THE LOGISTICS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY, 1812–1821 [article]

(:Unkn) Unknown, Gregory J. W. Urwin, University, My
2020
The acquisition and transportation of supplies for the U.S. Army proved to be the most intractable military problem of the War of 1812. Logistics became the bane of successive secretaries of war and field commanders, and of the soldiers who fought the British and Canadian troops, and their native allies. Historians have correctly ascribed the failure of American arms to achieve its principal war aim, the conquest of Canada, to the dysfunctional logistical and supply system. The suffering of
more » ... he suffering of soldiers who received subpar food and clothing, and experienced a shortage of weapons, ammunition, and fuel, moreover, are a staple of the historical literature on the war. Although this dissertation analyzes the causes and consequences of the breakdown in logistics, it also focuses on the lesser-known story of how the Corps of Quartermasters made logistics work under difficult conditions. It investigates how the military professionals within the officer corps drew lessons from their wartime travails and made common cause with reform-minded civilians in the hope of creating a better logistical system. Their combined efforts led to the postwar reform drive that gave the U.S. Army permanent supply departments, a comprehensive set of regulations, effective measures to enforce accountability, a new system for distributing food to the army, and a construction boom in military roads. Reformers also transformed the Quartermaster Corps to a greater degree than previously thought. Historians have long argued that the U.S. Army did not have a professionalized officer corps until the end of the nineteenth century. Recently, historians have considered the professional aspects of the antebellum officer corps. This dissertation argues that the origins of military professionalism can be traced back to the War of 1812. Army quartermasters, in particular, stood in the vanguard of military progress. Quartermaster General Thomas Sidney Jesup emphasized military expertise, education, and training far more than had his predecessors, and q [...]
doi:10.34944/dspace/770 fatcat:cgyiuz7ayfcwhccroqerdfz7fu