Accession Number:

ADA611982

Title:

The Transformation of the Army of the Potomac Staff from 1862 to 1864

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2014-05-22

Pagination or Media Count:

111.0

Abstract:

The United States Armys general staff structure and functions at the beginning of the American Civil War reflected the same organization and functions of George Washingtons staff during the Revolutionary War. Commanders served as their own operations and intelligence officers, and did not necessarily understand the role and potential utility of a Chief of Staff. Officers were not trained to serve on a staff and in most cases did not understand their true function as staff officers. The staff performed basic resource management and administrative functions to assist the commander in all phases of warfare, relying on the commander for analysis and most decisions. The large-scale war about to take place in the United States in 1861 necessitated an organization capable of collecting, analyzing, processing, and disseminating information quickly and accurately. The Industrial Revolution produced transportation and communication systems to support the expedient delivery of information, material and combat power over vast distances. Generals required a robust staff to assist in directing the execution of battle and maintaining oversight of a widespread array of forces. The manner in which general officers utilized their staffs differed among leaders. The staff of the Army of the Potomac serves as the best example of the adaptive transformation of capabilities out of necessity and experience. It developed systems similar to an operations process, organic intelligence processing capabilities, and advised the commanding general whose span of control and operational reach surpassed the capacity of his mental genius. Staff processes evolved because of the decentralization of responsibilities to staff departments and away from the commander. Accurate assessment of enemy and friendly combat power were critical to battle planning, including long distance logistics operations. Understanding how the general staff developed its capabilities and processes provides insight into how th

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE