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Manet and the American Civil War – 1

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A recently received a gift of a book that I am thrilled to add to my library. It is, Manet and the American Civil War published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York [which I had the opportunity to visit for the first time this year], and Yale University Press. It is co-authored by Juliet Wilson-Bareau, “an independent art historian based in London” and David C. Degener, an independent researcher based in San Francisco.

The Battle of U.S.S Kearsarge and C.S.S. Alabama

Click on image to be directed to my bookshelf listing.

 Manet and the American Civil War

  • Published on: 2003-06-10
  • Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Yale University Press, New Haven and London
  • ISBN: 0-300-09962-2 
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 86 pages
  • The book’s primary focus is the battle of the U.S.S. Kearsarge and C.S.S. Alabama. This from the front flap which provides an eloquent introduction to the book which I could not better….

    “On June 19, 1864, the United States warship Kearsarge sank the Confederate raider Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France, in one of the most celebrated naval engagements of the American Civil War. The battle was widely reported in the illustrated press and riveted public attention on both sides of the Channel. When Kearsarge later anchored off the French resort town of Boulonge-sur-Mer it was thronged by curious visitors, one of whom was the artist Edouard Manet.  Although he did not witness the historic battle, Manet made a painting of it partly as an attempt to regain the respect of his colleagues after being ridiculed for his works in the 1864 Salon. Manet’s picture of the naval engagement and his portrait of the victorious Kearsarge belong to a group of his seascapes of Boulonge whose unorthodox perspective and composition would profoundly influence the course of French paintings.”

    In part 2, more on Edouard Manet followed in subsequent posts about the two ships and their encounter across the Atlantic.

    Note that I have added a shelf to my online library titled “Civil War Art and Artists.” You can access that shelf here. I will shortly cross-reference this book on the Naval History shelf as well.

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    Technology in U.S. Military History – 4

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    This post completes this series on Technology in U.S. Military History. See post 1 here, 2 here, and 3 here.

    P. Balaram in his editorial for Current Science titled “Science, Technology and War,” describes the widespread use of incendiaries and chemical defoliants which, he suggests, “reached its peak during the Vietnam War, with the United States resorting to napalm bombs and the spraying of herbicides like Agent Orange (dioxins),” with, unfortunately, “little regard for human toxicity.”

    Alex Roland describes the predictable phenomena that “armed services in the United States found themselves competing with each other to claim precedence in fielding the same technology.” Krepinevich confirms this in his description of the competition between the Army and the Air Force in the formation of the “airmobile concept.”

    Interestingly, Roland claims that “the drive toward ever more sophisticated weaponry reached a climax of sorts in the American decade (1965-1975) of the Vietnam struggle for independence (1945-1975).” As Krepinevich also clearly argues, “prompted in part by the superiority of its weaponry, the United States military undertook the Vietnam mission of fighting a guerrilla insurgency with conventional arms developed for war on the plains of Europe.

    “]

    Vietcong Soldier 1968 [Source: Public Domain, Wikicommons

    Sensing devices were introduced to locate the enemy. The helicopter gunship evolved in the course of the war, a combat expedient to give Americans superior mobility and firepower in the face of an elusive and potent enemy. Strategic bombing targeted the enemy’s infrastructure as if North Vietnam was an industrialized state with the same vulnerabilities as the United States.”

    But the fact remains that the advanced technological prowess brought to bear by the United States in the Vietnam conflict did not result in a victory. Rather, as Roland so aptly puts it, while exacting a horrific toll, the side with “superior technology lost to superior strategy.” So while the United States continues to lead the world in the technologies of war, a support of Millet and Maslowski’s premise, equal prowess in other facets of war are required to ensure success, a notion that remains true today.

     

    Sources:
    P. Balaram, “Science, Technology and War,” Current Science, Vol. 84, Number 7, 10 April 2003. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/apr102003/859.pdf Accessed 13 July 2008.

    Alex Roland, “Technology and War,” http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/AD_Issues/amdipl_4/roland2.html
    Accessed 13 July 2008.

    Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.  The Army and Vietnam. Reprint. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

     Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America, xiii.

    Technology in U. S. Military History – 3

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    This post continues on the theme introduced in post 1 here and continued in post 2 here.

