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American Insurgent Leaders: Insights for Contemporary Warriors
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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This study examines the leadership traits of four American insurgent leaders. Those leaders were Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter from the American Revolutionary War and Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Singleton Mosby from the American Civil War. Marion and Sumters operations were successful in occupying large numbers of British forces, thus enabling General Nathanael Greene to win a campaign of resistance against the British. Forrest and Mosby constantly threatened Union lines of communication, forcing the Union army to dedicate forces to defense, thus reducing its ability to act against the Confederacys major armies. The operations of all four men demonstrated the effectiveness of irregular operations as an adjunct of conventional forces. The study concludes that all four leaders possessed a high degree of natural intellect and were significantly influenced by their backgrounds. Notably, none had received any formal military training, and only John Mosby had received a formal civilian education of any significance. The men generally used innovative tactics and conducted decentralized operations that reflected positive leadership traits, but in some cases emotionally-driven reprisals and lapses in discipline revealed negative aspects of their leadership. Enlightened contemporary leaders will gain useful insights from studying these mens lives, operations, and leadership qualities. These insights will assist in developing the independent thinking and adaptive leaders necessary for confronting the complexities of modern warfare.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE