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History of Sea Power – Next Course Addresses Naval History

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NEXT COURSE:

I have just signed up for my next class, History of Sea Power which starts January 3rd. We’re allowed one elective in my program and, given my research interests in the naval history of the American Civil War, this one fits well.

the fight between alabama and the kearsarge

Course Description
This course is an in-depth study of the art of war at sea from Salamis to the naval operations in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and examines the expanding role of sea power in supporting operations in combating terrorism. Students evaluate the development of the classical theories of naval warfare, as reflected by Mahan, in light of today’s world conditions, threats, and roles.

I’m very excited that our professor, Stanley Carpenter, is with the U.S. Naval War College and a specialist in British military history.

BOOK LIST:

I ordered my books today and they’ll be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree. Several are available at no cost on Kindle or from other sources (http://gutenberg.org).

One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy, 1890-1990

One Hundred Years of Sea Power


The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 2nd Ed

The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery

The Command of the Ocean : Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815

The Command of the Ocean

Influence of Sea Power on Ancient History

The Influence of Sea Power on Ancient History

Influence Of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783

The Influence of Sea Power Mahan

Some Principles of Maritime Strategy

Some Principles of Maritime Strategy

Naval Power: A History of Warfare and the Sea from 1500 Onwards

Naval Power

Jomini on the Nature of War – Part VII – Jomini's Impact on Civil War Leadership

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jomini-cropped.jpgThis post continues the series of “Jomini on the Nature of War.” Part I: Introduction is available here, Part II: The Burgeoning Military Theorist here, Part III: The Founder of Modern Strategy here, Part IV: The Basics here, Part V: Lines of Operation here, and Part VI – The Conduct of War here.

Returning to Baron Antoine de Jomini (right), I wanted to explore the extent to which his strategies influenced those who held leadership positions during the American Civil War. A modest survey of the literature revealed some disagreement. 

Historian James L. Morrison, Jr. in his article “Educating the Civil War Generals: West Point, 1833 - 1861,″ pointed out that exposure to Jomini came during “Professor Dennis H. Mahan’s [pictured below] course, Civil and Military Engineering and the Science of War which all First Classmen studied daily.”[i]

Dennis Mahan

Dennis H. Mahan
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

But only nine hours were given to the study of the science of war and Morrison contends that this was entirely too brief an exposure to have had any lasting impact. That said, he acknowledges that some alumni of the military academy studied Jomini thoroughly including Beauregard, Lee, Halleck, and McClellan.

“…The same cannot be said for the great majority of their colleagues who had neither the opportunity nor the inclination to continue their strategic studies after graduation. Probably Sherman was more representative of the typical graduate when he denied that Jomini had affected his thoughts or actions in the war.” [ii]

 I’ll discuss some additional viewpoints in the next post.

A word on Dennis H. Mahan. A military theorist in his own right, Mahan was instrumental in developing the engineering-focused curriculum at West Point. Some may recall that he was the father of naval strategist Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan. The elder’s obituary, which appeared on September 17, 1871 in New York Times here, reveals that Professor Mahan committed suicide by jumping in the Hudson River from the deck of the steamboat Mary Powell in such a way that he was hit by the wheel. He was apparently despondant about being forced to retire. A sad end to a remarkable career. Professor Mahan’s memoir is available online here.

Powell Photo
Mary Powell, Queen of the Hudson

[i, ii] James L. Morrison, Jr., “Educating the Civil War Generals: West Point, 1833 – 1861,” Military Affairs, Vol. 38, No. 3. (Oct., 1974), pp. 109.

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