    The growth in level of focus that the United States has placed on technology as manifested by the Vietnam War era cannot be stated better than by Andrew F. Krepinevich (The Army and Vietnam) who posited that the United States’ army was “equipped with the most sophisticated technology in an age when technology had assumed the role of a god of war.” [1]

    Public Domain, Wikicommons

    The helicopter is Sikorsky H-19. Army Infantry troops about to board helicopters to be transported to front lines, at the 6th transportation helicopter, eighth Army, in Korea. NARA FILE#: 111-SC-422077 Camera Operator: PFC. E. E. GREEN Date Shot: 24 Dec 1953. Source: Public Domain, Wikicommons


    Air power technologies continued to grow in importance throughout the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The helicopter was used in the Korean War for both removal of wounded and the shuttling of commanders to and from the front. Use of helicopters in Vietnam was extensive as a tool for troop mobility and weapon. Roy E. Appleton (East of Chosin) describes the masterful albeit not flawless use of Marine Corsairs in support of ground troops and their ability to deliver deadly machine gun and rocket fire as well as napalm. [2] Use of radio communication between ground personnel (air controllers of the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and fighter and bomber pilots was also impressive in ensuring that strikes hit their mark.

    Public Domain, Wikicommons

    A Vought F4U-4B Corsair of U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadron VMF-214 Blacksheep being readied for takeoff between August and November 1950 on the escort carrier USS Sicily.

    More in Part 4. 

    [1] Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr. The Army and Vietnam. Reprint. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

    [2]  Roy E. Appleman. East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950. Reprint. Texas A&M University Press, 1991

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    Technology in U.S. Military History – 2

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    This post continues on the theme introduced in post 1 here.

    The growth in technological firepower was certainly evident in the Korean War. Roy Appleton in his fascinating work, East of Chosin (see previous post here) brings to life the murderous effect of mobile artillery including the M19 full-track (dual-40) below as used by trained American soldiers in their desperate defense of positions east of the Chosin Reservoir in 1950.

    M-19 full-track (dual 40)

    M-19 full-track (dual 40)

    The two 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns which were mounted on revolving turret wreaked havoc among attacking Chinese soldiers as long as ammunition held out as did quad-50s.

    Chinese Soldiers - Korean War Casualites

    Chinese soldiers in Korea.

     

    That said, the effects of the extreme cold and lack of fuel also showed the weapon’s vulnerability as a mobile gun platform. Tanks were used by the American’s as well although Appleman covers well their limitations on icy terrain in Korea. The American’s use of 75-mm recoilless rifle (below) was also deadly, especially when in the hands of trained gunners. Likewise, the use by Chinese soldiers of American-made Thompson submachine guns showed the destructive power of automatic small arms against U.S. forces.

    75-mm. Recoilless Rifle in Action

    75-mm. Recoilless Rifle in Action

    More in part 3.

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    Technology in U.S. Military History – 1

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    My current course on Studies in U. S. Military History (see courses page here) is drawing to a close. We have been examining the last of Millett and Maslowski’s major themes which is that “the United States has used increasingly sophisticated technology to overcome logistical limitations and to match enemy numbers with firepower.” [i] I find this supportable in the sense that it has been possible to see a steady progression of technological prowess over time. Nowhere, arguably, have technological advancements been felt more than in the arena of weaponry.

    Patent drawing for R.J. Gatling's Battery Gun, 9 May 1865. (Source: Wikicommons, Public Domain)

    Professor of history Alex Roland (Duke University) posits that “before the twentieth century, most soldiers and sailors ended their careers armed as they were at the beginning. New weapons were introduced slowly, if at all, and most professionals resisted the uncertainties new arms introduced.” But, Roland asserts, “by the second half of the twentieth century, this traditional suspicion of new weapons had changed to a reckless enthusiasm.”  The phenomena of obsolescence on introduction entered the national psyche in that, by the time many “weapons entered service, their successors were being planned. This was especially true in large-scale weapons systems such as ships and aircraft. It even found its way into thinking about less complex military technologies, such as radios and computers.” [ii]

    More in Part 2. Note I provide a link below to Professor Roland’s excellent article titled “Technology and War” which can be read online.

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    ——-For the Common Defense

    [i]   Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America, xiii.

    [ii] Alex Roland, “Technology and War,” http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/AD_Issues/amdipl_4/roland2.html Accessed 13 July 2008.

    Coggins' Arms and Equipment of the Civil War

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    I’m a fan of Jack Coggins. An author and illustrator, Coggins has captured some golden nuggets of information in his book,  Arms and Equipment of the Civil War. He has also written and illustrated a number of other mlitary history books no doubt influenced by his tour of duty as illustrator for YANK magazine during World War II. Members of Coggins extended family have put up a website (quite well done) by way of tribute to Jack. You can reach it here.

    Arms and Equipment of the Civil War

  • Published on: 2004-04-02
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 160 pages
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    "…Technology had assumed the role of a god of war…"

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    “How could the army of the most powerful nation on Earth, materially supported on a scale unprecedented in history, equipped with the most sophisticated technology in an age when technology had assumed the role of a god of war, fail to emerge victorious against a numerically inferior force of lightly armed irregulars?”

    The above a fascinating question posed in the opening pages of this week’s text in Studies in U.S. Military History, The Army and Vietnam, by Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr. (see bio here).

