Academic journal article Military Review

The Armies of U.S. Grant

Academic journal article Military Review

The Armies of U.S. Grant

Article excerpt

THE ARMIES OF U.S. GRANT by James R. Arnold. 288 pages. Arms & Armour Press. London. (Distributed by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York.) 1995. $29.95 clothbound. $19.95 paperback.

The American Civil War is one of the most studied fields in US military history. Unfortunately, quantity has not always equaled quality. Many new books simply plow familiar ground. A few, such as The Armies of U.S. Grant by James R. Arnold, have something new to offer.

In considering the Northern Civil War military experience, Arnold explores two important themes. First, he traces Ulysses S. Grant's generalship, examining how he developed as a commander during the war. Grant commanded a volunteer army and soon realized the value of rigorous training, devising training regimens for soldiers and officers alike. He provided a military arts foundation that combat experience later supplemented. Grant also realized that the nature of warfare was changing, requiring more coordination and cooperation between arms and services. He pioneered the use of combined operations with naval gunboats, constantly reorganizing his artillery and cavalry units for maximum tactical effectiveness.

Last, Grant was not deluded by his own successes. Although he relished such victories as those at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi, he also willingly learned from his mistakes at Shiloh, Tennessee, and Cold Harbor, Virginia. …

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