STAFF, MILITARY. In the British empire this consists. under the king and the general commanding-in-chug; of those general, field, and regimental officers to whom is confided the care of providing the means of rendering the military force of the nation efficient, of maintaining dis cipline in the army, and regulating the duties in every branch of the service.
Besides the commander-in-chief, his military secretaries and aides-de-camp, the general staff consists of the adjutant and quartermaster-generals, with their respec tive deputies, assistants, and deputy-as sistants ; the director-general of the medi cal department, and chaplain-general of the forces. The staff of the Ordnance department consists of the master-general and lieutenant-general, with their deputies and assistants ; the inspector of fortifica tions, and the director of the engineers. The head-quarters for the general staff are in London. There are also, for the several military districts into which Great Britain is divided, inspecting field-officers, assistant adjutants-general, and majors of brigade, together with the officers attached to the recruiting service. The head-quar tern for Scotland are at Edinburgh. For Ireland, besides the lord-lieutenant and his aides-de-camp, the chiefs of the staff con sist of a deputy-adjutant and a deputy quartermaster-general, with their assist ants. Their bead-quarters are at Dublin; and there are, besides, the several officers for the military districts of that part of the empire. Lastly, in each of the colo nies there is a staff graduated in accord ance with the general staff of the army, and consisting of the general commanding, his aides-de-camp, military secretaries, and majors of brigade, an inspecting field officer, a deputy-adjutant and a deputy quartermaster-general.
The adjutant-general of the army is charged with the duty of recruiting, cloth ing, and arming the troops, superintend ing their discipline, granting leave of ab sence, and discharging the men when the period of their service is expired. To the quartermaster-general is confided the duty of regulating the marches of the troops, providing the supplies of provi sions, and assigning the quarters, or places of encampment.
All military commanders of territories or of bodies of troops in Great Britain, Ireland, or in foreign stations, transmit periodically to the adjutant-general of the army circumstantial accounts of the state of the territory and of the troops which they command ; and the reports are re gularly submitted to the general com manding-in-chief.
The staff of a regiment consists of the adjutant, quartermaster, paymaster, chap lain, and surgeon.
About the year 1800 the British go vernment first formed a particular school for the purpose of instructing officers in the art of surveying ground in connection with that part of tactics which relates to the choice of routes and of advantageous po sitions for troops. These officers were in
dependent of the master-general of the ord nance, and served under the orders of the quartermaster-general or adjutant-gene ral; they were called staff-officers, and were selected from the cavalry or infantry after having done duty with a regiment at least four years. They were first em ployed in Egypt, where they rendered considerable service ; and the school was afterwards united to the Royal Military College, which had been then recently instituted for the instruction of cadets who were to serve in the cavalry or the infantry of the line. At that institution a limited number of officers, under the name of the senior department, continue to be instructed in the duties of the staff, and in the sciences connected with the military art.
During the war in Spain, from 1808 to 1813, the staff-officers were constantly employed, previously to a march or a re treat, in surveying the country at least one day's journey in front of the army. After the death of the Duke of York, the staff corps ceased to be kept up, and for several years it was reduced to a single company, which was charged with the duty of repairing the military canal at Hythe. This company was afterwards incorporated with the corps of sappers and miners.
The duties of officers belonging to the quartermaster-general's staff are very dif ferent from those of the military engin eers; the latter are employed in the con struction of permanent fortifications, bat teries, and field-works ; while the former survey ground in order to discover roads, or sites for military positions, for fields of battle, or quarters for the troops. The education of a staff-officer is such as may qualify him for appreciating the military character of ground : for this purpose he learns to trace the directions of roads and the courses of rivers or streams; and in mountainous countries to distinguish the principal chains from their ramifications, to examine the entrances of gorges, and to determine the heights of eminences or the depths of ravines. He has, besides, to acquire a facility in determining or estimating the resources of a district with respect to the means it affords of supply ing provisions or quarters for the troops.
The staff-officer ought also to know how to correct the illusions to which the eye is subject in examining ground, from the different states of the air, and the number and nature of the objects which may in tervene between himself and those whose positions are required. He ought to be able to estimate the number of men which a visible tract of ground can contain, and to form a judgment concerning the dispo sitions and it may per mit an army to put in practice.