    Dr. Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.

    Dr. Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.

    The Army and Vietnam

  • Published on: 1988-03-01
  • The Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 344 pages
  • ISBN: 0-8018-3657-3
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    Military History Word of the Day: Enfilade

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    From a letter by Private Mathew A. Dunn of Company C, 33rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment, to his wife shortly after the Battle of Peachtree Creek.

    “Our Reg. suffered worse than any other, being on the flank and was exposed to an enfilading fire. We lost our Col. He charged waving his Sword until he fell.”

    Battle of Peachtree Creek
    Source: Wikipedia Commons

    The following are definitions from several sources.

    en·fi·lade
    (ěn’fə-lād’, -läd’)
    n.

    1. Gunfire directed along the length of a target, such as a column of troops.
    2. A target vulnerable to sweeping gunfire.

    tr.v. en·fi·lad·ed, en·fi·lad·ing, en·fi·lades

    To rake with gunfire.

    [French, series, string, row, from enfiler, to string together, run through, from Old French : en-, in, on; see en-1 + fil, thread (from Latin fīlum; see gwhī- in Indo-European roots).]
    Source: enfilade. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/enfilade [accessed: July 06, 2008].
    —-

    enfilade

    1706, from F. enfilade, from O.Fr. enfiler “to thread (a needle) on a string, pierce from end to end,” from en- “put on” + fil “thread.” Used of rows of apartments and lines of trees before modern military sense came to predominate.

    Source: enfilade. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/enfilade [accessed: July 06, 2008].
    —–

    Enfilade

    En`fi*lade”\ (?; 277), n. [F., fr. enfiler to thread, go through a street or square, rake with shot; pref. en- (L. in) + fil thread. 1. A line or straight passage, or the position of that which lies in a straight line. [R.] 2. (Mil.) A firing in the direction of the length of a trench, or a line of parapet or troops, etc.; a raking fire.

    Source: enfilade. Dictionary.com. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/enfilade [accessed: July 06, 2008]

    East of Chosin

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    This week I continue reading as a part of my class on Studies in U.S. Military History East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950 by Roy E. Appleman. In chronicles in great detail a little remembered event in the bone chilling winter of 1950 as a team of American infantry 3000 strong are caught by a surprise massing of Chinese and attacked in their position east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Only 385 survived.

    The contrast between my comfortable holiday weekend in a mid-summer American suburb and the desperate events that took place east of Chosin that winter couldn’t be greater.

    Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950 (Texas a & M University Military History Series)

    • Author: Roy E. Appleman
    • ISBN-10: 0-89096-465-3
    • Published on: 1991-03
    • Number of items: 1
    • Binding: Paperback
    • 416 pages

    A tip of my hat to Mr. Appleman (1904 – 1992) (see biography here and photo below) for an excellent piece of military history. His research and use of first person accounts is exemplary. The book is nothing short of spellbounding.

    Roy E. Appleman

    Roy E. Appleman (1904 – 1992)
    Photo Credit: National Park Service

    The 1st Marine Division fought on the west side of the Chosin Reservoir in equally desperate battle. I discovered a website that collects information about the conflicts that took place near the reservoir here. Available on the site is an essay by Patrick C. Roe (Major, USMC, Ret) about the destruction of the 31st Infantry east of Chosin. There is also a picture gallery.

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    The Online Library of Liberty

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    Always in search of primary sources relevant to military history, I wanted to pass along the following find.
    The Online Library of Liberty is a free access website maintained by the Liberty Fund, Inc.

    Library of Liberty

    The Liberty Fund Library provides online resources in multiple categories including philosophy, art, economics, war and peace and much, much more. It provides both a forum and the library of resources. Both are excellent. It also has robust search capabilities.

    Of particular interest for the study of military thought is a full version of many of Machiavelli’s (below) writings made available in English here. [See a good biography of Niccola Machiavelli here.]

    Machiavelli

    Niccolo Machiavelli

    This allows students to view directly not only Machiavelli’s Art of War (here), but also his more famous work, The Prince and Discourses on Livy. Versions are available for download in multiple formats including: html, pdf and ebook formats.

    Also available on the site – in the category of war and peace – are: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s final address, Thomas Hobbs’ translation of Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian Wars (Vol. 1 and 2), Rousseau and many more. The site provides an outstanding overview of history and thought with access to hundreds of other primary works.

    I’ll be enthusiastically adding to my links.

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    Two Brothers: One North, One South

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    While on vacation, I received a review copy of David H. Jones’ Two Brothers: One North, One South.

    This has moved very quickly up to the top of my reading stack for between terms. It is an aesthetically beautiful book. And I’m impressed by the weaving of fact into the story. I’m also hooked by the notion that poet Walt Whitman is the story’s glue. Can’t wait and more to come once I can put my feet up on the porch and enjoy.

    By the way, Mr. Jones maintains a website here and a blog here which carries the same title as his book but covers more information. I’m adding it to my blogroll as I rather like the information and really do enjoy following the blogs or historical authors.

    Two Brothers - One North, One South

    Product Details

    • Hardcover: 320 pages
    • Publisher:Staghorn Press; First edition [February 1, 2008]
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0979689856
    • ISBN-13: 978-0979689857
    • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.3 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

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    Professional Military Reading List Links Added

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    Please note that I’m in process of adding more links to the right nav bar under the heading of “Reading Lists.” Collected here are professional military reading lists and those associated with universities in military history. These lists are really quite interesting and range from the classical works of military theorists to the latest in business leadership. If you find a list I don’t have noted, please let me know.

    U.S. Army Chief of Staff\'s Professional Reading List

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    Scientific Optimism: Jomini and the U.S. Army

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    Jomini

    Those of you who follow my postings know that I’ve ruminated a bit on Jomini (pictured above). You can find the complete list of related posts here. For those who find discussion of Jomini and Clausewitz interesting, I wanted to pass along a link to an excellent essay by Major Gregory Ebner titled “Scientific Optimism: Jomini and the U.S. Army” available here. Ebner, in an essay that appears as a featured article in The U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection, makes a case for how the U. S. Army presents itself as a Clausewitzian organization at upper levels but is “firmly rooted in the ideals of Antoine-Henry Jomini” at the tactical and operational levels. He posits that focus on “good staff work and the military decision-making process (MDMP)” reflects a reliance on military science and method over the application of genius as espoused by Clausewitz. He further suggests that the Principles of War developed by the U.S. Amy was an encoding of Jomini in the form of doctrine. This essay is instructive to the study of military philosophers and military thought on several fronts. First, for the military philosophy student, it reinforces the theories of both Clausewitz and Jomini and would therefore make an excellent reading assignment after studying the primary works of both theorists. Second, it provides insight into the extent to which the largest army in present day has adopted and incorporated the ideas of both men at the doctrinal and operational levels.

    For more information:

    MDMP – Military Decision Making Process
    Access “The Clausewitz Homepage” here.

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    Civil War Railroad Page Updated

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    By way of housekeeping, I’ve updated the Popular Series Posts page on the right nav bar titled Civil War Railroads here with the latest series of posts titled “Stewards of Civil War Railroads.”

    United States Military Railroad 4-4-0 locomotive W.H. Whiton (built by William Mason in 1862) in January 1865 with Abraham Lincoln's presidential car, which later was used as his funeral car.

    Above: United States Military Railroad 4-4-0 locomotive W.H. Whiton (built by William Mason in 1862) in January 1865 with Abraham Lincoln’s presidential car, which later was used as his funeral car.
    Source: Wikicommons

    May Civil War and Military History Book Acquisitions – II

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    Continuing with my May book acquisitions which illustrate, as said by Civil War Interactive’s comments on my blog this week, why bank robbery may be needed to support my book-buying habits…

    How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War
  • ISBN-10: 0061129801
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; Reprint edition (January 22, 2008)   
  • This looks like a great read. Author Tom Wheeler, an accomplished man by any measure, has a terrific website here with more about his book and research. This has moved to the top of my list of reading for between terms.

    The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864 (Civil War America)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (April 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807829315
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    Field Fortifications in the Overland Campaign (Civil War America)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (September 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807831549
  • I have DISCOVERED Dr. Hess and the growing list of terrific titles he has published on the Civil War. No doubt his other books will show up in my library before long. Dr. Hess, who has impressive academic credentials, has a website here. His book, Pickett’s Charge: The Last Attack at Gettysburg, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

    Union Military Policy toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New edition (February 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521599415
  • I’ve been intending to pick this up. Authored by military history professor and fellow blogger Mark Grimsley, it too is at the top of my reading list. Dr. Grimsley’s OSU webpage is here. His blog is here.

    Confederate Strategy Reconsidered (American Crisis Series)
    Retreat to Victory?: Confederate Strategy Reconsidered (American Crisis Series)
    By Robert G. Tanner
  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: SR Books (January 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084202882X
  • My post, “Fabian Strategy and the American Civil War” here, lead me to this book. One of my readers recommended it and suggests that it proves that the Confederacy could not have used the Fabian strategy effectively. I’m looking forward to this one.

    The European Inheritance
  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; New Ed edition
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700603794
  • Jav Luvaas is another prolific writer of military history and my collection of his books is growing. I first discovered his work while taking the course, Great Military Philosopers (see “The Courses” page here for details. I picked up his titles: Napoleon on the Art of War and Frederick the Great on the Art of War.

    I’ll be adding these authors to my “The Historians” page shortly.

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