Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm not coming away from Battle Tactics of the Civil War with a greatly enhanced impression of Paddy Griffith. His basic campaign analysis is exceedingly naive, in a rather Centennial style, and he's building a number of his arguments on those naive judgments. I just hit his section about West Point's origin as a French-style engineering academy, and suddenly there's this violent anti-French-engineer outburst spilling out all over the page. He seems to think that Jomini is in opposition to the French military conservative trend, whereas Nosworthy was insisting that Jomini represents a reactionary re-interpretation of the "Napoleonic" military revolution, a re-arrangement of the mobility and offense-oriented reforms of the late eighteenth century into a modern version of the old posts-and-depots system with a hipper rap.

Gah, now I've gone and confused myself. But nothing Griffith is saying about Dennis Hart Mahan matches what everyone else says about him, nor does it match what little I've read of Mahan himself. Griffith seems to think that Mahan is aping the French engineers, whereas everyone else (especially Hess!) says that Mahan's entrenchment mentality was an indigenous American response to large, unpopulated backcountry & American manpower-shortages.

No comments: