Too Long; Didn't ReadFormerly, and up to the time of great standing armies, fortresses, that is castles and fortified towns, were only built for the defence and protection of the inhabitants. The baron, if he saw himself pressed on all sides, took refuge in his castle to gain time and wait a more favourable moment; and towns sought by their walls to keep off the passing hurricane of war. This simplest and most natural object of fortresses did not continue to be the only one; the relation which such a place acquired with regard to the whole country and to troops acting here and there in the country soon gave these fortified points a wider importance, a signification which made itself felt beyond their walls, and contributed essentially to the conquest or occupation of the country, to the successful or unsuccessful issue of the whole contest, and in this manner they even became a means of making war more of a connected whole. Thus fortresses acquired that strategic significance which for a time was regarded as so important that it dictated the leading features of the plans of campaigns, which were more directed to the taking of one or more fortresses than the destruction of the enemy’s army in the field. Men reverted to the cause of the importance of these places, that is to the connection between a fortified point, and the country, and the armies; and then thought that they could not be sufficiently particular or too philosophical in choosing the points to be fortified. In these abstract objects the original one was almost lost sight of, and at length they came to the idea of fortresses without either towns or inhabitants.