Line and Rabble: Drill, Doctrine, and Military Books in Revolutionary America
Technical Report,31 Aug 2017,20 Apr 2018
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA NORFOLK United States
Pagination or Media Count:
War is a struggle of knowledge as well as physical force. To win the American Revolution, patriots had to develop the necessary knowledge by adapting European military books and, eventually, writing their own. Examining these publications illuminates how and why Americans adapted European books for use during the Revolution and why that process was generally successful. American adaptation succeeded for three main reasons. Adaptation aligned tactics with strategy and the political purpose of the war. Adaptation also accorded with existing military culture that emphasized training and fighting conventionally. Finally, American adaptation negotiated the tension between a Continental Army aspiring to professionalism and militias of less skill but hearty revolutionary fervor. American adaptation occurred in three main waves, the first from 1766-1775,consisted of drill manuals that taught patriots little more than how to load and fire their muskets. The second wave, from 1776-1779, expanded the lexicon by including works on field engineering, artillery, and the art of war. The final wave, the Continental Armys first full regulations, appeared in 1779 in Philadelphia, representing the temporary intellectual triumph of trained professionalism over enthusiastic militias. These three waves demonstrate a process of successful adaptation.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics