Academic journal article Military Review

Jackson's Sword: The Army Officer Corps on the American Frontier

Academic journal article Military Review

Jackson's Sword: The Army Officer Corps on the American Frontier

Article excerpt

JACKSON'S SWORD

The Army Officer Corps on the American Frontier

Samuel J. Watson

University Press of Kansas

Lawrence, 2012, 460 pages, $39.95

JACKSON'S SWORD WAS written with today's Army officers in mind. Samuel J. Watson's historiographical notes are as impressive as his use of contemporary operational language. His book focuses on American borderland conflicts during the Early American period to explore the profession of arms and a foundational period for the U.S. Army. He points out that early America Army officers had substantial power in local affairs.

Early U.S. military history often appears divorced from current issues, but Watson shows that field commanders quickly shifted gears between civil military activities and pitched battles. He describes how long lines of communications isolated commanders and how political leaders recognized the need for autonomy for campaign commanders. The repeated success of the young U.S. Army serves as a vital check to the "lead by UAV" or command and control helicopter-mentality given the physical leadership present in Watson's work. …

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