Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862
ARMY COMBINED ARMS CENTER FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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A staff ride to a major battlefield is an excellent tool for the historical education of members of the Armed Forces. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has been conducting staff rides since the 1900s. Captain Arthur L. Wagner was an instructor at Fort Leavenworth in the 1890s, and he believed an officers education had become too far removed from the reality of war. He pondered how to get the experience of combat to officers who had only experienced peace. His answer was the staff ride, a program in which students studied a major battle and then went to the actual field to complete the study. Wagner did not live to see staff rides added to the curriculum at Fort Leavenworth, but in 1906, the first staff ride was added to the Fort Leavenworth experience. Major Eben Swift led 12 students on a study of the Atlanta Campaign of 1864. On and off, staff rides have been a part of the curriculum ever since. Staff rides are not just limited to schoolhouse education. For years, unit commanders have conducted numerous staff rides to varied battlefields as part of their officers and soldiers professional development. In support of these field commanders, the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth published staff ride guides to assist personnel planning and conducting staff rides worldwide.
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