Brief reports of the operations of the Sanitary Commission in Tennessee, May, 1862 (1862])
The Confederate defense of Atlanta half destroyed the Army of Tennessee, and the fight for Richmond and its environs in the fall and winter of —5 eventually killed the Army of Northern Virginia. After the fall of Atlanta, Sherman proceeded to attack Southern resources, armies, and will in his march across Georgia November 15—December 21, and the Carolinas January—April This chapter merely scratches the surface of Civil War strategy, operations, and tactics.
Critically, though, from the beginning of the conflict Lincoln sought a method for winning the war; Davis never sat down and tried to deduce how the South could achieve its political objective of independence. The best path to success for the South was to crack Union public opinion, as Lee believed. One way to do this was to protract the war in an effort to raise the blood and treasure costs beyond what the North was willing to pay. This does not mean implementing a Fabian-style strategy of protraction where one avoids battle. Fighting such a war against a numerically superior opponent who seeks to take your territory will lead to disaster.
Selected Civil War Collections: Manuscripts and Special Collections: New York State Library
One can also protract a war by fighting as much as possible on the strategic, operational, and tactical defensive. In the end, the decisive elements in Union victory were its construction and implementation of a coherent strategy that addressed the nature of the war, and its tenacity in prosecuting the struggle for as long as it took. See William T. Johnson and Clarence C. Buell eds. Williams eds. Tanner , Retreat to Victory? Appleton , , pp. Pease ed. Basler ed. Knopf , , pp. Williams, among others, insists that the Union aimed at Richmond.
McDowell says otherwise. Sears ed. Selected Letters, — , John Y. Simon ed. New York : Literary Classics , , pp. Grant , John Y. Simon et al. Johnston, February 28, , Crist et al. Johnston, March 28, , OR , 11 3 : ; J. Johnston to Lee, March 27, 28, , OR , 11 3 : —6. See also Davis to A. Johnston, March 12, , Crist et al. Smith to Cooper, June 12, , OR , 16 2 : Ettlinger eds. Lee , Clifford Dowdey and Louis H.
New York : Bramhall House , , pp. Cooper Jr. New York : Modern Library , , pp. New York : Random House , —74 , vol. Nicolay and John Hay eds. New York : Century , , vol. Johnston to Davis, January 7, , OR , 20 2 : —8. Johnston, January 8, , OR , 52 2 : ; J. Johnston to Davis, January 10—31, , Crist et al.
Johnston, February 5, , OR , 23 2 : —7. Symonds , Joseph E. Norton , , pp. Johnston, May 18, , OR , 24 3 : —90; J.
Brief reports of the operations of the Sanitary Commission in Tennessee, May, 1862
Johnston to Seddon, May 27, , OR , 24 1 : —3. New York : D. Appleton, , vol. Gallagher ed. Hewitt et al. Wilmington, NC : Broadfoot , —9 , vol. Lee: A Biography , 4 vols. Sherman , Memoirs of General W. Sherman New York : Library of America , , p. Buel and Robert U.
Johnson eds. Indeed, as recently as August , Lincoln had felt great trepidation over the prospects for his reelection due to a sense that the public was dissatisfied with the results the Union war effort had produced to that point.
Yet, by March , under the leadership of men like Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and David Farragut, Union military forces had driven their Confederate counterparts to the brink of total defeat. Those who had participated in the Mexican—American War of — had the opportunity to watch Winfield Scott skillfully manage and maneuver the army that captured Mexico City. But that force at its peak strength numbered no more than 10, men. Indeed, in few of the men who then or previously had held a commission in the army had experience handling a command larger than a company usually, on paper, men in the field.
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Yet, in a number of ways, service in the antebellum army provided those officers who exercised leadership during the Civil War with experiences that proved invaluable, facilitating both their own endeavors and their service as models and guides for the thousands of volunteer officers. The emerging professional ethos of the antebellum officer corps was a product and manifestation of changes in military organization associated with the Industrial Revolution in western society that began during the last decades of the eighteenth century and accelerated during the nineteenth century.
