Forty years ago it was the exception to see a soldier with a medal, but now it is the exception to see one without several."
Indeed, it is a question whether the practice has not been carried too far, and distinction made too cheap alike for officers and men ; but it seems quite impossible in anything to keep the golden mean. A similar improvement is noted in a matter of much greater moment,—the Medical Service. At the Cape, in the" forties," there were no medical arrangements; "at least, there was no equipment, no ambulance train, no trained bearers with stretchers, no means whatever of carrying a wounded or sick man, except the ordinary bullock waggon." Every fighting man struck down required three or fora other fighting men to help him off the field. Not one officer on the frontier when the war broke out had ever seen or treated a gunshot wound, and when a Lieutenant was hit, some days elapsed "before it was discovered whether he was shot through the lung or not,—so great was our inexperience." As to South Africa, Dr. Munro is warm in its praise. "What a glorious country it is !" he exclaims, "what a delightful climate !" The heart-disease among the troops he traced, not to the climate, but to drink; and ophthalmia, supposed to be a maladie du pays, he ascribes to overcrowding, want of ventilation, and dirt:— " Sanitary science "—and the remark is repeated later on in reference to India—. was then in its infancy : indeed, as a practical science, was altogether unknown to the Army medical officer, and to the engineer officer also. There was no ophthalmia amongst the civil population, or amongst the Boers or the native races. It was preva- lent only amongst the British soldiers. But then, and for years pre- 'timely and subsequently, it was a disease which often scourged the soldier in all parts of the world, was a cause of loss of eight to many, and of constant invaliding. When, however, we began (slowly) to understand that ventilation of buildings, onbio and superficial space, and means of ablation and personal cleanliness are necesaary to ensure health, this scourge disappeared."
Transferred to the staff at the request of his father, Dr. Munro served in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Bermuda, and it should be noted that he volunteered for duty in the last-named place at a moment when it was scourged by an inroad of yellow. fever. But so strong was Dr. Munro's love of regimental duty that, when on the eve of the Crimea War he was promoted to the rank of staff surgeon, he at-once applied for and obtained a Highland regiment, the 93rd, which he actually joined on the beach at Old Fort, where the allied armies landed in September, 1854. It is not necessary to follow him through the hardships of the winter at Balaclava and the well-known scenes of the Indian Mutiny campaigns, and we need only say that his personal testimony confirms much that has been said of the sufferings of the troops in the Crimea, and that he furnishes, from the journals of comrades, some new particulars respecting a portion of the operations towards the close of the Onde and Bohilcund Campaign in 1858. Nevertheless, although the general drift and course of both wars are well known, the reader will still find something fresh, because biographic and. personal, in these volumes. Sir Colin Campbell's relief and subsequent capture of Lucknow are treated in a manner which gives them an air of novelty, because Dr. Munro brings us face to face with personal actors of all ranks ; while the account of General Walpole's blundering attack on the jungle fort where Adrian Hope was slain is the best which we have ever read of that egregious example of stupidity in war. Many passages might be quoted, but we must limit ourselves to one,—a speech made by Sir Colin to the 93rd on the eve of the relief of Lucknow, a splendid military exploit. After telling the regiment—it was his strongest force—what he wanted done, he used these sagacious words "The enemy yon are going to meet," he said, "will stand and fire at you as long as you stand and fire at them. I must have none of that ; there must be no hesitation, no halting, but a steady and con- stant advance, and whenever you get within charging distance, at them with the bayonet, and they'll never wait-to-meet you."
These sentencei sum up Indian warfare from Assaye to Lucknow; and, duly tempered, they have no inconsiderable relation to all warfare. Yet although it is the assailant, or assailing defender, who generally wins, there is no absolute military maxim of any kind which can be laid down as infallible.
To show that the Records contain very varied information, we may cite these two items out of several. While in South Africa, a detachment of the 91st had a " pet,"—a tame crane. The bird was at liberty, and often was absent for hours during the day, but, and this is the curious thing, always returning towards sunset, he "spent the night with the sentry, walking up and down beside him, and retiring to the shelter of the sentry. box when tired." Surely a humorous picture. The crane, how- ever, finally deserted. One day he came back with a broken leg, which Dr. Munro set. The bird recovered and manifested "a certain amount of gratitude" by attaching himself to the Doctor; but the last time he saw the pet was when out riding. The crane flew towards Dr. Munro accompanied by another, and after that was seen no more. But the most remarkable pet was a powerful red-brown "wild dog" which joined the 91st on the march, and became barrack dog. "I often saw him, but he would not accept any attention from me or any person but a soldier of the regiment." With these curiosities we shall close our notice of Dr. Munro's very useful and entertaining volumes.