Civil War


After Action Report [Little Round Top]

After Action Report

[Little Round Top]

By COL Joshua Chamberlain

4 Pages

Published: 1889

The official narrative of Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, dated July 6, 1863, describing the engagement of the 20th Maine Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg, with an Introductory Note and type transcription by Joseph B. Ezhaya, Chair of the Library Committee, edited by Donald H. Marden, President.

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Railroad Generalship: Foundations of Civil War Strategy

Railroad Generalship:

Foundations of Civil War Strategy

By Dr. Christopher R. Gabel

32 Pages

Published: 1997

According to an old saying, "'amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics." Any serious student of the mmtary profession will know that logistics constantly shape military affairs and sometimes even dictate strategy and tactks. This excellent monograph by Dr. Christopher Gabel shows that the appearance of the steam~powered railroad had enormous implications for miHtary logistics, and thus for strategy, in the American Civil War. Not surprisingly, the side that proved superior in "railroad generalship," or the utilization of the railroads for military purposes, was also the side that woo the war.

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Rails to Oblivion: The Decline of Confederate Railroads in the Civil War

Rails to Oblivion:

The Decline of Confederate Railroads in the Civil War

By Dr. Christopher R. Gabel

40 Pages

Published: 2002

Military professionals need always to recognize the centrality of logistics to military operations. In this booklet, Dr. Christopher R. Gabel provides a companion piece to his "Railroad Generalship" which explores the same issues from the other side of the tracks, so to speak. "Rails to Oblivion" shows that neither brilliant generals nor valiant soldiers can, in the long run, overcome the effects of a neglected and deteriorating logistics system.

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Battle of Chickamauga

Battle of Chickamauga

18-20 September 1863

By Dr. William Glenn Robertson; Lieutenant Colonel Edward P. Shanahan; Lieutenant Colonel John I. Boxberger; Major George E. Knapp

185 Pages

Published: October 1992

The campaign and Battle of Chickamauga, August-September 1863, is an excellent vehicle for a Staff Ride. Because of the size of the forces involved and the difficulty of the terrain encountered, it represents an opportunity to raise many challenging teaching points relevant to today's officer. Second, the nation has wisely preserved most of the primary battle area in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and has marked most unit positions for detailed study by visitors.

These markers are linked by an extensive trail network that permits access to all significant areas of the field. Thus, the park is an excellent physical laboratory for the study of conflict at the tactical and human level. Finally, because of its proximity to the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the battle site is easily supportable logistically for Staff Ride groups of any size. In sum, this campaign offers a great opportunity for study by the professional officer, as generations of American soldiers have already discovered.

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Battle of Perryville, 8 October 1862

Battle of Perryville, 8 October 1862

By Dr. Robert S. Cameron US Army Armor Center Fort Knox, Kentucky

268 Pages

Published: 2005

In August and September 1862 Confederate armies were on the move northward. Robert E. Lee was invading Maryland, Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price were moving into Tennessee, and Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith were advancing into Kentucky. James McPherson, in his acclaimed Battle Cry of Freedom, cites this period as the first of the four major turning points of the American Civil War. The Confederate counteroffensive defeated Union hopes to end the war in 1862. However, by mid-October, hard on the heels of the broad Confederate advance the Union forces had regained the strategic and operational advantage, cited by McPherson as the second turning point of the war. Union victories at Antietam in the east and Perryville in the west carried significant weight in determining the final outcome of the conflict.

While vast literature surrounds the former battle Perryville has been somewhat neglected. This work seeks to alleviate that lacuna. The US Army has used Civil War and other battlefields as “outdoor classrooms” to educate and train its officers. Since 1983 the Combat Studies Institute has produced a series of staff ride guides to assist units and classes in this training. The most recent volume in that series, Dr. Robert Cameron’s Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Perryville, 8 October 1862, is a valuable study that examines the key considerations in planning and executing the September-October campaign and battle. Modern tacticians and operational planners will find themes that still resonate. Cameron demonstrates that Civil War leaders met their challenging responsibilities with planning, discipline, ingenuity, leadership, and persistence—themes that are well worth continued reflection by today’s officers.

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Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862

Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862

By LTC Jeffrey J. Gudmens and the Staff Ride Team Combat Studies Institute

170 Pages

Published: 2004

Since the early 20th century the US Army has used Civil War and other battlefields as “outdoor classrooms” in which to educate and train its officers. Employing a methodology developed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1906, both the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and US Army War College conducted numerous battlefield staff rides to prepare officers for duties in both war and peace. Often interrupted by the exigencies of the nation’s wars, the tradition was renewed and reinvigorated at Fort Leavenworth in the early 1980s. Since 1983 the Leavenworth Staff Ride Team has guided military students on battlefields around the world.

For those unable to avail themselves directly of the team’s services the Combat Studies Institute has begun to produce a series of staff ride guides to serve in lieu of a Fort Leavenworth instructor. The newest volume in that series, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Gudmens’ Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862 is a valuable study that examines the key considerations in planning and executing the campaign and battle. Modern tacticians and operational planners will find themes that still resonate. Gudmens demonstrates that leaders in Blue and Gray, in facing the daunting tasks of this, the bloodiest battle to this point on the continent, rose to the challenge. They were able to meet this challenge through planning, discipline, ingenuity, leadership, and persistence—themes worthy of reflection by today’s leaders.

