Art of Travel.
de Guerre') :"Tents are not healthy ; it is better for the soldier to bivouac, because he sleeps with his feet to the fire, whose neighbourhood quickly dries the ground on which he lies ; some planks or a little straw shelter him from the wind. Nevertheless a tent is necessary for superior officers; who have need to write and to consult a map." To a party encamped for a few days, tents are of great use as storehouses for property, which otherwise becomes scattered about, at the risk of being lost or pilfered.
Materials for Tenting.-Light canvas is usually employed, and is, to all intents and purposes, waterproof. Silk, of equal strength with the canvas, is very far lighter : its only disadvantage is its expense. Calico, or cotton canvas, is very generally used for small tents. Leather and felt are warm, but exceedingly heavy ; and would only be used in very inclement climates, or where canvas could not be met with. Light matting is not to be despised : it is warm and pretty durable, and makes excellent awning or covering to a framework.
Diagonal Bracing.-A worn-out tent may be strengthened by sewing bands of canvas, which cross each other, and make a kind of net-work : old sails are strengthened in this way.
Tent Pegs should be of galvanized iron ; they are well worth the weight of carriage, for not only do wooden ones often fail on an emergency, but cooks habitually purloin them when firewood is scarce.
Tents.-Large Tents.-The art of tent-making has greatly advanced since the days of the old-fashioned bell-tent, which is so peculiarly objectionable, as to make it a matter of surprise that it was ever invented and used. It is difficult to pitch ; it requires many tent-pegs ; it has ropes radiating all round it, over which men and horses stumble ; and it is incommodious and ugly.
Tn. choosing a tent, select one that will stand in some sort of shape with only four pegs, or with six at the very utmost ; it should admit of being pegged close to the ground without any intervening `fly;' it is no objection that it should require more than one pole ; and, when considering how much