Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/618

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any one as soon as he observed—by means of the camera—the presence of a hostile vessel within the limits of any of the circles marked upon his white table.

In the American War of 1860, the electric torpedo, invented but two years before, played a most conspicuous rôle, and formed indeed, with the use of big guns and monitor iron-clads, one of the most important features of the struggle, at any rate from a scientific point of view. The war of 1866, when the Austrians suffered such a terrible defeat at the hands of the Prussians, will long be remembered as a combat between the old muzzle-loading rifle and the breech-loader, in which the latter was victorious. The Franco-German struggle of 1870, again, though marked by the employment of no special arm, if we except the mitrailleuse, was assisted by important applications of science; to wit, the reproduction, by means of photo-lithography, of the French ordnance maps and plans, which were distributed in thousands throughout the German army, and the establishment in France of la poste aérienne to communicate with the besieged garrison of Paris. The regularity with which the mails left Paris par ballon monté must still be fresh in the memories of our readers, the publication of correspondence from the French capital being maintained in our journals during the whole period of the investment. From September 23d to January 28th, when Paris was practically cut off from the rest of the Republic, no less than sixty-four balloons left the city with passengers, mails, and pigeons, and of these only three were lost, while five were captured. The return-post by "homing pigeons" was hardly so regular, but nevertheless half the number of dispatches given in by correspondents at Tours and elsewhere, or in other words 100,000 messages, were by the unflagging energy of the postal authorities carried into the beleaguered capital. The dispatches, most of them as brief as telegrams, were distinctly printed in broad sheets and photographed by the aid of a micro-camera; impressions upon thin, transparent films were then taken and rolled in a quill attached to the tail of the winged messenger which was to bear them into Paris. Arrived at their destination, the tiny photographic films were enlarged again by the camera, and the dispatches, being once more legible, were distributed to the various addresses.

The present Russo-Turkish War cannot well be less interesting than those that have so recently preceded it, and we may especially point out two directions in which fresh examples of scientific warfare will probably manifest themselves—in connection, namely, with the cavalry pioneer and the Whitehead torpedo. Both of these will probably be seen in warfare for the first time, and before many days are past we may hear of their doings in action.

The cavalry pioneer must not be confounded with the Prussian Uhlan who played so conspicuous a part in the last war. The ubiquitous Uhlan, terrible as he was, did not work the injury which some of