By , new technologies and a variety of other factors were making modern activities so complex that they drove the emergence of occupational specialization throughout society. Warfare on both land and sea was profoundly affected by this. Moreover, while not to the extent their counterparts in Prussia did by that point, the US Army Officer Corps had developed the qualities of a profession by The fact that graduates of the US Military Academy at West Point gained a near monopoly on commissions in the army after the War of fostered a sense of corporate identity among them that was defined by adherence to certain standards of technical expertise and personal conduct.
In addition, service on the frontier instilled an appreciation for the importance of logistics and administration in the conduct of military operations. Moreover, the advantages of rifled small arms were recognized by military authorities on both sides. The North did, however, enjoy qualitative advantages over their Confederate counterparts in engineering and artillery, a consequence of differences in the two societies, as well as the fact that Northerners tended to do better in their studies at the technically oriented military academy and thus held a disproportionate percentage of the commissions in those branches.
Yet, because engineering and artillery were resource-intensive, a way of war based on these advantages inevitably exacerbated the tremendous logistical and managerial challenges Northern leaders faced. It was also offset early in the war by Southern superiority in infantry and cavalry, branches of the service before the war where lower-ranking graduates of West Point often ended up. Lee or Stonewall Jackson that was capable of achieving impressive victories for Confederate arms, the North had a Ulysses S. Grant and George H.
Much of this could be gleaned through common sense, though officers had the opportunity to develop their operational and tactical acumen before the war through studying military history and the works on military affairs produced by the likes of Henry W. At the beginning of the war, the US Navy had about 1, officers and 7, enlisted officers, sailors, and marines. Like their counterparts in the army, when the Civil War began naval officers were wrestling with the implications of the Industrial Revolution for their work.
It was clear that steam engines were advancing in power and reliability so rapidly that the end of the primacy of sails was but a foregone conclusion. Moreover, advances in firepower and ongoing experiments using iron to improve the durability of vessels carried with them the potential for significant changes in how war at sea would be conducted.
These issues, as well as the traditional skills of navigation associated with effective seamanship, further ensured naval officers had a much more solid case to make than their comrades in the army when resisting intrusions on their authority. In , decades after the US Army had done so, the US Navy had established an academy at Annapolis for the education and training of future officers.
Nonetheless, in line with service tradition, most of the preparation of those who would lead naval forces during the Civil War was carried out on the job. Officer candidates in the US Navy, most of whom came from states located in the northeastern part of the country, received training aboard the ship to which they were first assigned.
This was designed to prepare officer candidates for examinations, the passing of which made them eligible for promotion to lieutenant.go to link
Presence and Precedents: The USS Red Rover during the American Civil War, 1861-1865
From there, they could ascend through the ranks to lieutenant commander, commander, and captain, with promotion, as in the US Army, dictated by seniority. Unlike in the army, where senior officers held the rank of brigadier or major general with Commanding General Winfield Scott holding the rank of lieutenant general by brevet , the highest rank in the navy when the Civil War began was captain, the equivalent of a colonel in the army.
In July , Congress created the naval equivalents of brigadier and major general when it authorized the ranks of commodore and rear admiral. In the small US Marine Corps, whose members saw service at First Manassas and aboard Union warships in both riverine and coastal operations, a commandant holding the rank of colonel was the senior officer. The commandant for most of the war was John Harris, who was succeeded in by Jacob Zeilin, who afterward became the first marine general officer.
During the decades prior to , naval officers had the opportunity to gain experience at sea supporting scientific expeditions, protecting American commerce, and conducting operations as far away as Asia and the Mediterranean. Those who participated in the war with Mexico gained experience dealing with the problems associated with conducting a blockade and joint operations with the army that would prove useful in the Civil War. Consequently, while there was no body of literature on naval theory or established formal doctrine not until decades later would US Naval Academy graduate and Civil War veteran Alfred Thayer Mahan step forward to fill this void to guide officers in their thinking about tactics, operations, and strategy, practical experience proved more than sufficient to effectively prepare the men who would exercise leadership in the Union navy.
Union naval officers also benefited from the fact that, while their Confederates counterparts were capable of considerable ingenuity, they were hopelessly outmatched — far more so than their armies were — in terms of the human and material resources the more commercial and maritime North could provide for the war at sea. Stephen R. The navy would play a number of important roles in the Northern war effort. The most important of these was conducting a blockade of the Southern coastline in order to choke off Confederate commerce, which Lincoln ordered in the immediate aftermath of Fort Sumter.