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Overland Campaign, Virginia, 4 May to 15 June 1864

Overland Campaign, Virginia, 4 May to 15 June 1864

A Study in Operational-Level Command

By Dr. Curtis S. King; Dr. William Glenn Robertson; LTC Steven E. Clay (US Army, Retired)

510 Pages

Published: 2009

This Second Edition of the Staff Ride Handbook for the Overland Campaign, Virginia, 4 May to 15 June 1864, is an update to the tenth study in the Combat Studies Institute’s (CSI) Staff Ride Handbook series. The original handbook, prepared by Dr. Curtis S. King, Dr. William Glenn Robertson, and LTC Steven E. Clay (US Army, Retired), analyzed Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign from the crossing of the Rapidan River on 4 May to the initiation of the crossing of the James River on 15 June. This new edition carries the story across the James and encompasses the initial assaults on Petersburg as well. Unlike many of CSI’s previous handbooks, this handbook focuses on the operational level of war. Even so, it provides a heavy dose of tactical analysis, thereby making this ride a superb tool for developing Army leaders at almost all levels.

Designed to be completed in three days, this staff ride is flexible enough to allow units to conduct a one-day or two-day ride that will still enable soldiers to gain a full range of insights offered by the study of this important campaign. In developing their plan for conducting an Overland Campaign staff ride, unit commanders are encouraged to consider analyzing the wide range of military problems associated with warfighting that this study offers. This campaign provides a host of issues to be examined, to include logistics, intelligence, psychological operations, use of reconnaissance (or lack thereof), deception, leadership, engineering, campaign planning, soldier initiative, and many other areas relevant to the modern military professional.

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The Vicksburg Campaign, December 1862-July 1863

The Vicksburg Campaign, December 1862-July 1863

By Dr. Christopher R. Gabel and the Staff Ride Team, Combat Studies institute

240 Pages

Published: 2001

Since the early twentieth century, officers of the U.S. Army have honed their professional knowledge and skills by conducting staff rides to historical battlefields. Often, these educational exercises have focused on the tactical level of war, through a detailed examination of a single battle. The Vicksburg staff ride presented in this booklet, by contrast, focuses at the operational level of war.

By studying the Vicksburg campaign and visiting the places where it took shape, the military professional can gain a greater appreciation for operational art—the conception, execution, and adjustment of a campaign plan. Individual battles and the tactics employed therein are not ignored but rather are set into the context of an evolving campaign. There is much of value here for military professionals in the twenty-first century.

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Third War: Irregular Warfare on the Western Border 1862-1865

Third War Irregular Warfare on the Western Border 1862–1865

By James B. Martin, Ph.D.

180 Pages

Published: 2012

Like many students of history in the United States, I have always been enthralled by the American Civil War. This short period in American History has captured the imagination of Americans and spurred them to consume the many volumes written about this brother-against-brother conflict. Most of these volumes have dealt with the important battles of the war, which pitted massive armies from the North and South against each other in a struggle to determine whether the country would separate or stay together. These battles, highlighted by Gettysburg, Antietam, Vicksburg, Fredericksburg, and others too numerous to mention, were the predecessors of similar grand conflicts that would rack Europe and the world in the decades to follow. Arguably, for the first time in history, an entire nation mobilized to conduct a war that would eventually spill over and affect most of the population. From the gentlemanly preparation for the First Battle of Bull Run to the consuming power of Sherman’s march to the sea, the American Civil War involved far more of the American population than war in Europe historically had involved.

Least understood of the effects on this population, and least studied, is the personal war conducted in the Border States, where the North met the South. The number of titles written on this irregular warfare is dwarfed in the literature of the Civil War, with most of the early volumes being markedly partisan. Most of these focused on the violence at the Kansas and Missouri border which, while the most deadly, was by no means the only irregular violence along a border. Every state on the western border, from the gulf coast of Texas to the hills of Appalachia in Kentucky, was consumed by a violence that filled every street and town. This violence was not the type found on the battlefield at Gettysburg, where hoards of men in blue or gray shot at each other from considerable distance, finally moving to close quarters combat. This was a war that flowed into every barnyard or town square, pitting men with strong beliefs supporting one side against individuals they believed to be their enemy. One historian pointed out that “guerrilla war normally arises in impassioned circumstances” and the irregular war in the American Civil War was no exception.*

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The Wilson's Creek Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour

The Wilson's Creek Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour

By Major George E. Knapp, U.S. Army, Retired

103 Pages

Published: 2001

Staff rides and battlefield tours provide officers with the opportunity to obtain important insights into military operations, concepts of leadership, and how men have fought and endured in battles. In this work, The Wilson’s Creek Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour, Major George E. Knapp, U.S. Army, Retired, offers students of military history a guide to the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield south of Springfield, Missouri.

In the process, officers are presented with an overview of the Missouri campaign and a detailed narrative of the battle replete with vignettes by its Northern and Southern participants. All the information and components needed to conduct a staff ride or battlefield tour to Wilson’s Creek are provided by the author-ensuring an enlightening experience of one of the greatest engagements of the Civil War for those visiting the site.

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