The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 86
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
86 The Influence of Jomini on Scott's Campaign
at the time. It was in his maturity, however, that Jomini produced the
work which is his monument and which has been called "the greatest
military textbook of the nineteenth century"2-Precis de l'Art de la Guerre
(hereafter called The Art of War).
Jomini's authority extended to America, and by the time of the Civil
War, the hierarchy of the United States army was unquestionably under
his influence. T. Harry Williams has pointed out that the United States
Military Academy produced the overwhelming majority of commanders
in the sixty biggest battles of the war.' Furthermore, these commanders had
been instructed both at West Point and beyond by the principal purveyors
of Jominian doctrine-Dennis Hart Mahan, Henry W. Halleck, William
J. Hardee, Silas Casey, George B. McClellan, and others. In fact, many of
these educators also took part in the generalship of the war.
The consensus of opinion of what can fairly be called the American
school of military historians is that by following the doctrines of Jomini,
the commanders were influenced for ill. Such scholars as Professor Wil-
liams, David Donald, Russell F. Weigley, and Grady McWhiney maintain
that a dedication to Jomini produced conservatism, indecisiveness, and
bloodletting. Most of these writers contend that Jomini's rival Carl von
Clausewitz held the key to success in modern war but that the German was
rarely studied. Professors Williams and Donald, as well as the British mili-
tary historian, the late John Frederick Charles Fuller, believe that Ulysses S.
Grant was the truly great general of that war precisely because he did not
follow Jomini. In fact Grant once confessed that he had never read the
master, and Donald has held that the general became great because, by
reason of his ignorance of Jomini, he became intuitively Clausewitzian.4
One will quickly perceive that the American reputation of Jomini rests
in large part on the evaluation given to him by those close students of the
American Civil War. That war was the most critical as well as the most
2Michael Howard, "Jomini and the Classical Tradition in Military Thought," The
Theory and Practice of War: Essays Presented to Captain B. H. Liddell Hart on His
Seventieth Birthday, ed. Michael Howard (New York, 1966), 14.
3T. Harry Williams, "The Military Leadership of North and South," Why the North
Won the Civil War, ed. David Donald (Baton Rouge, 1960), 27.
4David Donald, Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War (2nd ed.; New York,
1966), 102. See also Russell F. Weigley, Towards an American Army: Military Thought
from Washington to Marshall (New York, 1962), 57, 67, 75-76; J. F. C. Fuller, The
Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant (London, 1929), 184, 218; Grady McWhiney, "Who
Whipped Whom? Confederate Defeat Reexamined," Civil War History, XI (March,
x965), 5-27. For a more sympathetic view of Jomini see Liddell Hart, The Ghost of
Napoleon (New Haven, ), o104-118; Michael Howard, "Jomini and the Classical
Tradition of Military Thought," 5-20o.
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/104/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.