The United States Army: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present

The United States Army: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present

The United States Army: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present

The United States Army: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present


The United States Army is a concise history covering all important events involving American ground troops- both successes and failures- in wartime and in peace, from the Colonial era to the present day. In a chronological format anchored to specific dates, The United States Army reports on all significant military engagements- major conflicts and isolated actions- but goes well beyond the battlefield to include significant political and administrative changes affecting the military, notable events in the careers of generals and soldiers, significant military texts, the foundation of noted schools of instruction, and military minutiae such as pay scales and creation of a general staff. Coverage also extends beyond the regular army to include auxiliaries from the colonial militias, to today's National Guard, Reserves, Army Aviation, and Special Forces.


The U.S. Army today evokes imagery of high-tech soldiers striding across the globe, accompanied by huge tanks and sleek helicopter gunships, all demonstrative of the world’s sole remaining superpower. However, the origins of this formidable force completely belie its imposing mien, for military establishments cannot escape the political culture that occasions their rise. in 1775 the nascent nation was struggling against Great Britain, a military superpower of its day, and the Continental army raised to oppose them took some extremely hard knocks in the course of independence. They improved in performance with experience, and by war’s end they approximated the professional soldiery of Europe.

The new United States government distrusted standing forces, though, so the Continental army was disbanded, save for a handful of companies. the new concept of citizen soldiery dominated military thinking for nearly a century and placed greater emphasis on episodic militias and volunteers. Despite an Indian war in the Old Northwest, 1790–1794, and events in Europe that placed the Americans on a second collision course with England, the U.S. Army remained neglected and decidedly second place to more state levies. the folly of this practice was painfully underscored in the War of 1812–1815, when the lessons of the Revolutionary War had to be painfully relearned, but thereafter those regular forces retained in the peacetime establishment were abetted by growing professionalism and an influx of graduates from the U.S. Military Academy.

This invigorated army, fleshed out by volunteer forces, performed superbly in the war with Mexico, 1846–1848, but it remained a small, scattered force up through the cusp of civil war in 1861. Manpower then rose in excess of 50,000 men, but it remained totally dwarfed by the volunteer forces employed, which numbered close to one million men. the military was drastically demobilized again and dispatched to battle Indians along the plains for many years before war with Spain in 1898 again led to its enlargement. Numbers again rose, principally through volunteers, and both volunteers and regulars fought well in combat, though they remained hard-pressed to secure and garrison America’s new empire.

The onset of world war in 1914 again found the United States unprepared militarily but, by virtue of its sizable population and burgeoning industrial base, the U.S. Army expanded to over one million men by 1918, and provided a decisive manpower advantage to the Allies. the ensuing cutbacks of peace and the Great Depression resulted in other severe contractions, and by 1941 the military establishment was again unprepared for its greatest challenge, World War ii. Once again, the U.S. Army could . . .

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