In this Issue:
Pershing’s System for Addressing Officer Incompetence and Inefficiency
By Richard S. Faulkner
Lee at Antietam
Strategic Imperatives, the Tyranny of Arithmetic, and a Trap Not Sprung
By Steven W. Knott
Art in the Trenches
The World War I Paintings of Samuel Johnson Woolf
CMH - Publications
Army History Magazine
Spring 2015 Edition
CMH, March 2015
In this Spring 2015 issue of Army History, we feature two excellent articles covering very different topics. The first article, by award-winning World War I historian Richard S. Faulkner, examines the officer reclassification and removal system instituted by General John J. Pershing to deal with the problem of inefficient and incompetent leaders in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). Part of the rapid growth of the U.S. Army as it entered World War I was a massive influx of officers from the National Guard, National Army, and the newly established Officer Training Camp system. Many of these officers arrived without the suitable, or realistic, training they would need to face the challenges of the Western Front. By scrutinizing those sent before these reclassification boards and why, Faulker hopes to illuminate exactly what was expected from these wartime junior officers by their Regular Army counterparts and to expose the command climate these boards created within the AEF.
The second article, by retired Navy officer Steven W. Knott, argues that General Robert E. Lee's decision to fight at the Battle of Antietam was part of his plan to draw the Army of the Potomac into a trap and destroy it in a battle of annihilation, much like Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz against the combined Austrian and Russian armies. Knott studies the deployment of Lee's forces on the first day of the battle and shows how the alignment of the Confederate forces was meant to funnel Union forces into Lee's waiting ambush. However, the numbers were not on Lee's side as the troops detailed to spring the intended trap were instead required as reinforcements simply to hold the Confederate line.
This issue also includes an Army Art Spotlight on the World War I paintings of Samuel Johnson Woolf, many of which are published here for the first time. Additionally, there are comments from the chief of military history on the state of the Center of Military History, and a number of excellent book reviews.
I invite our readers to continue to submit articles on the history of the Army, and land warfare in general, and welcome comments and opinions about this publication and its contents.
- Managing Editor