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Bureau of Military Intelligence in the Chancellorsville Campaign

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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This military historical study investigates the effectiveness of the Bureau of Military Information during the Chancellorsville Campaign. The thesis examines the all-source information provided to the Federal army commander during the planning and operational phases of the battle, while scrutinizing the accuracy, timeliness, and relevance of the intelligence collected by this organization. The effectiveness of Colonel Sharpes bureau is also analyzed by the modern intelligence doctrine standards of Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. This paper highlights the history of early Civil War intelligence efforts in the east and west, and the organization of General Hookers secret service after he took command of the Army of the Potomac. The Battle of Chancellorsville served as the bureaus first test in supporting the Union war effort, and this project studies the information collected by the staff section from mid-February to early May 1863. The analysis of the measures of effectiveness from this period indicates the Bureau of Military Information proved its worth to the Union army. The lessons learned from this staff section were not reinstated until the United States Army established a professional Military Intelligence Corps decades after the Civil War. The bureau established a framework for future intelligence organizations, beginning with the Chancellorsville Campaign.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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