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U.S. Army Center of Military History

Army History Magazine: Winter 2013

The Winter 2013 issue of Army History presents an article by Fred L. Borch, the regimental historian and archivist for the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, intended to educate readers about the military commission that tried the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Borch examines the reasoning behind the government's - particularly Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton's - decision to prosecute the conspirators by military tribunal rather than in the civilian courts. Sketches of the trial and all its characters are provided for the reader's understanding of the events that ultimately lead to the verdicts and sentences of the accused. Some may be surprised at, and disagree with, the author's conclusions; but none can deny this pivotal event's seminal place in history or its lasting effect on our civilian and military legal systems.

Next, readers are introduced to a relatively unsung hero of Army education and officer training. Author Wilson C. Blythe examines the impact that Arthur L. Wagner had on the training, development, and education of the Army's officers through his innovative reforms, modernization efforts, and professionalization of the Army's educational system. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw vast improvements in the way Western militaries trained and educated their officer corps. While this period saw marked growth in the area of military education for many European nations, such reforms took longer to take root in the United States. The tireless efforts of individuals like Wagner have left behind a legacy of education and training tools still in use by the Army today.

The Army Artifact Spotlight for this issue features a presentation sword given to Union Army officer, 1st Lt. Oscar D. McMillan, in 1865. This sword, a gift from McMillan's men as they mustered out of service, is an excellent example of period craftsmanship and a fitting tribute to an officer who was obviously loved and respected by the men under his command.

We also feature a call for solidarity from the chief of military history as the Army History Program enters of period of change and reorganization under the ever-present cloud of looming budget cuts and force reductions. The chief historian, in his footnote, provides more updates on the Career Program 61 initiative.

We continue to invite readers to send their articles and commentaries on the history of the U.S. Army as well as their thoughts and comments on this publication.

Editor, Army History

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