An Army for Empire: The United States Army in the by Graham A. Cosmas

By Graham A. Cosmas

In America’s renowned reminiscence of the Spanish-American conflict, the all-volunteer tough Riders gained the battle inspite of ossified civilian and common military management. during this authoritative account, even if, army historian Graham A. Cosmas reconstructs the making plans and execution of Spanish-American struggle approach from the viewpoint of these with the final word accountability: the president, the secretary of warfare, the commanding basic of the military, and the executive and commanders of the army’s numerous bureaus and corps.

Cosmas argues that the conventional view of the warfare is from the “bottom up” simply because, whereas headlines have been being made approximately insufficient provides, sickness, and outmoded guns at floor point, the civilian and army figures on the optimum ranks remained almost silent approximately how and why they made their judgements. This quantity, according to extensive learn in documentary fabrics, together with the private papers of President William McKinley and Secretary of struggle Russell A. Alger, in addition to the voluminous records of Adjutant basic Henry Clark Corbin and the quartermaster general’s workplaces, indicates the daily development of the struggle because the highest-ranking officers observed it, digested it, and established next judgements on it.

Faced with budgetary strain from Congress, political strain from the states’ nationwide defend devices, and the president’s moving stand on targets for the conflict, the military used to be certainly unwell ready for its surprising mobilization. Cosmas concludes that the army’s management used to be pressured right into a tricky new place in 1898, one within which its personal new principles of administration and association coupled with the extensive new scope of nationwide political/military goals did not tackle the particular conditions of the conflict. After the preliminary wartime mistakes, even if, the military solved sufficient of its difficulties to make the campaigns in Puerto Rico and the Philippines run extra easily, even though with much less information worth. As Cosmas indicates, the Spanish-American struggle used to be a foretaste of the recent century, prompting the formation of a contemporary employees and command process that may profoundly adjust global history.

This paperback variation of An military for Empire comprises the author’s 1994 preface; extra illustrations; and accelerated dialogue of African American squaddies, the land engagements at San Juan Hill and El Caney, and the interval among the August 1898 armistice and Secretary Alger’s departure a yr later.

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During the 1880s, Congress, in response to the recommendations of a planning board headed by Secretary of War William C. Endicott, authorized the large-scale reconstruction of the fortifications protecting the nation's principal harbors. Although never adequately financed, the coast defense program resulted in the establishment of the Army Gun Factory, which was capable of turning out all calibers of rifled steel breech-loading cannon. Private industry, encouraged by the promise of government orders, also enlarged its capacity to produce gun forgings, carriages, and even finished weapons.

In feeding their guardsmen, for instance, hardly any of the states kept strictly to the Army ration, on which the soldiers would have to live if ever called into federal service. Instead, units in camp supplemented the regular ration with extra delicacies, and some even hired civilian chefs to prepare their meals. With their elected officers and lax discipline, National Guard formations often 14 For arguments on this point, see Sherman, JMSI, VI, 23-24, and Lt. Joseph B. , "A United States Army," JMSI, XIII, 57-58.

The uniformed Commanding General of the United States Army also received his assignment from the President. Legally, the President could confer this post upon any general on active duty, but in practice he invariably selected the senior major general, the service's highest-ranking officer, for whom the position constituted an honorary distinction at the end of a long career. 19 The War Department administered the Army's scattered garrisons through eight geographical military departments, the number and boundaries of which were established and altered by presidential order.

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