Combat Reconsidered: A Statistical Analysis of Small-Unit Actions During the American Civil War

Description:

Historians often emphasize the physical features of battleterrain, weaponry, troop formations, earthworks, etc.in assessments of Civil War combat. Most scholars agree that these external combat conditions strongly influenced battle performance. Other historians accentuate the ways in which the mental stresses of soldiering affected combat performance. These scholars tend to agree that fighting effectiveness was influenced by such non-physical combat conditions as unit cohesion, leadership, morale, and emotional stress. Few authors argue that combat's mental influences were more significant in determining success or failure than the physical features of the battlefield. Statistical analysis of the 465 tactical engagements fought by twenty-seven Federal regiments in the First Division of the Army of the Potomac's Second Corps throughout the American Civil War suggests that the mental aspects of battle affected fighting efficiency at least as muchand probably more thancombat's physical characteristics. In other words, the soldiers' attitudes, opinions, and emotions had a somewhat stronger impact on combat performance than their actions, positions, and weaponry.

Creator(s): Barloon, Mark C
Creation Date: December 2001
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
UNT Theses and Dissertations
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Total Uses: 1,258
Past 30 days: 88
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Creator (Author):
Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: University of North Texas
Place of Publication: Denton, Texas
Date(s):
  • Creation: December 2001
  • Digitized: July 10, 2007
Description:

Historians often emphasize the physical features of battleterrain, weaponry, troop formations, earthworks, etc.in assessments of Civil War combat. Most scholars agree that these external combat conditions strongly influenced battle performance. Other historians accentuate the ways in which the mental stresses of soldiering affected combat performance. These scholars tend to agree that fighting effectiveness was influenced by such non-physical combat conditions as unit cohesion, leadership, morale, and emotional stress. Few authors argue that combat's mental influences were more significant in determining success or failure than the physical features of the battlefield. Statistical analysis of the 465 tactical engagements fought by twenty-seven Federal regiments in the First Division of the Army of the Potomac's Second Corps throughout the American Civil War suggests that the mental aspects of battle affected fighting efficiency at least as muchand probably more thancombat's physical characteristics. In other words, the soldiers' attitudes, opinions, and emotions had a somewhat stronger impact on combat performance than their actions, positions, and weaponry.

Degree:
Level: Doctoral
Discipline: History
Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): Civil wars | tactics | statistics | combat | effectiveness
Contributor(s):
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Identifier:
  • OCLC: 51826289 |
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc3066
Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
License: Copyright
Holder: Barloon, Mark C
Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.