The Staff Ride

The Staff Ride

By William Glenn Robertson

40 Pages

Published: 1987

Staff rides represent a unique and persuasive method of conveying the lessons of the past to the present-day Army leadership for current application. Properly conducted, these exercises bring to life, on the very terrain where historic encounters took place, examples, applicable today as in the past, of leadership, tactics and strategy, communications, use of terrain, and above all, the psychology of men in battle. This historical study, particularly with personal reconnaissance, offers valuable opportunities to develop professional leadership and the capacity for effective use of combined arms on the air-land battlefield. We welcome the Staff Ride as an important new Army publication. The wisdom contained within its pages will provide appropriate guidance for those of us who want to utilize the staff ride to enhance the professionalism of the Army.

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The Staff Ride: A Guide to Planning and Conducting Unit-level Staff Rides

The Staff Ride Overview

A Guide to Planning and Conducting Unit-level Staff Rides

By Staff Ride Team

30 Pages

Published: 2013

The majority of the information contained in this guide comes from "The Staff Ride" by William G. Robertson posted above. The CSI Staff Ride Team uses this pamphlet, and collected TTPs that are also included in this guide, in its execution of staff rides in support of the Army at large.

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Virtual Staff Ride (VSR) Overview

Virtual Staff Ride (VSR) Overview

By Staff Ride Team

22 Pages

Published: 2013

Since 2005, CSI has provided the Army with a new platform for leader development with VSRs to augment our numerous field staff ride offerings. Featuring 3D imagery produced largely from satellite imagery, photographs, video, and first-hand accounts from participants, the VSR leverages current technology to conduct an effective staff ride without leaving the classroom. Initially utilized to capture lessons learned from Afghanistan and Iraq, the eight VSRs and wide array of supporting publications currently offered by CSI continue to assist Army units in pre-deployment preparation and universal leader programs. CSI Staff Ride Team instructors actively provide VSR support to Active and Reserve Components at CONUS and OCONUS installations, supporting leader development programs from the ROTC to the Corps level.

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The Cheyenne Wars Atlas

The Cheyenne Wars Atlas

By Charles D. Collins, Jr.

144 Pages

Published: 2010

In 2007, a staff ride was developed that examined General Winfield Scott Hancock's 1867 expedition against the Cheyenne in Kansas (Part II of this atlas). The end result was an excellent staff ride concentrating on cultural awareness issues which frustrated the Army's attempt to compel peace through negotiation. However, the staff ride lacked the breadth and scope needed for a full college course. Thus, our interest turned toward Major General Philip H. Sheridan's 1868 winter campaign against the Cheyenne. In this campaign, Sheridan launched three converging columns into what is now western Oklahoma with orders to put into practice a technique of total war in which he targeted entire Indian villages for destruction.

His strategy was that even if an advancing column did not find the hostile Indians, their advancing movement would help to drive the Indians into the other columns. His field commanders managed to surprise and overrun Indian villages in the war's two most significant engagements: the battles of Washita (November 1868) and Soldier Spring (December 1868). The destruction of these two villages was a major loss for the Southern Plains tribes; they could no longer count on the vastness of the territory or harsh winter conditions to protect them from the soldiers. The Southern Plains tribes acknowledged the futility of the struggle and eventually resigned themselves to life on the reservation, and a temporary (transient) peace settled upon the land for the space of four years.

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Battlefield Atlas of Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864

Battlefield Atlas of Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864

By Charles D. Collins, Jr.

232 Pages

Published: 2016

In 2013, the Westport and Mine Creek staff rides received renewed attention as Mr. Charles D. Collins, CSI Historian, combined and expanded the two staff rides into a US Army Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) elective culminating with a two-day staff ride on both battlefields. Concurrently, Mr. Collins also modified the elective into a two day staff ride for CGSC’s Art of War Scholars Program with an increased emphasis on the operational level of war.

Hundreds of students from ROTC programs in addition to Army Reserve and Active Component units have used the study of Price’s Missouri Expedition of 1864, and the two staff rides associated with the campaign, as leader development tools for their leaders. This atlas is intended to serve as an educational reference to further enhance the Westport and Mine Creek staff ride experience. The atlas provides a heavy dose of tactical detail but also directs significant focus on the operational level of war. Therefore, the staff rides associated with the 1864 Missouri Expedition are appropriate for Army leader development education and training at nearly all levels.

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Atlas of the Sioux Wars, 2nd ed.

Atlas of the Sioux Wars, 2nd ed.

By Charles D. Collins, Jr.

97 Pages

Published: October 2006

The relevance of the Sioux Wars for today’s Army is even more evident in 2006 than it was in 1992. As with the campaigns against the Sioux from the 1860s to the 1890s, early 21st century operations array the conventional forces of the US Army against the unconventional forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Sioux campaigns are replete with valuable lessons for the professional soldier. The operations were operationally and tactically complex, unfamiliar terrain and logistics dramatically affected the multiphase engagements, and every operation took place in a complex political and cultural environment of shifting priorities. A serious study of the campaigns offers today’s officers the opportunity to compare, contrast, and, most importantly, to discover the threads of continuity linking the unconventional warfare of the 21st century with that of their 19th century forebears.

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Battle of White Bird Canyon

Battle of White Bird Canyon

17 June 1877

By Charles D. Collins, Jr.

114 Pages

Published: October 2014

White Bird Canyon is the first of CSI’s 12 staff ride handbooks to combine the traditional handbook format with the format of CSI’s Atlas of the Sioux Wars (2006) and The Cheyenne Wars Atlas (2010). This new volume details the tragic road to war between the US Army and the Nez Perce Indians, and analyzes the Army’s disastrous first engagement in the war. This staff ride focuses primarily on the tactical level of war. However, it also provides significant room for discussion of Army values, cultural awareness concerns, operational issues, and training requirements, making this staff ride a superb tool for developing Army leaders from platoon to division level.

White Bird Canyon is also CSI’s fifth work pertaining to the US Army’s post-Civil War Indian campaign experience. Together with CSI’s previous atlases, The Ute Campaign of 1879 (1993), and In Search of an Elusive Enemy: The Victorio Campaign (2004), CSI continues to offer historically-based analyses of discrete events during the latter part of the 19th Century that offer relevant insights to current and future Army leaders.

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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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The Corps of Discovery

The Corps of Discovery

Staff Ride Handbook for the Lewis and Clark Expedition

By Charles D. Collins, Jr.

299 Pages

Published: 2010

The Lewis and Clark staff ride presented in this booklet, by contrast, focuses on a US Army mission to explore the unknown during a time of peace. By studying the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806, traveling the route, and visiting the places where key decisions were made, the military professional can gain a greater appreciation of what it means to be a leader in today’s Army and gain an enhanced understanding of the time-honored leadership principle of Be, Know, Do. The captains had commendable character, the “Be” of Be, Know, Do.

They had the courage to do what was right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. In short, they lived the Army values of honor, loyalty, and selfless service. The Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-06 is an effective vehicle for a staff ride. It raises a variety of teaching points that are relevant to today’s officer. In addition, the expedition exemplifies the values that have guided the American soldier to the present day. The Staff Ride Handbook for the Lewis and Clark Expedition provides a systematic approach to the analysis of this key operation.

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The Cowpens Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour

The Cowpens Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour

By Lieutenant Colonel John Moncure

208 Pages

Published: 1996

The Cowpens Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour, by Lieutenant Colonel John Moncure, offers a staff ride guide on a critical Revolutionary War battle. The guidebook examines the war from a strategic perspective, looks at the campaign as an operational event, and provides the backdrop to the tactical battle. The author has gathered operations orders, dispatches, and numerous eyewitness accounts to allow each visitor to reconstruct the events that occurred at the Cowpens.

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Dade’s Battle, Florida, 28 December 1835

Dade’s Battle, Florida, 28 December 1835

A Study of Leadership in Irregular Conflict

By Captain Michael G. Anderson

114 Pages

Published: 1996

The Staff Ride Handbook for Dade’s Battle, Florida, 28 December 1835 is the eleventh volume in the Combat Studies Institute’s Staff Ride Handbook series. Michael G. Anderson’s well-researched handbook uses the opening conflict of the Second Seminole War as a vehicle to allow organizations at any echelon to study leadership at the tactical level. Although the battle was part of what is now called “irregular warfare,” today’s leaders—uniformed and civilian—will find ample opportunity to highlight the role of all warfighting functions with a particular emphasis on intelligence, fires and protection.

In addition, the backdrop of two ethno-cultural groups, each antagonistic to the other, provides a strong continuity of experience to the many current and potential future operations of the United States’ Armed Forces. Continuing the tradition of CSI Publications and the Staff Ride Handbook series in particular, readers will not be surprised that the insights gleaned from conducting the Dade’s Battle staff ride are as relevant today as they were over 175 years ago.

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Into the Unknown: The Logistics Preparation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Into the Unknown

The Logistics Preparation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

By Major Donald L. Carr

123 Pages

Published: 2004

Two hundred years ago, a 30-man US Army party—the “Corps of Discovery”—ascended the Missouri River and conducted the most extensive exploration yet attempted of the North American continent’s interior. Their accomplishments in the two-year journey were remarkable, and bear testimony to the leadership acumen of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The results were also a testament to the courage and fortitude of the soldiers they led. No successful operation, however, occurs in a vacuum. Detailed planning and preparation are often key elements in the eventual overall conclusion.

In that vein, the preparations for the Lewis and Clark expedition were exhaustive. President Thomas Jefferson, father of the expedition, ensured Lewis was well prepared for his task by coaching, mentoring, and teaching the young officer for two years. Lewis and Clark then spent the better part of a third year planning and organizing for the journey. As a result, they had plans for almost every contingency imaginable. In addition, their mental preparation and agility enabled them to react to and take advantage of unforeseen circumstances.

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Operational Art and the Campaigns for Mobile, 1864–65: A Staff Ride Handbook

Operational Art and the Campaigns for Mobile, 1864–65

By Daniel W. Jordan III

273 Pages

Published: 2019

Dr. Dan Jordan’s Staff Ride Handbook for the Mobile Bay campaign covers both the Navy-led action at the mouth of the bay in 1864 as well as the Army-led siege of the city itself in 1865, demonstrating the importance of the interoperability of forces operating in different domains to successfully enable joint forces to create decisive effects. The campaign highlights actions of ground forces in both supporting and supported roles and the importance of cross-domain fires to effect maneuver and achieve victory. The handbook covers ADM David G. Farragut’s famous action at the mouth of Mobile Bay and MG Edward Canby’s intricate plan of maneuver to place his forces in position to force the evacuation of Mobile, one of the Confederacy’s last major ports. This handbook is designed for either a single or multi-day staff ride and is intended for all members of the joint force.

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Battles of New Orleans

The Battles of New Orleans

23 December 1814 - 8 January 1815

By Lieutenant Colonel Matthew B. Dale

233 Pages

Published: 2015

The Staff Ride Handbook for the Battles of New Orleans, 23 December 1814-8 January 1815, covering the final battles of the War of 1812. Interest in the details of this often-overlooked conflict has increased as a result of recent bicentennial observances, exposing a new generation of students to a unique period in ourArmy’s history. Most survey course references to the War of 1812 concern the demonstrably different performances of the US Army and US Navy, the latter getting the better coverage. That comparison however, lies at the heart of why this war and this series of battles are crucial to understanding the development of both theArmy as an institution and civil-military relations more generally from 1815 to 1941. This handbook will help new and returning students to look at the battles of New Orleans in the proper context, aided by a wealth of new scholarship produced over the last 30 years.

This handbook enables understanding of the battle by facilitating readers’ awareness as they walk the ground. It begins with a thorough description of the strategic objectives desired by both the British and Americans, and an operational overview of events in the American Deep South and the Gulf of Mexico which set the conditions for the tactical engagements which occurred in December 1814 and January 1815. The use of the plural Battles in the title denotes a focus upon all four of the engagements fought between American and British forces just south and east of New Orleans. Because of this, the handbook can be used to tailor a staff ride for a single tactical engagement or as a campaign analysis.

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Niagara Campaigns, 1812-1814

Niagara Campaigns, 1812-1814

By Richard V. Barbuto

255 Pages

Published: 2014

The Combat Studies Institute is pleased to publish this staff ride handbook for the War of 1812 in the Niagara region. Between 1812 and 1814, the US Army fought a series of actions centered on the thirty-seven mile river boundary separating the United States from what was then the British province of Upper Canada. These battles are interesting for a variety of reasons. The War of 1812, during which the Niagara frontier saw the majority of ground combat, is often cited as an example of national unpreparedness leading to a series of military defeats and a failure to accomplish the national goals.

The conflict also saw the transformation of the US Army from a frontier constabulary into the tactical equal of one of the most professional armies of its time – the British Army in Canada. The tactical actions then showed a slow maturation of capabilities on the US side. This evolution was difficult, with more defeats than victories accruing to American arms. Yet through it all, the emergence of effective and determined leaders and trained organizations established a legacy still valid for today’s fighting forces. Indeed, the lineage of several Army organizations begins with service at Chippawa and Lundy’s Lane. Graduates of the fledgling US Military Academy who were present on these battlefields, although few in number, established by word and action that institution’s creed of Duty, Honor, Country. The Army that emerged from this conflict started on a path to professionalization that we continue to travel today.

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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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Attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

Attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

A Study of Defending America

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

176 Pages

Published: 2005

The Pearl Harbor Staff Ride Handbook is the ninth study in the Combat Studies Institute’s (CSI’s) Staff Ride Handbook series. LTC Jeffrey Gudmens’ handbook on Pearl Harbor allows individuals and organizations to study this battle not only in the context of the Japanese attack but, more importantly, in the context of issues that are relevant to the current global war on terror. In addition to analyzing the actual attack, Gudmens also enables users of this work to examine the problems associated with conducting joint planning and operations between the US Army, the Army Air Forces, and the US Navy.

He also provides insights into the problems of a Homeland Security environment in which intelligence operatives from a foreign nation (and potentially even recent immigrants from that foreign nation who are now US citizens) can operate with little hindrance in a free and open democratic society. Additionally, this study provides an opportunity to look at how military commanders and planners prepared for their wartime mission with inadequate resources and equipment. Each of these issues, and others analyzed herein, is as relevant to us today as it was almost 65 years ago. Modern military professionals for whom this handbook was written will find a great deal to ponder and analyze when studying the events leading up to, and including, the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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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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Saratoga Campaign, 13 June to 8 November 1777

Saratoga Campaign, 13 June to 8 November 1777

By Steven E. Clay

437 Pages

Published: 2018

The Combat Studies Institute is pleased to publish this staff ride handbook for the Saratoga Campaign. Covering the opening actions on Lake Champlain, along the Mohawk River, and across the border in Vermont, and concluding with the final, decisive actions along the banks of the Hudson River, this Staff Ride Guide enables a detailed campaign study, highlighting the importance of logistics and terrain, as well as a shorter, more focused study of just the Saratoga battles themselves. The guide highlights the importance of incorporating capabilities from across the total force, from regulars to militia, as well as the vital importance of skilled leadership, command relationships, and the principle of unity of command in order to achieve victory on the battlefield. The Saratoga campaign was the turning point of the American Revolution and served as a model for revolutionaries in later eras for how to defeat hegemonic imperial powers and thus remains a highly relevant case study for future practitioners of modern warfare.

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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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Battle of Tippecanoe

To Compel with Armed Force

A Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Tippecanoe

By Major Harry D. Tunnell IV

197 Pages

Published: 2000

In this latest addition to the staff ride guide series, Major Harry D. Tunnell IV examines the Battle of Tippecanoe, an engagement that occurred in 1811 in the Indiana Territory. The battle pitted the Regular and militia forces of William Henry Harrison, the governor of the territory, against the warriors of Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief who was attempting to create an Indian tribal confederacy with British support.

In keeping with other CSI staff ride guides, Tunnell offers a narrative and analytical account of the battle, the events and issues leading up to it, and its ramifications for U.S. history. He follows this with a detailed plan that officers today can adopt for conducting a staff ride at the site of the battle. The result is an excellent blend of written history and field instruction that enables participating officers to grapple with historical events and critical decisions while standing on the very sites where those events unfolded and decisions were made.

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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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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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