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Mexican War and Crimean War. Lsn 9. ID & SIG:. West Point, Delafield Commission, Scott, turning movement, Cerro Gordo, Sevastopol, limited war, rifle, Crimean War, Mexican War, Nightingale . Agenda. Mexican War (1846-1848) Causes Taylor Scott Vera Cruz to Mexico City

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id sig
  • West Point, Delafield Commission, Scott, turning movement, Cerro Gordo, Sevastopol, limited war, rifle, Crimean War, Mexican War, Nightingale
  • Mexican War (1846-1848)
    • Causes
    • Taylor
    • Scott
    • Vera Cruz to Mexico City
    • Rehearsal for the Civil War?
  • Crimean War (1854-1856)
    • Causes
    • Sevastopol
    • Legacy
manifest destiny
Manifest Destiny
  • Settlers began flocking west in search of cheap land
  • “(It is) ...our manifest destiny to over spread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty.”
    • John O’Sullivan, editor of the “The Morning Post,” 1845
mexican war
Mexican War
  • Causes
    • US foreign policy of expansion (Manifest Destiny) soon put it in conflict with Mexico
    • In 1836, Texas declared independence from Mexico and in 1845 the US annexed Texas in spite of Mexico’s never relinquishing its claim

Depiction of Davy Crockett at the Alamo by Mark Churms

  • Controversy
    • Whigs argued that US did not have a valid claim
    • Antislavery advocates argued that the war was designed to spread slavery and therefore increase the political power of the south
the army
The Army
  • Because of this soft support for the war, especially in the northeast, Polk decided to avoid large-scale use of the militia
  • Authorized raising of 50,000 volunteers, mostly from the southern states
  • Authorized Regular Army to double its existing size to 15,000 by filling units up to full strength

President James Polk

zachary taylor
Zachary Taylor
  • “Old Rough and Ready”
  • Little use for formal strategy and tactics
  • Dressed casually
  • Popular with his troops
  • In many aspects an amateurish general
zachary taylor9
Zachary Taylor
  • Led army into Texas and then across the Rio Grande
  • Gained victories at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Buena Vista
  • Taylor’s successes made him a potential political rival for Polk, so Polk selected Winfield Scott to lead a second major campaign in Mexico
winfield scott
Winfield Scott
  • Served in War of 1812, brevetted to major general
  • Studied European tactics
  • Became general-in-chief in 1841
  • Epitomized the professional officer
winfield scott11
Winfield Scott
  • Conducted an amphibious landing at Vera Cruz
  • Then had to move by land to Mexico City along a predictable, well-defended avenue of approach
  • Wanted to avoid frontal assaults by maneuver
turning movement
Turning Movement
  • Maneuver
    • As both an element of combat power and a principle of war, maneuver concentrates and disperses combat power to place and keep the enemy at a disadvantage
    • Achieves results that would otherwise be more costly
    • Keeps enemies off balance by making them confront new problems and new dangers faster than they can deal with them
  • The form of maneuver that Scott relied on in Mexico was the turning movement
cerro gordo
Cerro Gordo
  • Santa Anna had assembled a 25,000 man army to block Scott’s advance
    • Established a defense at Cerro Gordo
  • Scott realized a frontal assault would be suicidal
  • Sent Robert E. Lee on a reconnaissance to find an alternate route
  • Became the first of Scott’s series of turning movements en route to Mexico City
treaty of guadalupe hidalgo 1848
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)
  • Scott’s strategy was successful in capturing Mexico City
  • US won the war and paid Mexico $15 million for Texas north of the Rio Grande, California, and New Mexico
rehearsal for the civil war
Rehearsal for the Civil War?
  • Limited War
  • Turning Movement
  • Technology
  • Junior Officers
limited war objective
Limited War: Objective
  • Objective as a principal of war
    • When undertaking any mission, commanders should have a clear understanding of the expected outcome and its impact
    • Commanders need to appreciate political ends and understand how the military conditions they achieve contribute to them.
  • Winfield Scott saw Mexico as a war of limited objectives, to be waged by limited means
limited war objective19
Limited War: Objective
  • Based on this belief, Scott developed a largely political strategy
  • Believed that Mexican political life centered around Mexico City so completely that capturing the capital would paralyze the country and oblige the Mexican government to sue for peace in order to remain a government at all
  • Therefore his objective was to capture Mexico City, not to destroy the Mexican army
limited war treatment of civilians
Limited War: Treatment of Civilians
  • Scott conducted his campaign with strict regard for the rights of the Mexican citizens, making every effort to confine bloodshed and suffering to the Mexican army rather than the civilian population.
  • He scrupulously regulated his soldiers’ conduct and interaction with Mexican civilians, reducing contact to the minimum necessary for the sustenance of his army and the morale of his troops.
limited war
Limited War
  • Scott will carry his ideas about limited war into the Civil War with his Anaconda Plan
  • Many Federals, such as George McClellan, will advocate a strategy of conciliation toward the Confederacy
  • Such an approach will be rejected and the Civil War will become increasingly total
    • Pope’s General Orders
    • Emancipation Proclamation
    • Conscription
    • Suspension of some civil liberties
    • Sherman’s March to the Sea
turning movements and the civil war
Turning Movements and the Civil War
  • “The Mexican War created an informal, unwritten tactical doctrine—to turn the enemy.” (Archer Jones)
    • Civil War battles and campaigns that involved turning movements include the Peninsula Campaign, Second Manassas, and Vicksburg
  • Nonetheless the Civil War will also include many costly frontal attacks such as Fredericksburg and Pickett’s Charge
technology rifles
Technology: Rifles
  • Two things that made these frontal attacks so costly were the rifled musket and the Minie Ball
    • A few volunteer units like the Mississippi Rifles had rifles in Mexico, but the Regular Army stubbornly held to smoothbore muskets

At Buena Vista, Jefferson Davis commanded the Mississippi Rifles to “Stand Fast, Mississippians!”

technology changing times
Technology: Changing Times
  • By the time of the Civil War, the rifled musket and the Minie ball will cause a change in military tactics
    • The defense will gain strength relative to the offense
    • Artillery will loose its ability to safely advance close to the enemy and breach holes in defenses
    • Close-order formations will become dangerously vulnerable
junior officers rehearsal for the civil war
Junior Officers: Rehearsal for the Civil War
  • Approximately 194 Federal generals and 142 Confederate generals previously served in Mexico
  • Lee, Jackson, Hill, Pickett, Longstreet, Beauregard, Bragg, etc
  • Meade, Grant, Kearney, McClellan, Hooker, Pope, McDowell, etc
junior officers impact of west pointers
Junior Officers: Impact of West Pointers
  • By the time of the Mexican War, Sylvanus Thayer’s reforms at West Point had produced a generation of men who would fill the junior officers’ ranks in Mexico.
  • These lieutenants and captains stood in sharp contrast to the older officers who had not benefited from a systematic military education and training.
  • The impact of Thayer and West Point was readily apparent in Mexico.

Sylvanus Thayer is known as the “Father of the Military Academy” for the reforms he initiated after becoming superintendent in 1817

junior officers impact of west pointers27
Junior Officers: Impact of West Pointers
  • Winfield Scott called his West Pointers his “little cabinet”
  • Scott was unwavering in his acknowledgement of West Pointers declaring,
    • “I give it as my fixed opinion that but for our graduated cadets the war between the United States and Mexico might, and probably would, have lasted some four or five years, with, in its first half, more defeats than victories falling to our share, whereas in two campaigns we conquered a great country and a peace without the loss of a single battle or skirmish.”
west pointers in the civil war
West Pointers in the Civil War
  • West Pointers will play a key role in the Civil War
    • 151 Confederate and 294 Federal generals were West Point graduates
    • Of the Civil War’s 60 major battles, West Pointers commanded both sides in 55
    • A West Pointer commanded on one side in the other five
crimean war agenda
Crimean War: Agenda
  • Causes
  • Sevastopol
  • Legacy
crimean war causes
Crimean War: Causes
  • Competing national interests of Great Britain, France, and the crumbling Ottoman Empire collided with those of Russia to bring the first war to Europe in nearly 40 years
  • Russia sought to expand its influence in the Balkans and occupied Moldavia and Wallachia (part of the Ottoman Empire)
  • The Ottomans, confident of British and French support, declared war on Russia
crimean war causes32
Crimean War: Causes
  • Austria and Prussia joined France and Britain in demanding a Russian withdrawal
  • The Russians complied which removed the casus belli and should have led to an acceptable peace, but it didn’t
  • The British and French now wanted to punish Russia

Russian cannonballs in the Valley of Death

crimean war sevastopol
Crimean War: Sevastopol
  • In September 1854, the British and French landed on the Crimea and marched toward the port of Sevastopol where the Russians had a naval base
  • The Allied naval superiority helped them cut Sevastopol off from supplies
  • The Russians that opposed the land advance had the advantage of numbers and terrain but relied on close-order drill and mass tactics
  • The British and French were equipped with rifles and they decimated the Russians with their superior range
crimean war sevastopol34
Crimean War: Sevastopol
  • The Russians retreated to the heavily fortified Sevastopol and used the Allied delay in pursuit to establish a defense that was impregnable to assault
    • One failed attempt was the “Charge of the Light Brigade” at Balachava on October 25
  • The Allies established a siege and the Russians finally withdrew from Sevastopol on Sept 8, 1855
the charge of the light brigade
Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!

“Charge for the guns!” he said:

Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.

The Charge of the Light Brigade
the charge of the light brigade36
Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them Volley’d and thunder’d;

Storm’d at with shot and shell,

While horse and hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came thro’ the jaws of Death

Back from the mouth of Hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred.

The Charge of the Light Brigade
crimean war legacy
Crimean War: Legacy
  • In March 1855, the US sent the “Delafield Commission” to Europe to study the European armies and the on-going Crimean War
  • The commission emphasized the importance of professional armies and methodical warfare that relied on engineering and artillery
    • Missed the importance of the rifle, instead attributing the horrific Russian casualties to “too heavy and unwieldy masses”

Future General-in-Chief of the Federal Army George McClellan was a member of the Delafield Commission as a captain

crimean war legacy38
Crimean War: Legacy
  • The French introduced ironclads during the Crimean War
  • The British established telegraphic links between their headquarters and subordinate commands, and indirectly between their headquarters at Sevastopol and the government in London
  • It was the first war in which photographers recorded daily aspects of soldier life
crimean war legacy39
Crimean War: Legacy
  • Medical care was atrocious in spite of efforts such as those of Florence Nightingale
  • Inspired the reforms of the Sanitation Commission during the US Civil War

Nightingale discovered that as many as ten times the number of soldiers were dying from disease as from wounds

crimean war legacy40
Crimean War: Legacy
  • All in all, the Crimean War provided few insights into the larger wars of the future
  • It was a war fought for limited goals, and none of the combatants was willing to mobilize either the people or economic resources necessary for total war
  • The US Civil War would be an entirely different enterprise
crimean war legacy41
Crimean War: Legacy
  • The Crimean War will greatly influence some Civil War leaders
  • George McClellan will ask his wife to send him his books on Sevastopol as he prepares for the siege of Yorktown during the Peninsula Campaign
  • William Lamb will use a book on the Crimean War to help him design the defenses at Fort Fisher, North Carolina
  • Writing Lab
  • US Civil War