Military after Civil War HIS 207

Military after Civil War
HIS 207
Civil War is Over
 Great
volunteer army was quickly
May 1865—1 million volunteers in army
November—800,900 men released from
By 1866—only 11,000 volunteers remain
 By
1876-the authorized size was reduced
down to 27,500
Government Vision in post-war era
 White
House and Congress saw no need
for a large regular army
 Believed that nation was well served by
volunteer force in Civil War
 No “real” enemies on the horizon
 Prompts question—”Why do we need an
 Military spending channeled in other
What are roles of the post-war
 Difficult
to accomplish any objectives with
very small force spread out over many
Reflected political realities—think of today
 Large
unit organization was non-existent
Nothing larger than a regiment
Uses of the Army in the post-war
 Reconstruction/Occupation
 Indian
of the South
 Civil Disturbances/Strikebreaking
Reconstruction (1865-1876)
 Greatly
disliked task
Wanted to avoid politics
• Voter registration drives, arranging elections,
installing officials
Too few troops to truly “occupy” the South.
• Little support in North for occupation
Successful in establishing the Civilian
Not so successful in protecting freed blacks
Indian Wars
 From
1865 to 1891, there were 13 different
campaigns and at least 1,000 separate
engagements with Native American
 Another job the army accepted reluctantly
Likely to be criticized regardless of the
Generally called in to resolve issues created
by settlers or Indian Bureau.
Army Tactics
 Developed
effective small units tactics to
deal with highly mobile tribes on the Great
Vulnerable to attack by larger force—Custer
Frequently outgunned by the Indians
Eventually able to overcome these limitations
Frontier Life of army
Very different from the “Hollywood” image
 Life was lonely and remote
Few men brought their families
Most forts were really villages with a few simple
buildings-some walled, others not.
 Rarely provided with adequate food
 Frequently not paid for long stretches
 Conditions little better than those encountered
by Native Americans
George Crook
 Most
successful of the Army’s Indian
Also most knowledgeable of the ways of the
 Men
traveled light-rode hard
 Organized Indians as combatants-one
tribe fighting another
End of Era
 By
late 1870’s, Indian power was broken
on the Plains
 With defeat of the Sioux, last of the major
tribes was defeated.
 Army proved generally effective in
establishing peace in the west with a
minimum of bloodshed
Civil Disturbances
 Industrial
growth prompt labor disputes
 National Guard was expected to deal with
local issues
Ill-prepared—under trained and sympathetic
 Some
army officers see industrial warfare
as new role for army
Way of gaining public support
Strike of 1877
 Railroad
 National Guard fails to quell riots
 Federal troops called out
Confusing command structure
• Civilians giving orders
Able to intimidate strikers & restore order
 Good
for congressional support of army
National Guard
Despite failures in labor disputes, a strong push
for a citizen-soldier military force remains.
Organized militia under state control saw more
strike duty during 19th century.
Fear of revolt-need to improve and better arm
1879-National Guard Association
Between 1881 and 1892 every state revised its
military code
Presented a challenge to the continued
existence of regular forces.
Navy Developments
 Physically
disintegrates after the war
Technological advances of the Civil War are
Return to wooden sailing ships
• Gave Navy maximum range with minimum support
 Navy
that Congress wanted low cost force
Simply interested in promoting American trade
Role of Navy
 Commerce
 Showing the flag
 Stopping foreigners from attacking
American interests
 Navy
was well suited to this role.
Don’t need steel and steam vessels
Changing World Situation in late
19th century
 Global
competition increases in the late
19th century
 European powers become increasingly
 Risk emerges that markets previously
open to the U.S. will be closed.
Movement for Change
Voices begin to call for a change in naval
 For markets to remain open, the navy needs a
force capable of competing with Major European
 1883—ABCD ships
Steel ships with sails
Ship names selected for maximum political support
Small, poorly designed and under-armored—
important first step
Leaders for Naval Change
 Alfred
Thayer Mahan
 Benjamin Tracy—Secretary of Navy
Proposes a radical increase in the size of the
Needs to sell to Congress
• Ships that will protect America’s shores
• Coastal defense was politically marketable
• Coastline sea-going battleships-5,000 mile range
• No sails
Samoa Incident(1889)
 Dispute
with Germany and Britain over
control of Samoa (SW Pacific)
 Naval forces from all three countries
squared off in Apia harbor War prevented by massive hurricane
 Settlement reached—US gains naval base
at Pagopago.
 US force, 3 wooden ships, ill-prepared to
fight ships from major European powers
True Blue Saloon Incident(1891)
Baltimore in Valparaiso, Chile
 Drunken brawl—2 deaths
 Appears that war may break out with Chile
 Congress and President realize that
victory is far from assured
 Chile has Navy almost equal to US Navy
 Forces government to serious consider
further expansion
Expansion in 1890’s
Naval Appropriations Act of 1890
Authorized the construction of three battleships—
Indiana, Massachusetts and Oregon
• 1st true capital ships of the American navy
Heavily armored
Powerfully gunned (13inch main batteries)
• World Class vessels
By time of Spanish American War, Navy was
well on its way to being a world power.
Navy 1865-1898
 Never
faced the same challenges as the
 Always had accepted mission.
Commerce protection
Showing the flag
changing world in late 19th century,
Naval leadership skillfully positioned itself
to evolve.
 Sp-Am war will push Navy to forefront
 With