How America Fought Its Wars: Military Strategy from the American Revolution to the Civil War

How America Fought Its Wars: Military Strategy from the American Revolution to the Civil War

How America Fought Its Wars: Military Strategy from the American Revolution to the Civil War

How America Fought Its Wars: Military Strategy from the American Revolution to the Civil War


The new American nation fought for its survival against a variety of enemies, both foreign and domestic; during a series of wars from 1775 to 1865. The authors examine in considerable detail the various battles and campaigns of the early wars fought by the young republic, in search of common factors that may have led to the nation's survival and triumph. The vast distances, sparse population, and supply problems endemic to all the campaigns in North America are carefully examined. In all its early wars, the United States relied upon a small force of professional soldiers backed up by larger numbers of short-term volunteers: the positive and negative effects of this policy in each war are considered. For each war, the commanders for each side are rated as to performance, and an analysis made of how their individual strengths and weaknesses may have influenced the outcome of the conflict.

At the end of each part of the book, the authors rate the generals' performances (find out why they think Longstreet earned a "B" while Johnston flunked).

A specially commissioned series of maps make clear the various strategic and tactical issues at stake from the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War.


On the chilly, early spring afternoon of April 9 , 1765, King George III requested that George Grenville become the prime minister of the British government. This humorless brother-in-law of the famous William Pitt was appointed with the specific mandate to devise a plan to generate revenue from His Majesty's American colonies that seemed either unwilling or unable to defend themselves against French or Indian aggression. Grenville agreed with his king that the Americans might be industrious farmers, but these "country people" seemed incapable of ever becoming effective soldiers comparable to the redcoats recruited form the British Isles. The result of this set of beliefs was the passage of a Stamp Act designed to raise money to support several regiments of British regulars in garrisons throughout the colonies. Grenville and the king were certain that any colonial opposition to this modest tax would be disorganized and brief and His Majesty's regulars could be expected to maintain order in the colonies for decades to come.

Exactly one hundred years to the day after a British king set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately cost the crown its most valuable colonies, an American general wearing a mud splattered uniform met with his gray coated counterpart to accept the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Ulysses Simpson Grant commanded an army that was over ten times the size of the British army of a century earlier and had just defeated a Confederacy that had fielded an army just as brave, resourceful and tenacious as its Union opponents. Now the northern and southern descendants of the men who had opposed Grenville's Stamp tax and defeated the British army sent to force the rebel colonists into submission were once again united in a single republic. As the guns around Appomattox, Virginia were silenced, Robert E. Lee spoke to his defeated army and, as tears came to his eyes, told his men to "be as good citizens as you have been good soldiers," a charge that set in motion a reconciliation between the two . . .

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